River of Immigrants Coming to America

It is no surprise that in the year 2013 we immigrants constitute 37 percent of the 8.2 million people who live in the City of New York, according to a report by the relevant municipal department.

That is the highest percentage of immigrants in the city in almost 100 years.

The only difference is that now only 16 percent of the immigrants were born in Europe, compared with 64 percent of the arrivals in 1970.

We certainly don’t need a government office to tell us what we see every day on the streets: the Asianification of the city, through mainly Chinese immigrants – coupled with a strong Mexican-American presence.

The reason for the change in population patterns is the immigration law of 1965 which gave precedence to the peoples of Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America in contrast with previous laws that favored Europeans.

It is not clear why there was a change of preference to immigrants from the other side of the U.S.

Maybe Congress bowed to pressure from ethnic lobbies. Perhaps they were convinced that immigrants from these countries will be more useful for the needs of the economy.

It is striking that immigration in the U.S. is at record levels despite the fact that, firstly, the country has been much maligned in recent decades and, secondly, that the living standards of their countries have improved substantially, especially in China, from which has come the largest percentage ( 34 percent ) of immigrants during the past decade.

One reason for this large increase in immigration from China is that in addition to economic conditions, the political situation of a country is also important. And of course, as “Capitalist” as China has become, it still remains a Communist regime.

In our case, the last great wave of immigration occurred in the 1960s and extended until the fall of the junta in 1974.

The invasion of Cyprus that year caused a large emigration of Greek Cypriots. But the entry of Greece into the European Union, with the artificial prosperity caused by funding from Europe and unbridled debt, lured many Greek-Americans back to Greece.

Now, however, we are experiencing the beginning of a reverse current coming back to the States. (They remember America, as Theodore Saloutos, would say)

The children of immigrants who were born here and who moved to Greece with their families are now returning – permanently  – to the U.S. in large numbers because of the desperate economic situation in Greece. And it is a certainty that over times the stream will become even stronger.