Study projects Asians will become largest US immigrant group

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Asians to Surpass Hispanics as Largest Foreign-Born Group in U.S. by 2055.

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major shift in immigration patterns over the next 50 years, Asians will have surged past Hispanics to become the largest group of immigrants heading to the United States, according to estimates in a new immigration study.Asians are likely to surpass Latinos as the nation’s largest immigrant group shortly after the middle of the century as the wave of new arrivals from Latin America slows but trans-Pacific migration continues apace, according to a new study of census data.

An increase in Asian and Hispanic immigration also will drive U.S. population growth, with foreign-born residents expected to make up 18 percent of the country’s projected 441 million people in 50 years, the Pew Research Center said in a report being released Monday. The surge of immigration that has reshaped the American population over the last half century will transform the country for several decades to come, the projections indicate. The percentage of people living in the USA who were born outside the country reached 13.7% in 2015 and is projected to hit a record 14.9% in 2025, the report said.

The foreign-born, who made up just 5% of the nation’s population in 1965, when Congress completely rewrote the country’s immigration laws, make up 14% today, the study found. White immigrants to America, 80 percent back in 1965, will hover somewhere between 18 and 20 percent, with black immigrants in the 8 percent to 9 percent range, the study said. The findings come at a critical time in the presidential campaign as candidates from both parties debate the proper role of immigration in the country. The foreign-born population represents a growing share of the electorate that Democrats and Republicans court because that voting bloc is big enough to tip presidential elections. Unlike the Latino population, which mostly shares a common language, Spanish, and many cultural traits, the census category of Asian takes in a vast array of ethnic and language groups, including Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, Indians and Pakistanis.

Part of the reason for the shift is that the fertility rate of women in Latin America and especially Mexico has decreased, said Mark Hugo Lopez, Pew’s director of Hispanic research. That year, the country is expected to be 46% white and 24% Hispanic, with Asians representing 14% of the population—surpassing blacks, who will account for 13%. Asians are expected to constitute 36% of the immigrant population by 2055, surpassing Latinos, who by then will be 34% of immigrants, the study indicates. Today, the U.S. is 62% white and 18% Hispanic. “With the U.S. population becoming more diverse, this has the potential to reshape American politics,” Mr. Twelve percent said “illegal,” ”overpopulation” was at 5 percent, “legality (other than illegal)” at 4 percent, and “jobs,” ”deportation,” ”Americans” and “work ethic” at 3 percent each.

That prompted many Americans to call for an immigration slowdown and proved harmful to immigrants who struggled to get ahead, a situation Beck said is happening again. “This has been our point all along: If you want to have a good situation for immigrants, there’s a threshold that you’ve got to keep it below,” Beck said. “We know what happened last time. Forty-nine percent offered general descriptions, and of those 12 percent were positive, 11 percent negative and 26 percent neutral, according to the report. Immigrants from the Middle East fared worse in public opinion, with just 20% saying their effect on the country has been mostly positive, and 39% saying their impact has been mostly negative.

The Pew study was designed to look at how immigration has changed the racial and ethnic makeup of the U.S. since Congress passed the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act. According to Pew projections based on current trends, by 2055 whites will lose their majority status in the population, and their share will continue to decline.

That law abolished a quota system based on national origin, which had barred most immigrants from outside of western Europe and led to a sharp increase in immigration from Asia, Africa and Latin America. He noted that the poll was conducted in the spring, before Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump sparked national debate with calls for much tougher immigration enforcement and criticism of some Mexican immigrants. Views were nearly the opposite among Republicans, 53% of whom said immigrants were making American society worse in the long run, and 31% saying they were making things better. With Mexicans accounting for only 15 percent of all new immigrants in 2013, the Pew report found, the share of newcomers who are Latino is at its lowest level in five decades.

It became very restrictive in the 1920s, and it’s very possible that could happen again,” he said. “But today, more Americans believe immigration is a strength rather than a burden.” The combined population share of foreign-born people and their U.S.-born children is 26%. Wu, 30 years old, said that she wishes to remain in the U.S. long term, and imagines raising a family in America. “Everything is happening in the U.S. as far as software technology,” she said. “You get the most opportunities.” Arrivals from Mexico, the nation responsible for the largest wave of contemporary immigration to the U.S., have slipped and are unlikely to return to their pre-2007 level, according to demographer Jeff Passel, the study’s co-author. Republicans have a starkly negative view of immigration, with 53 percent of adults who identified as Republican saying immigrants make the country worse and only 31 percent saying they make it better.

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