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China Has Overtaken Mexico In Number Of Immigrants To The U.S.

In a trend that’s sure to surprise many anti-immigration and border control advocates, China is now the number one place from where immigrants are coming to the United States. In 2013 147,000 Chinese people immigrated to the United States. That’s compared to 125,000 from Mexico and 127,000 from India. So, really Mexico is only in the top three. The legal status of those immigrants is in dispute as many who are here undocumented don’t report their status for fear of being deported. The Chinese immigration can really be seen in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in which Chinatowns have existed for over a century. In New York City, where I live, these Chinatowns have taken over entire parts of the city as the Chinese community grows.

What’s interesting to me about these trends is the fact that anti-immigration activists don’t talk about it. They seem much more concerned with the immigrants coming from south of the border than they do with those coming from the east. Why is that? There is no reason to believe that immigrants from China or India are any less of a threat to “taking American jobs” than Latinos. There are certainly as many criminal elements among the triads of China as there are among the cartels of Mexico. So, what is it that makes immigration from Latin America so much less palatable to many Americans than people coming from China? Is it simply racism? The perception that Chinese immigrants are “hard workers” and Latinos are lazy? It’s hard to say. One thing is for sure and that’s that there is definitely a cultural divide in the way these two immigrant groups are perceived.

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