Members of the 116th Congress who are immigrants or children of immigrants include, from left, Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and TJ Cox, D-Calif.; Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and John Thune, R-S.D.; and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. (Safvan Allahverdi/Anadolu Agency, Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register, Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call, Mark Wilson, and Alex Wong, all but third via Getty Images)

Immigrants and children of immigrants account for at least 13% of all voting members of the newly sworn in 116th Congress. These lawmakers claim heritage in 37 countries – mostly in Europe, Latin America and Asia – and are overwhelmingly Democrats, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of members’ biographical information obtained from news articles, congressional offices and other sources.

There are 52 immigrants and children of immigrants serving in the House of Representatives and 16 serving in the Senate. Counting both chambers, 57 of the 68 lawmakers who are immigrants or children of immigrants are Democrats. Ten others are Republicans, and one – Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – is an independent.

November’s elections did not substantially change the share of immigrants and children of immigrants in Congress. In the last Congress, 12% of all voting members fell into this category, a slightly lower share than in the current Congress. While two immigrants and six children of immigrants from the 115th Congress are no longer serving, four of these members’ seats were filled by lawmakers who also are immigrants or children of immigrants.

While at least 13% of voting members in Congress are immigrants or children of immigrants, relatively few of these are foreign born: 13 in the House, and just one – Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii – in the Senate. These 14 immigrant lawmakers represent just 3% of all voting members in both chambers, a slight uptick from recent Congresses but substantially below the foreign-born share of Congresses many decades ago. (For example, about 10% of members in the first and much smaller Congress of 1789-91 were foreign born. About a century later, in the 50th Congress of 1887-89, 8% of members were born abroad, according to a previous analysis.) The current share of foreign-born lawmakers in Congress is also far below the foreign-born share of the United States as a whole, which was 13.5% as of 2016.

Foreign-born share of Congress remains below historical highsNearly half of immigrants, children of immigrants in Congress represent Western statesImmigrants and children of immigrants represent 24 states, with nearly half representing Western states. California has by far the most: 19 of the state’s 55 members are immigrants or children of immigrants. (Five members of Illinois’ delegation are immigrants or children of immigrants, the second-highest total of any state.) Looked at another way, more than a quarter of all members of Congress who are immigrants or children of immigrants represent California.

Europe is the most common origin region

Europe is the most common origin region for immigrant lawmakers or those who are children of immigrants: About one-third (32%) have roots in countries there. Roughly one-in-five (22%) immigrants and children of immigrants in Congress hail from countries in Latin America, and most of these – 13 – have immigrant roots in Mexico. Asia follows with 19% and the Caribbean with 18%. Collectively, 74% of immigrants and children of immigrants in Congress have origins in countries in Europe, Latin America or Asia.

Much smaller shares claim heritage in countries in the Middle East, North America and sub-Saharan Africa – each below 10%. (Some lawmakers in this analysis are tallied under more than one country and region. For example, Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., is the child of a Caribbean father and a European mother.)

Most immigrants or children of immigrants in Congress come from Europe, Latin America or AsiaSeveral lawmakers are immigrants who came to the U.S. with family to evade oppressive regimes or violence in other countries. Newly elected Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and fled with her family in 1991 after the country’s civil war started. Her family spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya and later moved to America, where she became a citizen in 2000. Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., was born in communist Poland before coming to the U.S. at age 6 with his mother.

Others had parents who fled their native countries. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., was born to a Polish mother who survived the Holocaust and came to the U.S. in 1950. Rep. Joe Neguse, also a Democrat representing Colorado, was born to Eritrean parents who fled their country in 1980 when it was embroiled in war with Ethiopia.

Under the U.S. Constitution, an immigrant taking office in the House must be a U.S. citizen for seven years or more, age 25 or older and living in the state where he or she is elected. Nine years of citizenship are required to serve in the Senate, and the person must be 30 or older and live in the represented state when elected.

In this analysis, we examined lawmakers’ birthplaces and parentage through news stories, obituaries, candidate statements, and congressional and genealogical records, as well as contacting congressional staff. Our count does not include members of Congress who were born outside the U.S. to American parents and gained U.S. citizenship after meeting legal requirements. Our tally also does not include members who were born (or whose parents were born) in U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, nor on U.S. military bases out of the country. In addition, one disputed seat in the House – North Carolina’s 9th District – is not included in the total number of voting seats.

If you know of an additional legislator not included on our list, send us an email at facttank@pewresearch.org.

Research assistant Virginia Villa contributed to this analysis.

Immigrants, children of immigrants in the 116th U.S. Congress

Name Immigrant or child of an immigrant Parent’s or member’s country of origin Party Office State
Amash, Justin Child Mother: Syria; Father: Palestinian terr. Republican Representative MI
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
Blumenthal, Richard Child Father: Germany Democrat Senator CT
Boyle, Brendan Child Father: Ireland Democrat Representative PA
Brown, Anthony Child Mother: Switzerland; Father: Cuba Democrat Representative MD
Burgess, Michael Child Father: Canada Republican Representative TX
Butterfield, G.K. Child Father: Bermuda Democrat Representative NC
Carbajal, Salud Immigrant Mexico Democrat Representative CA
Cárdenas, Tony Child Both parents: Mexico Democrat Representative CA
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
Cox, TJ Child Mother: Philippines; Father: China Democrat Representative CA
Cruz, Ted Child Father: Cuba Republican Senator TX
Cuellar, Henry Child Father: Mexico Democrat Representative TX
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
Gallego, Ruben Child Mother: Colombia; Father: Mexico Democrat Representative AZ
García, Jesús Immigrant Mexico Democrat Representative IL
Gomez, Jimmy Child Both parents: Mexico Democrat Representative CA
Gonzalez, Anthony Child Father: Cuba Republican Representative OH
Grijalva, Raúl Child Father: Mexico Democrat Representative AZ
Harris, Andy Child Mother: Ukraine; Father: Hungary Republican Representative MD
Harris, Kamala Child Mother: India; Father: Jamaica Democrat Senator CA
Heinrich, Martin Child Father: Germany Democrat Senator NM
Hirono, Mazie Immigrant Japan Democrat Senator HI
Horsford, Steven Child Mother: Trinidad Democrat Representative NV
Houlahan, Chrissy Child Father: Poland Democrat Representative PA
Hoyer, Steny Child Father: Denmark Democrat Representative MD
Jayapal, Pramila Immigrant India Democrat Representative WA
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
Krishnamoorthi, Raja Immigrant India Democrat Representative IL
Lieu, Ted Immigrant Taiwan Democrat Representative CA
Lowenthal, Alan Child Mother: Russia Democrat Representative CA
Malinowski, Tom Immigrant Poland Democrat Representative NJ
Menendez, Robert Child Both parents: Cuba Democrat Senator NJ
Meng, Grace Child Both parents: China/Taiwan Democrat Representative NY
Mooney, Alexander Child Mother: Cuba Republican Representative WV
Mucarsel-Powell, Debbie Immigrant Ecuador Democrat Representative FL
Murphy, Stephanie Immigrant Vietnam Democrat Representative FL
Napolitano, Grace Child Mother: Mexico Democrat Representative CA
Neguse, Joe Child Both Parents: Eritrea Democrat Representative CO
Omar, Ilhan Immigrant Somalia Democrat Representative MN
Peters, Gary Child Mother: France Democrat Senator MI
Risch, James Child Father: Germany Republican Senator ID
Rubio, Marco Child Both parents: Cuba Republican Senator FL
Ruiz, Raul Immigrant Mexico Democrat Representative CA
Sánchez, Linda Child Both parents: Mexico Democrat Representative CA
Sanders, Bernie Child Father: Poland Independent Senator VT
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
Sires, Albio Immigrant Cuba Democrat Representative NJ
Speier, Jackie Child Father: Germany Democrat Representative CA
Suozzi, Thomas Child Father: Italy Democrat Representative NY
Thune, John Child Mother: Canada Republican Senator SD
Tlaib, Rashida Child Both Parents: Palestinian territories Democrat Representative MI
Torres, Norma Immigrant Guatemala Democrat Representative CA
Vargas, Juan Child Both parents: Mexico Democrat Representative CA
Wyden, Ron Child Both parents: Germany Democrat Senator OR
Note: As of Jan. 23, 2019. Though included in this analysis, the Palestinian territories are not recognized as an independent state by the U.S. State Department.
Source: Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, news reports, genealogical records and members’ published comments, websites and staff.