Throughout its history, the United States has been a popular destination for migrants from across the globe.

The immigrant population in 2011 — estimated at 40.4 million — is a historical numeric high for the country, and it is also the largest in the world. About 20 percent of all international migrants reside in the United States, which accounts for less than 5 percent of the world's population.

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Policymakers in the Asia-Pacific region increasingly recognize the value that diaspora populations bring to development efforts at home, not just as senders of remittances but also as sources of human capital and direct and indirect (capital market) investments. Governments facilitate such contributions in several ways, from creating conducive legal frameworks and diaspora-centred institutions to initiating programmes specifically targeting diasporas as development actors.

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