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c Ú refers to the movement
of non-residents to the United States. Immigration has been a major source of population growth
and cultural change throughout much of American history. The economic, social, and political
aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, religion, economic benefits,
job growth, settlement patterns, environmental impact, impact on upward social mobility, levels
of criminality, nationalities, political loyalties, moral values, and work habits. As of 2006, the
United States accepts more legal immigrants as permanent residents than any other country in the
world.[1] In 2006, the number of immigrants totaled 37.5 million.[2][3]

A record 1,046,539 persons were naturalized as U.S. citizens in 2008. The leading countries of
birth of the new citizens were Mexico, India and the Philippines.[4]

While an influx of new residents from different cultures presents some challenges, "the United
States has always been energized by its immigrant populations..."[|  ] At the 1998
commencement address at Portland State University, U.S. president Bill Clinton voiced support
for immigrants, including immigrants from Asia and Latin America when he said that "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

Given the distance of North America from Eurasia and the difficulty of travel before commercial
airlines, most historical U.S. immigration was risky. Passenger aircraft have facilitated travel to
the United States since the 1960s, but migration remains difficult, expensive and dangerous for
those who cross the United States±Mexico border illegally.

Recent immigration-related legislation has called for increasing enforcement of existing laws
with regard to illegal immigrants, building a barrier along some or all of the 2,000-mile
(3,200 kmÚ 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
March 2007, few of these proposals had become law, though a partial border fence was

Many cities, including Washington D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco,
San Diego, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Detroit, Jersey City,
Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Baltimore, Seattle, Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine, have
adopted sanctuary ordinances banning police from asking people about their immigration


×? 1 History
×? 2 Contemporary immigration
×? 3 Demography
„? 3.1 Origin
„? 3.2 Immigration by state
×? 4 Effects of immigration
„? 4.1 Demographics
„? 4.2 Economic
„? 4.3 Social
„? 4.4 Political
„? 4.5 Health
„? 4.6 Crime
„? 4.7 Environment
„? 4.8 Education
×? 5 Public opinion
×? 6 Legal issues
„? 6.1 Laws concerning immigration and naturalization
„? 6.2 Visas
„? 6.3 Asylum for refugees
„? 6.4 Miscellaneous documented immigration
„? 6.5 Illegal immigration
×? 7 Immigration in popular culture
„? 7.1 Immigration in literature
×? 8 Interpretive perspectives
„? 8.1 Legal perspectives
×? 9 See also
„? 9.1 General
„? 9.2 Laws
„? 9.3 History
„? 9.4 United States
„? 9.5 Controversy
×? 10 References
„? 10.1 Secondary sources
„? 10.2 Notes
„? 10.3 Recent: post 1965
×? 11 External links
„? 11.1 History
„? 11.2 Immigration policy
„? 11.3 Current immigration
„? 11.4 Economic impact


^  | 

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 epoch brought distinct national
groups - and races and ethnicities - to the United States. 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. From 1836 to 1914, over 30 million
Europeans migrated to the United States.[7]


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, indicating a shift away from the male dominated immigration of the past.[8]

Contemporary immigrants tend to be younger than the native population of the United States,
with people between the ages 15 and 34 substantially overrepresented.[9] Immigrants are also
more likely to be married and less likely to be divorced than native-born Americans of the same

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.[11]

Three-quarters of immigrants surveyed by Public Agenda said they intend to make the U.S. their
permanent home. If they had to do it over again, 80 percent of immigrants say they would still
come to the U.S. 50 percent of immigrants say the government has become tougher on enforcing
immigration laws since 9/11, and 30% report that they personally have experienced
discrimination. [8]

Public attitudes about immigration in the U.S. have been heavily influenced by the aftermath of
the September 11, 2001 attacks. The number of Americans who told the Gallup poll they wanted
immigration restricted increased 20 percentage points after the attacks. [9] Half of Americans say
tighter controls on immigration would do "a great deal" to enhance U.S. national security,
according to a Public Agenda survey. [10]

Public opinion surveys suggest that Americans see both the good and bad sides of immigration.
[11] A June 2006 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found the public evenly divided on the
fundamental question of whether immigration helps or hurts the country, with 44 percent saying
it helps and 45 percent saying it hurts the U.S. [12] Surveys show that the U.S. public has a far
more positive outlook about legal immigration than illegal immigration. The public is less
willing to provide government services or legal protections to illegal immigrants. When survey
data is examined by race, African Americans are both more willing to extend government
services to illegal immigrants and more worried about competition for jobs, according to the Pew
Research Center. [13]

Current immigration rates are moderate, even though America admitted more legal immigrants
from 1991 to 2000 (between 10-11 millionÚ than in any previous decade. In the most recent
decade, the 10 million legal immigrants that settled in the U.S. represent an annual growth of
only about one-third of 1% (as the U.S. population grew from 249 million to 281 millionÚ. By
comparison, the highest previous decade was 1901-1910 when 8.8 million people arrived
increasing the total U.S. population by 1 percent per year as the U.S. population grew from 76 to
92 million during that decade. Specifically, "nearly 15% of Americans were foreign-born in
1910, while in 1999, only about 10% were foreign-born." [12]

"The racial and ethnic identity of the United States is - once again - being remade. The 2000
Census counts some 28 million first generation immigrants among us. This is the highest number
in history - often pointed out by anti-immigration lobbyists - but it is not the highest percentage
of the foreign-born in relation to the overall population. In 1907, that ratio was 14 percent; today
it is 10 percent."[|  ]

Legal immigration to the U.S. increased from 250,000 in the 1930s, 2.5 million in the 1950s, 4.5
million in the 1970s, and 7.3 million in the 1980s to about 10 million in the 1990s.[13] Since
2000, legal immigrants to the United States number approximately 1,000,000 per year, of whom
about 600,000 are  immigrants who already are in the U.S. Legal immigrants to
the United States now are at their highest level ever at 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 each year to join the 12,000,000 to 20,000,000 that are already there.[14]
(Pew Hispanic Data Estimates [14]Ú Immigration led to a 57.4% increase in foreign born
population from 1990 to 2000.[15]

While immigration has increased drastically over the last century, the foreign born share of the
population was still higher in 1900 (about 20%Ú than it is today (about 10%Ú. 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, New York, Florida,
Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Illinois.[|  ] These are all high foreign-born
population states, together comprising about 44% of the U.S. population as a whole.[|  ]
The combined total immigrant population of these seven states is much higher than what would
be proportional, with 70% of the total foreign-born population as of 2000.[|  ] Of those
who immigrated between 2000 and 2005, 58% were from Latin America.[|  ]

Bureau figures show that the U.S. population grew by 2.8 million between July 1, 2004, and July
1, 2005.[16] Hispanics accounted for 1.3 million of that increase.[17] 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.[18] The Census Bureau's estimates actually go as high as
predicting that there will be one billion Americans in 2100, compared with one million people in
1700 and 5.2 million in 1800.[19][20] Census statistics also show that 45% of children under age 5
are from a racial or ethnic minority.[21][22]

In 2006, a total of 1,266,264 immigrants became legal permanent residents of the United States,
up from 601,516 in 1987, 849,807 in 2000, and 1,122,373 in 2005.[23] The top twelve migrant-
sending countries in 2006, by country of birth, were Mexico (173,753Ú, People's Republic of
China (87,345Ú, Philippines (74,607Ú, India (61,369Ú, Cuba (45,614Ú, Colombia (43,151Ú,
Dominican Republic (38,069Ú, El Salvador (31,783Ú, Vietnam (30,695Ú, Jamaica (24,976Ú, South
Korea (24,386Ú, Guatemala (24,146Ú, Other countries - 606,370.[24] In fiscal year 2006, 202
refugees from Iraq were allowed to resettle in the United States.[25][26] Muslim immigration to the
U.S. is rising and in 2005 alone more people from Muslim countries became legal permanent
U.S. residents ² nearly 96,000 ² than in any year in the previous two decades.[27][28]

In 1900, when the U.S. population was 76 million, there were an estimated 500,000 Hispanics.[29]
The Census Bureau projects that by 2050, one-quarter of the population will be of Hispanic
descent.[30] This demographic shift is largely fueled by immigration from Latin America.[31][32]

Rate of immigration to the United States relative to sending countries' population size, 2001-
Projected regional growth rates using birth, death, immigration, and emigration rates. Latin
America and Caribbean will be growing slower than US by 2024

Projected immigration 2000, 2004 and 2010:[|  ]




 175,900 7,841,000 8,544,600 9,600,000 23.7%

ÿ  50,900 1,391,000 1,594,600 1,900,000 4.7%

  47,800 1,222,000 1,413,200 1,700,000 4.2%

  59,300 1,007,000 1,244,200 1,610,000 4.0%

%   33,700 863,000 997,800 1,200,000 3.0%

ÿ& 14,800 952,000 1,011,200 1,100,000 2.7%

 33,500 765,000 899,000 1,100,000 2.7%

(& 24,900 692,000 791,600 941,000 2.3%

ÿ  24,200 678,000 774,800 920,000 2.3%

 17,900 701,000 772,600 880,000 2.2%


  *+!* ,! ! +!--!,  !- ! ./-"


 *! / ! ! /!+,! !.! "

Historical Data from 2000 U.S. Census and 2004 Yearbook of Immigrant Statistics

1.? The average number of legal immigrants/year immigrating from 2000 to 2007
2.? The number of foreign born immigrants in the U.S. from 2000 census
3.? Year 2004 foreign born. Year 2000 foreign born plus 2000 to 2004 immigration
4.? Year 2010 foreign born projected assuming average number per year is maintained
5.? Percent of foreign born from this country
6.? Legal immigration numbers as reported to immigration authorities only
7.? Estimated illegal immigration numbers.


Percentage change in Foreign Born Population 1990 to 2000

[|  ]

North 273.7 South 132.1 Mississipp 95.8 59.4 32.5

Wisconsin Vermont
Carolina % Carolina % i % % %

233.4 Minnesot 130.4 Washingto 90.7 52.7 Connectic 32.4

Georgia New Jersey
% a % n % % ut %
202.0 121.7 90.2 49.8 New 31.5
Nevada Idaho Texas Alaska
% % % % Hampshire %

196.3 114.4 New 85.8 47.3 30.7

Arkansas Kansas Michigan Ohio
% % Mexico % % %

170.8 110.3 82.9 46.5 30.4

Utah Iowa Virginia Wyoming Hawaii
% % % % %

Tennesse 169.0 108.0 80.8 37.6 North 29.0

Oregon Missouri Pennsylvania
e % % % % Dakota %

164.7 101.6 South 74.6 37.2 Rhode 25.4

Nebraska Alabama California
% % Dakota % % Island %

159.7 101.6 65.3 35.6 West 23.4

Colorado Delaware Maryland New York
% % % % Virginia %

135.9 Oklahom 101.2 60.6 Massachusett 34.7 19.0

Arizona Florida Montana
% a % % s % %

135.3 60.6 32.6

Kentucky Indiana 97.9% Illinois Louisiana Maine 1.1%
% % %

Source: U.S. Census 1990 and 2000

Average change in U.S. from 1990 to 2000 was a 57.4% increase in foreign population.[|  

See:Census 2003 publications [15] for more complete information.


Immigration is now what keeps America growing. According to the UN the typical American
woman today bears 1.93 children. That is below the 2.1 "replacement" rate required to keep a
population stable over time, absent immigration. The Census Bureau estimates the US population
will grow from 281 million in 2000 to 397 mil in 2050 with expected immigration, but only to
328 mil with zero immigration. "If we have zero immigration with today's low birthrates the
American population would eventually begin to shrink. [34]

A new report from the Pew Research Center projects that by 2050, non-Hispanic whites will
account for 47% of the population, down from the 2005 figure of 67%.[35] Non-Hispanic whites
made up 85% of the population in 1960.[36] It foresees the Hispanic population rising from 14%
in 2005 to 29% by 2050.[37] The Asian 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, with 82% of the increase coming from immigrants.[38]

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.[39] In California, non-Hispanic whites slipped from 80% of the
state's population in 1970 to 43% in 2006.[40][41]


Hispanic immigrants across the United States are being hit hard by the subprime mortgage crisis.
There is a disproportionate level of foreclosures in some immigrant neighborhoods.[42]

The banking industry provided home loans to undocumented immigrants, viewing it as an

untapped resource for growing their own revenue stream.[43] In October 2008, KFYI reported
that according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, five million illegal
immigrants hold fraudulent home mortgages.[44] The story was later pulled from their website
and replaced with a correction.[45] The Phoenix Business Journal cited a HUD spokesman saying
there is no basis to news reports that more than 5 million bad mortgages are held by illegal
immigants, and that the agency has no data showing the number of illegal immigrants holding
foreclosed or bad mortgages.[46] Radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Lee Rodgers repeated a
variation of the claim without noting that HUD has reportedly stated that this statistic is false.[47]
Roger Hedgecock also repeated the incorrect claim on CNN's Lou Dobbs show.[48]

At the June 13, 1998, Commencement Address at Portland State University, president Bill
Clinton said, "new immigrants are good for America. They are revitalizing our cities...building
our new economy...strengthening our ties to the global economy, just as earlier waves of
immigrants settled on the new frontier and powered the Industrial Revolution. They are
energizing our culture and broadening our vision of the world. They are renewing our most basic
values and reminding us all of what it truly means to be an American." [12]

Opinions vary about the economic effects of immigration. Those who find that immigrants
produce a negative effect on the U.S. economy often focus on the difference between taxes paid
and government services received and wage-lowering effects among low-skilled native
workers,[49][50] while those who find positive economics effects focus on added productivity and
lower costs to consumers for certain goods and services.[51] In a late 1980s study, economists
themselves overwhelmingly viewed immigration, including illegal immigration, as a positive for
the economy.[52] According to James Smith, a senior economist at Santa Monica-based RAND
Corporation and lead author of the United States National Research Council's study º 
| | | | |   º, immigrants contribute
as much as $10 billion to the U.S. economy each year.[53] The NRC report found that although
immigrants, especially those from Latin America, were a net cost in terms of taxes paid versus
social services received, overall immigration was a net economic gain 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 some low skilled jobs, some immigrants
specialize in activities that otherwise would not exist in an area, and thus are performing services
that otherwise would not exist, and thus can be beneficial to all domestic residents[54] About 21
million immigrants, or about 15 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. Rather, they are doing jobs that would not have existed
had the immigrant workers not been in the United States[55]. U.S. Census Bureau's  
#$$# indicated that the number of Hispanic-owned
businesses in the United States grew to nearly 1.6 million in 2002. Those Hispanic-owned
businesses generated about $222 billion in revenue.[56] The report notes that the burden of poor
immigrants is not born equally among states, and is most heavy in California.[57] Another claim
that those supporting current and expanded immigration levels is that immigrants mostly do jobs
Americans don't want. A 2006 Pew Hispanic Center report added evidence to support that claim
when they found that increasing immigration levels have not hurt employment prospects for
American workers.[58]

In 2009, a study by the Cato Institute, a free market think tank, 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.[59]

Jason Riley notes that because of progressive income taxation, in which the top 1% of earners
pay 37% of federal income taxes, 60% of Americans collect more in government services than
they pay in. Thus, it is not remarkable that some immigrants would do the same.[60] In any event,
the typical immigrant and his children will pay a net $80,000 more in their lifetimes than they
collect in government services, according to the NAS.[61]

The Kauffman Foundation¶s index of entrepreneurial activity is nearly 40% higher for
immigrants than for natives.[62] Immigrants were involved in the founding of many prominent
American high-tech companies, such as Google, Yahoo, Sun Microsystems, and eBay.[63]

On the poor end of the spectrum, the "New Americans" report found that low-skill 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."[64]

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."[65] According to the immigration reduction
advocacy group Center for Immigration Studies, 25.8% of Mexican immigrants live in poverty
² more than double the rate for natives in 1999.[66] In another report, The Heritage Foundation
notes that from 1990 to 2006, the number of poor Hispanics increased 3.2 million, from 6 million
to 9.2 million.[67]

Brain drain has cost Africa over $4 billion in the employment of 150,000 expatriate professionals
annually.[68] According to UNDP, "Ethiopia lost 75% of its skilled workforce between 1980 and
1991," which harms the ability of such nations to get out of poverty. There are more Ethiopian
doctors in Chicago than there are in Ethiopia.[69] The UNDP estimates that India loses $2 billion
a year because of the emigration of computer experts to the U.S.[70] Over 80% of Jamaicans with
higher education live abroad.[71] However, it is noted that these nationals pay valuable
remittances. In Jamaica, the money sent back amounts to 18% of GNP.[72]

The more contact a native-born American has with immigrants, typically the more positive view
of immigrants one has.[73] The less contact a native-born American has with immigrants, the
more likely one would have a negative view of immigrants.[73]

Benjamin Franklin opposed German immigration, stating that they would not assimilate into the
culture.[74] Irish immigration was opposed in the 1850s by the Nativist/Know Nothing
movement, originating in New York in 1843. It was engendered by popular fears that the country
was being overwhelmed by Irish Catholic 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 further restricting the Southern and Eastern Europeans who had begun to
enter the country in large numbers beginning in the 1890s. Systematic bias against Japanese and
German immigrants emerged during and after World War II. Irish and Jewish immigrants were
popular targets early in the 20th century and most recently immigrants from Latin American
countries are often viewed with hostility. Some Americans have not completely adjusted to the
largely non-European immigration and racism does occur. After September 11, many Middle
Eastern immigrants and those perceived to be of Middle Eastern origins were targets of hate

Minority racism, on the other hand, is sometimes considered controversial because of theories of
power in society. Racist thinking among and between minority groups does occur,[75][76]
examples of this are conflicts between blacks and Korean immigrants (notably in the 1992 Los
Angeles RiotsÚ or between African Americans and the mostly non-white Latino
immigrants.[77][78] There has been a long running racial tension between African American and
Mexican prison gangs and significant riots in California prisons where Mexican inmates and
African Americans have targeted each other particularly, based on racial reasons.[79][80] There
have been reports of racially motivated attacks against African Americans who have moved into
neighborhoods occupied mostly by people of Mexican descent, and vice versa.[81][82] There has
also been an increase in violence between European Americans and Latino immigrants, and
between African immigrants and African Americans.[83] There are also tensions between native-
born Hispanic Americans and newly-arrived Latino immigrants.[84]


Immigrants differ on their political views; however, the Democratic Party is considered to be in a
far stronger position among immigrants overall.[85][86] However, immigrants are similar to the
broader US population in that their religious affiliation can significantly impact both their social
values and votes. Hispanic evangelicals, for example, are even more strongly conservative than
non-Hispanic evangelicals [87]. This trend is often similar for Hispanics or others strongly
identifying with Catholicism - a religion that strongly opposes abortion and gay marriage.


Another topic that is widely discussed relates to the issue of the health of immigrants and the
associated cost to the public of their use of public health services. Immigrants, legal and illegal,
use the public health care system, particularly emergency room services. The non-emergency use
of emergency rooms ostensibly indicates an incapacity to pay, yet some studies allege
disproportionately lower access to ² and usage of ² unpaid health care by immigrants.[88] For
this and other reasons, there have been various disputes about how much immigration is costing
the United States public health system.[89] University of Maryland economist and Cato Institute
scholar, Julian Lincoln Simon, concluded in 1995 that although overall, immigrants probably pay
more into the health system than they take out, this is not likely the case for elderly immigrants
and many refugees, who are more dependent on public services for survival.[90]

Immigration from areas of high incidence of disease is thought to have fueled the resurgence of
tuberculosis (TBÚ, chagas, and hepatitis in areas of low incidence.[91] According to Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDCÚ, TB cases among foreign-born individuals remain
disproportionately high, at nearly nine times the rate of U.S.-born persons.[92][93] To reduce the
risk of diseases in low-incidence areas, the main countermeasure has been the screening of
immigrants on arrival.[94]

HIV/AIDS entered the United States in about 1969 likely through a single infected immigrant
from Haiti.[95][96] Conversely, many new HIV infections in Mexico can be traced back to the
United States.[97] People infected with HIV were banned from entering the United States in 1987
by executive order, but the 1993 statue 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 need to show they would not be a burden on public
Researchers have found what is called the "healthy immigrant effect," in which immigrants in
general tend to be healthier (mental health, healthy nutritionÚ than individuals born in the

Various researchers have criticized the position held by Simon and others that increased U.S.
population growth is sustainable. David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agriculture at Cornell
University, and Mario Giampietro, senior researcher at the National Research Institute on Food
and Nutrition (INRANÚ, place in their study %&  ''| the
maximum U.S. population for a sustainable economy at 200 million. To achieve a sustainable
economy the United States must reduce its population by at least one-third. Current U.S.
population of more than 300 million and U.S. population growth of approximately three million
people each year, partly fueled by immigration, are unsustainable, says study.[101][102]

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.[103] According to the California
Department of Water Resources, if more supplies are not found by 2020, residents will face a
water shortfall nearly as great as the amount consumed today.[104] Los Angeles is a coastal desert
able to support at most one million people on its own water.[105] California is considering using
desalination to solve this problem.[106]


Empirical studies on links between immigration and crime are mixed. Certain studies have
suggested that immigrants are underrepresented in criminal statistics.[107] An Op-Ed in 
()  by Harvard University Professor in Sociology Robert J. Sampson says that
immigration of Hispanics may in fact be associated with decreased crime.[108] 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.[109]

Immigrants, both legal and illegal do not raise the rate of crime in the United States and native
born Americans are five times more likely to be incarcerated than immigrants.[110] In a study
released by the non-partisan research group The Public Policy Institute of California immigrants
(legal and illegalÚ were ten times less likely to be incarcerated than native born Americans[111].

In his 1999 book   (, sociologist Tony Waters writes that immigrants
themselves are less likely to be arrested and incarcerated. He also noted, 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 inner city
neighborhoods, and their sons.[112] According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, for example, as of
2001, 4% of Hispanic males in their twenties and thirties were in prison or jail, compared with
1.8% of white males. Hispanic men are almost four times as likely to go to prison at some point
in their lives as white males, although less likely than African American males.[113]

There were an estimated 30,000 street gangs and more than 800,000 gang members active across
the U.S. in 2007, up from 731,500 in 2002. New immigrants are susceptible to gang influences
and activities because of language barriers, employment difficulties, support, protection, and


This section 

'  . Please improve the
article by adding references. See the talk page for details. à* #$$+,

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[118] and other needs that underpin its prosperityÚ means that the
impact of a larger population is greater than what would be experienced in other countries[119].
There is, however, no empirical evidence linking immigration to the degradation of the
environment.[|  ]

Americans constitute approximately 5% of the world's population, but produce roughly 25% of
the world¶s CO2,[120] consume about 25% of world¶s resources,[121] including approximately 26%
of the world's energy,[122] although having only around 3% of the world¶s known oil reserves,[123]
and generate approximately 30% of world¶s waste.[124][125] The average American's impact on the
environment is approximately 250 times greater than the average Sub-Saharan African's.[126][127]

With current consumption patterns, population growth in the United States is therefore more of a
threat to the Earth's environment than population growth in any other part of the
world.[128][129][130][131] (currently, at least 1.8 million legal and illegal immigrants settle in the
United States each year; with the average Hispanic woman giving birth to 3 children in her
lifetime. Though, "on the other hand, a substantial portion of immigrants (about 30 percentÚ
return to their country of origin, presumably taking at least their younger children with them,
thus substantially mitigating the effect of their higher fertility."[132]Ú[ *  |-].[133][134]
Overall, immigrants to the United States, and their first-generation of children, currently account
for two-thirds of the country's population growth.[135]

Paul Ehrlich made the point that a state or nation may have a large land area or considerable
wealth (which implies, by conventional wisdom, that overpopulation should not be at playÚ, and
yet be overpopulated.[136] The U.S. state of Arizona, for example, has enormous land area, but
has neither the carrying capacity of arable land or potable water[137][138] to support its growing
population. While it imports food, using its wealth to offset this shortfall, that only serves to
illustrate that it has insufficient carrying capacity. The only way that Arizona (and Southern
CaliforniaÚ obtains sufficient water is by extraction of water[139] from the Colorado River beyond
its fair share[140] (and beyond its own carrying capacity of innate water resourcesÚ, based on
international standards of fair use per lineal mile of river.[141][142][143]


Forty percent of Ph.D. scientists working in the United States were born abroad [62].
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 which can leave them feeling disadvantaged within English
speaking schools.[|  ]




English 66% 6%

Irish 62% 7%

Jews 59% 9%

Germans 57% 11%

Italians 56% 10%

Poles 53% 12%

Japanese 47% 18%

Blacks 46% 16%

Chinese 44% 19%

Mexicans 25% 34%

Koreans 24% 30%

Vietnamese 20% 38%

Puerto Ricans 17% 43%

Haitians 10% 39%

Cubans 9% 59%

in 1982, an opinion poll organization 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.", producing 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." [145]

In 2006 the immigration-reduction advocacy think tank the Center for Immigration Studies
released a poll that found 68% of Americans said US 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.[146]

In 2004, 55% of Americans believe legal immigration should remain at the current level or
increased and 41% say it should be decreased.[73]

In a 2002 study that occurred soon after 9/11 where 55% of Americans favored decreasing legal
immigration, 27% favored keeping it at the same level, and 15% favored increasing it.[147]

In 1996, 70% of Americans wanted immigration reduced to 300,000 annually and 20% wanted to
halt all immigration.[148]

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


    ||     .    

Laws concerning immigration and naturalization are mainly:

×? 1990 Immigration Act (IMMACTÚ

×? Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPAÚ
×? Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRAÚ

The 1990 Immigration Act (IMMACTÚ limits the annual number of immigrants to 700,000. It
emphasizes that family reunification is the main immigration criteria, in addition to employment-
related immigration.

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPAÚ and Illegal Immigration Reform
and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRAÚ exemplifies many categories of criminal activity for
which immigrants, including green card holders, can be deported and imposed mandatory
detention for certain types of deportation cases.


^  | 


^  | 

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, either by being designated a refugee while abroad or by physically entering the United
States and requesting asylee status thereafter. A specified number of legally defined 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.

Since World War II, more refugees have found homes in the U.S. than any other nation and more
than 2 million refugees have arrived in the U.S. since 1980. Of the top ten countries accepting
resettled refugees in 2006, the United States accepted more than twice as much as the next nine
countries combined. For example, Japan accepted just 16 refugees in 1999, while the United
States took in 85,010 for resettlement, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCRÚ.

The U.S. will accept 70,000 refugees in fiscal year 2007, and President Bush stated that his
eventual goal is a program that resettles 90,000 refugees in the United States each year. In 2006,
the State Department officially re-opened the Vietnamese resettlement program. In recent years,
the main refugee sending-region has been Africa (Somalia, Liberia, Sudan, EthiopiaÚ.[150] A July
22, 2007 article notes that in the past nine months only 133 of the planned 7000 Iraqi refugees
were allowed into the United States.[151][152] The ceiling for refugee resettlement for fiscal year
2008 is 80,000 refugees.[153] The United States expects to admit a minimum of 17,000 Iraqi
refugees in fiscal year 2009.[154]

In 1991-92, Bhutan expelled roughly 100,000 ethnic Nepalis, most of whom have been living in
seven refugee camps in eastern Nepal ever since. At present, the United States is working
towards resettling more than 60,000 of these refugees in the US as third country settlement



In removal proceedings (deportationÚ in front of an immigration judge, cancellation of removal 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: (1Ú
has been physically present in the U.S. for at least ten years, (2Ú has had good moral character
during that period, (3Ú has not been convicted of certain crimes, and (4Ú can show that removal
would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to his or her U.S. citizen/permanent
resident spouse, children, or parent. This form of relief is only available when a person is served
with a Notice to Appear (like a civil summonsÚ to appear in the proceedings in the Immigration
Court. Many persons have received their green cards in this way even when removal or
deportation was imminent.[|  ]

Members of Congress may submit private bills granting residency to specific named individuals.
A special committee vets the requests, which require extensive documentation. Congress has
bestowed the title of "Honorary Citizen of the United States" to six people. The only two living
recipients were Winston Churchill and Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (Mother TeresaÚ, the other
instances were posthumous honors.

The Central Intelligence Agency 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" after the legislation that created the agency, Public Law 110, the
Central Intelligence Agency Act.


×? ^  |       


Illegal immigration has recently resurfaced as a major political issue. Various bills are in the
United States Congress either to provide for legalization and amnesty of those present in the
country illegally, or to crack down on employers that hire undocumented workers and build a
wall along the Mexican border.[|  ]
The Illegal immigrant population of the United States is estimated to be between 7 and 20
million.[156] The majority of the illegal immigrants are from Mexico.[157]

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 8.7 million illegal immigrants were living in the United
States in 2000.


     . Please see the discussion on the talk page.
Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. à^|#$$4,

This article 

'  . Please improve the
article by adding references. See the talk page for details. à^|#$$4,

1888 cartoon in &|) attacks businessmen for welcoming large numbers of low paid immigrants,
leaving the American workingman unemployed

The history of immigration to the United States of America is the history of the United States
itself, and the journey from beyond the sea is an element found in the American myth, appearing
over and over again in everything from 5 to 5 () to "The Song of
Myself" to Neil Diamond's "America" to the animated feature  |  .

As in many myths, the immigrant story has been exaggerated. Immigrants, including new
colonists from before the establishment of the United States as a separate country, were never
more than 15% of the population and usually considerably less.[|  ]Immigrants were
often poor and uneducated but the succeeding generations took advantage of the opportunities
offered.[|  ] The reality is even more amazing than the myth in some ways as the
succeeding generations learn how to cooperate or at least tolerate each other to build a strong
system of shared core beliefs that has succeeded far beyond its original founders would have
ever believed possible.

×? The Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg 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. These novels have been translated into English ( 
  , 1951, 5%, 1954,   , 1961, % % ,
1961Ú. The musical Kristina från Duvemåla by ex-ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus and
Benny Andersson is based on this story.

  ' '

This section 3
  45 63     Please
improve this section if you can. à|*#$$/,

The Statue of Liberty was a common sight to many immigrants who entered the United States
through Ellis Island

The  | 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.[158] This Dream has been a major factor in attracting immigrants to
the United States. 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.[159] Many have also argued that the basis of the American greatness is how the country
began without a rigid class structure at a time when other countries in Africa, Europe, China,
India and Latin America had much more stratified social structures.[160][161]


Hiroshi Motomura, University of North Carolina law professor and nationally recognized expert
on citizenship and immigration, has identified three approaches America has taken to the legal
status of immigrants (considering only legal immigrantsÚ in his book  |  6  
%      .     . The first, dominant in the 19th
century, treated immigrants as in transition²that is, as prospective citizens. As soon as people
declared their intention to become citizens, and before the five year wait was over, they received
multiple low cost benefits, including eligibility for free homesteads (in the Homestead Act of
1869Ú, and in many states the right to vote. The goal was to make America 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
whereby immigrants who were literate and could earn their own living were permitted in
restricted numbers (with the exception of AsiansÚ. Once in the United States, they would have
somewhat 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
more recent policy is "immigration by affiliation," Motomura argues, whereby the treatment in
part depends on how deeply rooted people have become in America. 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 (such as American-born childrenÚ, is more deeply affiliated and can expect
better treatment.[162]


×? Emigration
×? First white child
×? Immigration
×? Nationality
×? Naturalization
×? Citizenship
×? Immigration and Customs Enforcement
×? Old immigration
×? United States immigration statistics


×? List of United States immigration legislation

×? History of laws concerning immigration and naturalization in the United States
×? S. 2611
×? H.R. 4437


×? Dillingham Commission
×? European colonization of the Americas
×? Ellis Island


×? Demographics of the United States

×? Category:Ethnic groups in the United States (for histories of immigration for specific
ethnic groupsÚ


×? Illegal immigration to the United States

×? 2006 U.S. immigration reform protests

1.? #$$1( )    | x /7
2.?  |   |         +3$ x 37
3.?  " &  
#$$$8''  x 47
4.? o   % * 5    x +7
5.?  |
| | | | |   l Edited by
James P. Smith and Barry Edmonston, National Science Foundation ISBN 0-309-06356-6. [20]


×? Archdeacon, Thomas J. |  |
 |  (1984Ú
×? Bankston, Carl L. III and Danielle Antoinette Hidalgo, eds.    ''  Salem
Press, (2006Ú
×? Berthoff, Rowland Tappan.          | 3+$" +9$ (1953Ú.
×? Bodnar, John.    
     * | Indiana University
Press, (1985Ú
×? Briggs, John.  & 
    |    4+$" +2$ Yale
University Press, (1978Ú
×? Daniels, Roger.   |
  :     | 49$ University
of Washington Press, (1988Ú
×? Daniels, Roger.   | 2nd ed. (2005Ú
×? Daniels, Roger. 5 5 
 |  & |    |
44# (2005Ú
×? Diner, Hasia. :    /91#$$$ (2004Ú
×? Diner, Hasia.   |
^   (2003Ú
×? Eltis, David; |^  
5 * & |  (2002Ú emphasis on migration to
Americas before 1800
×? Gjerde, Jon, ed. ^;&*    |   |  (1998Ú primary
sources and excerpts from scholars.
×? Glazier, Michael, ed. | |     | (1999Ú, articles by over 200
experts, covering both Catholics and Protestants.
×? Greene, Victor R.   *  |
 |   ! 6 
42$" +2$ (2004Ú, coving musical traditions
×? Isaac Aaronovich Hourwich.   %*
 | | | 
    (1912Ú full text online]
×? Joseph, Samuel; :      44  + $ Columbia University
Press, (1914Ú
×? Kulikoff, Allan;    &      | (2000Ú, details on colonial
×? Meagher, Timothy J.  * 5   |  . (2005Ú
×? Miller, Kerby M.   <  (1985Ú, influential scholarly interpretation of Irish
×? Motomura, Hiroshi.  |  6  
 %      .   
  (2006Ú, legal history
×? Pochmann, Henry A. and Arthur R. Schultz; 5   | /$$" +$$

&   | %   | (1957Ú
×? Sowell, Thomas.  | |
  (1981Ú, by a conservative economist
×? Thernstrom, Stephan, ed. | |   | |5 (1980Ú (ISBN 0-
674-37512-2Ú, the standard reference, covering all major groups and most minor groups
×? Waters, Tony.   ( Sage Publications (1999Ú, a sociological analysis.
×? U.S. Immigration Commission, * | 0  2 vols. (1911Ú; the full 42-volume report is
summarized (with additional informationÚ in Jeremiah W. Jenks and W. Jett Lauck, 
 &*  (1912; 6th ed. 1926Ú
×? Wittke, Carl. 66   |
   (1939Ú, covers all major groups
×? Yans-McLaughlin, Virginia ed.   0| 
  |   &  |
Oxford University Press. (1990Ú


1.?  U.S. population hits 300 million
2.?  Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants in the United States
3.?  Stephen Ohlemacher, Number of Immigrants Hits Record 37.5M, Washington Post
4.?  ³Naturalizations in the United States: 2008´. Office of Immigration Statistics   
5.?  Mary E. Williams,   . (San Diego: GreenHaven PressÚ 2004. Page 69.
6.?  "Sanctuary Cities, USA". ! :* =:  |&.
7.?  Indirect passage from Europe. Journal for Maritime Research.
8.?  The New Americans, Smith and Edmonston, The Academy Press. Page 5253.
9.?  The New Americans, Smith and Edmonston, The Academy Press. Page 54.
10.?  The New Americans, Smith and Edmonston, The Academy Press. Page 56.
11.?  The New Americans, Smith and Edmonston, The Academy Press. Page 58 ("Immigrants have
always moved to relatively few places, settling where they have family or friends, or where there
are people from their ancestral country or community."Ú.
12.? ^   Mary E. Williams,   . (San Diego: GreenHaven PressÚ 2004. Page 82.
13.?  Know the flow - economics of immigration
14.?  Illegal immigrants in the US: How many are there?
15.?  Characteristics of the Foreign Born in the United States: Results from Census 2000
16.?  300 Million and Counting
17.?  U.S. Census Bureau: Nation¶s Population One-Third Minority
18.?  US population to 'double by 2100', BBC
19.?  Balancing Act: Can America Sustain a Population of 500 Million -- Or Even a Billion -- by
20.?  Census Bureau Projects Doubling of Nation's Population by 2100
21.?  U.S. Population Is Now One-Third Minority - Population Reference Bureau
22.?  Beneath the surface, Americans are deeply ambivalent about diversity
23.?  "United States: Country and Comparative Data (table available by menu selectionÚ". Migration
Policy Institute. 2007.
24.?  "United States: Inflow of foreign-born population by country of birth, by year (table available
by menu selectionÚ". Migration Policy Institute. 2007.
25.?  US Faced with a Mammoth Iraq Refugee Crisis
26.?  United States Unwelcoming to Iraqi Refugees
27.?  More Muslims Arrive in U.S., After 9/11 Dip
28.?  The People Perceived as a Threat to Security: Arab Americans Since September 11
29.?  Latinos and the Changing Face of America - Population Reference Bureau
30.?  More than 100 million Latinos in the U.S. by 2050
31.?  US - Census figures show dramatic growth in Asian, Hispanic populations
32.?  Population Growth And Immigration, U.S. Has Highest Population Growth Rate Of All
Developed Nations - CBS News
33.?  Pew Hispanic Center [1] [2], (The Underground Labor Force Is Rising To The SurfaceÚ[3]
34.?  Mary E. Williams,   . (San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004Ú. Page 83.
35.?  Pew Research Center: Immigration to Play