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Answers to Questions about Immigration

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Immigration is a matter of concern to many people in the United States. There are many questions that people would like to ask in order to understand why immigration reform is so necessary in this country, and answers to questions such as: "How many immigrants are there in the United States today?" "What countries do most of them come from?" "How about professionals and students who come from other countries?" "How many become U.S. citizens?", are difficult to find.

To help in this matter, the Migration Policy Institute published on April 28, 2014 a report prepared by Chiamaka Nwosu, Jeanne Batalova, and Gregory Auclair, on the “Frequenly Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States” that threw the following results regarding the 41 million immigrants living in the US in 2012:

“How do nonimmigrant admissions break down by visa category?
“Temporary visitors (tourists and business travelers) account for an overwhelming majority of all nonimmigrant admissions. In 2012, they represented 89 percent (47.7 million) of all admissions to the United States. Of those, 42 million were tourist admissions and 5.7 million were business-traveler admissions.

“Temporary workers and trainees (as well as their spouses and children), including H-1B "specialty occupation" workers, registered nurses, temporary agricultural workers, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional workers, treaty traders, and intracompany transferees, among others, accounted for about 3 million arrivals (more than 6 percent of total I-94 admissions)

“Students, who entered the United States to study at academic or vocational institutes, made up about 4 percent (close to 1.7 million) of the total arrivals including their family members but not including exchange visitors.

“According to recent estimates by DHS, about 1.9 million foreign nationals on various temporary visas resided in the United States on January 1, 2012 (Note: this estimate excludes tourists and other short-term visitors). Of the 1.9 million, 45 percent were temporary workers and their families, followed by foreign students and their families (40 percent). Nearly half of the 1.9 million temporary visa holders were from Asia. Another quarter came from Europe and Canada. The top five countries of origin—India, China, South Korea, Canada, and Mexico—accounted for half of the 1.9 million residents on temporary visas.”

The above excerpt of the MPI article contains information provided by the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. State Department, the Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project; Mexico’s National Population Council (CONAPO), and Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI).

Recognizing the importance of immigration, the State of Michigan has a new Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC), a resource center for advocates seeking equal justice for immigrants in Michigan. MIRC strives to help integrate immigrant communities and to increase awareness regarding immigration law and “the complex relationship between immigration status and immigrants’ rights in areas including access to public benefits, family law and child welfare, civil rights, and workers’ rights”.

The “Welcoming Michigan” initiative promotes respect and understanding among immigrants and receiving communities.
“Welcoming Michigan” is a national grassroots-driven collaborative that works to promote mutual respect and cooperation between foreign-born and US. born Americans. It is also a partner organization of MIRC that produces films to help audiences connect and build relationships among community members.

“’Welcoming Michigan’ not only represents the values (hospitality, kindness, and friendliness) of the midwestern state in which I was raised, but it actually creates the kind of welcoming environment essential for economic growth in a global economy. If Michigan is to compete, we have to welcome the investment, the jobs, the workers, and the ingenuity of immigrants and refugees. Welcoming Michigan is the foundation of a global economic growth strategy to return prosperity to our state,” said Steve Tobocman, Director of Global Detroit.

Immigration is economically important to the United States. In the case of Michigan, it is vital to the state's future development and to reinvent the region’s economy, as Michigan was the only state that lost population between 2000 and 2010.

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