The national conversation on immigration to the U.S. usually centers on migration from Mexico. But demographics show that emigration from several Asian countries to the U.S. is accelerating.
This MarketWatch map, based on U.S. Department of Homeland Security data from 2013, shows the demographic breakdown of the nearly 1 million immigrants who achieved legal status last year -- excluding those from Mexico, who made up about 14.0 percent of the group. China, India, Myanmar and the Philippines were the next most common birth countries of this pool of immigrants.
Asian-Americans were the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country in 2012, surpassing Latinos, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More than 60 percent of this Asian-American growth was attributed to international migration. Chinese are the largest ethnic group under this umbrella, followed by Filipinos and Indians. Among those who received their green cards in the U.S. last year, 7.2 percent were from China and 6.9 percent were from India.
One aspect of this migratory trend centers on heightened U.S. demand for highly skilled workers: About 64.0 percent of H-1B visa recipients came from India in 2012, according to a Department of Homeland Security report.
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Asian immigration to the U.S. has waxed and waned in connection with several waves throughout country’s history, beginning in the 1800s with Chinese and Japanese laborers, whose movements were later curtailed by the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and restrictive citizenship laws for anyone of Asian descent. Another immigration wave followed the passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which ended the decades-old immigration quota system in the U.S. Yet another immigration wave came in the 1980s, when refugees from Southeast Asia sought to flee the turmoil associated with the Vietnam War.
The Census Bureau has predicted ethnic minorities will make up most of the U.S. population by 2042.