Immigrants from India, China increase in America

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Stallone Laurel Dias, originally from India and a soldier in the U.S. Army, recites the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance after taking the oath to become a U.S. citizen during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

NEW YORK – President Trump may seethe over that wall yet to be built on the southern border with Mexico. But it’s not Mexicans he should be bothered about, to curb immigration flow. It seems Indians and the Chinese are inundating America. Asians, in fact, have now overtaken Latinos as the #1 immigrants in America, according to new Census Bureau figures.

The New York Times reported the foreign-born population in the United States has reached its highest share since 1910, and the new arrivals are more likely to come from Asia and to have college degrees than those who arrived in past decades.

The Census Bureau’s figures for 2017 confirm a major shift in who is coming to the United States. For years newcomers tended to be from Latin America, but a Brookings Institution analysis of that data, and released on Thursday, shows that 41 percent of the people who said they arrived since 2010 came from Asia. Just 39 percent were from Latin America. About 45 percent were college educated, the analysis found, compared with about 30 percent of those who came between 2000 and 2009.

Business Insider noted that nearly three million Asian immigrants have arrived in the US since 2010, with the majority hailing from China and India.

Since 2010, the number of immigrants arriving from Mexico has declined, while those from China and India have surged, the Times noted. Since 2010, the increase in the number of people from Asia — 2.6 million — was more than double the 1.2 million who came from Latin America.

“This is quite different from what we had thought,” said William H. Frey, the senior demographer at the Brookings Institution who conducted the analysis. “We think of immigrants as being low-skilled workers from Latin America, but for recent arrivals that’s much less the case. People from Asia have overtaken people from Latin America.”

The foreign-born population stood at 13.7 percent in 2017, or 44.5 million people, according to the data, compared with 13.5 percent in 2016.

After hitting a record of 14.8 percent in 1890 — when waves of Irish, Italian, Polish and other immigrants swarmed in — the percentage of foreigners in the US dwindled to 4.7 in 1970, the New York Post reported.

The Hill analyzed that these new immigrants are also spreading out more across the country, with more than ever making homes in states with previously small immigrant populations, such as Tennessee, South Carolina and Kentucky.

New York and California, typically considered immigration hubs, both saw their immigrant populations increase by 6 percent since 2010, while Tennessee saw an increase of 20 percent.

North Dakota had the largest increase in foreign-born immigrants with an 87 percent rise since 2010.

The Trump administration has said it wants to restrict legal immigration, and has stepped up efforts as well to detain and deport immigrants in the country illegally since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, reported NBC News, analyzing the new data released by the Census Bureau.

But so far, said Randy Capps, a demographer at the Migration Policy Institute, the government hasn’t restricted legal immigration much and America’s strong job market likely fueled part of last year’s increase in the foreign-born population. “The economy’s definitely a factor in this, not just in more people coming but in more people staying,” Capps said.

However, despite the high levels of immigration from Asia, there is stark income disparity when it comes to being country-specific.

The Times, in an earlier report, had noted on the income disparity in the Asian population in the US. By 2016, Asians in the top 10th of income distribution earned about $120,000 more than those in the bottom 10th. People from India and China have higher incomes than those from Southeast Asia because they have higher levels of education on average.

“Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, they’re primarily refugee populations,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, director of AAPI Data, which publishes demographic data and policy research on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. “Existing immigrant Indians and Chinese are highly educated, and then they recruit their highly skilled relatives,” he added.

Axios reported that Indians on average earn $64,000 a year, and 78.6% have college degrees. But compare that to the lower earning communities like the Afghans ($22,000), Nepalis ($25,000) and Laotians ($32,000).

Ironically, the new figures come at a time when unemployment is at a record low in the US, with businesses craving for skilled workers, who are in paucity. During the financial crisis 10 years ago, the unemployment had peaked at 10%, which today stands at only 3.9%, and falling.

Market Insider noted that for the past few years there’s been an increase in wages for low-end jobs, and an overall decrease in the number of low-paying jobs; and a decrease in wages for higher-end jobs, but an overall increase in the number of middle-end and higher-end jobs.

Whichever way one looks at it, increased immigration from Asia, especially skilled individuals with college degrees, has not harmed America.

(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: sujeet@newsindiatimes.com Follow him on Twitter @SujeetRajan1)

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