While immigrants can often benefit from the U.S. economy, some misunderstand its dynamics. They claim that immigrants will take American jobs and create more of them, while others point to the fact that they purchase American products and start businesses. As a result, there is a much lower unemployment rate in states with large numbers of immigrants. And what’s worse? These immigrants may not be citizens, but they do pay their taxes just like anyone else.
In California, the percentage of immigrants is over half. The largest cities are Miami, Texas, and New York. Overall, these cities have more than four million immigrants, with the largest percentage of unauthorized immigrants living in New York. While many of these immigrants may not be citizens, they often speak the language of their origin. For example, Spanish is the most common language spoken by immigrants, while Chinese includes Cantonese and Mandarin. Immigrants’ educational levels vary widely.
The number of immigrants worldwide has continued to grow. According to the United Nations, immigrants represent 3.4 percent of the global population. While the proportion of migrants has increased in recent decades, almost three-quarters come from less developed countries. The number of migrants moving between low-income countries has also increased slightly. In addition, the proportion of women has remained fairly constant in all regions except Asia. For many, the move to a new country is about seeking financial security, a better life, a more prosperous life, or even the chance to reunite with their family.
The term “immigrant” has many definitions, and it’s important to remember that immigrants are people who have moved to another country for an extended period of time. These individuals are not necessarily illegally seeking asylum, but they can apply for a visa in the U.S., or even marry a native. The legality of their immigration status in their home country depends on what their reasons were for leaving. In addition, the status of the person is also a consideration.
In 2017, the immigration reform act allowed for roughly 800,000 people to settle in the U.S. annually. Currently, 45% of immigrants are naturalized citizens and 27% are lawful permanent residents. The remaining two-thirds are unauthorized immigrants. And more than a quarter of immigrants have less than a high school diploma. These numbers are even higher for the undocumented population: ten million immigrants have undocumented relatives in the U.S.
Legalization may have positive effects on immigrant workers’ health, education, and language skills. It may make them more productive members of society. In Germany, for example, legalization led to improved language skills and increased labor force attachment among immigrant women. Meanwhile, the study found that teenagers born to immigrants had different legal statuses: unauthorized immigrant children tended to be less likely to attend school. In both countries, legalization would increase immigrants’ opportunities to get a good job.
The United States is home to more than 44 million immigrants. The largest group of immigrants is Mexico, with more than 11 million people in 2018. The next largest countries of origin were China, India, the Philippines, and El Salvador. These countries account for 28% of immigrants in the U.S., which is close to the share Mexico has in the population. Other countries of origin, such as the Middle East and North Africa, the Philippines, and sub-Saharan Africa, account for smaller shares of immigrants.