The U.S.’s second-generation Asian and Hispanic immigrants almost match or even exceed the rest of the population in household income, college graduation rates and home-ownership levels, a study released today said.
Those immigrants also are more likely than their parents to speak English, have friends outside their racial or ethnic group, and view themselves as a “typical American,” the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends Project found.
The report comes as the White House prepares an immigration-policy package opposed by many Republicans who view the new arrivals as a costly population dependent on entitlements and likely to support Democrats. Immigrants and their children are expected to make up as much as 93 percent of the U.S. working-age population growth between now and 2050, according to a 2008 report by Pew cited in the latest study.
“The great American immigration experiment appears to be working in the 21st century as it has in the past,” said Paul Taylor, executive director of the Pew project. “It’s early yet. But so far, so good.”
The 131-page report described the latest tide of newcomers as part of the “Third Wave” of immigrants, including 44.5 million who have arrived in the U.S. since 1965. The second wave, consisting of 18.2 million newcomers, primarily from eastern and southern Europe, occurred from 1890 to 1919, when the U.S. population was 104.5 million. The first wave of 14.3 million immigrants, mostly northern Europeans, took place between 1840 and 1889, when there were 62 million Americans.
About 77 percent of the newest wave of adult immigrants is Hispanic or Asian, the study found. Hispanics gave President Barack Obama 71 percent of their votes in his November re-election, exit polls show; Asians went for Obama by a 73-26 percent margin. The two groups make up half of second-generation immigrants, according to the Washington-based research organization.
The White House is pushing a path to citizenship for more immigrants, including the 11.1 million people, mostly Hispanics, that Pew estimates were living illegally in the U.S. in 2011.
Republicans have argued that any large-scale amnesty plan for illegal immigrants could encourage more people to move to the U.S. without documentation, causing increased demands on strained social services such as Medicaid, the $491 billion federal-state health program that provides care for 54 million poor and disabled Americans.
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