US Forces to Increase to 125,000 - History

US Forces to Increase to 125,000 - History

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July 25, 1965

US Troops in the field

President Johnson announces an increase in U.S. military forces in Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000. He also announces an increase in the monthly draft from 17,000 to 35,000. On July 29th, the first 4,000 paratroopers of the 101st airborne division arrive in Vietnam.

More than 125,000 teachers in Myanmar suspended for opposing coup

More than 125,000 school teachers in Myanmar have been suspended by the military authorities for joining a civil disobedience movement to oppose the military coup in February, an official of the Myanmar Teachers' Federation said.

The suspensions have come days before the start of a new school year, which some teachers and parents are boycotting as part of the campaign that has paralysed the country since the coup cut short a decade of democratic reforms.

A total of 125,900 school teachers had been suspended as of Saturday, said the official of the teachers' federation, who declined to give his name for fear of reprisals. He is already on the junta's wanted list on charges of inciting disaffection.

Myanmar had 430,000 school teachers according to the most recent data, from two years ago.

"These are just statements to threaten people to come back to work. If they actually fire this many people, the whole system will stop," said the official, who is also a teacher. He said he had been told that the charges he faces would be dropped if he returns.

Reuters was unable to reach a junta spokesman or the education ministry for comment. The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper has called on teachers and students to return to schools to get the education system started again.

The disruption at schools echoes that in the health sector and across government and private business since the Southeast Asian country was plunged into chaos by the coup and the arrest of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Around 19,500 university staff have also been suspended, according to the teachers' group.

Parents keep children home

Registrations begin next week for the school term that starts in June, but some parents said they also plan to keep their children out of school.

"I am not going to enrol my daughter because I don't want to give her education from military dictatorship. I also worry about her safety," said 42-year-old Myint, whose daughter is 14.

Students, who have been at the forefront of daily protests at which hundreds of people have been killed by security forces, also said they planned to boycott classes.

"I will only go back to school if we get back democracy," said Lwin, 18.

Myanmar's education system was already one of the poorest in the region - and ranked 92 of 93 countries in a global survey last year.

Even under the leadership of Suu Kyi, who had championed education, spending was below 2% of gross domestic product. That was one of the lowest rates in the world, according to World Bank figures.

A National Unity Government, set up underground by opponents of the junta, said it would do all it could to support the teachers and students itself - calling on foreign donors to stop funding the junta-controlled education ministry.

"We will work with Myanmar's educators who are refusing to support the cruel military," Sasa, who goes by one name and is a spokesman for the national unity government, said in an email to Reuters. "These great teachers and brave teachers will never be left behind."

American Latino Theme Study

This essay explores the history of Latino immigration to the U.S. with particular emphasis on issues of citizenship and non-citizenship, political controversies over immigration policy, and the global economic context in which regional migration and immigration have occurred.

An Historic Overview of Latino Immigration and the Demographic Transformation of the United States
David G. Gutiérrez

Immigration from Latin America&mdashand the attendant growth of the nation's Hispanic or Latino population&mdashare two of the most important and controversial developments in the recent history of the United States. Expanding from a small, regionally concentrated population of fewer than 6 million in 1960 (just 3.24 percent of the U.S. population at the time), to a now widely dispersed population of well more than 50 million (or 16 percent of the nation's population), Latinos are destined to continue to exert enormous impact on social, cultural, political, and economic life of the U.S. [1]Although space limitations make it impossible to provide a comprehensive account of this complex history, this essay is intended to provide an overview of the history of Latino immigration to the U.S. with particular emphasis on issues of citizenship and non-citizenship, the long running political controversies over immigration policy, and the global economic context in which regional migration and immigration have occurred. The essay suggests that the explosive growth of the nation's pan-Latino population is the result of the intricate interplay of national, regional, and global economic developments, the history of U.S. military and foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere, the checkered history of international border enforcement and interdiction efforts, and, not least, the aspirations of Latin American migrants and potential migrants themselves.

Foundational Population Movements: Mexico

The history of Latino migration to the U.S. has complex origins rooted in the nation's territorial and economic expansion. Technically, the first significant influx of Latino immigrants to the U.S. occurred during the California Gold Rush, or just after most of the modern boundary between the U.S. and Mexico was established at the end of the U.S.-Mexican War (1846-48). Under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (signed outside of Mexico City in February 1848), the Republic of Mexico ceded to the U.S. more than one-third of its former territory, including what are now the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, and parts of several other states. In addition, the treaty also offered blanket naturalization to the estimated 75,000 to 100,000 former citizens of Mexico who chose to remain north of the new border at the end of the war.[2]

With exception of the approximately 10,000 Mexican miners who entered California during the Gold Rush, migration from Mexico was very light during most of the 19th century, averaging no more than 3,000 to 5,000 persons per decade in the period between 1840 and 1890.[3] This changed dramatically at the beginning of next century. As the pace of economic development in the American West accelerated after the expansion of the regional rail system in the 1870s and 1880s, and as the supply of labor from Asian nations was dramatically reduced by a series of increasingly restrictive immigration laws beginning in 1882, U.S. employers began to look to Mexico to fill a dramatically rising demand for labor in basic industries including agriculture, mining, construction, and transportation (especially railroad construction and maintenance). Drawn to the border region by the simultaneous economic development of northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S. (largely facilitated by the eventual linkage of the American and Mexican rail systems at key points along the U.S.-Mexico border), at least 100,000 Mexicans had migrated to the U.S. by 1900. The outbreak of the Mexican Revolution in 1910 greatly intensified the movement of people within Mexico and eventually across the border, a trend that continued for the first three decades of the 20th century.

Historical migration statistics for this period are notoriously inaccurate because of inconsistent enumeration techniques, changing methods of ethnic and racial classification in the U.S., and the fairly constant movement of uncounted thousands of undocumented migrants into and out of U.S. territory. Extrapolation from both U.S. and Mexican census sources, however, provides a sense of the magnitude of population movement over this period. In 1900, the number of Mexican nationals living in the U.S. reached 100,000 for the first time and continued to rise dramatically thereafter, doubling to at least 220,000 in 1910, and then doubling again to 478,000 by 1920. In 1930, at the beginning of the Great Depression, the number of resident Mexican nationals is conservatively estimated to have increased to at least 639,000. When combined with the original Mexican American population (that is, the descendants of the former citizens of Mexico who lived in the Southwest at the end of the U.S.-Mexican War), the total Mexican-origin or heritage population of the U.S. in 1930 was probably at least 1.5 million, with the largest concentrations in the states of Texas, California, and Arizona, and a smaller yet significant number working in industrial jobs in the Midwest, especially in the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Detroit, and Gary, Indiana.[4]

Despite a brief reversal of migration flows during the Great Depression, when an estimated 350,000 to 500,000 Mexican immigrants and their children were pressured or compelled to leave the country in a mass repatriation campaign coordinated by local, state, and federal officials, Mexican migration trends seen earlier in the century quickly resumed after the U.S. entered the Second World War in 1941.[5]Facing a significant farm labor shortage as a result of conscription and war mobilization, U.S. employer lobbies convinced the Federal Government to approach Mexico about the possibility of implementing an emergency bilateral labor agreement. Still stinging from the humiliation suffered by Mexican nationals and their children during the repatriation campaigns of the previous decade, Mexican government officials were at first reluctant to enter into such an agreement, but after securing guarantees from U.S. officials that contract workers would be provided transportation to and from Mexico, a fair wage, decent food and housing, and basic human rights protections, the two governments signed the Emergency Farm Labor Agreement in the summer of 1942.[6]

Soon dubbed the Bracero Program (from the Spanish colloquial word for manual laborer) this new guest worker program had a number of important long-term effects. On the most fundamental level, the program not only reopened the southern border to Mexican labor, but also more significantly, reinstituted the use of large numbers of immigrant workers in the U.S. economy for the first time since the Depression. The scale of the program remained fairly modest through the war years, with an average of about 70,000 contract laborers working in the country each year during the war. Over time, however, the Bracero Program, which was extended by various means after the war, had the effect of priming the pump for the much more extensive use of such workers. By 1949, the number of imported contract workers had jumped to 113,000, and then averaged more than 200,000 per year between 1950 and 1954. During the peak years of the program between 1955 and 1960, an average of more than 400,000 laborers (predominantly from Mexico, but augmented by smaller numbers of Jamaicans, Bahamians, Barbadians, and Hondurans as well) were employed in the U.S. By the time the program was finally terminated in 1964, nearly 5 million contracts had been issued.[7]

The guest worker program instituted in the early 1940s also had the largely unanticipated effect of increasing both sanctioned and unsanctioned migration to the U.S. from Mexico. By reinforcing communication networks between contract workers and their friends and families in their places of origin in Mexico, increasing numbers of Mexicans were able to gain reliable knowledge about labor market conditions, employment opportunities, and migration routes north of the border. Consequently, the number of Mexicans who legally immigrated to the U.S. increased steadily in the 1950s and 1960s, rising from just 60,000 in the decade of the 1940s to 219,000 in the 1950s and 459,000 in the 1960s.[8]

More importantly over the long run, the Bracero Program helped to stimulate a sharp increase in unauthorized Mexican migration. Drawn to the prospect of improving their material conditions in the U.S. (where wages were anywhere from seven to ten times higher than those paid in Mexico), tens of thousands of Mexicans (almost all of them males of working age) chose to circumvent the formal labor contract process and instead crossed the border surreptitiously. This was seen in the sudden increase in the apprehension of unauthorized immigrants, which rose from a negligible number in 1940, to more than 91,000 in 1946, nearly 200,000 in 1947, and to more than 500,000 by 1951.[9]

The increasing circulation of unauthorized workers in this era suited employers, who sought to avoid the red tape and higher costs associated with participation in the formal labor importation program, and would-be Mexican braceros who were unable to secure contracts through official means. Indeed, the mutual economic incentives for unsanctioned entry (bolstered by ever more sophisticated and economically lucrative smuggling, communication, and document-forging networks) increased so much in this period that it is estimated that at different times, the ratio of unauthorized workers to legally contracted braceros was at least two-to-one, and in some cases, was even higher in specific local labor markets. That the use of unauthorized labor had become a systemic feature of the U.S. economy is further reflected in that fact that over the 24 years of the Bracero Program, the estimated number of unauthorized persons apprehended&mdashnearly 5 million&mdashwas roughly equivalent to the total number of official contracts issued. [10]

Although the U.S. government has never achieved an accurate count of the number of unauthorized Mexican migrants circulating or settling in the U.S. at any one time, population movement of this magnitude inevitably contributed to a steady increase in the permanent resident ethnic Mexican population. According to U.S. Census data (which again, significantly undercounted undocumented residents in each census) and recent demographic analyses, the total ethnic Mexican population of both nationalities in the U.S. grew from about 1.6 million 1940, to 2.5 million in 1950, and reached 4 million by 1960.[11]The historical significance of the Bracero Program as a precursor to neoliberal economic practices and a driver of demographic change has recently been recognized in a number of public history projects, including the Smithsonian's ongoing Bracero Archive project and the "Bittersweet Harvest" traveling exhibition.[12]

The growth of the Puerto Rican population in the continental U.S. has even more complicated origins. Almost exactly a half-century after the end of the Mexican War, the island of Puerto Rico became an "unincorporated territory" of the U.S. after Spain ceded the island and other colonial possessions at the end of the Spanish-American War of 1898. In the first years of American rule, Puerto Ricans were governed under the terms of the Foraker Act of 1900, which established the island as unincorporated possession of the U.S. and provided a civil government consisting of a Governor appointed by the U.S. President, an Executive Council comprised of 6 Americans and 5 Puerto Ricans, and an integrated court system. In 1917, the U.S. Congress, responding to an increasingly aggressive Puerto Rican independence movement, passed the Jones Act. The Jones Act sought to quell local unrest by providing a number of political reforms including a bicameral legislature (although still under the ultimate authority of a U.S.-appointed Governor, the U.S. Congress, and President of the U.S.), and a Puerto Rican Bill of Rights. More importantly, the Jones Act granted U.S. citizenship to all Puerto Ricans except those who made a public choice to renounce this option, a momentous decision made by nearly 300 Puerto Ricans at the time.[13]

Although the authors of the Jones Act had not anticipated that their actions would open the door to Puerto Rican migration to the continental U.S., the extension of U.S. citizenship to island residents ended up having just this effect. Indeed, one of the lasting ironies of the U.S. government's action in 1917 was that even though congressional leaders had expected to continue to control Puerto Rico as a remote colonial possession, a Supreme Court ruling soon revealed the Pandora's Box Congress had opened by granting U.S. citizenship to the island's inhabitants. In the case Balzac v. Porto Rico (1922), the Court held that although Puerto Ricans on the island did not have the same constitutional standing as "ordinary" U.S. citizens (based on the logic that the Constitution's plenary power granted Congress almost unlimited authority to decide which specific rights people in unincorporated territory could enjoy), it also ruled that the conferral of citizenship allowed Puerto Ricans the unfettered right to migrate anywhere within U.S. jurisdiction. More importantly, the Court ruled further that once there, Puerto Ricans were by law "to enjoy every right of any other citizen of the U.S., civic, social, and political."[14]

Puerto Ricans soon took advantage of this oversight by exercising one of the most basic rights of U.S. citizenship&mdashthat of free movement within the territorial boundaries of the U.S. and its possessions. Beginning soon after the Balzac ruling, but increasingly after the Great Depression, growing numbers of Puerto Ricans began moving to the continent, and especially to New York City. Migration from the island was spurred by an evolving colonial economy that simply did not provide sufficient employment to keep up with population growth. Prior to the 1930s, the Puerto Rican economy was heavily oriented toward sugar production, which required intensive labor for only half the year and idled cane workers for the rest of the year. With unemployment now a structural feature of the island economy, the first wave of Puerto Ricans began to leave for the mainland, searching either for work or after having been recruited to work in the agricultural industry. Consequently, the mainland population began to grow. Between 1930 and the outbreak of the Second World War, the mainland Puerto Rican population grew modestly from 53,000 to nearly 70,000, though by now, the overwhelming majority of Puerto Ricans (nearly 88 percent) could be found in New York City where they became low-wage workers in the region's expanding clothing manufacturing and service sectors. In addition, Puerto Rican entrepreneurs also began to expand what would soon become a thriving ethnic economy servicing the needs of the region's rapidly expanding population.[15]

Puerto Rican emigration to the mainland accelerated after the war. Facing chronic unemployment on the island (which fluctuated between 10.4 percent and 20 percent for the entire period between 1949 and 1977), and the dislocations in both the rural and urban work forces caused in part by "Operation Bootstrap," a massive government sponsored plan to attract investment and light industry to the island, the Puerto Rican mainland population jumped from fewer than 70,000 in 1940 to more than 300,000 in 1950 and continued to climb to 887,000 by 1960. Although the systematic shift from agriculture to "export-platform industrialization" under Operation Bootstrap was intended to stimulate economic growth and lift workers out of poverty (which occurred for a minority of Puerto Rican workers) chronic unemployment and underemployment&mdashand the economically driven migration that resulted&mdashhave been facts of Puerto Rican economic life since the 1950s.[16]

Demographic Developments since 1960

The demographic landscape of Latino America began to change dramatically in the 1960s as a result of a confluence of economic and geopolitical trends. In 1959, a revolutionary insurgency in Cuba led by Fidel Castro and Ernesto "Ché" Guevara shocked the world by overthrowing the regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista. Although Castro's political intentions remained unclear in the first months of his rule, by 1960 the ruling junta made it plain that it intended to rule Cuba under Marxist principles. In quick succession, a series of political purges and trials, expropriations, the nationalization of key industries and institutions (including labor unions and private schools), and the aborted invasion attempt by Cuban exiles at the infamous Bay of Pigs in the spring of 1961, led to a mass exodus of disaffected Cubans. Although a significant Cuban population had existed in the U.S. since the 19th century (mainly concentrated in Florida and New York City), virtually overnight the exodus of Cubans after the revolution created a major new Latino American population. Numbering fewer than 71,000 nationwide in 1950, the Cuban immigrant population shot up to 163,000 by 1960. [17]

A second wave of Cuban immigration occurred between 1965 and the early 1970s when the Castro regime agreed to allow Cubans who wished to be reunited with family members already in the U.S. to do so. Although initially caught by surprise by the Cuban government's decision, U.S. immigration officials provided a mechanism for the orderly entry of nearly 300,000 additional Cuban refugees. As a result, the Cuban population of the U.S. reached 638,000 by 1970, which accounted for 7.2 percent of nation's Latino population at the time.[18] During the 1980s, a third wave of out-migration from Cuba occurred (the infamous "Mariel boatlift"), swelling the numbers of Cubans in the U.S. by another 125,000.[19] These three major waves of post-1960 immigration provided the foundation for the modern Cuban American population, which currently stands at nearly 1.786 million, or 3.5 percent of the pan-Latino population of the U.S.[20]

The majority of Cubans and their children have tended to congregate in South Florida (nearly 70 percent of all Cubans continue to reside in Florida) but over time, Cubans and Cuban Americans&mdashlike other Latino migrants&mdashhave become more geographically dispersed over time. Although the different socioeconomic profiles of the three distinct waves of Cuban migration created a heterogeneous population in class terms, in aggregate, the immigrants that established the Cuban American population have the highest levels of socioeconomic attainment of the three major Latino subpopulations in the U.S. For example, in 2008, 25 percent of Cubans and Cuban Americans over age 25 had obtained at least a college degree (compared to just 12.9 percent of the overall U.S. Latino population) median income for persons over 16 was $26,478 (compared to median earnings of $21,488 for all Latinos) and 13.2 percent of Cubans lived below the poverty line (compared to 20.7 percent of the Latino population and 12.7 percent of the general U.S. population at that time).[21]

Political turmoil elsewhere in Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s&mdashparticularly in the Central American nations of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua&mdashalso contributed to significant new Latin American immigration to the U.S. Again, although citizens of each of these nations had established small émigré populations in the U.S. well before the 1970s, the political turmoil of the 1970s and 1980s resulted in an unprecedented wave of migration as hundreds of thousands of Central Americans&mdashmany of them undocumented&mdashfled the violence of their homelands to enter the U.S. Caught between authoritarian regimes (often overtly or covertly supported by elements of the U.S. government) and left-wing insurgencies, Central American migrants became a significant part of the U.S. Latino population by 1990, when they reached an aggregate population of nearly 1.324 million. Reflecting their diverse origins and experiences, Central Americans have clustered in different areas of the country, with Salvadorans prominent in Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco, New York, and Washington, D.C. Guatemalans in California and Texas Nicaraguans in Miami and Hondurans in Florida, Texas, and elsewhere. Although most of the Central American nations have stabilized politically since the 1990s, the long term economic disruption and displacement caused by protracted civil- and guerilla wars in the region has contributed to the continuing growth of this population (discussed further below).[22]

As dramatic as the story of Cuban and Central American political migration has been, however, the most significant development in Latino migration to the U.S. in recent history is rooted in profound economic shifts occurring both in the U.S. and in countries in the Western Hemisphere since the late 1960s and early 1970s. The first signs of things to come were the end of the Bracero Program in 1964 and a major overhaul of U.S. immigration law in 1965. Although both events have been touted as part of the wave of liberal reforms (including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965) that characterized this tumultuous era, the end of the contract labor program and revamping of the U.S. immigration system helped hide from view some significant changes both in patterns of immigration and the utilization of immigrant labor in the U.S. These events also tended to obscure important structural changes in both the U.S. economy the economies of Latin America that continue to the present day.

One change that largely escaped public view at the time was the gradual replacement of braceros with unauthorized workers, the vast majority of them originating in Mexico. Although the use of braceros had steadily declined in the early 1960s until Congress allowed the program to lapse at the end of 1964, there is no indication that the steady demand for labor that had driven both authorized and unauthorized migration for the previous quarter-century had suddenly dropped appreciably. Given historical trends, it is much more likely that, as the program ran down, braceros were gradually replaced by unauthorized workers&mdashor, after their contracts expired, simply became unauthorized workers themselves.

In any case, border apprehensions began to rise again almost immediately after the guest worker program's demise. Whereas the INS reported apprehending an average of about 57,000 unauthorized migrants per year in the nine years between Operation Wetback, a federal program that deported illegal Mexican immigrants from the southwestern U.S.,and the end of the Bracero Program, apprehensions approached 100,000 again in 1965 and continued to rise sharply thereafter.[23] In that same year, the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Amendments (79 Stat. 911) almost certainly exacerbated this trend. Although the new law greatly liberalized extant policy by abolishing the national origins quota system and providing a first-come, first-served system for eligible immigrants, for the first time in history the INA imposed a ceiling of just 120,000 legal immigrants per year for the entire Western Hemisphere. Later adjustments in the law further lowered the number of visas available to Western Hemisphere countries.[24]

On the economic front, the 1973 Arab oil embargo further disrupted the American labor market and eventually helped lay the foundations for an even greater influx of both legal immigrants and unauthorized workers. The extended period of simultaneous contraction and inflation that followed the 1973 crisis&mdashand a series of neoliberal economic reforms that were instituted in response&mdashsignaled a massive reorganization of work and production processes that in many ways continue to the present day. This ongoing restructuring was regionally and temporally uneven, but across the economy the general long term trend was toward a contraction of comparatively secure high-wage, high-benefit (often union) jobs in the manufacturing and industrial sectors and a corresponding growth of increasingly precarious low-wage, low benefit, often non-union jobs in the expanding service and informal sectors of a transformed economy.

In the international arena, the deepening global debt crisis and austerity measures imposed on many Latin American countries over this same period by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund set the stage for even more drastic economic restructuring and displacement abroad.[25] These developments also dramatically altered the gendered composition of immigrant flows. Whereas prior to this time, migration from Latin America to the U.S. was heavily skewed toward males of working age, economic restructuring abroad eventually led to a growing number of women and children entering the migrant stream. The gender breakdown of immigrant populations varies from region to region, (with Mexican migration, for example, remaining somewhat skewed toward males and Dominican migration heavily skewed toward females) but the general trend in Latin American immigration since the 1970s and 1980s has been a pronounced feminization of migratory flows. As a result, although men still outnumber women, the aggregate Latin American population of foreign birth in the U.S. is rapidly approaching gender equilibrium.[26]

The effects of the combination of these dramatic structural shifts have played out differently in different regions of Latin America. In Mexico, the nation that historically has sent the largest numbers of migrants to the U.S., the deepening debt crisis, periodic devaluations of the peso, and natural disasters like the great earthquake of 1985 helped to stimulate even more intense waves of out-migration by both males and females. As already noted, political turmoil and violence had similar effects on the nations of Central America. Moreover, in impoverished Caribbean nations like the Dominican Republic, the attraction of finding work in the U.S. (especially for Dominican women) has led to even more explosive growth in the émigré population. Whereas the Dominican population of the U.S. stood at fewer than 100,000 in 1970, by 1980, it had grown to more than 171,000, and as will be seen below, has continued to grow dramatically since.[27]

At the other end of the economic spectrum, ongoing economic restructuring in South America has led to a situation in which highly educated and highly skilled individuals from countries including Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, and others have emigrated to the U.S. seeking economic opportunities not available to them in their places of origin. For example, according to a recent analysis of 2000 U.S. Census data, whereas only 2.3 percent of all Mexican migrants arriving in the U.S. in the 1980s had bachelor's degrees, 30 percent of those arriving from Peru and Chile, 33 percent of Argentine immigrants, and 40 percent of all Venezuelan immigrants had at least a bachelor's degree. For different reasons, this kind of "brain drain" migration has increased significantly in recent years. For example, between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. population of Chilean and Columbian descent or origin nearly doubled, and the resident population of Argentinian, Bolivian, Ecuadorian, Peruvian, and Venezuelan origin or heritage more than doubled.[28]

As always, the economic dependence of the U.S. labor market on both "legal" and "illegal" immigrants has inevitably cemented and extended links of mutual dependence to immigrant-sending regions and thus has also contributed to the continuing cycle of licit and illicit movement into U.S. territory. Since the 1970s, the same kinds of social networks previously established by European, Asian, and Mexican immigrants have been expanded by more recent migrants, strengthening the bonds of interdependence that have tied some immigrant-source regions to the U.S. for more than a century. The depth of this interdependence becomes clear when one considers the scale of remittances sent by migrants of all statuses to their countries of origin. One study notes that as recently as 2003, 14 percent of the adults in Ecuador, 18 percent of the adults in Mexico, and an astonishing one-in-four of all adults in Central America reported receiving remittances from abroad.[29]In 2007, Mexico alone received more than $24 billion in remittances from its citizens abroad. Before the global economic contraction of 2008, when remittances peaked worldwide, remittances constituted at least 19 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Honduras, 16 percent of El Salvador's, 15 percent of Haiti's, and 10 percent of the GDP of both Nicaragua and Guatemala.[30]In short, in-sourcing of immigrant labor has become a deeply embedded structural feature of both the supply and demand side of the licit and illicit immigration equation and is, therefore, that much more difficult to arrest with unilateral policy interventions.

The effects of these interlocking trends have been intensified by ongoing neoliberal "free trade" negotiations and agreements designed to reduce trade barriers and foster greater regional economic integration. In the U.S., the two signal developments in this area, the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 and a similar initiative, the Central American Free Trade Agreement (which is currently being implemented on an incremental basis with several Caribbean, Central-, and South American nations) have been tremendously successful in increasing trade between the signatories. For example, since the ratification of NAFTA in 1994, trade between the U.S. and Canada has tripled, while that between the U.S. and Mexico has quadrupled. At the same time, however, these agreements also provided the means for U.S-based firms to export parts of their production processes to comparatively low-wage and laxly regulated economies while downsizing production capacities (and shedding higher-wage, often-unionized labor) within the borders of the U.S. Together, these structural changes laid the foundations for an intensification of two trends that have come to define the U.S. economy at the turn of the 21st century: the downsizing and outsourcing of production processes that were once based in the U.S. and a concomitant trend toward what might be called labor "in-sourcing" of ever larger numbers of both authorized and unauthorized immigrants.[31]

The stunning result of structural reshaping of the economy has been seen in two interrelated developments: the explosive growth of a Latino population with origins in virtually all the nations of Latin America, and an unprecedented explosion of the unauthorized population in the U.S. In 1970, the Latino population hovered around 9.6 million and constituted less than 5 percent of the nation's population. After that date, however, the Latino population not only grew dramatically but also became much more diverse. Overall, the nation's Latino population grew to at least 14.6 million by 1980, rose to 22.4 million in 1990, increased to 35.3 million in 2000, and approached 50 million by 2010.[32] Although ethnic Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans remain the majority of the Latino population (constituting 63, 9.2, and 3.5 percent of the total, respectively, in 2010), new immigrant influxes from elsewhere in Latin America created a more complex demography in which Central Americans (7.9 percent), South Americans (5.5 percent), and Dominicans (2.8 percent of the total) now also have significant population clusters. The three major Latino subpopulations of ethnic Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans grew substantially in the decade between the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Censuses (charting increases of 54, 36, and 44 percent respectively), but other Latino populations from sending regions in Central and South America grew at a much faster rate, ranging from an 85 percent increase in the Dominican immigrant community to a 191 percent increase in the Honduran population.

Overall, the immigrant populations of virtually all Spanish-speaking nations of the Western Hemisphere grew substantially in the decade between 2000 and 2010. The Dominican population of the U.S. increased from 765,000 to 1.4 million the Guatemalan population jumped from 372,000 to 1.04 million Hondurans from 218,000 to 633,000 Nicaraguans from 178,000 to 348,000, and Salvadorans from 655,000 to 1.6 million.[33] As of 2011, the combined pan-Latino population is estimated to have reached a figure of 50,478,000, more than 16 percent of the total population of the U.S.[34]

The number of unauthorized persons&mdashagain predominantly from Latin America but also from virtually every other nation on earth as well&mdashhas grown at similar rates since the 1970s. Reflecting ongoing economic displacement, chronic unemployment and underemployment, simmering civil unrest, and the escalating violence associated with the rise of the drug trade, human trafficking, and other illicit economic activities, unauthorized migration has risen along with legal immigration. It has always been difficult to estimate the actual numbers of undocumented persons within U.S. borders at any one moment, but demographers believe that in aggregate, the unauthorized population of the country rose from approximately 3 million in 1980, to about 5 million by the mid-1990s, reached an estimated 8.4 million by 2000, and peaked at between 11 and 12 million (or about 4 percent of the total U.S. population) before turning downward after the financial crisis of 2008-09. With much of the global economy in a sustained slump since then, the unauthorized population is estimated to have dropped by at least one million since 2009.[35]

While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of slowing rates of unauthorized migration, heightened security measures and the ongoing recession have clearly contributed to the steep declines seen in recent years. Apprehensions reported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have dropped from a recent peak of nearly 1.64 million in 2000 to fewer than 450,000 in 2010. By 2011, border apprehensions had dropped even further to 340,252, a number that would have been almost unimaginable just five years earlier.[36] At the same time, deportations and enforced "evoluntary departures" of unauthorized persons have risen sharply in recent years. According to data released by U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement, deportations and other enforced departures rose from 291,000 in fiscal 2007 to nearly 400,000 in fiscal 2011&mdashand were on an even higher numerical pace though the first five months of fiscal 2012.[37] Whether such trends continue when the economy recovers is an open question, especially given the increasingly integral role unauthorized workers have come to play in the economy.[38]

One other note should be added to this discussion. Although for reasons discussed elsewhere in this essay the phenomenon of illegal immigration has commonly been associated almost exclusively with Mexicans, one should note that most migration scholars agree that somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of all persons not legally in the country are individuals who did not cross the border illegally but rather have overstayed valid tourist, student, or other visas. Thus, although illegal immigration has come to be perceived primarily as a "Mexican problem," Mexicans ultimately accounted for about 58 percent of the estimated total in 2010&mdashthe remaining 42 percent, many of them visa violators, came from virtually every other nation in the world.[39]

It is impossible to predict the future, but the entwined questions of Latin America immigration and the status of the millions of unauthorized Latin American immigrants currently in the U.S. will almost certainly continue to be two of the most complex and vexing issues on the American political landscape. On the one hand, growing international market competition makes it likely that the U.S. economy will continue to depend heavily on the labor of foreigners&mdashand if patterns of regional economic integration continue, it is almost certain that Latin American immigrants of all statuses will continue to play a major role in the economic development of the nation. Indeed, before the current economic contraction, patterns of immigrant labor insourcing had accelerated to the extent that immigrants of all legal statuses were filling jobs in the U.S. at a rate comparable to the one that existed in the great age of industrial migration more than a century ago. Although the ongoing recession has clearly suppressed the hiring of both native and foreign workers, recent data reveals just how much immigrant workers have become crucial components of American economic life.

According to U.S. Census data, as recently as 2007, highly-skilled "legal" immigrants had become essential in many key economic sectors, constituting fully 44 percent of all medical scientists, 37 percent of all physical scientists, 34 percent of all computer software engineers, 31 percent of all economists, 30 percent of all computer engineers, and 27 percent of all physicians and surgeons. With citizen members of the "baby boom" generation entering retirement in ever-increasing numbers, demographers predict that pressure to recruit highly educated and highly skilled immigrants will continue to rise.[40]

In the vast occupational landscape below such elite professions, immigrant workers of all legal statuses (the U.S. Census does not distinguish between "legal" and unsanctioned workers) have also become structurally embedded in virtually every job category in the economy. As would be expected, more than half of all agricultural workers, plasterers, tailors, dressmakers, sewing machine operators, and "personal appearance workers" are immigrants. Authorized and unauthorized immigrant workers are estimated to constitute another 40 to 50 percent of all drywall workers, packers and packaging workers, and maids and housekeepers. In the next tier, immigrants comprised 30 to 40 percent of all roofers, painters, meat and fish processors, cement workers, brick masons, cooks, groundskeepers, laundry workers, textile workers, and dishwashers. Beyond their expected presence in these labor-intensive occupations, however, immigrants of all statuses are estimated to hold 20 to 30 percent of at least 36 additional occupational categories.[41] But in addition to the numbers captured in official labor statistics, it is also important to keep in mind that untold numbers of other noncitizens toil in the vast and expanding reaches of the "informal" or unregulated "gray" and subterranean "black" market economies.[42] Indeed, the turn to licit and illicit immigrant labor at all levels of the economy has been so great that it is estimated that foreign workers accounted for half of all jobs created in the U.S. between 1996 and 2000 and comprised at least 16 percent of the total U.S. work force at the turn of the twenty-first century.[43]

Of course, on the other hand, the increasingly visible use of immigrant workers and the growth and dispersal of the Latino population since the 1980s into areas such as the American South and the industrial Northeast&mdashplaces where few Latinos have ever been seen in substantial numbers before&mdashhave fanned the flames of dissent and nativism among those who are infuriated not only with what they see as the unconscionable expansion of the nation's unauthorized population, but more generally, with the erosion of domestic living standards associated with the ongoing restructuring of the U.S. economy. Fears about the inexorable aging of the "white" citizen population and the rapid growth of a comparably youthful non-white Latino population have tended to heighten resentment against the foreign-born and their children&mdashand especially against those without legal status. (In 2010, the median age of non-Hispanic white persons was 42, compared to a median age of 27 for all Latinos).[44] The widespread sense that the Federal Government&mdashand lawmakers in both political parties&mdashhave not seriously enforced existing law obviously has also added to the frustration of those holding such views.

Consequently, in what is clearly the most dramatic recent development in the debate over immigration and border control policy, states and localities have entered the fray by enacting a range of measures designed to pressure unauthorized persons to leave their jurisdictions. Following precedents set by activists in California and elsewhere, localities such as Hazleton, Pennsylvania in the East, Escondido, California in the West, and at least 130 other American towns and cities in between have passed local ordinances that do everything from criminalizing the hiring of unauthorized day laborers, making it illegal to rent to unauthorized residents, suspending business licenses of firms employing unauthorized workers, and criminalizing the public use of languages other than English. In addition, a number of states&mdashperhaps most notoriously Arizona, and more recently, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama, and others&mdashhave debated and/or enacted a variety of measures designed to pressure unauthorized persons to depart their jurisdictions. In 2010 alone, states passed more than 300 such laws, including measures requiring local law enforcement officials, teachers, social workers, health-care providers, private-sector employers, and others to verify the citizenship of any individual they encounter in their official duties or businesses&mdashand make it a crime for non-citizens not to have documents verifying their legal status. Some have gone so far as to propose that unauthorized persons be prohibited from driving (or, for that matter, be barred from receiving any kind of state license), and that states not recognize the U.S. citizenship of infants born of unauthorized residents, regardless of the birthright citizenship provision of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Federal courts have thus far tended to enjoin or strike down such statutes as violations of federal prerogative in immigration matters, but the future in this arena of immigration and citizenship politics and jurisprudence remains uncertain.[45]

Given the tremendously unstable state of the U.S. and global economies and the highly politicized debate over border enforcement and undocumented immigration in the second decade of the century, it is impossible to predict even partial resolution to these festering controversies. Although the continuing precariousness of the economy may well lay the groundwork for the projection of more force on U.S. borders and an even more hostile climate for Latinos and non-citizens already within U.S. territory, global economic trends will almost certainly continue to create incentives for the ongoing structural use and abuse of both officially authorized and unauthorized Latino immigrant workers. Under these circumstances, it is likely that the historical debate over border enforcement, the continuing growth of the pan-Latino population, and the status of unauthorized persons will persist into the foreseeable future.

David Gutiérrez, Ph.D., is a Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego, and Academic Senate Distinguished Teacher and Vice-Chair, Academic Affairs. He teaches Chicano history, comparative immigration and ethnic history, and politics of the 20th century United States. His major works include Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans Mexican Immigrants and the Politics of Ethnicity Between Two Worlds: Mexican Immigrants in the United States and The Columbia History of Latinos in the United States since 1960. His current research is focused on immigration, citizenship, and non-citizenship in 20th-century American history and the demographic revolution, 1970s to the present. He received his Ph.D. in History from Stanford University.

[1] Historical Statistics of the United States: Earliest Times to the Present, Vol. 1, Part A-Population, ed. Susan B. Carter et al., (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 1-177, table Aa 2189-2215, Hispanic Population Estimates, By Sex, Race, Hispanic Origin, Residence, Nativity: 1850-1990 and Seth Motel and Eileen Patten, "Hispanic Origin Profiles," (Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, June 27, 2012), 1.

[2] For brief overviews of the U.S.-Mexican War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, see Richard Griswold del Castillo, The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: A Legacy of Conflict (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990) and Ernesto Chávez, The U.S. War with Mexico: A Brief History with Documents (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008).

[3] For detailed data on Mexican immigration during the 19th century, see Historical Statistics of the United States: Earliest Times to the Present, vol. 1, Part A-Population, ed. Susan B. Carter et al., New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), table Ad 162-172 "Immigration by Country of Last Residence&mdashNorth America": 1820-1997, 1-571.

[4] See Arnoldo De León and Richard Griswold del Castillo, North to Aztlán A History of Mexican Americans in the United States, 2nd ed. (Wheeling, IN: Harlan Davidson, 2006), 87, table 5.1, and 90, table 5.2 and Brian Gratton and Myron P. Gutmann, "Hispanics in the United States, 1850-1990: Estimates of Population Size and National Origin," Historical Methods 33, no. 3 (Summer 2000): 137-153.

[5] For details of the Mexican repatriation campaigns of the 1930s, see Francisco E. Balderrama and Raymond Rodríguez, Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s, rev. ed. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006).

[6] For trenchant analyses of the politics surrounding the development of the Emergency Farm Labor Program, see Manuel García y Griego, "The Importation of Mexican Contract Labors to the United States, 1942-1964," in The Border That Joins: Mexican Migrants and U.S. Responsibility, ed. Peter G. Brown and Henry Shue (Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield, 1983): 49-98 and Katherine M. Donato, U.S. Policy and Mexican Migration to the United States, 1942-1992," Social Science Quarterly 75, no. 4 (1994): 705-29. For discussion of the Bracero Program in the global context of other "guest worker" programs, see Cindy Hahamovitch, No Man's Land: Jamaican Guestworkers in America and the Global History of Deportable Labor (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011).

[7] See United States Congress, Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, History of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 96th Cong. 2d Sess., Dec. 1980 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980): 51, 57, 65.

[8] U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1978 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1978), table 13, 36.

[10] Philip Martin, "There is Nothing More Permanent Than Temporary Foreign Workers," in Backgrounder (Washington, DC: Center for Immigration Studies, April 2001).

[11] Gratton and Gutmann, "Hispanics in the United States," 143, table 3.

[12] For information on the Smithsonian's Bracero Archive, see, accessed June 19, 2012. For the Bittersweet Harvest project, see, accessed June 19, 2012.

[13] For analysis of the convoluted politics surrounding the annexation of Puerto Rico and the framing of the Jones Act of 1917, see Foreign in a Domestic Sense: Puerto Rico, American Expansion, and the Constitution, ed. Christina Duffy Burnett and Burke Marshall (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001).

[14] See Balzac v. Porto Rico 258 U.S. 298 (1922), 308. See also José A. Cabranes, Citizenship and the American Empire: Notes on the Legislative History of the United States Citizenship of Puerto Ricans (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1979).

[15] U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of the Population, 1970, Subject Report PC (2)-1E, Puerto Ricans in the United States (Washington, D.C., 1973), table 1. For incisive analyses of the establishment and expansion of the Puerto Rican community of greater New York, see Kelvin A. Santiago-Valles and Gladys M. Jiménez-Muñoz, "Social Polarization and Colonized Labor: Puerto Ricans in the United States, 1945-2000," in The Columbia History of Latinos Since 1960, ed. David G. Gutiérrez, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004): 87-145 and Lorrin Thomas, Puerto Rican Citizen: History and Political Identity in Twentieth-Century New York City (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010).

[16] See James L. Dietz, Economic History of Puerto Rico: Institutional Change and Capitalist Development (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986) and Pedro A. Caban, "Industrial Transformation and Labor Relations in Puerto Rico: From ‘Operation Bootstrap' to the 1970s," Journal of Latin American Studies 21, no. 3 (Aug. 1989): 559-91.

[17] Historical Statistics of the United States, 1-177, table Aa 2189-2215

[18] See María Cristina García, "Exiles, Immigrants, and Transnationals: The Cuban Communities of the United States," in The Columbia History of Latinos in the United States Since 1960: 146-86.

[19] See Ibid, 157-67 and Ruth Ellen Wasen, "Cuban Migration to the United States: Policy and Trends (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, June 2, 2009)
R40566.pdf, accessed March 25, 2012.

[20] See Sharon R. Ennis, Merarys Ríos-Vargas, and Nora G. Albert, "The Hispanic Population: 2010," 2010 Census Briefs (Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011), table 1.

[21] See Pew Hispanic Center, "Hispanics of Cuban Origin in the United States, 2008&mdashFact Sheet," (Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, April 22, 2010).

[22] See Norma Stoltz Chinchilla and Nora Hamilton, "Central American Immigrants: Diverse Populations, Changing Communities," in The Columbia History of Latinos Since 1960: 186-228.

[23] See INS, Statistical Yearbook, 1978, table 23, 62.

[24] See Patricia Fernández Kelly and Douglas S. Massey, "Borders for Whom? The Role of NAFTA in Mexico-U.S. Migration," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 610, no. 1 (Mar. 2007): 98-118 Douglas S. Massey, Jorge Durand, and Nolan J. Malone, Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Immigration in an Era of Economic Integration (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2002) and Raúl Delgado Wise and Humberto Márquez Covarrubias, "Capitalist Restructuring, Development and Labor Migration: The U.S.-Mexico Case," Third World Quarterly 29, no. 7 (Oct. 2008): 1359-74.

[25] For discussion of the broad implications of these worldwide shifts in economic activity, see David Harvey, "Neoliberalism as Creative Destruction," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 610, no. 1 (Mar. 2007): 21-44 and Cheol-Sung Lee, "International Migration, Deindustrialization, and Union Decline in 16 Affluent OECD Countries, 1962-1997," Social Forces 84, no. 1 (Sept. 2005): 71-88.

[26] For discussion of the changing gender balance of Latin American immigration, see Jacqueline M. Hagan, "Social Networks, Gender, and Immigrant Settlement: Resource and Constraint," American Sociological Review 63, no. 1 (1998): 55-67 Shawn M. Kanaiaupuni, "Reframing the Migration Question: Men, Women, and Gender in Mexico," Social Forces 78, no. 4: 1311-48 Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, Gender and U.S. Immigration: Contemporary Trends (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003) and Katherine M. Donato, "U.S. Migration from Latin America: Gendered Patterns and Shifts," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 630 (2010): 78-92. For a statistical breakdown of the gender balance for both foreign-born and U.S.-born Latinos see, Pew Hispanic Center, Statistical Portrait of Hispanics in the United States: 2010 (Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, 2012), Table 10a&mdashAge and Gender Distribution for Race, Ethnicity, and Nativity Groups: 2010.

[27] See Ramona Hernández and Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz, "Dominicans in the United States: A Socioeconomic Profile, 2000," Dominican Research Monographs (New York: City University of New York, Dominican Studies Institute, 2003), table 1.

[28] See U.S. Census, "The Hispanic Population, 2010," table 1 and Çağlar Özden, "Brain Drain in Latin America," paper delivered at the Expert Group Meeting on International Migration and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Secretariat, Mexico City, Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2005, UN/POP/EGM-MIG/2005/10 (Feb. 2006),

[29] See Roberto Suro, "Remittance Senders and Receivers: Tracking the Transnational Channels," (Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, Nov. 23, 2003).

[30] World Bank, Migration and Remittances Unit, Migration and Remittances Factbook, 2011, i migrantandremittances, accessed July 25, 2011.

[31] See Fernández Kelly and Massey, "Borders for Whom?" Wise and Covarrubias, "Capitalist Restructuring" and Raúl Delgado Wise, "Migration and Imperialism: The Mexican Workforce in the Context of NAFTA," Latin American Perspectives 33, no. 2 (Mar. 2006): 33-45.

[32] See Mary M. Kent, Kelvin J. Pollard, John Haaga, and Mark Mather, "First Glimpses from the 2000 U.S. Census," Population Bulletin 56, no. 2 (June 2001): 14 and Jeffrey S. Passel and D'Vera Cohn, "How Many Hispanics? Comparing New Census Counts with the Latest Census Estimates," (Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, March 30, 2011).

[33] See U.S. Census Bureau, "The Hispanic Population: 2010," table 1.

[34] See Passel and Cohn, "How Many Hispanics?" and Pew Hispanic Center, "Statistical Portrait of Hispanics in the United States, 2010," table 1.

[35] See Jeffrey Passel and D`Vera Cohn, "The Unauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, 2010," (Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, Feb. 1, 2011).

[36] See Richard Marosi, "New Border Foe: Boredom," Los Angeles Times, April 21, 2011: A1.

[37] See U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, "ICE Total Removals through Feb. 20, 2012,", accessed June 15, 2012.

[38] For a recent analysis of the downturn in both authorized and unauthorized migration from Mexico, see Jeffrey Passel, D'Vera Cohn and Ana González-Barrera, "Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero&mdashand Perhaps Less," (Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, April 2012).

[39] Passel and Cohn estimate that of the non-Mexican unauthorized population, 23 percent originated in Latin America, 11 percent in Asia, 4 percent in Canada and Europe, and another 3 percent, or about 400,000 persons, in Africa and elsewhere in the world. See Passel and Cohn, "The Unauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, 2010," 11.

[40] See Teresa Watanabe, "Shortage of Skilled Workers Looms in U.S.," Los Angeles Times, April 21, 2008: A1 and Ricardo López, "Jobs for Skilled Workers Are Going Unfilled," Los Angeles Times, June 8, 2012: B1.

[41] See Steven A. Camarota and Karen Jensenius, "Jobs Americans Won't Do? A Detailed Look at Immigrant Employment by Occupation," (Washington, DC: Center for Immigration Studies, Aug. 2009), especially table 1 American Immigration Law Foundation, "Mexican Immigrant Workers and the U.S. Economy: An Increasingly Vital Role," Immigration Policy Focus 1, no. 2 (Sept. 2002): 1-14 A.T. Mosisa, "The Role of Foreign-Born Workers in the U.S. Economy," Monthly Labor Review 125, no. 5 (2002): 3-14 Diane Lindquist "Undocumented Workers Toil in Many Fields," San Diego Union-Tribune, Sept. 4, 2006: A1 and Gordon H. Hanson, "The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration," Council Special Report No. 26, (Washington, DC: Council on Foreign Relations, 2007). For an insightful case-study analysis of the structural replacement of domestic workers by the foreign-born in one key industry, see William Kandel and Emilio A. Parrado, "Restructuring the U.S. Meat Processing Industry and New Hispanic Migrant Destinations," Population and Development Review 31, no. 3 (Sept. 2005): 447-71.

[42] See James DeFilippis, "On the Character and Organization of Unregulated Work in the Cities of the United States," Urban Geography 30, no. 1 (2009): 63-90.

[43] See M. Tossi, "A Century of Change: The U.S. Labor Force, 1950-2050," Monthly Labor Review 125, no. 5 (2002): 15-28.

[44] See Pew Hispanic Center, "Statistical Portrait of Hispanics in the United States," table 9.

[45] See J. Esbenshade and B. Obzurt, "Local Immigration Regulation: A Problematic Trend in Public Policy," Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy 20 (2008): 33-47 Kyle E. Walker and Helga Leitner, "The Variegated Landscape of Local Immigration Policies in the United States," Urban Geography 32, no. 2 (2011): 156-78 Monica W. Varsanyi, "Neoliberalism and Nativism: Local Anti-Immigrant Policy Activism and an Emerging Politics of Scale," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 35, no. 2 (March 2011): 295-311 and Richard Fausset, "Alabama Enacts Strict Immigration Law," Los Angeles Times, June 10, 2011: A8.

Historical statistics on domestic adoptions during the twentieth century are interesting, but they are scarce and can also be misleading. Field studies did not even begin to estimate numbers of adoptions, or document who was being adopted by whom, until almost 1920. When researchers began to tally adoptions, they did so in only a handful of Northeastern and Midwestern states and based conclusions about statewide patterns on records from a few counties, usually in urban areas.

A national reporting system for adoption existed only between 1945 and 1975, when the U.S. Children’s Bureau and the National Center for Social Statistics collected data voluntarily supplied by states and territories. Today, most statistics available about adoption are being gathered by private organizations, such as universities and foundations. The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 requires states to collect information about the adoptions of children in public foster care, but these are the only adoption-related statistics regularly reported by governments.

Even when the federal government was trying to keep track, during the three decades after World War II, adoption statistics were incomplete. They never included informal adoptions, which were beyond the reach of law and uncountable by definition. The summary data that did exist tended to obscure trends that were as important as total figures. How many children were adopted by relatives and how many by strangers? How many were arranged independently or by agencies? How many involved infants or adolescents? What factors explain regional and state differences in the past and present? Why, for example, are adoption rates in Wyoming and Alaska higher today than in California, Delaware, and Texas? Have any or all of these patterns changed over time? We can guess, but usually on the basis of partial or non-existent numbers.

We know one thing with certainty on the basis of historical statistics. Adoptions were rare, even at the height of their popularity, around 1970. What is paradoxical is that adoptions have become rarer during the past several decades, just they have become more visible. A total of approximately 125,000 children have been adopted annually in the United States in recent years, a sharp drop since the century-long high point of 175,000 adoptions in 1970. Growing numbers of recent adoptions have been transracial and international—producing families in which parents and children look nothing alike—and the attention attracted by these adoptive families has led many Americans to believe that adoption was increasing. The adoption rate has actually been declining since 1970, along with the total number of adoptions.

Estimates suggest that adoptive families are atypical as well as few in number. Approximately 5 million Americans alive today are adoptees, 2-4 percent of all families have adopted, and 2.5 percent of all children under 18 are adopted. Adoptive families are more racially diverse, better educated, and more affluent than families in general. We know this because Census 2000 included “adopted son/daughter” as a kinship category for the first time in U.S. history. It is possible that the demographic profile of adoptions arranged many decades ago was just as distinctive. We simply do not know.

Special-purpose adoption laws have existed in the United States since the middle of the nineteenth century. More than a century ago, however, very few Americans entered courts in order to formalize kin ties. Divorce, still very unusual at the turn of the twentieth century, was more common than adoption. After 1900, numbers of adoptions in the United States began to climb. Why? First, a new culture of children’s innocence and vulnerability placed a premium on their welfare and secure membership in families. Second, tangible benefits, such as those available through the social security system established during the 1930s, offered practical incentives for Americans to legalize family bonds. For the period before 1945, however, we have practically no detailed national statistics. After 1945, the number of total adoptions increased steadily, with numbers of adoptions doubling in the decade after World War II to reach approximately 100,000 annually by the mid-1950s. During this period, the proportion of non-relative adoptions arranged by agencies also increased significantly, a partial victory for child welfare professionals who had been advocating expansive regulation, uniformity, and minimum standards for decades. Before 1945, independent placements probably represented more than half of all adoptions. These decreased to an all-time low of 21 percent in 1970.

The statistical picture for international adoptions is uniquely clear because the federal government counts all legal immigrants, including immigrant “orphans,” as they are still called. (We also know that approximately 500 American children are adopted annually by foreigners, mostly in Canada and Europe, but in comparison to this country’s status as a “receiving country,” we know practically nothing about the United States as a “sending country.”) We know with some precision how many children born in South Korea have been adopted by U.S. citizens during the past fifty years—well over 100,000—and figures available through the Department of State tell us the number of Vietnamese, Guatemalan, Romanian, Chinese, and children of other nationalities who have been incorporated into American families through adoption. In the past decade, international adoptions have increased dramatically as a component of the adoption total: the 2002 figure of 20,009 was more than triple the 1992 figure, and comprised approximately 16 percent of all adoptions.

In addition to knowing where international adoptees come from and how many of them there are, we also know that well over 60 percent are girls and virtually all have been non-relatives. That does not mean that non-relative adoptions are on the rise, however. Because divorce and remarriage have become more common, relative adoptions (by step-parents, for example) have become much more prevalent among domestic adoptions in recent decades.

Numerically significant adoptions are not necessarily socially sensitive adoptions. Relative adoptions have become more common in recent decades but have attracted relatively little notice. Exactly the opposite is true for transracial adoptions. These have been covered extensively in the press and studied intensively by researchers, but their importance is symbolic rather than statistical. The largest number of transracial adoptions occurred in the years around 1970, when there were perhaps a few thousand annually. Opportunity, an Oregon program, conducted one of the only national surveys of black adopted children it documented 7,420 total adoptions in 1971, of which 2,574 were transracial. This was a tiny number, considering that almost 170,000 adoptions were finalized in the country that year. Why did outcome studies focus on a small number of African-American children adopted by white parents but ignore the thousands of children adopted by relatives? The former was controversial and the latter was not.

Since all kinds of adoptions were and still are rare, the reason to subject them to quantitative inquiry has had little to do with sheer numbers. Governments and private organizations have compiled adoption statistics because numbers have been crucial in adoption policy debates. Proof that adoptions arranged in the black market turned out poorly was valuable ammunition in the campaign against disreputable independent adoptions, for instance, while proof of how professionally arranged adoptions turned out could make or break the reputation of agencies. Numbers were also accorded great meaning within the placement process. The I.Q. scores of children, the ages of aspiring parents, and the educational levels of birth parents were all, at one time or another, treated as key indicators of where and with whom they belonged.

Social researchers who conducted pioneering studies of child placement, such as Sophie van Senden Theis, author of How Foster Children Turn Out, believed that counting was a privileged method of accumulating knowledge and approaching truth scientifically. They were sometimes surprised or disturbed by what statistics and correlations revealed—that many adopters failed to inform their children about their adoptions or that “telling” was not a reliable predictor of positive outcomes—but they were always confident that compiling aggregate data would improve the lives of individual children. Statistical evidence based on many adoptions was often compared with anecdotal evidence, which revealed the details of one child’s or family’s story. Numbers were often considered more objective than narratives, and therefore more legitimate and trustworthy as a basis for policy and practice.

That adoption statistics have been gathered so haphazardly suggests that the effort to tie adoption reform to adoption knowledge has been a partial success, at best. But they also embody a uniquely modern faith in numbers and a widespread belief that they could be trusted to plan and govern the future.

Remarks by President Biden on America’s Place in the World

U.S. Department of State Headquarters
Harry S. Truman Building
Washington, D.C.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Secretary, it’s great to be here with you. And I’ve been looking forward a long time to be able to call you “Mr. Secretary.”

Good afternoon, everyone. It’s an honor to be back at the State Department under the eyes of the first American chief diplomat, Benjamin Franklin.

And, by the way, I want you all to know in the press I was the Benjamin Franklin Professor of Presidential Politics at Penn. And I thought they did that because I was as old as he was, but I guess not.

Anyway, all kidding aside, it’s great to be here and stand alongside our most recent and senior diplomat, Secretary Tony Blinken. Mr. Secretary, thank you for welcoming us today. We’ve worked together for over 20 years. Your diplomatic skills are respected equally by your friends and our competitors around the world.

And they know when you speak, you speak for me. And so — so is the message I want the world to hear today: America is back. America is back. Diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy.

As I said in my inaugural address, we will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s. American leadership must meet this new moment of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States and the determination of Russia to damage and disrupt our democracy.

We must meet the new moment accelerating glo- — accelerating global challenges — from the pandemic to the climate crisis to nuclear proliferation — challenging the will only to be solved by nations working together and in common. We can’t do it alone.

That must be this — we must start with diplomacy rooted in America’s most cherished democratic values: defending freedom, championing opportunity, upholding universal rights, respecting the rule of law, and treating every person with dignity.

That’s the grounding wire of our global policy — our global power. That’s our inexhaustible source of strength. That’s America’s abiding advantage.

Though many of these values have come under intense pressure in recent years, even pushed to the brink in the last few weeks, the American people are going to emerge from this moment stronger, more determined, and better equipped to unite the world in fighting to defend democracy, because we have fought for it ourselves.

Over the past few days, we’ve been in close cooperation with our allies and partners to bring together the international community to address the military coup in Burma.

I’ve also been in touch with Leader McConnell to discuss our shared concerns about the situation in Burma, and we are united in our resolve.

There can be no doubt: In a democracy, force should never seek to overrule the will of the people or attempt to erase the outcome of a credible election.

The Burmese military should relinquish power they have seized, release the advocates and activists and officials they have detained, lift the restrictions on telecommunications, and refrain from violence.

As I said earlier this week, we will work with our partners to support restoration of democracy and the rule of law, and impose consequences on those responsible.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve spoken with the leaders of many of our closest friends — Canada, Mexico, the UK, Germany, France, NATO, Japan, South Korea, Australia — to being [begin] reforming the habits of cooperation and rebuilding the muscle of democratic alliances that have atrophied over the past few years of neglect and, I would argue, abuse.

America’s alliances are our greatest asset, and leading with diplomacy means standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies and key partners once again.

By leading with diplomacy, we must also mean engaging our adversaries and our competitors diplomatically, where it’s in our interest, and advance the security of the American people.

That’s why, yesterday, the United States and Russia agreed to extend the New START Treaty for five years to preserve the only remaining treaty between our countries safeguarding nuclear stability.

At the same time, I made it clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions — interfering with our elections, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens — are over. We will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia and defend our vital interests and our people. And we will be more effective in dealing with Russia when we work in coalition and coordination with other like-minded partners.

The politically motivated jailing of Alexei Navalny and the Russian efforts to suppress freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are a matter of deep concern to us and the international community.

Mr. Navalny, like all Russian citizens, is entitled to his rights under the Russian constitution. He’s been targeted — targeted for exposing corruption. He should be released immediately and without condition.

And we’ll also take on directly the challenges posed by our prosperity, security, and democratic values by our most serious competitor, China.

We’ll confront China’s economic abuses counter its aggressive, coercive action to push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property, and global governance.

But we are ready to work with Beijing when it’s in America’s interest to do so. We will compete from a position of strength by building back better at home, working with our allies and partners, renewing our role in international institutions, and reclaiming our credibility and moral authority, much of which has been lost.

That’s why we’ve moved quickly to begin restoring American engagement internationally and earn back our leadership position, to catalyze global action on shared challenges.

On day one, I signed the paperwork to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. We’re taking steps led by the example of integrating climate objectives across all of our diplomacy and raise the ambition of our climate targets. That way, we can challenge other nations, other major emitters, up to — to up the ante on their own commitments. I’ll be hosting climate leaders — a climate leaders’ summit to address the climate crisis on Earth Day of this year.

America must lead in the face of this existential threat. And just as with the pandemic, it requires global cooperation.

We’ve also reengaged with the World Health Organization. That way, we can build better global preparedness to counter COVID-19, as well as detect and prevent future pandemics, because there will be more.

We’ve elevated the status of cyber issues within our government, including appointing the first national — Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology. We’re launching an urgent initiative to improve our capability, readiness, and resilience in cyberspace.

Today, I’m announcing additional steps to course-correct our foreign policy and better unite our democratic values with our diplomatic leadership.

To begin, Defense Secretary Austin will be leading a Global Posture Review of our forces so that our military footprint is appropriately aligned with our foreign policy and national security priorities. It will be coordinated across all elements of our national security, with Secretary Austin and Secretary Blinken working in close cooperation.

And while this review is taking place, we’ll be stopping any planned troop withdrawals from Germany. We’re also stepping up our diplomacy to end the war in Yemen — a war which has created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe. I’ve asked my Middle East team to ensure our support for the United Nations-led initiative to impose a ceasefire, open humanitarian channels, and restore long-dormant peace talks.

This morning, Secretary Blinken appointed Tim Lenderking, a career foreign policy officer, as our special envoy to the Yemen conflict. And I appreciate his doing this. Tim is a life — has lifelong experience in the region, and he’ll work with the U.N. envoy and all parties of the conflict to push for a diplomatic resolution.

And Tim’s diplomacy will be bolstered by USI- — USAID, working to ensure that humanitarian aid is reaching the Yemeni people who are suffering un- — an undurable [sic] — unendurable devastation. This war has to end.

And to underscore our commitment, we are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia faces missile attacks, UAV strikes, and other threats from Iranian-supplied forces in multiple countries. We’re going to continue to support and help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people.

We also face a crisis of more than 80 million displaced people suffering all around the world. The United States’ moral leadership on refugee issues was a point of bipartisan consensus for so many decades when I first got here. We shined the light of lamp on — of liberty on oppressed people. We offered safe havens for those fleeing violence or persecution. And our example pushed other nations to open wide their doors as well.

So today, I’m approving an executive order to begin the hard work of restoring our refugee admissions program to help meet the unprecedented global need. It’s going to take time to rebuild what has been so badly damaged, but that’s precisely what we’re going to do.

This executive order will position us to be able to raise the refugee admissions back up to 125,000 persons for the first full fiscal year of the Biden-Harris administration. And I’m directing the State Department to consult with Congress about making a down payment on that commitment as soon as possible.

And to further repair our moral leadership, I’m also issuing a presidential memo to agencies to reinvigorate our leadership on the LGBTQI issues and do it internationally. You know, we’ll ensure diplomacy and foreign assistance are working to promote the rights of those individuals, included by combatting criminalization and protecting LGBTQ refugees and asylum-seekers.

And finally, to successfully reassert our diplomacy and keep Americans safe, prosperous, and free, we must restore the health and morale of our foreign policy institutions.

I want the people who work in this building and our embassies and consulates around the world to know: I value your expertise and I respect you, and I will have your back. This administration is going to empower you to do your jobs, not target or politicize you. We want a rigorous debate that brings all perspectives and makes room for dissent. That’s how we’ll get the best possible policy outcomes.

So, with your help, the United States will again lead not just by the example of our power but the power of our example.

That’s why my administration has already taken the important step to live our domestic values at home — our democratic values at home.

Within hours of taking office, I signed an executive order overturning the hateful, discriminatory Muslim ban reversed the ban on transgender individuals serving in our military.

And as part of our commitment to truth, transparency, and accountability, we stated on day one — we started on day one with daily briefings of the press from the White House. We’ve reinstate- — we’ve reinstituted regular briefings here at State and at the Pentagon. We believe a free press isn’t an adversary rather, it’s essential. A free press is essential to the health of a democracy.

We’ve restored our commitment to science and to create policies grounded in facts and evidence. I suspect Ben Franklin would approve.

We’ve taken steps to acknowledge and address systemic racism and the scourge of white supremacy in our own country. Racial equity will not just be an issue for one department in our administration, it has to be the business of the whole of government in all our federal policies and institutions.

All this matters to foreign policy, because when we host the Summit of Democracy early in my administration to rally the nations of the world to defend democracy globally, to push back the authoritarianism’s advance, we’ll be a much more credible partner because of these efforts to shore up our own foundations.

There’s no longer a bright line between foreign and domestic policy. Every action we take in our conduct abroad, we must take with American working families in mind. Advancing a foreign policy for the middle class demands urgent focus on our domestic econog- — economic renewal.

And that’s why I immediately put forth the American Rescue Plan to pull us out of this economic crisis. That’s why I signed an executive order strengthening our Buy American policies last week. And it’s also why I’ll work with Congress to make far-reaching investments in research and development of transformable — in transformable technologies.

These investments are going to create jobs, maintain America’s competitive edge globally, and ensure all Americans share in the dividends.

If we invest in ourselves and our people, if we fight to ensure that American businesses are positioned to compete and win on the global stage, if the rules of international trade aren’t stacked against us, if our workers and intellectual property are protected, then there’s no country on Earth — not China or any other country on Earth — that can match us.

Investing in our diplomacy isn’t something we do just because it’s the right thing to do for the world. We do it in order to live in peace, security, and prosperity. We do it because it’s in our own naked self-interest. When we strengthen our alliances, we amplify our power as well as our ability to disrupt threats before they can reach our shores.

When we invest in economic development of countries, we create new markets for our products and reduce the likelihood of instability, violence, and mass migrations.

When we strengthen health systems in far regions of the world, we reduce the risk of future pandemics that can threaten our people and our economy.

When we defend equal rights of people the world over — of women and girls, LGBTQ individuals, indigenous communities, and people with disabilities, the people of every ethnic background and religion — we also ensure that those rights are protected for our own children here in America.

America cannot afford to be absent any longer on the world stage. I come today to the State Department, an agency as old and as storied as the nation itself, because diplomacy has always been essential to how American — America writes its own destiny.

For the diplomacy of Ben Franklin helped assure the success of our revolution. The vision of the Marshall Plan helped prevent the world from foundering on the wreckage of war. And the passions of Eleanor Roosevelt declared the audacious idea of universal rights that belong to all.

The leadership of diplomats of every stripe, doing the daily work of engagement, created the very idea of a free and interconnected world. We are a country that does big things. American diplomacy makes it happen. And our administration is ready to take up the mantle and lead once again.

Thank you all. And may God bless you and protect our troops, our diplomats, and our development experts, and all Americans serving in harm’s way.

Free SUNY tuition: Here's what the new income limit might be to get it


Blair Horner, the legislative director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, spoke Oct. 22, 2019, contends New York needs to add more money to fund SUNY, saying the cost of college is falling more on the backs of students. Albany Bureau

ALBANY - More New Yorkers would be eligible for free SUNY tuition under a proposal unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

This year, residents whose household income is less than $125,000 can get free tuition at New York's 64 SUNY and CUNY campuses.

Under Cuomo's proposed announced as part of his State of the State, the threshold would rise to $150,000 starting this fall.

SUNY tuition is currently $7,070.

"This milestone program opened the doors of higher education to all New Yorkers, while helping these students complete their degrees on time," Cuomo's proposal said.

SUNY officials have estimated between 22,000 to 25,000 students received the Excelsior Scholarship in fall 2018 at SUNY and CUNY.

The program covers the full annual tuition for income-eligible students who meet certain academic standards, such as getting good grades, graduating on time and living in the state after college.

Cuomo's proposal would need approval by the state Legislature as part of the state budget for the fiscal year that starts April 1.

Combined with other tuition assistance, Cuomo's office said more than 230,000 students at public schools get tuition covered at no cost to them.

Cuomo said during his speech that the program was the first of its kind in the nation when it was started inn 2017.

"Just think of the joy it brought to so many families," Cuomo said, adding, "We said if you can get in, you're going to go, regardless of income."

He said, "This year, I propose we go to the next level, and let's make college free for families making up to $150,000 a year."

Those above the income threshold have been paying an additional $200 a year for SUNY tuition.

The program started in 2017 for those earning $100,000 or less and it rose to $125,000 last fall. The state spends about $120 million a year for the program.

There is also a separate program for private colleges in New York. It is called the Enhanced Tuition Awards, which allows the colleges and the state to split up to $6,000 in tuition costs for students.

The Excelsior Scholarship comes amid an ongoing drop in SUNY enrollment, which has fallen 10% over the past decade.

NSC-68, 1950

National Security Council Paper NSC-68 (entitled “United States Objectives and Programs for National Security” and frequently referred to as NSC-68) was a Top-Secret report completed by the U.S. Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff on April 7, 1950. The 58-page memorandum is among the most influential documents composed by the U.S. Government during the Cold War, and was not declassified until 1975. Its authors argued that one of the most pressing threats confronting the United States was the “hostile design” of the Soviet Union. The authors concluded that the Soviet threat would soon be greatly augmented by the addition of more weapons, including nuclear weapons, to the Soviet arsenal. They argued that the best course of action was to respond in kind with a massive build-up of the U.S. military and its weaponry.

Reeling from the recent victory of Communist forces in the Chinese Civil War and the successful detonation of an atomic weapon by the Soviet Union, Secretary of State Dean Acheson asked the Policy Planning Staff, led by Paul Nitze, to undertake a comprehensive review of U.S. national security strategy. Building upon the conclusions of an earlier National Security Council paper (NSC-20/4), the authors of NSC-68 based their conclusions on the theory that the decline of the Western European powers and Japan following World War II had left the United States and the Soviet Union as the two dominant powers. Nitze’s group argued that the Soviet Union was “animated by a new fanatic faith” antithetical to that of the United States, and was driven “to impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world.” Furthermore, they concluded that “violent and non-violent” conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union had become “endemic.”

NSC-68 outlined a variety of possible courses of action, including a return to isolationism war continued diplomatic efforts to negotiate with the Soviets or “the rapid building up of the political, economic, and military strength of the free world.” This last approach would allow the United States to attain sufficient strength to deter Soviet aggression. In the event that an armed conflict with the Communist bloc did arise, the United States could then successfully defend its territory and overseas interests.

The authors of NSC-68 rejected a renewal of U.S. isolationism, fearing that this would lead to the Soviet domination of Eurasia, and leave the United States marooned on the Western Hemisphere, cut off from the allies and resources it needed to fend off further Soviet encroachments. The report also ruled out a preventive strike against the Soviet Union, because its authors reckoned that such action would not destroy the Soviet military’s offensive capacities, and would instead invite retaliatory strikes that would devastate Western Europe. Moreover, U.S. experts did not believe that American public opinion would support measures that might lead to a protracted war. NSC-68 did not rule out the prospect of negotiating with the Soviet Union when it suited the objectives of the United States and its allies however, the report’s authors argued that such an approach would only succeed if the United States could create “political and economic conditions in the free world” sufficient to deter the Soviet Union from pursuing a military solution to the Cold War rivalry.

NSC-68 concluded that the only plausible way to deter the Soviet Union was for President Harry Truman to support a massive build-up of both conventional and nuclear arms. More specifically, such a program should seek to protect the United States and its allies from Soviet land and air attacks, maintain lines of communications, and enhance the technical superiority of the United States through “an accelerated exploitation of [its] scientific potential.” In order to fund the substantial increase in military spending this conclusion demanded, the report suggested that the Government increase taxes and reduce other expenditures.

Made in All of America

In July 2020, Biden proposed a $700 billion plan to boost America's manufacturing and technological strength. This involves government spending of $400 billion on U.S. goods and services and a $300 billion investment in research and development (R&D) on technologies like electric vehicles, lightweight materials, 5G, and artificial intelligence.

"Biden believes that American workers can out-compete anyone, but their government needs to fight for them," says his website. "Biden does not accept the defeatist view that the forces of automation and globalization render us helpless to retain well-paid union jobs and create more of them here in America. He does not buy for one second that the vitality of U.S. manufacturing is a thing of the past."

Service members born in the Philippines, Mexico, China, South Korea and Jamaica—the top five countries of birth among those naturalized—comprised more than 40% of the naturalizations since FY 2016. The next five countries of birth—Nigeria, Nepal, India, Ghana and Kenya—comprised an additional 20% of military naturalizations from FY 2016 to FY 2020.

Top Five Countries of Birth (FY 2016 – FY 2020)

Half of all service members were between 22 and 30 years old when they naturalized. The median age of all service members who naturalized between FY 2016 to FY 2020 was 26 years old. More than 20% were 21 and under when they naturalized. Almost 7% were older than 41 when they naturalized.

Age at Naturalization (FY 2016 – FY 2020)

Vietnamese Immigrants in the United States

Large-scale immigration from Vietnam to the United States began at the end of the Vietnam War, when the fall of Saigon in 1975 led to the U.S.-sponsored evacuation of an estimated 125,000 Vietnamese refugees. As the humanitarian crisis and displacement of people in the Indochina region (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos) intensified, more refugees and their families were admitted to the United States. The Vietnamese immigrant population has grown significantly since then, roughly doubling every decade between 1980 and 2000, and then increasing 26 percent in the 2000s. In 2017, more than 1.3 million Vietnamese resided in the United States, accounting for 3 percent of the nation’s 44.5 million immigrants and representing the sixth-largest foreign-born group in the country.

Figure 1. Vietnamese Immigrant Population in the United States, 1980-2017

Source: Data from U.S. Census Bureau 2010 and 2017 American Community Surveys (ACS), and Campbell J. Gibson and Kay Jung, "Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850-2000" (Working Paper no. 81, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, February 2006), available online.

Click here to view an interactive chart showing trends in the size of U.S. immigrant populations by country of birth, from 1960 to the present.

The United States is the top destination for Vietnamese migrants, followed by Australia (with 238,000 Vietnamese immigrants), Canada (192,000), and France (128,000), according to mid-2017 estimates by the United Nations Population Division.

Click here to view an interactive map showing where migrants from Vietnam and other countries have settled worldwide.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines the foreign born as individuals who had no U.S. citizenship at birth. The foreign-born population includes naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents, refugees and asylees, legal nonimmigrants (including those on student, work, or other temporary visas), and persons residing in the country without authorization.

The terms foreign born and immigrant are used interchangeably and refer to those who were born in another country and later emigrated to the United States.

Data collection constraints do not permit inclusion of those who gained Vietnamese citizenship via naturalization and later moved to the United States.

Unlike in the past when most Vietnamese were admitted as refugees, those who obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States today (also known as getting a green card) largely do so through family reunification very few get green cards through employment or other channels. Vietnamese immigrants are more likely than the overall U.S. foreign-born population to be Limited English Proficient (LEP). Compared to the total immigrant population, a much greater share of Vietnamese are naturalized U.S. citizens they are also less likely to live in poverty or lack health insurance.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau (the most recent 2017 American Community Survey [ACS] as well as pooled 2012–16 ACS data) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, this Spotlight provides information on the Vietnamese population in the United States, focusing on its size, geographic distribution, and socioeconomic characteristics.

Click on the bullet points below for more information:

Distribution by State and Key Cities

In the 2012–16 period, immigrants from Vietnam were highly concentrated in California (39 percent), Texas (13 percent), and Washington State and Florida (4 percent each). Three of the top four county destinations for Vietnamese were in California—Orange County, Santa Clara County, and Los Angeles County—followed by Harris County, Texas. Together these four counties were home to 31 percent of Vietnamese immigrants in the United States.

Figure 2. Top States of Residence for Vietnamese in the United States, 2012-16

Note: Pooled 2012–16 ACS data were used to get statistically valid estimates at the state level for smaller-population geographies. Not shown are the populations in Alaska and Hawaii, which are small in size. For details, visit the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) Data Hub to view an interactive map showing geographic distribution of immigrants by state and county, available online.
Source: MPI tabulation of data from U.S. Census Bureau pooled 2012-16 ACS.

As of 2012–16, the U.S. cities with the largest number of Vietnamese were the greater Los Angeles (19 percent), San Jose (8 percent), and Houston (6 percent) metropolitan areas. One-third of all Vietnamese immigrants resided in these metro areas.

Figure 3. Top Metropolitan Areas of Residence for Vietnamese in the United States, 2012-16

Note: Pooled 2012–16 ACS data were used to get statistically valid estimates at the metropolitan statistical-area level for smaller-population geographies. Not shown is the population in Alaska, which is small in size. For details, visit the MPI Data Hub to view an interactive map showing geographic distribution of immigrants by metropolitan area, available online.
Source: MPI tabulation of data from U.S. Census Bureau pooled 2012-16 ACS.

Table 1. Top Concentrations of Vietnamese by Metropolitan Area, 2012-16

Source: MPI tabulation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau pooled 2012-16 ACS.

Click here for an interactive map that highlights the metropolitan areas with the highest concentrations of immigrants from Vietnam and other countries.

English Proficiency

Vietnamese immigrants are less likely to be proficient in English than the overall foreign-born population. In 2017, about 66 percent of Vietnamese ages 5 and over reported limited English proficiency, compared to 48 percent of all immigrants. Eight percent of Vietnamese spoke only English at home, versus 16 percent of the overall foreign born.

Note: Limited English Proficient refers to those who indicated on the ACS questionnaire that they spoke English less than “very well.”

Age, Education, and Employment

Overall, Vietnamese are older than the overall foreign-born population and the native population. The median age of Vietnamese in 2017 was 50 years, compared to 45 years for all immigrants and 36 years for the U.S. born. Meanwhile, Vietnamese were more likely than the native born but about as likely as the overall foreign born to be of working age (18 to 64 see Figure 4).

Figure 4. Age Distribution of the U.S. Population by Origin, 2017

Note: Numbers may not add up to 100 as they are rounded to the nearest whole number.
Source: MPI tabulation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2017 ACS.

Click here to view an interactive chart showing the age and sex distribution of the top immigrant groups, including Vietnamese.

Vietnamese ages 25 and over have much lower educational attainment compared to the native- and overall foreign-born populations. In 2017, 26 percent of Vietnamese immigrants had a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to about 32 percent of the U.S. born and 31 percent of all immigrants. About 30 percent of Vietnamese adults lacked a high school diploma, compared to 28 percent of all immigrant adults.

Vietnamese participate in the labor force at a similar rate as the foreign born overall. In 2017, about 65 percent of Vietnamese ages 16 and over were in the civilian labor force, a rate nearly equivalent to that of all immigrants (66 percent) and higher than of the native born (62 percent). Vietnamese are more likely to be employed in service occupations than the other two groups of workers (see Figure 5).

Figure 5. Employed Workers in the Civilian Labor Force (ages 16 and older) by Occupation and Origin, 2017

Source: MPI tabulation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2017 ACS.

Income and Poverty

Vietnamese overall have higher incomes compared to the total foreign- and native-born populations. In 2017, households headed by a Vietnamese immigrant had a median income of approximately $63,200, compared to $56,700 and $60,800 for all immigrant and U.S.-born households, respectively.

Further, in 2017, some 11 percent of Vietnamese families were living in poverty, a lower rate than for immigrant families overall (14 percent).

Immigration Pathways and Naturalization

Vietnamese are much more likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens than immigrants overall. In 2017, 77 percent of Vietnamese were naturalized citizens, compared to 49 percent of the overall foreign-born population.

Compared to all immigrants, the Vietnamese are more likely to have entered before 2000. The largest share of Vietnamese, approximately 66 percent, arrived prior to 2000, followed by 18 percent who entered between 2000 and 2009, and 16 percent in 2010 or later (see Figure 6).

Figure 6. Vietnamese and All Immigrants in the United States by Period of Arrival, 2017

Note: Numbers may not add up to 100 as they are rounded to the nearest whole number.
Source: MPI tabulation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2017 ACS.

Large-scale Vietnamese migration to the United States started as an influx of refugees following the end of the war. Early arrivals consisted largely of military personnel and urban professionals (and their families) who worked with the U.S. military or the South Vietnamese government. The next wave of Vietnamese refugees, known as “boat people,” arrived in the late 1970s. Most of these refugees came from rural areas and were often less educated. Many of the Vietnamese refugees who arrived between 1983 and 2004 were initially resettled in states with large immigrant populations, including California, Texas, and Washington State.

According to U.S. law, refugees must apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status one year after being admitted to the United States, and nearly all Vietnamese immigrants (99 percent) who received a green card in 1982 had entered as refugees. Since 1980, there has been a general downward trend in the number of Vietnamese immigrants arriving as refugees and, subsequently, fewer green cards were granted to Vietnamese as refugees or asylees. They have been replaced by immigrants who qualify for LPR status through family ties (either as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or via family-sponsored preferences), as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7. Vietnamese Refugee Arrivals and Vietnamese Immigrants Granted Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) as Refugees and Asylees or through Family Ties, 1975-2016

Notes: The purple line represents Vietnamese immigrants granted lawful permanent resident (LPR) status both through family-sponsored preferences and as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. The dotted portion of the line for refugee arrivals prior to 1982 indicates that these numbers are estimates obtained from Table 7.2 in Linda W. Gordon, “Southeast Asian Refugee Migration to the United States,” Center for Migration Studies special issues 5(3): 153-73. In 1975, about 125,000 Vietnamese refugees arrived in the United States as the result of a U.S.-sponsored evacuation program following the end of the Vietnam War. From 1976 to 1977, the number of refugee arrivals dropped sharply for the most part because the United States denied admission to Vietnamese individuals except for family reunification. As a result of continuing political and ethnic conflicts within Southeast Asia, the number of refugees from Vietnam and its neighboring countries rose dramatically beginning in 1978. In response to this humanitarian crisis, Western countries, including the United States, began admitting greater numbers of refugees from the region, many of whom were living in refugee camps.
Sources: MPI tabulation of data from Department of Homeland Security (DHS), 2016 and 2002 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics (Washington, DC: DHS Office of Immigration Statistics), available online U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, various years) INS, Annual Reports (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977, 1976, and 1975) Linda W. Gordon, “Southeast Asian Refugee Migration to the United States,” Center for Migration Studies special issues, 5(3) (1987): 153-73 Rubén G. Rumbaut, “A Legacy of War: Refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia,” in Origins and Destinies: Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in America, eds. Silvia Pedraza and Rubén G. Rumbaut (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1996) Gail P. Kelly, “Coping with America: Refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in the 1970s and 1980s,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 487 (1996): 138-49.

Most Vietnamese who obtain green cards now do so through family reunification channels. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, 97 percent of the roughly 41,450 Vietnamese who became lawful permanent residents (LPRs) did so as either immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or other family members, a much higher share than the 68 percent of all new LPRs (see Figure 8).

Figure 8. Immigration Pathways of Vietnamese Immigrants and All Immigrants in the United States, 2016

Notes: Family-sponsored: Includes adult children and siblings of U.S. citizens as well as spouses and children of green-card holders. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens: Includes spouses, minor children, and parents of U.S. citizens. Diversity Visa lottery: The Immigration Act of 1990 established the Diversity Visa lottery program to allow entry to immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The law states that 55,000 diversity visas in total are made available each fiscal year. Individuals born in Vietnam are not eligible for the lottery.
Sources: MPI tabulation of data from Department of Homeland Security (DHS), 2016 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics (Washington, DC: DHS Office of Immigration Statistics, 2017), available online.

Although most Vietnamese immigrants in the United States are legally present, approximately 118,000 were unauthorized in the 2010–14 period, according to Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates, comprising approximately 1 percent of the overall unauthorized population of about 11 million.

MPI also estimated that in 2017 approximately 9,000 unauthorized immigrants who are Vietnamese were immediately eligible for the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. However, as of May 31, 2018, just 60 Vietnamese were active participants of the program, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data. Overall, about 702,250 unauthorized youth are participating in the DACA program.

Health Coverage

Vietnamese are much more likely than the foreign born overall to have both private and public health insurance coverage. In 2017, just 8 percent of Vietnamese were uninsured versus 20 percent of all immigrants (see Figure 9).

Figure 9. Health Coverage for Vietnamese, All Immigrants, and the Native Born, 2017

Note: The sum of shares by type of insurance is likely to be greater than 100 because people may have more than one type of insurance.
Source: MPI tabulation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2016 ACS.

The Vietnamese diaspora in the United States is comprised of about 2.2 million individuals who were either born in Vietnam or reported Vietnamese ethnicity or ancestry, according to tabulations from the U.S. Census Bureau 2016 ACS.


In 2017, Vietnamese living abroad sent nearly $14 billion in remittances to Vietnam via formal channels, according to World Bank data (see Figure 10). Remittances tripled in the past decade and represented about 6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016.

Figure 10. Annual Remittance Flows to Vietnam, 2000–17

Note: The 2017 figure represents World Bank estimates.
Source: MPI tabulations of data from the World Bank Prospects Group, “Annual Remittances Data,” April 2018 update.

Gibson, Campbell J. and Kay Jung. 2006. Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850-2000. Working Paper no. 81, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, February 2006. Available online.

Gordon, Linda W. 1987. Southeast Asian Refugee Migration to the United States. Center for Migration Studies special issues 5(3): 153-73.

Kelly, Gail P. 1986. Coping with America: Refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in the 1970s and 1980s. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 487: 138-49.

Miller, Karl. 2015. From Humanitarian to Economic: The Changing Face of Vietnamese Migration. Migration Information Source, April 2015. Available online.

Rumbaut, Rubén G. 1996. A Legacy of War: Refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. In Origins and Destinies: Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in America, eds. Silvia Pedraza and Rubén G. Rumbaut. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. 315-33. Available online.

Singer, Andrey and Jill H. Wilson. 2007. Refugee Resettlement in Metropolitan America. Migration Information Source, March 2007. Available online.

United Nations Population Division. N.d. International Migrant Stock by Destination and Origin. Accessed July 23, 2018. Available online.

U.S. Census Bureau. N.d. 2017 American Community Survey (ACS). American FactFinder. Accessed September 13, 2018. Available online.

---. 2017. 2016 American Community Survey. Access from Steven Ruggles, Katie Genadek, Ronald Goeken, Josiah Grover, and Matthew Sobek. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 7.0 [dataset]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2017. Available online.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 2018. DACA Population Data, May 31, 2018. Available online.

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