Immigration by the Numbers


Crop art at 2018 Minnesota State Fair

Want to know how many immigrants are in the United States? How many of them are eligible to be naturalized? How many are already U.S. citizens? Where they come from? How long they have to wait for a visa? For answers to all these questions, and much more,m check out the Immigration Policy Institute’s latest “Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States.” (Answers: 44.5 million immigrants in United States; about 8.9 million are now eligible to become U.S. citizens; 22 million immigrants, almost half of the total number, have already become U.S. citizens; top countries for new immigrants in 2017 were Mexico (15 percent), mainland China and Cuba (6 percent each), and India and the Dominican Republic (5 percent each);  about 3.8 million people are on the waiting list for visas with some waiting since 1995.)

“Immigrant” means anyone born outside the United States and now living here permanently. That includes immigrants who have become citizens, legal permanent residents (“green cards”), and undocumented immigrants.

International students and tourists have non-immigrant visas. Their numbers are decreasing. The Dallas News reports on the striking decline in international students in Texas:

“In the past two years, the number of international students enrolled at public universities statewide declined 9 percent while total head count continued to grow. Among international students pursuing master’s degrees, the fall was sharper — almost 25 percent, or more than 5,000 students in Texas.

“It started two years ago, and I call it the Trump effect,” said Kishore Khandavalli, founder and CEO of Seven Tablets, a North Texas company that makes mobile applications. “The president and agencies have put up so many roadblocks that people just don’t know if they’ll be able to work here. Why would bright students risk their careers to deal with such uncertainty?”…

“In Texas, [international students] spend a combined $1.5 billion a year and often pay higher tuition than residents. They supported almost 19,000 jobs in 2014, according to New American Economy, an advocate for pro-growth immigration policies….

“Like Canada, Australia has been increasing international students by double-digit rates. France and Germany have shown solid growth recently, too.”

One in four children in the United States has at least one immigrant parent, according to an NBC News report. Most of those parents have been in the United States for more than ten years, and most are U.S. citizens.

Looking at the enforcement side of immigration, the ACLU reports that U.S. government figures show that the Border Patrol has more agents than ever before: 19,555. That’s up from 9,212 agents in 2000 and 12,349 agents in 2006. BAck in 2006, each agent apprehended an average of 173 people each year. Today the average is 32 apprehensions per year per agent. The Customs and Border Protection budget has more than doubled since 2006, from $7.1 billion to $16.69 billion.

On a grim note, the International Organization for Migration says the Mediterranean Sea is no longer the deadliest route for migrants: now that distinction goes to Latin America.

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s