While presidential candidate Donald Trump leads the Republican polls advocating for the construction of a wall between Mexico and the United States, a new Pew Research Center poll shows that Mexican immigration is actually decreasing while Asian immigration is growing more quickly.
The report shows that since 2007, the U.S. has seen more immigration from Asian countries such as China and India than it has seen from Latin America. By 2065, Asians will make up 16 percent of the population, according to Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Research Center. While the Hispanic population is projected to still be larger than the Asian population in 2065, Asian immigration will continue to grow more quickly. Passel said Mexican immigration has been decreasing since 2007 while Asian immigration has been increasing steadily over the last 40 years. Passel said he projects the two will intersect by 2065.
In his front running campaign, Trump focuses on slowing down Latin American immigration, particularly from Mexico which he famously said sends “criminals, drug dealers and rapists.”
“The Mexican government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States,” said Trump in his presidential announcement in June 2015. “They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers and rapists.”
Trump has repeatedly canvassed for an end to Mexican immigration but he has said virtually nothing about immigrants arriving from Asia. His stance echoes popular attitudes about immigrants. While 47 percent of U.S. adults say Asian immigrants have a mostly positive impact on American society, only 26 percent of Americans say Latin American immigrants have a positive impact on American society, according to the Pew report.
Passel said he hopes this report will inform people debating about immigration in politics.
“There are people who want to restrict immigration and there are people who want to increase immigration,” said Passel. “There are people who are concerned about change of the U.S. population – both racial and ethnic change – and they will read into these data.”
Passel said immigrants are integrating into American society today more quickly than they did 100 years ago and the lines the report draws are becoming vague because of intermarriage.
He said that when immigrants came to the U.S. from Europe, they were identified by race and religion. Today all of those people – Italians, Irish, Russians, Jews – are categorized non-Hispanic whites.
“We don’t know how people will identify themselves in the future,” he said. “Americans have been worried about the current immigrants because they’re coming from different places but if you look at history, we integrate immigrants well.”