Latino Voices

Asian Immigrants Surpass Hispanics As Biggest Immigrant Wave To U.S.

A new study has found that the U.S. has seen a higher level of Asian immigration to the country than immigration of Hispanics; perhaps revealing a future decrease in undocumented immigration and increase in demand for highly-skilled workers.

About 430,000 Asians, or 36 percent of all new immigrants, arrived in the U.S. in 2010, according to the latest census data. That’s compared to about 370,000, or 31 percent, who were Hispanic.

“Too often the policy debates on immigration fixate on just one part – illegal immigration,’’ said to the Associated Press, Karthick Ramakrishnan, a political science professor at the University of California-Riverside and a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “US immigration is more diverse and broader than that, with policy that needs to focus also on high-skilled workers.’’

Asian immigrants and other international students in the U.S.

International students studying at U.S. colleges and universities also are now most likely to come from Asian countries, roughly 6 in 10, and some of them are able to live and work in the U.S. after graduation. Asian students, both foreign born and U.S. born, earned 45 percent of all engineering Ph.D.s in 2010, as well as 38 percent of doctorates in math and computer sciences and 33 percent of doctorates in the physical sciences, according to the Associated Press.

The next big legislative item for both Congress and the White House is immigration reform. A new bill is on the table that would significantly overhaul the current system, legalizing many currently unregistered US residents and potentially allowing the return of some deportees. The big thing that might hold the bill up: the security of the border with Mexico, which conservative legislators see as a key issue. But despite the focus on the southern border, most immigrants to the U.S. never have to pass through it, because they’re coming from somewhere else entirely.

The influx of educated Asians is filling the demand for science and engineering talent: Asian students earn 45 percent of engineering PhDs awarded in the US despite comprising only 5.6 percent of the population.

Roland Thau

My Favorite Immigrant

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