Wait, Not All Immigrants Are From Mexico?

By Michael B. Maine

The latest discussion on immigration has largely focused on the illegal immigration of people crossing over into the United States from Mexico. After taking a backseat into issues regarding our financial crisis, healthcare reform, and political tactics, the passing of immigration law SB1070 in Arizona has rekindled the discussion on immigration and our need to find an effective and just solution. Supporters of the law believe that the law will discourage illegal immigrants from entering the state. Critics believe that the new law will encourage discriminatory actions and encourage racial profiling. I will not focus on the new law enacted in Arizona, but rather take a broader perspective of how immigration affects the United States in a global economy.

Immigration is absolutely critical to the survival of the U.S. economy. The majority of our workplace is comprised of two important groups: immigrants and baby boomers. An article published in the Washington Post states that although immigrants account for 12.5 percent of the population, they make up 15 percent of the workplace. This overrepresentation occurs because immigrants and their children account for 58 percent of the U.S. population growth since 1980. With infertility a concern and the baby boomers reaching retirement age, we stand to have a void in the workplace that we simply cannot fill with native-born Americans. Not only will there be more jobs than people to fill them, but as baby boomers exit the workforce, they will take with them years of experience, knowledge, business relationships and expertise that cannot be easily archived.

This situation poses some very serious questions: How are we to continue progressing at the same level we have experienced over the past sixty years? How do we define progress? How do we pass down the information that cannot be stored outside the minds of our experts? With other countries making tremendous economic gains (I’m looking at India and China), how do we remain a leader, or even a competitor, in an ever increasingly global and competitive marketplace? These questions and several others will require complicated answers, and we need those answers now. How we answer them will help define the course for our future.

The United States has historically been a highly desirable place for foreign students to study abroad and we have attracted many of the top intellectuals from all over the planet. Over the past few years we have lost considerable ground to the United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden, Singapore, and China, who have all implemented strategies to make them more attractive to prospective students and professionals. As other destinations become more alluring we stand to lose the rate of innovation that has fueled our development. Madeleine Albright, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel and Albert Einstein are just a few of the notable immigrants who helped shape the United States.

This country was “founded” on immigration. Today, the immigration of Mexican people is the focal point of the media. Although Mexicans do make up the largest number of illegal immigrants in the United States, they also make up the largest number of legal immigrants. According to the 2009 Annual Flow Report, published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security the total amount of legal permanent resident flow into the United States was 1,130,818. Of this number, Mexican immigrants accounted for only 14.6 percent, or 164,000 people. This number is down from 189,989 or 17.2% in 2008. A large number of immigrants are migrating from China, the Philippines, India, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Vietnam Columbia, and South Korea.

The top destinations within the U.S. were California, New York, Florida, Texas and New Jersey respectively. Sure Texas and California share a border with Mexico, but who was the last person you knew who walked from Mexico to New York? Immigration is a big deal that needs an appropriate solution, but illegal immigration from Mexico is only part of what should be a larger debate.

Michael B. Maine is a socially conscious business strategist who lives in San Antonio, TX. For more of his work visit his website, his blog or follow him on Twitter @michaelbmaine.

[Photo By Grand Canyon NPS]

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

Appalachia has a booming Hispanic business and population — and its growing food scene is making an impact

Victor Landa August 1, 2018

From strip malls to historic downtown landmarks, buildings across Appalachia today are telling stories of a changing region. Former nail salons, once-stately banks and empty storefronts are beginning fresh chapters […]

US officials must now say “illegal aliens,” not “undocumented immigrants”

Victor Landa July 27, 2018

The US Department of Justice wants US attorneys offices to stop referring to undocumented immigrants, the term that media and immigrant advocates have increasingly used to refer to people who […]

Audiences are shrinking for Hispanic- and black-oriented U.S. news media

Victor Landa August 1, 2018

In a fact sheet released this week, Pew looks at how “news media made by and for the two largest racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States — blacks and Hispanics” […]

Declining white population is spawning fears, bias

Victor Landa July 23, 2018

Over the last three decades, demographers have told us that there would come a day when the declining white population would become less than half of the U.S. population. The […]

Today’s Latino News Headlines – August 7, 2018

Victor Landa August 7, 2018

Black Man Who Filmed Latino Workers Striking Is Fired from His Job, Regrets Nothing – The Root Remeber this guy with the running commentary from yesterday’s headlines? He recorded a group of Latino […]

Today’s Latino News Headlines – July 27, 2018

Victor Landa July 27, 2018

Census Bureau Stops Plans For 2020 Census Advisory Committee – NPR According to the letter provided by Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed […]

Today’s Latino News Headlines – 8/27/18

Victor Landa August 27, 2018

Today’s Latino news headlines, curated for the NewsTaco community: Irony: I saw this movie this past weekend and the plot is archetypal telenovela. It’s like a Selena song. ‘Crazy Rich” […]

Latino millennials least likely to identify as heterosexual, survey finds

Victor Landa July 24, 2018

Latino millennials are the least likely millennials to identify as heterosexual, according to the GenForward Survey project at the University of Chicago. The organization’s recent report, “Millennial Attitudes on LGBT Issues: Race, […]