The number of immigrants who arrived in the United States since 2000, both legally and illegally, is nearly twice the number of new jobs created over that period.
A report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), based on Census Bureau data, discloses that 18 million immigrants arrived in the U.S. since 2000 but just 9.8 million jobs were added over those 14 years.
The CIS released the report as Congress is considering legislation to boost legal immigration to deal with what some allege are labor shortages.
"It is a mistake to think every job taken by an immigrant is a job lost by a native, but it is equally wrong to think that adding this huge number of immigrants has no implications for American workers," said Steven Camarota, co-author of the report and the director of research at the CIS.
The CIS reported that 89 percent of those 18 million immigrants are potential workers who are at least 16 years old.
In addition to the 18 million immigrants, the native-born population of working-age adults grew by 16.5 million since 2000.
But long-term job growth has not come close to matching the increases in immigrants and native-born workers, and as a result the labor force participation rate of native-born Americans aged 16 to 65 has been in decline. The rate was 77 percent in December 2000 and 72 percent in December 2014.
Meanwhile the number of working-age natives not in the labor force — neither working nor looking for work — rose by 13 million from December 2000 to last December.
"The key question for policymakers is whether it makes sense to allow in this number of legal immigrants and tolerate this level of illegal immigration when long-term job growth has not come close to matching these numbers," the CIS stated in the report.
"Unfortunately, policymakers have given little thought to the absorption capacity of the U.S. labor market when formulating immigration policy."