A few points:
- The US have the highest absolute number of migrants than any other country at 19.8%, according to a UN Report based on 2005 data.
- In proportion to its population, the US are only 14th, way behind Israel, Australia, Canada, Germany etc. This chart from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) measures the percentage of each country’s population that was made up of immigrants in 2000 (orange dot) and 2010 (the blue bar).
- Before 1965, Germany sent more immigrants to America than anyone else; after 1965, Mexico did.
From World War I to 1965, the immigration system was designed, essentially, to keep the United States white.
“The law was just unbelievable in its clarity of racism,” says Stephen Klineberg in this report, a sociologist at Rice University. “It declared that Northern Europeans are a superior subspecies of the white race. The Nordics were superior to the Alpines, who in turn were superior to the Mediterraneans, and all of them were superior to the Jews and the Asians.”
By the 1960s, Greeks, Poles, Portuguese and Italians were complaining that immigration quotas discriminated against them in favor of Western Europeans. The Democratic Party took up their cause, led by President John F. Kennedy. In a June 1963 speech to the American Committee on Italian Migration, Kennedy called the system of quotas in place back then ” nearly intolerable.”
After Kennedy’s assassination, Congress passed, and President Lyndon Johnson, signed the Immigration and Naturalization Act. It leveled the immigration playing field, giving a nearly equal shot to newcomers from every corner of the world.
- Map of ancestry origin by US county:
For many more, check the website Insightful Interaction for 200 years of Immigration to the US.