Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States
Immigration has a profound impact on the United States, which throughout its history has been a destination for migrants from across the globe. Immigration touches on myriad facets of American life – ranging from the economic and political to the cultural.
As such, it is important that facts about immigrants and contemporary immigration flows to the United States are made easily available to the public. This Spotlight seeks to do so, providing some of the most frequently used current and historical facts and figures in easily accessible fashion. For example:
Which countries are the main sources for immigration to the United States? How many immigrants come each year? How many are already here? How many became US citizens last year? How many children live in immigrant families? How large are illegal immigration flows? Do immigrants have health insurance? How many immigrants live in poverty? How many are eligible to vote?
This Spotlight brings together resources from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI); the US Census Bureau's 2010 American Community Survey, 2010 Current Population Survey, and 2000 decennial census; the US Departments of Homeland Security and State; the Pew Hispanic Center; and Mexico's National Population Council (CONAPO) and National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI).
According to the most recently available data, how many immigrants are in the United States today?
The data suggest that, between 2009 and 2010, the foreign-born population increased more than 1.4 million, or by nearly 4 percent (compared to 1.5 percent between 2008 and 2009). This increase is significant, and seems to reflect a continuing rebound after immigration slowed substantially during the recession. However, to some extent the increase can be attributed to how the data were compiled.
Because ACS measures its population figures against the most recently available decennial census numbers, the 2010 ACS estimates are weighted to the 2010 decennial census, whereas the 2009 estimates (and earlier years) were based on the 2000 Census. Further complicating the picture, completion rates for the 2010 ACS likely increased as a result of the Census Bureau's sustained public relations efforts to boost participation in the 2010 Census. For instance, marketing campaigns were launched in 28 languages to educate and reach out to minority and ethnic groups about the importance (and confidentiality) of the census, presumably bolstering the count of the US population in both the 2010 Census and the ACS survey.
An analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center concludes that the actual growth in the foreign-born population from 2009 to 2010 was a markedly lower 616,000, or less than 2 percent.
What are the historical numbers and shares of immigrants in the United States?
Between 1860 and 1920, immigrants as a percentage of the total population fluctuated between 13 and 15 percent, peaking at nearly 15 percent in 1890 mainly due to European immigration. By 1930, immigrants' share of the US population had dropped to less than 12 percent (14.2 million individuals).
The share of foreign born in the US population continued to decline between the 1930s and 1970s, reaching a record low of approximately 5 percent in 1970 (9.6 million individuals). However, since 1970, the percentage has increased rapidly, mainly due to large-scale immigration from Latin America and Asia.
The foreign born represented 6 percent (14.1 million individuals) of the total US population in 1980. By 1990, their share had risen to 8 percent (19.8 million individuals), and by the 2000 census they made up 11 percent (31.1 million individuals) of the total US population. As of 2010, immigrants comprised 13 percent (40 million) of the total US population.
What are the top source countries with the largest share of immigrants compared with those 50 years ago?
China (including Hong Kong but not Taiwan) accounted for 5 percent of all foreign born, followed by India and the Philippines, each comprising approximately 4 percent of the immigrant population. These four countries — together with Vietnam, El Salvador, Cuba, and Korea (at about 3 percent each), as well as the Dominican Republic and Guatemala (each about 2 percent) — made up almost 60 percent of all foreign born residing in the United States in 2010.
The predominance of immigrants from Central American and Asian countries in the early 21st century starkly contrasts with the trend seen in 1960 when immigrants were more likely to be from European countries. Italian-born immigrants made up 13 percent of all foreign born in 1960, followed by those born in Germany and Canada (accounting for about 10 percent each). Unlike in 2010, no single country accounted for more than 15 percent of the total immigrant population in 1960.
What share of all immigrants residing in the United States are women?
What is the age distribution of the immigrant population?
Overall, the immigrant population in 2010 was older than the US-born population: The median age of immigrants was 41.4 years, compared to 35.9 years among the US born.
How many immigrants have come to the United States since 2000?
How many immigrants are naturalized US citizens?
Of the 17.5 million naturalized citizens in 2010, 44 percent have naturalized since 2000, 27 percent naturalized between 1990 and 1999, 14 percent naturalized between 1980 and 1989, and 15 percent naturalized prior to 1980.
What is the racial composition of immigrants?
Note: The percentages might not add up to 100 due to rounding.
How many Hispanics are immigrants?
Which languages does the US population speak?
Note: *Refers to the 289.2 million people ages 5 and older who resided in the United States at the time of the survey.
What is the size of the Limited English Proficient (LEP) population?
Note: The term "Limited English Proficient" refers to any person age 5 and older who reported speaking English "not at all," "not well," or "well" on their survey questionnaire. Individuals who reported speaking only English or speaking English "very well" are considered proficient in English. "Chinese" may include Mandarin and Cantonese.
What percentage of the foreign born are Limited English Proficient?
Note: The term "Limited English Proficient" refers to any person age 5 and older who reported speaking English "not at all," "not well," or "well" on their survey questionnaire. Individuals who reported speaking only English or speaking English "very well" are considered proficient in English.
What percentage of the adult foreign-born population is college educated?
How many Mexican immigrants are in the United States?
In which US states do the Mexican born live?
The foreign born from Mexico accounted for over half of the immigrant population in New Mexico (73 percent), Arizona (60 percent), Texas (60 percent), and Idaho (55 percent). By contrast, Mexican-born individuals accounted for 2 percent or less of the immigrant population in the following three states: Hawaii (2 percent), Massachusetts (2 percent), and Maine (1 percent).
How many Mexican-born workers are in the US labor force?
How has the emigration rate from Mexico changed over time?
The immigration rate to Mexico (i.e., the number of people who move to Mexico from abroad, who are overwhelmingly return migrants) has entered a moderate decline, moving from 3.7 per 1,000 in the fall of 2008 to 2.1 per 1,000 three years later in the fall of 2011.
Note: ENOE asks Mexican households to enumerate any members of the household are who living abroad at the time of the interview. Accordingly, it does not capture the emigration of entire families where no member of the household remains in Mexico.
Which areas/regions of Mexico sent the most migrants to the United States in 2010?
In 2010, traditional sending states such as Michoacán (nearly 16 percent of the 492,000 Mexicans who went to the United States), Guanajuato (11 percent), and Jalisco (10 percent) accounted for the largest numbers of Mexican migrants who headed toward the United States (as a reference, see an overall map of Mexican states here. This is a shift from recent years when larger shares of migrants came from new sending states in southern and eastern Mexico. The most significant drops were recorded in the states of Chiapas and Veracruz. Between 2007 and 2010, migrants from Chiapas declined from 12 percent to 7 percent of the total outflow from Mexico. Similarly, migrants from Veracruz declined from nearly 8 percent to 3 percent of the total outflow over the same period.
One explanation for this shift may be that Mexicans from traditional sending states are more likely to have legal status in the United States while those from newer states in the country's south and east are more likely to cross illegally.
Note: *EMIF is an annual sample survey of migration flows along Mexico's northern border region conducted by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (SRE) and Labor and Social Affairs (STPS), the National Migration Institute (INM), the National Population Council (CONAPO), and the University of the Northern Border (COLEF) in Tijuana. It excludes Mexicans entering the United States by air, migrants under the age of 15, and non-Mexican nationals crossing the Southwest border. The category "Mexican migrants headed toward the United States" is restricted to those migrants who are traveling to the United States or a Mexican border city, are age 15 and older, were not born in the United States, and do not have an immediate return itinerary.
How many immigrants in the United States have health insurance?
How many immigrants in various legal statuses have health insurance?
Unauthorized working-age adults (ages 18 to 64) were about three times more likely to be uninsured (59 percent) than either naturalized citizens (20 percent) or native-born US citizens (16 percent).
What is the foreign- born share of the total US civilian labor force?
What kinds of jobs do employed immigrants hold?
Among the 116 million civilian employed native born ages 16 and older, 37 percent worked in management, professional, and related occupations; 17 percent worked in service occupations; 26 percent worked in sales and office occupations; 11 percent worked in production, transportation, and material moving occupations; and 8 percent worked in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.
Note: The percentages might not add up to 100 due to rounding.
What were the top five states in terms of the number of immigrants, share of immigrants in the total state population, absolute growth, and percent growth between 1990 and 2000 and between 2000 and 2010?
When classified by the share of immigrants in the total state population, the top five states in 2010 were California (27 percent), New York (22 percent), New Jersey (21 percent), Florida (19 percent), and Nevada (19 percent).
Between 1990 and 2000, the five states with the largest absolute growth of the immigrant population were California (2.4 million), Texas (1.4 million), New York (1.1 million), Florida (1 million), and Illinois (577,000).
Between 2000 and 2010, the five states with the largest absolute growth of the immigrant population were California (1.3 million), Texas (1.2 million), Florida (987,000), New York (429,000), and New Jersey (368,000).
Between 1990 and 2000, the five states with the largest percent growth* of the immigrant population were North Carolina (about 274 percent), Georgia (233 percent), Nevada (202 percent), Arkansas (196 percent), and Utah (about 171 percent).
However, between 2000 and 2010, the five states with the largest percent growth* of the immigrant population were Alabama (92 percent), South Carolina (88 percent), Tennessee (82 percent), Arkansas (79 percent), and Kentucky (75 percent).
Note: *In some states, the starting population of the foreign born was rather small. Thus, relatively small absolute increases in the immigrant population in these states have translated into high percent growth.
What were the top ten US counties in terms of number of immigrants, share of immigrants in the total county population, absolute growth, and percent growth between 2000 and 2010?
When classified by the share of immigrants in the total county population, the top ten counties in 2010 were Miami-Dade County, FL (52 percent); Queens County, NY (48 percent); Hudson County, NJ (42 percent); Kings County, NY (38 percent); Santa Clara County, CA (37 percent); San Francisco County, CA (36 percent); Los Angeles County, CA (36 percent); San Mateo County, CA (35 percent); Bronx County, NY (34 percent); and Imperial County, CA (32 percent).
Between 2000 and 2010, the ten counties with the largest absolute growth of immigrants were Harris County, TX (287,000); Riverside County, CA (199,000); Clark County, NV (176,000); Miami-Dade County, FL (154,000); Broward County, FL (148,000); Maricopa County, AZ (129,000); King County, WA (126,000); San Diego County, CA (122,000); San Bernardino County, CA (121,000); and Palm Beach County, FL (110,000).
Between 2000 and 2010, the ten counties with the largest absolute decline of immigrants were Arlington County, VA (-4,000); Bristol County, MA (-3,500); Niagara County, NY (-1,700); LaSalle County, IL (-1,300); Chelan County, WA (-1,300); Jones County, MI (-1,100); Aroostook County, ME (-1,000); Ashtabula County, OH (-1,000); Pennington County, SD (-1,000); and St. Clair County, MI (-850).
Between 2000 and 2010, the ten counties with the largest percent growth* of the immigrant population were St. Clair County, AL (433 percent); Forsyth County, GA (335 percent); Christian County, MO (310 percent); Hendricks County, IN (294 percent); Paulding County, GA (274 percent); Delaware County, OH (271 percent); Scott County, MN (269 percent); Loudoun County, VA (265 percent); Henry County, GA (261 percent); and Livingston Parish, LA (252 percent).
Note: The above county-level data are from the 2010 one-year estimates of the American Community Survey, which, for confidentiality and sampling reasons, reports information only for 806 out of 3,143 US counties. It is likely that the county rankings would be different if information on all counties were available. *In some counties, the starting population of the foreign born was rather small. Thus, relatively small absolute increases in the immigrant population in these counties have translated into high percent growth.
How many children in the United States have immigrant parents?
The 14.6 million second-generation children — those who were born in the United States to at least one foreign-born parent — accounted for 86 percent of all children with immigrant parents. The remaining 14 percent (2.4 million) were children born outside the United States to foreign-born parents.
How has the number of children with immigrant parents changed?
Between 1990 and 2000, the number of first-generation immigrant children grew by 43 percent (from 1.9 million to 2.7 million). In contrast, the number of first-generation immigrant children declined 12 percent between 2000 and 2010, from 2.7 million to 2.4 million.
The number of second-generation immigrant children has grown steadily since 1990. Between 1990 and 2000, the number of second-generation immigrant children grew 65 percent from 6.3 million to 10.4 million. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of second-generation immigrant children grew by 40 percent from 10.4 million to 14.6 million.
In 1990, children with immigrant parents were 13 percent of all children, compared to 19 percent in 2000 and 24 percent in 2010. The share of second-generation children among all children with immigrant parents has grown from 77 percent in 1990 to 80 percent in 2000 and to 86 percent in 2010.
What are the top five states in terms of the number of children with immigrant parents?
What are the top five states when looking at the share of children with immigrant parents in the state's total child population?
What are the top five states in terms of the absolute growth of the number of children with immigrant parents?
Between 2000 and 2010, the five states with the largest absolute growth of the total number of children with immigrant parents were Texas (667,000), California (326,000), Florida (262,700), Georgia (231,000), and North Carolina (197,000).
What are the top five states in terms of the percent growth of the number of children with immigrant parents between 1990 and 2000 and between 2000 and 2010?
Between 2000 and 2010, the five states with the largest percent growth of the total population of children with immigrant parents were Tennessee (about 122 percent), North Carolina (about 118 percent), Alabama (111 percent), Arkansas (about 108 percent), and South Carolina (about 108 percent).
How many foreigners (in all categories) obtained US lawful permanent residence in 2010?
New arrivals comprised approximately 46 percent (or 476,049) of those granted lawful permanent residence in 2010. The majority of new LPRs (566,576, or 54 percent) were status adjusters – immigrants who were already living in the United States in any year before 2010, but whose green-card applications were approved during 2010. Most status adjusters were formerly one of the following: refugees, asylees, temporary workers, foreign students, family members of US citizens or green-card holders, or unauthorized immigrants.
In which categories did permanent immigrants enter in 2010?
Which countries did permanent immigrants come from in 2010?
Persons born in the next five countries — Cuba (3 percent), Vietnam (almost 3 percent), Haiti (2 percent), Colombia (2 percent), and Korea (South and North) (2 percent) — made up almost 13 percent of all lawful permanent residents, so that the top ten countries of birth made up half of the total.
How many people applied for permanent immigration to the United States through the green-card lottery in 2010?
Before receiving permission to immigrate to the United States, lottery winners must provide proof of a high school education or its equivalent or show two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience. They also have to pass a medical exam.
According to the US Department of State, applicants registered for the DV-2012 program were selected at random from 14.8 million qualified entries (not including applicants' spouses and children) received between October 5 and November 3, 2010.
The number of qualified entries totaled 5.6 million in the DV-2007 lottery, 6.5 million in the 2008 lottery, 9.1 million in the 2009 lottery, 9.5 million in the 2010 lottery, and 12 million in the 2011 lottery. (The Department of State does not release the total number of applications received, only the number of qualified entries.)
While the number of qualified entries from a given country of origin fluctuates from year to year, one country clearly stood out: The number of entries received from Bangladesh increased from 18 percent (or 1 million) of the total 5.6 million entries in the DV-2007 lottery to 52 percent (or 7.7 million) of the total 14.8 million entries in the DV-2012. However, for DV-2013, Bangladesh will join 18 other countries whose nationals have been deemed ineligible to apply since each sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the past five years. Meanwhile, Poland and South Sudan have become eligible for the DV-2013 lottery.
What was the total number of nonimmigrant admissions to the United States in 2010?
Temporary admissions of I-94 nonimmigrants to the United States nearly tripled from 17.6 million in 1990 to 46.5 million (not including the admission of exempt Mexicans and Canadians) in 2010. Total temporary admissions of I-94 nonimmigrants also increased from 36.2 million to 46.5 million from 2009 to 2010, which is an overall increase of 28 percent. However, the uptake in large part has to do with the addition of technology systems that now record some land admissions (along both borders) that were previously excluded from the I-94 data collection.
Note: Nonimmigrant admissions represent the number of arrivals, not the number of individuals admitted to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security only reports characteristics of nonimmigrants that have to complete an I-94 arrival/departure form.
How did nonimmigrant admissions break down by visa category in 2010?
Temporary workers and trainees, including H-1B "specialty occupation" workers, registered nurses, temporary agricultural workers, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional workers, treaty traders, and intracompany transferees, among others, accounted for 2.8 million arrivals (6 percent of total admissions); this figure includes spouses and children of all temporary workers and trainees.
Students who came to the United States to study at academic or vocational institutes, with their family members, made up about 4 percent (more than 1.6 million) of the total arrivals.
How many visas did the Department of State issue in 2010?
In 2010, the Department of State issued 6,422,751 nonimmigrant visas, which is an 11 percent increase from the 5,804,182 issued in 2009. The 2010 figure is lower than the decade's peak of 7,588,778 visas in 2001, but higher than the decade's bottom of 4,881,632 visas issued in 2003 (see Figure 2).
The vast majority (72 percent) of nonimmigrant visas issued in 2010 were temporary business and tourist visas (B-1, B-2, BCC, and BCV visas). The next largest visa class (F-1, F-2, and F-3) was for academic students and exchange visitors and their family members, comprising more than 6 percent of all nonimmigrant visas issued, followed by the J-1 and J-2 visa categories for exchange visitors and their spouses and children (almost 6 percent).
The distribution of the 6.4 million visas issued to foreign nationals in 2010 by region shows that majority of temporary visas were issued to nationals from Asia (36 percent) and North America (24 percent, including Central America and the Caribbean), followed by South America (20 percent), Europe (14 percent), Africa (5 percent), and Oceania (1 percent).
Note: The number of visas issued does not necessarily match the number of foreign nationals who came to the United States in the same year because some nonimmigrant visas may not be used.
How many foreign born came as refugees in 2010, and where were they from?
Each year, the President and Congress set the annual refugee admissions ceiling and regional allocations. In 2010, the ceiling was kept at 80,000, and the Near East/South Asia regions received almost half of the total regional allocations (38,000) in response to the refugee crises in Iraq and Burma. Altogether, nationals of the top ten countries made up 92 percent of all refugee arrivals in 2010. In addition to the top three, these countries include Somalia, Cuba, Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Vietnam, and Ethiopia.
How many foreign born came as asylees in 2010, and where were they from?
The leading countries of nationality for asylees in 2010 were the People's Republic of China (6,683), Ethiopia (1,093), and Haiti (832). The three countries accounted for about 41 percent of all people grantsed asylum in 2010, with China accounting for almost 32 percent of all asylees and Ethiopia and Haiti comprising 9 percent together. Asylees from Venezuela (660), Nepal (640), Colombia (591), Russia (548), Egypt (536), Iran (485), and Guatemala (465) accounted for another 19 percent. Together, nationals of these ten countries made up almost 60 percent of all individuals who received asylum status in 2010.
How many unauthorized immigrants are in the United States?
The Pew Hispanic Center (PHC) has also produced estimates of the size and characteristics of the unauthorized immigrant population. According to PHC, there were 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States as of March 2010, accounting for nearly 28 percent of the total foreign-born population, about 4 percent of the entire US population, and approximately 5 percent (or 8 million) of US workers.
Note: The data sources and estimating methodologies used by OIS and PHC to describe the unauthorized population are different. Hence the estimates are not fully comparable, and we urge our readers not to mix them. The two organizations cover somewhat different topics. For instance, OIS has estimates on the unauthorized population by period of entry, origin, state of residence, age, and sex. In addition to covering trends over time, PHC's fact sheet on unauthorized immigrants includes national and state-level estimates of the unauthorized labor force, as well as data on children with unauthorized parents.
Where are unauthorized migrants from?
How many children have unauthorized immigrant parents?
How has illegal immigration responded to the economic crisis in the United States?
Data from the Pew Hispanic Center show that the annual flow of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico has declined from about 500,000 per year between March 2000 and March 2005 to about 325,000 per year between March 2005 and March 2007 and to about 150,000 per year between March 2007 and March 2009. The population remained virtually unchanged between 2009 and 2010.
The unauthorized immigrant population from Mexico appears to have declined, although the change is not statistically meaningful. This finding is reinforced by US Border Patrol apprehension data and Mexican government surveys. However, the change in the unauthorized immigrant population from other regions of Latin America (excluding Mexico) did definitively decline in 2009, from 2.5 to 2.2 million people. The unauthorized immigrant population from other regions of the world beyond Latin America has remained stable, between 2 million and 2.3 million, for much of the last decade.
How many apprehensions were there in 2010?
Between 2000 and 2005, the number of border apprehensions fluctuated — decreasing between 2000 and 2003, then increasing in 2004 and 2005. Since 2005, however, the number has steadily decreased from 1,291,142 to 516,992 in 2010.
The 2010 figure is the lowest since 1972, when 505,949 unauthorized immigrants were apprehended. The leading countries of nationality of those apprehended were Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Nationals from these four countries comprised 94 percent of all apprehensions, with Mexican nationals comprising the overwhelming majority of apprehensions (83 percent).
Note: Apprehensions are events, not individuals. In other words, the same individual can be apprehended more than once.
How many people were deported in 2010?
In 2010, returns accounted for 55 percent of the 863,647 total removals and returns, while removals comprised 45 percent of the total. Returns in 2010 made up a smaller share of the combined removals and returns than they have since 1941, when returns accounted for 47 percent (6,531) of total removals and returns
Notes: Removals are the compulsory and confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable unauthorized immigrant out of the United States based on an order of removal. An unauthorized immigrant who is removed has administrative or criminal consequences placed on subsequent reentry owing to the fact of the removal. Returns are the confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable unauthorized immigrant out of the United States not based on an order of removal. Most of the voluntary departures are of Mexican nationals who have been apprehended by the US Border Patrol and are returned to Mexico.
The government fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30. All figures for immigration control and enforcement given here are for the government fiscal year.
How much does the government spend on immigration control and enforcement?
Following the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Border Patrol became part of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency within DHS.
CBP's responsibilities include regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, enforcing US trade laws, and protecting US agricultural and economic interests from pests and diseases.
According to DHS annual budgets from various years, the total CBP budget (gross discretionary and mandatory, fees, and trust funds) was $5.9 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2003. The agency's budget increased 32 percent to $7.7 billion in FY 2007 and then by another 52 percent to $11.7 billion in FY 2012. The president requested nearly $12 billion for the FY 2013 budget. CBP has the highest budget of all DHS agencies.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the investigative branch of DHS and is responsible for enforcing immigration laws. In FY 2003, the total ICE budget was $3.3 billion. The budget rose 44 percent to $4.7 billion by FY2007 and another 25 percent to $5.9 billion by FY 2012. The president requested a budget decrease for ICE in FY2013, reducing the total to slightly more than $5.6 billion.
How many Border Patrol agents are there?
How many foreign born are naturalized citizens?
How many immigrants naturalized in 2010?
From a historical perspective, the number of naturalizations has increased dramatically in recent decades. On average, 141,000 lawful permanent residents naturalized each year between 1970 and 1979, 205,000 on average per year in the 1980s, 498,000 per year on average in the 1990s, and 682,000 per year on average during the 2000s.
The number of naturalizations reached an all-time high in 2008 (1,046,539) before falling by almost 29 percent in 2009. The sharp increase in naturalizations of about 58.5 percent between 2007 and 2008 (from 660,477 to 1,046,539) is a result of the promotion of naturalization during the 2008 presidential elections and impending increases in the fees assessed for applicants, which worked to encourage a surge in applications for naturalizations during that time period.
How many foreigners became US citizens through military naturalization in 2010?
What are the countries of origin of newly naturalized citizens?
Where do newly naturalized citizens live in the United States?
Almost 15 percent of those who naturalized in 2010 lived in the greater New York metropolitan area (91,257), 8 percent in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area (51,977), and almost 7 percent in the greater Miami metropolitan area (42,220). These areas, together with Chicago (4 percent), the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area (4 percent), San Francisco (3 percent), Houston (3 percent), Boston (almost 3 percent), Dallas (almost 3 percent), and Atlanta (almost 3 percent), were home to more than 50 percent of new US citizens in 2010.Backlogs
How many naturalization applications are still pending a decision?
How many visa applications for permanent immigration (green cards) are backlogged?
The second type of backlog is due to processing delays of applicants' documents, which is related to the government's lack of financial and human resources as well as increased scrutiny.
Once the Department of State grants a visa to an immigrant, US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conduct background checks.
As of March 2012, US Citizenship and Immigration Services was processing some family-related visas applications filed as far back as January 1989, and it was still processing some employment-related visa applications from September 2002.
A US citizen wishing to sponsor an unmarried adult child from Mexico, for instance, has to wait about 19 years before the application will be processed, and a US citizen wishing to sponsor a sibling from the Philippines has to wait 23 years (see Table 1). However, recent years have witnessed dramatic reductions in the backlogs for certain categories of immigrants, particularly the immediate family members (spouses and children) of lawful permanent residents.
2002-2013 Migration Policy Institute.
All rights reserved.