Asian Immigration Overtakes Hispanic

Illegal immigration down as trends shift

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 6, 2012 11:44 AM CST

(Newser) – With Hispanic immigration—both legal and illegal—to the United States on the decline, Hispanic immigration last year was topped by immigrants from Asia for the first time since 1910, reports the AP in a look at new census data released today. The data also showed that the number of illegal immigrants in America dropped to 11.1 million people last year, down from its peak of 12 million in 2007. Experts say growing economies and aging populations in Latin America make it unlikely those numbers will ever hit the record-setting levels of the mid-2000s.

"The priority now is to push a vigorous debate about the undocumented people already here," said Jose Antonio Vargas, the American journalist who made waves last year when he revealed he was in fact an illegal immigrant from the Philippines, adding "we can't tread water on this issue anymore." Of the foreign-born population living in the United States:

  • 28% are illegal immigrants
  • 31% (12.2 million) are green card holders
  • 37% (15.1 million) are naturalized citizens
  • 44% are now age 45 or older
  • They are more likely than in 2007 to be enrolled in college or graduate school (39%, up from 32%)
  • They're also more likely to be single (17% married, down from 22%)
  • Foreign-born Asians were a bigger source of population gain than Hispanic immigrants in California, New York, Virginia, Illinois, and New Jersey last year

A poster with an image of Cesar Chavez and the motto Si se puede (Yes we can) is seen at an orientation seminar for illegal immigrants at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, Sept. 20, 2012.
A poster with an image of Cesar Chavez and the motto "Si se puede ("Yes we can") is seen at an orientation seminar for illegal immigrants at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles in...   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
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