Immigrants’ Views on Immigration

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Immigration is the movement of people from one place to another in order to live and work, often in a new country. In the United States, immigrants make enormous contributions as workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors. They are essential to America’s economy and the heart of its communities, and they bring a wealth of knowledge, skills, and values from their home countries. Immigrants also contribute to the culture of our nation, enriching us all with an abundance of vibrant and diverse traditions.

In their own words, most immigrants say that moving to the United States has provided them with greater opportunities and improved their quality of life. They cite economic and educational opportunities, as well as a better future for their children, as key reasons for making the move. A smaller share cites escaping harsh economic and unsafe conditions in their countries of origin.

Immigrants are an important part of the American community, and the vast majority say that their neighbors welcome them. However, a significant share believe that some residents in their state do not welcome them. In addition, a significant number of immigrants face discrimination and unfair treatment on the job, in their communities, and while seeking health care. Moreover, the fear of deportation is a major concern for many, especially among those who are likely undocumented.

Most immigrants say they are happy living in the United States, with three-fourths saying they would choose to move here again if they could. This sentiment is strong across ages, educational attainment, income, and race and ethnicity. Three in four cite their own standard of living, as well as that of their children, as being better than it was in their country of birth.

When asked about their biggest challenges and concerns, most immigrants mention financial stability and paying bills. They also worry about a lack of English-language skills and the cost of housing. Other worries include the impact of political and social instability in their country of origin, family issues back home, and safety concerns. Lastly, some feel uncomfortable with the amount of media attention on immigration-related topics.