Has America Become Immigrant Nation?
By Sarah Garland
WHAT YOU CAN DO
For more about immigration-reform issues, visit the National Immigration Forum (www.immigrationforum.org). Ask your senators to support the DREAM Act, which would allow immigrant students who have grown up in the U.S. to apply for legal status. Visit www.congress.org to contact your senators.
TOP 10 COUNTRIES WITH ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS COMING TO THE U.S.
-Total Mexican immigrants in the U.S.: 9.2 million.
-Number unauthorized: 5.9 million
-The majority of immigrants (legal and illegal) live in California, Texas, Illinois, and Arizona, but the fastest growing population is in the South.
-Total Chinese immigrants in the U.S.: 1.5 million
-Number unauthorized: 500,000
-South Carolina and Arkansas nearly tripled their Chinese-immigrant populations between 1990 and 2000.
-Total Filipino immigrants in the U.S.: 1.4 million
-Number unauthorized: 85,000
-One fourth of all foreign-born in the U.S. armed forces were born in the Philippines.
4. EL SALVADOR
-Total Salvadoran immigrants in the U.S.: 817,000
-Number unauthorized: 300,000
-Narciso Ramirez, who had no governing experience, recently became mayor of a small town in El Salvador based on his reputation for helping people sneak into the U.S.
5. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
-Total Dominican immigrants in the U.S.: 688,000
-Number unauthorized: 91,000
-The Dominican Republic is the largest exporter of legal immigrants to New York City. Dominicans represent 10 percent of the 1.1 million students in the New York City public school system.
-Total Colombian immigrants in the U.S.: 510,000
-Number unauthorized: 141,000
-Every year, Colombia's ongoing conflict drives more than half a million of its citizens from their homes. Over the past five years, 1.2 million Colombians have fled their country.
-Total Guatemalan immigrants in the U.S.: 481,000
-Number unauthorized: 144,000
-In Arizona, Guatemalans now make up the majority of roofers, a dangerous occupation previously dominated by Mexicans.
-Total Ecuadorian immigrants in the U.S.: 299,000
-Number unauthorized: 108,000
-Transparency International ranked Ecuador as the 20th most corrupt country out of 133. More than 60 percent of the population lives in poverty and only 40 percent has access to safe drinking water.
-Total Honduran immigrants in the U.S.: 283,000
-Number unauthorized: 138,000
-In June 2006, the U.S. halted the issue of all new visas to Hondurans. The U.S. claims that third party countries, particularly Cubans, easily obtain visas from Honduras for travel to the U.S.
-Total Brazilian immigrants in the U.S.: 212,000
-Number unauthorized: 77,000
-After centuries of taking in immigrants from other continents, Brazil's poor economy and high unemployment turned it into a country of net emigration in the 1980s. Today, around 2 percent of the national population are living abroad, and the United States is the biggest magnet.