Photo courtesy of Hispanicize

Did you know that June is Immigrant Heritage Month in the United States? It’s an observance to celebrate and honor those who left their homes searching for better opportunities for their families, frequently under great peril. 

This June, we celebrate and honor these brave migrants who contribute to and enrich our country’s culture.

Originated in 2014 and by the I Am an Immigrant Foundation initiative, Immigrant Heritage Month seeks to celebrate all the significant contributions made by immigrant groups from around the world to our country, whether cultural, economic or any other kind.

This initiative, although celebrated throughout the country since its beginnings, had not been officially declared a national celebration until May 31, 2022, through an official White House announcement in which the current President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, recognized the importance of this celebration and proclaimed June as National Immigrant Heritage Month.

The United States is currently the country with the largest number of immigrants, around 40 million people. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, at least 13% of the population in the United States is of immigrant origin, with Mexico being the country of origin with the highest percentage (25%), China in the second position (6%), India in the third position (6%), the Philippines in the fourth position (4%) and El Salvador in the fifth position (3%).

As for refugees, at least 30,000 people were resettled in the United States by 2019, with the Republic of Congo being the country of origin with the highest percentage of refugees (43%).

The impact of immigrants in the United States 

With such a large number of immigrants, it is to be expected that the effect will be of equal magnitude, as demonstrated by a study conducted by New American Economy, which shows the economic contribution of at least 45% of companies founded and owned by immigrants that generated $16.1 trillion in revenues in just one year. 

Another study, also conducted by New American Economy, shows that 44% of the companies on the Forbes 500 list, such as Google, eBay, and Yahoo, are founded by immigrants or children of immigrants.

This impact goes beyond the economic; an infinite number of cultures have enriched the United States. Important figures from different fields such as science, music, art, politics, journalism, and others have helped shape this country for hundreds of years, such as Nikola Tesla, the Croatian inventor who became a naturalized American citizen, and Joseph Pulitzer, the journalist and creator of the Pulitzer Prize.

Many celebrities that are immigrants or children of immigrants also take part in this month’s celebrations and companies that go further, such as Airbnb, which launched a refugee housing program.

How to celebrate National Immigrant Heritage Month?

There are many ways to celebrate and support the immigrant community, like shopping at your local immigrant-owned businesses or supporting campaigns that give shelter to refugees and shedding light on these issues on social media. 

The I Am an Immigrant Foundation also holds a series of events each year across the country that celebrates the contributions of the immigrant community through panel discussions and other cultural events. You can check out their website to learn about all the information and events near you.