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Immigration Policy and the Shaping of U.S. Culture

Becoming America

Roger White

The author examines the relationships between immigration policy, observed immigration patterns, and cultural differences between the United States and immigrants’ source countries. The entirety of U.S. immigration history (1607-present) is reviewed through a recounting of related legislative acts and by examining data on immigrant inflows and cross-societal cultural distances.
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Chapter 9: Looking forward: anticipated cultural evolution and corresponding implications, 2015–2065

Becoming America

Roger White

Extract

We consider population projections for the period from 2015 through 2065, including expected demographics of the U.S. foreign-born population. Based on the projections, by mid-century, immigrants from Asia will eclipse Hispanic immigrants to account for a plurality of arrivals, and Asians and Hispanics will collectively account for 37 percent of the U.S. population. Accordingly, the U.S. population will become increasingly diverse. As with the Columbian Exchange, current and future immigrants are expected to imprint the cultures of their respective source countries on American culture. To a degree, immigrants will certainly assimilate into American culture; however, there will also be an acculturation process that is expected to continue the shift of American culture away from the cultures of European nations and towards the cultures of source countries in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, South America, and Africa.

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