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Immigration to the United States

Immigration to the United States

Overview

Immigration to the United States has been a major source of population growth
Population growth
Population growth is the change in a population over time, and can be quantified as the change in the number of individuals of any species in a population using "per unit time" for measurement....

 and cultural change throughout much of the history of the United States
History of the United States
The history of the United States traditionally starts with the Declaration of Independence in the year 1776, although its territory was inhabited by Native Americans since prehistoric times and then by European colonists who followed the voyages of Christopher Columbus starting in 1492. The...

. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants, settlement patterns, impact on upward social mobility
Social mobility
Social mobility refers to the movement of people in a population from one social class or economic level to another. It typically refers to vertical mobility -- movement of individuals or groups up from one socio-economic level to another, often by changing jobs or marrying; but can also refer to...

, crime, and voting behavior. As of 2006, the United States accepts more legal immigrants as permanent residents than all other countries in the world combined.
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Encyclopedia

Immigration to the United States has been a major source of population growth
Population growth
Population growth is the change in a population over time, and can be quantified as the change in the number of individuals of any species in a population using "per unit time" for measurement....

 and cultural change throughout much of the history of the United States
History of the United States
The history of the United States traditionally starts with the Declaration of Independence in the year 1776, although its territory was inhabited by Native Americans since prehistoric times and then by European colonists who followed the voyages of Christopher Columbus starting in 1492. The...

. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants, settlement patterns, impact on upward social mobility
Social mobility
Social mobility refers to the movement of people in a population from one social class or economic level to another. It typically refers to vertical mobility -- movement of individuals or groups up from one socio-economic level to another, often by changing jobs or marrying; but can also refer to...

, crime, and voting behavior. As of 2006, the United States accepts more legal immigrants as permanent residents than all other countries in the world combined. Since the removal of ethnic quotas in immigration in 1965, the number of first-
generation immigrants living in the United States has quadrupled, from 9.6 million in 1970 to about 38 million in 2007. 1,046,539 persons were naturalized
Naturalization
Naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship and nationality by somebody who was not a citizen of that country at the time of birth....

 as U.S. citizens in 2008. The leading emigrating countries to the United States were Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, and China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. Nearly 14 million immigrants came to the United States from 2000 to 2010.

The cheap airline travel post-1960 facilitated travel to the United States, but migration remains difficult, expensive, and dangerous for those who cross the United States–Mexico border
United States–Mexico border
The United States–Mexico border is the international border between the United States and Mexico. It runs from Imperial Beach, California, and Tijuana, Baja California, in the west to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, and Brownsville, Texas, in the east, and traverses a variety of terrains, ranging from major...

 illegally. Family reunification
Family reunification
Family reunification is a recognized reason for immigration in many countries. The presence of one or more family members in a certain country, therefore, enables the rest of the family to immigrate to that country as well....

 accounts for approximately two-thirds of legal immigration to the US every year. The number of foreign nationals who became legal permanent residents (LPRs) of the U.S. in 2009 as a result of family reunification (66%) outpaced those who became LPRs on the basis of employment skills (13%) and humanitarian reasons (17%).

Recent debates on immigration have called for increasing enforcement of existing laws with regard to illegal immigration to the United States
Illegal immigration to the United States
An illegal immigrant in the United States is an alien who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa....

, building a barrier along some or all of the 2000 miles (3,218.7 km) U.S.-Mexico border, or creating a new guest worker program. Through much of 2006, the country and Congress was immersed in a debate about these proposals. As of April 2010, few of these proposals had become law, though a partial border fence was approved and subsequently canceled.

History



American immigration history can be viewed in four epochs: the colonial period, the mid-nineteenth century, the turn of the twentieth, and post-1965. Each period brought distinct national groups, races, and ethnicities to the United States. During the seventeenth century, approximately 175,000 Englishmen migrated to Colonial America. Over half of all European immigrants to Colonial America during the 17th and 18th centuries arrived as indentured servant
Indentured servant
Indentured servitude refers to the historical practice of contracting to work for a fixed period of time, typically three to seven years, in exchange for transportation, food, clothing, lodging and other necessities during the term of indenture. Usually the father made the arrangements and signed...

s. The mid-nineteenth century saw mainly an influx from northern Europe; the early twentieth-century mainly from Southern and Eastern Europe; post-1965 mostly from Latin America and Asia.


Historians estimate that less than one million immigrants—perhaps as few as 400,000—crossed the Atlantic during the 17th and 18th centuries. The 1790 Act
Naturalization Act of 1790
The original United States Naturalization Law of March 26, 1790 provided the first rules to be followed by the United States in the granting of national citizenship. This law limited naturalization to immigrants who were "free white persons" of "good moral character". It thus left out indentured...

 limited naturalization to "free white persons"; it was expanded to include blacks in the 1860s and Asians in the 1950s. In the early years of the United States, immigration was fewer than 8,000 people a year, including French refugees from the slave revolt in Haiti. After 1820, immigration gradually increased. From 1836 to 1914, over 30 million Europeans migrated to the United States. The death rate on these transatlantic voyages was high, during which one in seven travelers died. In 1875, the nation passed its first immigration law.

The peak year of European immigration was in 1907, when 1,285,349 persons entered the country. By 1910, 13.5 million immigrants were living in the United States. In 1921, the Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act
Emergency Quota Act
The Emergency Quota Act, also known as the Emergency Immigration Act of 1921, the Immigration Restriction Act of 1921, the Per Centum Law, and the Johnson Quota Act restricted immigration into the United States...

, followed by the Immigration Act of 1924
Immigration Act of 1924
The Immigration Act of 1924, or Johnson–Reed Act, including the National Origins Act, and Asian Exclusion Act , was a United States federal law that limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already...

. The 1924 Act was aimed at further restricting the Southern and Eastern Europeans, especially Jews, Italians, and Slavs, who had begun to enter the country in large numbers beginning in the 1890s. Most of the European refugee
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

s fleeing the Nazis and World War II were barred from coming to the United States.

Immigration patterns of the 1930s were dominated by the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, which hit the U.S. hard and lasted over ten years there. In the final prosperous year, 1929, there were 279,678 immigrants recorded, but in 1933, only 23,068 came to the U.S. In the early 1930s, more people emigrated from the United States than immigrated to it. The U.S. government sponsored a Mexican Repatriation
Mexican Repatriation
The Mexican Repatriation refers to a mass migration that took place between 1929 and 1939, when as many as 500,000 people of Mexican descent were forced or pressured to leave the US. The event, carried out by American authorities, took place without due process. Some 35,000 were deported, amongst...

 program which was intended to encourage people to voluntarily move to Mexico, but thousands were deported against their will. Altogether about 400,000 Mexicans were repatriated. In the post-war era, the Justice Department launched Operation Wetback
Operation Wetback
Operation Wetback was a 1954 operation by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service to remove illegal immigrants, mostly Mexican nationals from the southwestern United States.-History:...

, under which 1,075,168 Mexicans were deported in 1954.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, also known as the Hart-Cellar Act, abolished the system of national-origin quotas. By equalizing immigration policies, the act resulted in new immigration from non-Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an nations, which changed the ethnic make-up of the United States
Demographics of the United States
As of today's date, the United States has a total resident population of , making it the third most populous country in the world. It is a very urbanized population, with 82% residing in cities and suburbs as of 2008 . This leaves vast expanses of the country nearly uninhabited...

. While European immigrants accounted for nearly 60% of the total foreign population in 1970, they accounted for only 15% in 2000. Immigration doubled between 1965 and 1970, and again between 1970 and 1990. In 1990, George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 signed the Immigration Act of 1990
Immigration Act of 1990
The Immigration Act of 1990 increased the number of legal immigrants allowed into the United States each year. It also created a lottery program that randomly assigned a number of visas. This was done to help immigrants from countries where the United States did not often grant visas...

, which increased legal immigration to the United States by 40%. Appointed by Bill Clinton, the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform recommended reducing legal immigration from about 800,000 people per year to approximately 550,000. While an influx of new residents from different cultures presents some challenges, "the United States has always been energized by its immigrant populations," said President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 in 1998. "America has constantly drawn strength and spirit from wave after wave of immigrants [...] They have proved to be the most restless, the most adventurous, the most innovative, the most industrious of people."

Nearly eight million immigrants came to the United States from 2000 to 2005, more than in any other five-year period in the nation's history. Almost half entered illegally. Since 1986, Congress has passed seven amnesties
Amnesty
Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the...

 for illegal immigrants. In 1986, Ronald Reagan signed immigration reform that gave amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants in the country. Hispanic immigrants were among the first victims of the late-2000s recession, but since the recession's end in June 2009, immigrants posted a net gain of 656,000 jobs. 1.1 million immigrants were granted legal residence in 2009.
Persons Obtaining Legal Permanent Resident Status Fiscal Years
Year Year Year
1950 249,187 1987 601,516 2008 1,107,126
1967 361,972 1997 797,847 2009 1,130,818
1977 462,315 2007 1,052,415 2010 1,042,625


Source: US Department of Homeland Security, Persons Obtaining Legal Permanent Resident Status: Fiscal Years 1820 to 2010

Contemporary immigration


Until the 1930s, the gender imbalance among legal immigrants was quite sharp, with most legal immigrants being male. As of the 1990s, however, women accounted for just over half of all legal immigrants, shifting away from the male-dominated immigration of the past. Contemporary immigrants tend to be younger than the native population of the United States, with people between the ages 15 and 34 substantially overrepresented. Immigrants are also more likely to be married and less likely to be divorced than native-born Americans of the same age.

Immigrants are likely to move to and live in areas populated by people with similar backgrounds. This phenomenon has held true throughout the history of immigration to the United States. Seven out of ten immigrants surveyed by Public Agenda
Public agenda
Public Agenda is a New York City-based non-profit organization engaged in non-partisan research projects in subjects ranging from education to government leadership. The organization was founded by social scientist Daniel Yankelovich and former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance...

 in 2009 said they intended to make the U.S. their permanent home, and 71% said if they could do it over again they would still come to the US. In the same study, 76% of immigrants say the government has become stricter on enforcing immigration laws since 9/11, and 24% report that they personally have experienced some or a great deal of discrimination.

Public attitudes about immigration in the U.S. have been heavily influenced by the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

. After the attacks, 52% of Americans believed that immigration was a good thing overall for the U.S., down from 62% the year before, according to a 2009 Gallup poll. Half of Americans say tighter controls on immigration would do "a great deal" to enhance U.S. national security, according to a 2008 Public Agenda survey. Harvard political scientist and historian Samuel P. Huntington
Samuel P. Huntington
Samuel Phillips Huntington was an influential American political scientist who wrote highly-regarded books in a half-dozen sub-fields of political science, starting in 1957...

 argued that a potential future consequence of continuing massive immigration from Latin America, especially Mexico, may lead to the bifurcation of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity
Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity
Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity, published in English in 2004, is a non-fiction work by political scientist and historian, the late Samuel P. Huntington...

.

More than 80 cities in the United States, including Washington D.C., New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

, Salt Lake City, Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

, Dallas, Fort Worth
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States of America and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Located in North Central Texas, just southeast of the Texas Panhandle, the city is a cultural gateway into the American West and covers nearly in Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and...

, Houston, Detroit, Jersey City, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, Seattle, Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Portland is a city located in the Pacific Northwest, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 Census, it had a population of 583,776, making it the 29th most populous city in the United States...

 and Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine
Portland is the largest city in Maine and is the county seat of Cumberland County. The 2010 city population was 66,194, growing 3 percent since the census of 2000...

, have sanctuary policies
Sanctuary city
Sanctuary city is a term given to a city in the United States that follows certain practices that protect illegal immigrants. These practices can be by law or they can be by habit...

, which vary locally.

Inflow of New Legal Permanent Residents, Top Five Sending Countries, 2010
Country 2010 Region 2010
Mexico 139,120 Americas 423,784
China 70,863 Asia 422,058
India 69,162 Africa 101,351
Philippines 58,173 Europe 88,730
Dominican Republic 53,870 All Immigrants 1,042,625


Source: US Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics

Demography



The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 admitted more legal immigrants from 1991 to 2000, between ten to eleven million, than in any previous decade. In the most recent decade, the ten million legal immigrants that settled in the U.S. represent an annual growth of only about 0.3% as the U.S. population grew from 249 million to 281 million. By comparison, the highest previous decade was the 1900s, when 8.8 million people arrived, increasing the total U.S. population by one percent every year. Specifically, "nearly 15% of Americans were foreign-born in 1910, while in 1999, only about 10% were foreign-born."

By 1970 immigrants accounted for 4.7 percent of the US population and rising to 6.2 percent in 1980, with an estimated 12.5 percent to this date. As of 2010, a quarter of the residents of the United States under 18 are immigrants or are immigrants' children. Eight percent of all babies born in the U.S. in 2008 belonged to illegal immigrant parents, according to a recent analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center.

Legal immigration to the U.S. increased from 250,000 in the 1930s, to 2.5 million in the 1950s, to 4.5 million in the 1970s, and to 7.3 million in the 1980s, before resting at about 10 million in the 1990s. Since 2000, legal immigrants to the United States number approximately 1,000,000 per year, of whom about 600,000 are Change of Status who already are in the U.S. Legal immigrants to the United States now are at their highest level ever, at just over 37,000,000 legal immigrants. Illegal immigration may be as high as 1,500,000 per year with a net of at least 700,000 illegal immigrants arriving every year. Immigration led to a 57.4% increase in foreign born population from 1990 to 2000.


While immigration has increased drastically over the last century, the foreign born share of the population was still higher in 1900 (about 20%) than it is today (about 10%). A number of factors may be attributed to the decrease in the representation of foreign born residents in the United States. Most significant has been the change in the composition of immigrants; prior to 1890, 82% of immigrants came from North and Western Europe. From 1891 to 1920, that number dropped to 25%, with a rise in immigrants from East, Central, and South Europe, summing up to 64%. Animosity towards these different and foreign immigrants rose in the United States, resulting in much legislation to limit immigration.

Contemporary immigrants settle predominantly in seven states, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 and Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, comprising about 44% of the U.S. population as a whole. The combined total immigrant population of these seven states is 70% of the total foreign-born population as of 2000. If current birth rate and immigration rates were to remain unchanged for another 70 to 80 years, the U.S. population would double to nearly 600 million.

The top twelve emigrant countries in 2006 were Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 (173,753), People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 (87,345), Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 (74,607), India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 (61,369), Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 (45,614), Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

 (43,151), Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 (38,069), El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

 (31,783), Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 (30,695), Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

 (24,976), South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 (24,386), Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 (24,146). Other countries comprise an additional 606,370. In fiscal year 2006, 202 refugees from Iraq
Refugees of Iraq
Throughout the past 100 years, there have been a growing number of refugees fleeing Iraq and settling throughout the world, peaking recently with the latest Iraq War. Most of Iraqi Jews, some 120,000, fled the country in mass exodus of 1950-1952. Tens of thousands of Kurds turned displaced and fled...

 were allowed to resettle in the United States.

In 1900, when the U.S. population was 76 million, there were an estimated 500,000 Hispanics. The Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

 projects that by 2050, one-quarter of the population will be of Hispanic descent. This demographic shift is largely fueled by immigration from Latin America.

Origin


Top Ten Foreign Countries - Foreign Born Population Among U.S. Immigrants
Country per year 2000 2004 2010 2010, %
Mexico 175,900 7,841,000 8,544,600 9,600,000 23.7%
China 50,900 1,391,000 1,594,600 1,900,000 4.7%
Philippines 47,800 1,222,000 1,413,200 1,700,000 4.2%
India 59,300 1,007,000 1,244,200 1,610,000 4.0%
Vietnam 33,700 863,000 997,800 1,200,000 3.0%
Cuba 14,800 952,000 1,011,200 1,100,000 2.7%
El Salvador 33,500 765,000 899,000 1,100,000 2.7%
Dominican Republic 24,900 692,000 791,600 941,000 2.3%
Canada 24,200 678,000 774,800 920,000 2.3%
Korea 17,900 701,000 772,600 880,000 2.2%
Total Pop. Top 10 498,900 16,112,000 18,747,600 21,741,000 53.7%
Total Foreign Born 940,000 31,100,000 34,860,000 40,500,000 100%

Immigration by state


Percentage change in Foreign Born Population 1990 to 2000
North Carolina 273.7% South Carolina 132.1% Mississippi 95.8% Wisconsin 59.4% Vermont 32.5%
Georgia 233.4% Minnesota 130.4% Washington 90.7% New Jersey 52.7% Connecticut 32.4%
Nevada 202.0% Idaho 121.7% Texas 90.2% Alaska 49.8% New Hampshire 31.5%
Arkansas 196.3% Kansas 114.4% New Mexico 85.8% Michigan 47.3% Ohio 30.7%
Utah 170.8% Iowa 110.3% Virginia 82.9% Wyoming 46.5% Hawaii 30.4%
Tennessee 169.0% Oregon 108.0% Missouri 80.8% Pennsylvania 37.6% North Dakota 29.0%
Nebraska 164.7% Alabama 101.6% South Dakota 74.6% California 37.2% Rhode Island 25.4%
Colorado 159.7% Delaware 101.6% Maryland 65.3% New York 35.6% West Virginia 23.4%
Arizona 135.9% Oklahoma 101.2% Florida 60.6% Massachusetts 34.7% Montana 19.0%
Kentucky 135.3% Indiana 97.9% Illinois 60.6% Louisiana 32.6% Maine 1.1%


Source: U.S. Census 1990 and 2000

Demographics


The Census Bureau estimates the US population will grow from 281 million in 2000 to 397 million in 2050 with immigration, but only to 328 million with no immigration. A new report from the Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center
The Pew Research Center is an American think tank organization based in Washington, D.C. that provides information on issues, attitudes and trends shaping the United States and the world. The Center and its projects receive funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts. In 1990, Donald S...

 projects that by 2050, non-Hispanic whites
White American
White Americans are people of the United States who are considered or consider themselves White. The United States Census Bureau defines White people as those "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa...

 will account for 47% of the population, down from the 2005 figure of 67%. Non-Hispanic whites made up
85% of the population in 1960. It also foresees the Hispanic
Hispanic and Latino Americans
Hispanic or Latino Americans are Americans with origins in the Hispanic countries of Latin America or in Spain, and in general all persons in the United States who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino.1990 Census of Population and Housing: A self-designated classification for people whose origins...

 population rising from 14% in 2005 to 29% by 2050. The Asian
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

 population is expected to more than triple by 2050. Overall, the population of the United States is due to rise from 296 million in 2005 to 438 million in 2050, with 82% of the increase from immigrants.

In 35 of the country's 50 largest cities, non-Hispanic whites were at the last census or are predicted to be in the minority. In California, non-Hispanic whites slipped from 80% of the state's population in 1970 to 42.3% in 2008.

Immigrant segregation declined in the first half of the century, but has been rising over the past few decades. This has caused questioning of the correctness of describing the United States as a melting pot
Melting pot
The melting pot is a metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements "melting together" into a harmonious whole with a common culture...

. One explanation is that groups with lower socioeconomic status concentrate in more densely populated area that have access to public transit while groups with higher socioeconomic status move to suburban areas. Another is that some recent immigrant groups are more culturally and linguistically different than earlier group and prefer to live together due to factors such as communication costs. Another explanation for increased segregation is white flight
White flight
White flight has been a term that originated in the United States, starting in the mid-20th century, and applied to the large-scale migration of whites of various European ancestries from racially mixed urban regions to more racially homogeneous suburban or exurban regions. It was first seen as...

.

Place of birth for the foreign-born population in the United States
Top ten countries 2010 2000 1990
Mexico 11,711,103 9,177,487 4,298,014
China 2,166,526 1,518,652 921,070
India 1,780,322 1,022,552 450,406
Philippines 1,777,588 1,369,070 912,674
Vietnam 1,240,542 988,174 543,262
El Salvador 1,214,049 817,336 465,433
Cuba 1,104,679 872,716 736,971
South Korea 1,100,422 864,125 568,397
Dominican Republic 879,187 687,677 347,858
Guatemala 830,824 480,665 225,739
All of Latin America 21,224,087 16,086,974 8,407,837
All Immigrants 39,955,854 31,107,889 19,767,316


Source: 1990 and 2000 decennial Census and 2010 American Community Survey

Economic



In a late 1980s study, economists overwhelmingly viewed immigration, including illegal immigration, as a positive for the economy. According to James Smith, a senior economist at Santa Monica-based RAND Corporation and lead author of the United States National Research Council
United States National Research Council
The National Research Council of the USA is the working arm of the United States National Academies, carrying out most of the studies done in their names.The National Academies include:* National Academy of Sciences...

's study "The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration
The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration
The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration is a 1997 study on the demographic, economic, and fiscal consequences of immigration to the United States by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences...

"
, immigrants contribute as much as $10 billion to the U.S. economy each year. The NRC report found that although immigrants, especially those from Latin America, caused a net loss in terms of taxes paid versus social services received, immigration can provide an overall gain to the domestic economy due to an increase in pay for higher-skilled workers, lower prices for goods and services produced by immigrant labor, and more efficiency and lower wages for some owners of capital. The report also notes that although immigrant workers compete with domestic workers for low-skilled jobs, some immigrants specialize in activities that otherwise would not exist in an area, and thus can be beneficial for all domestic residents. A nonpartisan report in 2007 from the Congressional Budget Office
Congressional Budget Office
The Congressional Budget Office is a federal agency within the legislative branch of the United States government that provides economic data to Congress....

 concluded that most estimates show that illegal immigrants impose a net cost to state and local governments, but “that no agreement exists as to the size of, or even the best way of measuring, the cost on a national level.” Estimates of the net national cost that illegal immigrants impose on the United States vary greatly, with the Urban Institute
Urban Institute
The Urban Institute is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that carries out nonpartisan economic and social policy research, collects data, evaluates social programs, educates the public on key domestic issues, and provides advice and technical assistance to developing governments abroad...

 saying it was $1.9 billion in 1992, and a Rice University
Rice University
William Marsh Rice University, commonly referred to as Rice University or Rice, is a private research university located on a heavily wooded campus in Houston, Texas, United States...

 professor putting it at $19.3 billion in 1993.

About twenty-one million immigrants, or about fifteen percent of the labor force, hold jobs in the United States; however, the number of unemployed is only seven million, meaning that immigrant workers are not taking jobs from domestic workers, but rather are doing jobs that would not have existed had the immigrant workers not been in the United States. U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Business Owners: Hispanic-Owned Firms: 2002 indicated that the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States grew to nearly 1.6 million in 2002. Those businesses generated about $222 billion in gross revenue. The report notes that the burden of poor immigrants is not born equally among states, and is most heavy in California. Another claim supporting expanding immigration levels is that immigrants mostly do jobs Americans do not want. A 2006 Pew Hispanic Center report added evidence to support this claim, when they found that increasing immigration levels have not hurt employment prospects for American workers.

In 2009, a study by the Cato Institute
Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remains president and CEO, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the largest privately held...

, a free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

, found that legalization of low-skilled illegal resident workers in the US would result in a net increase in US GDP of $180 billion over ten years. Jason Riley notes that because of progressive income taxation, in which the top 1% of earners pay 37% of federal income taxes (even though they actually pay a lower tax percentage based on their income), 60% of Americans collect more in government services than they pay in, which also reflects on immigrants. In any event, the typical immigrant and his children will pay a net $80,000 more in their lifetime than they collect in government services according to the NAS. In 2010, an econometrics
Econometrics
Econometrics has been defined as "the application of mathematics and statistical methods to economic data" and described as the branch of economics "that aims to give empirical content to economic relations." More precisely, it is "the quantitative analysis of actual economic phenomena based on...

 study by a Rutgers
Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey, United States. It was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial colleges founded before the American...

 economist
Economist
An economist is a professional in the social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy...

 found that immigration helped increase bilateral trade when the incoming people were connected via networks to their country of origin, particularly boosting trade of final goods as opposed to intermediate goods, but that the trade benefit weakened when the immigrants became assimilated into American culture.

The Kauffman Foundation’s index of entrepreneurial activity is nearly 40% higher for immigrants than for natives. Immigrants were involved in the founding of many prominent American high-tech companies, such as Google, Yahoo, Sun Microsystems, and eBay. On the poor end of the spectrum, the "New Americans" report found that low-wage immigration does not, on aggregate, lower the wages of most domestic workers. The report also addresses the question of if immigration affects black Americans differently from the population in general: "While some have suspected that blacks suffer disproportionately from the inflow of low-skilled immigrants, none of the available evidence suggests that they have been particularly hard-hit on a national level. Some have lost their jobs, especially in places where immigrants are concentrated. But the majority of blacks live elsewhere, and their economic fortunes are tied to other factors."

The analysis shows that 31% of adult immigrants have not completed high school
Secondary education in the United States
In most jurisdictions, secondary education in the United States refers to the last six or seven years of statutory formal education. Secondary education is generally split between junior high school or middle school, usually beginning with sixth or seventh grade , and high school, beginning with...

. A third lack health insurance
Health insurance in the United States
The term health insurance is commonly used in the United States to describe any program that helps pay for medical expenses, whether through privately purchased insurance, social insurance or a non-insurance social welfare program funded by the government...

. Robert Samuelson points out that poor immigrants strain public services such as local schools and health care. He points out that "from 2000 to 2006, 41 percent of the increase in people without health insurance occurred among Hispanics." According to the immigration reduction advocacy group Center for Immigration Studies
Center for Immigration Studies
The Center for Immigration Studies is a non-profit research organization that advocates Immigration reduction in the United States. Founded in 1985, its executive director is Mark Krikorian. As a 501 organization, it is subject to limits or absolute prohibitions on engaging in political...

, 25.8% of Mexican immigrants live in poverty, which is more than double the rate for natives in 1999. In another report, The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative American think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong...

 notes that from 1990 to 2006, the number of poor Hispanics increased by 3.2 million, from 6 million to 9.2 million.

Hispanic immigrants in the United States were hit hard by the subprime mortgage crisis
Subprime mortgage crisis
The U.S. subprime mortgage crisis was one of the first indicators of the late-2000s financial crisis, characterized by a rise in subprime mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures, and the resulting decline of securities backed by said mortgages....

. There was a disproportionate level of foreclosures in some immigrant neighborhoods. The banking industry provided home loans to undocumented immigrants
Illegal immigration to the United States
An illegal immigrant in the United States is an alien who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa....

, viewing it as an untapped resource for growing their own revenue stream. In October 2008, KFYI
KFYI
KFYI is an American news/talk radio station broadcasting in Phoenix, Arizona. KFYI is owned by Clear Channel Communications. KFYI transmits in both analog AM and digital HD Radio.The digital signal is also rebroadcast on KNIX-FM's HD2 channel....

 reported that according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, five million illegal immigrants held fraudulent home mortgages. The story was later pulled from their website and replaced with a correction. The Phoenix Business Journal cited a HUD spokesman saying that there was no basis to news reports that more than five million bad mortgages were held by illegal immigrants, and that the agency had no data showing the number of illegal immigrants holding foreclosed or bad mortgages.
Since USCIS is 99% funded by immigration application fees,many USCIS jobs have been created by immigration to US, such as immirgation interview officials,finger print processor, etc.

An article by American Enterprise Institute
American Enterprise Institute
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank founded in 1943. Its stated mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and...

 researcher Jason Richwine states that while earlier European immigrants were often poor when they arrived, by the third generation they had economically assimilated to be indistinguishable from the general population. However, for the Hispanics immigrants the process stalls at the second generation and the third generation continues to be substantially poorer than whites. Despite apparent disparities between different communities, Asians, a significant number of whom arrived to the United States after 1965, had the highest median income per household among all race groups as of 2008.

Social



Benjamin Franklin opposed German immigration, stating that they would not assimilate into the culture. Irish immigration was opposed in the 1850s by the nativist
Nativism (politics)
Nativism favors the interests of certain established inhabitants of an area or nation as compared to claims of newcomers or immigrants. It may also include the re-establishment or perpetuation of such individuals or their culture....

 Know Nothing
Know Nothing
The Know Nothing was a movement by the nativist American political faction of the 1840s and 1850s. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by German and Irish Catholic immigrants, who were often regarded as hostile to Anglo-Saxon Protestant values and controlled by...

 movement, originating in New York in 1843. It was engendered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by Irish Catholic
Irish Catholic
Irish Catholic is a term used to describe people who are both Roman Catholic and Irish .Note: the term is not used to describe a variant of Catholicism. More particularly, it is not a separate creed or sect in the sense that "Anglo-Catholic", "Old Catholic", "Eastern Orthodox Catholic" might be...

 immigrants. In 1891, a lynch mob stormed a local jail and hanged several Italians following the acquittal of several Sicilian immigrants alleged to be involved in the murder of New Orleans police chief David Hennessy. The Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act in 1921, followed by the Immigration Act of 1924. The Immigration Act of 1924 was aimed at limiting immigration overall, and making sure that the nationalities of new arrivals matched the overall national profile.

After the September 11 attacks, many Americans entertained doubts and suspicions about people apparently of Middle-Eastern origins. NPR
NPR
NPR, formerly National Public Radio, is a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the United States. NPR was created in 1970, following congressional passage of the Public Broadcasting...

 in 2010 fired a prominent black commentator, Juan Williams
Juan Williams
Juan Williams is an American journalist and political analyst for Fox News Channel, he was born in Panama on April 10, 1954. He also writes for several newspapers including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal and has been published in magazines such as The Atlantic...

, when he talked publicly about his fears on seeing people dressed like Muslims on airplanes.

Racist thinking among and between minority groups does occur; examples of this are conflicts between blacks and Korean
Korean American
Korean Americans are Americans of Korean descent, mostly from South Korea, with a small minority from North Korea...

 immigrants, notably in the 1992 Los Angeles Riots
1992 Los Angeles riots
The 1992 Los Angeles Riots or South Central Riots, also known as the 1992 Los Angeles Civil Unrest were sparked on April 29, 1992, when a jury acquitted three white and one hispanic Los Angeles Police Department officers accused in the videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King following a...

, and between African Americans and non-white Latino
Latino
The demonyms Latino and Latina , are defined in English language dictionaries as:* "a person of Latin-American descent."* "A Latin American."* "A person of Hispanic, especially Latin-American, descent, often one living in the United States."...

 immigrants. There has been a long running racial tension between African American and Mexican prison gangs, as well as significant riots in California prisons where they have targeted each other, for ethnic reasons. There have been reports of racially motivated attacks against African Americans who have moved into neighborhoods occupied mostly by people of Mexican origin, and vice versa. There has also been an increase in violence between non-Hispanic Anglo Americans and Latino immigrants, and between African immigrants and African Americans.

A 2007 study on assimilation found that Mexican immigrants are less fluent in English than both non-Mexican Hispanic immigrants and other immigrants. While English fluency increases with time stayed in the United States, although further improvements after the first decade are limited, Mexicans never catch up with non-Mexican Hispanic who never catch up with non-Hispanics. The study also writes that "Even among immigrants who came to the United States before they were five years old and whose entire schooling was in the United States, those Mexican born have average education levels of 11.7 years, whereas those from other countries have average levels of education of 14.1 years." Unlike other immigrants, Mexicans have a tendency to live in communities with many other Mexicans which decreases incentives for assimilation. Correcting for this removes about half the fluency difference between Mexicans and other immigrants.

Religious diversity


Immigration from South Asia and elsewhere has contributed to enlarging the religious composition of the United States. Islam in the United States
Islam in the United States
From the 1880s to 1914, several thousand Muslims immigrated to the United States from the Ottoman Empire, and from parts of South Asia; they did not form distinctive settlements, and probably most assimilated into the wider society....

 is growing thanks in part to immigration. Hinduism in the United States
Hinduism in the United States
Hinduism is a minority religion in the United States, American Hindus accounting for an estimated 0.4% of total US population.The vast majority of American Hindus are Indian Americans, immigrants from India and Nepal and their descendants, besides a much smaller number of converts.While there were...

, Buddhism in the United States
Buddhism in the United States
Buddhism is one of the largest religions in the United States behind Christianity, Judaism and Nonreligious, and approximate with Islam and Hinduism. American Buddhists include many Asian Americans, as well as a large number of converts of other ethnicities, and now their children and even...

, and Sikhism in the United States
Sikhism in the United States
Sikhism was the first religion from India to settle in America during 19th century. Since then, Sikhs have become a part of American history, with Bhagat Singh Thind being the first Sikh to be recruited in the American military, and Dalip Singh Saund being the first Asian American member of the...

 are other examples.

Political



Immigrants differ on their political views; however, the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 is considered to be in a far stronger position among immigrants overall. Research shows that religious affiliation can also significantly impact both their social values and voting patterns of immigrants, as well as the broader American population. Hispanic evangelicals, for example, are more strongly conservative than non-Hispanic evangelicals. This trend is often similar for Hispanics or others strongly identifying with the Catholic Church, a religion that strongly opposes abortion and gay marriage.

The key interests groups that lobby on immigration are religious, ethnic and business groups, together with some liberals and some conservative public policy organizations. Both the pro- and anti- groups affect policy.

Studies have suggested that some special interest group
Special Interest Group
A Special Interest Group is a community with an interest in advancing a specific area of knowledge, learning or technology where members cooperate to effect or to produce solutions within their particular field, and may communicate, meet, and organize conferences...

 lobby for less immigration for their own group and more immigration for other groups since they see effects of immigration, such as increased labor competition, as detrimental when affecting their own group but beneficial when affecting other groups.

A 2007 paper found that both pro- and anti-immigration special interest groups play a role in migration policy. "Barriers to migration are lower in sectors in which business lobbies incur larger lobbying expenditures and higher in sectors where labor unions are more important." A 2011 study examining the voting of US representatives on migration policy suggests that "that representatives from more skilled labor abundant districts are more likely to support an open immigration policy towards the unskilled, whereas the opposite is true for representatives from more unskilled labor abundant districts."

After the 2010 election the National Council of La Raza
National Council of La Raza
The National Council of La Raza is a non-profit and non-partisan advocacy group in the United States, focused on improving opportunities for Hispanics. It is sometimes confused with La Raza Unida...

 stated that pro-immigration Hispanic voters influenced the outcome and "Saved the Senate for the Democrats". Several ethnic lobbies support immigration reforms that would allow illegal immigrants
Illegal immigration to the United States
An illegal immigrant in the United States is an alien who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa....

 that have succeeded in entering to gain citizenship. They may also lobby for special arrangements for their own group. The Chairman for the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform has stated that "the Irish Lobby will push for any special arrangement it can get — 'as will every other ethnic group in the country.'" The irrendentist
Irredentism
Irredentism is any position advocating annexation of territories administered by another state on the grounds of common ethnicity or prior historical possession, actual or alleged. Some of these movements are also called pan-nationalist movements. It is a feature of identity politics and cultural...

 and ethnic separatist movements for Reconquista
Reconquista (Mexico)
The term Reconquista was popularized by contemporary Mexican writers Carlos Fuentes and Elena Poniatowska to describe the increased demographic and cultural presence of Mexicans in the Southwestern United States....

 and Aztlán
Aztlán
Aztlán is the mythical ancestral home of the Nahua peoples, one of the main cultural groups in Mesoamerica. And, by extension, is the mythical homeland of the Uto-Aztecan peoples. Aztec is the Nahuatl word for "people from Aztlan".-Legend:...

 see immigration from Mexico as strengthening their cause.

The book Ethnic Lobbies and US Foreign Policy (2009) states that several ethnic special interest groups are involved in pro-immigration lobbying. Ethnic lobbies also influence foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

. The authors write that "Increasingly, ethnic tensions surface in electoral races, with House, Senate, and gubernatorial contests serving as proxy battlegrounds for antagonistic ethnoracial groups and communities. In addition, ethnic politics affect party politics as well, as groups compete for relative political power within a party". However, the authors argue that currently ethnic interest groups, in general, do not have too much power in foreign policy and can balance other special interest groups.

Health


The issue of the health of immigrants and the associated cost to the public has been largely discussed. The non-emergency use of emergency rooms ostensibly indicates an incapacity to pay, yet some studies allege disproportionately lower access to unpaid health care by immigrants. For this and other reasons, there have been various disputes about how much immigration is costing the United States public health system. University of Maryland
University of Maryland, College Park
The University of Maryland, College Park is a top-ranked public research university located in the city of College Park in Prince George's County, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C...

 economist and Cato Institute scholar Julian Lincoln Simon
Julian Lincoln Simon
Julian Lincoln Simon was a professor of business administration at the University of Maryland and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute at the time of his death, after previously serving as a longtime business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Simon wrote many books and...

 concluded in 1995 that while immigrants probably pay more into the health system than they take out, this is not the case for elderly immigrants and refugees, who are more dependent on public services for survival.

Immigration from areas of high incidences of disease is thought to have fueled the resurgence of tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 (TB), chagas, and hepatitis
Hepatitis
Hepatitis is a medical condition defined by the inflammation of the liver and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ. The name is from the Greek hepar , the root being hepat- , meaning liver, and suffix -itis, meaning "inflammation"...

 in areas of low incidence. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a United States federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services headquartered in Druid Hills, unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, in Greater Atlanta...

 (CDC), TB cases among foreign-born individuals remain disproportionately high, at nearly nine times the rate of U.S.-born persons. To reduce the risk of diseases in low-incidence areas, the main countermeasure has been the screening of immigrants on arrival. HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

/AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 entered the United States in around 1969, likely through a single infected immigrant from
Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

. Conversely, many new HIV infections in Mexico can be traced back to the United States. People infected with HIV were banned from entering the United States in 1987 by executive order, but the 1993 statute supporting the ban was lifted in 2009. The executive branch is expected to administratively remove HIV from the list of infectious diseases barring immigration, but immigrants generally would need to show that they would not be a burden on public welfare. Researchers have also found what is known as the "healthy immigrant effect", in which immigrants in general tend to be healthier than individuals born in the U.S.

Crime


Empirical studies on links between immigration and crime are mixed.

According to Bureau of Justice Statistics as of 2001, 4% of Hispanic males in their twenties and thirties were in prison
Prisons in the United States
Incarceration in the United States is one of the main forms of punishment and/or rehabilitation for the commission of felony and other offenses. The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. At year-end 2009 it was 743 adults incarcerated per 100,000...

 or jail, compared to 1.8% of non-Hispanic white males. Hispanic men are almost four times as likely to go to prison at some point in their lives than
non-Hispanic white males, although less likely than non-Hispanic African American males.

Other studies have suggested that immigrants are underrepresented in criminal statistics. In his 1999 book Crime and Immigrant Youth, sociologist Tony Waters argued that immigrants themselves are less likely to be arrested and incarcerated; he also argued, however, that the children of some immigrant groups are more likely to be arrested and incarcerated. This is a by-product of the strains that emerge between immigrant parents living in poor
Poverty in the United States
Poverty is defined as the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. According to the U.S. Census Bureau data released Tuesday September 13th, 2011, the nation's poverty rate rose to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% in 2009 and to its highest level...

, inner city
Inner city
The inner city is the central area of a major city or metropolis. In the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland, the term is often applied to the lower-income residential districts in the city centre and nearby areas...

 neighborhoods. This occurs particularly in immigrant groups with many children as they begin to form particularly strong peer sub-cultures.http://www.molokane.org/molokan/NEWS/Waters.html A 1999 paper by John Hagan and Alberto Palloni estimated that the involvement in crime by Hispanic immigrants are less than that of other citizens. A 2006 Op-Ed in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

by Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 Professor in Sociology Robert J. Sampson says that immigration of Hispanics may in fact be associated with decreased crime.

A 2006 article by Migration Policy Institute
Migration Policy Institute
The Migration Policy Institute is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank established in 2001 by Kathleen Newland and Demetrios G. Papademetriou. It is "an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think-tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide." The Migration policy Institute works...

 cited data from the 2000 US Census as evidence for that foreign-born men had lower incarceration rates than native-born men.

According to a 2007 report by the Immigration Policy Center, the American Immigration Law Foundation, citing data from the 2000 US Census, Native-born American men between 18-39 are five times more likely to be incarcerated than immigrants in the same demographic.

A 2008 study by the Public Policy Institute of California
Public Policy Institute of California
Public Policy Institute of California is an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit research institution. Based in San Francisco, California, the institute was established in 1994 with a $70 million endowment from William Reddington Hewlett...

, found that, "...on average, between 2000 and 2005, cities that had a higher share of recent immigrants (those arriving between 2000 and 2005) saw their crime rates fall further than cities with a lower share" but adds, "As with most studies, we do not have ideal data. This lack of data restricts the questions we will be able to answer. In particular, we cannot focus on the undocumented population explicitly". In a study released by the same Institute, immigrants were ten times less likely to be incarcerated than native born Americans.

Explanations for the lower incarceration rates of immigrants include:
  • Legal immigrants are screened for criminality prior to entry.
  • Legal and illegal immigrants who commit serious crimes are being deported and therefore are unable to commit more crimes (unlike their US couterparts who remain in the US). They are unlikely to become "career criminals" moving in and out of the prison system. In the last 10 years, 816,000 criminal aliens have been removed from the United States. This does not include immigrants whose only offense was living or working illegally in the United States.
  • Immigrants understand the severe consequences of being arrested given their legal status (i.e. threat of deportation).


Heather MacDonald at the Manhattan Institute
Manhattan Institute
The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research is a conservative, market-oriented think tank established in New York City in 1978 by Antony Fisher and William J...

 in a 2004 article argued that sanctuary policies
Sanctuary city
Sanctuary city is a term given to a city in the United States that follows certain practices that protect illegal immigrants. These practices can be by law or they can be by habit...

 has caused large problems with crime by illegal aliens since the police cannot report them for deportation before a felony or a series of misdemeanors takes place. In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide are for illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens. 60 percent of the 20,000-strong 18th Street Gang in southern California were illegal aliens in a 1995 report.

The Center for Immigration Studies
Center for Immigration Studies
The Center for Immigration Studies is a non-profit research organization that advocates Immigration reduction in the United States. Founded in 1985, its executive director is Mark Krikorian. As a 501 organization, it is subject to limits or absolute prohibitions on engaging in political...

 in a 2009 report argued that "New government data indicate that immigrants have high rates of criminality, while older academic research found low rates. The overall picture of immigrants and crime remains confused due to a lack of good data and contrary information." It also criticized the reports by the Public Policy Institute of California and Immigration Policy Center for using data from the 2000 Census according to which 4% of prisoners were immigrants. Non-citizens often have a strong incentive to deny this in order to prevent deportation and there are also other problems. Better methods have found 20-22% immigrants. It also criticized studies looking at percentages of immigrants in a city and crime for only looking at overall crime and not immigrant crime. A 2009 analysis by the Department of Homeland Security found that crime rates were higher in metropolitan areas that received large numbers of legal immigrants, contradicting several older cross-city comparisons.

Environment


Some commentators have suggested that increased immigration has a negative effect on the environment, especially as the level of economic development of the United States (and by extension, its energy, water and other needs that underpin its prosperity) means that the impact of a larger population is greater than what would be experienced in other countries.

Perceived heavy immigration, especially in the southwest, has led to some fears about population pressures on the water supply in some areas. California continues to grow by more than a half-million a year and is expected to reach 48 million in 2030. According to the California Department of Water Resources
California Department of Water Resources
The California Department of Water Resources , is a department within the California Natural Resources Agency. The Department of Water Resources is responsible for the State of California's management and regulation of water usage...

, if more supplies are not found by 2020, residents will face a water shortfall
Water crisis
Water crisis is a general term used to describe a situation where the available water within a region is less than the region's demand. The term has been used to describe the availability of potable water in a variety of regions by the United Nations and other world organizations...

 nearly as great as the amount consumed today. Los Angeles is a coastal desert able to support at most one million people on its own water. California is considering using desalination
Desalination
Desalination, desalinization, or desalinisation refers to any of several processes that remove some amount of salt and other minerals from saline water...

 to solve this problem.

Education


Forty percent of Ph.D. scientists working in the United States were born abroad. Immigrant children have historically been greatly affected by cultural misunderstanding, language barriers, and feelings of isolation within the school atmosphere. More recently, however, immigrant children are finding a more welcoming school atmosphere. This does not undermine the difficulties immigrants face upon entering U.S. schools; immigrant children maintain their native tongue can leave them feeling disadvantaged within English speaking schools.

A study on public schools in California found that white enrollment declined in response to increases in the number of Spanish-speaking Limited English Proficient and Hispanic students. This white flight
White flight
White flight has been a term that originated in the United States, starting in the mid-20th century, and applied to the large-scale migration of whites of various European ancestries from racially mixed urban regions to more racially homogeneous suburban or exurban regions. It was first seen as...

 was greater for schools with relatively larger proportions of Spanish-speaking Limited English Proficient.

Effects on African Americans


An econometic study bu George J. Borjas
George J. Borjas
George Jesus Borjas is an American economist and the Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is most well known for his advocacy of reducing the rates of immigration to the United States.- Personal life and education :Borjas was born in Havana,...

 suggested that immigration had detrimental effects on African-American employment in terms of lower wages and numbers employed. It reported that a 10% increase in the supply of workers reduced the black wage of that group by 2.5%, lowered the employment rate by 5.9% and increased the Black incarceration rate by 1.3%.

Public opinion


The ambivalent feeling of Americans toward immigrants is shown by a positive attitude toward groups that have been visible for a century or more, and much more negative attitude toward recent arrivals. For example a 1982 national poll by the Roper Center at the University of Connecticut showed respondents a card listing a number of groups and asked, "Thinking both of what they have contributed to this country and have gotten from this country, for each one tell me whether you think, on balance, they've been a good or a bad thing for this country," which produced the results shown in the table. "By high margins, Americans are telling pollsters it was a very good thing that Poles, Italians, and Jews emigrated to America. Once again, it's the newcomers who are viewed with suspicion. This time, it's the Mexicans, the Filipinos, and the people from the Caribbean who make Americans nervous."

In a 2002 study, which took place soon after the September 11 attacks, 55% of Americans favored decreasing legal immigration, 27% favored keeping it at the same level, and 15% favored increasing it.

In 2006, the immigration-reduction advocacy think tank the Center for Immigration Studies released a poll that found that 68% of Americans think U.S. immigration levels are too high, and just 2% said they are too low. They also found that 70% said they are less likely to vote for candidates that favor increasing legal immigration. In 2004, 55% of Americans believed legal immigration should remain at the current level or increased and 41% said it should be decreased. The less contact a native-born American has with immigrants, the more likely one would have a negative view of immigrants.

One of the most important factors regarding public opinion about immigration is the level of unemployment; anti-immigrant sentiment is where unemployment is highest, and vice-versa.

Surveys indicate that the U.S. public consistently makes a sharp distinction between legal and illegal immigrants, and generally views those perceived as “playing by the rules” with more sympathy than immigrants that have entered the country illegally.

Laws concerning immigration and naturalization



Laws concerning immigration and naturalization include:
  • the 1990 Immigration Act (IMMACT), which limits the annual number of immigrants to 700,000. It emphasizes that family reunification is the main immigration criterion, in addition to employment-related immigration.
  • the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
    Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
    The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, is an act of Congress signed into law on April 24, 1996...

     (AEDPA)
  • the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA)


AEDPA and IIRARA exemplify many categories of criminal activity for which immigrants, including green card
United States Permanent Resident Card
United States lawful permanent residency refers to a person's immigration status: the person is authorized to live and work in the United States of America on a permanent basis....

 holders, can be deported and have imposed mandatory detention for certain types of cases.

Asylum for refugees



In contrast to economic migrants, who generally do not gain legal admission, refugees, as defined by international law, can gain legal status through a process of seeking and receiving asylum
Right of asylum
Right of asylum is an ancient juridical notion, under which a person persecuted for political opinions or religious beliefs in his or her own country may be protected by another sovereign authority, a foreign country, or church sanctuaries...

, either by being designated a refugee while abroad, or by physically entering the United States and requesting asylum status thereafter. A specified number of legally defined
Refugee law
Refugee law is the branch of international law which deals with the rights and protection of refugees. It is related to, but distinct from, international human rights law and international humanitarian law, which deal respectively with human rights in general, and the conduct of war in...

 refugees, who either apply for asylum overseas or after arriving in the U.S., are admitted annually. Refugees compose about one-tenth of the total annual immigration to the United States, though some large refugee populations are very prominent. In the years 2005 through 2007, the number of asylum seekers accepted into the U.S. was about 40,000 per year. This compared with about 30,000 per year in the UK and 25,000 in Canada. Japan accepted just 41 refugees for resettlement in 2007.
Since 2000 the main refugee-sending regions have been Somalia, Liberia, Sudan, and Ethiopia. The ceiling for refugee resettlement for fiscal year 2008 was 80,000 refugees. The United States expected to admit a minimum of 17,000 Iraqi refugees during fiscal year 2009.

In 2009, President Bush set the admissions ceiling at 80,000 refugees. In FY 2008, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) was appropriated over $655 million for the longer-term services provided to refugees after their arrival in the US. The Obama administration has kept to about the same level.

Miscellaneous documented immigration


In removal proceedings
Removal proceedings
Removal proceedings are administrative proceedings to determine an individual's removability under United States immigration law. Removal proceedings are typically conducted in Immigration Court by an immigration judge....

 in front of an immigration judge, cancellation of removal
Cancellation of removal
Cancellation of removal is a form of immigration relief available to individuals who have been placed in removal proceedings before the United States Executive Office for Immigration Review. It was designed to replace suspension of deportation, a form of relief available prior to the passage of...

 is a form of relief that is available for certain long-time residents of the United States. It allows a person being faced with the threat of removal to obtain permanent residence if that person has been physically present in the U.S. for at least ten years, has had good moral character during that period, has not been convicted of certain crimes, and can show that removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to his or her U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, children, or parent. This form of relief is only available when a person is served with a Notice to Appear to appear in the proceedings in the court.

Members of Congress may submit private bill
Private bill
A private bill is a proposal for a law that would apply to a particular individual or group of individuals, or corporate entity. If enacted, it becomes a private Act . This is unlike public bills which apply to everyone within their jurisdiction...

s granting residency to specific named individuals. A special committee vets the requests, which require extensive documentation. The Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 has the statutory authority to admit up to one hundred people a year outside of normal immigration procedures, and to provide for their settlement and support. The program is called "PL110", named after the legislation that created the agency, Public Law 110, the Central Intelligence Agency Act
Central Intelligence Agency Act
The Central Intelligence Agency Act, , is a United States federal law enacted in 1949.The Act, also called the "CIA Act of 1949" or "Public Law 110" permitted the Central Intelligence Agency to use confidential fiscal and administrative procedures and exempting it from many of the usual limitations...

.

Immigration in popular culture



The history of immigration to the United States is the history of the country itself, and the journey from beyond the sea is an element found in American folklore, appearing over and over again in everything from The Godfather
The Godfather
The Godfather is a 1972 American epic crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the 1969 novel by Mario Puzo. With a screenplay by Puzo, Coppola and an uncredited Robert Towne, the film stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard...

to Gangs of New York
Gangs of New York
Gangs of New York is a 2002 historical film set in the mid-19th century in the Five Points district of New York City. It was directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, and Kenneth Lonergan. The film was inspired by Herbert Asbury's 1928 nonfiction book, The Gangs of New...

to "The Song of Myself
Song of Myself
"Song of Myself" is a poem by Walt Whitman that is included in his work Leaves of Grass. It has been credited as “representing the core of Whitman’s poetic vision.”-Publication history:...

" to Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond
Neil Leslie Diamond is an American singer-songwriter with a career spanning over five decades from the 1960s until the present....

's "America" to the animated feature An American Tail
An American Tail
An American Tail is a 1986 American animated adventure film directed by Don Bluth and produced by Sullivan Bluth Studios and Amblin Entertainment. The film tells the story of Fievel Mouskewitz and his family as they immigrate from Russia to America for freedom. However, Fievel gets lost and must...

.

From the 1880s to the 1910s, vaudeville dominated the popular image of immigrants, with very popular caricature portrayals of ethnic groups. The specific features of these caricatures became widely accepted as accurate portrayals.

In The Melting Pot (1908), playwright Israel Zangwill
Israel Zangwill
Israel Zangwill was a British humorist and writer.-Biography:Zangwill was born in London on January 21, 1864 in a family of Jewish immigrants from Czarist Russia, to Moses Zangwill from what is now Latvia and Ellen Hannah Marks Zangwill from what is now Poland. He dedicated his life to championing...

 (1864–1926) explored issues that dominated Progressive Era
Progressive Era
The Progressive Era in the United States was a period of social activism and political reform that flourished from the 1890s to the 1920s. One main goal of the Progressive movement was purification of government, as Progressives tried to eliminate corruption by exposing and undercutting political...

 debates about immigration policies. Zangwill's theme of the positive benefits of the American melting pot
Melting pot
The melting pot is a metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements "melting together" into a harmonious whole with a common culture...

 resonated widely in popular culture and literary and academic circles in the 20th century; his cultural symbolism – in which he situated immigration issues – likewise informed American cultural imagining of immigrants for decades, as exemplified by Hollywood films.
The popular culture's image of ethnic celebrities often includes stereotypes about immigrant groups. For example, Frank Sinatra's public image as a superstar contained important elements of the American Dream
American Dream
The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States in which freedom includes a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each...

while simultaneously incorporating stereotypes about Italian Americans that were based in nativist and Progressive responses to immigration.
The process of assimilation was often a theme of popular culture. For example, "lace-curtain Irish" referred to middle-class Irish Americans desiring assimilation into mainstream society in counterpoint to an older, more raffish "shanty Irish". The occasional malapropisms and left-footed social blunders of these upward mobiles were gleefully lampooned in vaudeville, popular song, and the comic strips of the day such as "Bringing Up Father
Bringing up Father
Bringing Up Father was an influential American comic strip created by cartoonist George McManus . Distributed by King Features Syndicate, it ran for 87 years, from January 12, 1913 to May 28, 2000....

", starring Maggie and Jiggs, which ran in daily newspapers for 87 years (1913 to 2000). In recent years the popular culture has paid special attention to Mexican immigration and the 2004 motion picture Spanglish
Spanglish (film)
Spanglish is a 2004 American comedy-drama film written and directed by James L. Brooks, and starring Adam Sandler, Paz Vega, and Téa Leoni. It was released in the United States on December 17, 2004 by Columbia Pictures and by Gracie Films, and in other countries over the first several months of...

 tells of a friendship of a Mexican housemaid (Paz Vega
Paz Vega
Paz Campos Trigo , better known as Paz Vega, is a Spanish actress.- Early life :Vega was born in Seville, Andalusia, Spain to a homemaker mother and a retired bullfighter father. Vega's younger sister has performed as a flamenco dancer. Vega has described her family as "traditional" and Catholic....

) and her boss played by Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler
Adam Richard Sandler is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, musician, and film producer.After becoming a Saturday Night Live cast member, Sandler went on to star in several Hollywood feature films that grossed over $100 million at the box office...

.

Immigration in literature


Novelists and writers have captured much of the color and challenge in their immigrant lives through their writings.

Regarding Irish women in the 19th century, there were numerous novels and short stories by Harvey O'Higgins, Peter McCorry, Bernard O'Reilly and Sarah Orne Jewett
Sarah Orne Jewett
Sarah Orne Jewett was an American novelist and short story writer, best known for her local color works set in or near South Berwick, Maine, on the border of New Hampshire, which in her day was a declining New England seaport.-Biography:Jewett's family had been residents of New England for many...

 that emphasize emancipation from Old World controls, new opportunities and expansiveness of the immigrant experience.

On the other hand Hladnik studies three popular novels of the late 19th century that warned Slovenes not to immigrate to the dangerous new world of the United States.

Jewish American writer Anzia Yezierska
Anzia Yezierska
Anzia Yezierska was a Polish-American novelist born in Maly Plock, Poland.- Personal life :Anzia Yezierska was born in the 1880s in Maly Plock to Bernard and Pearl Yezierski. Her family immigrated to America around 1890, following in the footsteps of her eldest brother Meyer, who arrived to the...

 wrote her novel Bread Givers (1925) to explore such themes as Russian-Jewish immigration in the early 20th century, the tension between Old and New World Yiddish culture, and women's experience of immigration. A well established author Yezierska focused on the Jewish struggle to escape the ghetto and enter middle- and upper-class America. In the novel, the heroine, Sara Smolinsky, escape from New York City's "down-town ghetto" by breaking tradition. She quits her job at the family store and soon becomes engaged to a rich real-estate magnate. She graduates college and takes a high-prestige job teaching public school. Finally Sara restores her broken links to family and religion.

The Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg
Vilhelm Moberg
Karl Artur Vilhelm Moberg was a Swedish author and historian, most commonly associated with his four novels known as The Emigrants Series.-Early life:...

 in the mid-20th century wrote a series of four novels describing one Swedish family's migration from Småland to Minnesota in the late 19th century, a destiny shared by almost one million people. The author emphasizes the authenticity of the experiences as depicted (although he did change names). These novels have been translated into English (The Emigrants
The Emigrants (Swedish novel)
The Emigrants is a novel by Vilhelm Moberg from 1949. It is the first part of the The Emigrants suite.- Plot :The story takes place in the 1840s up to 1850. The first part of the novel describes the hardships faced by rural families in Sweden. Karl Oskar Nilsson and his wife, Kristina, own a farm...

, 1951, Unto a Good Land
Unto a Good Land
Unto a Good Land is a novel by Vilhelm Moberg from 1952. It is the second part of the The Emigrants suite.-Plot:This novel describes the journey of the Emigrants from New York City, New York to Taylors Falls, Minnesota. They settle at the lake Ki-Chi-Saga in what is today Chisago County, and...

, 1954, The Settlers
The Settlers (novel)
The Settlers is a novel by Vilhelm Moberg from 1956. It is the third and the longest part of the The Emigrants suite.- Plot :The book tells about the group's new life in America where most of them now have started to feel at home...

, 1961, The Last Letter Home
The Last Letter Home
The Last Letter Home is a novel by Vilhelm Moberg from 1959. It is the fourth and final part of the The Emigrants suite, the shortest book of the four, with a faster pace.-Plot:...

, 1961). The musical Kristina från Duvemåla
Kristina från Duvemåla
Kristina från Duvemåla is a Swedish musical written by former ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson , based on a series of four novels by Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg detailing a family's poverty-driven migration from Sweden to America in the mid-19th century: The Emigrants, Unto a Good...

 by ex-ABBA
ABBA
ABBA was a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1970 which consisted of Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog...

 members Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson is based on this story.

The Immigrant is a musical by Steven Alper, Sarah Knapp
Sarah Knapp
Sarah Knapp is an American actress, writer, and lyricist, probably best known for writing the lyrics for The Immigrant. As an actress, she appeared in the off-Broadway shows Opal and The No-Frills Revue. Knapp also appeared on Broadway in The Scarlet Pimpernel.- Links :* at the Internet Broadway...

, and Mark Harelik
Mark Harelik
Mark Harelik is an American television, film, and stage actor, as well as a playwright.-Career:Harelik has appeared in the films Election, Jurassic Park III and For Your Consideration; He was the voice of Rogers in The Swan Princess, and he has played parts on the television sitcoms Seinfeld,...

. The show is based on the story of Harelik's grandparents, Matleh and Haskell Harelik, who traveled to Galveston, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Galveston is a coastal city located on Galveston Island in the U.S. state of Texas. , the city had a total population of 47,743 within an area of...

 in 1909.

Documentary Films


In their documentary How Democracy Works Now: Twelve Stories, filmmakers Shari Robertson
Shari Robertson
Shari Robertson is an American Film Director and producer. Her filmmaking credits include Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now, Well-Founded Fear, These Girls Are Missing, Inside the Khmer Rouge, Return to Year Zero and Washington/Peru: We Ain't Winnin'. Her films have been featured on HBO, CNN,...

 and Michael Camerini
Michael Camerini
Michael Camerini is a film director, producer and cinematographer. His filmmaking credits include Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now, Well-Founded Fear, These Girls Are Missing, Becoming the Buddha in L.A., Dadi's Family and Born Again: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church...

 examine the American political system through the lens of immigration reform
Immigration reform
Immigration reform is a term used in political discussion regarding changes to current immigration policy of a country. In its strict definition, "reform " means to change into an improved form or condition, by amending or removing faults or abuses....

 from 2001–2007. Since the debut of the first five films, the series has become an important resource for advocates, policy-makers and educators.

That film series premiered nearly a decade after the filmmakers' landmark documentary film Well-Founded Fear
Well-Founded Fear
Well-Founded Fear is a 2000 documentary film from directors Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini. The film takes its title from the formal definition of a refugee under the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, as a person who deserves protection, "owing to a well-founded fear of...

which provided a behind-the-scenes look at the process for seeking asylum in the United States
Asylum in the United States
The United States honors the right of asylum of individuals as specified by international and federal law. A specified number of legally defined refugees, who apply for asylum either overseas or after arriving in the U.S., are admitted annually. Refugees compose about one-tenth of the total...

. That film still marks the only time that a film-crew was privy to the private proceedings at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS)
Immigration and Naturalization Service
The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service , now referred to as Legacy INS, ceased to exist under that name on March 1, 2003, when most of its functions were transferred from the Department of Justice to three new components within the newly created Department of Homeland Security, as...

, where individual aslyum officers ponder the often life-or-death fate of immigrants seeking asylum.

Legal perspectives


University of North Carolina law professor Hiroshi Motomura has identified three approaches the United States has taken to the legal status of immigrants in his book Americans in Waiting: The Lost Story of Immigration and Citizenship in the United States. The first, dominant in the 19th century, treated immigrants as in transition; in other words, as prospective citizens. As soon as people declared their intention to become citizens, they received multiple low-cost benefits, including the eligibility for free homesteads in the Homestead Act
Homestead Act
A homestead act is one of three United States federal laws that gave an applicant freehold title to an area called a "homestead" – typically 160 acres of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River....

 of 1869, and in many states, the right to vote. The goal was to make the country more attractive, so large numbers of farmers and skilled craftsmen would settle new lands. By the 1880s, a second approach took over, treating newcomers as "immigrants by contract". An implicit deal existed where immigrants who were literate and could earn their own living were permitted in restricted numbers. Once in the United States, they would have limited legal rights, but were not allowed to vote until they became citizens, and would not be eligible for the New Deal government benefits available in the 1930s. The third and more recent policy is "immigration by affiliation", which Motomura argues is the treatment which depends on how deeply-rooted people have become in the country. An immigrant who applies for citizenship as soon as permitted, has a long history of working in the United States, and has significant family ties, is more deeply affiliated and can expect better treatment.

It has been suggested that the US should adopt policies similar to those in Canada and Australia and select for desired qualities such as education and work experience. Another suggestion is to reduce legal immigration because of being a relative, except for nuclear family members, since such immigrations of extended relatives, who in turn bring in their own extended relatives, may cause a perpetual cycle of "chain immigration".

Interpretive perspectives



The American Dream
American Dream
The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States in which freedom includes a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each...

is the belief that through hard work and determination, any United States immigrant can achieve a better life, usually in terms of financial prosperity and enhanced personal freedom of choice. According to historians, the rapid economic and industrial expansion of the U.S. is not simply a function of being a resource rich, hard working, and inventive country, but the belief that anybody could get a share of the country's wealth if he or she was willing to work hard. This dream has been a major factor in attracting immigrants to the United States.

See also

  • Adoption in the United States
    Adoption in the United States
    Adopton in the United States is the legal act of adoption, of permanently placing a person under the age of 18 with a parent or parents other than the birth parents in the United States.-Overview:...

  • Demographics of the United States
    Demographics of the United States
    As of today's date, the United States has a total resident population of , making it the third most populous country in the world. It is a very urbanized population, with 82% residing in cities and suburbs as of 2008 . This leaves vast expanses of the country nearly uninhabited...

  • European colonization of the Americas
    European colonization of the Americas
    The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas were the Vikings during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland...

  • History of laws concerning immigration and naturalization in the United States
    History of laws concerning immigration and naturalization in the United States
    This is a history of laws concerning immigration and naturalization in the United States.-18th century:The first naturalization law in the United States was the Naturalization Act of 1790, which restricted naturalization to "free white persons" of "good moral character" who had resided in the...

  • How Democracy Works Now: Twelve Stories
  • Illegal immigration to the United States
    Illegal immigration to the United States
    An illegal immigrant in the United States is an alien who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa....

  • United States immigration statistics
    United States immigration statistics
    The 1850 United States census was the first federal U.S. census to query about the "nativity" of citizens—where they were born, either in the United States or outside of it—and is thus the first point at which solid statistics become available. From the U.S. Census , this chart shows...

  • United States visas
    United States visas
    United States Visas were issued to 6.6 million foreign nationals visiting the United States and to 470 thousand immigrants in 2008.A foreign national wishing to enter the U.S...


Footnotes



Early period

  • Alexander, June Granatir. Daily Life in Immigrant America, 1870–1920: How the Second Great Wave of Immigrants Made Their Way in America (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2007. xvi, 332 pp.)
  • Archdeacon, Thomas J. Becoming American: An Ethnic History (1984)
  • Bankston, Carl L. III and Danielle Antoinette Hidalgo, eds. Immigration in U.S. History Salem Press, (2006)
  • Berthoff, Rowland Tappan
    Rowland Berthoff
    Rowland Tappan Berthoff was an American historian, working in the fields of immigration and social life in the USA...

    . British Immigrants in Industrial America, 1790-1950 (1953).
  • Bodnar, John. The Transplanted: A History of Immigrants in Urban America Indiana University Press, (1985)
  • Briggs, John. An Italian Passage: Immigrants to Three American Cities, 1890-1930 Yale University Press, (1978)
  • Daniels, Roger. Asian America: Chinese and Japanese in the United States since 1850 University of Washington Press, (1988)
  • Daniels, Roger. Coming to America 2nd ed. (2005)
  • Daniels, Roger. Guarding the Golden Door : American Immigration Policy and Immigrants since 1882 (2005)
  • Diner, Hasia
    Hasia Diner
    Hasia Diner is an American historian. Diner is the Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History; Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, History; and Director of the Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History at New York University.Diner received her Ph.D., 1976,...

    . The Jews of the United States, 1654 to 2000 (2004)
  • Diner, Hasia
    Hasia Diner
    Hasia Diner is an American historian. Diner is the Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History; Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, History; and Director of the Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History at New York University.Diner received her Ph.D., 1976,...

    . Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration (2003)
  • Eltis, David; Coerced and Free Migration: Global Perspectives (2002) emphasis on migration to Americas before 1800
  • Gjerde, Jon
    Jon Gjerde
    Jon Gjerde was an American historian and the Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of American History and American Citizenship at the University of California, Berkeley, where he also served as dean of the Division of Social Sciences in the College of Letters and Science at the University of...

    , ed. Major Problems in American Immigration and Ethnic History (1998) primary sources and excerpts from scholars.
  • Glazier, Michael, ed. The Encyclopedia of the Irish in America (1999), articles by over 200 experts, covering both Catholics and Protestants.
  • Greene, Victor R. A Singing Ambivalence: American Immigrants Between Old World and New, 1830-1930 (2004), coving musical traditions
  • Isaac Aaronovich Hourwich. Immigration and Labor: The Economic Aspects of European Immigration to the United States (1912) full text online]
  • Joseph, Samuel; Jewish Immigration to the United States from 1881 to 1910 Columbia University Press, (1914)
  • Kulikoff, Allan; From British Peasants to Colonial American Farmers (2000), details on colonial immigration
  • Meagher, Timothy J. The Columbia Guide to Irish American History. (2005)
  • Miller, Kerby M. Emigrants and Exiles (1985), influential scholarly interpretation of Irish immigration
  • Motomura, Hiroshi. Americans in Waiting: The Lost Story of Immigration and Citizenship in the United States (2006), legal history
  • Pochmann, Henry A. and Arthur R. Schultz; German Culture in America, 1600-1900: Philosophical and Literary Influences (1957)
  • Sowell, Thomas. Ethnic America: A History (1981), by a conservative economist
  • Thernstrom, Stephan, ed. Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups (1980) (ISBN 0-674-37512-2), the standard reference, covering all major groups and most minor groups
  • Waters, Tony. Crime and Immigrant Youth Sage Publications (1999), a sociological analysis.
  • U.S. Immigration Commission, Abstracts of Reports, 2 vols. (1911); the full 42-volume report is summarized (with additional information) in Jeremiah W. Jenks and W. Jett Lauck, The Immigrant Problem (1912; 6th ed. 1926)
  • Wittke, Carl. We Who Built America: The Saga of the Immigrant (1939), covers all major groups
  • Yans-McLaughlin, Virginia ed. Immigration Reconsidered: History, Sociology, and Politics Oxford University Press. (1990)

Recent: post 1965

  • Beasley, Vanessa B. ed. Who Belongs in America?: Presidents, Rhetoric, And Immigration (2006)
  • Bogen, Elizabeth. Immigration in New York (1987)
  • Bommes, Michael and Andrew Geddes. Immigration and Welfare: Challenging the Borders of the Welfare State (2000)
  • Borjas, George J. ed. Issues in the Economics of Immigration (National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report) (2000) 9 statistical essays by scholars;
  • Borjas, George. Friends or Strangers (1990)
  • Borjas, George J. "Welfare Reform and Immigrant Participation in Welfare Programs" International Migration Review 2002 36(4): 1093-1123. ISSN 0197-9183; finds very steep decline of immigrant welfare participation in California.
  • Briggs, Vernon M., Jr. Immigration Policy and the America Labor Force Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984.
  • Briggs, Vernon M., Jr. Mass Immigration and the National Interest (1992)
  • Cooper, Mark A. Moving to the United States of America and Immigration. 2008 ISBN 741446251
  • Fawcett, James T., and Benjamin V. Carino. Pacific Bridges: The New Immigration from Asia and the Pacific Islands . New York: Center for Migration Studies, 1987.
  • Foner, Nancy. In A New Land: A Comparative View Of Immigration (2005)
  • Levinson, David and Melvin Ember, eds. American Immigrant Cultures 2 vol (1997) covers all major and minor groups
  • Lowe, Lisa. Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics (1996)
  • Meier, Matt S. and Gutierrez, Margo, eds. The Mexican American Experience : An Encyclopedia (2003) (ISBN 0-313-31643-0)
  • Mohl, Raymond A. "Latinization in the Heart of Dixie: Hispanics in Late-twentieth-century Alabama" Alabama Review 2002 55(4): 243-274. ISSN 0002-4341
  • Portes, Alejandro, and Robert L. Bach. Latin Journey: Cuban and Mexican Immigrants in the United States. University of California Press, 1985.
  • Portes, Alejandro, and Jozsef Borocz. "Contemporary Immigration: Theoretical Perspectives on Its Determinants and Modes of Incorporation." International Migration Review 23 (1989): 606-30.
  • Portes, Alejandro, and Ruben Rumbaut. Immigrant America. University of California Press, 1990.
  • Reimers, David. Still the Golden Door: The Third World Comes to America Columbia University Press, (1985).
  • Smith, James P, and Barry Edmonston, eds. The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration (1998), online version
  • Zhou, Min and Carl L. Bankston III Growing Up American: How VIetnamese Children Adapt to Life in the United States Russell Sage Foundation. (1998)

History


Immigration policy


Current immigration


Films about immigration


Economic impact

  • The New Political Economy of Immigration by Tom Barry in Dollars & Sense
    Dollars & Sense
    Dollars & Sense is a magazine dedicated to providing left-wing perspectives on economics.Published six times a year since 1974, it is edited by a collective of economists, journalists, and activists committed to the ideals of social justice and economic democracy.It was initially sponsored by the...

     magazine, January/February 2009
  • Immigrants and the Labor Market from Dollars & Sense
    Dollars & Sense
    Dollars & Sense is a magazine dedicated to providing left-wing perspectives on economics.Published six times a year since 1974, it is edited by a collective of economists, journalists, and activists committed to the ideals of social justice and economic democracy.It was initially sponsored by the...

    magazine, May/June 2006
  • Immigrants in Black & White: A Review of “Communities Without Borders", The Indypendent, Susan Chenelle