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Top 10 legal and illegal immigrant nationalities in the U.S.

Who is coming to America these days?

By Lisa Diane May 14 2010, 01:02 PM

In 1907 over a million immigrants came to America through Ellis Island, the largest number of immigrants in any one year of the history of that immigration station.  Those immigrants were made up mostly of persons from Italy, Poland, Germany, and England and they helped weave the fabric of what America is today. Now, 103 years later, the nationalities of our immigrant population are completely different. In fact, not one of the immigrant nationalities from 1907 even cracks the list of the top 10 nationalities either legally or illegally immigrating to the U.S. today.



Anyone who has gone through the Immigration process in the U.S. knows it’s not for the faint of heart. Yet no matter how difficult the process, there is no shortage of applicants.  Combining all those who received Legal Permanent Residence (i.e. green card) and all those who were naturalized (i.e. became citizens) in 2009, our total immigration tally was nearly 1.9 million persons. The breakdowns of the top 10 countries that make up those immigrants are*:



% of total













Dominican Republic












South Korea








Gathering a true picture of the number of Illegal Immigrants is notoriously challenging and fraught with error, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security attempts to estimate this yearly. (OhMyGov has also reported on other efforts to measure the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. which suggested far higher numbers.) From these estimates, the top 10 countries that make up the illegal population in the U.S are as follows*:



% of total




El Salvador




























Mexico tops both of the charts, and it’s also been well documented that the number of U.S. residents of Mexican origin is growing rapidly.  Mexican-Americans now make up 10% of the entire American population.

Population growth in and of itself does not tell the whole story, more pertinent is looking at how the growth in the Mexican-American population compares to the population growth as a whole.

It’s plain to see why there is such passionate and heated debate over immigration, especially when as of late; it seems to come largely from one specific country.  When you add in the reports of violence and the new Arizona law that allows police to check suspected illegals for proper identification, you’ve reached the boiling point.

What conclusions should be drawn from these statistics?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.



*Data gathered from the Department of Homeland Security website and can be found here: http://www.dhs.gov/files/statistics/data/


Read More: Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration And Customs Enforcement (ICE), Hot Issues, Immigration, Border Security, State And Local


Watchout for illegal immigrants on Cragslists
May 14, 2010 2:56 PM

Beware of illegal immigrants posting business services on Craigslist from housekeeping, carpet cleaners, gardeners and etc more. We have a massive problems of businesses hiring them for low wages and also not giving them health insurance with allows them to use the US taxpayer system because they make horrible wages, which means it cost Americans money for these businesses to be in business for example.

May 14, 2010 7:01 PM

What so "OMG" about this?!? Several soutwestern states were once part of Mexico, including Arizona. Plus, Mexico is a border country. So what is so surprising that Mexicans make up the majority of immigrants?

Jose' the Illegal
May 18, 2010 5:38 PM

The Problem is it costs Billions in tax payer dollers to supoport these "Leaching" ILLEGALS!

Go Home and Leach of of your Government! And Arizona is Arizona it doesn't belong to Mexico! Sorry and I pitty the fool who tries to make it otherwise. Loosers!

LInda Long
November 24, 2010 10:26 PM

What % of the  US is made up Of mid- Europians/

March 25, 2011 10:28 PM

report all businesses that hire illegals to the IRS,lets take back our america

May 16, 2011 6:34 PM

If it wasn't for Mexicans most people would be stuck doing crappy jobs out in fields or sweating their ass off in a factory. They take the BEYOND blue collar jobs with crappy pay so you don't have to. All they want is a better life for them and their family. You can't say you wouldn't do the same. Half the time they don't even keep the money and send most of it back home so they're family can live a little better. Is that so wrong?

People seem to forget that at one point in time their family were immigrants as well, and moved to America for a chance at a better life. Quit being so selfish.

I have an idea, why don't you live a more simple life, no television, no computer or laptop, no cell phone. Live inside a trailer with poor ventilation, and several other families inside, and you see how you like it!

Better yet, if you're complaining about your tax payer dollars, live a more simple life so that tax doesn't affect you.

I thank illegal immigrants, from Hispanic to Europeans in this country. If it wasn't for them. I'd have a shittier job then the one I have now.

Btw. Where is the percentage on Europeans? Other sites have them, and they're just as high up there with Hispanics, especially because they cam get away with it much easier. Prejudice much?

Iam L'gal Immigrant
December 22, 2011 6:41 PM

What crappy low paying job to a regular citizen of this nation is a golden opportunity to an illegal/legal migrant. Been there, done that. Those who were here already, no doubt they've (like me) contributed to the economy of this nation & God bless their hearts.  Nevertheless, at the moment illegal migration must stop...zero tolerance. Prospective migrants (regardless of color, nationality, religion & creed) WILL stand in line to get in legally like I did. Anyone who violates immigration and criminal laws of this nation must be deported...no ifs and buts.  Those who are here already illegally with their US born children, having no criminal/conviction records, let them be citizens of this great nation. Cheers! ;)

February 29, 2012 4:28 PM

I came here legally at 14.  Finished school and volunteered for the US armed forces, served in three armed conflicts.  I felt it was my duty to pay back the country that took me in as one of their own.  Illegals, not LEGAL IMMIGRANTS should not have any rights; the same I and all legals hold.  But I also understand why the masses of the desperate come here legally: it is very expensive to do so, and their corrupt countries offer them nothing.  I say: all illegals register for a temporary work visa.  Those who don't, get deported - period!  Why should I have had to wait in line for years, spent thousands of dolares to come here, and the mojados come here when they feel like it and pay a fraction (to the coyotes)?  To be here, one should also serve it in the armed forces or community service or work minimum of five years.  Viva los Yankis!  Y viva Colombia y Bolivia, tambien!

not much
April 4, 2012 4:40 PM

It's difficult to draw any conclusions as this is a tiny piece of the picture. Currently, about 85% of 21,000 agents guard the Mexican-American border. The flow of illegal immigrants across this border is actually the lowest in decades. There aren't many jobs to entice them. About the only jobs available are in construction, meat-packing and agriculture, jobs that most other people will no do, no matter how much rhetoric there is.

California has about 12% of the agricultural workers in the country. No other state comes even close. 90% are Mexican and third are Mexican Indians. They make it possible for you to eat tomatoes in big Macs at reasonable process. otherwise, we would be paying $10 dollars for a burger with tomatoes from Chile.

The Obama administration has actually deported more undocumented immigrants in 3 years than Bush did in 8. The numbers actually approximate numbers during the Great Depression years.

One also has to ask what percentage of citizens are of English, Irish, Scottish, German, Italian descent and others. And after establishing that, what's the point?

The recent growth in the Mexican population is no longer immigration (legal or illegal), but through childbearing. Most people of northern European descent are not having children. They are too wrapped up in consuming and individualistic success.

And if you are really worried about competition, worry about the Chinese and other Asian groups. They are quietly outperforming, out-earning, out-buying every other group in this country.

April 5, 2012 6:55 PM

Ethnic people migrating to America may not like to hear it but people of anglo-european heritage are the minorities of the world. In the Americas there are over 900,000,000 hispanic and indiginous people, compared to around 300,000,000 of european(white) decent. 800,000,000 million of those hispanic and indiginous folks are south of the U.S. border.  Why do we even have legal immigration with Latin America?

July 17, 2012 10:47 AM

Really? Not a single Canadian is here illegally? That is interesting...












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