Publication Date

August 2006


[Excerpt] Immigration reform is the domestic policy imperative of our time. The revival of the phenomenon of mass immigration from out of the nation's distant past was the accidental by-product of the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965.1Immigration had been declining as a percentage of the population since 1914 and in absolute numbers since 1930. In 1965, only 4.4 percent of the population was foreign born --the lowest percentage in all of U.S. history and totaled 8.5 million people (the lowest absolute number since 1880). There was absolutely no intention in 1965 to increase the level of immigration. The post-World War "baby boom" was on the verge of pouring a tidal wave of new labor force entrants into the labor market in1965 and would continue to do so for the next 16 years. Instead, the stated goal of the 1965 legislation was to rid the immigration system of the overtly discriminatory admission system that had been in effect since 1924. But as subsequent events were to reveal, this legislation let the "Genie out of the jug." Without any warning to the people of the nation, the societal changing force of mass immigration was released on an unsuspecting American economy and its labor force. By 2005, the foreign-born population had soared to 35.5 million persons (or 12.1 percent of the population) and there were over 22 million workers in the labor force (or 14.7 percent of the labor force).


Suggested Citation
Briggs, V. M. Jr. (2006). Immigration reform and the U.S. labor force : The questionable "wisdom" of S. 2611 (i.e, The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006): Hearings before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, 109th Cong. (August 29, 2006).(testimony of Vernon M. Briggs, Jr.).