Asian-origin populations have historically been in the territory that would become the United States since the 16th century. A first major wave of Asian immigration occurred in the late 19th century, primarily in Hawaii and the West Coast. Asian Americans experienced exclusion, and limitations to immigration, by law from the United States between and , and were largely prohibited from naturalization until the s. Since the elimination of Asian exclusion laws and the reform of the immigration system in the Immigration and Nationality Act of , there has been a large increase in the number of immigrants to the United States from Asia.
Key findings about U.S. immigrants
When they first arrived in the United States, Asian usually Chinese immigrants were welcomed, or at least tolerated. After the California gold rush brought thousands of Chinese to California, however, Asian immigrants faced restrictive laws and occasional violence. In the late s, Chinese, and eventually other Asians, were excluded from citizenship. These laws were repealed during World War II , followed by further immigration-law changes, making it easier for Asians to enter the United States.
Asian immigration to the United States
Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, Explore This Park. Among hundreds of participants in the tenth annual Hmong New Year's celebration in downtown Chico, California, these friends gather for a quick picture. It has become the fastest growing population in the nation, even outpacing the growth of the Latino population.
That is a change from recent decades, when most new arrivals came from Latin America, according to government statistics. While Europeans dominated immigration in the s, as Latin Americans did after , Asians are now the latest and largest wave of newcomers to the United States, the Brookings Institution reported. Frey, a senior fellow in metropolitan policy at the nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington.