News / USA

US Immigration Population Likely to Remain Diverse if Reform Passes

Cindy Saine
The U.S. Senate has passed a landmark immigration reform bill, which is now likely to face fierce opposition in the House of Representatives.  Experts say if some form of substantial reform is enacted into law, the immigration population is likely to remain diverse, with a continuing trend of more arrivals from Latin America, Asia and Africa, and fewer than in the past from Europe.

At the Smithsonian's annual Folklife Festival, there were signs of cultural diversity everywhere.  There was African drumming along with Hungarian food, crafts and an exhibit dedicated to saving endangered languages.

Festival-goer Thomas Kurihara from California says his family is from Japan, and he was interned after the Second World War in a U.S. relocation camp for Japanese Americans.  Kurihara says he believes it is time for Congress to pass immigration reform.

"I believe that as a nation of immigrants, there needs to be a means by which immigrants legal or illegal who enter the U.S. should have a pathway to citizenship and not have to wait half a lifetime, half a generation," he said.

Another festival-goer from Virginia, who declined to be named or be interviewed on tape, said she believes it is not fair that some illegal immigrants are allowed to stay, while others, for example from Africa she said, would be deported if they made it to the United States.

Demetrios Papademetriou is president of the Migration Policy Institute.  He says if Congress passes substantial reform legislation, which still includes many of the provisions in the Senate bill, current trends in immigration are likely to continue and accelerate.

"So ultimately what you are likely to see, is a deepening and broadening of migration from Latin America, by that I mean Central America and the rest of the hemisphere.  You are likely to see once more a deepening and broadening of the migration to be from Asia.  You will see a much larger percentage of the migration from Asia to be Filipino," he said.

According to data from the Migration Policy Institute, in 1960, almost 75 percent of the foreign-born population in the United States came from Europe.  In 2011, only 12 percent of foreign-born people living in the United States were from Europe, and almost 53 percent came from Latin America.  The 1965 Immigration Act ended the national-origin quotas that were favorable to Europe.  Immigration from Africa increased from 0.4 percent in 1960 to 4 percent in 2011.

The newly-passed Senate bill would provide visas for high-skilled workers, which Papademetriou says will likely attract many talented people from around the world, including Europeans. "I suspect that many more Europeans will take advantage of this opportunity than they have had in the past," he said.

Papademetriou says he believes that passing immigration reform will be a long and difficult process, but he is optimistic it will happen. "I think that we are a long way from passage, but I think so many people have really invested so much political capital in making it happen this time," he said.

Experts say that regardless of whether immigration reform passes, the United States will continue to become a more ethnically diverse country, and that there is also a trend of more people from different ethnic groups intermarrying and intermingling.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

ILO: Women Still Losing Out in Global Work Place

International Labor Organization says women are marginally better off now than they were 20 years ago More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More