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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora