The sheer size of the immigrant population in America, as well as its diversity by national origin, education, and socioeconomic status, duration of residence in the United States, geographic location, and cultural attributes (including language), complicates and often confounds efforts to reach national consensus about the progress of immigrants in American society and their impact on American institutions. Popular attitudes towards immigrants among native-born Americans are conflicted. High rates of immigration into the United States and the dispersion of that population into new areas of settlement have led some to express concern about the effects of immigration on the economic prospects of the native born, on the rate at which the general U.S. population is growing, on the fiscal burden at various levels of government, on crime rates and threats to national security, and on the ability of these newest arrivals to integrate into the social fabric of the nation.
It is, then, an important time to make a definitive synthesis of what we know about the challenges of integration of immigrant families in the United States. The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) proposes to convene a study committee of leading academic experts to examine current research on the integration of immigrants into American society and its consequences. This review would focus on two important scientific questions: 1) the integration and socioeconomic progress of immigrants and their children in the United States; and 2) the economic impacts of immigration on the U.S. labor market and fiscal system.