The biggest recent immigration news is that Asia surpassed Latin America as the main source of immigration to the U.S.  While the recent Supreme Court case about SB1070 or Obama’s de facto DREAM Act memo are important, the changing demography of immigration will have wider ranging long term impact.

This type of change has happened before.  By the end of the 1960s, Latin America displaced Europe as the main source of immigrants.  The increase in permanent Hispanic immigration to the United States back then was due to multiple factors, which some of which are now repeating for Asian immigrants.

First, legal changes in the Immigration Act of 1965 removed the old national origin quotas and allowed in more non-Europeans, including Latin Americans and Asians.  The growing number of legal Mexican immigrants began to sponsor their  relatives.  Mexican immigration in the 1950s was about 300,000 that decade, roughly five times greater than during the 1940s.  It increased again to 441,824 in the 1960s.  Much of that was driven by family migration.

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