Immigrants and the children of immigrants account for a small but growing share of lawmakers on Capitol Hill. At least 76 (14%) of the voting members of the 117th Congress are foreign born or have at least one parent born in another country, a slight uptick from the prior two Congresses.

Overall, there are 18 foreign-born members of the 117th Congress – 17 representatives and one senator, Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who was born in Japan. At least 58 other members, including 42 in the House and 16 in the Senate, were born in the United States or its territories to at least one immigrant parent, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of biographical information from the Congressional Research Service, news stories and members’ official websites and genealogical records through Feb. 8.

How we did this

This analysis examines congressional lawmakers’ birthplaces and parentage through news stories, obituaries, candidate statements, and congressional and genealogical records, as well as by 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.

Our analysis reflects the 532 voting members of Congress seated as of Feb. 8, 2021. In the House, one Texas seat is vacant after a congressman died on Feb. 8, and one Louisiana seat is empty because the congressman-elect died before being sworn in. The last House race to be decided (New York’s 22nd Congressional District) is included here. We did not include former Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, who resigned in January to join the Biden administration. Nonvoting delegates and commissioners are excluded. Independent members of Congress are counted with the party they caucus with. Biden administration nominees who were not yet confirmed at the time of writing are included in our count.

If you know of an additional legislator not included on our list, email

The 18 immigrant lawmakers in the current Congress represent just 3% of all voting members, a lower share than 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 U.S. as a whole, which was 13.7% as of 2018.

Democrats far outnumber Republicans among both immigrants and children of immigrants in Congress. Fourteen of the 18 foreign-born members are Democrats, as are 44 of the 58 members who are children of immigrants. That includes Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with Democrats: His father came to the U.S. from Poland.

Foreign-born share of Congress remains below historical highs
Largest number of immigrants, children of immigrants represent Western states

Immigrants and children of immigrants represent 27 states. Far more of these lawmakers come from Western states (35) than from any other of three other major U.S. regions: the South (16), Northeast (14) and Midwest (11). California has by far the most: 22 of the state’s 55 members of Congress are immigrants or children of immigrants. New York, Florida and Illinois all have five members of their delegations who are immigrants or children of immigrants, tied for the second-highest total.

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. Latin America (20%) and the Caribbean region (18%) each account for roughly one-in-five immigrants and children of immigrants, and most of these lawmakers have roots in Mexico (15) or Cuba (11). Asia has a similar share, 18%. Collectively, 70% of immigrants and children of immigrants in Congress have origins in countries in Europe, Latin America or the Caribbean.

Much smaller shares claim heritage in countries in the Middle East, North America and sub-Saharan Africa – each at or below 5%. (Some lawmakers in this analysis are tallied under more than one country and region. For example, Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., has a Caribbean father and a European mother.)

Most immigrants or children of immigrants in Congress come from Europe, Latin America

Some lawmakers in the current Congress have achieved notable firsts. For example, Rep. Marilyn Strickland, D-Wash., wore a hanbok, a traditional Korean garment, at her swearing-in ceremony in honor of her mother and heritage. She became one of the first three Korean American women elected to Congress last year, alongside Michelle Steel and Young Kim, both California Republicans.

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 they are 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.

Immigrants, children of immigrants in the 117th U.S. Congress

Name Immigrant or child of an immigrant Parent’s or member’s country of origin Party Office State
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
Bice, Stephanie Child Father: Iran Republican Representative OK
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
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
Garcia, Mike Child Both parents: Mexico Republican Representative CA
Gimenez, Carlos Immigrant Cuba Republican Representative FL
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
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
Kim, Young Immigrant South Korea Republican Representative CA
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
Malliotakis, Nicole Child Mother: Cuba; Father: Greece Republican Representative NY
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
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
Ossoff, Jon Child Mother: Australia Democrat Senator GA
Padilla, Alex Child Both parents: Mexico Democrat Senator CA
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
Salazar, Maria Elvira Child Both parents: Cuba Republican Representative FL
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
Spartz, Victoria Immigrant Ukraine Republican Representative IN
Speier, Jackie Child Father: Germany Democrat Representative CA
Steel, Michelle Immigrant South Korea Republican Representative CA
Strickland, Marilyn Immigrant South Korea Democrat Representative WA
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
Valadao, David Child Both parents: Portugal Republican Representative CA
Vargas, Juan Child Both parents: Mexico Democrat Representative CA
Wyden, Ron Child Both parents: Germany Democrat Senator OR
Note: As of Feb. 8, 2021. 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.
Sara Atske  is a digital producer at Pew Research Center.