Why the rise in Asian immigration doesn't scare me

Asian immigration has officially overtaken Hispanic immigration to the U.S. Just as I was about to share a strong opinion on the matter since I am -- after all -- Mexican, I realized something for the first time: Asians want to come to this country, too, but the difference is that they overwhelmingly don't come running away from a poor life or lack of work, they come fully prepared with degrees and technical skills that this country desperately needs.

That's a big difference. And it makes me kind of me sad.

I have been dealing with the green card situation for many years now (after 15 years, a college degree and a successful career, I STILL don't have one). I remember my lawyer saying to me that Mexicans and Chinese had the most trouble getting green cards, because so many of us are applying for citizenship.


U.S. immigration policy favors wealthy and educated workers. However, even educated Asians deal with some of the same issues Latinos have in this country, like racism and stereotyping.

A study by the Pew Research Center describes "the rise of Asian-Americans," as a highly diverse and fast-growing group making up nearly 6% of the U.S. population (mostly from India, China and South Korea). This is a huge change from a decade ago, when 19% of immigrants were Asians and 59% were Hispanics.

Such Asian immigrants are mostly foreign-born and naturalized citizens who are specialized workers and wealthy investors. More than 60% of Asian immigrants (25 to 64) have graduated from college. This is drastically different from the numbers for immigrant-arrivals from Latin America.

Even so, let's be clear about one thing (as we look at these numbers), young Latino voters were able to make immigration a high profile campaign issue, and Obama was forced to waive deportation for young illegal immigrants to win the Latino vote. Latin immigration certainly decreased -- how could it not, due to the terrible, racist laws aimed directly at our people, like Arizona's SB 1070?-- but let's never forget the power of our community.

So maybe not all Hispanics have college degrees but the younger generations are getting prepared and will continue to do so, after all, we're still the largest growing minority group.

Image via Dan Nguyen @ New York City/flickr

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