Asians have surpassed Hispanics as the United States' largest group of new immigrants, according to a report on Tuesday that some experts said reflects decreased demand for migrant labor and highlights the impact of state crackdowns on illegals.
The Pew Research Center found that the number of Asian immigrants grew from 19 percent of all new immigrants in 2000 to 36 percent in 2010. Incoming Hispanic immigrants fell from 59 percent in 2000 to 31 percent.
Up to 11 percent of illegal immigrants in the United States are Asian while about 75 percent are Hispanic, according to the analysis, which combined government data with its own polling.
The findings come amid fierce debate over the nation's immigration policies.
President Barack Obama announced on Friday he was halting deportations for young illegals. The U.S. Supreme Court is also expected to rule this month on Arizona's controversial law requiring police to check the immigration status of detainees.
While the economy is paramount for voters, illegal immigration is being hotly debated ahead of the November election. Some have questioned the timing of Obama's announcement. The policy change also complicated efforts by his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, to fashion an immigration platform of his own.
Much of the debate has centered on Hispanics, a highly visible group and the nation's largest ethnic minority population.
Experts said there was no single answer for why Asian immigrants surpassed Hispanics, but the sluggish U.S. economy probably played a big role.