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National Security White Paper: Immigration Gives U.S. an Edge over China, Russia

May 1, 2024

Press Release


CONTACT: Roberto Estrada

Washington — A new white paper emphasizes the competitive advantage the United States’ working-age immigrant population provides in comparison with Russia and China. The new Council on National Security and Immigration (CNSI) paper, authored by CNSI leaders Julie Myers Wood and Dan Brown, details challenge the U.S., Russia and China have in common: falling fertility rates resulting in populations with higher average ages. This demographic challenge affects their economies and national security strategies.

The United States has a leg up: our ability to tap into a growing immigrant population. The authors conclude that to keep this advantage, Congress must take steps to modernize immigration.

To view the paper in its entirety, click here.

“With better policies, the U.S. can take advantage of global immigration,” Wood said. “Legal immigration paths that respond to the country’s economic and military needs are key. Congress must act and modernize our immigration system.”

“Legal and orderly immigration is crucial to our national security,” said Brown. “Immigrants are not only part of the U.S. workforce, they or their children are also serving in the military. Let’s make sure we keep our competitive advantage over low-immigration rivals including Russia and China.”


Russia, China, and the United States have experienced relatively slow population growth in recent decades. The three countries have similar fertility rates that have helped drive the population decline they are facing. China's fertility rate is only 1.7 children per woman, Russia's fertility rate is 1.8 children per woman, and the United States fertility rate is 1.8 children per woman.

Immigrants from all over the world apply every year for visas to live, work and study in the United States. Yet, due to legislative limitations, the United States has not been able to take full advantage of the labor willing to work and start families in the U.S.

Immigrants and children of immigrants play an important role in U.S. national security through serving in the military. According to, there are about 45,000 immigrants actively serving in the military and over 700,000 foreign-born veterans, many of whom are now U.S. citizens. In addition, according to the Migration Policy Institute, almost 1.9 million veterans are the U.S.-born children of immigrants.


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