New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition
Winter, 2021
News and Views

Pursuing Bipartisan and Evidence-Based Immigration Reform

Coalition Releases
First Comments on the
Biden Immigration Bill

In a statement issued on February 2, the New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition described the Biden bill -- a comprehensive redesign of the nation's immigration law and currently only available in summary form, -- as a “constructive first step in the long delayed effort to achieve immigration reform.”

The Coalition weighed in on four broad aspects of the immigration policy: overall numbers, admission categories, legalization, and the educational pipeline.

With regard to overall numbers, the Coalition believes in the importance of building in flexibility in how annual admission numbers are determined so that numbers can rise and fall based on the needs of the economy. The Coalition also urges a greater emphasis on employment-based immigration, noting that only 14 percent of U.S. green cards are issued for economic reasons, compared to more than 60 percent in Canada and Australia.

On the question of legalization, the Coalition believes that “it is in the best interest of the American people to regularize the status of law-abiding residents of the United States, especially those with long-term ties to the country.” One reason why we have had so many undocumented immigrants over the years is that legal pathways have not been available to them. Finally, the Coalition urges the administration “to maintain the flow of international students and scholars to U.S. colleges and universities.” Noting the declining numbers of international students enrolling in U.S. colleges and the greater competition from higher education institutions in other countries, the Coalition believes that American economic competitiveness hinges on our ability to attract and retain some of these students, more than half of whom major in STEM subjects.  

The Coalition plans to release additional comments and recommendations on the proposed legislation, once the text of the bill has been published.

Increase in Immigration Seen as Solution to Impending Demographic Crisis

How should the United States respond to the troubling reality of a record-low fertility rate and declining population growth? What role can immigration play in stabilizing population and ensuring that the ratio of working-age adults to people over the age of 65 does not shrink to the point where the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund is threatened? These are some of the questions taken up in two new studies examining the nature and implications of current demographic trends as they relate to immigration policy.

The first study released by the National Immigration Forum focuses on expected worker shortages in key industries, as well as the growing number of seniors in the U.S., expected to reach almost 100 million by 2060 -- almost twice the number today. The authors also trace the trajectory of the Old Age Dependency Ratio (OADR), which fell from 5.4 working adults per retiree in 2005 to 3.5 today. In order just to maintain the current ratio, the U.S. would have to admit 37 percent more immigrants per year, or an additional 370,000 people. The study urges policy makers to use the OADR as an important "benchmark" in setting immigration levels in the future.

The second study, published by the National Foundation for American Policy, focuses on the critical role played by immigration in stemming population decline and economic stagnation in rural areas of the United States. The study notes that, "international migration was the only source of population growth in rural areas as a whole during most of the 2010s." Despite this infusion of newcomers, "it was not enough to prevent most rural counties from shrinking during the 2010s." A Summary of both studies also appeared recently in Forbes Magazine.
Report Documents an Alarming Drop
in the Number of International Students Enrolled in U.S. Colleges and Universities
International students play a key role in the country’s ability to compete globally, particularly in STEM research and education initiatives. These students contribute nearly $40 billion a year to the economy, support over 450,000 jobs annually and make significant contributions in teaching, research and innovation. This report from New American Economy, explores why the U.S. is experiencing a decline in international enrollment, negatively impacting university budgets and local economies, while other developed countries are profiting from the growing international education market. Experts suggest that the recent rise in anti-immigrant sentiment and more restrictive immigration policies in the U.S., coupled with more accessible and competitive educational options in other countries may be responsible for the abrupt decline in international enrollment. The authors encourage the U.S. to adopt policies and programs similar to those of other industrialized countries, such as: allowing open-work visas for recent graduates; expanding the number of employment preference green cards available each year; and initiating a points-based system for issuing green cards with special credit for foreign graduates of U.S. institutions of higher education. (Report summary provided by Lara Carbine of The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

During the great recession, immigrant investors under the EB-5 program created or saved 731,792 jobs in the U.S.

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Forty (40) percent of African immigrants in the U.S. aged 25 or over have a college education, a rate higher than the general immigrant population (31 percent) and the U.S.-born population (32 percent). A disproportionate number of Africans enter the U.S. as refugees or through the Diversity Visa Lottery program.

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In Fiscal Year 2019, New Jersey had 467 H-1B visas issued per 100,000 population, the most approvals relative to population of any state in the country.

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A new study from the National Academy of Sciences finds that U.S.-born citizens are more than twice as likely to be arrested for violent crimes than undocumented immigrants.

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GET INVOLVED: We want to hear from you!

  • Check out our policy platform here and if your company or organization (or you as an individual) agrees with our principles for immigration reform, sign up as a member of the coalition.

  • Share your thoughts on the immigration reform challenges facing the United States. How is your industry affected? What specific reform proposals are you championing? Write us at:
The New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition,
c/o Einstein's Alley, P.O. Box 165, Plainsboro NJ 08536,