Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Presentations and Activities > Immigration
Native American
Cuban - Puerto Rican
Polish - Russian
picture of the world
Picture of clock - click to view global immigration timeline
Picture of clock - click to view global immigration timeline
Immigration Mexican
Spacer Home G of ImmiGration Introduction Potluck Interviews

Shaping a New Century

The third great surge in Mexican immigration is taking place as you read this. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently more than twenty million people of Mexican origin in the U.S. In the 1990s, more legal immigrants came from Mexico than from all the European countries combined. In addition, immigration has become more permanent, as a greater percentage of Mexican immigrants have chosen to stay in their new home.

Mexican immigrants and their descendants occupy a more significant place in American cultural life than ever before. Mexican Americans often serve as high government officials, as well as local mayors, sheriffs, and school board members. Prominent artists and entertainers, such as the writer Sandra Cisneros, the musician Carlos Santana, the boxer Oscar De La Hoya, and the actor and activist Edward James Olmos, all help keep Mexican Americans in the public eye. Mexican Americans now live in all regions of the country and can be found in most professions and trades.

The greatest impact of Mexican immigration, though, may be its contribution to the growing Latin American influence on the everyday life of all Americans. Government projections show that, by the next two generations, more than 25 percent of the U.S. population will be of Latin American origin. The nation's clothing, music, architecture, literature, and food have all been influenced by our growing Latin and Mexican American populations.

American English has been most profoundly affected by immigration from Mexico and other Spanish-speaking nations. More people in the U.S. speak Spanish than ever before, and many find it a great advantage to speak more than one language.

Mexicans have been part of life in the present-day U.S. even before it was a self-governing country. What impact do you think this group will have on the nation's future?

Previous page Next Page