Test Your Knowledge on Immigration


On the occasion of the premiere of the documentary The State of Arizona [on PBS January 27; check local listings], we’ve created a new quiz on American immigration. You may find some of the questions challenging, and just as many answers surprising, as you test your knowledge on this hot-button topic.

We’ve updated the long-popular Immigration Quiz that was originally published in tandem with the Independent Lens series The New Americans. Common misperceptions regarding immigration and its effects on American society often result in suspicion, discrimination and doubt. Test your knowledge on immigration with this multiple-choice quiz — you may be surprised by some of the answers here.

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  • justanaverageguy

    The elites with their gated communities and desire for cheap labor and wealth are pushing illegal immigration just as they pushed the 1965 immigration act that resulted in declining wages and USA overpopulaton.

  • Mike Smith

    These questions are meaningless in regards to Mexico/Mexicans INVADING our country. CA has been completely taken over by Mexicans. White males cannot get a working mans job in So. CA.

    They have been frozen out of work by the Mexicans who work on getting their family & friends hired, and the Mexican language, along with AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.

    Our own government has betrayed by allowing Mexicans to thrive in our country. Giving them free everything. Birthing 6 kids for free, using schools to babysit their spawn. The illegal alien Invasion costs us $350 BILLION a year, $3.5 trillion over 10 yrs.

    We are facing the most serious situation our countrymen have ever faced. We are facing and New Form of Genocide. A Passive Aggressive Genocide.

    What happens when people from another country take your land and your resources, and destroy your culture and your lifestyle. War, that’s what happens.

    • Christopher Vietti

      Are you serious or is this satire? Mexican language? Surely you mean Spanish? Affirmative Action would favor Mexican American CITIZENS maybe, but not undocumented immigrants not authorized to work–which is beside the point. If you knew anything about American social policy, you would know that, by no close margins, Affirmative Action has benefited white women.

      There are two major problems with the anti-immigrant community. Point one, as you have demonstrated, is blatant misunderstanding and lack of education. I would call your numbers into question since you think they speak Mexican, but I would also wager you do not realize that they are coming here because conditions are miserable in Mexico, which is substantially fueled by American drug use. You would condemn them from running from fire, something any sensible person would also do. You also show a lack of understanding of history. We had this problem with the Irish, Italians, Germans, Chinese, and Japanese all at various points, and the quicker we integrated them into our society, the quicker the problem went away. I dare you to protest an Irish pride parade, or an Italian pride parade. They are no different than the Mexicans are now.

      You also confide in the belief that deporting them all would solve the problem. It’s such an ignorant, short-sighted temporary-at-best solution. Not even close. Many people, Mexican or otherwise, are going to immigrate to this country regardless what you do. They will tunnel, boat, fly, swim, and I’m sure will use countless other means. You will never stop it. You need to build a more permanent solution. Make citizenship easier to attain. Don’t amount it to extortion, which is what it essentially is now. The quicker you can integrate them into our society with full functionality is the sooner you either make the anti-immigrant movement content, or expose people who hate out of bigotry.

      Don’t feed the trolls, but you represent the true problem here. Intolerance, I understand, will never go away, but we can certainly marginalize you, and prove that YOU are the weakest link in our society.

      • casterofpeals

        i agree with you that the lack of integration into our society by these migrants is a major problem in what Mike Smith sees. but, it’s easier to become a citizen today than it was 100 years ago (more are coming in each year, too)–save there is a longer line today. but, this is the first migration en masse of people who wanted to take their country with them. my german ancestors that entered thru ellis island cut off the german speaking in their household (i think that’s too far for anyone), wanting to become “american,” and they wanted to vote like americans, stand up for american principles etc. this sentiment is repeated by the many millions who’s grandparents migrated to america at that time–it’s a sentiment still shared by those who acquire citizenship today. many of the migrants coming from mexico today, do not share the same sentiment–they look at the US as an economy, not a nation–and that’s more serious than a parade once a year.

        “intolerance?” don’t condemn someone who sees the smoke and misses the fire. most of what he sees are problems of illegals not sharing the load of legals (by load, i mean having to pay income tax, car insurance, driver licenses, permits, equal punishment for nonviolent crimes, etc). if illegals had to share that same list of problems, they would get pretty po’d if they saw others waltz in here and work for far less because they don’t share this burden of being a “citizen.”

        saying “mexican” instead of spanish is a pointless issue. it is very reasonable to refer to a dialect by it’s current users than by it’s mother language. some very intelligent europeans do the same.

        so, in the short term, deporting them all would solve the issues of job’s being taken up by people working for less. but i don’t agree with deporting them. we should legalize freedom, but not ban certain people because we don’t like them being free and us being restricted (citizen vs illegal), there have been similar issues between amish and conventional citizen.

        there is no need to make citizenship easier to obtain, because it worked just fine 80-90 years ago, illegal migration is a new problem, and as to why, is left up to the individual, but i will just say that the same thing happened in rome:

        as citizens were continuously being burdened with increasing gov’t spending and destruction of the economy, they were becoming useless to a state that milks it’s citizenry for ever growing power and imperialism. with an inflating currency and unpayable debts of both the gov’t and the people, the state needed new citizens who weren’t selling themselves and families into slavery, giving up on life. they needed people who were new to the system, that could provide revenue and a hand in all the wars; they freed slaves and gave citizenship to everyone, wanting more migrants who were debt free and that could get entrapped in the collapsing system.

        welcome to rome

      • amyinnh

        Affirmative action without use of EVerify does mean illegals qualify. Are you aware there’s a federal law against prosecuting an illegal for using someone else’s SSN?
        I take it you’ve never understood the US’ persistent intentional flooding of the labor market to drive down wages. Intentional hardship for both the displaced citizens and the illegal/legal over immigant population. You think the raped illegal field hands are some fluke? The unpaid hours? The locked exits?
        The govenment will no sooner legitimize this recent batch than build up a new one. Insatiable greed.
        You’re assumption of bigotry is ignorant, regarding your country and fellow citizen’s plight. Because there are consequences.

    • amyinnh

      It’s not a California or Arizona problem, it’s a national problem. Quite simply, if the law were enforced, it wouldn’t be a problem.
      As for being our nation’s most serious problem, I agree.
      War? Yes, class warfare. Or, as Romney put it regarding staffing the Winter Olympics with illegals, he “couldn’t find labor at the price [he] was willing to pay”, blatantly the law doesn’t apply when it inconveniently costs me money to comply.
      Genocide? Tough call, however I can understand how you could see it that way. The US government has repeatedly flooded the labor market to drive down wages and yes, it does have fatal repercussions on the poorest. I suppose you could call it fiscal genocide, which the US gov./industry practices all over the world.

    • BigKev

      Mexicans were here before “white males” were….we took their land….

    • Mag Raine

      HMM, that’s what the Native Americans were thinking when WHITE people came here, trashing their land, languages, culture, and killing hundreds of thousands. Whites tore Native babies from their parents and sent them to White culture schools, forcing them to speak English! And you have the gall to say Mexicans are ruining California. REALLY? What country did your ancestors come from???

    • http://www.kanyewest.com/ Kanye West

      Yeah, last time someone from another country took somebody’s land and resources, and destroyed their culture and lifestyle, AMERICA happened. There is no such thing as the Mexican language. Illegal immigrants cost around 100 billion dollars year. It’s not like white people are just dying to get landscaping or housekeeping jobs.

    • bruh

      dude. thats racist

    • jose Carranza

      Que? No hablo ingles.
      When/where can I renew my greencard? The Following family members need to:
      – sister 6x
      -brothers 12x
      -cousins 48.5x (one of them is a half cousin)
      -grandparents 4x
      -spouse 3x (I’m Mormon)
      -wife’s side of the family 68x
      – and my 13 donkeys

  • commenter Free

    I am married to a non-white wife who’s family has direct experience with poor immigration policies. I have researched these issues and documented them extensively. But, the program about Arizona was too sensationalized to really address immigration issues. We need much more rational discussions to move forward on this important issue. PBS could do much better.

  • Mike Smith

    My post was deleted by PBS. The truth is not getting out. It is being censored by the new NAZI propaganda machine.

    • http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/ Independent Lens

      Your posts were not deleted. Please read our guidelines:

      Including this part:

      “Talkback comments are posted Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Please be patient, as your comment will not appear instantly.”
      Making a special exception for this film and topic because there are a ton of comments and we really don’t want people to feel they are being censored, but it does take time to wade through them all, particularly at this late hour. Thank you again for your patience.

  • Gayle Saltsgaver

    The state of California is seriously threatened with upcoming natural resource shortages do to over population of people, all people! If you are not a legal citizen in the U.S. expect to be deported because California has no more room!

  • dagpel

    It is incredible that people even argue about immigration reform. Who in the world can immigrate if they don’t marry, win the lottery, have a million dollars to invest, or a job that no American can perform? NO ONE!!! Some do get artist visas, and oftentimes that info is literally invented. From your own quiz it is obvious that many don’t even want citizenship, and most likely don’t want to stay here forever. They want to work, earn money, pay taxes due the USA and eventually return to the country of their origin to make a life for themselves and to make it better for others in their countries of origin. The illegals don’t even want to stay! They want to earn money and go home to start a business, become an employer, share what they’ve learned. But the difficulties involved with coming here encourages them to remain illegally.

    People worry about American jobs lost. More people require more businesses, more jobs, more taxes, more everything. The dingbats who sit on the past, how things were 50 – 60 – 100 years ago – be happy things have changed! I’m glad I’m living now and not back then when you shivered in winter, died in the summer heat, waited for hours to make a long distance call, had no medicine for many illnesses and people died earlier, when education was poor…. Come on, be happy to live now and give everyone a chance to live, work, and change the world.

    Profiling is awful. If you’re snow-white you’ve never experienced it. If you’re anything else, you have.

    • amyinnh

      First, the quiz is misleading. This film is on illegal immigrants and the quiz is not. Some of the quiz questions are on foreign born, legal and illegal. Second, those so called difficulties coming here is called law and order and they’re in place for a reason.
      Third, give everyone a chance, are you that naive to think resources and jobs are in endless supply here? Or is that a blind eye you’re intentionally turning toward the unemployed and homeless? Because the poverty relief you so generously propose to give to illegals, as jobs, merely relocates poverty elsewhere in our citizenry.
      As a lily white, I have been profiled, as a woman, as a teenager, so no, this is not unique to Arizona or illegals.
      Lastly, you claim to have taken the quiz but seem to have immediately forgotten that 3/4s of immigrants are legal. Apparently millions manage to accomplish it _legally_.

  • amyinnh

    What precisely is racist about illegal?

    • justanaverageguy

      The only people that now want to immigrate to the USA are coming from third world countries, not Europe. Why would they when they have it far better in their country. Some are coming as wolves and financiers to plunder the sheep.. Watch Reischs documentary “Inequality for All”.

      The same people that continue to push more importation of poverty pushed the 1965 Immigration Act that represented the beginning of the end of an America that many grew up with.

      Our counry was led down the path of over population with unskilled workers that inevitably required financial assistance. Clueless Americans enamored with Hollywood instead of being informed critical thinkers was the goal.

      • amyinnh

        Of course badly run/poor countries are going to have more citizens interested in emigrating. Is that not intuitive? We have boatloads of legal immigrants, from third world countries. We have an absurd number using H-1B, with industry pushing for more, to douse wage rates.
        This film is about illegals.
        And I believe the entire extent of the impact considered is what is beneficial to business. And then the Rs whine about dependent citizens. Or, bluntly, they turn a blind eye to the origin of the problem, the poor work of congress. Okay, okay, it’s not poor, its corrupt.

      • amyinnh

        Unskilled? College degree in hand, straight from graduation to the unemployment line. You may want to blanket yourself in contempt but you don’t have to fabricate bogus cause.

  • amyinnh

    So, Independent Lens, where’s the film on the displaced homeless and unemployed citizens? Where’s the film on those back in line awaiting their legal immigration papers? Cutting room floor or did you just ignore that side entirely? You continuously pose this as a victimless crime when it isn’t. You support intentional systemic undermining of the poorest of US citizens, which is surprising.

  • amyinnh

    The senate’s immigration reform bill ups the current 65K new H-1B visas to 161K per year and adds spouses as also now eligible to work, for a grand total of effect of 310K per year. That doesn’t include renewals, nor the glossy new addition of allowing L1 visas for H-1B type of work. They’ve also exempted any employees who’ve applied for a green card from the count for H-1B dependency evaluations. I wouldn’t want to be a new graduate in the next few years, bankrupt coming out of school and likely to stay that way. I’ve found the H-1Bs brought racism, sexism and ageism with them, a persisting source of unemployment for new grads and IT workers in particular.

  • http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/ Independent Lens

    Update note: We felt one of the questions on our quiz was confusingly worded and out of date, and have subsequently replaced it with a new improved question. Thanks for participating!

  • Pingback: The Peopling of New York » Test your immigration knowledge()

  • Jose

    Thanks to outsourcing over 2 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since the official start of the Great Recession and since the 2000, the United States has lost 5.6 million jobs, or about 33% from year 2000. From it’s peak in March 2001, Information is down 1 million jobs, but estimates on the number of H-1B workers alone imply for Americans, it’s more like 1.7 million job losses. Construction on the other hand has been decimated from the housing bubble and is down 2.1 million jobs from it’s peak in July 2006 or 38%. I have a hard time thinking Mexicans or any group did this.

    • I. Bokonon

      First, your data are 3 years out of date. Second, you falsely assume that outsourcing is the only cause of manufacturing or other job losses, as if tax policies, trade policies, immigration policies, education policies, foreign competition, changing technology (e.g., robotics), and economic health have nothing to do with it. Third, job losses in some sectors of the economy are not necessarily bad if they are offset by job gains in other sectors. Fourth, if you have a hard time thinking immigration has anything to do with unemployment, then you haven’t thought about it very much. By the law of supply and demand, a significant increase in labor supply would normally cause at least a temporary decrease in employment and/or wages. In fact, the massive immigration of the last few decades has done exactly that. For example, government data show that since 2000 all of the net gain in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people holding a job has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal). This is remarkable given that native-born Americans accounted for two-thirds of the growth in the total working-age population.

  • Megan Andrews

    This test was surprisingly challenging. I was incredibly surprised by the results. I definitely did not know that more immigrants come through the Canadian border than the Mexican border.

  • Karan Dhillon

    Wow, seeing these questions and answering them makes you really rethink what you think you know about immigration into the United States.

  • http://fraesh.tumblr.com Alexandrea Somers

    Es interesante que no se mucho de inmigración. Por muchos hechos, no tengo una idea. Estes preguntas son muy específicas y pienso muchas personas no saben. Pero, pienso que todas personas pueden aprender si ellos tomen la prueba. En 1960, era sorprendida que 75% de inmigrantes era de Europa. Pero entiendo porque la lucha de derechos civil occurio.

  • bruh

    how is the average only 38% lmao