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Public Charge Rule Will Reduce Legal Immigration by Over 30% and Hurt Labor Force Growth

February 25, 2020 (1 min read)

NFAP, Feb. 24, 2020

"The public charge rule, which goes into effect today, and other Trump administration policies are projected to reduce the annual level of legal immigration to the United States by 30%, resulting in 350,000 fewer legal immigrants receiving permanent residence each year compared to the FY 2016 level of 1,183,505, according to a new analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), an Arlington, Va.-based policy research group. NFAP projects in the long term that the average annual U.S. labor force growth, a key component of economic growth, will be between 35% and 59% lower in America as a result of Trump administration immigration policies, if the policies remain in place. The significant decline in the annual level of legal immigration means lower long-term economic growth may be Donald Trump’s most lasting economic legacy. The reduction in legal immigration will take place without any change in the law by Congress but as a result of policies that include the public charge rule, the travel ban and lower admission of refugees. Depending on implementation, the decline in legal immigration may be greater than 30%. Immigrant visas issued by U.S. consular officers already have declined by 25% between FY 2016 and FY 2019, and that is before the public charge rule went into effect. Fewer people will have the opportunity to live and work in the United States. Many American citizens will not be allowed to live in the United States with their spouse, child or parent, despite U.S. immigration law as interpreted for decades. The report, “The Impact of Administration Policies on Immigration Levels and Labor Force Growth,” can be found at “The Trump administration bypassed Congress by implementing several actions that will reduce legal immigration by an estimated 30% or more and prevent many Americans from living with a spouse, child or parent in the U.S.,” said NFAP Executive Director Stuart Anderson, who served as executive associate commissioner for policy and planning and counselor to the Commissioner of the INS in the George W. Bush administration. “If the policies remain in place, the amount of long-term economic damage caused by substantially reducing U.S. labor force growth will far outweigh any other Trump administration economic policies. It’s not possible to say you are pro-growth and also substantially reduce a key part of future economic growth, namely the number of new workers.”