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The History of Immigration in the United States

Timelines, trends and stories about the history of immigration in the U.S.

Rutgers Study Examines Poverty Rate of Immigrant Children
A Rutgers University study found that the poverty rate of immigrant children did not have a great influence on the poverty rate of the general population of U.S. children in recent decades.

Many Immigrants Reject Citizenship Path
Many unauthorized immigrants choose not to take the path to citizenship, history of 1986 immigration reform law shows.

Undocumented Immigrants Pay Many Taxes
A 2013 study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy finds that undocumented immigrants pay lots of taxes and would pay more to lift the U.S. economy under comprehensive immigration reform.

'Against the Tide,' Story of Jupiter's El Sol Center
The book "Against the Tide" tells the story of how Jupiter, Fla., dealt with immigration tensions by creating the El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center.

What Is the Immigration Reform Act of 1986?
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, sought to end illegal immigration into the United States by granting legal status to about 3 million undocumented residents.

Immigrants Lift Housing Market
Immigrant homeownership is rising steadily and it helped carry the U.S. economy through the national housing crash during the last decade.

Immigrants Assimilating Fast
A Pew Research Center finds that second-generation immigrants are assimilating fast, earning and learning more than their parents' generation.

Mexican Homebuyers Flee to Texas
Mexican immigrants are fleeing the drug violence in their country and buying homes in Texas, boosting the state's real estate market during the U.S. recession.

What's the History of Comprehensive Immigration Reform?
The comprehensive immigration reform legislation in Congress includes provisions to increase border security and create a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants living in the country.

New York City's Immigrant Population Soars
New York City's immigrant population has soared, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg's calls for comprehensive immigration reform have gotten louder.

Americans' View of Immigration Grows More Positive
A Gallup poll in 2012 finds that Americans' attitudes toward immigrants and immigration has grown more positive over the last five years.

Asian Immigrants' Numbers Surpass Hispanics
Asian Immigrants Surpass Hispanics

U.S. Attracts Christians, Buddhists
The United States has become the No. 1 destination for Christian and Buddhist immigrants.

The Top Immigration Embarrassments of 2011
Where there's immigration law and politics, there's bound to be embarrassment. And 2011 had plenty of it.

New Immigrants Assimilating Into U.S. Society
Study shows that new immigrants are assimilating into American society.

The Top 10 Immigration Stories of 2011
Here are the Top 10 immigration stories of the last year:

Immigrant Soldiers Gave Much to U.S. in Iraq
Immigrant soldiers contributed much to the U.S. effort in the Iraq war.

Midwest Needs Immigrant Workers
A 2013 study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs concludes that immigrant workers are essential to the Midwest's economy, and the region needs comprehensive immigration reform from Washington.

Asian-American Communities Expanding
Asian-Americans are expanding from traditional population centers on the U.S. coasts to form new communities in the Sunbelt and Heartland.

Legal Immigrants and Personal Responsibility
During the spring of 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that lawyers are required to inform their clients if their guilty pleas carry a risk of deportation. Shouldn't legal immigrants avoid engaging in illegal activities in the first place? We explore this issue using the Padilla vs. Kentucky case as an example.

U.S. Allows Cuban Migrants Different Treatment
The United States gives migrants from Cuba special treatment under the "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy.

Obama's Message at the March 2010 Immigration Rally
On Sunday, March 21, 2010, the country was focused on the historic health care legislation vote. All, that is, except for the over 200,000 people who filled the Washington Mall to urge the President and Congress to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform.

Census 2010 FAQs For Immigrants
All residents of the United States, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, will be counted in the 2010 census. Read some census FAQs of special interest to immigrants.

Historical U.S. Immigration Records
Researching your family history? USCIS allows researchers to search its historical databases for immigration records.

Obama's Aunt Ignored Deportation Order
A few days before the November 2008 presidential election, a leak revealed that Zeituni Onyango, half-sister of Barack Obama’s late father, was living illegally in South Boston after ignoring a 2004 deportation order.

Immigration and the President's 2011 Budget
On February 1, 2010, President Obama released his full budget for Fiscal Year 2011. The President continues to make border security and immigration enforcement his main focus.

Janet Napolitano's Second Oversight Hearing of the Dept. of H…
On December 9, 2009, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and provided an update on how the department is dealing with important immigration issues.

Immigration at the 2009 North American Leaders Summit
Immigration-related excerpts from the transcript of the press conference by U.S. President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon on August 10, 2009 during the North American Leaders Summit in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Sotomayor Confirmation Hearing Excerpts on Immigration
Immigration-related excerpts from the transcript of the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Senator Al Franken on Immigration
Minnesota Senator Al Franken's views on immigration.

Study Predicts Housing Boost From Reform
National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals releases a study that suggests comprehensive immigration reform would add 3 million new home buyers and at least $500 billion to the U.S. economy.

President Obama Launches Immigration Reform
Thursday, June 25, 2009 marked the first meeting between President Obama and members of Congress to discuss immigration reform.

What is the Difference Between INS and USCIS?
The names INS and USCIS are often used interchangeably to refer to the agency that administers immigration and naturalization services within the United States, but do they mean the same thing?

Immigration and the President's 2010 Budget
On May 2, 2009, President Obama released his full budget providing all the details for the blueprint that Congress approved in the Budget Resolution. Border security and immigration enforcement rather than making the process easier for current legal immigrants.

Janet Napolitano at the Oversight Hearing of the Department of Homeland Security
On May 6, 2009, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and provided an update on how the department is dealing with important immigration issues.

President Obama's First 100 Days and Immigration
The first 100 days in office yardstick is important to every President. Unfortunately for Americans, immigration reform was not one of President Obama's first-100-days key issues.

Janet Napolitano Testifies at Senate Confirmation Hearing
On January 15, 2009, Homeland Security Secretary designate and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano testified at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Top 10 Immigration Issues of 2008
Campaign promises are easier to keep when you don't make any, and immigration wasn't on the agenda for most of the 2008 election year. Immigration might not have grabbed the limelight in 2008 but there was certainly no shortage of news stories. The following top 10 immigration issues were popular in 2008.

The History of Naturalization Requirements
The history of naturalization requirements can be found in the legislative history of immigration to the United States.

Ellis Island Immigration Center
More than 20 million immigrants passed through the nation's premier federal immigration station between 1892 and 1924. Over 40 percent of America's population can trace their ancestry through Ellis Island.

Immigrant Remittances Stabilize
Immigrant workers' remittances from the United States to Latin America and the Caribbean is gradually returning to pre-recession levels.

Mexican-American Population Spikes in U.S.
A Pew study finds that births, not immigration, is the leading growth factor in the U.S. Hispanic population. Mexican-Americans are leading the surge.

The 2012 Green Card Lottery Mess
A computer glitch caused huge problems in 2012 green card lottery.

How To Visit the U.S. Without a Visa
The United States' Visa Waiver Program allows foreign nationals to come here for up to 90 days for business or travel without applying for a visa.

Hispanics Have Highest Child Poverty Rate
Researchers found that more Hispanic children live in poverty in the United States than children of any other racial or ethnic group.

Silicon Valley Assists Undocumented Students
Leaders in the tech industry are helping undocumented students as they wait for DREAM Act to become a reality.

Mexican Migration Trend Reverses
Pew study finds an historic reversal of Mexican migration across the U.S. border.

Illegal Immigrant Numbers Hold Steady
Homeland Security study finds U.S. population of illegal immigrants holding steady at 11.5 million.

Census Study Finds Historic Population Shift
A Census Bureau study shows minorities make up more than half the country's new babies, an historic shift in the U.S. population.

Study: State Immigration Laws Hinder Police
Study finds that harsh state immigration laws hinder police and make communities less safe.

Mayors' Study Calls for Visa Reforms
Mayors' study supports making more visas available for highly skilled immigrants and foreign workers.

Supreme Court Rejects Most of Arizona Immigration Law
The Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision, rejected most of Arizona's SB 1070 immigration law and sent a message to state legislatures about federal sovereignty when it comes to making laws aimed at illegal immigrants.

Arguments Against Arizona Law
Opponents of Arizona's immigration law and those that followed believe they are unconstitutional, promote profiling and damage local economies.

Profile of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was an enthusiastic opponent of illegal immigration and supporter of the controversial law Senate Bill 1070 when she signed it into law.

Study: St. Louis Needs More Immigrants
Researcher finds that St. Louis needs more immigrants to stimulate its stagnant economy.

What Health Care Ruling Means for Immigrants
Supreme Court ruling means immigrants with legal residency can buy health care insurance but undocumented immigrants are excluded.

Anti-Immigrant Hate Groups
A list of active anti-immigrant hate groups from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio - An Immigrant's Worst Enemy
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County has earned the reputation of being "America's Toughest Sheriff," but for many, Sheriff Joe takes immigration enforcement too far. Yet even with lawsuits surrounding the Sheriff and increasing restrictions on his from ICE, Sheriff Joe has vowed to "continue the fight on illegal immigration."

Catholic Bishops Back Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Catholic bishops recognize the church's long history of immigrant advocacy and back comprehensive immigration reform, the DREAM Act and a guest-worker program.

U.S. Economy Dictates Migration
As the U.S economy improves and the historic recession recedes, more migrants from Mexico are crossing the border to find jobs here.

Is It Hispanic or Latino?
Whether to use Hispanic or Latino is still a complicated matter that Americans have debated for decades.

What Is a Guest-Worker Program?
Over the years, guest-worker programs have allowed foreign workers to enter the United States for a specified period of time and fill specific jobs.

Immigrants Fueling Iowa, Nebraska Economies
University of Nebraska Omaha study finds that, even in recession, immigrants are essential to the economies of Nebraska and Iowa.

Top Immigration Stories of 2012
President Obama's reelection was the major immigration story of 2012, a year with historic demographic shifts, political consequences and a major Supreme Court decision.

Immigrant Birth Rate Falls
Pew study finds that immigrant women are leading a sharp downturn of the birth rate in the United States

What Was 'Operation Peter Pan'?
About 14,000 Cuban children were brought to the United States between 1960 and 1962 during the CIA's Operation Peter Pan to escape Fidel Castro's oppressive regime.

Immigrants Learn English Faster Outside 'Enclaves'
Purdue study finds that immigrants will learn English faster when they aren't part of 'ethnic enclave' communities.

The American Immigrant Wall of Honor
The American Immigrant Wall of Honor at Ellis Island in New York Harbor is a permanent exhibit celebrating American immigration. It is inscribed with over 700,000 names representing immigrants both living and deceased, from all nations and all points of entry. Names are also searchable online.

Historical Immigrant Data and a History of Immigration Legislation
FAIR provides historical immigrant admission data from 1821 to 2006, as well as a history of immigration legislation from 1790.

Immigration: The Changing Face of America
A feature presentation from the Library of Congress. Although it has been designed for students and educators, the content will appeal to anyone interested in the history of U.S. immigration.

Report Favors Comprehensive Reform Over Enforcement-Only
Center for American Progress study concludes that comprehensive immigration reform boosts the U.S. economy and that enforcement-only policy damages it.

Illegal Immigration Increasing?
Pew Research Center report suggests that illegal immigration may be increasing along the U.S.-Mexico border as economy improves.

Bipartisan Policy Center Study
A Bipartisan Policy Center study found that comprehensive immigration reform would boost the U.S. economy, create jobs and stimulate housing.

What Are Sanctuary Cities?
Sanctuary cities have ordered their police and employees not to question people about their immigration status, leaving that to the federal government.

Poll Affirms Comprehensive Immigration Reform
A poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found widespread support for comprehensive immigration reform and little risk for Republican lawmakers who are opposing it.

The Top Immigration Stories for 2013
The top immigration stories for 2013.

Migrants Still Coming to U.S. To Find Work, Send Money Home

What Is the United States Refugee Act of 1980?

The Top Immigration Studies of 2013
The top immigration studies of 2013 gave insight into the policies that boost the U.S. economy and how immigrants are assimilating in the United States.

More Private Detention Centers Incarcerate Immigrants
GEO Group runs immigrant detention centers for the federal government.

Supreme Court Rejects Hazleton, Farmers Branch Appeals
Supreme Court refuses to hear appeals of immigration lawmaking towns, Hazleton and Farmers Branch.

Supreme Court Passes on Maryland Immigration Case
Supreme Court passes on key Frederick, Md., immigration case of Salvadoran woman arrested by deputies.

Christians Support Immigration Reform Efforts
Pew researchers find Christians support comprehensive immigration reform, with Catholics leading the way.

New York Immigrants Boost City's Economy
Study finds that immigrants helped carry New York City's economy through the recession.

What Is Family Reunification?
Family unification, keeping family members together, is an important principle of U.S. immigration policy.

Germany, United States Top Destinations for Migrants
United States and Germany lead the world in drawing migrant workers and immigrants.

Surge of Migrant Children Hits U.S.-Mexico Border
The number of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally soared in 2014.

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