Major Immigration Countries To The Us History Essay


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Major Immigration Countries


According to 2000 census 881,300 Africans are living in the United States. Among them, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Cape Verde, Sierra Leone cover the largest portion ( The African immigration increased after 1965 act and additionally the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act also provide more additions by giving amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Due to 1986 act approx. 31,000 Africans were granted amnesty. Diversity immigration visa program, which was introduced in the immigration act 1990 (Pub. L. 101-649), allowed maximum 55,000 immigrants each year to the low rate immigration countries by random lottery (

Among this about 20000 Africans were able to utilize this opportunity. In 2009, 24,122 African immigrants were entered in the US through diversity visa program (yearbook 2009). In addition, various political instabilities made it possible for many Africans to enter as refugees and asylee in recent years. For example, in 2009, 45,315 refugees and asylees entered US from Africa (year book 2009). Endemic poverty and economic collapse is one of the major push factors for the Africans to migrate to the US (Gordon, 1998, p. 89). Other major push factors for the migration of Africans to the US are the higher levels of education and unemployment (Ibid). Most of these African immigrants are form former colonies of British and can speak English.

They do not represent a monolithic entity, rather characterized by their home land cultures. Despite the intra-group diversity, they share some common features such as religious beliefs, food and music. Many of these immigrants are well educated professionals who contribute highly in the areas of medicine, higher education, and engineering (Arthur, 2000, p. vii).

Most of the African immigrants settled in urban areas in the US. The main destinations for the African immigrants are New York, Florida, New Jersey, California and Illinois (Arthur, 2000, p. 42).

The African immigration, according to Logon, contribute in development of their home land by relieving unemployment and receiving the remittances from abroad which increases the foreign exchange (Logan, 1987, p. 598).


After 1965 amendments of Immigration and nationality act provided no numerical restrictions in the western hemisphere which attracted about 10,000 Canadians annually during 1970s. In 2009, 22,508 immigrants entered the US legally and about half of them came under employment-based preference (year book 2009). Generally the Canadians used to migrate to US for the lucrative jobs and the migration follows generally the economic and labor demand situations. Most of these immigrants are highly qualified and working in highly skilled occupations. Most of these immigrants come to the US to have higher incomes, better job satisfaction and lower taxes. The US-Canada Free Trade Agreement in 1989 and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, allowed for relatively free cross border movement by certain professionals and business people. According to this NAFTA agreement, 99,018 Canadians and Mexicans together, major portion by Canadians, admitted to the US in 2009 (year book 2009).


The influx of Chinese immigration started to increase since 1965 when the immigration and nationality act of 1965 provided an equal allotment to each country throughout the world and gave preference to family reunification.

Between 1960s and 1970s the number of immigrants 14,060 and 17,627 respectively, entered from China, where as this number is increased rapidly in later years. In 1980s, this number increased ten-fold as compared to 1970s which is 170,897 then it doubled in 1990s to 342,058. From 2000 to 2009, the total number of Chinese immigrants 591,711 entered into the US and 41.7% (246,867) came as immediate relatives of US citizens (yearbook 2009). Recent Chinese migration comprises not only main land china but also from greater Chinese Diaspora-consists of Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Vietnam, Columbia and Malaysia (Zhou, 2009, p. 47).

Congress passed the Taiwan Relations act (TRA, Pub. L. 96-8, 93 Stat. 14, enacted April 10, 1979; H.R. 2479) ( in 1979 which gave separate annual immigration quotas to the People's of Republic China (PRC) and the Taiwan. Since 1978, Chinese government opened up and relaxed the restrictions on international migration which lead Chinese to migrate to the US easily (Liu, G., 2009, p. 315). Many Hong Kong and Taiwanese Chinese immigrate to the US for higher education as they find limited opportunities for high quality higher education in their home land (Pang and Appleton, 2004, p. 500).

Congress passed the Chinese student protection act of 1992 (CSPA) aftermath of the Tiananmen incident in 1989 which permitted Chinese to apply for permanent settlement to the Chinese nationals who arrived on or before April 11, 1990. According to this act more than 60,000 Chinese granted the permanent residency (

The Chinese immigrants came from different socioeconomic background and as well as with intra-group diversity by place of origin and social status (Zhou, 2009, p. 47). The recent Chinese immigration are generally coming from two extreme socioeconomic backgrounds such as the people with low income, less education and with few job skills who tend to choose low paid jobs and settle in the china towns as their initial destinations. On the other hand, the people who are well educated, having high level of job skills and with the family savings, usually have much more opportunity to obtain well paid jobs and are well integrated into the American society (Ibid).

The recent Chinese immigrants followed the early generations of Chinese immigrants in the selection of their destinations in the US. They usually settle in on the west coast and in the northeast. For example, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco covers more than half of the Chinese population. The top five cities of the largest Chinese American population are in New York, San Francisco, Los Angles, Honolulu, and San Jose (ibid 48).

Immigrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan are mostly highly educated professionals. During 1980s many enterprises in New York's china town had increased (lin 1999, p 111… Lynn Pann???). Some of the Taiwanese and Hong Kong immigrants have actively participated in the cultural activities such as musical, theatrical, and film productions (Ng, Franklin, 1998, p. 71, 119). Ng stated that the Taiwanese immigrants built new temples, for example Mazu temple in San Francisco, Hsi Lai Temple in Los Angeles and Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, New York (Ibid, p. 87, 90).


Immigrants from India, also termed as "Asian Indians" in the US Census, began to migrate to the US in great numbers after the 1965 Immigration Act. Since 1965, large influx of Indian immigrants arrived to the US and most of them with immediate relatives of US citizens as Indian families are large and closely knitted. For example, in 2009 54,360 immigrants entered the US and among them 20,608 are under immediate relatives of the US citizens (yearbook 2009). The number of immigrants from India rose from 147,997 in 1970s to 231,649 in 1980s, to 352,528 in 1990s, to 590,464 from 2000 to 2009 (year book 2009). Most of these immigrants are urban, professional, highly educated and quickly engaged in gainful employment in many U.S. cities.

The number of Asian Indians by 2009 in the United States according to the US census, American Community Survey 2009, is 2,602,676, making them as second largest foreign born group after Chinese. ( Most of these Indian immigrants are highly educated and fluent in English speaking. Also this survey found that 70.7 percent held at least a bachelor's degree, and 66.8 percent reported working in management, professional, and related occupations (ibid).

Although most of the Indian immigrants spread all over the US region, many of them settled in California, New Jersey, New York, Illinois and Texas (Dinnerstein and Reimers, 1999, p. 112). This is largely due to the availability of jobs in larger cities as well as the personal preference of being a part of an urban and ethnically diverse environment. Yet, there are sizeable Asian Indian communities in suburban areas also such as Silver Springs in Maryland, San Jose and Fremont in California, Queens in New York and etc. .

As India is a large country with various cultures, languages and religions, the Indian immigrants display diverse socioeconomic and religious nature. They come from majorly Hindu religious beliefs, however there are many from different religions such as from Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Sikhism. Hinduism has a major impact on the American culture through yoga and meditative practices, even though which is not considered as religious or Indian nature nowadays (xxx). South Asian Muslims, mainly from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan are highly educational and good socioeconomic status and some had begun to take active participation in American Muslims (xxx). As Indian immigrants represent traditional caste and communities, they are mostly involved in various linguistic associations, community organizations and religious groups (xxx). Some of them still maintain their traditional music and dance. In addition, Indian film 'Bollywood' is also became famous. Some of the Indian Americans are also actively involved in Hollywood media, for example, Mira Nair and Night Syamlal (xxx).

Most educated Indian immigrants succeeded well economically to obtain high professional positions and also some are actively involved in entrepreneur and business especially in motel business. For example 80% of California's individual motels operated by Indians (Dinnerstein and Reimers, 1999, p. 113). Some of the recent Indian immigrants are actively involved in politics. For example in 2004, Bobby Jindal, an Indian descent won a congressional seat from Louisiana's first destrict (xxx).

In terms of family stability, immigrants from India have one of the highest rates of marriage and the lowest rates of separation and divorce. For example in 2009, the separation and divorce rates are 2.6 and 0.7% only (


According to US census about 2.475 Million Filipino immigrants are living in US making Philippines is the third largest country among Asia in terms of the number of Filipino immigrants in the US after China and Asian Indians (

The immigration act of 1965 opened the gates for a tremendous influx of Filipino immigrants to the US through the preference-based system on family and occupation (Posadas, 1999, p. 36). After 1965 Filipino immigrants effectively utilized both occupational and family preference as well as sponsored their other relatives (Reimers -golden gates pp. 88).

The push factors for recent Filipino emigration are due to the slower economic growth, political turmoil, wide spread corruption, poverty and unemployment in their country. At the same time, the pull factors to migrate to US are attractive and lucrative jobs with wide opportunities (Sterngass, 2007, p. 66-67).

Most of the Filipinos who come to the US are highly educated professional workers. For example, about 51.5 % Filipino immigrants were admitted on occupational preference while 48.4 % were admitted on family preference in between 1971 and 1975 (Waters, etal. 2007, p. 564). However, from 1976 to 1980 the family preference percentage increased to 79.8% while occupational preference decreased to 19.3% and this trend continued in 1980s too (Ibid).

More than 230,000 Filipino immigrants arrived to the US during 10 years following the 1965 act. Most of these immigrants entered on the family based and occupational preference system. Among the immigrants who came on occupational preferences system were Physicians and nurses and settled in big city hospitals and started practices in small towns (Posadas, 1999, p. 37). The influx of health care professionals was limited in 1976 by the department of labor.

Since enactment of the 1990 law, Filipino immigrants effectively utilized all the employment-based slots available to them (Ibid, p. 42).

Recent Filipino immigrants preferred to settle in the Pacific and West Coast regions of the U.S. In recent decades California has attracted the largest number of Filipinos (47.7 percent in 2000) (Waters, etal. 2007, p. 557).


Since the end of the Vietnamese war in 1975, a large number of refugees and immigrants arrived to the US from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Unlike most of the Asian immigrants, Vietnamese immigration is different while most of them came as refugees but not as immigrants. In the year 2009, the Vietnamese immigrants alone numbered about 1.48 Million making them the fourth largest immigrant group from Asia (US census).

During the last days of the Vietnamese war in 1975, approximately 130,000 refugees fled to the United States without any possessions or provisions (Sonneborn, 2006, p. 32).

Most of the refugees were poor and not able to take flights or helicopters after 1975 and had to use boats to escape from their homeland due to fear that they might be slaughtered by the communist regime. These people who fled or escaped by boats are called "Boat People". About 500,000 fled to all different countries in the late 1970's and 1980's (Ibid, p. 123).

The refugees, who arrived in 1975, were distributed to all the US states according to the availability of sponsorship by government and voluntary agencies. (Wu and Min Song, 2000, p. 291). Most of these immigrants were less educated people from rural areas.


According to American community survey 2009, Korean population in US accounts for 1,335,973 making the fifth largest immigrant group among Asian immigrants after china, India, Filipino and Vietnamese. The Korean immigration steadily increased after 1965 immigration act was passed.

Due to economic problems, social and political insecurity in South Korea led many Koreans to immigrate to the US during 1970s and 1980s.

Recent Korean immigrants were attracted to the some of the west coast and port cities similar to their ancestors due to established Korean American communities. According to US bureau of census, 2000 census data the top 5 states with the most Korean Americans living in California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Washington. Among the total Korean American population, 30%, i.e. 409,412 Koreans are living in the state of California in 2009 (2009 American community survey 1-year estimate, US census) and many live in dense Korean American neighborhoods in Los Angles known as Korea towns (Thomas, 2009, p. 12).

One of the characteristics of the Korean immigrants is self employment. According to the census survey, Korean immigrants are one of the top 5 largest self employed groups widely concentrated in labor-intensive small businesses, such as grocery stores, small shops of imported goods and garment manufacturing (Waters, etal. 2007, p. 495-496).

West Europe

Mass migration entered to US from Western Europe especially from the countries Germany, Italy, and Ireland in between 1850 and 1930. However it started to decline since 1965 due to its increasing economical growth and political stability. Congress expected that 1965 act may attract more immigrants from western hemisphere from the preference system of family reunification

After WW II the economical situations and living standards in western Europe improved. In 1960s and 1970s Germany became more attractive for the immigrants through 'Gastarbeit' program (ref). in a similar way Italy also provided a lot of job opportunities for the Italians as well as for foreigners. In the same line Spain and Greece also attracted many immigrants from Asia and Africa. The growing economical and political situations in Europe created many opportunities for their natives as well as for immigrants during 1960s and later.

Obviously it had an impact on US immigration due to this reasons the immigration to the US decreased since 1965. Congress passed the amendments of INA 1965 in order to eliminate discriminated policy and introduced family reunification in hope to attract the immediate relatives of earlier European immigrants (ref). However most of the Asians took advantage of the family reunification system than Europeans.

The German migration was massive before the 1960s and later it slowly decreased. For example the immigration statistics shows that in the 1950s the German migration was 576,905 and this number decreased more than half to 209,616 in 1960s. In 1970s the number of the German immigrants significantly dropped to 77,142 and at present 122,373 immigrants entered to the US from 2000 to 2009. (Year book of immigration statistics 2009). In recent years, the major portion of German immigrants is coming on the basis of immediate relatives of US citizens. For example, 4,663 are came under the immediate relatives of the US citizens out of 8,612 total German immigrants who entered in 2009, which shows that the older German immigrants playing major role in recent immigration by keeping the ties to their ethnic background (yearbook 2009).

As Germany served for American military bases, many American servicemen married German females (war brides) after WW II which brought many German migrants to the US who were born in Germany (ref). This older German migration became older during the later 4 decades from 1960s. However major portion of recent migration are migrating to US on the basis of immediate relatives of the US citizens.

Many Germans are entering the US on the basis of nonimmigrant admissions for the purpose of visiting, business, study and temporary employment. According to 2009 immigration statistics, approximately 2 Million nonimmigrant Germans entered to the US making the fourth largest nonimmigrant group after UK, Mexico and Japan (yearbook 2009).

Most of the recent German immigrants are scattered along the Sunbelt states and the Pacific coast similar to Americans. Most of them are homeowners and considered as a group who can integrate and assimilate quickly.

The Italian immigration was massive during 1900 to 1930 which accounts for 3.6 Million. Later the number of Italians to the US sharply decreased similarly to the case in Germany. Due to improved economical situations after WW II, Italy is also one of the European countries in attracting more immigrants to their homeland than the Italian emigration. For example, according to immigration statistics in 2009, only 3,143 Italians entered in 2009 to the US with a major portion, 1,824 immigrants on the basis of immediate relatives of US citizens (yearbook) similar to Germany maintaining ties with their ethnic background.

The important characteristic of the recent Italian immigration is the identity of their ethnicity and most of them proclaim their ethnic background. For example, in 2000 census, 16 Mi Americans claimed that they have Italian roots (Burgan, Michael and Robert Asher, 2004, p. 83). Many of these immigrants have constantly maintained their culture with their language, festivals and foods even though they are easily integrated and assimilated with the American culture. Similar to Germany, over 1 million Italians are entering on nonimmigrant base to the US. Italian Immigrants followed the same settlement pattern of the old immigrants and preferred more in New York and surrounding states.

Similar to recent German and Italian immigration, the recent immigrants from Portugal, Greece, Ireland and Spain decreased dramatically. The statistics of immigration in 2009 shows that 2,118 form Spain, 1,708 from Ireland, 1,076 from Greece and only 966 from Portugal immigrated to US (Yearbook). The reversal of Massive Immigration in recent years is due to the development of their socioeconomic standards.


In their book Legacies, Alejandro Portes and Rubén Rumbaut write:

"A well-established sociological principle holds that the more similar new minorities are in terms of physical appearance, class background, language, and religion to society's mainstream, the more favorable their reception and the more rapid their integration" (Portes, Alejandro and Rubén G. Rumbaut, 2001, p. 47).

Unlike most immigrants, the British immigrants have common cultural linguistic, religious and ethnic characteristics with Americans which makes them easy to integrate and assimilate into American culture. Due to this reason Charlotte Erickson (Erickson, Charlotte J. 1972. Invisible Immigrants: The Adaptation of English and Scottish Immigrants in 19th Century America. Leicester, Eng.: Leicester University Press.) described the British as "invisible immigrants,".

Even though the economic growth and living standards are far better than the rest of the world from the WW II to 1980s, there was much emigration than immigration in the UK. During that time, rising unemployment and economic recession too added for increased emigration to the US which was more attractive in lucrative jobs and in education during 1960s and 1970s.

Recent British immigration comprises mainly work related reasons and immediate relatives of US citizens. For an example, the US immigration statistics in 2009 accounts for about 51% work related and 45% immediate relatives of US citizens.

Like other European countries, most of the British immigrants are entering the US in large number as nonimmigrant admissions every year recently mainly for study, visits and temporary employment. UK stood on the second in nonimmigrant admissions after Mexico in recent years. It can be observed that the nonimmigrant British citizens in 2009 are 4.4 milions. The transnationalism and cultural exchange is the main carrying features by this large number of nonimmigrant British people. Some of these temporary immigrants are changing to permanent immigrants by marrying US citizens and sometimes by getting high skilled jobs.

The major characteristics of these immigrants are easy integration and assimilation into American culture and rate of intermarriage with native born Americans. The British immigrants are spread throughout the America, though most of the British have preferred California and Florida similar to their home conditions.


Even though Soviet Union and the US were allies during the WW II, later they became competitive in economy, military and politics made each other a part of cold war until 1991. Later the Soviet Union disintegrated into a large country Russia and many other countries which changed the regional definitions. This became a critical issue to identify the Russian immigrants' ethnicity in recent times.

According to the annual ORR (office of refugees resettlement) reports to congress in 1999, stated that 527,297 Soviet refugees, mostly Jews, Catholics, and Armenians entered to the US in between FY 1975 and FY 1999 making them the second largest share of refugee admissions after Vietnamese. The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) which was established to aid and assist for the settlement of Jews in the US. According their report that HIAS brought about half million Jews from the Former Soviet Union to the US since the start of the Soviet Jewry movement in 1968 (

These refugees were settled mainly in New York, Washington and California ( The main reasons for emigrating from the former Soviet Union were mainly the push factors such as economical problems, Political instability and religious discrimination or the combinations of these factors. Many Jews emigrated due to Soviet Jewry movement during 1960s and 1970s (Orbach, 1979, p. 110-112).

The recent immigration to the US are majorly professions who are highly educated and highly skilled and immediate relatives of the US citizens which include majorly adoption of Russian orphans by the American family. The adoption of Russian orphans in recent years by the American families is very large in number, making Russia on top most countries in adoption after China and Ethiopia. For example, DHS immigration statistics, from 2000 to 2009, 39,444 Russian orphans by American families (ref).

According to the 2000 US census 2,652,214 Americans claimed that they have Russian roots.


Mexico is an important and special country in terms of immigration to the US. A mass migration influxed into America from 1900s to now. Especially this mass migration increased since 1965 after enactment of INA 1965.

The main reasons of this mass migration are that Mexico is one the border country of the US with the socioeconomic problems. Apart from the neighboring country wide economic gaps between these countries lead to have the pull factors for the mass migrants from Mexico. Another reason of this mass migration is lower cost and minimum risk to enter the US and at the same time, it is easy to go to and fro to maintain their family ties.

Just before WW II, due to bracer program large number of immigrants migrated to the US to work tempererorily for two years in agriculture. As the large number of migrants used to get larger amount of wages than the wages from their country attracted many more Mexicans to the US.

Even after the termination of bracero program vast majority of Mexicans who are already in the US tried to see new employments and who are willing to come to the US tried to come undocumented.

According to pew Hispanic Centre report based on 2010 US census counted 50.5 Mi Hispanics (people who speak Spanish from South and Central America) in the US which accounts about 16% of the total American population (ref).

According to 2009 census 30% of immigrants from Mexico were among foreign born immigrants. Recent Mexican immigrants statistics from 2000 to 2009 shows that about 1.7 Mi Mexican immigrants entered to the US. This number however 1 Mi less as compared to the previous decade which accounts about 2.7 Mi from 1990 to 1999 (ref).

From the 1980's the US Government made its efforts to strengthen the border control in order to decrease the number of undocumented immigrants from Mexico. In recent years due to this border strengthening the number of undocumented immigrants also dropped in comparison to the previous undocumented immigrants (Keedle, Jayne, 2009, p. 36).

In 2009 among 153,364 came on the basis of family sponsored preferences and immediate relatives of the US citizens which show the close knitted and strong ties among the Mexican immigrants which also makes them immigrate massively.

6.6 Mi Mexicans entered to the US on nonimmigrant admissions. These massive temporary immigrants might be one of the main reasons for the increase of unauthorized migration (ref).

The recent mass Mexican migration characterized with great diversity and maintained their cultural traditions. Though the recent immigrants from Mexico shares common characteristics with earlier immigration, they differ in their settlement patterns, according to their place of profession.

Most of the recent immigrants spread, unlike their ancestors who settled in south west states, most of the states such as Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada and Washington. However by 2000, California is most concentrated place for Mexican immigrants which accounts for 8.5 Mi, 5 Mi in Texas and 1.1 Mi in Arizona (ref).

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