The United States is a country of immigrants, a patchwork of distinct languages, cultures and customs. With each new wave of migrants, the one that came before wonders what to think of the newcomers, and whether they truly fit in.  Congress is currently working on a new set of laws that, if passed, would make the biggest changes to the U.S. immigration system in decades.

Immigration: The New Face of America is a collection of personal stories, interactive graphics and resources that seeks to put a human face on the political debate. It is a place to examine the "American Dream" and explore why it comes true for some, yet remains elusive for others. Join us in the conversation.


Immigration Documentary and Segments
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Red Baraat Makes NYC Music with a Punjabi Beati
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Carolyn Weaver
August 01, 2013
New York City's multicultural population is fertile ground for fusions in art and music. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports on Red Baraat, an eight-member band from Brooklyn blending Northern Indian bhangra - a high-energy dance music - with jazz, hip-hop, and other genres.
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Video Red Baraat Makes NYC Music with a Punjabi Beat

New York City's multicultural population is fertile ground for fusions in art and music. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports on Red Baraat, an eight-member band from Brooklyn blending Northern Indian bhangra - a high-energy dance music - with jazz, hip-hop, and other genres.
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Video US Farmers Keep Eye on Immigration Reform

American farmers are experiencing a shortage of people to work their fields. The workers they do have are largely from Latin America and in the United States with false documents. Farmers say without immigration reform, both problems will continue. Elizabeth Lee reports from Imperial Valley, a farming region near the border of the western state of California and Mexico.
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Video Washington Week: Focus on US-Asia Ties

America’s deepening commitment to the Asia-Pacific region will be highlighted this week, as President Barack Obama hosts Vietnam’s president at the White House. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the encounter occurs 40 years after the end of U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War, and at a time of growing trade and security ties between Washington and Hanoi.
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Video House Republicans Reject Push for Immigration Overhaul

House Republicans are rejecting the push by President Barack Obama and the Senate to pass comprehensive immigration reform that would provide legal status and a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally. Republican leaders are advocating a step-by-step approach focusing first on border security and enforcement of immigration laws. Young Hispanic immigrants say Republicans will pay a price with Latino voters if they fail to pass substantial reform. VOA’s Cindy Saine has the story from Capitol Hill.
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Video 'Dreamers' Give Human Face to Immigration Reform

A network of young undocumented immigrants called "Dreamers" is playing a key role in advocating for immigration reform in the United States. Last year, President Barack Obama issued a directive giving many "Dreamers" semi-legal immigration status. As VOA’s Brian Padden reports, they now are speaking out publicly, talking about the human toll of deportation policies and giving the reform movement a human face.
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Video For Healthy Families, Prevention Begins Before Birth

An innovative program in the U.S. state of Virginia supports thousands of new mothers and their potentially at-risk babies every year, even before they are born. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports, Healthy Families' mission is to teach new and expectant moms how to raise happy, healthy children by reaching them in the first three years of their lives when brain development is at its most formative stage.
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Video Washington Week: Focus on US Immigration Reform

Immigration reform remains in Washington’s political spotlight this week. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, attention will be focused on whether and how the House of Representatives proceeds on an overhaul of federal immigration laws.
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Video US Immigration Barrier Removed for Married Gay Couples

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages just as it does for heterosexuals. The ruling has special significance for thousands of gay Americans married to foreign nationals or who plan to do so. VOA’s Michael Bowman introduces us to one of many bi-national gay couples that will now be treated equally under U.S. immigration laws.
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Video Thirty New US Citizens Swear Their Allegiance

As the U.S. celebrates 237 years of independence thousands of people across the country are being sworn in as new U.S. citizens. One of those naturalization ceremonies occurred just steps from the White House. Reporter Brandon Goldner was there.
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Video Immigration Reform Faces Uncertain Future

Supporters of immigration reform in the United States gained a victory last week when the Senate approved a bipartisan bill. But immigration reform now faces an even tougher test in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where conservatives have little interest in the Senate approach. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports from Washington this raises the prospect of a political stalemate.
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Video Immigration: The New Face of America - Full Report

Immigration: The New Face of America looks at the current political divide on comprehensive immigration reform, how President Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote to help secure his second term, and how divisive the issue of immigration is in the United States. The program puts a human face on the immigration debate. Individuals at the forefront of this issue give compelling insights into their lives, impacted by the laws currently in place. Narrator: Jim Teeple
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Video Immigration: The New Face of America - Part 1

One of the flash points in the immigration debate is the DREAM Act, a 12-year-old immigration bill that would provide a path to citizenship for young people educated in this country. The bill has yet to pass, but it has focused attention on young people who call themselves Dreamers. In a 2011 essay in The New York Times, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas revealed his status as an “undocumented immigrant”. As Voice of America reports, Vargas has become the face of the grassroots “undocumented movement” and is making the argument for a legal pathway to citizenship. Writer/ Producer: Beth Mendelson, Editor: Jeff Swicord, Camera: Jeff Swicord, Camera: Mino Dargakis, Camera: Paul Vanderveen, Narrator: Jim Teeple
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Video Immigration: The New Face of America - Part 2

Conservative talk show host Alfonso Aguilar, is using his Spanish-language weekly program to bring a conservative message to Hispanics. Aguilar, a former official in the Bush administration, wants the Republican Party to move forward with a comprehensive immigration reform plan. He thinks embracing immigration will give the party the best chance to retake the White House in 2016. As Voice of America reports, Alfonso Aguilar walks a fine line in appealing to Hispanics on immigration and not angering the conservative Republican base. He is on a journey to unify the political divide within his party and create a better America. Writer/ Producer: Beth Mendelson, Camera/ Editor: Jeff Swicord, Narrator: Jim Teeple
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Video Immigration: The New Face of America - Part 3

As lawmakers on Capitol Hill consider immigration reform, border security is emerging as a key component. In the last decade the U.S. has spent more than 90 billion dollars to secure its southern border and the Obama administration says the border has never been more secure. There have been improvements in some areas. But, as VOA reports, ranchers in Arizona say those improvements have redirected problems to other areas. Writer/ Producer/ Camera/ Editor: Jeff Swicord, Narrator: Jim Teeple
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Video Immigration: The New Face of America - Part 4

One of the most difficult issues lawmakers are tackling with immigration reform is the emotional and financial impact on the children of those deported. VOA got to know one Palestinian family in Brooklyn, New York that has been in crisis since the mother’s deportation. Writer/ Producer: Adam Phillips, Camera/ Editor: Daniela Schrier, Ramallah Producer: Haitham Hamad, Camera: Mohammed Boweitel, Narrator: Jim Teeple
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Video Immigration: The New Face of America - Part 5

In Washington, the talk around immigration reform is centered on security and sealing the border with Mexico first. But for Arizona farmers, immigration is far more complex. In the winter months, Arizona grows more than 80 percent of certain types of produce consumed in the U.S., and farmers are dependent on migrant labor to get their crops out of the field. VOA reports near Tucson, Arizona. Writer/ Producer/ Camera/ Editor: Jeff Swicord, Narrator: Jim Teeple
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Video Immigration: The New Face of America - Part 6

Becoming a US citizen almost cost Minh Nguyen his life. He fled Vietnam by boat as a boy and almost died on the trip. He and his family ultimately found their way to the United States. Now a filmmaker, Nguyen lives in Los Angles with his wife and his brother’s family. This story of struggle, suffering, and courage is an inspiration to those engaged in an uphill challenge of immigration reform in this country. Writer/ Producer/ Camera: Elizabeth Lee, Narrator: Jim Teeple
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Video Immigration: The New Face of America - Part 7

In the election last year, President Obama won a second term with large support from minority and immigrant communities. Seventy one percent of Hispanic voters and 72 percent of Asian-American voters supported the Democratic president. Now, immigration is back in the political spotloght. Writer/ Producer: Kate Woodsome, Editor: Jeff Swicord, Narrator: Jim Teeple
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Video Immigration: The New Face of America - Part 8

Thione Niang came to America from Senegal with $20 in his pocket. But he quickly built a successful life. Now he’s giving back by urging young people to believe in themselves and their abilities. VOA meets the young man with this inspiring life journey. Writer/ Producer: Beth Mendelson, Camera/ Editor: Jeff Swicord, Narrator: Jim Teeple
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Video Another Take

Zach Taylor, chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol officers, disputes the Obama administration's assertion that the U.S.-Mexico border is more secure than it's ever been.

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U.S. Naturalization Test

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As President Barack Obama has promoted legalizing many undocumented immigrants, he has also overseen an aggressive deportation effort. Click below to see the deportations.
US Immigration Number of Deportations correct

US Immigration Number of Deportations correct

US Immigration Criminal Statistics

US Immigration Criminal Statistics


Detaining immigrants accused of breaking U.S. laws is a costly and booming business. The Department of Homeland Security requested nearly $2 billion for custody operations for 2013. The request followed a record-breaking year in 2011, when 429,000 foreign nationals were detained.
 

The government uses approximately 250 state and local jails, private prison companies and government-owned facilities to house the detainees. 


Each red dot on the Google map below represents an immigration detention facility. Scroll over the dots for details, and press the play button or slide the red triangle to watch the growth of the industry.

Map: The U.S. Immigration Detention Boom is courtesy of the Investigative Reporting Workshop and PBS/Frontline.
Design: Jacob Fenton, Catherine Rentz, Stokely Baksh and Lisa Hill. Source: ICE.


ICE’s detention system houses men, women and children representing nearly every country in the world. Some crossed the border illegally or overstayed their visas; others commited violent crimes. U.S. legal permanent residents and asylum seekers are among them. Detainees may be locked up for days or months.


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If you could write a letter to America, what hopes, expectations or concerns would you share about the way immigrants are treated?

We want to hear from immigrants to the United States, as well as those who care about U.S. immigration policy.  Did you or your family move to the U.S. from another country? Are you a legal advocate, teacher, or someone concerned about border security?  Share your experience in a “Letter to America.”
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About 13 percent of the U.S. population today is foreign-born, slightly lower than the average a century ago. The U.S. Census surveys the population every 10 years to get a sense of the changing demographics.

To track the changes, click on the graphics below.

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The immigration system is said to be “broken” in part because there are 11 million people living illegally in the country, employers are hiring undocumented immigrants to cut costs, and businesses complain it's difficult to get visas for high-skilled workers. 


Click on the graphic below to see the Senate's proposed changes to the current path to legal permanent residency and citizenship, which include new possibilities for undocumented immigrants.

This infographic is used courtesy of Quartz.

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