Immigration into the U.S., legal and illegal, hit a record in 2016, a record which is expected to be broken in 2018, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The Center for Immigration Studies says 1.75 million people entered the U.S. either legally or illegally in 2016, tying a figure set in 1999, and demonstrating a full rebound from the sharp drop in immigration which accompanied the Great Recession of 2008-2012.
Latin America supplanted Asia as the leading source for both legal and illegal immigration in 2016, reflecting an uptick in dysfunctional regimes in places like Venezuela, and the rise of violence and the rule of violent gangs in many parts of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Immigration from Central America tripled between 2011 and 2016.
The Center cites several reasons for the sharp increase in immigration.
It says the U.S. booming tech sector is requesting more work visas to bring skilled tech workers to the U.S., mainly from India and China. Civil wars, violence, and dysfunction in Central America, parts of South America, and much of the Middle East and Africa, is contributing to the uptick. And, for the first time, the success of capitalism is allowing people far from the U.S. to seek safety from persecution and violence, where previously they would simply have been relegated to becoming victims.
Mexico and India were tied as the top sending nations to the U.S. in 2016, with China a close third.
The Center also cited the 'generous' immigration policies in the U.S, as well as the birthright citizenship laws which are currently being challenged by President Trump.
This immigration is leading to significant demographic changes across the U.S. The number of immigrants form China is up 31% since 1990. The number of natives of India is up 47%. Double digit increases are seen in the number of natives of more than a dozen countries, ranging from Saudi Arabia to Nigeria to Kenya to Bangladesh and Nepal, which have doubled their representation in the U.S.
GRAPHIC: CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES