Immigration, although it is often spoken about in a negative way, is something that the United States needs to survive. Immigrants coming from other countries bring new ideas and cultures to the U.S. They also fill positions in workplaces that otherwise may be left empty.
These are four questions that may clear up misconceptions about immigrants and immigration. From education to naturalization, here's what you should know.
How many immigrants are living in the United States today?
As of 2016, the Census Bureau believed that there were at least 43.1 million immigrants in the United States. They make up around 13.5% of the population based on that year's data.
Where are the majority of immigrants in America from?
Immigrants can come from anywhere, but the majority come from Mexico, India and China. Immigrants from the Philippines, Vietnam, El Salvador, Korea, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Cuba are also among the most common.
Do immigrants have access to higher education?
What's interesting about immigration from these countries is that many people come to the United States with or later obtain bachelor's degrees or higher education. For example, 7% of people who came to America from Mexico had bachelor's degrees, while 55% from Asia did. Canadian and European populations had a bachelor's degree or higher around 51% of the time. Compare this to native-born Americans. Only 33% of the native-born population has bachelor's degrees.
Should immigrants obtain citizenship?
Immigrants who come to the United States through legal means may have an opportunity to apply for naturalization and citizenship. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services state that becoming a naturalized citizen gives you many new abilities including:
- Being able to travel with a U.S. Passport
- Being able to vote in federal elections
- Having the right to participate on a jury
- Having the ability to run for elective offices where you must be a citizen to apply
- Expanding your ability, and speeding up the ability, to bring your family to the United States
- Being able to obtain certain federal and state benefits that are not available to noncitizens
- Obtaining the right to work in certain federal and law enforcement jobs
- Getting the right to obtain citizenship for minor children who were born abroad
When you are not a citizen but are legally living in the United States permanently, you're known as a legal permanent resident. With this title, you are able to study, work and live in the United States. Legal permanent residents have green identification cards (green cards).
If you are an immigrant or permanent resident in the United States, know that your presence is important. Your attorney can help you seek naturalization.