Big shift in the immigrant tide away from the southern border

Released: 
June 12, 2013

More Asians than Hispanics now immigrate to the U.S. And theyre highly educated, filling key science roles.

The next big legislative item for both Congress and the White House is immigration reform. A new bill is on the table that would significantly overhaul the current system, legalizing many currently unregistered US residents and potentially allowing the return of some deportees. The big thing that might hold the bill up: the security of the border with Mexico, which conservative legislators see as a key issue. But despite the focus on the southern border, most immigrants to the US never have to pass through it, because they're coming from somewhere else entirely.

Asians, not Hispanics, are now the leading class of immigrants to the US. About 430,000 Asian immigrants arrived in the US in 2010, compared to about 370,000 of Hispanic origin.

The influx of educated Asians is filling the demand for science and engineering talent: Asian students earn 45 percent of engineering PhDs awarded in the US despite comprising only 5.6 percent of the population.

See more in todays infographic, then dig into our roundup of immigration views below in What Do Others Say