In his prime time talk Monday, President Bush said that most illegal immigrants are hard working and family oriented. Many immigrants say they came to the United States not for themselves, but for their children.
NPR's Adam Davidson visited one immigrant community in New York City to find out just how long it takes for immigrants and their families to become financially successful.
Often, the children of immigrants to the United States make big strides in educational attainment and earning power. Their parents, who often struggle after arriving in the United States, say they never expect their children to have the same obstacles of language and learning.
Joseph Macari has been selling real estate on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens 60 years ago. He says immigrants come to the area because of cheap transportation and small, affordable apartments.
"Each group of immigrants goes through the same thing," Macari says. "They reside here a while. Make a little money. Improve their standards. Sell their house for a little bit of profit. And move on."
It started with Germans and Italians when Macari grew up here, he says. Puerto Ricans, Indians and Colombians followed. Today, there's a growing Chinese population two train stop to the east. And Ecuadorians are moving in.
For 100 years, Jackson Heights, Queens, has been like a laboratory of American immigration: Hard work and money trouble, followed by home ownership -- and mostly successful kids.