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Legal Immigration and Adjustment of Status Report Fiscal Year 2019, Quarter 4

On March 6, 2017, the President issued a Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security on Implementing Immediate Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas and Other Immigration Benefits, Ensuring Enforcement of All Laws for Entry into the United States, and Increasing Transparency among Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government and for the American People.

The Memorandum directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue 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 to comply with the President’s directive.

The report describes legal immigration and adjustments of status and provides links to data tables within four categories:

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

Historically, OIS has reported on immigration benefits annually, with data extraction beginning three months after the end of the fiscal year. This quarterly report provides information about legal migration flows and adjustments of status based on data available one month after the end of the reporting period. OIS will provide revised figures for previous quarters in future reports as additional data becomes available. The numbers in this report reflect revisions to previously published numbers.

Lawful Permanent Residents

Recent Trends

Approximately1 1,031,000 foreign nationals obtained lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 1,031,000 foreign nationals obtained lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 (see Table 1A below). Of these admissions, 572,000 adjusted status from within the United States, and 459,000 entered as new arrivals. Compared to FY 2018, total FY 2019 admissions decreased by 6 percent, new arrivals decreased by 13 percent, and adjustments of status increased by 0.8 percent.

Countries of Origin

In FY 2019, 39 percent of new LPRs were from six top countries of nationality: Mexico, the People’s Republic of China (China), India, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines,  and Cuba (see Table 1A below). In FY 2018, the top six countries (Mexico, Cuba, China, India, the Dominican Republic, and the Philippines) represented 42 percent of new LPRs.

Classes and Modes of Admission

In FY 2019, 49 percent of new LPRs obtained status as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, followed by an additional 20 percent who obtained status under a family-sponsored preference category (see Table 1B below). Employment-based preferences and refugees were the third and fourth largest classes of admission, accounting for 14 and 7.9 percent of new LPRs, respectively. In FY 2018, these four categories represented 44 percent, 20 percent, 13 percent, and 14 percent of new LPRs, respectively.

Data Sources

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provided LPR data from Computer Linked Application Information Management System (CLAIMS) and Electronic Immigration System (ELIS).2 CLAIMS includes information from the 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 applications for LPR status by applicants living abroad. ELIS automatically confirms the applicant’s status from the Department of State 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

Nearly 30,000 refugees were admitted to the United States in FY 2019 (see Table 2 below), a 34 percent increase over FY 2018, when over 22,000 refugees were admitted.

Countries of Origin

Eighty-six percent of refugees were from six top countries of nationality in FY 2019: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo), Burma, Ukraine, Eritrea, Afghanistan, and Syria (see Table 2 below). In FY 2018, the six top countries of nationality (Congo, Burma, Ukraine, Bhutan, Eritrea, and Afghanistan) accounted for 82 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

In FY 2019, 823,000 persons naturalized (see Table 3 below), an 8.1 percent increase over FY 2018, when 762,000 persons naturalized.

Countries of Origin

Thirty-nine percent of naturalizations consisted of persons from six top countries of nationality: Mexico, India, the Philippines, China, Cuba, and Vietnam (see Table 3 below). In FY 2018, the top six countries (Mexico, India, China, the Philippines, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic) accounted for 42 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 CLAIMS and ELIS data systems.

I-94 Nonimmigrant Admissions

At the time of this report, data on nonimmigrant admissions were available for the third quarter (Q3) of FY 2019.3 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 future reports will also provide detailed data on non-I-94 admissions.

Recent Trends

In FY 2019 Q3, DHS recorded a total (i.e., including non-I-94 admissions) of almost 46 million total nonimmigrant admissions to the United States, a 2 percent decrease from FY 2018 Q3, when over 46 million admissions were recorded. In FY 2019 Q3, over 20.6 million I-94 nonimmigrant admissions were recorded (see Table 4B below), a two percent increase over the same quarter of the previous year.

Countries of Origin

In FY 2019 Q3, six countries of nationality accounted for 60 percent of I-94 nonimmigrant admissions: Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, and India (see Table 4A below). These same top countries accounted for the same percentage of I-94 admissions in FY 2018 Q3.

Classes of Admission

Visitors entering for pleasure or business comprised 92 percent of I-94 nonimmigrant admissions, followed by temporary workers and their families (4.8 percent), and students and their families (1.2 percent; see Table 4B below). These same top classes of admissions accounted for similar proportions of I-94 nonimmigrant admissions in FY 2018 Q3.

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 recorded in the CBP Treasury Enforcement Communications System (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 has built the ELIS electronic 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) and the Application for Naturalization (Form N-400).
  3. The 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 and departure dates, port of entry, class of admission, country of nationality, state of destination, age, and gender. A number of changes to I-94 procedures in recent years affected I-94 nonimmigrant admissions data. Beginning in 2010, DHS completed updates to computer systems at vehicular lanes and pedestrian crossings along the Northern and Southwest Borders to record land admissions previously excluded from I-94 data systems. Beginning in April 2013, CBP automated the I-94 process for nonimmigrants admitted at air and sea ports. This transition from paper to electronic I-94 records at air and sea ports also means that CBP automatically generates I-94 records for Canadian business and tourist travelers admitted at air and sea ports even though they were not previously required to complete I-94 forms. In 2014 CBP made additional changes to its electronic data systems, which have resulted in large increases in the number of I-94 nonimmigrant admissions recorded compared to previous years.

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 FY2019, Quarter 4 xlsx 73.16 KB 01/15/2020
Created Date: May 22, 2017
Last Published Date: March 4, 2020
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