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Legal Immigration and Adjustment of Status Report Fiscal Year 2021, Quarter 2

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues quarterly reports detailing the number of adjustments of immigration status. During the reporting period, data are disaggregated by type of adjustment, type and detailed class of admission, and country of nationality. The Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS), located within the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans, prepared this report.

The report describes legal immigration and adjustments of status and provides data tables (at bottom of this webpage) for these four categories:

  • Lawful Permanent Residents
  • Refugee Arrivals
  • Naturalizations
  • Nonimmigrant (I-94) Admissions

Information about legal migration flows and adjustments of status provided in this quarterly report is preliminary and based on data available 1 month after the reporting period.  OIS updates data for previous quarters in subsequent reports as additional data become available and publishes final annual data in the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.  The numbers in this report reflect revisions to previous editions of this report.

Lawful Permanent Residents

Recent Trends

Approximately1 143,000 noncitizens obtained lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in the second quarter (Q2) of Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 (see Table 1A).  Over 38,000 noncitizens entered the United States as new arrivals, a 64 percent decrease from FY 2020 Q2.  Over 104,000 noncitizens adjusted status from within the United States, a 22 percent decrease from FY 2020 Q2.  These significant drops coincided with COVID-19-related public health challenges that resulted in a reduction in the volume of in-person services provided at USCIS field offices in order to increase safety and accommodate social distancing protocols, as well as travel restrictions and closures in the United States and worldwide.  Although the number of LPRs has not yet returned to pre-COVID levels, it made modest increases from more than 132,000 in FY 2021 Q1 to nearly 143,000 in FY 2021 Q2, a quarterly increase of 8 percent.  This increase is entirely comprised of new arrivals, as adjustments of status dropped by almost 5,000 since the previous quarter.

Countries of Nationality

In FY 2021 Q2, 34 percent of LPRs were from the top five countries of nationality:  Mexico, India, the People’s Republic of China (China), the Philippines, and Cuba (see Table 1A).  This top-five list differed from the same quarter in the previous year (FY 2020 Q2), when the top five countries of nationality were Mexico, China, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, and India accounting for 36 percent of new LPRs at the time.

Classes and Modes of Admission

The largest LPR class of admission (61 percent) in FY 2021 Q2 was comprised of immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, followed by 16 percent of LPRs who obtained status as employment-based preferences, and 6 percent who obtained status as refugees.  Family-sponsored preferences and asylees, the next largest classes of admission, accounted for 5 and 4 percent of LPRs (see Table 1B).  In FY 2020 Q2, the majority of new LPRs were immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (53 percent), followed by family-sponsored preferences (21 percent), employment-based preferences (11 percent), refugees (5 percent), and diversity (3 percent).

Data Sources

USCIS provided LPR data from its Computer Linked Application Information Management System (CLAIMS) and its Electronic Immigration System (ELIS).2 CLAIMS includes information from DHS Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, which is used by applicants living in the United States.  ELIS includes information from certain Form I-485 records, as well as applications for LPR status submitted by applicants living abroad.  ELIS automatically confirms the applicant’s status based on one of two Department of State forms:  either Form DS-230, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, or Form DS-260, Electronic Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration.

Refugee Arrivals

Recent Trends

About 1,000 refugees were admitted to the United States in FY 2021 Q2 (see Table 2), a 74 percent decline from FY 2020 Q2, when over 4,000 refugees were admitted.  These significant drops coincided with COVID-19-related public health challenges and the lowest refugee ceiling since passage of the 1980 Refugee Act.

Countries of Nationality

In FY 2021 Q2, 73 percent of refugees arrived from the top five countries of nationality:  the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Burma
(see Table 2).  In FY 2020 Q2, the top five countries of nationality (the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, Burma, Afghanistan, and Iraq) accounted for 72 percent of refugee arrivals.

Data Sources

Refugee data presented in Table 2 are from the Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System (WRAPS) of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the U.S. Department of State.

Naturalizations

Recent Trends

More than 196,000 persons naturalized in FY 2021 Q2 (see Table 3), a 3 percent increase from FY 2020 Q2, when 191,000 persons naturalized.

Countries of Nationality

Thirty-eight percent of naturalizations in FY 2021 Q2 consisted of persons from the top five countries of nationality:  Mexico, Cuba, India, the Philippines, and China (see Table 3).  In FY 2020 Q2, the same five countries with India and Cuba switching positions in the ranking) accounted for 35 percent of naturalizations.

Data Sources

Naturalization data presented in Table 3 come from administrative records of DHS Form N-400 applications recorded in the USCIS ELIS data system.

I-94 Nonimmigrant Admissions

At the time of this report, data on nonimmigrant admissions were only available for the first quarter (Q1) of FY 2021.3 Detailed data on nonimmigrants in this report are based on I-94/I-94W information, which U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) uses to record certain nonimmigrant admissions (collectively referred to as I-94 nonimmigrant admissions).4

Recent Trends

In FY 2021 Q1, DHS recorded a total (i.e., including both I-94 and estimated non-I-94 admissions) of 7.6 million nonimmigrant admissions to the United States. Specifically, this included about 2.1 million I-94 nonimmigrant admissions (see Table 4B), a 90 percent decrease from FY 2020 Q1.  These significant drops coincided with COVID-19-related public health challenges.

Countries of Nationality

Five countries of nationality – Mexico, Canada, Colombia, India, and the Dominican Republic– accounted for 62 percent of I-94 nonimmigrant admissions in FY 2021 Q1 (see Table 4A).  In FY 2020 Q1, the top five countries (Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, and South Korea) accounted for 60 percent of I-94 nonimmigrant admissions.

Classes of Admission

Sixty-eight percent of I-94 nonimmigrants admitted in FY 2021 Q1 were temporary visitors entering for pleasure, followed by temporary workers and their families (15 percent), and temporary visitors for business (11 percent; see Table 4B).  In FY 2020 Q1, these classes of admissions represented 82 percent, 5 percent, and 10 percent of I-94 nonimmigrant admissions, respectively.

Data Sources

Data on total nonimmigrant admissions come from DHS workload estimates. Detailed data on I-94 nonimmigrant admissions are based on DHS Form I-94/I-94W arrival records in the CBP TECS database.

Endnotes

  1. Numbers in this report are usually rounded to the nearest thousand. For exact numbers, refer to the data tables.
  2. USCIS built the ELIS case management system as a part of its Transformation Program – an agency-wide modernization initiative to enable end-to-end electronic benefit case processing. Currently, ELIS receives and processes a variety of USCIS form types; the data for this report are obtained from USCIS records and associated data for the immigrant visa packets (upon arrival in the United States), Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and certain records from Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  3. Nonimmigrant admission data are always a quarter behind due to CBP’s data reporting closeout process.
  4. Information collected from these I-94 records includes arrival dates, port of entry, class of admission, country of nationality, state of destination, age, gender, and, in some instances, departure dates. I-94 records describe the event of admission, not the count of nonimmigrant individuals (e.g., some nonimmigrants are commuters or frequently travel in and out of the country).  I-94 data do not describe all nonimmigrant admissions because certain visitors (e.g., most short-term visitors from Mexico and Canada) are not required to fill out the I-94 form.

Previous quarterly data for this report are available in the OIS Reading Room under Legal Immigration and Adjustment of Status Report Quarterly Data.

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Attachment Ext. Size Date
File Legal Immigration and Adjustment of Status Report FY 2021, Quarter 2 xlsx 67.63 KB 09/29/2021
Created Date: May 22, 2017
Last Published Date: September 30, 2021
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