Home / Reports / 2021 State of the Union / Immigration


Excluding tourism and unauthorized arrivals, most people who come to the US on visas or green cards are temporary workers, students, or coming to be with their families.

Over half of immigrants who came to be with their families or to attend school in 2019 were from Asia. One third of people who came for work that year were from Mexico, more than any other country.


The number of non-tourist visas granted and refugees and asylees admitted rose from 2018 to 2019.

This was the first increase in non-tourist visas since 2015. While the number of refugees admitted was 65% below what it was in 2016, the number of asylees admitted was 130% above what it was that year.


In 2018, the federal government estimated there were 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants in the country.

In the same year, the total foreign-born population was 43 million. ​


Border apprehensions fell by more than half from 2019 to 2020.

US Border Patrol apprehended over 400,000 people last year — half of the amount in 2019 but roughly the same as 2018.​


Immigration officials removed 360,000 people from the US in 2019.

This is fewer than the 2013 peak of 432,000 but more than the 2017 low of about 287,000.


The US is again increasingly a nation of immigrants.

Fourteen percent of people in the US in 2019 were foreign-born, up from a low of 5% in 1970 and near the high of 15% in the early 1900s.

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