Central America: Rising Group of Latin American Immigrants

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary According to the Migration Policy Institute (a non-profit, non-partisan think tank that tracks population movements around the world), the number of people from Central America has grown substantially in the United States from the years 2000 to 2012. During that time period, about one million people from Central America came to live in the United States. Hence, the number of Central American immigrants grew from two million to three million during that period. The majority of those who came, about 65 percent, came as a result of sponsorship from their families already settled in the United States.

Most of those who came to the United States, about 82 percent of those, came as legal immigrants as a result of family sponsorship. The countries in Central America with the highest rate of migration to the United States are El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. This comes as no surprise since the economies of these three countries have not been stable during that time period, although they have shown significant improvement compared to the last thirty years. Most of these Central American immigrants have settled in the states of California, Florida and Texas. Interestingly enough, while the legal immigration rate of Mexicans has been declining, that of people from Central America has been rising. With the economic problems in the United States, many Central American immigrants wish to come and join family here even though many may have trouble finding work.

Also, the number of Central American immigrants who have become U.S. citizens has risen. Many Salvadorans are becoming U.S. citizens at a fast rate. This comes as no shock either since many Salvadorans who came to this country started coming as early as the late 1960’s—just before the major conflicts in Central America. The rise and decline and changing demographics of immigration from the Americas to the United States is a story as old as the United States itself. This country has served to help those who wish to be with family already here, and to look for either refuge or a new opportunity when there are problems or no opportunities in their own lands.

Comments are closed.