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Like Social Security? Medicare? Increased Immigration Can Save Them

February 04, 2021 (1 min read)

National Immigration Forum, Feb. 2021 - Room to Grow

"An increase in net immigration is necessary to address demographic realities and avert socioeconomic decline, the authors of a new report from the National Immigration Forum find.

Room to Grow: Setting Immigration Levels in a Changing America proposes an evidenced-backed approach to setting immigration levels that recognizes the varied contributions of immigrants to our country and addresses the demographic challenges of an aging population.

The paper’s authors, National Immigration Forum President and CEO Ali Noorani and Senior Policy and Advocacy Associate Danilo Zak, introduce a new strategy for setting immigration levels: Using the Old Age Dependency Ratio (OADR), the proportion of working-age adults to retirees, as an indicator of demographic health and immigration needs. To maintain our current OADR — and economic health — through 2060, they recommend an annual immigration increase of at least 37% over the current projected level.

“Immigrants — working together with U.S.-born Americans — have been essential in helping to build a more prosperous country that can live up to the ethos of the American dream,” the paper reads. “Now, immigrants have another increasingly important role, this time in response to the country’s rapidly changing demographics.

“During a period in which outdated laws and harmful politics have left immigration rates stagnant, America has room to grow. More than that, America needs to grow.”

View the full text of the paper here. A panel discussion from 2:30 to 3 p.m. EST Thursday with the paper’s authors; Kristie De Peña, vice president for policy and director of immigration at the Niskanen Center; and Alex Nowrasteh, director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, is open to media; contact Dan Gordon for more information."