|The United States is popularly known as a “nation of immigrants.” For recent immigrants and their descendants, this term means that they belong part of a long tradition of peoples who came the United States seeking economic opportunity, fleeing injustice or oppression in their homeland, and a better life for their children. Long term residents of the United States, those who immigration experience is several generations in the past, often have mixed feelings about new immigrants. They may be very proud of their immigrant forbearers from Italy, Poland, or Ireland, but this historical experience does not always generate sympathy for recent arrivals. They often think the new immigrants are somehow different and less deserving than those who arrived in the past. These beliefs about new immigrants are based on assumptions of difference--the recent newcomers have a different religion, a different language, or are from a different country that will make them less likely to assimilate to American society and culture. Then, there is a significant proportion of Americans are strongly hostile to new immigrants – they would like to stop all immigration and even to expel those who are already here, including the estimated 12 million immigrants who do not have any legal standing to be in the US. This ambivalence about immigration, and even hostility to immigrants, is part of the fabric of American society, past and present. Immigrants from around the world have been coming to the United States in large numbers for almost 4 centuries, long before the founding of the nation in 1787. Although immigrants are often welcomed, particularly by family and friends from their homeland, they often encounter indifference and occasional prejudice from long resident Americans. In this overview, I survey the trends in immigration to the United States with a focus on the most recent period. Current levels of immigration are very high, but relative the national population. In fact, the portion of the US population that is foreign born (or the children of the foreign born) was even higher during the first decade of the 20th century and during the 1840s and 1850s. These earlier waves of mass migration generated an extreme levels of American nativism that were much hostile than those at present. There was a significant number of Chinese, Japanese and Filipino immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th century, but the majority originated in Europe. At present, about half of new immigrants come from Mexico and other Latin American countries, and about one-quarter come from Asia, including China, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines. In the 1970s and 1980s, most immigrants settled a few states, particularly California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Illinois. In the 1990s, immigrants spread out to “new destinations,” including small towns and cities in the South and Midwest. They are not the poorest of the poor. Some immigrants arrive with very high educational credentials and play a disproportionate role in the American high tech sector. In general, the children of immigrants do very well in American society, both educationally and economically. Immigrants and their children are also distinctive in terms of their determination to succeed. Of course, not all immigrants are successful. Some join gangs and experience downward mobility. They may even adopt attitudes that reject the goal of social mobility. But, all in all, most empirical research shows that contemporary immigrants are making a positive contribution to American society, just as earlier waves of immigrants did.