For the first time, the influx of Asians moving to the U.S. has surpassed that of Hispanics, reflecting a slowdown in illegal immigration while American employers increase their demand for high-skilled workers.
An expansive study by the Pew Research Center details what it describes as "the rise of Asian-Americans," a highly diverse and fast-growing group making up nearly 6 percent of the U.S. population. Mostly foreign-born and naturalized citizens, their numbers have been boosted by increases in visas granted to specialized workers and to wealthy investors as the U.S. economy becomes driven less by manufacturing and more by technology.
"Too often the policy debates on immigration fixate on just one part - illegal immigration," said Karthick Ramakrishnan, a political science professor at the University of California-Riverside and a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. "U.S. immigration is more diverse and broader than that, with policy that needs to focus also on high-skilled workers."
"With net migration from Mexico now at zero, the role of Asian-Americans has become more important," he said.
About 430,000 Asians, or 36 percent of all new immigrants, arrived in the U.S. in 2010, according to the latest census data. That's compared to about 370,000, or 31 percent, who were Hispanic.
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