Today CBO released an update to its February 2006 paper Immigration Policy in the United States. The publication is a collection of tables and figures with descriptive text (shown below). The update presents data through 2009 and makes comparisons with 2004, the most recent year for which most data were reported in the earlier paper. The first and largest group of exhibitsexhibits 1 through 13provides statistics on admissions of foreign nationals as legal permanent residents of the United States. The second groupexhibits 14 through 18presents data on temporary residents and visitors. The third setexhibits 19 and 20provides information on naturalization of residents, and the final setexhibits 21 and 22shows data on enforcement of immigration laws.
A national of a foreign country granted permanent admission to the United States is formally classified as a legal permanent resident (LPR) and receives a document, commonly known as a green card. (Generally, such foreign nationals must initially obtain a visa to enter the country.) In 2009, the United States granted legal permanent resident status to more than 1.1 million people. About two-thirds of those people were admitted to the United States on the basis of family connections to current U.S. citizens or residents. LPRs are eligible to live and work in the United States, and eventually, they may apply to become naturalized citizens. Todays report notes that:
Visas for temporary admission to the United States are granted to foreign nationals who seek entry for a limited time and for a specific purpose, such as tourism, diplomacy, or study. In addition, foreign nationals who meet certain criteria may be permitted to work in the United States for a limited time that depends on the type of visa they receive. Foreign nationals with temporary visas are not eligible for citizenship, and to remain in the United States on a permanent basis they would be required to apply for permanent admission. CBOs publication reports that:
Legal permanent residents may become citizens of the United States through a process known as naturalization. To become a naturalized citizen, an applicant must fulfill certain requirements set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act. The report shows:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for enforcing immigration law and arrests, detains, returns, and removes foreign nationals who violate U.S. laws. CBOs report indicates that:
The updated study is one of a series of updates of earlier CBO immigration studies. All of CBOs immigration publications can be found here. This update was prepared by Paige Piper/Bach and Brian Prest of CBOs Microeconomic Studies Division.