Chain migration is a term used by scholars to refer to the social process by which migrants from a particular town follow others from that town to a particular destination. The destination may be in another country or in a new location within the same country. Chain migration can be defined as a “movement in which prospective migrants learn of opportunities, are provided with transportation, and have initial accommodation and employment arranged by means of primary social relationships with previous migrants.” Or, more simply put: "The dynamic underlying 'chain migration' is so simple that it sounds like common sense: People are more likely to move to where people they know live, and each new immigrant makes people they know more likely to move there in turn."
Different groups of immigrants have employed chain migration among the different strategies used to enter, work, and live in the various republics of the Americas throughout their history. Social networks for migration are universal and not limited to specific nations, cultures, or crises. One group of immigrants to the British colonies in North America (and later the United States) was African slaves brought over forcibly; the circumstances of their migration do not fit the criteria of chain migration of free labor. Other groups, such as Germans fleeing chaos in Europe in the mid-1800s, Irish fleeing famine in Ireland in the same years, Eastern European Jews who emigrated from the Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and Italians and Japanese escaping poverty and seeking better economic conditions in the same period, did use chain migration strategies extensively, with resulting "colonies" of immigrants from the same villages, towns, and cities settling in enclaves in such cities as Boston, New York, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Toronto, Montreal, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Havana from the mid-1800s through the mid-1900s.
Italian immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century relied on a system of both chain and return migration. Chain migration helped Italian men immigrate to such cities as New York in the United States and Buenos Aires in Argentina for work as migrant laborers. Italians generally left Italy due to dire economic conditions and returned wealthy by Italian standards after working in the Americas for a number of years. Italian immigrants were called ritorni in Italy and grouped with other Southern and Eastern European migrant laborers under the term “birds of passage” in America. However, after the passage in the United States of the Immigration Act of 1924, return migration was limited and led more Italians to become naturalized citizens. The networks that had been built up by information and money due to chain and return migration provided incentives for Italian permanent migration. Mexican migration to the United States from the 1940s to the 1990s followed some of the same patterns as Italian immigration.
While immigrants to the United States from European nations during the period before the McCarran–Walter Act of 1952 were able to immigrate legally if with relative levels of ease depending on country of origin, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 barred almost all Chinese from immigrating to the United States. Nonetheless, many Chinese immigrants arrived in America by obtaining false documents. The Chinese Exclusion Act allowed the Chinese Americans already settled in the United States to stay and provided for limited numbers of family members of Chinese Americans to immigrate with the correct paperwork. This loophole and the fateful 1906 earthquake that destroyed San Francisco’s public records provided Chinese immigrants, almost entirely men, with the potential to immigrate with false documents stating their familial relationship to a Chinese American. These Chinese immigrants were called “paper sons,” because of their false papers. “Paper sons” relied on networks built by chain migration to buy documentation, develop strategies for convincing authorities on Angel Island of their legal status, and for starting a life in America.
The information and personal connections that lead to chain migration lead to transplanted communities from one nation to another. Throughout the history of the Americas, ethnic enclaves have been built and sustained by immigration. Different ethnic groups claimed distinct physical space in city neighborhoods to provide a reception for chain migration and maintain the community network it created. Examples of this trend include the many neighborhoods called Kleindeutschland, Little Italy, and Chinatown throughout the United States.
The same was true of rural areas in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Some rural towns in the Midwestern United States and in southern Brazil were founded by immigrants and directly advertised in home countries. (Prominent examples include New Glarus, Wisconsin in the United States and Blumenau, Santa Catarina in Brazil.) This case was especially true for many agricultural German immigrants of the nineteenth century. Certain towns were built on a homogeneous group from a particular German principality. Additionally, many of these towns exclusively spoke German until the mid-1900s in the United States and the late 1900s in Brazil. These enclaves and their contemporaries represent the close relationship between family, community, and immigration.
In the late nineteenth century, distinct Italian provinces and towns immigrated to the United States and Argentina via chain migration. Regional ties in Italy initially divided Italian ethnic identity in cities like New York and Buenos Aires, and certain enclaves included only Southern Italians or immigrants from Naples. The community ties remained strong with first generation immigrants concerning social life. These communities were originally composed of only men who immigrated for work. Once they had made enough money, many Italian men interested in settling began to bring their wives and families to their new homes in the Americas.
The effects of Chinese Exclusion and discrimination prevented Chinese residents from assimilating into United States society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Those factors, as well as social and cultural ties, precipitated the rise of Chinatowns as ethnic enclaves for Chinese Americans. Chain migration and the pseudo-familial nature of “paper sons” produced a relatively cohesive community that maintained ties with China.
Single, young, male laborers were initially the largest group using chain migration to the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, each immigrant group maintained a unique composition due to circumstances in home countries, goals of migration, and American immigration laws.
For example, Irish migration after 1880 had a 53.6% female majority, the only migrant group with that distinction. Irish men and women faced economic crisis, overpopulation, and problematic inheritance laws for large families, thereby compelling many of Ireland’s daughters to leave with its sons. Italian chain migration was initially wholly male based on intent to return, but became a source of family reunification when wives eventually immigrated.
Chinese chain migration was almost exclusively male until 1946, when the War Brides Act allowed Chinese wives of American citizens to immigrate without regard to Chinese immigration quotas. Before that time, chain migration was limited to “paper sons” and actual sons from China. The imbalanced sex ratio of Chinese immigrants was due to Chinese exclusion laws and the inability to bring current wives or to marry and return to the United States, inhibiting the corrective measure of chain migration. When immigrant groups react to economic pull factors in labor markets, chain migration via family has been used informally to balance out the gender ratio in ethnic immigrant communities.
Remittances contribute to chain migration by aiding in both funding and interest in migration. Ralitza Dimova and Francois Charles Wolff argue that besides the recognized benefits remittances provide to the economies of the home countries of immigrants, money sent home can lead to chain migration. Dimova and Wolff posit that remittances can provide the necessary capital. H. van Dalen et al. “find that recipients of remittances are more likely to consider migrating than non-recipients. This study also references the fact that causes of chain migration through remittances tend to be variable but include such pull factors as family ties and the possibility of success.”
Besides the monetary remittances sent to families in the home country, immigrants’ letters generally included valuable information about their new life, their work, and information to guide other prospective immigrants in the family or community to ease their journey. Understanding the necessary steps, whether it is what port to leave from or who to seek out to get a job and apartment, was and is vital for successful immigration.
It was common in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for companies and even states to advertise to potential European immigrants in their home countries. These advertisements in magazines and pamphlets made information available for immigrants to find travel and decide where to settle once in the United States. Most of the advertising was done in the effort of settling the land in the Midwestern states in the wake of the Homestead Act of 1862. Consequently, many of the peoples whom this propaganda targeted were already living agricultural lives in Northern and Eastern Europe. Additionally, once the chain of migration had begun from a farm town in Europe, the pamphlets along with letters and remittances sent from America made migration an accessible opportunity for more and more of the people of that community. This chain eventually led to partial community transplantation and development of rural ethnic enclaves in the Midwest.
One example of this phenomenon is the chain migration of Czechs to Nebraska in the late nineteenth century. They were attracted by “glowing reports in Czech-language newspapers and magazines published [in Nebraska] and sent back home. Railroads, like the Burlington & Missouri Railroad, advertised large tracts of Nebraska land for sale in Czech. Many similar advertisements were read in German principalities at the same time, accounting for parallel chain migration to the Great Plains. While the pull factor of these advertisements represent the potential for chain migration, and did in fact produce it, they must be understood within the context of the push factors all potential immigrants weigh when determining to leave their home country. In the case of Czech chain migration to Nebraska and many other similar circumstances in Europe, the various push factors provided the impetus to leave but the pull factors provided by pamphlets and letters provided the chain migration structure to the eventual immigration.
While the networks and effects of chain migration are in evidence regardless of laws limiting immigration, the changing goals and provisions of immigration legislation nonetheless affect how the system of chain migration works. Exclusion and quotas have affected who chain migration draws as potential immigrants as well as how immigrants deal with their status once in the new country. However, family reunification policies in immigration law have served to promote chain migration through extended family visas.
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and its successors creating the Asiatic Barred Zone, and the National Origins quota system built by the Immigration Act of 1924 were effective in limiting chain migration but could not end it entirely. Chinese immigrants took advantage of loopholes and false documents to enter the United States until the McCarran—Walter Act of 1952 gave them a migration quota.
Other migrant groups were limited in number by the National Origins quota system, which designated national quotas based on census ratios from 1890. These ratios heavily favored Western European nations and older migrant groups, such as the English, Irish, and Germans. The ratios attempted to limit the rising number of Southern and Eastern European immigrants. The National Origins quota system provided limited family reunification as a means for chain migration and placed a preference on naturalization. If an immigrant became a U.S. citizen, he or she had the ability to obtain non-quota visas for more family members, but as a resident that number was capped annually. Additionally, the Immigration Act of 1924 formally opened the door to chain migration from the entire western hemisphere, placing that group under non-quota status.
The abolition of the National Origins quota system came with the Hart–Celler Act of 1965. This legislation placed a heavy emphasis on family reunification, designating 74% of visas for that purpose. There was no limit on spouses, unmarried minor children, and parents of U.S. citizens. The percentages for family reunification were as follows: Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens (20%), spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents aliens (20%), married children of U.S. citizens (10%), brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens over age 21 (24%). These new visa preferences created a swell of new chain migration and immigration in general. The Third World began to outpace European immigration to America for the first time in history, surpassing it by the end of the 1960s and doubling the numbers of European migration by the end of the 1970s.
In reaction to the flood of new immigrants brought by the Hart–Celler Act, and increasing numbers of undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Latin America, Congress attempted to reverse the consequences of the 1965 legislation by enforcing border patrol, using amnesty for undocumented immigrants in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and proposing limits to family reunification policies. The effects of ending the Bracero Program were increased undocumented Mexican migration because of the social capital gained during that period. Chain migration had provided relatively easy access to migration for Mexicans that the immigration legislation of the 1980s to the present has attempted to deal with.
In the United States, the term 'chain migration' is used by advocates of limiting immigration, to partially explain the volume and national origins of legal immigration since 1965. U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (or "Green card" holders) may petition for visas for their immediate relatives including their children, spouses, parents, siblings. Advocates of immigration restriction believe the family reunification policy is too permissive, leads to higher than expected levels of immigration, and what they consider the wrong type of immigrants. In its place, they favor increasing the number of immigrants with particular job skills. In practice, however, the wait times from when a family reunification petition is filed until the adult relative is able to enter the U.S. can be as long as 15–20 years (as of 2006). This is a result of backlogs in obtaining a visa number and visa number quotas that only allow 226,000 family-based visas to be issued annually.
There are four family-based preference levels, data valid as of June 2009:
Backlogs in obtaining visa numbers range from four-and-a-half years (for preference level 2A) to 23-years (for preference level 4 immigrants from the Philippines).
While some backlogs have remained relatively steady for some time, since 1995, backlogs for other family-sponsored preferences have steadily increased (see image to the right).
According to James Coleman, “social capital…is created when the relations among persons change in ways that facilitate action.” Douglas Massey, Jorge Durand and Nolan J. Malone assert that “each act of migration creates social capital among people to whom the migrant is related, thereby raising the odds of their migration.” In the context of migration, social capital refers to relationships, forms of knowledge and skills that advance one’s potential migration. One example is the positive impact of social capital on subsequent migration in China. Massey et al. link their definition to Gunnar Myrdal’s theory of cumulative causation of migration, stating that, “each act of migration alters the social context within which subsequent migration decisions are made, thus increasing the likelihood of additional movement. Once the number of network connections in a community reaches a critical threshold, migration becomes self-perpetuating.”
During the debate on immigration policy following Donald Trump's rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the use of the term "chain migration" became contentious.
On December 11, 2017, a pipe bomb partially detonated in the subway station adjoining the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, injuring four people including the suspect. Mayor Bill de Blasio described the incident as "an attempted terrorist attack". The suspected bomber was identified by police as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, a Salafi Muslim immigrant from Bangladesh.Armenian-Dutch
Armenian-Dutch (Dutch: Armeense Nederlanders) are citizens of the Netherlands of Armenian ancestry. The number of Armenians in the country is unknown because the Dutch Immigration Office only offers data on country of origin.Azad Kashmiri diaspora
The Azad Kashmiri diaspora is the people who migrated out of Azad Kashmir to other areas and countries as well as their descendants.Bangladeshi diaspora
The Bangladeshi diaspora consists of people of Bangladeshi descent who have immigrated to or were born in another country. First generation migrants may have moved abroad from Bangladesh for better living conditions, to escape poverty, to support their financial condition or to send money back to families in Bangladesh. Annual remittances received in Bangladesh were 15.4 billion dollars as of 2015.There is a large Bangladeshi diaspora population in Saudi Arabia, where there are almost 1.2 million. There are also significant migrant communities in various Arab states of the Persian Gulf, particularly the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, where Bangladeshis are mainly classified as foreign workers. The United Kingdom's 2001 census found 300,000 (500,000 in 2009 census) British Bangladeshi mainly concentrated in east London boroughs (Tower Hamlets and Newham); the migration to Britain is mainly linked with chain migration from the Sylhet Division (95% of the UK-Bangladeshi population are from the Sylhet Division who are also regarded as Sylheti diaspora). Besides the UK and Middle East, Bangladeshis also have a significant presence in the United States, mainly in New York City (where many are also from Sylhet, Chittagong, and other regions) and Paterson in New Jersey, in East and Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, and in other Western countries such as Italy, Canada, and Australia.Benei Sión
Benei Sión, also known as Sabatarios and Cabañistas in Chile, are an ethno-religious group that believe in the Iglesia del Nuevo Pacto (Church of the New Pact). The group originated in Chile where it had by 1994 around 6000 members but is present since the early 1950s in Argentina via chain migration where it had by 1994 3000 members. It has been proposed that the group derives from cryptojews active in colonial Chile. While originating in the Araucanía Region of Chile the group deny to be Mapuche (Araucanian). One leader has been quoted saying "We are Jews and that's how we feel, because we have the same aspirations as the Jewish people".Chinese people in Cape Verde
Chinese people in Cape Verde are a community of entrepreneurial migrants who settled on the archipelago beginning in the 1990s to start retail shops. Their presence as immigrants is notable in a country that is known for sending emigrants abroad.Economic migrant
An economic migrant is someone who emigrates from one region to another, seeking an improved standard of living, because the conditions or job opportunities in the migrant's own region are insufficient. The United Nations uses the term migrant worker.Although the term economic migrant is often confused with the term refugee, economic migrants leave their regions primarily due to harsh economic conditions, not fear of persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership of a particular social group. Economic migrants are generally not eligible for asylum, unless the economic conditions they face are severe enough to have caused generalised violence, or seriously disturbed the public order.Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving a resident country or place of residence with the intent to settle elsewhere. Conversely, immigration describes the movement of persons into one country from another. Both are acts of migration across national or other geographical boundaries.
Demographers examine push and pull factors for people to be pushed out of one place and attracted to another. There can be a desire to escape negative circumstances such as shortages of land or jobs, or unfair treatment. People can be pulled to the opportunities available elsewhere. Fleeing from oppressive conditions, being a refugee and seeking asylum to get refugee status in a foreign country, may lead to permanent emigration.
Forced displacement refers to groups that are forced to abandon their native country, such as by enforced population transfer or the threat of ethnic cleansing.Ethnic enclave
In sociology, an ethnic enclave is a geographic area with high ethnic concentration, characteristic cultural identity, and economic activity. The term is usually used to refer to either a residential area or a workspace with a high concentration of ethnic firms. Their success and growth depends on self-sufficiency, and is coupled with economic prosperity.
The theory of social capital and the formation of migrant networks creates the social foundation for ethnic enclaves. Douglas Massey describes how migrant networks provide new immigrants with social capital that can be transferred to other tangible forms. As immigrants tend to cluster in close geographic spaces, they develop migrant networks—systems of interpersonal relations through which participants can exchange valuable resources and knowledge. Immigrants can capitalize on social interactions by transforming information into tangible resources, and thereby lower costs of migration. Information exchanged may include knowledge of employment opportunities, affordable housing, government assistance programs and helpful NGOs. Thus by stimulating social connections, ethnic enclaves generate a pool of intangible resources that help to promote the social and economic development of its members.By providing a space for co-ethnics to create potentially beneficial relations, ethnic enclaves assist members in achieving economic mobility. Enclaves create an alternative labor market that is ethnic-specific and does not demand social and cultural skills of the host country. By eliminating language and cultural barriers, enclave economies employ a greater proportion of co-ethnics and speed the incorporation of new immigrants into a bustling economy. By increasing employment opportunities and facilitating upward mobility, studying ethnic enclaves helps to explain the success of some immigrant groups. Additionally, while the ethnic enclave theory was developed to explain immigrant incorporation into the receiving society, it has also been linked to migration processes at large as successful incorporation of immigrants has the potential to lower migration costs for future immigrants, an example of chain migration.
Despite their immediate benefits, the long-term implications of participation in an ethnic enclave are a topic of debate. Enclave economies have been linked to a glass ceiling limiting immigrant growth and upward mobility. While participation in the enclave economy may assist in achieving upward mobility through increased availability of employment opportunities in the enclave labor market, it may also impede acquisition of host country skills that benefit the immigrant over the long-run. Such delays constrain immigrants to activity within the enclave and secludes them from the larger economy. Opportunities available to mainstream society can thus be out of reach for immigrants who haven't learned about them. Thus, the accelerated path toward economic mobility that lures new immigrants into enclave economies may impede success. Integration into an ethnic enclave may delay and even halt cultural assimilation, preventing the immigrants from benefiting from mainstream institutions.Family reunification
Family reunification is a recognized reason for immigration in many countries because of the presence of one or more family members in a certain country, therefore, enables the rest of the divided family or only specific members of the family to immigrate to that country as well.
Family reunification laws try to balance the right of a family to live together with the country's right to control immigration. However, what this balance looks like, e.g. which members of the family can be reunited, differs largely between countries.
A sub-case of family reunification is marriage migration, where one spouse immigrates to the country of the other spouse. Marriage migration can take place before marriage, in which case it falls under its own special category, or it can take place after marriage, in which case it falls under family reunification laws. Some countries allow family reunification for unmarried partners, provided they can prove an ongoing intimate relationship that also lasted longer than a certain period of time.
In recent years, there have been several cases of minors sent out on hazardous journeys in order to apply for political asylum status which, once granted, would enable the rest of the family to join them. However, in some countries only over 18 years old can apply for family reunification and it is only possible to be reunited with child dependants under 16 or partners, and not for parents or siblings.Gujarati Americans
Gujarati Americans are Americans who trace their ancestry to Gujarat, India. They are a subgroup of Indian Americans.
The highest concentration of the Gujarati American population by a significant margin, with over 100,000 Gujarati individuals, is in the New York City Metropolitan Area, notably in the growing Gujarati diasporic center of India Square, or Little Gujarat, in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Edison in Middlesex County in Central New Jersey. Significant immigration from India to the United States started after the landmark Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, Early immigrants after 1965 were highly educated professionals. Since US immigration laws allow sponsoring immigration of parents, children and particularly siblings on the basis of family reunion, the numbers rapidly swelled in a phenomenon known as "chain migration". Given the Gujarati propensity for entrepreneurship and business enterprise, a number of them opened shops and motels. Now in the 21st century over 40% of the hospitality industry in the United States is controlled by Gujaratis. Gujaratis, especially the Patidar samaj, also dominate as franchisees of fast food restaurant chains such as Subway and Dunkin' Donuts. The descendants of the Gujarati immigrant generation have also made high levels of advancement into professional fields, including as physicians, engineers and politicians. In August 2016, Air India commenced direct, one-seat flight service between Ahmedabad and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, via London Heathrow International Airport.Famous Gujarati Americans include Ami Bera (United States Congress), Reshma Saujani (American politician), Sonal Shah (economist to Whitehouse), Rohit Vyas (Indian American journalist),
Bharat Desai (CEO Syntel), Vyomesh Joshi (Forbes), Raj Bhavsar (sports) Halim Dhanidina (first Muslim judge of California), Savan Kotecha (Grammy nominated American songwriter), Mafat and Tulsi Patel (Patel Brothers founders), and Hollywood actresses, Sheetal Sheth and Noureen DeWulf.Italian New Zealanders
Italian New Zealanders are New Zealanders of Italian descent or Italian-born people who reside in New Zealand. The 2013 Census counted 3,795 New Zealanders of Italian descent. Italian-New Zealander culture is prominent across New Zealand, with the culture influencing New Zealand's art, food and drink, and film industry- similar to that of Italian Australian culture.Ivorian Americans
Ivorian Americans are Americans of Ivorian descent. According to estimates, in 2014 there were 6,000 people in the United States of Ivorian ancestry.Michael A. Feighan
Michael Aloysius Feighan (February 16, 1905 – March 19, 1992) was an American politician from Lakewood, Ohio, near Cleveland. He served as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, and as a Democratic Party U.S. Representative from 1943 to 1971, serving Ohio's 20th congressional district.
Originally, he was recruited by national Democrats who wanted to replace Congressman Martin L. Sweeney (D-OH), who had for eleven years held the seat representing the west side of Cleveland. They considered Sweeney to be too isolationist; for example, he had argued against enacting Lend-Lease to the United Kingdom.
After Feighan had served almost three decades in the House of Representatives, some local Democratic officials, led by Cleveland City Council President James V. Stanton, had grown tired of his leadership. Sensing that they could not beat Feighan in one election, they set up a stalking horse running a Michael Sweeney, a local lawyer with a good political name. Sweeney lost, but his vote total showed that Feighan could be vulnerable in a rematch. Two years later, in 1970, Stanton himself ran and defeated Feighan in the Democratic primary, concluding Feighan's political career.
During the legislation of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 Feighan insisted that "family unification" should take priority in immigration policy over "employability", on the premise that such a weighting would maintain the existing ethnic profile of the country. That change instead resulted in chain migration dominating the subsequent patterns of immigration to the United States and consequently a more ethnically diverse population.NumbersUSA
NumbersUSA is an anti-immigration organization that seeks to reduce both legal and illegal immigration to the United States. It advocates for immigration reduction through user-generated fax, email, and direct mail campaigns.Rapp Road Community Historic District
The Rapp Road Community Historic District is located in the Pine Bush area of Albany, New York. It is a 14-acre (5.7 ha) residential neighborhood. In 2002 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
It was established in the 1920s by Rev. Louis W. Parson, an African American minister, and his wife, who had moved north from Mississippi in the Great Migration out of the rural South to industrial cities, originally settling in Albany's South End. He was followed by other members of his congregation. Neither he nor they liked urban life much, and eventually he bought the land along Rapp Road where they all moved.
Half of the original purchase was taken by the state for road projects in the 1970s. The remaining half, today's historic district, has many of the original buildings. Most of the original families' descendants still live there. It is a rare intact example of a chain migration community from the Great Migration, although many such communities formed in northern cities.Society of Friends (Upper Canada)
The Quakers (Society of Friends) immigrated from New York, the New England States and Pennsylvania. They are a pacifist religion, and during this period were also a "plain folk" rejecting all ornamentation in clothing, speech and meeting houses (churches). The Children of Peace were founded during the War of 1812 after a schism in York County. A further schism occurred in 1828, leaving two branches, "Orthodox" Quakers and "Hicksite" Quakers.The Holyland (Wisconsin)
The Holyland is an American region located mainly in northeastern Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin and southern Calumet County. The area is known for its distinctive agricultural landscape, a close-knit community life, and deep Roman Catholicism brought by Germans who began settling the region in the 1840s. The area has been studied as an example of chain migration. It has been called "The Holyland" since at least 1898.Tibetan Americans
Tibetan Americans are Americans of Tibetan ancestry.
The history of Tibetans in the United States is relatively short, as the United States had limited contact or involvement with Tibet before World War II expanded to the Pacific.
Ethnic Tibetans began to immigrate to the United States in the late 1950s. Section 134 of the Immigration Act of 1990 gave a boost to the Tibetan immigration to the USA, by providing 1,000 immigrant visas to Tibetans living in India and Nepal. Chain migration followed, and by 1998 the Tibetan-American population had grown to around 5,500, according to a census conducted by Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). The 2000 United States Census counted 5,147 US residents who reported Tibetan ancestry.An estimate of c. 7,000 was made in 2001, and in 2008 the CTA's Office of Tibet in New York informally estimated the Tibetan population in the USA at around 9,000. The migration of the Tibetans to the United States took on the pattern of 22 "cluster groups", located primarily in the Northeast, the Great Lakes region and the Intermountain West. Other communities include Austin, Texas and Charlottesville, Virginia. Tibetan Americans who are born in Tibet or elsewhere in China are officially recognized as Chinese nationals.
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