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US immigration undergoing a 'second great wave'

The US is undergoing a 'second great wave of immigration,' according to a recent study by USA Today.In the report US immigration over the past 20 years has been compared to the huge arrival of immigrants in the early 20th Century.

The effect of this 'second wave' is its positive impact on ethnic diversity across the whole of the US, even in rural areas such as the Midwest where, up until recently, residents were predominantly white.

Racial and ethnic diversity is no longer confined to cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Miami; in fact some of the figures show that smaller towns and cities are now some of the most diverse in the US. Some metro areas such as Lumberton, North Carolina and Yakima, Washington are now just as diverse as some of the larger cities, according to the report.

In the USA Today survey 49% of Americans believe that this increase in diversity has had a positive impact on the Country. Only 25% of those asked, thought the US was worse off.

The first 'great wave' lasted from around the 1880s to the 1920s and saw many Europeans move across the Atlantic. It was this wave of immigration which transformed the social and political landscape, and helped create the USA we recognise today.

This 'second wave' began in the 1970s, but really gathered pace with the tech explosion in the 1990s. During this time there was a huge increase in migrant foreign workers coming to the US.

Many migrant workers come to the US on a temporary work visa to begin with, before applying for permanent residence. Some of the more popular non-immigrant work related visa types are the H-1B for professional level workers, L-1A/L-1B visas for intra-company transferees, E-1 Treaty Trader and E-2 Treaty Investor visas for skilled work or management level work, and H-2B visas for any non-agricultural work where there are no US citizens available to do the work.

According to the report the current rate of immigration is set to continue for the foreseeable future, and shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.