Thursday, May 21, 2015
Adding to the previous work on Asian American and Pacific Islanders, the Center for American Progress has published analysis looking at the demographics and contributions to society of Asian immigrants in the United States today.
Today’s Asian immigrant community is diverse: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese immigrants are the top six nationalities of Asian immigrants and account for 85 percent of the total Asian immigrant population. These immigrants have contributed greatly to the overall growth of the U.S. Asian population. Since 2008, Asian immigrants have represented approximately 40 percent of the U.S. foreign-born population compared to 27 percent in 2005. The U.S. Asian population is also majority-foreign born: 66 percent of Asian Americans were born in another country, compared with only 37 percent of Latinos.
While many reasons bring Asian immigrants to the United States, the biggest migration pathway is through family-sponsored visas for relatives of U.S. citizens. For example, among Asian immigrants, 55 percent of visas in 2012 were issued through family-sponsored preferences, of which 35 percent were issued to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.
Nonetheless, Asian immigrants face some of the longest backlogs for visas of any immigrant group. The Immigration and Nationality Act caps visas at 26,000 for any single country. Consequently, countries with the highest family- and employer-sponsored visas have to wait years before reuniting with their families. For example, siblings of adult U.S. citizens from the Philippines wait for more than 25 years for a green card, while the siblings of adult Chinese Americans wait for more than 14 years. Overall, an estimated 4.2 million individuals from Asian countries are currently stuck in family-visa backlogs.