Fast Facts on Immigration

There are many confusing, conflicting, and often misleading narratives about immigration in the news and policy and political debates today. We did the research for you to help you get better informed and educated on this important topic.

Here are the stats and facts about immigration in the United States:

  • According to the Pew Research Center, more than one million people immigrate to the United States each year. Of the 1,183,505 individuals who arrived in the United States in 2016 as lawful permanent residents:

    • 804,793 (68%) came through family ties

    • 137,893 (12%) were issued employment-based green cards

    • 120,216 (10%) were refugees

    • 49,865 (5%) were issued diversity visas.
      (Source: Pew Research Center

  • In 2016, 804,793 (68%) of the 1,183,505 immigrants were admitted to the U.S. on the basis of family ties, not on skills. This means a family member who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident sponsored them. This is often referred to as chain migration. (Sources: Department of Homeland Security, Congressional Research Service

  • 13.7% of the current U.S. population was born outside the United States. There are more immigrants, including those here legally and not legally, in the U.S. than any country in the world. In 2017, there were about 44.5 million immigrants. This is the highest share since 1910. (Sources: Pew Research and The New York Times

  • Since 1970, immigrants’ share of the U.S. population has nearly tripled. In 1970, immigrants accounted for just 4.7% of the population. Immigrants make up 13.7% of the population and, combined with their U.S.-born children, make up 27% of the U.S. population (86.4 million people). (Sources: Migration Policy Institute, Pew Research

  • 88% of the projected U.S. population growth through 2065 is expected to come from immigrants and their descendants. (Source: Pew Research)

  • In 2016, 7.4% of immigrant women gave birth vs. 5.9% of U.S.-born women. (Source: Pew Research

  • 49% of Americans think legal immigration should decrease, 34% think it should stay at the same levels, and 15% think it should increase. (Source: Pew Research

  • The current U.S. policy on visas for admission to the U.S. prioritizes family ties, work, and diversity.

    • The government issues unlimited family visas to spouses, children, and parents of current citizens, as well as 226,000 visas to other family members.

    • We also grant 85,000 HB-1 visas to skilled workers and 50,000 “diversity” visas to countries with low levels of immigration.
      (Sources: NPR, White House Fact Sheet

  • The Trump Administration is proposing changes to the U.S. visa policy that focuses on family ties, work, and merit.

    • Under the proposal, the government would issue unlimited family visas to spouses and children of current citizens, as well as 150,000 visas for parents of current citizens.

    • There also would be a merit-based system that would grant 85,000 HB-1 visas to skilled workers.

    • There would be no diversity program.
      (Sources: NPR, White House Fact Sheet



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