According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1.5 million South Americans have come to the United States from 1820 to 1995.
Most of them have come from South America’s Hispanic nations. Ninety-one percent have come just since 1950, and 85 percent since 1960.
In the 1980s alone, 456,000 South Americans were admitted to the United States. The actual numbers may be greater, since an unknown number of additional South Americans have come here illegally.
These figures show that people of South American descent are a substantial and growing percentage of the nation’s Hispanic Americans. Their current numbers are comparable to the number of people of Cuban or Dominican descent.
However, many people in the United States are barely aware of South Americans as a distinct group.