Immigration Receives Further Cutbacks - History

Immigration Receives Further Cutbacks - History

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The Johnson-Reed Act cut back the total number of immigrants to the United States to 164,000 a year. It also limited the immigrants to a proportion of those who had lived in the United States in 1890, instead of 1910. The act effectively cut off immigration from Eastern Europe. It also outlawed all immigration from Japan.

The growing anti-immigration feeling among nativists and other racists resulted in the passage of the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act, an act which had its basis in racist studies which demonstrated that immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe were not as bright and capable as those from Northern Europe. The act resulted in a change in the base year for admittance from 1910 to 1890, before most Jews and Southern Europeans had begun to arrive.

The effect of the act was dramatic. An example is the immigration of Greeks. The earlier bill was based on the 1910 census, in which there were 101,282 Greeks in the United States. Thus the Greeks were entitled to 3,038 immigrants per year. The new law's criteria for the issuance of visas was based on a population of 1,887 Greeks in the United States in 1890. Thus, Greek immigration was limited to 38 people per year.

Overview of Immigrant Eligibility for Federal Programs

Revised DECEMBER 2015
Endnotes and citations available in the PDF version.

By Tanya Broder, Avideh Moussavian, and Jonathan Blazer

The major federal public benefits programs have always left some non–U.S. citizens out of eligibility for assistance from the programs. Since their inception, programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program), nonemergency Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and its precursor, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), have been inaccessible to undocumented immigrants and people in the United States on temporary visas.

However, the 1996 federal welfare and immigration laws introduced an unprecedented new era of restrictionism. Prior to these laws’ enactment, lawful permanent residents of the U.S. generally were eligible for assistance in a manner similar to U.S. citizens. After these laws’ enactment, most lawfully residing immigrants were barred from receiving assistance under the major federal benefits programs for five years or longer. Even where eligibility for immigrants was preserved by the 1996 laws or restored by subsequent legislation, many immigrant families hesitate to enroll in critical health-care, job-training, nutrition, and cash-assistance programs due to fear and confusion caused by the laws’ chilling effects. As a result, the participation of immigrants in public benefits programs decreased sharply after passage of the 1996 laws, causing severe hardship for many low-income families who lacked the support available to other low-income families.

This article focuses on eligibility and other rules governing immigrants’ access to federal public benefits programs. Many states have attempted to fill some of the gaps in noncitizen coverage resulting from the 1996 laws, either by electing federal options to cover more eligible noncitizens or by spending state funds to cover at least some of the immigrants who are ineligible for federally funded services. Many state-funded programs, however, have been reduced or eliminated in state budget battles. Some of these cuts have been challenged in court.

In determining an immigrant’s eligibility for benefits, it is necessary to understand the federal rules as well as the rules of the state in which an immigrant resides. Updates on federal and state rules are available on NILC’s website.

May 1995, Volume 2, Number 5

Immigration is a major public policy issue at the end of the 20th century, as it was at the beginning. What do the lessons of history teach about the current debate over immigration?

About one million immigrants arrived annually at the beginning of the 20th century, and about one million are arriving annually today. It is widely believed that the immigrants arriving in the early 1900s came to settle, and made their way in the US without welfare assistance, while some of the immigrants arriving today allegedly come to get public assistance.

The population in 1900 was smaller, so the number of arrivals per 100 residents--the rate of immigration--was larger. But Americans and immigrants had large families then, so the immigrant contribution to population growth then was lower than it is today--immigrants accounted for about 20 percent of population growth in the early 1900's and 30 percent today.

In the early 1900s, most Americans were farmers and rural residents, while most immigrants moved to cities. This means that immigrants were a large fraction of the clients in public hospitals and similar institutions--since such institutions existed mostly in cities.

Nathan Glazer notes that the expansion of the welfare state--in a time of low immigration, and when there was no expectation that the US would ever again become a nation of mass immigration--left the US vulnerable to e.g., elderly immigrants who never worked in the US depending on an SSI system designed for elderly Americans who did not accumulate sufficient credits for social security and pensions.

Glazer argues that the US today is both more tolerant of minorities and less optimistic about its future. Instead of Americanization, he notes, there is bilingual education and the combination of falling real wages and worries of over population and environmental degradation make it harder to assume there will be unidimensional progress with or without immigration.

The US is likely to restrict and reform its immigration policies in the 1990s. Glazer argues that it should begin by making immigrants ineligible for affirmative action and similar preference policies, and Frederick Rose argues that immigration in this century has gone through a hump shape in terms of perceptions of immigrant success.

Early 1900s immigrants were perceived to include many persons dependent on the meager public assistance programs then available. The immigrants arriving after numerical restrictions were imposed in 1921 led to a high proportion of very skilled and talented immigrants, a trend that was maintained by the 1965 lifting of the ban on Asian immigrants.

However, the rising number of especially Hispanic immigrants in the 1980s has led to a reassessment and a perception that, once again, immigrants include many people who are in need of public assistance. Although most researchers note that, in an economy with 132 million workers, of whom no more than 10 million are unskilled legal and illegal immigrants, the nation's economic fate is not tied to immigration, a reassessment of immigrant progress by George Borjas that argues that Mexican immigrants who lagged Northern Europeans in education and income a century ago continue to have slower upward mobility.

Frederick Rose, "The Growing Backlash Against Immigration Includes Many Myths," Wall Street Journal, April 26, 1995, A1. Nathan Glazer, "Debate on Aliens Flares beyond the Melting Pot," New York Times, April 23, 1995, E3.


In 1828, during the Great Migration of Canada, Britain passed the Act to Regulate the Carrying of Passengers in Merchant Vessels, the country's first legislative recognition of its responsibility over the safety and well-being of immigrants leaving the British Isles. The Act limited the number of passengers who could be carried on a ship regulated the amount of space allocated to them and required that passengers be supplied with adequate sustenance on the voyage. The 1828 Act is now recognized as the foundation of British colonial emigration legislation. [3]

Canadian citizenship was originally created under the Immigration Act, 1910, to designate those British subjects who were domiciled in Canada, while all other British subjects required permission to land. A separate status of 'Canadian national' was created under the Canadian Nationals Act, 1921, which defined such British subjects as being Canadian citizens, as well as their wives and children (fathered by such citizens) who had not yet landed in Canada. Following the passage of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, the monarchy thus ceased to be an exclusively British institution. As result, Canadians—just as all others living among the Commonwealth realms—were known as subjects of the Crown, while the term "British subject" would continue to be used in legal documents.

Canada was the second nation among what was then the British Commonwealth to establish its own nationality law in 1946, with the enactment of the Canadian Citizenship Act, 1946, taking effect on 1 January 1947. To acquire Canadian citizenship from then forward, one would generally have to either be a British subject on or before the Act took effect an 'Indian' or 'Eskimo' or had to have been admitted to Canada as landed immigrants before the Act took effect. A British subject at that time was anyone from the UK or its colonies (Commonwealth countries). Acquisition and loss of British subject status before 1947 was determined by United Kingdom law (see History of British nationality law).

On February 15, 1977, Canada removed restrictions on dual citizenship. Many of the provisions to acquire or lose Canadian citizenship that existed under the 1946 legislation were repealed. Canadian citizens are in general no longer subject to involuntary loss of citizenship, barring revocation on the grounds of immigration fraud or criminality. The term "Canadians of convenience" was popularized by Canadian politician Garth Turner in 2006 in conjunction with the evacuation of Canadian citizens from Lebanon during the 2006 Israel–Lebanon conflict. It refers to people with multiple citizenship who immigrated to Canada, met the residency requirement to obtain citizenship, obtained Canadian citizenship, and moved back to their original home country while maintaining their Canadian citizenship, with those who support the term claiming they do so as a safety net.

Atlantic Region Edit

There are a number of reports of contact made before Columbus between the first peoples and those from other continents. The case of Viking contact is supported by the remains of a Viking settlement in L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, although there is no direct proof this was the place Icelandic Norseman Leifur Eiríksson referred to as Vinland around the year 1000.

The presence of Basque cod fishermen and whalers, just a few years after Columbus, has also been cited, with at least nine fishing outposts having been established on Labrador and Newfoundland. The largest of these settlements was the Red Bay station, with an estimated 900 people. Basque whalers may have begun fishing the Grand Banks as early as the 15th century.

The next European explorer acknowledged as landing in what is now Canada was John Cabot, who landed somewhere on the coast of North America (probably Newfoundland or Cape Breton Island) in 1497 and claimed it for King Henry VII of England. Portuguese and Spanish explorers also visited Canada, but it was the French who first began to explore further inland and set up colonies, beginning with Jacques Cartier in 1534. Under Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, the first French settlement was made in 1604 in the region of New France known as Acadie on Isle Sainte-Croix (which now belongs to Maine) in the Bay of Fundy. That winter was particularly long and harsh and about half of the settlers that had accompanied Sieur de Mons died of scurvy. The following year they decided to move to a better sheltered area, establishing a new settlement at Port-Royal. In 1608, Samuel de Champlain, established a settlement at Donnacona it would later grow to become Quebec City. The French claimed Canada as their own and 6,000 settlers arrived, settling along the St. Lawrence and in the Maritimes. Britain also had a presence in Newfoundland and, with the advent of settlements, claimed the south of Nova Scotia as well as the areas around the Hudson Bay.

The first contact with the Europeans was disastrous for the first peoples. Explorers and traders brought European diseases, such as smallpox, which killed off entire villages. Relations varied between the settlers and the Natives. The French befriended the Huron peoples and entered into a mutually beneficial trading relationship with them. The Iroquois, however, became dedicated opponents of the French and warfare between the two was unrelenting, especially as the British armed the Iroquois in an effort to weaken the French.

Quebec Edit

After Samuel de Champlain's founding of Quebec City in 1608, it became the capital of New France. While the coastal communities were based upon the cod fishery, the economy of the interior revolved around beaver fur, which was popular in Europe. French voyageurs would travel into the hinterlands and trade with the natives. The voyageurs ranged throughout what is today Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba trading guns, gunpowder, textiles and other European manufacturing goods with the natives for furs. The fur trade encouraged only a small population, however, as minimal labour was required. Encouraging settlement was always difficult, and while some immigration did occur, by 1760 New France had a population of only some 70,000.

New France had other problems besides low immigration. The French government had little interest or ability in supporting its colony and it was mostly left to its own devices. The economy was primitive and much of the population was involved in little more than subsistence agriculture. The colonists also engaged in a long-running series of wars with the Iroquois.

Ontario Edit

Étienne Brûlé explored Ontario from 1610 to 1612. In 1615, Samuel de Champlain visited Lake Huron, after which French missionaries established outposts in the region.

Prairie provinces Edit

In the 18th to 19th century, the only immigration western Canada or Rupert's Land saw was early French Canadian North West Company fur traders from eastern Canada, and the Scots, English Adventurers and Explorers representing the Hudson's Bay Company who arrived via Hudson Bay. Canada became a nation in 1867, Rupert's Land became absorbed into the North-West Territories. To encourage British Columbia to join the confederation, a transcontinental railway was proposed. The railway companies felt it was not feasible to lay track over land where there was no settlement. The fur trading era was declining as the buffalo population disappeared, so too did the nomadic buffalo hunters, which presented a possibility to increase agricultural settlement. Agricultural possibilities were first expounded by Henry Youle Hind. The Dominion government with the guidance of Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior in charge of immigration, (1896–1905) [4] enacted Canada's homesteading act, the Dominion Lands Act, in 1872. An extensive advertising campaign throughout western Europe and Scandinavia brought in a huge wave of immigrants to "The Last, Best West". (In 1763 Catherine the Great issues Manifesto inviting foreigners to settle in Russia, [5] and in 1862 the United States enacted a Homestead Act inviting immigration to America.) [6]

Ethnic or religious groups seeking asylum or independence no longer traveled to Russia or the United States where lands were taken or homestead acts were canceled. The Red River Colony population of Manitoba allowed it to become a province in 1870. In the 1880s less than 1000 non-Aboriginal people resided out west. The government's immigration policy was a huge success, the North-West Territories grew to a population of 56,446 in 1881 and almost doubled to 98,967 in 1891, and exponentially jumped to 211,649 by 1901. [7] Ethnic Bloc Settlements [8] dotted the prairies, as language groupings settled together on soil types of the Canadian western prairie similar to agricultural land of their homeland. In this way immigration was successful new settlements could grow because of common communication and learned agricultural methods. Canada's CPR transcontinental railway was finished in 1885. Immigration briefly ceased to the West during the North West Rebellion of 1885. Various investors and companies were involved in the sale of railway (and some non railway) lands. Sifton himself may have been involved as an investor in some of these ventures. [9] Populations of Saskatchewan and Alberta were eligible for provincial status in 1905. Immigration continued to increase through to the roaring twenties. A mass exodus affected the prairies during the dirty thirties depression years and the prairies have never again regained the impetus of the immigration wave seen in the early 20th century.

British Columbia Edit

Until the railway, immigration to British Columbia was either via sea, or – once the gold rushes were under way – via overland travel from California and other parts of the US, as there was no usable route westward beyond the Rockies, and travel on the Prairies and across the Canadian Shield was still water-borne. BC's very small early non-native population was dominantly French-Canadian and Metis fur-company employees, their British (largely Scottish) administrators and bosses, and a population of Kanakas (Hawaiians) in the company's employ, as well as members of various Iroquoian peoples, also in the service of the fur company. The non-local native population of the British Pacific was in the 150–300 range until the advent of the Fraser Gold Rush in 1857, when Victoria's population swelled to 30,000 in four weeks and towns of 10,000 and more appeared at hitherto-remote locations on the Mainland, at Yale, Port Douglas, and Lillooet (then called Cayoosh Flat). This wave of settlement was near-entirely from California, and was approximately one-third each American, Chinese and various Europeans and others nearly all had been in California for many years, including the early Canadians and Maritimers who made the journey north to the new Gold Colony, as British Columbia was often called.

One group of about 60, called the Overlanders of '62, did make the journey from Canada via Rupert's Land during the Cariboo Gold Rush, though they were the exception to the rule. An earlier attempt to move some of the settlers of the Selkirk Colony ended in disaster at Dalles des Morts, near present-day Revelstoke. Early immigration to British Columbia was from all nations, largely via California, and included Germans, Scandinavians, Maritimers, Australians, Poles, Italians, French, Belgians and others, as well as Chinese and Americans who were the largest groups to arrive in the years around the time of the founding of the Mainland Colony in 1858. Most of the early Americans left in the early 1860s because of the US Civil War as well as in pursuit of other gold rushes in Idaho, Colorado and Nevada, though Americans remained a major component in the settler population ever since. During the 1860s, in conjunction with the Cariboo Gold Rush and agitation to join Canada, more and more Canadians (including the Overlanders, who became influential) arrived and became a force in the local polity, which hitherto had been dominated by Britons favouring separate rule, and helped contribute towards the agenda for annexation with Canada. After the opening of the CPR, a new wave of immigration led not just to the creation of Vancouver and other newer urban settlements, but also to the settlement of numerous regions in the Interior, especially the Okanagan, Boundary, Shuswap, and Kootenays. A similar wave of settlement and development accompanied the opening of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (today the CNR) through the Central Interior, which was also the impetus for the creation of the city of Prince George and the port of Prince Rupert.

Head tax and Chinese Immigration Act of 1923 Edit

The first immigrants from China to Canada came from California to the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in British Columbia, beginning in 1858 immigrants directly from China did not arrive until 1859. The Chinese were a significant part of nearly all the British Columbia gold rushes and most towns in BC had large Chinese populations, often a third of the total or more. Chinese labourers were hired to help with the construction of the Cariboo Wagon Road and Alexandra Bridge as well as the Douglas Road and other routes. Chinese miners, merchants and ranchers enjoyed full rights to mineral tenure and land alienation and in some areas became the mainstay of the local economy for decades. Chinese, for instance, owned 60% of the land in the Lillooet Land District in the 1870s and 1880s and held the majority of working claims on the Fraser River and in other areas. The next wave of immigrants from China were labourers brought in to help build the C.P.R. transcontinental railway but many defected to the goldfields of the Cariboo and other mining districts. In the year the railway was completed the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 was enacted, and a head tax was levied to control the ongoing influx of labour, although immigration continued as corporate interests in BC preferred to hire the cheaper labour made available to them by Chinese labour contractors Chinese labour was brought in by the Dunsmuir coal interests used to break the back of strikers at Cumberland in the Comox Valley, which then became one of BC's largest Chinatowns as white workers formerly resident there had been displaced by armed force.

Indian immigration and Continuous Journey Regulation of 1908 Edit

The Canadian government's first attempt to restrict immigration from India was to pass an order-in-council on January 8, 1908, that prohibited immigration of persons who "in the opinion of the Minister of the Interior" did not "come from the country of their birth or citizenship by a continuous journey and or through tickets purchased before leaving their country of their birth or nationality." [ citation needed ] In practice this applied only to ships that began their voyage in India, as the great distance usually necessitated a stopover in Japan or Hawaii. These regulations came at a time when Canada was accepting massive numbers of immigrants (over 400,000 in 1913 alone – a figure that remains unsurpassed to this day), almost all of whom came from Europe. Though Gurdit Singh, was apparently aware of regulations when he chartered the Komagata Maru in January 1914, [10] he continued with his purported goal of challenging these exclusion laws in order to have a better life. The Komagata Maru, a Japanese steamship that sailed from Hong Kong to Shanghai, China Yokohama, Japan and then to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1914, carried 376 passengers from Punjab, India. The passengers were not allowed to land in Canada and the ship was forced to return to India. The passengers consisted of 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims, and 12 Hindus, all British subjects. This was one of several incidents in the early 20th century involving exclusion laws in Canada and the United States designed to keep out immigrants of Asian origin. Times have now changed, and India has become the largest source of immigrants for Canada. In 2019, India topped the list of immigrants admitted to Canada. Canada welcomed 85,590 Indian nationals, followed by 30,245 from China and 27,820 from the Philippines. [11]

Scandinavian colonists and settlement Edit

Scandinavians were a strong contingent of the original arrivals from California and distinguished themselves in the establishment of the early timber industry and especially in the foundations of the commercial fishery. Semi-utopian and religious Scandinavian colonies arrived at certain places – Cape Scott and Holberg, British Columbia and nearby areas for the Danes, Sointula and Websters Corners for the Finns, and Bella Coola and locations nearby, such as Tallheo. All originally socialist or Christian attempts at new societies, these wound up breaking up though the populations such as the Norwegians at Bella Coola continued on in the fishery, building and running canneries (of which Tallheo was one).

German colonists and settlement Edit

German colonists, like the Scandinavians, were among the earliest to arrive from California and established themselves beyond mining in areas such as ranching and construction and specialized trades. Until World War I, Vancouver was a major centre of German investment and social life and German was commonly heard on the city's streets and bars. They remained the largest non-British group in the province until eclipsed in that capacity by the Chinese in the 1980s.

Doukhobor settlement and communities Edit

The Doukhobor people were assisted in their immigration by Count Leo Tolstoy who admired them for their collectarian lifestyle and beliefs and ardent pacifism and freedom from materialism. Originally settled in Saskatchewan, and restive of the government's desire to send their children to public school and other matters, they migrated en masse to British Columbia to settle in the West Kootenay and Boundary regions.

The Great Migration Edit

The Great Migration of Canada (also known as the Great Migration from Britain) was a period of high immigration to Canada from 1815 to 1850, involving over 800,000 immigrants chiefly from the British Isles. Unlike the later 19th century/early 20th century when organized immigration schemes brought in much of the new immigrants to Canada, this period of immigration was demand driven based on the need for infrastructure labour in the burgeoning colonies, filling new rural settlements and poor conditions in some source places, such the Highland Clearances in Scotland and later, the Great Famine of Ireland. [12] Though Europe was in an overall sense becoming richer through the Industrial Revolution, steep population growth made the relative number of jobs low, and overcrowded conditions forcing many to look to North America for economic success. [13]

Immigration to the West Edit

Attempts to form permanent settlement colonies west of the Great Lakes were beset by difficulty and isolation until the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the second of the two Riel Rebellions. Despite the railway making the region more accessible, there were fear that a tide of settlers from the United States might overrun British territory. In 1896, Minister of the Interior Clifford Sifton launched a program of settlement with offices and advertising in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. This began a major wave of railway-based immigration which created the farms, towns and cities of the Prairie provinces.

Third wave (1890–1920) and fourth wave (1940s–1960s) Edit

The third wave of immigration to Canada coming mostly from continental Europe peaked prior to World War I, between 1911 and 1913 (over 400,000 in 1912), many from Eastern or Southern Europe. The fourth wave came from Europe after the Second World War, peaking at 282,000 in 1957. Many were from Italy and Portugal. Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia was an influential port for European immigration it received 471,940 Italians between 1928 until it ceased operations in 1971, making Italians the third largest ethnic group to immigrate to Canada during that time period. [14] Together, they made Canada a more multi-ethnic country with substantial non-British or non-French European elements. For example, Ukrainian Canadians accounted for the largest Ukrainian population outside Ukraine and Russia. The Church of England took up the role of introducing British values to farmers newly arrived on the prairies. In practice, they clung to their traditional religious affiliations. [15]

Periods of low immigration have also occurred: international movement was very difficult during the world wars, and there was a lack of jobs "pulling" workers out of Canada during the Great Depression in Canada.

Canadianization was a high priority for new arrivals lacking a British cultural background. [16] Immigrants from Britain were given highest priority. [17] There was no special effort to attract Francophone immigrants. In terms of economic opportunity, Canada was most attractive to farmers headed to the Prairies, who typically came from eastern and central Europe. Immigrants from Britain preferred urban life. [18]

Fifth wave (1970s–present) Edit

Immigration since the 1970s has overwhelmingly been of visible minorities from the developing world. This was largely influenced in 1976 when the Immigration Act was revised and this continued to be official government policy. During the Mulroney government, immigration levels were increased. By the late 1980s, the fifth wave of immigration has maintained with slight fluctuations since (225,000–275,000 annually). Currently, most immigrants come from South Asia, China and the Caribbean and this trend is expected to continue.

The following is the chronology of Canadian immigration and citizenship laws.

Jobs That Pay Better

The researchers also looked at the quality of the companies and jobs created by immigrants. First, they analyzed how innovative their firms were as measured by the number of patents granted to them.

“Not only do these immigrant firms create more jobs, they are also much more inventive. They’re more likely to have patents than U.S.-founder firms,” says Jones.

Then the researchers looked at the wages paid out by firms started between 2005 and 2010 with immigrant versus American-born founders.

“You might think, immigrant firms have a lot of jobs, but are they good jobs? Are they good paying jobs? It turns out, if anything, the immigrant-founded firms pay somewhat higher wages than the native-founded firms,” says Jones.

Why Has Australia Fallen Out of Love With Immigration?

SYDNEY, Australia — Five days after 50 Muslims in New Zealand were killed in an attack attributed to an Australian white supremacist, Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, unveiled a plan he said would address a fundamental challenge to the nation.

But it was not a proposal to combat hate groups and Islamophobia. It was a cut to immigration.

The government’s plan, which had been in the works for months, is a potential turning point for a nation that has been shaped by newcomers since its days as a British penal colony and that has presented itself in recent years as a model of how immigration, properly managed, can strengthen a country.

Now, amid a global backlash against immigration that has upended politics in the United States, Britain and much of Europe, even Australia is reversing course, turning away from a policy of welcoming skilled foreigners that helped fuel decades of economic growth — and transformed a nation once closed to nonwhite immigrants into a multicultural society.

Mr. Morrison presented the move as a reaction to crowding in the nation’s largest cities, which has led to congested commutes and costlier housing. “This plan is about protecting the quality of life of Australians right across our country,” he said.

Such concerns are widespread as views in the country have turned sharply against population growth over the past year. There is worry, though, that these “quality-of-life” complaints have been amplified by — or perhaps have masked — a deeper ambivalence about a new wave of non-European immigration, especially from Muslim countries, along with Africa and Asia.

There’s no denying the rapid pace of change, nor its benefits. Australia’s population has grown by nearly 40 percent, from 18 million to 25 million, since the 1990s, and economists argue that the nation’s record-breaking 27 years without a recession would have been impossible if not for surging immigration.


Most of the 4.7 million foreigners who have arrived since 1980 have been skilled migrants, especially since 2004, when an average of more than 350,000 students and skilled workers arrived each year, according to government figures.

According to the 2016 census, more than one in four Australians were born overseas, compared to 13.7 percent of the population in the United States and 14 percent in Britain. And six out of the top 10 source countries are now in Asia, with immigrants from China (509,558 people) and India (455,385) leading the way.

Many Australians say it is time for these trends to end. In one recent poll, more than two-thirds said their country no longer needed more people. As recently as 2010, a majority of Australians disagreed with that statement.

Mr. Morrison and his Liberal Party — which has often used anti-immigrant sentiment to stir its conservative base — clearly believe that immigration will be a winning issue for them in the national election on May 18.

The government has slowed visa approvals, and plans to cut annual immigration by 30,000 people, to 160,000 a year, a reduction greater than any since the early 1980s, according to archival data.

Mr. Morrison also plans to shift work visas to steer newcomers outside the big cities, requiring recipients to live in those regions for three years before they can secure permanent residency.

The opposition Labor Party, meanwhile, has mostly sought to avoid the issue, mindful of how it has empowered conservatives in Britain and the United States, where President Trump recently declared that the country is now “full.”

Experts examining polling data and census figures have found that Australian frustration over immigration is focused around general themes: the pace of population growth (1.6 percent nationwide last year, compared to 0.7 percent for the United States) and perceptions around who wins and loses because of it.

With a landmass as big as the continental United States and one-tenth the population, Australia is one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries. It is also among the most urbanized, and it nurses a culture of high expectations even many city dwellers expect a backyard.

But Nicholas Biddle, an economist at the Australian National University who oversaw a major poll on immigration late last year, found that people living in the places most strained by population growth are not the ones most likely to demand curbs on immigration.

When Mr. Biddle mapped, using census data, the characteristics of those who were opposed to population growth and immigration, for example, he found that none of the areas in the top 20 percent of opposition to population growth and immigration were in Sydney or Melbourne.

Instead, based on the nationwide polling, the place where residents were least likely to be opposed to population growth was Surry Hills, an inner suburb of Sydney where housing prices have skyrocketed and traffic can be suffocating.

During one recent evening rush hour at Central Station, hundreds of people lined up to pile onto trains as announcements implored customers to spread out along the platform.

But even some of the most frustrated commuters called not for fewer people, but for improved infrastructure, microcities outside Sydney’s center or changes in workplace culture that might limit rush-hour commuting.

“I wouldn’t want to return to the Australia of the 1930s and ’40s,” said Michael Monaghan, who was holding a briefcase while waiting for a train. “It’s just a matter of managing it.”

A far different sentiment can be heard about two hours north of Sydney, on the Central Coast, home to a cluster of somewhat rural suburbs and fishing towns in the top tier of opposition to growth and immigration.

Some residents of the area justify their opposition by asking whether Australia has enough water to support a larger population, an element of the country’s immigration debate since the 1980s, before desalination plants became more common.

But there are also people like Stephen Ryan, 69, a retired power station worker who was not shy about arguing that Australia was better off when its immigrants were mostly from England.

“The Arab people, they don’t want to do anything,” he said. “They just want to go on the dole. That’s just the way I see it.”

It is the kind of attitude that, according to many immigrants in Australia, still shapes the discussion around population growth in a country that barred nonwhite immigrants until 1971.

The rise of right-wing politicians like Fraser Anning, a senator who blamed Muslim immigration for the New Zealand attacks, and Pauline Hanson, who once wore a burqa in Parliament to protest Islam, has pushed racism into mainstream public discussion.

“In the last few years, we have seen politicians state that people had a right to be bigots,” said Tim Soutphommasane, a former race commissioner in Australia and a professor at the University of Sydney. “There’s been a creeping normalization of far-right political ideas.”

On a local level, two competing visions of Australia are essentially fighting for votes: the Australia longing for a nostalgic past, and the Australia trying to figure out the next phase of integration for a more globalized nation.

Young political candidates like Kadira Pethiyagoda are at the forefront of potential change. Mr. Pethiyagoda, 39, who immigrated from Sri Lanka and served as an Australian diplomat, is running for the Labor Party in Melbourne.

“Services are being cut, wages haven’t gone up, the cost of living is increasing. People are being squeezed,” he said. “Politicians are pointing to all these problems, trying to pretend the cause of this is only immigration.”

As he campaigned by knocking on doors, some who answered said they, too, wanted more livable cities — with a focus on how to help everyone, newcomers included.

“It just makes me feel confident that maybe somebody who understands the challenges that migrant families face can actually accurately represent our views and actions,” said Yvonne Maringa, 35, an English immigrant of Zimbabwean descent. “I think there’s a limited understanding still of migrant communities and their needs.”


Following initial British and French colonization, what is now Canada has seen four major waves (or peaks) of immigration and settlement of non-Aboriginal Peoples take place over a span of nearly two centuries. Canada is currently undergoing its fifth wave.

Periods of low immigration in Canada have also occurred: international movement was very difficult during the world wars, and there was a lack of jobs "pulling" workers to Canada during the Great Depression in Canada. Statistics Canada has tabulated the effect of immigration on population growth in Canada from 1851 to 2001. [6]

First wave, pre-1815 Edit

The first significant wave of non-Aboriginal immigration to Canada occurred over almost two centuries with slow, but progressive, French settlement in Quebec and Acadia, along with smaller numbers of American and European entrepreneurs in addition to British military personnel. This wave culminated with the influx of 46–50,000 British Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution, chiefly from the Mid-Atlantic States, mostly into what are now Southern Ontario, the Eastern Townships of Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. [7] 36,000 of these migrants went to the Maritimes, and some would later make their way to Ontario.

Another wave of 30,000 Americans settled in Ontario and the Eastern Townships between the late 1780s and 1812 with promises of land. From forcibly having cleared land in Scotland, several thousands of Gaelic-speaking Scottish Highlanders migrated to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and parts of Eastern Ontario during this period, marking a new age for Canada and its people.

Second wave (The Great Migration), 1815–50 Edit

The second wave of immigrants, known as the Great Migration of Canada, saw the arrival of at least 800,000 people between 1815 and 1850, 60% of whom were British (English and Scottish), while the remainder was mostly Irish.

The Great Migration encouraged immigrants to settle in Canada after the War of 1812, including British army regulars who had served in that war. In 1815, 80% of the 250,000 English-speaking people in Canada were either American colonists or their descendants. By 1851, the percentage of Americans had dropped to 30%. Worried about another American attempt at invasion—and to counter the French-speaking influence of Quebec—colonial governors of Canada rushed to promote settlement in backcountry areas along newly constructed plank roads within organized land tracts, mostly in Upper Canada (present-day Ontario). Much of the settlements were organized by large companies to promote clearing, and thus farming of land lots.

With this wave, Irish immigration to Canada had increased in small numbers to organize land settlements and, mostly, to work on canals, timber, railroads. Irish immigration would peak from 1846 to 1849 due to the Great Famine of Ireland, which resulted in hundreds of thousands more Irish migrants arriving on Canada's shores, with a portion migrating to the United States, either in the short-term or over the subsequent decades.

This movement of people boosted Canada's population from approximately 500,000 in 1812 to 2.5 million by 1851. The Francophones would make up roughly 300,000 of the population in 1812, increasing to approx. 700,000 by the 1851 census, however, demographically Canada had swung to a majority Anglophone country. Canada's 1851 population by region would look as follows:

Canada-US Edit

The Dominion Lands Act of 1872 copied the American system by offering ownership of 160 acres of land free (with a small registration fee) to any man over the age of 18, or any woman heading a household. They did not need to be citizens but had to live on the plot and improve it.

Also during this period, Canada became a port of entry for many Europeans seeking to gain entry into the United States. Canadian transportation companies advertised Canadian ports as a hassle-free way to enter the US, especially as the States began barring entry to certain ethnicities. Both the US and Canada mitigated this situation in 1894 with the Canadian Agreement which allowed for U.S. immigration officials to inspect ships landing at Canadian ports for immigrants excluded from the US. If found, the transporting companies were responsible for shipping the persons back. [8]

Clifford Sifton, Ottawa's Minister of the Interior (1896–1905), argued that the free western lands were ideal for growing wheat and would attract large numbers of hard-working farmers. He removed obstacles that included control of the lands by companies or organizations that did little to encourage settlement. Land companies, the Hudson's Bay Company, and school lands all accounted for large tracts of excellent property. The railways kept closed even larger tracts because they were reluctant to take legal title to the even-numbered lands they were due, thus blocking the sale of odd-numbered tracts. With the goal of maximizing immigration from Britain, eastern Canada and the US, Sifton broke the legal log jam, and set up aggressive advertising campaigns in the U.S. and Europe, with a host of agents promoting the Canadian West. He would also broker deals with ethnic groups who wanted large tracts for homogeneous settlement. [9]

Third wave, 1890–1920 Edit

Canada's third wave of immigration came mostly from continental Europe, and peaked prior to World War I between 1911 to 1913, with over 400,000 migrants in 1912—many of whom were from Eastern or Southern Europe.

Chinese immigration Edit

Prior to 1885, restrictions on immigration were imposed mostly in response to large waves of migrants rather than planned policy decisions. Such restrictions, at least as official policy, would not explicitly target any specific group or ethnicity of people until 1885, with the passing of the first Chinese Head Tax legislation by the MacDonald government in response to a growing number of Chinese migrants working on the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Subsequent increases in the head tax in 1900 and 1903 limited Chinese entrants to Canada, followed in 1907 by major riots against 'Oriental' people (i.e. Asians) taking place in Vancouver, BC. In 1923, the government passed the Chinese Immigration Act which excluded Chinese people from entering Canada altogether between 1923 and 1947. [10] In recognizing Canada's historical discrimination against Chinese immigrants, an official government apology and compensations were announced on 22 June 2006. [11]

Fourth wave, 1940s–60s Edit

The fourth wave came from Europe following the Second World War, and peaked at 282,000 in 1957. With many of these migrants coming from Italy and Portugal, Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia proved to be an influential port for European immigration. From 1928 until ceasing operations in 1971, the Pier would receive 471,940 Italians, becoming the third-largest ethnic group to immigrate to Canada during that time period. [12]

Immigrants from Britain, however, were still given the highest priority, [13] and 'Canadianization' would become of great importance for new arrivals who lacked a British cultural background. [14] There would be no such effort to attract Francophone immigrants.

In regard to economic opportunity, Canada was most attractive to farmers headed to the Prairies, who typically came from Eastern and Central Europe, as immigrants from Britain preferred urban life. [15] As such, the Church of England took up the role of introducing British values to farmers newly arrived in the Prairie provinces, although, in practice, they clung to their traditional religious affiliations. [16] Nonetheless, around the 1960s, Indo-Canadians would establish themselves in Canada's exurban and rural agriculture and become a dominant feature in British Columbia’s farming sector, having already primarily been established in the provincial forestry industry since the turn of the 20th century. [17] Hispanic immigrants would follow similar lines, particularly in regions that were linked with strong farming settlements immediately south of the border. [5]

With the economy still expanding, Canadians did not always demonstrate sufficient mobility to fill the hiring needs of some regions, nor to fill some economic niches (particularly “entry-level jobs”). Due to these circumstances, in 1967, the Canadian Government would introduce a points-based system, under which applicants were given preference if they knew either French, English, or both were non-dependent adults (i.e., not too old to work) already had prospective employment lined up in Canada had relatives in the country (who could support them if necessary) were interested in settling in the parts of Canada with the greatest need for workers and were trained or educated in fields that were in demand. The new legislation would prove to be an integral element in attracting large numbers of immigrants from sources that were considered “non-traditional.” [5]

From then on, Canada would start to become a more multi-ethnic country with substantial non-British or non-French European elements. Ukrainian Canadians, for instance, accounted for the largest Ukrainian population outside of Ukraine and Russia. Also in the 1960s, young American men and women fled to Canada in order to avoid the U.S. draft for the Vietnam War. Especially large numbers were established in BC’s Kootenays, Gulf Islands, and Sunshine Coast, followed by others, including counterculture, back-to-the-land advocates who were more drawn to Canada.

Immigration in Canada since the 1970s, or the fifth wave, has overwhelmingly been of visible minorities from the developing world. This was largely influenced in 1976 when the Immigration Act was revised and was maintained as official government policy. The regulations introduced in 1967 consisted of 9 categories: education, occupation, professional skills, age, arranged employment, knowledge of English and/or French, relatives in Canada and “personal characteristics.” To qualify for immigration 50 points out of 100 were necessary in 1967. [18]

On 20 February 1978, Canada and Quebec sign an immigration agreement allowing Quebec decision-making power in independently choosing its immigrants, who would then still have to be approved by Ottawa. [19]

During the Mulroney administration, immigration levels were increased. From the late 1980s, the 'fifth wave' of immigration has since maintained, with slight fluctuations (225,000–275,000 annually). Today, [ needs update ] political parties remain cautious in criticizing high levels of immigration, because in the early 1990s, as noted by The Globe and Mail, Canada's Reform Party "was branded 'racist' for suggesting that immigration levels be lowered from 250,000 to 150,000". [20] [21] However, the Coalition Avenir Quebec who were elected in the 2018 Quebec election advocated for a reduction to the number of immigrants, to 40,000. [22]

In 2008, Stephen Harper gave then-parliamentary secretary and Minister of Multiculturalism and Citizenship Jason Kenney, established a mandate to integrate immigrants, while improving relationship between the government to communities to gain votes. [23] In November 2017, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced that Canada would admit nearly 1 million permanent residents over the following three years, rising from 0.7% to 1% of its population by 2020. [24] This increase was motivated by the economic needs of the country caused by an aging population. [24]

In 2008, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (now IRCC) made changes to immigration policy, such as reducing professional categories for skilled immigration and eliminating caps for immigrants in various categories. [25] Likewise, in 2015, Canada introduced the 'Express Entry' system, providing a streamlined application process for many economic immigrants. [26]

From 2013–2014, most of the Canadian public, as well as the country's major political parties, supported either sustaining or increasing the current level of immigration. [27] [28] A sociological study conducted in 2014 concluded that "Australia and Canada are the most receptive to immigration among western nations." [29] In 2017, an Angus Reid poll indicated that a majority of respondents believed that Canada should accept fewer immigrants and refugees. [30]

According to 2016 Census data via Statistics Canada, over one in five Canadians were born abroad, while 22.3% of the Canadian population belonged to visible minorities, of whom 3 in 10 were born in Canada. [31] Moreover, 21.9% of the Canadian population reported themselves as being or having been a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada—close to the 1921 Census record of 22.3%, the highest level Canada has seen since Confederation in 1867. [31]

In 2019, Canada admitted 341,180 permanent residents, compared to 321,055 the previous year. [32] Among those admitted, 58% were economic immigrants and their accompanying immediate families 27% were family class 15% were either resettled refugees or protected persons or were in the humanitarian and other category. [32]

Immigration rate Edit

In 2001, 250,640 people immigrated to Canada, relative to a total population of 30,007,094 people per the 2001 Census. Since 2001, immigration has ranged between 221,352 and 262,236 immigrants per annum. [33] In 2017, the Liberal government announced Canada will welcome nearly one million immigrants over the next three years. The number of migrants would climb to 310,000 in 2018, up from 300,000 in 2017. That number was projected to rise to 330,000 in 2019, then 340,000 in 2020. [34] [35] [36] Accordingly, between 2017 and 2018, net immigration accounted for 80% of Canada’s population increase. [37]

The three main official reasons given for the level of immigration were:

  • The social component – Canada facilitates family reunification.
  • The humanitarian component – Relating to refugees.
  • The economic component – Attracting immigrants who will contribute economically and fill labour market needs.

Canada's level of immigration peaked in 1993 in the last year of the Progressive Conservative government and was maintained by the Liberal Party of Canada. Ambitious targets of an annual 1% per capita immigration rate were hampered by financial constraints. The Liberals committed to raising actual immigration levels further in 2005.

As Canadian political parties have been cautious about criticizing high levels of immigration, immigration levels to Canada (approx. 0.7% per year) are considerably higher per capita than to the United States (approx. 0.3% per year).

Furthermore, much of the immigration to the US is from Latin America and relatively less from Asia, though admitting about twice as many immigrants from Asian countries (e.g. China, India, the Philippines, and Pakistan) as Canada. As such, the Hispanic/Latin American population makes up the largest minority group in the United States, whereas such is true for the Asian population in Canada.

Immigrant population growth is concentrated in or around large cities (particularly Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal). These cities have experienced increased service demands that accompany strong population growth, causing concern about the capability of the infrastructure to handle influxes in such places. For example, as noted in a Toronto Star article from 14 July 2006, 43% of Canada's immigrants move to the Greater Toronto Area and that, "unless Canada cuts immigrant numbers, our major cities will not be able to maintain their social and physical infrastructures." [38] Most of the provinces that do not have one of those destination cities have implemented strategies to try to boost their share of immigration. While cities are a popular destination for new immigrants, some small towns have seen an influx of immigration due to economic reasons and local schools districts are working to adjust to the change. [39]

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, under the Canada–Quebec Accord of 1991, Quebec has sole responsibility for selecting most immigrants destined to the province. However, once immigrants are granted permanent residency or citizenship they are free to move between and reside in any provinces under Section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Irregular migration Edit

Estimates of undocumented immigrants in Canada range between 35,000 and 120,000. [40] James Bissett, a former head of the Canadian Immigration Service, has suggested that the lack of any credible refugee screening process, combined with a high likelihood of ignoring any deportation orders, has resulted in tens of thousands of outstanding warrants for the arrest of rejected refugee claimants, with little attempt at enforcement. [41] A 2008 report by the Auditor General Sheila Fraser stated that Canada has lost track of as many as 41,000 illegal immigrants. [42] [43]

In August 2017 the border between Quebec and New York, most notably the former Roxham Road port of entry, saw an influx of up to 500 crossings each day outside of official ports of entry by people seeking asylum in Canada. [44] Entering Canada outside of a port of entry is not an offence under either the Criminal Code or Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and regulations under the IRPA only require that a person seeking to enter Canada outside a point of entry to "appear without delay" at the nearest port of entry. [45] While entering Canada outside of a port of entry may represent an unlawful act, section 133 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act requires that charges related to any offences associated with entering Canada are stayed while an entrant's claim is being processed in accordance with the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. [46]

As result, Canada increased border patrol and immigration staffing in the area, reiterating that crossing the border outside ports of entry (referred to as 'irregular migration') had no effect on one's asylum status. [47] [48] It is reported that over 38,000 'irregular migrants' arrived in Canada since early 2017.

For the same reason, both Ontario and Quebec have requested the central government to provide CA$200 million or more to cover their cost of burden to house and provide services to asylum seekers. Related to asylum seekers, Canada joined 164 countries in signing the UN Global Compact for Migration in 2018. The 2017 government claims it is for following careful measures and to meet international obligations in accommodating irregular migrants. [49]

Settlement workers Edit

Settlement workers help immigrants into Canada understand their rights and responsibilities and find the programs and services they need to integrate with the new culture and the prospects of a livelihood. They motivate organizations to hire immigrants and support immigration through recruiting new members/ employees. They work with government agencies, school boards, libraries and other community organizations with networks of resources. [50] These working relationships also help to provide families with the tools necessary to manage the changing identities of new immigrant families to Canada. [39]

Dual intent migration: International students Edit

Canada is an education haven for international students desirous to gain a North American education. According to Project Atlas, Canada is the world’s fourth most popular destination for foreign students. The government by opening its gates to international students across the country has given an economic boom to the education sector. In 2019 alone, it is estimated that a revenue of $21 billion was gained from tuition alone. [51] [52] In a given year it is estimated that around 600,000 international students reside in the country as temporary residents. [53]

In 2019 it was reported that there is a new trend in exploiting Canadian visa process, where immigrant consultants/lawyers with food franchises, motels, gas stations, and family run business' collect substantial cash from students and foreign nationals for supporting them with LMIA and in their permanent resident applications. [54] [55] In 2019 a qualitative survey among international students reported that they feel "international students should receive permanent residence status at the time of their arrival in Canada" and "migrant students should have the same rights, and that means full labour rights, the same fees, and permanent resident status from day one and that's just fair for the money they spend in Canada." [56] Part of what the international student bodies across the provinces are saying is to disregard the immigration system Canada has in place or manipulate them in ways that give international students special rights, equalize their tuition fees to the subsidized fees of domestic students, and being a full-time worker is more important to them and education is only a secondary objective. In 2020 too international student bodies across Canada has pleaded for the same rights to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. [57]

Attitudes towards immigration Edit

The vast majority of the Canadian public as well as the major political parties support immigration. [27]

2016 Edit

In October 2016, the Angus Reid Institute partnered with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to conduct a study of 'Canadian values.' [58] Survey results would indicate that about 68% of those polled said that they wanted minorities to do more to fit into the mainstream. However, the same number also said that they were nonetheless happy with how immigrants have integrated themselves into the community. Moreover, 79% of Canadians believe immigration policy should be based on the country's economic and labour needs, rather than on the needs of foreigners to escape crises in their home countries.

Canada's finance minister Bill Morneau established the Advisory Council on Economic Growth, which called for a gradual increase in permanent immigration to Canada to 450,000 people a year. [59] [60]

In an analysis of the survey, Angus Reid, himself, wrote that Canadians' commitment to multiculturalism is not increasing and that Canadian attitudes have been affected by the wake of North American and European nationalist movements, due to which certain provinces have even begun to develop colorist preferences. Reid also expressed his discomfort in the effect that an increase in illiterate refugees may have on Canadian society. Nonetheless, he found that the majority of newcomers and refugees feel that they are treated fairly and welcomed as a "Canadian." [61]

2017-2018 Edit

According to a 2017 poll, 32% of Canadians—up from 30% in 2016—believed that too many refugees were coming to Canada. The poll also asked respondents about their comfortability with surface-level diversity (e.g. around people of a different race), to which 89% said they were comfortable—a number that dropped from 94% in 2005–06. [62]

In 2018, an Angus Reid poll found that two-thirds (67%) of Canadians agreed that the situation of illegal immigration to Canada constitutes a "crisis" and that Canada's "ability to handle the situation is at a limit." Among respondents who voted in the 2015 election, 56% of those who voted Liberal and 55% of those who voted NDP agreed that the matter had reached a crisis level—agreed upon with 87% of respondents who voted Conservative in the 2015 election. Six out of ten respondents also told the pollster that Canada is "too generous" towards would-be refugees, a spike of five percentage points since the question was asked the previous year. [63] [64]

2019 Edit

EKOS Research Associates, in a 2019 poll, found that about 40% of Canadians feel that there are too many non-white immigrants coming to the country. [65] EKOS expressed this number as demonstrating an increase from those who opposed immigration in previous years, and as an evidence for resurgence of colonial depictions that can lead to racialization of new non-white immigrants. [66] [67]

In a 2019 poll by Léger Marketing, 63% of respondents wanted limits to be set on immigration, while 37% said immigration should be expanded. The results would show a split along party lines, as Green and Conservative Party supporters favoured a reduction, while Liberal and NDP supporters favoured the opposite. Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen felt that the poll results may be indicative of the concerns of some Canadians about housing shortages and the ability of communities to absorb more people. [68]

2020 Edit

In a 2020 poll conducted by Nanos Research Group, 17 percent of respondents said an increase to the number of immigrants accepted into the country (compared to 2019) was acceptable, 36 percent said there should be no change, and 40 percent wanted a reduction. [69] Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) data in 2020 shows that there were 12,122 deportations and out of them 1,657 were administrative removals. [70]

Citizenship Edit

The word 'Canadian' as a term of nationalism or citizenship was first used under the Immigration Act, 1910, to designate those British subjects who were domiciled in Canada, whereas all other British subjects required permission to land. A separate status of "Canadian national" was created under the Canadian Nationals Act, 1921, which would broaden the definition of 'Canadian' to include such citizen's wife and children (fathered by the citizen) who had not yet landed in Canada. After the passage of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, the monarchy ceased to be an exclusively British institution. Thus, Canadians—as well as all others living among what is known today as the Commonwealth realms—were regarded as subjects of the Crown. However, in legal documents, the term 'British subject' continued to be used, hence 'Canadians' were still, officially, British subjects born or regularly domiciled in Canada. [ citation needed ]

In 1946, Canada would be the first nation in the then-British Commonwealth to establish its own nationality law, with the enactment of the Canadian Citizenship Act, 1946, taking effect on 1 January 1947. In order to be deemed a Canadian citizen, one generally had to be a British subject on the date that the Act took effect, or had been admitted to Canada as landed immigrants before that date. First Nations people were later included by amendment in 1956. The phrase 'British subject' referred generally to anyone from the United Kingdom, its colonies at the time, or a Commonwealth country. Acquisition and loss of British-subject status before 1947 was determined by British law. [ citation needed ]

Many of the provisions to acquire or lose Canadian citizenship that existed under the 1946 legislation were repealed, whereby Canadian citizens generally would no longer be subject to involuntary loss of citizenship, barring revocation on the grounds of immigration fraud. On 15 February 1977, Canada removed restrictions on dual citizenship.

Present Edit

Canada offers Canadian citizenship through naturalization. In 2006, the Canadian government reduced the landing fee per immigrant by 50%. [71] In June 2017, the implementation of the first of a series of important reforms to the Citizenship Act took effect. These reforms restored many of the previous requirements that were in place for over 3 decades in Canada before they were removed and replaced with more stringent criteria by the former Conservative government in 2015. The most important of these changes include: [72] [73]

  • The requirement of permanent residence for 3 out of 5 years during the period immediately prior to filing the application.
  • Removal of a physical presence rule.
  • Persons aged 14 to 54 years must pass a Canadian knowledge test and demonstrate a basic ability in either of English or French, Canada's official languages.
  • Revocation of citizenship must follow a more formal and balanced process.

Emigration Edit

While emigration from Canada to the United States has historically exceeded immigration, there have been short periods in which the reverse was true, such as:

  • during the American Revolution, with the migration of Loyalist refugees
  • during the various gold rushes of British Columbia, and the later Klondike Gold Rush, which saw many American prospectors inhabiting B.C. and the Yukon
  • in the early 20th century, when land settlers moved from the Northern Plains to the Prairies

Canada would also see mass emigration during periods of political turmoil or war, such as the Vietnam War. There are over 1 million Americans living in Canada, and over 1 million Canadians living in the US, with many millions more who are descendants of Canadian immigrants to the US—New England alone is 20–25% of Canadian descent.

Immigration has always been offset by emigration: at times this was of great concerns of governments intent on filling up the country, particularly the western provinces. The United States was overall the primary destination followed by reverse migration. As a result, the population of Canada at Confederation (1867) was 3.75 million, or 10% of the US population, an average that maintained from about 1830 to 1870. This number would drop to 6% by 1900 due to large emigration to the US, despite large-scale immigration to Canada. Emigration to the US was only 370,000 in the 1870s averaged a million a decade from 1880 to 1910 almost 750,000 from 1911 to 1920 and 1.25 million from 1921 to 1930. They consisted of both native-born Canadians and recent immigrants from various, mostly European nations. Between 1945 and 1965, emigration to the US averaged 40–45,000 annually. It was not until 1960 that the population of Canada reached the 10% mark again, or 18 million.

As of 2017, with over 35 million people, Canada has 10.8% of the population of its southern neighbour. In times of economic difficulty, Canadian governments frequently resorted to deportation and coerced "voluntary" deportation to thin out ranks of unemployed workers. However, by the time of the administration of Mackenzie King, it was realized that this was an improvident short-term solution that would result in future labor shortages (that immigration was initially intended to overcome). [74]

In Canadian law, (legal) permanent immigrants are categorized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as either of the following: [3] [37]

  1. Family: persons closely related to one or more Canadian residents who live in Canada. : skilled workers, caregivers, or business persons. or Refugee: persons who are escaping persecution, torture, and/or cruel and unusual punishment.
  2. Humanitarian or other: persons accepted as immigrants for humanitarian or compassionate reasons.

In March 2019, the Canadian Government announced its Francophone Immigration Strategy as an initiative to increase immigration outside of Quebec for French-speaking individuals in all admission categories. [37]

In 2010, Canada accepted 280,681 immigrants (permanent and temporary) of which 186,913 (67%) were Economic immigrants 60,220 (22%) were Family class 24,696 (9%) were Refugees and 8,845 (2%) were others through working holidays, internships, and studies. [75] [76] In 2019, with 341,180 admissions, Canada achieved its highest level of permanent resident admissions in recent history. [37]

Economic immigrants Edit

The Economic Immigration Class is the largest source of permanent resident admissions in Canada. [37] In 2019, 196,658 individuals were admitted to Canada under the Economic Class, making up approximately 58% of all admissions that year, and a 5.5% increase from 2018. This represents a record-high number of admissions under this category. [37]

Year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Number of economic immigrants permitted [37] 170,390 156,028 159,289 186,366 196,658

IRCC uses seven sub-categories of economic immigrants, including skilled workers, under the following classes: [3]

    skilled worker [77]
  • Federal skilled trades
  • Federal skilled worker
  • Provincial nominee class and
  • Canadian experience class: the process is done by submitting an online profile to the Express Entry pool, under one of 3 federal Canada immigration programs or a provincial immigration program. The highest ranked candidates are then invited to apply for permanent residence. [78]

The business immigration programs that offer permanent admission to Canada include:

    (QIIP) [33]
  • Quebec Entrepreneur Program
  • Quebec Self Employed
  • Federal Start-Up Visa program.

Individuals with a certain net worth can also apply for permanent residence via certain programs. [79] For business owners and investor immigrants who do not fit into the Start-Up business class or Quebec Provincial programs, there is a Federal Owner Operator LMIA pathway that if executed correctly can lead to permanent admission to Canada. [80]

The high-profile Skilled worker principal applicants group comprised 19.8% of all immigration in 2005. Canada has also created a VIP Business Immigration Program which allows immigrants with sufficient business experience or management experience to receive the Permanent Residency in a shorter period than other types of immigration.

As of May 1, 2014, the Federal Skilled Worker Class opened once again accepting 25,000 applicants with intake caps at 1,000 per category. A New Economic Action Plan 2015 took effect in January 2015 in which the skilled worker program will be more of an employer based program. The current list of accepted occupations for 2014 includes many occupations such as senior managers, accountants, physicians and medical professionals, professionals in marketing and advertising, real estate professionals and many more. [81]

A candidate's eligibility for Federal Skilled Worker category is assessed based on six selection factor points and scored on a scale of 100. The current pass mark is 67 points. [82] [83]

Six Selection Factor Points:

  • Language skills points
  • Education points
  • Work experience points
  • Age points
  • Arranged employment in Canada points
  • Adaptability points

The changes in 2015 moved permanent residency in Canada away from the "first come, first served" model, and towards a new structure that took on permanent residents based on Canada's economic need. The new system is called "Express Entry". [84] Alberta's Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP), [85] in particular, allows skilled workers, along with their families, to make application for permanent residency, and several large Alberta employers with operations in rural areas actively recruit employees from abroad and support them and their families in seeking permanent residency. [39]

Canada announced a new immigration quota of 1.2 million for 2021-2023, with targets of 401,000 new permanent residents in year 2021, 411,000 in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023. [86]

In an effort to meet the 2021 target, on April 14, 2021 Canada created a new immigration pathway to permanent residency for essential workers and international graduates already in Canada. Temporary workers with at least one year of Canadian work experience in a health-care profession or another pre-approved essential occupation, and international students who graduated from a Canadian institution in 2017 or later are eligible. The maximum numbers of immigrants under this program are 20,000 temporary workers in health care, 30,000 temporary workers in other selected essential occupations, and 40,000 international students. [87] [88]

Family class Edit

Both citizens and permanent residents may sponsor family members to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents, under the requirement that the sponsor is able to accept financial responsibility for the individual for a given period of time. [37]

In 2019, 91,311 individuals were admitted under the Family Reunification category, which is a 7.2% increase from 2018 and a record high. Also that year, 80% of parent and grandparent applications were processed within 19 months, an improvement from 72 months in 2017. [37]

Year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Projected
2021 2022 2023
Spouse, partners and children 49,997 60,955 61,973 67,140 69,298
Parent and grandparent 15,489 17,043 20,495 18,030 22,011
Total family reunification [37] 65,485 77,998 82,468 85,170 91,311 76,000–105,000 74,000–105,000 74,000–106,000

Humanitarian and compassionate immigration Edit

Canada also grants permanent residency based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds on a case-by-case basis, or certain public policy considerations under exceptional circumstances. In 2019, there were 4,681 permanent residents admitted through these streams. [37]

Year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
People admitted under humanitarian and compassionate grounds [37] 4,315 3,792 3,631 4,026 4,681

Refugees and protected persons Edit

Each year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) facilitates the admission of a targeted number of permanent resident under the refugee resettlement category. Under Canadian nationality law, an immigrant can apply for citizenship after living in Canada for 1095 days (3 years) in any 5-year period provided that they lived in Canada as a permanent resident for at least two of those years. [89] Opposition parties have advocated for providing one-year free residency permits for refugees as an opportunity to increase their living standards until they are ready to migrate back to their home countries, rather than uprooting them from their heritage and culture in forms of relief. [90] [91]

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) is responsible for administering persons who enter Canada through its designated ports of entry (POE) the RCMP are responsible for those who enter Canada unlawfully, i.e., enter between designated POEs. [92]

A person who is seeking asylum in Canada must be first considered eligible by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). [93] The IRB classifies eligible refugees into two separate categories: [93]

  • Convention Refugees: Someone who is outside and unable to return to their home country due to a fear of persecution based on several factors including race, religion, and political opinion. (This is outlined by the United Nations' multilateral treaty, Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.)
  • Protected Persons: Claims for asylum under this category are usually made at a point of entry into Canada. Those claiming to be a person in need of protection must be unable to return to their home country safely because they would be subjected to a danger of torture, risk for their life, or risk of cruel and unusual treatment.

Claiming asylum in Canada Edit

Individuals can make an asylum claim in Canada at a port of entry, at a CBSA inland office or an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) inland office. CBSA or IRCC officials will then determine if an individual is eligible to make an asylum claim. [92]

After entry, an interview for eligibility is conducted to deem whether the asylum seeker is allowed or declined admission into Canada. Those who are admitted submit their reasons for admissibility, in writing. The IRB hears their case after 60 days in favorable terms, the claimants are accepted as refugees. [94] If the claims are not deemed appropriate by the interviewer, the asylum seeker may be deported.

There are many instances in which claims have been deemed ineligible for referral to the IRB, notably those by migrants who seek entry into Canada through the United States, where the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) is applied. [93] The STCA dictates persons seeking asylum must make their claim in the first country in which they arrive—either the US or Canada—unless they qualify for an exception. Therefore, if an asylum seeker were to enter the US (as a non-U.S. citizen), make their way to the Canada–U.S. land border, and then attempt to enter Canada with a claim for asylum, they would be denied entry under the STCA. The Agreement is responsible for limiting refugee eligibility to enter Canada and the rejection of several hundred claims a year since its implementation. [95] The CBSA reported that 6,000–14,000 claims were made before the implementation of the STCA, and dropped to an average of 4,000 claims per year after its implementation. [96]

Asylum claimants have been subjected to "indirect refoulment", a consequence of a persons claim in Canada being refused under the STCA, subjecting them to deportation to the destination in which the person was originally seeking asylum from, due to more conservative immigration and refugee policies in the U.S. [97]

Protected persons Edit

The IRCC provides support for protected persons and their dependants, whereby protected persons are defined as asylum claimants who are granted protected status by Canada. In 2019, 18,443 individuals obtained permanent residence under the protected persons in Canada and dependents abroad category. [37]

Year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
People admitted as protected persons and dependents [37] 12,068 12,209 14,499 17,683 18,443

Refugees in detention Edit

As part of the passing of Bill C-31 in December 2012, asylum seekers arriving at a point of entry on the Canadian border have been subject to incarceration and detention. [98] Claimants are subject to detention for failing to provide sufficient identification documents, which is in violation with the United Nations Refugee Convention, to which Canada is a signatory. [98] In 2010–2011, Canada detained 8,838 people, of which 4,151 of them were asylum seekers or rejected refugee claimants. [99] There is a requirement to the maximum time limit spent in detention upon being released, a situation which has been subject to criticism held in contrast to areas in Europe: Ireland (30 days), France (32 days), Spain (40 days), and Italy (60 days). [99]

Refugees programs Edit

The IRCC funds several programs that provide supports and services to resettled refugees. [92]

The Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program is an initiative whereby refugees may resettle in Canada with support and funding from private or joint government-private sponsorship. [100] Established under Operation Lifeline in 1978, [101] the program has since resettled and provided support for over 200,000 refugees [102] under various initiatives and with fluctuating annual intakes. [103]

Pre-departure services backed by IRCC include Canadian Orientation Abroad training and coverage for certain medical services received prior to arriving in Canada. All resettled refugees in Canada receive temporary health care coverage the IRCC, along with civil-society and sponsorship organizations, also provide: [92]

  • income support
  • immediate and essential supports and services upon arrival (e.g., housing)
    • assistance in securing housing

    Asylum statistics Edit

    Individuals can make an asylum claim in Canada at a port of entry, at a CBSA inland office or an IRCC inland office. CBSA or IRCC officials will then determine if an individual is eligible to make an asylum claim. [92]

    1. ^ All values between 0 and 5 are shown as “—” in order to prevent individuals from being identified when data is compiled and compared to other publicly available statistics. All other values are rounded to the closest multiple of 5 for the same reason as a result of rounding, data may not sum to the totals indicated.

    Francophone Immigration Strategy Edit

    In March 2019, the Canadian Government announced its Francophone Immigration Strategy purposed to achieve a target of 4.4% of French-speaking immigrants of all admissions, outside of Quebec, by 2023. [37]

    The strategy's Welcoming Francophone Communities Initiative provides $12.6 million to 14 selected communities (2020 to 2023) for projects to support and welcome French-speaking newcomers. In 2019, IRCC’s Settlement Program launched new official-language training services for French-speaking newcomers who settle in Francophone communities outside of Quebec. Seven organizations were selected to receive up to $7.6 million over 4 years. [37]

    French-speaking permanent residents admitted outside Quebec in 2019 [37]
    Immigration categories Total Percentage
    Economic class 5,523 65%
    Family-sponsored 1,420 17%
    Resettled refugees and protected persons [iii] 1,445 17%
    Other immigrants 81 1%
    Total 8,469 100%

    Canada receives its immigrant population from almost 200 countries. Statistics Canada projects that, by 2031, almost one-half of the population could have at least one foreign-born parent. [104] The number of visible ethno-cultural composition of population will double and make up the minority of the population of cities in Canada. [105]

    Excludes Hong Kong and Macau (included in this table below).

    Also known as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by the United Nations and other international bodies.

    West Bank and Gaza Strip are the territories referred to in the Oslo I Accord, signed by Israel and the PLO in 1993.

    2020 Edit

    Permanent Residents admitted in 2020, by top 10 source countries [107]
    Rank Country Number Percentage
    1 India 42,875 23.3
    2 China [I] 16,550 9.0
    3 Philippines 10,970 5.9
    4 United States 6,380 3.5
    5 Nigeria 6,345 3.4
    6 Pakistan 6,215 3.4
    7 Syria 4,835 2.6
    8 France 4,600 2.5
    9 Iran 3,805 2.1
    10 Brazil 3,695 2.0
    Top 10 Total 106,270 57.6
    Other 78,100 42.4
    Total 184,370 100

    2019 Edit

    Permanent Residents admitted in 2019, by top 10 source countries [108] [109]
    Rank Country Number Percentage
    1 India 85,585 25.1
    2 China [I] 30,260 8.9
    3 Philippines 27,815 8.2
    4 Nigeria 12,595 3.7
    5 United States 10,800 3.2
    6 Pakistan 10,790 3.2
    7 Syria 10,120 3.0
    8 Eritrea 7,025 2.1
    9 South Korea 6,110 1.8
    10 Iran 6,055 1.8
    Top 10 Total 207,155 60.7
    Other 134,025 39.3
    Total 341,180 100

    2017 Edit

    Permanent Residents admitted in 2017, by top 10 source countries [110]
    Rank Country Number Percentage
    1 India 51,651 18
    2 Philippines 40,857 14.3
    3 China [I] 30,279 10.6
    4 Syria 12,044 4.2
    5 United States 9,100 3.2
    6 Pakistan 7,656 2.7
    7 France 6,600 2.3
    8 Nigeria 5,459 1.9
    9 United Kingdom (incl. Overseas Territories) [II] 5,293 1.8
    10 Iraq 4,740 1.7
    Top 10 Total 173,679 60.6
    Other 112,800 39.4
    Total 286,479 100

    2016 Edit

    Permanent Residents admitted in 2016, by top 10 source countries [111]
    Rank Country Number Percentage
    1 Philippines 41,791 14.1
    2 India 39,789 13.4
    3 Syria 34,925 11.7
    4 China [I] 26,852 9.1
    5 Pakistan 11,337 3.8
    6 United States 8,409 2.8
    7 Iran 6,483 2.2
    8 France 6,348 2.1
    9 United Kingdom and Colonies 5,812 2.0
    10 Eritrea 4,629 1.6
    Top 10 Total 186,375 62.9
    Other 109,971 37.1
    Total 296,346 100

    2015 Edit

    Permanent Residents Admitted in 2015, by Top 10 Source Countries [112]
    Rank Country Number Percentage
    1 Philippines 50,846 18.7
    2 India 39,530 14.5
    3 China [I] 19,532 7.2
    4 Iran 11,669 4.3
    5 Pakistan 11,329 4.2
    6 Syria 9,853 3.6
    7 United States 7,522 3.0
    8 France 5,807 2.0
    9 United Kingdom 5,451 2.0
    10 Nigeria 4,133 2.0
    Top 10 Total 165,672 61.5
    Other 106,173 38.5
    Total 271,845 100

    2011 Edit

    1. ^ abcdef Officially, the People's Republic of China. Excludes Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan (listed separately).
    2. ^ Officially, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Includes: Scotland, Wales, England, Northern Ireland, and British Overseas Territories.

    Disabilities Edit

    In 2011 and 2012, several families were denied immigration to Canada because members of their family have an autism spectrum diagnosis and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (now IRCC) felt the potential cost of care for those family members would place an excessive demand on health or social services. [114] [115] People with autism disorders can be accepted if they are able to depend on themselves. [115]

    Job market and education Edit

    The federal government was asked by businesses to expand programs for professional immigrants to get Canadian qualifications in their fields. In response, the Multiculturalism Act of 1988 was passed, and Canadian Council on Learning was created by the federal government to promote best practices in workplace learning. Additionally, the credentials of immigrant workers are assessed through Canadian agencies by the IRCC for immigration. [116] Ideally, this credential equalization assessment reduces the gap between education and suitable jobs. However, strains of discrimination (i.e. statistical discrimination) lead to a systemic process of rejecting and discouraging immigrants, which is an antithesis for an anti-oppressive culture. [117] [118] [119] [120]

    Across Canada, businesses have proposed to allow unpaid or basic-pay internships as part of a rewards system, which were considered illegal (both in government and private) in many provinces at the time, posing as a major obstacle to integrate immigrants into the job market. The lack of policy leadership in this sector has resulted in a "catch-22” situation in which employers want job experience, but potential employees cannot get Canadian experience without first working Canadian jobs/internships. The Ontario Human Rights Commission has acknowledged the racist effects of Canadian work experience requirement for jobs and has declared that Canadian work experience as "prima facie discrimination", and as an inadmissible criterion for exclusion of applicants. However, this has not translated into a nationwide inclusive policy. [121]

    Quebec Edit

    In 2017, the Province of Quebec stated that they will prohibit offering or receiving public services for individuals who cover their face, such as those who wear chadors, niqabs or burqas. The reasoning behind the bill was to ensure protection of Quebecois, but the discriminatory strain of the political ideology was reported to be aimed at articles of certain religious faiths. The bill would come under question of in regards to Canadian policy on religious tolerance and accommodation. [122] [123] [124] A qualitative study found that taste-based discrimination is more prevalent in cities than semi-urban areas, as major factors that contribute to less hostility seem to be regional differences in industrial composition and attendant labour demand. [125] [126] There have been demands for the province to charge additional fees from immigrants before landing in Quebec. Quebecois have also urged the province to impose French language training in order for newcomers to become better integrated with the language and culture of their communities. As a result the government initiated a subsidized linguistic integration program in 2019. [127]

    Recently, the province saw a 20% gap in earnings between immigrants and Canadian-born individuals in Quebec, largely due to the discrepancy between their respective literacy rates. [ citation needed ] In 2008, the Canadian Council on Learning reported that almost half of Canadian adults fall below the internationally-accepted literacy standard for coping in a modern society. [128]

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    The TREATY of GUADALUPE HIDALGO ends the Mexican-American War and extends citizenship to approximately 80,000 people in Texas, California, and the American Southwest. The treaty also extends the US boundary by over 25,000 square miles and establishes the Rio Grande as the international border.

    Congress passes the DRUG IMPORTATION ACT of 1848 to address the purity of drugs imported into the United States. The Act calls for the appointment of special examiners at six ports of entry - New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston and New Orleans.

    Fact check: How much does illegal immigration cost America? Not nearly as much as Trump claims.

    As President Donald Trump continued his weeks-long push for Congress to give him the funds he demanded for his border wall, he stressed a false claim about how much illegal immigration costs the country.

    "It's so insignificant compared to what we’re talking about. You know, I've heard numbers as high as $275 billion we lose on illegal immigration," he said at a Cabinet meeting at the White House on Wednesday. "The $5 billion, $5.6 billion approved by the House is such a small amount compared to the level of the problem."

    Trump has repeatedly used that figure to argue that the wall would pay for itself, despite originally promising Mexico would foot the bill. In early December, he said illegal immigration costs $250 billion per year. On Dec. 18, he said it was "more than $200 billion per year." At a bill signing event on Dec. 20, he said, "Illegal immigration costs our nation $275 billion a year."

    Illegal immigration costs the United States more than 200 Billion Dollars a year. How was this allowed to happen?

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2018

    Illegal immigration costs the United States more than 200 Billion Dollars a year. How was this allowed to happen?

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2018

    What are the facts behind the economic impact of immigrants? We checked Trump's figures with immigration and tax policy experts across the political spectrum,who said he was exaggerating, at best.

    "That $200 billion figure does seem inflated to me," said Randy Capps, director for research for U.S. programs at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute.

    "A little high," said Robert Rector, a senior research fellow with the Heritage Foundation.

    "It sounds extraordinarily high to me," said Meg Wiehe, deputy director at the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

    "Frankly absurd," David Dyssegaard Kallick, the deputy director of the nonpartisan Fiscal Policy Institute, told NBC News.

    If Trump's wrong, what's the true cost?

    Conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation have sought to put a price tag on illegal immigration amid lobbying efforts against legalization, but none have pegged it as high as Trump's estimate.

    Rector said his 2013 estimate pegged the cost of undocumented immigrants — the cost of services received minus their tax contributions — was about $54 billion a year.

    A precise cost is nearly impossible to ascertain, many experts said. That's in part because undocumented immigrants operate within the shadows, leaving their full fiscal contributions — and use of taxpayer-funded resources — at least somewhat unknown.

    "It's really hard to calculate anyone’s 'net cost' or 'net benefit.' We all use all kinds of services, from roads to military protection. How do we apportion what part of that is something I or you or an immigrant use?" said Kallick.

    Overall, there is a broad misunderstanding of how much undocumented immigrants contribute to America's balance sheets, and what taxpayer-funded benefits they receive, the experts interviewed by NBC News said.

    "Undocumented immigrants are incredible contributors to our economy and are not eligible for public benefits that people think they come here for," Wiehe said.

    An estimated half of the nation's undocumented immigrants are believed to be working under fake Social Security numbers, which means they are paying taxes and into Social Security. The ITEP estimates that state and local governments take in $11.74 billion a year from undocumented immigrants.

    Wiehe added that undocumented immigrants are also not eligible for the federal earned income tax credit, so they're taxed at higher rates than similar low-income Americans.

    Capps said that undocumented immigrants also pay taxes in other ways: paying sales taxes on items they purchase, and funding property taxes through rent payments, too.

    Meanwhile, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for Social Security and the vast majority of taxpayer-funded welfare programs like food stamps and cash assistance, according to Capps, the expert with the Migration Policy Institute.

    There are some notable exceptions: many receive medical care through emergency rooms and some undocumented immigrants are able to receive taxpayer-funded benefits through the Woman, Infants, and Children program, which helps provide food and formula for low-income pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and young children.

    The biggest costs to taxpayers, experts told NBC News, come from public education, which all students are eligible to receive regardless of immigration status.

    Researchers and advocates are split on whether it's fair to view the education and welfare of U.S. citizen children born to undocumented immigrants as part of the costs of undocumented immigrants, but most say it's worth considering at least. Rector said it was a big factor in his estimate.

    "Public education is where the real big cost comes in," Capps said. "The amount of taxes that the parents pay on their earnings, that they pay through property taxes — passed through on their rent — it's not going to be as much as is spent on public education for their kids and food stamps for their kids."

    Still, Capps added, second generation immigrants — the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants — often go on to do far better than their parents and can boost the American economy.

    "They'll be paying it back over the long run, some of that cost — particularly like public schooling — pays for itself," Capps said. "Some people will just focus on how much more unauthorized immigrants cost than they're paying, but it ignores the broader economic picture."

    Kallick said the debate over costs was not relevant to the necessary fiscal conversations the country is having, particularly in a country with citizens that operates on a net negative — running on a deficit.

    "Fundamentally I think it’s the wrong question. The right question for undocumented immigrants and any group is, 'Are they paying their fair share of taxes and getting their fair share of service?'" Kallick said. "You’re talking about people who work for very low wages and are excluded from nearly all social services. It takes a real act of will to say they're exploiting us."

    10. MacArthur designed his trademark corncob pipes.

    The publicity-conscious general personally fashioned his signature look that included his ornate hat, aviator sunglasses and corncob pipe. A long-time cigarette smoker, MacArthur provided the Missouri Meerschaum Company with precise specifications for the deep-bowled, long-stemmed pipe that he used as a distinctive prop during public appearances. The outsized pipe was good for show but difficult to smoke, so Missouri Meerschaum gave the general other pipes to use for his pleasure. Missouri Meerschaum continues to craft replicas of MacArthur’s customized pipe, and Ray-Ban named a sunglass line after him in 1987.


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