US Immigration Throughout History

Published on June 26th 2018

“We the people” was written in 1787, but it continues to be analyzed and debated today. From its first immigration policy until now, the US government has shaped what it means to be (or become) a citizen of the US. Our timeline summarizes the ebb and flow of government immigration policies and programs over the past 170 years.

1850 2017 Removals and Returns Foreign-born Population Green Cards Naturalizations Percent of Population Percent of Population Removals/Returns Foreign-born

More on immigration from USAFacts

Download immigration data



Data for 1976 includes the 15 months from July 1, 1975 to September 30, 1976 because the end date of fiscal years was changed from June 30 to September 30.

“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. Someone who is removed has administrative or criminal consequences placed on subsequent reentry owing to the fact of the removal.