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Immigration | Stories of Yesterday and Today

  • A New Land 1492-1790

    The beautiful land of the New World amazed the European explorers who arrived on North American shores around 1500. They realized the economic possibilities of the fertile soil and many natural resources. In the 17th century, Europeans established successful permanent settlements in what is now the United States. The European settlers soon dominated the Native American civilizations, which had existed for thousands of years. The major European powers (including England, Spain, and France) established colonies,

    which are lands controlled by a faraway government. The people who lived in the colonies were called colonists. Enduring great hardship, the colonists built new communities in the New World

  • 1492-1500s

    The Explorers

    In 1492, Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer and excellent sailor, crossed the Atlantic Ocean in search of a shorter trade route to Asia. After more than two months at sea, he landed in the Bahamas in the Caribbean islands. Although Columbus never reached the mainland of North America, he had discovered the gateway to a vast continent unexplored by Europeans. Columbus returned to Europe believing he had reached previously unknown islands in Asia. Word of the new route spread in Europe. Over the next few decades, other explorers followed in Columbus's wake, hoping to take advantage of the shortcut to Asia. It would be another Italian explorer, named Amerigo Vespucci, who realized that what had actually been discovered was a continent unknown to Europeans. He called it the New World.

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  • 1565-1600s

    New Settlements

    European nations—including Spain, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, and England—vied to claim pieces of the new land. In the 1600s, England founded colonies along the Atlantic seaboard, from what is now New Hampshire to Georgia. These original 13 colonies would eventually become the United States of America. Spain founded a colony at Saint Augustine, Florida, as early as 1565 and would go on to claim parts of what are now the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. France established colonies along the Saint Lawrence River, in what is now Canada; and also in the southern part of North America, in the region that is now Louisiana. The Dutch began the settlement of New Amersterdam on the southern tip of what is now Manhattan Island, home to part of New York City. The European countries often fought each over ownership of the new land; more land meant more power and economic opportunity.

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  • 1607

    Jamestown Succeeds

    In 1607, England sent 100 men to America to found a new colony. The colony was named Jamestown after King James I and was located on the coast of what is now Virginia. It would become the first English colony to succeed in America, but its beginning was exceptionally difficult. The colonists were hoping to find gold easily, but didn't. And tragically, they hadn't anticipated how hard it would be to survive in the New World. More than half of the settlers died in the first year because of the harsh winters, poor planning, and disease. But under the leadership of the colonist John Smith, the colony began to succeed. They grew tobacco, which was sent back to England and sold for profit. With the profit, the colonists had the money to plant other crops, such as wheat, grapes, and corn, which is a food native to North America. By 1620, Jamestown plus other settlements that sprang up nearby had a population of about 4,000. The colony was thriving. This economic success gave England a powerful interest in protecting its foothold in the New World.

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  • 1619

    Slavery Begins

    Africans first arrived in North America in 1619. In that year, 20 African people were brought to the Jamestown colony aboard a Dutch warship. They were slaves. They had been taken from their homes in Africa by force. They were beaten and enchained by men carrying weapons. Over the next almost 200 years, hundreds of thousands of Africans would be brought to America as slaves to work on plantations, especially to grow tobacco. By the end of the colonial period, Africans numbered about 500,000 and formed about 20 percent of the population of the United States.

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  • 1620

    The Pilgrims

    Some colonies were formed because people wanted to escape religious persecution in Europe. In 17th century England, two groups of Christians, the Catholics and the Anglicans, were arguing over what religion and church should be the true church of England. Some of the Anglicans, called Puritans, thought that there should be more distinction between their Church of England and the Catholic Church. Some Puritans, called the Separatists, didn't want to belong to the Church of England at all anymore. King James, who was the head of the Church of England, would not allow the Separatists to practice religion on their own. To escape the situation in England, a small group of Separatists left Europe on the Mayflower ship. In 1620, the ship landed at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, carrying 102 passengers. Many were Separatists, who became known as the Pilgrims. They established Plymouth Colony.
    After the Pilgrims, many more people flocked to the new colonies for religious reasons: About 200,000 Puritans emigrated from England during the years 1620 to 1641.

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  • 1634-1680s

    Religious Freedom

    After the Pilgrims, many other immigrants came to America for the religious freedom it offered. The colony of Maryland was founded in 1634 as a refuge for Catholics, who were persecuted in England in the 17th century. In 1681, William Penn began a Quaker colony in the land that was later named after him: Pennsylvania. The main settlement was Philadelphia, which prospered through farming and commerce. In 1685, 14,000 Huguenots who were persecuted in France also joined the growing English colonies.

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  • 1680-1776

    Expanding Colonies

    Early immigrants to America settled up and down the East Coast. Farming was difficult in the rocky soil of New England, so people grew only enough food for their families to live on. This is called subsistence farming. They also became fishermen, fishing cod in the Atlantic Ocean and selling it to the European markets. As they needed good ships for fishing, they started making them, becoming successful shipbuilders.
    In the South, where farming was easier, colonists started large plantations to grow crops, such as tobacco, rice, and indigo. Indigo was a rich blue dye, mainly used for dyeing textiles. Plantations depended on the free labor of the slaves. Many more slaves were forced to come to America to meet the demand for labor.
    By the time of the Revolutionary War, about 2.5 million people lived in the colonies, including approximately 450,000 Africans; 200,000 Irish; 500,000 Scottish and Scotch-Irish; 140,000 Germans; and 12,000 French.

    As the colonies grew, people began to look past the natural barrier of the Appalachian Mountains. They moved west into the frontier lands, in what is now Ohio, and beyond.

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  • 1776-1790

    A New Nation

    The colonies grew prosperous and the population increased. Between the time of the first settlements and the Revolutionary War, about seven generations of people were born in America. Many of them no longer wanted to be ruled by the English throne. And they didn't want to pay taxes to the English government when they had no colonial representation in the Parliament. They became known as Patriots, or Whigs, and they included Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.
    The Loyalists were colonists who wanted to remain part of England. The Patriots and Loyalists were bitterly divided on the issue. In 1776, the Continental Congress, a group of leaders from each of the 13 colonies, issued the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration stated that the United States of America was its own country.
    The Patriots fought England in the Revolutionary War to gain independence for the colonies.

    In 1783, with the help of the French, who had joined their side, the colonists won the war. The United States of America was a new nation.
    The new government conducted a census, or count, of everyone living in the United States. At the time of the first census in 1790, nearly 700,00 Africans and 3 million Europeans lived in the new United States.

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  • Expanding America 1790-1880

    Total U.S. Immigration from 1820 to 1880 by Continent of Origin
    • Europe
    • Asia
    • The Americas
    • Africa
    • Oceania *

    In the decades after the Revolutionary War, the 13 original colonies grew to include states stretching from Maine in the north to Louisiana in the south; from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to Illinois in the west. As a new nation, the United States of America thrived. By 1820, the population had grown to nearly 10 million people. The quality of life for ordinary people was improving. People were moving west, creating towns along the route of the Transcontinental Railroad, which connected the entire country by rail, east to west, for the first time.

    The prosperous young country lured Europeans who were struggling with population growth, land redistribution, and industrialization, which had changed the traditional way of life for peasants. These people wanted to escape poverty and hardship in their home countries. More than 8 million would come to the United States from 1820 to 1880.

    *Number of legal immigrants as recorded by immigration officials nationwide. Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • 1808

    Slavery Continues

    At the turn of the 19th century, more than 1 million African Americans lived in the United States. As slaves, they were not considered citizens. Large farms and plantations depended on the free labor they provided in fields and homes. It was difficult, backbreaking work.
    In 1808, the United States government banned the importation of enslaved people into the country, although the practice did continue illegally. Slavery, however, was not abolished for nearly 60 more years.

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  • 1820

    The Irish and Germans

    In the early and mid-19th century, nearly all of the immigrants coming to the United States arrived from northern and western Europe. In 1860, seven out of 10 foreign-born people in the United States were Irish or German. Most of the Irish were coming from poor circumstances. With little money to travel any further, they stayed in the cities where they arrived, such as Boston and New York City. More than 2,335,000 Irish arrived between 1820 and 1870.
    The Germans who came during the time period were often better off than the Irish were. They had enough money to journey to the Midwestern cities, such as Chicago, Cincinnati, and St. Louis, or to claim farmland. More than 2,200,000 Germans arrived between 1820 and 1870.

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  • 1845-1851

    The Irish Potato Famine

    In 1845, a famine began in Ireland. A potato fungus, also called blight, ruined the potato crop for several years in a row. Potatoes were a central part of the Irish diet, so hundreds of thousands of people now didn't have enough to eat. At the same time of the famine, diseases, such as cholera, were spreading. Starvation and disease killed more than a million people.
    These extreme conditions caused mass immigration of Irish people to the United States. Between 1846 and 1852, more than a million Irish are estimated to have arrived in America. The men found jobs building railroads, digging canals, and working in factories; they also became policemen and firemen. Irish women often worked as domestic servants. Even after the famine ended, Irish people continued to come to America in search of a better life. More than 3.5 million Irish in total had arrived by 1880.

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  • 1861

    Civil War and the End of Slavery

    In the early 1860s, the United States was in crisis. The Northern states and Southern states could not agree on the issue of slavery. Most people in the Northern states thought slavery was wrong. People in South, where the plantations depended on slavery, wanted to continue the practice. In 1861, the Civil War began between the North and South. It would be an extremely bloody war; over 600,000 people would die in the fighting.
    Many immigrants fought in the war. Since immigrants had settled mostly in the North, where factories provided jobs and small farms were available, hundreds of thousands of foreign-born men fought for the Union.
    In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that all the slaves in the rebelling Southern states were free. It was the beginning of the end of slavery.

    To ensure that the abolishment of slavery was permanent, Congress passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which outlawed slavery throughout the United States. The 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868, declared that African Americans were citizens of the United States. In 1870, African Americans numbered almost 5 million and made up 12.7 percent of the U.S. population.

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  • 1862

    The Homestead Act

    In the late 19th century, America was looking west. People began moving away from the now crowded Eastern cities. Some were motivated by the Homestead Act of 1862, which offered free land from the government. The government offered to give 160 acres of land—considered a good size for a single family to farm—in areas including Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. Homesteaders were required to stay on the land, build a home, and farm the land for five years. The offer attracted migrants from inside the country—and waves of more immigrants from Europe. For example, many people from Sweden, where land was extremely scarce, were drawn to come to the United States. These brave settlers worked hard to start a new life on the frontier. Though life was difficult, many succeeded.

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  • 1863-1869

    The Transcontinental Railroad

    The Transcontinental Railroad was a massive construction project that linked the country by rail from east to west. The railway was built entirely by hand during a six-year period, with construction often continuing around the clock. Chinese and Irish immigrants were vital to the project. In 1868, Chinese immigrants made up about 80 percent of the workforce of the Central Pacific Railroad, one of the companies building the railway. The workers of the Union Pacific Railroad, another company that built the railroad, were mostly Irish immigrants. These railroad workers labored under dangerous conditions, often risking their lives. After the Transatlantic Railroad was completed, cities and towns sprung up all along its path, and immigrants moved to these new communities. The Transcontinental Railroad was a radical improvement in travel in the United States; after its completion, the trip from East Coast to West Coast, which once took months, could be made in five days.

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  • The American Dream 1880-1930

    Total U.S. Immigration from 1880 to 1930 by Continent of Origin
    • Europe
    • Asia
    • The Americas
    • Africa
    • Oceania *

    By 1880, America was booming. The image of America as a land of promise attracted people from all over the world. On the East Coast, Ellis Island welcomed new immigrants, largely from Europe. America was "the golden door," a metaphor for a prosperous society that welcomed immigrants. Asian immigrants, however, didn't have the same experience as European immigrants. They were the focus of one of the first major pieces of legislation on immigration. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 severely restricted immigration from China.

    And the 1907 "Gentlemen's Agreement" between Japan and the United States was an informal agreement that limited immigration from Japan. Despite those limitations, nearly 30 million immigrants arrived from around the world during this great wave of immigration, more than at any time before.

    *Number of legal immigrants as recorded by immigration officials nationwide. Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • 1892

    Ellis Island

    In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison designated Ellis Island in New York Harbor as the nation's first immigration station. At the time, people traveled across the Atlantic Ocean by steamship to the bustling port of New York City. The trip took one to two weeks, much faster than in the past (when sailing ships were the mode of transportation), a fact that helped fuel the major wave of immigration.
    For many immigrants, one of their first sights in America was the welcoming beacon of the Statue of Liberty, which was dedicated in 1886. Immigrants were taken from their ships to be processed at Ellis Island before they could enter the country.
    About 12 million immigrants would pass through Ellis Island during the time of its operation, from 1892 to 1954. Many of them were from Southern and Eastern Europe. They included Russians, Italians, Slavs, Jews, Greeks, Poles, Serbs, and Turks.
    Explore the Ellis Island Interactive Tour

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  • 1900s

    Bursting Cities

    New immigrants flooded into cities. In places like New York and Chicago, groups of immigrants chose to live and work near others from their home countries. Whole neighborhoods or blocks could be populated with people from the same country. Small pockets of America would be nicknamed "Little Italy" or "Chinatown." Immigrants often lived in poor areas of the city. In New York, for example, whole families crowded into tiny apartments in tenement buildings on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
    Many organizations were formed to try to help the new immigrants adjust to life in America. Settlement houses, such as Hull House in Chicago, and religious-based organizations worked to help the immigrants learn English and life skills, such as cooking and sewing.

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  • 1910

    Angel Island

    On the West Coast, Asian immigrants were processed at Angel Island, often called the "Ellis Island of the West." Angel Island, which lies off the coast of San Francisco, opened in 1910. Although the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 restricted immigration, 175,000 Chinese came through Angel Island over a period of three decades. They were overwhelmingly the main group processed here: In fact, 97 percent of the immigrants who passed through Angel Island were from China.
    Explore the Angel Island Activity

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  • 1920

    Building America

    Many of the immigrants who arrived in the early 20th century were poor and hardworking. They took jobs paving streets, laying gas lines, digging subway tunnels, and building bridges and skyscrapers. They also got jobs in America's new factories, where conditions could be dangerous, making shoes, clothing, and glass products. Immigrants fueled the lumber industry in the Pacific Northwest, the mining industry in the West, and steel manufacturing in the Midwest. They went to the territory of Hawaii to work on sugar cane plantations. Eventually, they bargained for better wages and improved worker safety. They were on the road to becoming America's middle class.

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  • 1920-1930

    Backlash

    By the 1920s, America had absorbed millions of new immigrants. The country had just fought in the "Great War", as World War I was known then. People became suspicious of foreigners' motivations. Some native-born Americans started to express their dislike of foreign-born people. They were fearful that immigrants would take the available jobs. Some Americans weren't used to interacting with people who spoke different languages, practiced a different religion, or were a different race. Racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia (fear and hatred of foreigners) were the unfortunate result.
    In 1924, Congress passed the National Origins Act. It placed restrictions and quotas on who could enter the country.
    The annual quotas limited immigration from any country to 3 percent of the number of people from that country who were living in the United States in 1890. The effect was to exclude Asians, Jews, blacks, and non-English speakers.

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  • A Place of Refuge 1930-1965

    Total U.S. Immigration from 1930 to 1965 by Continent of Origin
    • Europe
    • Asia
    • The Americas
    • Africa
    • Oceania *
    From 1930 to 1965, the world underwent a great deal of strife, conflict, and change. The United States suffered through the Great Depression in the 1930s. America no longer looked like the land of opportunity, and few immigrants came. From the late '30s to 1945, World War II locked Europe, Japan, and a great deal of the Pacific Rim in conflict. In the postwar period, much of Europe was physically and economically in ruin. Europeans started looking to America again as a place of refuge. The idea of the immigrant as refugee, from both hardship and oppressive regimes, would change how the country thought about immigration in this period and beyond.
    *Number of legal immigrants as recorded by immigration officials nationwide. Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • 1930s

    The Great Depression and War in Europe

    In the 1930s, the country was going through the Great Depression, a terrible period of economic hardship. People were out of work, hungry, and extremely poor. Few immigrants came during this period; in fact, many people returned to their home countries. Half a million Mexicans left, for example, in what was known as the Mexican Repatriation. Unfortunately, many of those Mexicans were forced to leave by the U.S. government.
    In 1933, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was formed. It still exists today.
    In 1938, World War II started in Europe. America was again concerned about protecting itself. Fears about foreign-born people continued to grow.
    As a result of the turmoil in the 1930s, immigration figures dropped dramatically from where they had been in previous decades. In the 1920s, approximately 4,300,000 immigrants came to the United States; in the 1930s, fewer than 700,000 arrived.

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  • 1940-1950

    World War II and the Postwar Period

    The United States entered World War II in 1942. During the war, immigration decreased. There was fighting in Europe, transportation was interrupted, and the American consulates weren't open. Fewer than 10 percent of the immigration quotas from Europe were used from 1942 to 1945.
    In many ways, the country was still fearful of the influence of foreign-born people. The United States was fighting Germany, Italy, and Japan (also known as the Axis Powers), and the U.S. government decided it would detain certain resident aliens of those countries. (Resident aliens are people who are living permanently in the United States but are not citizens.) Oftentimes, there was no reason for these people to be detained, other than fear and racism.
    Beginning in 1942, the government even detained American citizens who were ethnically Japanese. The government did this despite the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which says "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property without the due process of law."

    Also because of the war, the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943. China had quickly become an important ally of the United States against Japan; therefore, the U.S. government did away with the offensive law. Chinese immigrants could once again legally enter the country, although they did so only in small numbers for the next couple of decades.
    After World War II, the economy began to improve in the United States. Many people wanted to leave war-torn Europe and come to America. President Harry S. Truman urged the government to help the "appalling dislocation" of hundreds of thousands of Europeans. In 1945, Truman said, "everything possible should be done at once to facilitate the entrance of some of these displaced persons and refugees into the United States. "
    On January 7, 1948, Truman urged Congress to "pass suitable legislation at once so that this Nation may do its share in caring for homeless and suffering refugees of all faiths.

    I believe that the admission of these persons will add to the strength and energy of the Nation."
    Congress passed the Displaced Persons Act of 1948. It allowed for refugees to come to the United States who otherwise wouldn't have been allowed to enter under existing immigration law. The Act marked the beginning of a period of refugee immigration.

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  • 1950-1965

    The Cold War Begins

    In 1953, the Refugee Relief Act was passed to replace the Displaced Persons Act of 1948, which had expired. It also allowed non-Europeans to come to the United States as refugees.
    The Refugee Relief Act also reflected the U.S. government's concern with Communism, a political ideology that was gaining popularity in the world, particularly in the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was also controlling the governments of other countries. The Act allowed people fleeing from those countries to enter the United States.
    When he signed the Act, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "This action demonstrates again America's traditional concern for the homeless, the persecuted, and the less fortunate of other lands. It is a dramatic contrast to the tragic events taking place in East Germany and in other captive nations."
    By "captive nations," Eisenhower meant countries being dominated by the Soviet Union.

    In 1956, there was a revolution in Hungary in which the people protested the Soviet-controlled government. Many people fled the country during the short revolution. They were known as "fifty-sixers". About 36,000 Hungarians came to the United States during this time. Some of their countrymen also moved to Canada.
    In 1959, Cuba experienced a revolution, and Fidel Castro took over the government. His dictatorship aligned itself with the Soviet Union. More than 200,000 Cubans left their country in the years after the revolution; many of them settled in Florida.

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  • Building a Modern America 1965-Today

    Total U.S. Immigration from 1970 to 2010 by Continent of Origin
    • Europe
    • Asia
    • The Americas
    • Africa
    • Oceania *
    A major change to immigration legislation in 1965 paved the way for new waves of immigration from all over of the world. Asians and Latin Americans arrived in large numbers, while European immigration declined.

    Today, immigration to the United States is at its highest level since the early 20th century. In fact, as a result of the variety of these recent immigrants, the United States has become a truly multicultural society. The story of America — who we are and where we come from — is still being written.
    *Number of legal immigrants as recorded by immigration officials nationwide. Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • 1965

    Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965

    In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act, also known as the Hart-Celler Act. This act repealed the quota system based on national origins that had been in place since 1921. This was the most significant change to immigration policy in decades. Instead of quotas, immigration policy was now based on a preference for reuniting families and bringing highly skilled workers to the United States. This was a change because in the past, many immigrants were less skilled and less educated than the average American worker. In the modern period, many immigrants would be doctors, scientists, and high-tech workers.
    Because Europe was recovering from the war, fewer Europeans were deciding to move to America.
    But people from the rest of world were eager to move here. Asians and Latin Americans, in particular, were significant groups in the new wave of immigration. Within five years after the act was signed, for example, Asian immigration had doubled.

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  • 1965-1980

    Vietnamese Immigration and the Refugee Act

    During the 1960s and 1970s, America was involved in a war in Vietnam. Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia, on the Indochina peninsula. From the 1950s into the 1970s there was a great deal of conflict in the area. After the war, Vietnamese refugees started coming to the United States. During the 1970s, about 120,000 Vietnamese came, and hundreds of thousands more continued to arrive during the next two decades.
    In 1980, the government passed the Refugee Act, a law that was meant specifically to help refugees who needed to come to the country.
    Refugees come because they fear persecution due to their race, religion, political beliefs, or other reasons. The United States and other countries signed treaties, or legal agreements, that said they should help refugees. The Refugee Act protected this type of immigrant's right to come to America.

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  • 1980s

    Latin American Immigration

    During the 1980s, waves of immigrants arrived from Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Hundreds of thousands of people came just from Cuba, fleeing the oppressive dictatorship of Fidel Castro. This was a significant new wave of immigrants: During the 1980s, 8 million immigrants came from Latin America, a number nearly equal to the total figure of European immigrants who came to the United States from 1900 to 1910, when European immigration was at a high point. The new immigrants changed the makeup of America: By 1990, Latinos in the United States were about 11.2 percent of the total population.

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  • 1990-Today

    A Multicultural America

    Since 1990, immigration has been increasing. It is at its highest point in America's history. In both the 1990s and 2000s, around 10 million new immigrants came to the United States. The previous record was from 1900 to 1910, when around 8 million immigrants arrived.

    In 2000, the foreign-born population of the United States was 28.4 million people. Also in that year, California became the first state in which no one ethnic group made up a majority.

    Today, more than 80 percent of immigrants in the United States are Latin American or Asian. By comparison, as recently as the 1950s, two-thirds of all immigrants to the United States came from Europe or Canada.

    The main countries of origin for immigrants today are Mexico, the Philippines, China, Cuba, and India. About 1 in 10 residents of the United States is foreign-born. Today, the United States is a truly multicultural society.

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Meet the young immigrants
Hear the stories of real kids who have recently immigrated to the United States.

Hi, I am Sadana. I moved to Queens, New York City, from Chennai, India. My mother, father, brother, and I flew here on a plane. When we landed at JFK airport in New York City, I was really surprised. Everything is so big, and it was so cold. In India, it is hot.

Since I am Hindu, I wear a bindi on my forehead. Hindu people wear bindi to make their face beautiful. It signifies good fortune.

My brother Guru is 9 years old. He and I go to a public school. I don't like school much because I don't have any friends yet and I don't know English well. I've been studying English since fourth grade. I am in fifth grade now. I like math, because I can do that correctly. I really miss my friends in India. I also miss my family, my teachers, and my principal.

Our house in India was different. We had three bedrooms and a kitchen. Here in Queens, we have only one bedroom and a kitchen. Also, the roads are different. Here, they are smooth. In India, they are sometimes made of stones. India's roads are crowded with people. Here they are crowded with cars instead. In India, I would see cows outside in the roads, but here there are no cows.

We drew Kolam outside the gate at our home in India. (Kolam is the art of drawing designs on the ground using brightly-colored rice powder.) “Kolam” means beauty in Tamil, the language I speak. Drawing Kolam outside your house makes it a sacred place. Kolam is like a prayer you draw. It is a prayer for success and happiness.

My father is a priest at the Hindu temple near our home here in New York. The temple is my favorite place in New York.

Since I am Hindu, I wear a bindi on my forehead. Hindu people wear bindi to make their face beautiful. It signifies good fortune.

Even though we live in the United States, we still eat Indian food. My favorite Indian food is noodles. My favorite food in America is ice cream!

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