Immigrant arrival numbers in the US surge

An analysis of new government data carried out by the Centre for Immigration Studies shows more than three million new legal and illegal immigrants settled in the United States in 2014 and 2015 – a 39 percent increase over the prior two years.

The number of legal and illegal immigrants settling in the country is now higher than before the 2007 recession and may match the levels recorded in 2000 and 2001.

The Centre states that several factors have likely contributed to the rebound, including cutbacks in enforcement, an improved economy, and the expansive nature of the country’s legal immigration system (especially for long-term temporary visas such as guest workers and foreign students).

Immigration from other countries has offset a decline in immigration from Mexico. The big increase in new arrivals in the last two years was driven by a rise in immigration from Latin America, particularly countries other than Mexico; South Asia (such as Pakistan and India); and East Asia (including China and Vietnam).

Preliminary estimates indicate that the number of new legal immigrants, both temporary and permanent, increased by about 30 percent, from 1.6 million in 2012-2013 to two million in 2014-2015.

Therefore, the data also suggest that, of the 3.1 million immigrants who arrived in that last two years, about one-third, 1.1 million (or 550,000 annually) were new illegal immigrants – a significant increase from the 700,000 illegal immigrants (350,000 annually) who entered in 2012 and 2013.

Many of the illegal immigrants are thought to have been former legal visa holders who have stayed in the US past the expiry date of their visas.

Article by David Fuller