In the United States, the number of immigrants has increased since the beginning of the 20th century, when it represented roughly 10% of the population. Today, immigrants make up nearly 14 percent of the total U.S. population, and are now the third-largest group of foreign-born residents. While the share of immigrants has decreased since the 1850s, when foreign-born residents accounted for around 15% of the population, the proportion has remained relatively high.
As a result, immigration benefits the economy in many ways. Immigrants work in disproportionate numbers, making up more than a third of the workforce in some industries. By boosting the labor force relative to the number of retirees, immigrants help local economies respond to worker shortages and smooth over economic bumps. Moreover, children of immigrants are upwardly mobile, and this benefits immigrant families. This makes immigrants an important part of the economy, and it is an economic reality that should not be overlooked.
The post-World War II immigration was the result of refugee movements, and ended colonization in Asia and Africa. Immigration from former colonies increased from these areas to the countries of the former imperial powers. The 1948 British Nationality Act facilitated immigration from these regions to the former centres of the British Empire. The influx of foreign workers was followed by the development of the nation’s infrastructure. Immigration policy has evolved in the past several decades, but the concept of citizenship remains largely the same. After all, immigrants take up U.S. citizenship and swear allegiance to their new home.
In recent years, immigration has been relatively high in the United States. Over half of immigrants in the U.S. live in California, Texas, and Florida, and New York is home to more than 4 million immigrants. Immigrants from Latin America and Mexico accounted for about two-thirds of the total population. In contrast, only about one-fifth are from the Northeast and Midwest. Immigration from those countries has slowed significantly since the Great Recession.
Although the federal government is the primary authority for immigration enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) delegated some of its duties to local law enforcement. While local law enforcement agencies are largely limited in their cooperation with federal authorities, almost a quarter do not cooperate with ICE at all. In other words, deportation is a legal process, but it has consequences. Immigrants who commit serious crimes can be deported back to their countries.
While immigration reform efforts were important in the past, they were insufficient to address long-standing racial disparities. Immigrants’ health, education, and economic security are all linked, and policymakers are exploring innovative solutions. We will continue to update this article as new findings emerge, but for now, the information provided is useful to understand the current situation and the challenges facing immigrants. The following are some key statistics that may help us understand the situation better.
Before the passage of the 2020 CARES Act, federal welfare programs continued to serve immigrants who met PRUCOL requirements. However, this does not mean that all immigrants are eligible for benefits, since eligibility requirements differ from region to region. Even so, California and New York continue to offer services to immigrants under PRUCOL eligibility. It is worth noting that some immigrants have passed their citizenship requirements without acquiring a Social Security Number. Regardless of eligibility, immigrants are still subject to a background check.