The trick to putting things into context is getting the right information.
With all the recent talk of illegal immigration to the United States, it is sometimes useful to look at legal immigration before going off on a bender on immigration law.
Fortunately the Department of Homeland Security puts out a regular report on the numbers of people coming — legally — across the US borders and where they come from. (I’m sorry, from whence they came.)
The bottom line is that the top 5 countries that sent visitors to the USA last year were:
- Mexico – 17,980,784
- United Kingdom – 4,566,669
- Canada – 4,445,88
- Japan – 4,298,081
- Germany – 2,359,681
Brazil was in a close sixth place with 2,143,154 entering the US. (By the way — and this is an old story — a Florida business group did a survey about six years ago that showed a direct link between US visas issued in Brazil and jobs created in Florida. It is worth reviewing this piece.)
California and Florida — 11,182,804 and 8,089,139 respectively — were the top two desitnation sites. Kinda looks like a lot of tourism to me. And toursim means jobs and a more favorable foreign exchange situation.
There is a lot of information in this report that can easily be fodder for some great local-global stories.
One of the data points I liked was the growing number of foreign journalists coming to the United States with their families. That means they are coming to stay for a while. That means more coverage of the US overseas and more income for the communities where the journalists are going to live. (Granted, some could be for just a short time to cover a story and then go home, but even so, the numbers are impressive.)
Representatives of foreign media and their spouses and children:
- 2013 – 45,827
- 2012 – 44,472
- 2011 – 51,459