Although the numbers of immigrants in the United States may appear small, the immigrant population is growing. More than half of all immigrants are bilingual, a major contributing factor to the country’s economy. The children of immigrants do exceptionally well academically. They typically make their way to the top tier of the occupational distribution. Despite these accomplishments, their educational levels are lower than those of native-born Americans. This is in part due to the lower English proficiency and human capital that immigrants bring to the country.
While the United States is proud of its nation of immigrants, it is important to understand the contributions of these newcomers to the country. Immigrants have contributed to the economy and the vibrant culture in many ways. By providing opportunities for their children and helping them become part of our diverse society, immigrants have embraced their new country’s culture and contributed to its economic vitality. While a few immigrants may be considered illegal, many of these individuals are working hard to make a new life for themselves and their families in the United States.
Human migrations have changed the landscape and ethnic composition of entire countries. The map of Europe shows the result of these early migrations: Germanic peoples, Slavs, and Turks. Over four centuries, the Europeans colonized more than sixty countries and migrated some 60 million people to the United States. The Great Migration is a testament to the power of immigration, a key factor in creating a vibrant community. While immigrants may feel a sense of belonging in their new home, they are also free to leave and go back to their homes if they so choose.
The number of immigrants in the United States is the highest in the world, with more than 50.6 million Americans being foreign-born. In fact, since 1965, the number of immigrants has increased 400 percent. Immigrants come from nearly every country in the world, with Mexico being the largest source of immigrants in the United States. Mexico represents about one-fifth of all immigrants, or almost twenty percent of the total population. There are also countless other nationalities represented among the undocumented population.
The term “migrant” is used to describe a wide variety of individuals who leave their homes and move to another country, usually in search of employment or other opportunities. While refugee doesn’t necessarily apply to migrants, it can include refugees. The latter, however, are not necessarily immigrants. Underage migrants may become victims of human trafficking. However, the majority of migrants return to their home countries. If the conditions in their home countries are unsafe, they may attempt to flee the country for safety.
There are three main categories of immigrants: refugees, immigrants, and asylees. Refugees are people who are legally unable to return to their country of origin. Asylees must be in the United States on a temporary basis and have been unable to find lawful protection in their country of nationality. Immigration laws require that the aliens meet the requirements for a lawful status. Once in the country, asylees can adjust to lawful permanent residency status, with the exception of apprehension.