In a recent analysis of forthcoming census data, Stateline reports that the United States witnessed a surge in new immigrants between 2021 and 2022, largely attributed to late-pandemic arrivals from India, Venezuela, and China. These newcomers comprised individuals possessing legal visas and those seeking asylum, primarily at the U.S. southern border.
Florida emerged as the top destination for these migrants, as per available data, closely followed by Georgia, Texas, Maryland, and North Carolina. The influx of new immigrants has contributed to workforce expansion and counteracted population decline in major cities.
Concurrently, smaller towns and suburbs have experienced increased migration from within the country during the pandemic. In certain instances, this population influx has placed additional demands on schools and shelters, spanning from Texas to New York.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the United States housed 46.2 million immigrants in July 2022, reflecting a notable rise from the 45.3 million recorded in July 2021, marking an increase of 912,000 individuals.
This surge includes approximately 130,000 individuals from India, signifying a 5% growth within a single year. Moreover, there was an influx of around 122,000 immigrants from Venezuela, marking a substantial 22% increase.
China also contributed approximately 86,000 new immigrants, representing a 4% upswing. Notably, this survey encompasses U.S. citizens, permanent residents, as well as immigrants and migrants residing in the country, whether with legal or undocumented status.
According to Julia Gelatt, the associate director for the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., arrivals from India and China tend to predominantly employ legal visas.
In contrast, individuals from Venezuela and various Central and South American nations are more inclined to undertake border crossings on foot, subsequently seeking asylum. They often exist in a “quasi-legal” status as they navigate the asylum process, which can endure for several years due to overwhelmed courts.
The backlog of cases in immigration courts has reached an unprecedented level, with the states of Florida, Texas, California, and New York grappling with the highest number of pending cases.
Notably, immigrants from India and a segment from China are primarily composed of high-skill workers and their families, often holding education and investor visas, commonly utilised in both countries. In 2022, certain contentious investor visa programs underwent revisions to promote increased job creation in rural and economically distressed regions of the United States. Furthermore, there have been allegations of real estate developers engaging in fraudulent activities related to Chinese investors seeking these visas.
Recent reports have also highlighted instances of migrants originating from India and China undertaking journeys to the southern border, seeking asylum for various reasons, including issues related to sexual orientation and sectarian violence.
Indian immigrants, comprising both long-established residents and recent arrivals, are primarily clustered in the states of California, Texas, and New Jersey. California leads with the highest concentration, hosting approximately 580,000 individuals of Indian origin. Texas follows closely with around 340,000 Indian immigrants, while New Jersey is home to roughly 270,000.
Within California, the most substantial Indian immigrant populations can be found in Silicon Valley’s Santa Clara and Alameda counties, collectively accounting for approximately 250,000 residents. These regions have gained prominence as hubs for the recruitment of high-skill visa holders from India.
India has assumed the position of the leading country of immigration in the states of Michigan and Virginia, displacing Mexico in Michigan and El Salvador in Virginia. The only additional change in this regard occurred in Pennsylvania, where the Dominican Republic has now taken the top spot, surpassing India.
As of 2021, India and China hold the second and third positions as the largest nationalities in terms of immigration in the United States, with both populations numbering around 2.8 million each.
Taking a broader perspective, Indian immigration has seen a 9% increase since 2017, representing a growth of 229,000 individuals. In contrast, the Chinese immigrant population has experienced a slight decline from its 2017 figures, with a decrease of approximately 11,000 individuals, amounting to less than a 1% change.