Immigrants have not landed on Ellis Island for more than 50 years. Immigrants still come to the United States everyday. A few come by boat, many come by airplane, and others drive across the United States borders with Canada and Mexico. Immigrants today get their information about life in the United States from family and friends and also from television. The biggest difference between today's immigrants and those of the past is where they come from.
Where Immigrants Come From Today immigrants come to the United States to join other family members, they have relatives living here, employment, or they come as refugees. The top ten countries immigrants come from are Mexico, Philippines, India, Vietnam, China, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Ukraine, Russia, and Jamaica. Once immigrants have passed inspection many settle in the following top ten states: California, New York, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington. The top ten cities that attract immigrants are New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Washington D.C., Houston, Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, and Newark.
The Inspection Process Before immigrants can be admitted to the United States they must pass four inspections: public health, immigration, agriculture, and customs. Citizens and non-citizens have to wait in different line to be inspected at the airport. The public health inspection is to make sure that plants and animals are healthy and won't harm anyone. An immigration inspection is when an inspector makes sure that all forms are complete and fees are paid. For an agriculture inspection, inspectors make sure that any pets that get brought into the United States are healthy and well taken care of. During the customs inspection, inspectors check their belongings.
Minnesota Immigrants: Many immigrants came to Minnesota after the Vietnam war. Today 6% of Minnesota is foreign born. This is below the national average. In 1996 42.2% of Minnesota's immigrants were refugees. Most refugees came from the former Soviet Union, Bosnia, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Liberia, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Minnesota has the largest Hmong and Somali population in the United States. More than 80 languages were spoken in Minneapolis, a large city in Minnesota, schools during 1998 and 1999. About 1,300 immigrants became United State citizens in Minnesota on June 30th, 1999.
Becoming a Citizen The process of becoming a citizen is called naturalization. To become a U.S. citizen one must live in the United States for five years with a permanent resident status, apply to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and must demonstrate an understanding of American history and the English language, including the ability to read, write, and speak it. The courts must approve the application and administer the oath of citizenship.
Mississippi Heritage This link will show you a graph of the heritage of our school, Mississippi Elementary.
Interviews We have students at our school who have recently immigrated to the United States. Click on the word "interview" to link to this page.
Famous Immigrants Click to find a list of famous immigrants and a site that will give background information on some very famous immigrants.