The biggest wave of new immigrants to America "aren't the poor, tired, huddled masses" described on the Statue of Liberty, the Pew Research Center says. A new report from the center finds that Asians have surpassed Hispanics as America's largest group of new immigrants and are now the country's fastest-growing racial group, as well as its best-educated, reports the Los Angeles Times. Some 430,000 Asians moved to the US in 2010, about 36% of all immigrants, legal and illegal, compared with 370,000 Hispanics, according to the report, which notes that 80% of Asian-Americans are Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, or Vietnamese.
Immigration from Asian countries has risen slightly in recent years but the shift has more to do with the dramatic decline in illegal immigration, according to the report, which estimated that 45% of Hispanics are in the US illegally, compared with 13% to 15% of Asians. American immigration policies that favor skilled and educated workers have also played a part in the change, and Pew believes the new arrivals are probably the best educated immigration group in US history. "A century ago, most Asian-Americans were low-skilled, low-wage laborers crowded into ethnic enclaves and targets of official discrimination," the Pew study notes. "Today they are the most likely of any major racial or ethnic group in America to live in mixed neighborhoods and to marry across racial lines." (Read more Pew Research Center stories.)