Immigration to the United States has remained a topical issue for many years. As part of the discussion on how to best assimilate immigrants into the U.S., in late 2014 the Obama administration established the White House Task Force on New Americans. 

The Task Force aims to improve many aspects of the visa and immigration process but specifically looks at three key areas of assimilation: civic, economic and linguistic. From that framework, the Task Force uncovered several statistics about immigration in America to support their efforts.

  • More than 41 million foreign-born residents live in the United States. This represents 13 percent of the nation’s population.
  • 3 million refugees have settled in the U.S. since 1975.
  • 17 percent of the current workforce in the United States is foreign-born.
  • Immigrants have started more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Those companies employ more than 10 million people worldwide.
  • 28 percent of all new businesses have been started by immigrants, and over the next 20 years, immigrant families will be responsible for 85 percent of the net growth of the U.S. labor force.
  • In the past decade, the United States has welcomed about 700,000 naturalized citizens and issued almost 1 million Green Cards each year.
  • In 2005, half of all Silicon Valley start-ups had at least one founder who was an immigrant.
  • In 2010, immigrant workers obtained patents at twice the rate of native U.S. citizens.

In April 2015, the Task Force issued its findings that identified 4 primary goals and several resulting action items for implementation:

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Goal 1 – Build Welcoming Communities. Recognizing immigrant integration is a two-way process that takes place on a local level, the Task Force outlined initiatives that included a Building Welcoming Communities Challenge, the creation of a Toolkit for Local Communities and the creation of a New American Corps that will insert AmeriCorps members into local communities to give them added resources to aid in immigrant integration.

Goal 2 – Strengthen Existing Pathways to Naturalization and Promote Civic Engagement. A series of initiatives was identified to make it easier for immigrants to assimilate, volunteer, and give service in communities as well as promoting the benefits of becoming naturalized citizens.

Goal 3 – Support Skill Development and Foster Entrepreneurship. The Task Force recommended initiatives to strengthen immigrant’s abilities to gain knowledge and better workforce skills and to help them identify entrepreneurial training in concert with the Departments of Labor, Commerce, the Small Business Administration and others.

Goal 4 – Expand Opportunities for Linguistic Integration and Education. Recognizing that learning to speak English is a vital skill for new American’s success, the Task Force detailed several action items to aid immigrants from pre-school to career strategies, allowing them to better integrate into U.S. education and employment opportunities. 

The complete Task Force report entitled “Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All Residents: A Federal Strategic Action Plan on Immigrant and Refugee Integration”, visit this page.

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