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More Asian than Hispanic immigrants: political implications?

Asians will overtake Hispanics as the largest US immigrant group, according to a study released Monday, challenging the way politicians chase the immigrant vote. 

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In this photo taken Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, Weikang Nie, a finance graduate student from China, sits with fellow Chinese students during a new student orientation at the University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson, Texas. The U.S. Census Bureau research shows immigrants from China and India, many with student or work visas, have overtaken Mexicans as the largest groups coming into the U.S.

(LM Otero/AP)

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By 2065, Asians will surpass Hispanics as the largest group of new immigrants entering the US. Asians will increase from 26 percent of the immigrant population to 38 percent, and Hispanics will decrease from 47 to 31 percent, according Pew Research Center released a report released Monday. 

Asians currently account for 6 percent of the total US population, but this will increase to 14 percent by 2065, experts say.

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Pew study suggests that in the past 50 years since the Immigration and Nationality Act was passed, almost 59 million immigrants have moved to the US, pushing the total foreign-born population up to a record 14 percent.

“The big picture is that immigration has been the major demographic factor driving growth and change in the US population over the last 50 years,” Pew demographer and co-author of the report Jeff Passel told Reuters. “Without immigrants, the US population would start decreasing.”

Looking forward, future immigrants are expected to account for 88 percent of the US population increase between 2015 and 2065. In other words, if current demographic trends continue, America should expect 103 million new immigrants in the next 50 years. No ethnic group will make up a majority of the US population, as non-Hispanic whites are expected to decrease 62 percent in 2015 to 46 percent by 2065.

Not only will the number of immigrants increase, but Pew also predicts that the composition of the nation’s immigrant population will change.

Although Asians will become the largest group of immigrants arriving in the US, the significant Hispanic population already living the in the US today will give this group a leg up on a greater overall population percentage. Hispanics will rise to 24 percent of the total US population, whereas the increasing number of Asian immigrants will raise their total to only 14 percent of the entire US population.

How will this shift affect political parties? Not much, experts say.  

Because of an increasing Hispanic population, and the political indifference of Asian-Americans, Democrats are still expected to own the immigrant vote.

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Democrats comfortably won 62 percent of the Latino vote in congressional elections in 2014, according to another study by the Pew Research Center. The partisanship is even more apparent in presidential elections, as President Barack Obama won 71 percent of the Latino vote over Republican candidate Mitt Romney. 

And although it is puzzling, experts agree that Asian-American voter turnout has been historically low. In 2010, only 31 percent of registered Asian-American voted, below the turnout of other demographic groups such as Hispanics, whites, and African-Americans. 

Research blind to demographics has long proved that adults with higher levels of education and greater income are far more likely to vote in US elections. The low voter turnout of Asian-Americans challenges this assumption, as the level of education and income for this electorate as a whole is higher than that of the same three demographic groups.

Among registered Asian-Americans voters who did not participate in the 2010 midterm-elections, the majority said they were too busy

So although the Asian-American electorate seems disillusioned with US politics, some experts say this growing population is up for grabs. "The reason their political identity is important is because an overwhelming number of Asian-Americans are actually not affiliated with any party, and their numbers are growing quickly," NPR reports