Immigration is a source of population growth for the US with new residents coming from all over the world. In general, immigration is the international movement of individuals from their country of origin to another one that they are not native to possess citizenship, to get an education, to get a job, to live there or only settle down. Throughout the history of the US, immigration has played a significant role in cultural change with the political, social and economic aspects causing a lot of controversy in regards to employment for non-immigrants, crime, voting trends, settlement patterns, ethnicity, upward social mobility and economic benefits. Despite the controversies, immigration plays a significant role in the development of the US economy.
How Many People Immigrate to the United States Per Year?
The History of Immigration
By 1500s America received the first Europeans immigrants of French and Spanish origin, and in 1607 the first English had found a permanent settlement in Jamestown in the Virginia Colony. Some of the early settlers were escaping religious persecution in Europe and by 1620 about 100 people who were later referred to as Pilgrims sought religious freedom in the US, settling in Plymouth, Massachusetts and established a colony. Later they were followed by large groups escaping religious persecution and established the Massachusetts Bay colony. It is estimated that between 1630 and 1640, about 20,000 Puritans moved to the US seeking religious freedom. A large number of immigrants during this period were seeking economic opportunities. There were other groups of people who were forcefully taken to the America against their will. Some were kidnapped in the European cities and taken into servitude in America. There were thousands of convicts taken from Britain to America as servants.
African slaves were another group taken against their will to America. In 1619 the first slaves of about 20 people arrived in Jamestown, Virginia and by 1680 they were 7000 slaves in different colonies. The number grew exponentially to 700,000 by 1790. By the time slavery was outlawed about 4 million slaves were emancipated, through the exact figures will never be known.
Immigration Trends from 1970
During the 19th and 20th, the US had set strict immigration policies that restricted and controlled the number of immigrants entering the country. In 1970 about 373,326 individuals were given the US residence status 60% of whom came from Europe. During the 1980s the number of immigrants increased notably after the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act which allowed for employer hiring non-immigrant individuals to be penalized. The government gave amnesty to approximately 3 million illegal immigrants already in the country, most of whom were of Mexican origin. Immigration trends in the US continued to increase with the year 1990 having about 1,535,872 individuals being given the residence status. However, in 1995 the number of immigrants dropped to 720,177 persons with residence status. The trend of immigration continued to pick up to date, when approximately 1,051,031 individuals were granted the wish to be US residents in 2015.
Who is an immigrant and where do they mostly come from
An immigrant is someone who has moved from their country of origin which is their homeland to another country, for example, the US to become a citizen of that country, if they wish to do so. Just visiting a country, even to work for a few months, does not make you an immigrant. Immigrants are people who live permanently somewhere other than their homeland.