The phenomenon of immigration carries several definitions. In common parlance, immigration is the movement of people from their native country to another country, with an intent to settle down for the purpose of livelihood and a better life.
43% Americans feel that immigration to their country should be decreased, 35% are okay with the current situation, 18% think it should be promoted, while the remaining 4% are not sure.
Immigration can be segregated into 3 domains―legal, illegal, and domestic. Legal immigration is the movement of a person from his native country to a foreign country, in search of livelihood and an intent to settle down, with prior and proper permission (valid visa, passport, citizenship) from the government. Illegal immigration is the movement of a person from his native country to a foreign country, with an intent to find livelihood and settle down, without the permission of the government. Illegal immigration is an offense which has legal consequences. Domestic immigration is the movement of people from an economically backward region of a country to another developed and economically well-off region of the same country.
The basic principle behind immigration is that, better economic conditions lead to greater employment opportunities. Immigration statistics point out that, in olden times, people immigrated towards river basins, because these regions offered better economic prospects. In the post-industrial revolution era, the cities which are industrially well-developed have become immigration attractions. In the United States economic progress, high standard of living and a high value of currency attracts legal as well as illegal immigrants. Here are some interesting legal and illegal immigration facts and statistics related to the United States of America.
- In the last 5 years, more than two-third immigrants are from Asia and North America.
- In the year 2012, majority of the babies born were African-American, Hispanic, Asian, or another non-white race.
- In the US, in the last one year, more than 1 million immigrants became legal permanent residents (LPRs).
- Around one-third of immigrants are under the age of 25.
- Out of the total immigrated population, 80.5% is in the working age group of 18 to 64 years.
- The most immigrants are from Mexico, China, and India, in that order.
- About 15% of the total labor force of the US economy consists of immigrants.
- Due to the rate of immigration, 5 states have less than half of the population being non-Hispanic white.
- In 1960, the US had an immigrant population of 9.7 million. 50 years later, in 2010, it has swollen up to 40 million.
- The 1960s and 1970s saw more men immigrating to the US than women, but since then, for every 95 men, 100 women move to the US.
- The rate of crime is less among immigrants when compared to native-born Americans.
- The United States has permitted 3 legal and litigate immigration domains (not work or naturalization), namely, family, work, and freedom.
- In 1960, 5.4% or 1 in 20 people in the US were foreign-born. In 2010, it was 13%, or 1 in 8.
- In the latter half of the 20th century, a majority of the immigrants were from Europe. At present, the majority are from Mexico and Asia.
- It is estimated that by the year 2040, the US population will have no clear racial or ethnic majority.
- Latinos make up 17% of the US population, while Asian-Americans are a little more than 5%.
Illegal Immigration Facts
- In the last one year alone, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed nearly ½ a million undocumented immigrants.
- Illegal immigrants hold about 12 million ‘skilled’ jobs in the US economy.
- Nearly 2 in 3 undocumented immigrants are from Mexico.
- In the last decade, the population of undocumented immigrants grew by 27%.
- 57% of illegal immigrants are from Mexico, 24% from Latin America, 9% from Asia, and 6% from Europe.
- The estimated number of undocumented immigrants in the United States is 12 million.
- More than 50% of the undocumented immigrant population have a high school degree, while around 15% have a bachelor’s degree or more.
- Around 5 million babies born in the US have at least one undocumented immigrant as a parent.
- Nearly 2 out of 3 undocumented immigrants are living in the US for 10 years or more.
- Nearly 3 million undocumented residents live in California, while around 2 million are in Texas.
- The United States Department of Homeland Security has reported that about 25 – 40% of the immigrants who come into the United States with legal permission and documentation become illegal immigrants as they over-stay their visa, or they do not apply for a permanent residency status on time.
- If all illegal immigrants acquire legal status, it will actually benefit the US economy. Around 1,25,000 new jobs will be created every year, increasing tax revenue by $10 billion on a yearly basis.
- On the other hand, if all undocumented immigrants were to be deported, the cumulative GDP of America would suffer by $2.6 trillion over 10 years.
- The cost of deportation is high. Apprehending, detaining, processing, and transporting 1 immigrant costs the US nearly $25,000.
- 88% Americans support immigration reforms that support citizenship.
There are two ways one can look at the issue of immigration. Excess inflow can result in a burden on the economy, while dearth of skill needed by the country could mean a weaker economy. The government can only try its best to make sure that as much of the immigrants as possible that come in have done so through legal means.