Immigration into the USA 1) Motivations for immigrating to the USA Since Columbus discovered America, there has been continuous immigration to America. For the most people America was the \'Promised Land\' and the \'land of unlimited opportunity\'. With their emigration to America people wanted to escape from poverty, unemployment, political and religious persecution. America offered them religious freedom, the freedom of speech and the American Dream promised prosperity. In people`s eyes America is still a symbol of these things. This is why the immigration still does not wear off.
2) Immigration 1996 and 1981-96 in comparison As you can see in 1996 about 915.900 immigrants came to America. Over 35% of the immigrants came from Mexico. In general the countries of birth mainly were Mexico, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, China and the Dominican Republic which shows that in 1996 these countries perhaps had economic problems. In comparison with the immigration from 1981 to 1996 is it remarkable that the countries, from which the immigrants came, were mostly the same. However, there was a big part of immigrants who came from other countries in that period.
Some immigrants for example came from Korea and El Salvador, but if you look at the year of 1996 you will recognize that these countries were not among the top ten of the countries of birth. You can explain this when you know the history of El Salvador. In the 1970s El Salvador had economic problems and was ruled by a military dictatorship. Consequently a civil war followed and quite a lot of people emigrated to the USA in the 1980s. Instead of these countries the number of immigrants who came from the Ukraine and Russia increased, thus they were in the top ten of 1996, this was because of the decline of the Soviet Union, which finally opened its frontiers in 1989. People were now free to leave the Union for emigration, holidays and so on.
In addition you can see in the chart that the share of the immigrants who left their home country Vietnam or China between 1981 and 1996 was higher than in 1996. In conclusion you can say that the main part of the people who immigrated to the USA came from Mexico, the Philippines and the east of Europe. 3) Refugees Furthermore, also refugees came to the USA. From 1981 to 1996 most of the refugees came from Vietnam. One reason for this could be the results of the Vietnam War, because after the war the living conditions in Vietnam were very bad. Further refugees arrived from the Soviet Union, Laos and other countries.
In 1996 the number of refugees who came from Vietnam or Laos decreased but the number of refugees from the Soviet Union increased. 4) Illegal immigration Additionally there is also an illegal immigration rate. From 1992 to 1996 the illegal immigration rate was estimated at about 275.000 people. Most of the illegal immigrants came from Mexico. 5) Naturalization The census of 1990 showed that about 20 mio.
people living in the USA were born in foreign countries. About 12 mio. of these people were still aliens without an American citizenship and about 8 mio. have been naturalized. The main part of foreign-born came from Mexico, but only 23% of them were naturalized. In contrast 72% of the foreign-born who came from Germany and 76% of the foreign-born people from Italy were naturalized.
This shows that people from these countries were more likely to be accepted than people from countries like Mexico. However, when you look at a longer period of time you come to the conclusion that people from Asia are more often naturalized than people from other countries. Samra Obeid , Julia Barchet ; JgSt. 13 Sources: Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)