Ordinary people, extraordinary lives

Finding American in the Stories of Immigration

What compels a person to leave home for America's shores, to give up everything they know, friends and family, their identity, most things that define them?

They leave to avoid persecution based on race, religion, nationality, they seek the freedom to express their identity. They leave:

...to escape war and violence, they follow stability where they can start over, to reunite with loved ones that have made a similar journey; to plant roots where environmental change and natural disaster will not force them to move again; to transcend poverty for themselves and future generations; to obtain an education for their family, often sacrificing their own careers so the dream of prosperity we all share, can be passed on to their children; to follow an employment opportunity not possible at home and...perhaps even to marry whom they love without shame or fear.

Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the U.S.
From February 8, 2018 SPOTLIGHT | Jie Zong, Jeanne Batalova, and Jeffrey Hallock

In 2016, 1.49 million foreign-born individuals moved to the United States, a 7 percent increase from the 1.38 million coming in 2015. India was the leading country of origin, with 175,100 arriving in 2016, followed by 160,200 from China/Hong Kong, 150,400 from Mexico, 54,700 from Cuba, and 46,600 from Philippines. India and China surpassed Mexico in 2013 as the top origin countries from recent arrivals. Among the top countries of recent immigrants, many more Cuban born arrived in 2016 (54,700) compared to 2015 (31,500) , an increase of 74 percent. In contrast, Canadian arrivals dropped 19 percent: 38,400 in 2016, versus 47,300 in 2015.

Take a journey with Colin Boyd Shafer as he travels from coast to coast to chronical the lives of America, one extraordinary story at a time.

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