Arizona’s immigrant population — both legal and illegal — grew by about 10 percent between 2010 and 2016, according to a new analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies.
Roughly 78,200 immigrants settled in Arizona in seven years, which was the 13th-largest increase in immigrant population, slightly behind Nevada, and ahead of Michigan.
There are two reasons why the flow of undocumented people into Arizona has slowed, said Mark Krikorian, executive director for the Center for Immigration Studies. The first is better border enforcement, and the second is most people in rural Mexico have either moved to larger cities in their native country or already come to the United States.
“Arizona isn’t in the same way ground zero for immigration as it was a decade ago,” Krikorian said.
The seven-year analysis also found that for the first time since prior to 1990, more immigrants came to the U.S. from Asia than Latin America.
The overall immigrant population in the United States hit a record high of nearly 44 million in 2016, the analysis found.
The most rapid increases were people from Bangladesh, Myanmar and Saudi Arabia, Krikorian said. People from Myanmar started resettling in the U.S. as refugees, while Saudi Arabians came here for school.
There are a variety of of ways immigration can start from a particular country, Krikorian said. When it happens “it takes on a life of it’s own because of the way our legal immigration system is set up so that yesterday’s immigrants are the ones who decide who tomorrow’s immigrants are going to be because they are their relatives.”
There are proposals in Congress that would narrow the definition of family to spouses and children, Krikorian said.
The Trump administration has backed a plan to give preference to educated, highly skilled and English-speaking immigrants.