Immigrants and children of immigrants account for at least 15% of the 118th Congress, a share that has steadily grown over the past three Congresses. At least 81 voting members of Congress are foreign born or have at least one parent who was born in another country, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of members’ biographical information gathered from the Congressional Research Service, news articles, congressional offices and other sources.
There are currently 18 foreign-born voting members of Congress, including 17 in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate – Democrat Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, who was born in Japan. Together, they represent 3% of all voting members across both legislative chambers. At least 63 additional lawmakers – 47 representatives and 16 senators – have one or more immigrant parent. Overall, these children of immigrants make up 12% of the House and Senate.
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Both the number and share of foreign-born members in the current Congress are the same as in the previous Congress. The share remains substantially below historical highs. For example, about 8% of lawmakers were immigrants in the 50th Congress of 1887-88, during a broader wave of immigration from Europe to the United States. The share of immigrants in the current Congress is also far below the foreign-born share of the U.S. population as a whole, which was 13.6% in 2021.
Children of immigrants, though, have increased their representation in Congress in recent years. Their share has increased from 10% (or 52 members) in the 115th Congress of 2017-18, when the Center began tracking this biographical information.
Looking at all 81 immigrants and children of immigrants in the current Congress, Democrats make up a much larger portion of the group than Republicans. Among the 17 senators who are foreign born or have an immigrant parent, 12 are Democrats, four are Republicans (Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Jim Risch of Idaho, John Thune of South Dakota and Ted Cruz of Texas) and one is an independent – Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, whose father emigrated from Poland.
In the House, 48 of the 64 lawmakers who are immigrants or children of immigrants are Democrats, while 16 are Republicans. The latter group includes New York Republican Rep. George Santos, who is the son of Brazilian immigrants. However, key aspects of Santos’ biography have been called into question.
Immigrants and children of immigrants represent 25 states in Congress. About a quarter of these members (26%) represent California – the largest share representing any one state. Smaller shares represent Florida (9%), Illinois (7%) and New York (6%).
There are also regional trends. Almost half of members who are immigrants or children of immigrants (48%) hail from states in the West – 39 members in all. The South ranks as the second-most common region represented by this group, with 17 lawmakers, followed by the Northeast (13) and the Midwest (12).
In a change from previous Congresses, Central America has surpassed Europe as the most common origin region for lawmakers who are immigrants or the children of immigrants. Three-in-ten members in this group claim heritage in Central American countries. About a quarter or fewer have roots in Europe (26%), Asia (17%) and the Caribbean (16%).
Twenty-two lawmakers who are immigrants or have at least one immigrant parent have roots in Mexico, by far the largest number from any one country. The next most common countries of origin are Cuba with nine lawmakers, Germany with six and India with five. (Some lawmakers in this analysis are tallied under more than one country and region because their parents emigrated to the U.S. from different nations.)
Of the new members of Congress this year, Democratic Rep. Becca Balint, whose Hungarian father survived the Holocaust, is the first woman and openly gay person to represent Vermont in Congress. And Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia of California, who emigrated from Peru at age 5, is the first openly gay immigrant to serve in Congress.
Under the U.S. Constitution, an immigrant taking office in the House must be a U.S. citizen for seven years or more, be age 25 or older and live in the state where they are elected. Nine years of citizenship are required to serve in the Senate, and the member must be 30 or older and live in the represented state when elected.
If you know of an additional congressional legislator not included on our list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Immigrants, children of immigrants in the 118th U.S. Congress
|Name||Immigrant or child of an immigrant||Place of origin||Party||Office||State|
|Balint, Becca||Child||Father: Hungary||Democrat||Representative||VT|
|Barragán, Nanette||Child||Both parents: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||CA|
|Bennet, Michael||Child||Mother: Poland||Democrat||Senator||CO|
|Bera, Ami||Child||Both parents: India||Democrat||Representative||CA|
|Bice, Stephanie||Child||Father: Iran||Republican||Representative||OK|
|Blumenthal, Richard||Child||Father: Germany||Democrat||Senator||CT|
|Boyle, Brendan||Child||Father: Ireland||Democrat||Representative||PA|
|Burgess, Michael||Child||Father: Canada||Republican||Representative||TX|
|Caraveo, Yadira||Child||Both parents: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||CO|
|Casar, Greg||Child||Both parents: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||TX|
|Cherfilus-McCormick, Sheila||Child||Both parents: Haiti||Democrat||Representative||FL|
|Chu, Judy||Child||Mother: China||Democrat||Representative||CA|
|Clarke, Yvette||Child||Both parents: Jamaica||Democrat||Representative||NY|
|Correa, Lou||Child||Both parents: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||CA|
|Cruz, Ted||Child||Father: Cuba||Republican||Senator||TX|
|Cuellar, Henry||Child||Father: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||TX|
|Cárdenas, Tony||Child||Both parents: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||CA|
|DeLauro, Rosa||Child||Father: Italy||Democrat||Representative||CT|
|Diaz-Balart, Mario||Child||Both parents: Cuba||Republican||Representative||FL|
|Duckworth, Tammy||Child||Mother: Thailand||Democrat||Senator||IL|
|Durbin, Dick||Child||Mother: Lithuania||Democrat||Senator||IL|
|Eshoo, Anna||Child||Mother: Armenia; Father: Iran||Democrat||Representative||CA|
|Espaillat, Adriano||Immigrant||Dominican Republic||Democrat||Representative||NY|
|Frost, Maxwell Alejandro||Child||Mother: Cuba||Democrat||Representative||FL|
|Gallego, Ruben||Child||Mother: Colombia; Father: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||AZ|
|Garcia, Mike||Child||Both parents: Mexico||Republican||Representative||CA|
|Gomez, Jimmy||Child||Both parents: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||CA|
|Grijalva, Raúl||Child||Father: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||AZ|
|Harris, Andy||Child||Mother: Ukraine; Father: Hungary||Republican||Representative||MD|
|Heinrich, Martin||Child||Father: Germany||Democrat||Senator||NM|
|Horsford, Steven||Child||Mother: Trinidad||Democrat||Representative||NV|
|Houlahan, Chrissy||Child||Father: Poland||Democrat||Representative||PA|
|Hoyer, Steny||Child||Father: Denmark||Democrat||Representative||MD|
|Khanna, Ro||Child||Both parents: India||Democrat||Representative||CA|
|Kilmer, Derek||Child||Mother: Germany||Democrat||Representative||WA|
|Kim, Andy||Child||Both parents: South Korea||Democrat||Representative||NJ|
|Kim, Young||Immigrant||South Korea||Republican||Representative||CA|
|Luna, Anna Paulina||Child||Father: Mexico||Republican||Representative||FL|
|Malliotakis, Nicole||Child||Mother: Cuba; Father: Greece||Republican||Representative||NY|
|Menendez, Robert||Child||Both parents: Cuba||Democrat||Senator||NJ|
|Meng, Grace||Child||Both parents: Taiwan||Democrat||Representative||NY|
|Mooney, Alexander||Child||Mother: Cuba||Republican||Representative||WV|
|Napolitano, Grace||Child||Mother: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||CA|
|Neguse, Joe||Child||Both parents: Eritrea||Democrat||Representative||CO|
|Ossoff, Jon||Child||Mother: Australia||Democrat||Senator||GA|
|Padilla, Alex||Child||Both parents: Mexico||Democrat||Senator||CA|
|Peters, Gary||Child||Mother: France||Democrat||Senator||MI|
|Pérez, Marie Gluesenkamp||Child||Father: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||WA|
|Ramirez, Delia||Child||Both parents: Guatemala||Democrat||Representative||IL|
|Risch, James||Child||Father: Germany||Republican||Senator||ID|
|Rubio, Marco||Child||Both parents: Cuba||Republican||Senator||FL|
|Salazar, Maria Elvira||Child||Both parents: Cuba||Republican||Representative||FL|
|Salinas, Andrea||Child||Father: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||OR|
|Sanders, Bernie||Child||Father: Poland||Independent||Senator||VT|
|Santos, George||Child||Both parents: Brazil||Republican||Representative||NY|
|Sarbanes, John||Child||Mother: UK||Democrat||Representative||MD|
|Schakowsky, Janice||Child||Mother: Russia; Father: Lithuania||Democrat||Representative||IL|
|Schatz, Brian||Child||Father: Canada||Democrat||Senator||HI|
|Steel, Michelle||Immigrant||South Korea||Republican||Representative||CA|
|Strickland, Marilyn||Immigrant||South Korea||Democrat||Representative||WA|
|Sánchez, Linda||Child||Both parents: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||CA|
|Thune, John||Child||Mother: Canada||Republican||Senator||SD|
|Tlaib, Rashida||Child||Both parents: Palestinian territories||Democrat||Representative||MI|
|Valadao, David||Child||Both parents: Portugal||Republican||Representative||CA|
|Vargas, Juan||Child||Both parents: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||CA|
|Vasquez, Gabe||Child||Both parents: Mexico||Democrat||Representative||NM|
|Wyden, Ron||Child||Both parents: Germany||Democrat||Senator||OR|
Note: Data as of Feb. 28, 2023.
Source: Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, news reports, genealogical records and members’ published comments, and statements from congressional websites and staff.
- Immigrants and children of immigrants make up at least 14% of the 117th Congress
- In 116th Congress, at least 13% of lawmakers are immigrants or the children of immigrants
- Immigrants or children of immigrants make up at least 12% of 115th Congress
Immigration & MigrationCongressDemographics & Politics
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Janakee Chavda is an assistant digital producer at Pew Research Center.
Categories: America, American History, Americas, Asia, United States, USA
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