Excerpt from today’s Wall Street Journal Online
Updated Sept. 7, 2016 9:15 a.m. ET
Chinese and Indian newcomers to the U.S. are now outpacing Mexican arrivals in most regions of the country, a marked reversal from a decade ago, when immigrants from America’s southern neighbor dwarfed arrivals from the large Asian countries.
A Wall Street Journal analysis of census figures shows that in Illinois, New York, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Georgia and other states, more immigrants from China and India arrived than from Mexico in 2014, the most recent year for which data are available.
That year, about 136,000 people came to the U.S. from India, about 128,000 from China and about 123,000 from Mexico, census figures show. As recently as 2005, Mexico sent more than 10 times as many people to the U.S. as China, and more than six times as many as India.
The figures include people who come legally and illegally, but don’t distinguish between the two. While Chinese and Indian immigrants are far more likely to be in the U.S. legally than those from Mexico, Asians represent one of the fastest-growing segments of undocumented immigrants in the country, researchers say. People from Mexico and other Central American countries account for about 71% of the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population, while Asians account for the second-largest share at 13%, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made stopping illegal immigration from Mexico a centerpiece of his campaign, through his proposed border wall and other enforcement measures. Last week, he also pledged to add thousands of new border enforcement agents.
But demographers say the quick shift in migration flows shows that the campaign discussion’s emphasis on illegal crossings at the nation’s southern border doesn’t tell the whole picture.
“This notion of a wall and of Mexican immigration being the most pressing challenge facing the United States is completely out of touch with the reality we face,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, associate dean of the University of California, Riverside School of Public Policy. Immigration today “is much more Asian.”