Politics, United States, World

Immigration in America

Immigration has been always existed in The United states. Estimated 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants resided in the United States as of January 2012.

Immigration to North America began with Spanish settlers in the sixteenth century, and French and English settlers in the seventeenth century. In the century before the American Revolution, there was a major wave of free and indentured labor from England and other parts of Europe as well as large-scale importation of slaves from Africa and the Caribbean. Although some level of immigration has been continuous throughout American history, there have been two epochal periods: the 1880 to 1924 age of mass migration, primarily from southern and eastern Europe, and the post-1965 wave of immigration, primarily from Latin America and Asia.

A Nation of Immigrants

The United States is a nation of immigrants. Every American is either an  immigrant or has ancestors who were immigrants. Even the Native Americans are immigrants, their ancestors having traveled to North America over the Bering Strait more than 50,000 years ago.

Old Immigrants

Arriving in America Before 1880, most immigrants living in America came from countries in northern or western Europe. Between 1880 and 1924, about 25 million new immigrants came to the United States. Many came from countries in southern or eastern Europe such as Italy, Russia, Hungary, Greece, and Poland.

Many of these immigrants were culturally similar to each other, literate, and had some wealth. Most were Protestant, believed in democracy, and resembled each other physically. Due to the similarities among these groups, old immigrants were able to adapt to America more easily.

They were protestant, were literate and skilled, came over as families, were quick to assimilate, were experienced in the ways of democracy, had some money in their pockets, were tall and fair.

New Immigrants

Immigration to America reached a high point between 1880 and 1920. Many of the new immigrants who migrated during this period were from southern and eastern European nations, such as Greece, Italy, Poland, and Russia. They were culturally different from the old immigrants, and this made it more difficult for them to assimilate into American life.They came from southern or eastern Europe, were not Protestant they were Catholic, Orthodox, Jewish, were illiterate and unskilled, came over as bird passage, were clannish and reluctant to assimilate, were radicals or autocrats, arrived impoverished, were short and dark.

Even as most Americans celebrate their heritage and identity as a “nation of immigrants”, there is deep ambivalence about future immigration. There is a strong base of support for continued immigration as a necessary ingredient for economic growth and as an essential element of a cosmopolitan society among many Americans. Almost 60 million people – more than one-fifth of the total population of the United States – are immigrants or the children of immigrants.

Data from the Census Bureau shows that 42.4 million immigrants (both legal and illegal) now live in the United States. This Backgrounder provides a detailed picture of immigrants, also referred to as the foreign-born, living in the United States based on state and country of birth. It also examines the progress immigrants make as US residents over time. All figures are for both legal and illegal immigrants who responded to Census Bureau surveys.

  • The nation’s 42.4 million immigrants (legal and illegal) in 2014 is the highest number ever in American history. The 13.3 percent of the nation’s population comprised of immigrants in 2014 is the highest percentage in 94 years.
  • Between 2000 and 2014, 18.7 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) settled in the United States. Despite the Great Recession beginning at the end of 2007, and the weak recovery that followed, 7.9 million new immigrants settled in the United States from the beginning of 2008 to mid-2014.

The immigration has always existed since each one of our ancestors came as a foreigner to the United States. Each of the people who lives in the United States have some family that came from another place, to this country. If we had a better knowledge about immigration and the impact that causes in the country, people would be open-minded to positive or/and negative ideas about what immigration really means, and the matter of it.

Article by Kevin Hernandez

Works Cited:

Camarota, Steven A. and Zeigler, Karen. “Immigrants in the United States”, Center for Immigration

    Studies, October 3, 2016. https://cis.org/Report/Immigrants-United-States

Hirschman, Charles. “The Impact of Immigration on American Society: Looking Backward to the

     Future”, Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (Institute for Human Sciences),  2007.


Reaching All Learners, “Summary: Immigrants in America” Use with United States History, pp. 542–

     545. https://www.eduplace.com/ss/socsci/books/content/ilessons/5/ils_gr5a_u7_c15_l2.pdf

Story, Jill. “Old and New Immigrants in the US: Definition & Overview”, Study.com.


Zong, Jie and  Batalova, Jeanne. “Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in

     the United States” Migration Policy Institute, February 26, 2015.



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