Historic Number of Immigrants Coming From Asia

Although the greatest number of immigrants who have come to the United States in recent years have been of Latino background, a recent study from the Pew Research Center found that Asian immigrants have now taken over the No. 1 spot.

The study found that 36 percent of immigrants arriving in the United States in 2010 were from Asian countries, according to the latest U.S. Census data. By contrast, only 31 percent, or about 370,000 individuals, were Latino.

According to Pew Research, the number of immigrants from Asian countries has been boosted by the number of U.S. visas granted to individual workers from these countries. According to surveys from more than 3,500 Asian adults in the United States, 49 percent hold bachelor’s degrees, compared with 28 percent of the non-immigrant national populous. Indian immigrants lead in the college degree category, with 70 percent of those surveyed having a college education. Many of these individuals are also fluent in English – of the 74 percent of Asian Americans who were born abroad, approximately 50 percent say they speak English extremely well.

The high numbers of Asian immigrants may signal a new era of individuals vying for citizenship in the United States.

“Like immigrants throughout American history, the new arrivals from Asia are strivers,” Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center and co-author of the report, told The Associated Press. “What’s distinctive about them is their educational credentials. These aren’t the tired, poor, huddled masses of Emma Lazarus’s famous inscription on the Statue of Liberty. They are the highly skilled workforce of the 21st century.”

Possibly in response to the many skilled Chinese immigrants currently entering the United States, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a resolution that decried the Chinese Exclusion Act, according to Agence France-Presse. The act, which was originally enacted in 1882, lasted for nearly 60 years, and was the only time the federal government explicitly rejected any immigrant group from entering the country.