The inflow of Asia’s Chinese and Indian migrants is outpacing migrants from Latin America, says a report by the Pew Research Center.
Chinese and Indians have the largest share of new legal immigrants and illegal migrants, said the August 20 report, titled “Key Findings About U.S. Immigrants”:
In 2018, the top country of origin for new immigrants coming into the U.S. was China, with 149,000 people, followed by India (129,000), Mexico (120,000) and the Philippines (46,000).
By race and ethnicity, more Asian immigrants than Hispanic immigrants have arrived in the U.S. in most years since 2010. Immigration from Latin America slowed following the Great Recession, particularly for Mexico, which has seen both decreasing flows into the United States and large flows back to Mexico in recent years.
Asians are projected to become the largest immigrant group in the U.S. by 2055, surpassing Hispanics.
Overall, “The U.S. foreign-born population reached a record 44.8 million in 2018 … [Legal and illegal] immigrants today account for 13.7% of the U.S. population, nearly triple the share (4.8%) in 1970,” said the report.
The total means that migrants now comprise one-in-seven of the nation’s population of 328 million.
The report estimates that 10.5 million of the nation’s 45 million immigrants are illegal migrants. Fewer than half of the illegals are Mexicans, partly because many Mexicans went home while Asian illegals arrive, said a 2019 Pew report.
The Asian immigrants — including many visa workers — have higher education qualifications, according to Pew. For example, 71 percent of migrants from South Asia — meaning India — have at least a college degree, partly because the visa worker programs were designed to import Asian graduates for U.S. white-collar jobs.
In comparison, 54 percent of illegal and legal migrants from Mexico do not have a full high school education.
The shift in education levels will help Fortune 500 companies and investors because it will shift job competition from lower-wage blue-collar jobs — such as construction — up to higher-wage white-collar jobs, such as doctors, nurses, and software programmers.
The study says the 45 million figure includes 2.2 million temporary residents. This population includes many foreign contract workers, such as H-1Bs.
The inflow also shifts political power from political parties that focus on Americans’ routine concerns — wages, healthcare, the environment — to political parties that tout migrants’ preference for diversity and welfare. For example, 20 million immigrants are citizens and can vote in U.S. elections, says Pew.
Legal immigrants and illegal migrants also settle in a few states, so helping drive up property prices as people compete for better housing. The report says:
Nearly half (45%) of the nation’s 44.4 million immigrants live in just three states: California (24%), Texas (11%) and Florida (10%). California had the largest immigrant population of any state in 2018, at 10.6 million. Texas, Florida and New York had more than 4 million immigrants each.

In 2018, most immigrants lived in just 20 major metropolitan areas, with the largest populations in the New York, Los Angeles and Miami metro areas. These top 20 metro areas were home to 28.7 million immigrants, or 64% of the nation’s total foreign-born population. Most of the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population lived in these top metro areas as well.
Overall, the flood of immigrants raises the legal and illegal working population, so reducing Americans’ ability to bargain for higher wages with the employers. Pew reports:
In 2017, about 29 million immigrants were working or looking for work in the U.S., making up some 17% of the total civilian labor force. Lawful immigrants made up the majority of the immigrant workforce, at 21.2 million.
An additional 7.6 million immigrant workers are unauthorized immigrants, less than the total of the previous year and notably less than in 2007, when they were 8.2 million. They alone account for 4.6% of the civilian labor force, a dip from their peak of 5.4% in 2007.
Read the report here.

Joe Biden’s immigration plan promises to allow millions of chain-migration applicants into the US before they get green cards. Foreigners are rational, so millions more would declare chain-migration status. Wages would fall, housing prices would rise.
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) September 1, 2020

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