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U.S. immigration/migration - statistics & facts

Immigration is the act of non-native people moving to a country in order to permanently settle there. Motives for immigration are varied and often divided into two main categories: push factors are those factors that drive people away from their home country, such as persecution, poverty, and oppression; pull factors are those that pull people towards their target country, such as family reunification, better education, or employment opportunities.

Immigration and politics

The United States has a long history with immigration, with the vast majority of the current population coming from some form of immigrant background – that being all Americans other than those who are American Indian or Alaska Native. The economic strength of the United States, alongside the mammoth degree of soft power possessed by the country, means that demand for so-called ‘green cards’ (permanent residence visas) is high. Since 2007, the United States has approved around one million green cards per year. Nearly one fifth of the permanent residency approvals in 2019 were for persons residing in California.

Despite the United States weaving the features of hard working immigrants escaping oppression in Europe into the fabric of their national identity, immigration is a divisive political issue. At the center of the public debate is illegal immigration. Although the amount of illegal immigrants apprehended has fallen since a peak at the turn of the millennium, U.S. officials still apprehended 1,013,539 people in 2019. Due to the economic disparities between Mexico and the United States, as well as the shared border, illegal immigration from Mexico accounts for the highest amount of illegal immigration into the United States.

Refugees in the United States

Illegal immigration is not the only immigration source to have been brought into the political discourse in recent years. The refugee policies of the United States have also been questioned by both members of the public and political leaders. Despite the intense degree of vetting required to successfully obtain refugee status in the United States, according to a survey conducted in early 2016, a high proportion of Americans felt that taking in refugees from Syria would make the country less safe.

In part acting on campaign pledges made during the Republican Party primaries, President Donald Trump banned the acceptance of refugees from Syria by way of executive order in March 2017. The issue of resettling refugees from Syria is highly polarized between those who identify as Democrats and those who identify as Republicans. In April 2017, 67 percent of Democrats believed the U.S. has a responsibility to resettle refugees from Syria. The corresponding figure for Republicans sat in stark contrast at 22 percent.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Immigration/migration in the United States" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Refugees and asylum seekers

Illegal immigration

Public opinion

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 34 most important statistics relating to "Immigration/migration in the United States".

Immigration in the United States

Dossier on the topic

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U.S. immigration/migration - statistics & facts

Immigration is the act of non-native people moving to a country in order to permanently settle there. Motives for immigration are varied and often divided into two main categories: push factors are those factors that drive people away from their home country, such as persecution, poverty, and oppression; pull factors are those that pull people towards their target country, such as family reunification, better education, or employment opportunities.

Immigration and politics

The United States has a long history with immigration, with the vast majority of the current population coming from some form of immigrant background – that being all Americans other than those who are American Indian or Alaska Native. The economic strength of the United States, alongside the mammoth degree of soft power possessed by the country, means that demand for so-called ‘green cards’ (permanent residence visas) is high. Since 2007, the United States has approved around one million green cards per year. Nearly one fifth of the permanent residency approvals in 2019 were for persons residing in California.

Despite the United States weaving the features of hard working immigrants escaping oppression in Europe into the fabric of their national identity, immigration is a divisive political issue. At the center of the public debate is illegal immigration. Although the amount of illegal immigrants apprehended has fallen since a peak at the turn of the millennium, U.S. officials still apprehended 1,013,539 people in 2019. Due to the economic disparities between Mexico and the United States, as well as the shared border, illegal immigration from Mexico accounts for the highest amount of illegal immigration into the United States.

Refugees in the United States

Illegal immigration is not the only immigration source to have been brought into the political discourse in recent years. The refugee policies of the United States have also been questioned by both members of the public and political leaders. Despite the intense degree of vetting required to successfully obtain refugee status in the United States, according to a survey conducted in early 2016, a high proportion of Americans felt that taking in refugees from Syria would make the country less safe.

In part acting on campaign pledges made during the Republican Party primaries, President Donald Trump banned the acceptance of refugees from Syria by way of executive order in March 2017. The issue of resettling refugees from Syria is highly polarized between those who identify as Democrats and those who identify as Republicans. In April 2017, 67 percent of Democrats believed the U.S. has a responsibility to resettle refugees from Syria. The corresponding figure for Republicans sat in stark contrast at 22 percent.

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