Immigration has been in the news lately, along with the derogatory comments about other immigrants President Trump may have made in the oval office. One of the comments I heard was about President Trump complaining that the US was receiving too many immigrants from “troubled” nations and not enough of them from Norway.
This made me think about who and what types of immigrants would be attracted to the US in 2018. Where would they come from? Why would they want to immigrate to the US? I wanted to look at the history of immigration to try to understand the reasons why people move to the US in hopes of making predictions on the profile of future immigration. I am not an expert on US immigration patterns but, much like many of you, I can spot some trends.
In the very beginnings of the Colonies, I suspect that much of the immigrants who arrived in North America were unskilled lower working-class people and peasants. They were seeking adventure, new beginnings, escape and opportunities.
Later on, and once the settled colonies like Virginia were established, the colonies started to receive people who had nothing to lose from leaving their homelands. John Carlyle was one such Scottish person who landed to the shores of Alexandria, Virginia in 1741. Carlyle was the second son of a Scottish apothecary-surgeon. Back then, in Scotland the first son inherited his father’s business and all that came after had to fend off for themselves. Carlyle came to Alexandria to make it big in the New World. By 1747, he had married the cousin of Lord Fairfax, became the richest guy in all of the Colonies, build a grand estate rivaling the Castles of Scotland, became friends with George Washington and even commandeered a colonial army during the French-Indian war.
Much later, North America attracted waves of desperate and adventurous peoples from Ireland, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, Eastern European Jews, Armenians, Arabs, Turks, Chinese, and many others. In some cases, they were running away from bad weather and famine. Others were running away from wars. Some faced discrimination, prejudice and hardship. Yet one by one, they figured out a way to prosper and make this country their own while also becoming Americans who celebrate Thanksgiving.
So, who would be coming to US as immigrants over the next decade? I suspect the names of the countries may change but, the profile of immigrants will remain the same. They will be adventurous people who have nothing to lose and everything to gain by proving to themselves and to those they left behind that they can be someone in the New World. They will mainly come from Asia, South America, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. They will arrive in the US, suffer hardship and discrimination, yet they will make it. They will also become Americans just like all of us and celebrate Thanksgiving with their family in their new homeland.
Guess who ran back to the UK once the American Revolution started? Lord Fairfax’ family abandoned all of their plantations, houses and businesses to run back to the old country. Do you know who stayed behind? The Carlyle family who fought the English during the American revolution. I guess some of us can dream of attracting more Norwegian immigrants to the US. I suspect they won’t be coming just like Lord Fairfax and Lord Loudoun who never ever put a foot on the US land.