Immigration has been a touchstone of the U.S. political debate for decades, as policymakers must weigh competing economic, security, and humanitarian concerns. Congress has been unable to reach an agreement on comprehensive immigration reform for years, effectively moving some major policy decisions into the executive and judicial branches of government, and fueling debate in the halls of state and municipal governments. Meanwhile, the fates of an estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants in the country, as well as rules for legal immigration, lie in the balance.
The immigration debate moved to the fore once again with the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, who made the issue a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. Shortly after taking office, President Trump signed executive orders on border security, interior enforcement, and refugees, which attempt to follow through on some of his controversial campaign pledges. Some U.S. cities, states, and individuals have challenged the orders in court.
What is the immigrant population in the United States?
Immigrants comprise about 13 percent of the U.S. population: some forty-three million out of a total of about 321 million people, according to Census Bureau data from 2015. Together, immigrants and their U.S.-born children make up about 27 percent of U.S. inhabitants. The figure represents a steady rise from 1970, when there were fewer than ten million immigrants in the United States. But there are proportionally fewer immigrants today than in 1890, when foreign-born residents comprised 15 percent of the population.
Opportunity for Research, Teaching and Training
You may be able to gain valuable experience through teaching and/or research while you help to finance your education in the U.S., particularly if you are a graduate student. Many graduate programs offer training and teaching opportunities that enable students to become teaching assistants to undergraduates and/or research assistants on special projects exploring different aspects of your field of study.
Although many programs are highly structured in that specific coursework requirements must be met, you will generally be able to find a wide variety of course choices to meet those requirements. For example, liberal arts coursework for an undergraduate program will include classes in languages and mathematics, but you will be given a wide variety of classes which fit those requirements, and the freedom to decide which classes best match your interests.