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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid