Home / Reports / 2022 State of the Union / Immigration


The US is again increasingly a nation of immigrants.

In 2019, 13.7% of people in the US were foreign-born (44.9 million), up from a low of 4.7% in 1970 and near the early 1900s high of 14.7%.


2020 had the largest drop in non-tourist visas and new arrival green cards granted in 25 years.

Nearly 1.3 million immigrants came to the US in 2020, excluding asylees (for which data is forthcoming). Green cards and non-tourist visas granted fell by 40.9% and 49.7%, respectively. Refugee admissions were at their lowest since at least 1990, falling 60.6%. The president sets a ceiling that helps determine the number of refugees admitted; 2020's limit was 18,000.


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

In 2019, people from Mexico were the largest share of immigrants coming for work (32.9%), while people coming from India were the largest share coming to be with family (21.8%). China comprised the highest share of people coming for school (20.3%).


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 44.7 million. ​


The number of people apprehended or turned away by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) more than tripled from 2020 to 2021.

CBP apprehended or turned away over 1.9 million people last year — the most since 2000.


Over 20,000 unaccompanied children were at Health and Human Services border facilities in April 2021, a monthly peak 4.6 times over the 2020 monthly high.

Unaccompanied children in border facilities hit a low in 2020. It's since reached the highest number since data collection began in October 2017. ​


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.

Continue exploring the State of the Union (2022)

Explore more of USAFacts