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Chicago and it's history of immigration

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Chicago and it's history of immigration

Chicago’s rich history of immigration has lent to a diverse mosaic of communities stretched across the city. Sturdy immigration patterns have resulted in a diverse array of ethnic and religious populations that have nestled comfortably in corners of the city they have adopted as their own. Here’s a non-exhaustive outline of the early and modern histories of immigration to Chicago and what they signify for the city.

Early Movements

From the mid 19th century to the late 20th, industrialization shone with glimmering opportunity for the European poor. The United States became a destination for employment, offering what many European immigrants thought their home states could not: a sliver of financial security.

From 1950, Polish immigrants comprised one of the top five immigrant groups of Chicago’s population. Members of Chicago’s original Polish community were part of a wave of European immigrants that came to settle in the city’s various neighborhoods throughout the century.

“Over the years, the Polish community has lived in several different parts of Chicago.  One such area, Bucktown, got its name from the goats some residents kept in their yards.  Nowadays the Archer Heights neighborhood maintains a strong Polish presence.”

Later Stages

Throughout the 20th century, the U.S. became home to immigrants from across the Middle East and North Africa. Groups of migrants left various countries across the region, many escaping war, instability triggered by regime changes, or lack of economic and financial opportunity, who would become parents of a new American Gen Z of Middle Eastern descent.  Another small wave of refugees from Iraq and Syria, among other countries, came to the United States from 2014-2017 in escape of ISIS.

Populations from Jordan, Syria and Palestine have for decades flourished in Chicago and its suburbs, with Bridgeview earning its nickname as “Little Palestine” for its abundance of family-owned restaurants and markets serving Middle Eastern food and goods.

Chicago is also home to a large population of Mexican immigrants, whose movement to the United States was prompted by the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Today, Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood hosts a large part of the city’s Mexican population.

Impact of Immigration

A report from New American Economy outlines the impact of “new Americans” on Chicago’s economy in 2016. It found that, in that year, immigrants “contributed significantly to state and local taxes…levied by state and municipal governments”. Out of $16.9 billion of aggregate income earned by immigrant households,

Under the Trump administration, refugee admission to the United States decreased significantly. According to the Illinois Refugee Resettlement Program Fiscal Year 2018 Report In that year, Illinois resettled a total of 724 refugees, half of whom were children under age 18. The top five countries of origin were Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

If you, or a loved one have any questions about entry into United States, our team in Chicago will be able to assist in any and all questions and legal matters needed. Do not hesitate in reaching out to our office to schedule a consultation today.

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