There’s a WRM piece in the Wall Street Journal out today about the likely impact of the latest big wave of immigrants to reach the United States. The main takeaway: immigration in this country is not what you think. Immigrants from Asia have now replaced immigrants from the Spanish speaking world as the largest source of new immigrants, and the Asians tend to be well educated, well skilled, and when they get here they do very well.
The conventional picture is of an unstoppable wave of unskilled, mostly Spanish-speaking workers—many illegal—coming across the Mexican border. People who see immigration this way fear that, instead of America assimilating the immigrants, the immigrants will assimilate us. But this picture is both out of date and factually wrong.
A report released this month by the Pew Research Center shows just how much the face of immigration has changed in the past few years. Since 2008, more newcomers to the U.S. have been Asian than Hispanic (in 2010, it was 36% of the total, versus 31%). Today’s typical immigrant is not only more likely to speak English and have a college education, but also to have come to the U.S. legally, with a job already in place.
Read the whole thing. America’s extraordinary ability to attract talented people from all over the world remains one of our greatest national strengths, and this latest wave of immigrants is one of the factors that keeps me optimistic about America’s potential in the 21st century.