Magic Number of the Day: 18.2 million

Photograph by David McNew/Getty Images

Antonio Villaraigosa is greeted by Filipino World War II veterans, including some who were on the Bataan Death March, at the Philippine Village Community Center in the Los Angeles.

That’s the number of U.S. residents of Asian descent, according to Census Bureau estimates as of July 1, 2011. Asian-Americans accounted for about 5.8 percent of the nation’s population at that time, Census data show.

Asians have surpassed Hispanics as the largest bloc of new U.S. immigrants, a Pew Research Center report said today. They prefer the Democratic Party over Republicans by a wider margin than do Americans as a whole, the survey shows. Asians were 36 percent of new U.S. immigrants in 2010, up from 19 percent in 2000; Hispanics were 31 percent of new U.S. immigrants in 2010, down from 59 percent a decade earlier.

Hispanics are still the largest racial or ethnic minority group, at 16.7 percent of the population.

President Obama’s decision to end deportations of some illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children highlights the importance of Hispanic voters in the November election. Likely voters back the new policy by a 64 percent to 30 percent margin, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.

Mitt Romney hasn’t taken a position on Obama’s immigration policy, though he said the president’s announcement was driven by political considerations. Romney is finishing up a six-state, five-day bus tour in Michigan, where he was born.

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