During the 1980s, Latin American immigration into the United States was equivalent to the amount of European immigrants in the twentieth century. Latin Americans are the largest immigrant group in the U.S. consisting of approximately 31 million civilians, which is approximately 11.2 percent of the United States population. During the second half of the twentieth century, Latino immigration became the most significant immigration spread with immigrants coming from all over the continent. The most popular Latin American countries to emigrate from are México, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. There are many ways Latinos can immigrate to the United States. The Immigration and Naturalization Act governs the current immigration policy and provides approximately 675 thousand visas for immigrants on an annual basis. Immigration to the U.S. of course has requirements and is based on reunification of families, if the immigrant has skills valuable to the United States economy, if the U.S. is protecting refugees of that country, and promoting diversity. .
A popular reason for Latin American immigration is employment based. In recent years, Latino countries have had a struggling economy and many citizens are slaving trying to make money for their families while living in poverty. There are 140 thousand visas allowed per year, which are divided into 5 preferences: 1) a person having an extraordinary ability that will serve the United States (there are 40 thousand visas allowed for this category) 2) a person who holds an advanced degree (another 40,000 allowed for these people) 3) a person having had at least two years training or experience in their line of work (40 thousand) 4) religious workers or U.S. government employees (ten thousand) and 5) a person who will invest fifty thousand to one million dollars in job creating that will employ at least 10 people (ten thousand). Because of the extremely violent drug war going on in Latin American countries, another popular reason for Latino immigration is for refugees.