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Legal Immigration and Adjustment of Status Report Fiscal Year 2018, Quarter 1

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 to issue quarterly reports detailing the number of adjustments of immigration status that occurred during the reporting period, disaggregated by type of adjustment, type and detailed class of admission, and country of nationality. This report has been prepared by the Department’s Office of Immigration Statistics 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:

OIS historically 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 become available. The numbers in this report reflect revisions to previously published numbers.

Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR)

Recent Trends

Approximately 264 thousand aliens obtained lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18 Q1). They represent an almost nine percent decrease from the same quarter in FY 2017.

Fifty-three percent of FY18 Q1 LPR Admissions adjusted status while within the United States, and 47 percent entered as new arrivals. New arrivals decreased from 151 thousand in FY17 Q1 to 124 thousand in FY 18, representing an 18 percent decrease. LPRs adjusting status increased from 139 thousand to 140 thousand over the same period of time (see Table 1A).

Countries of Origin

About 43 percent of new LPRs in the first quarter of FY18 were from the top six countries of nationality: Mexico, Cuba, the People’s Republic of China, India, the Dominican Republic, and the Philippines (see Table 1A). These were also the top six countries for FY17 Q1, representing 41 percent of the total.

Classes and Modes of Admission

About 44 percent of LPRs in FY18 Q1 obtained status as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and an additional 18 percent obtained status under a family preference category. The proportions for these two categories were 47 percent and 21 percent, respectively, in FY17 Q1. Employment-based preference categories and refugees were the next-largest classes of admission, each accounting for 14 percent of new LPRs (see Table 1B).

Data Sources

LPR data were obtained from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Computer Linked Application Information Management System (CLAIMS) and Electronic Immigration System (ELIS).[1] 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 maintains information from applications for LPR status by applicants living abroad. ELIS automatically confirms the applicant’s status from the Department of States 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

Over 5,000 refugees were admitted in FY18 Q1 (see Table 2). Compared to the same quarter in FY17, when a total of 26,000 refugees were admitted, FY18 Q1 arrivals saw a 79 percent year-over-year decrease. However, FY18 Q1 refugee arrivals increased by 19 percent from FY17 Q4.

Countries of Origin

For the first quarter of FY18, 83 percent of refugees were from six leading countries of nationality: Bhutan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma, Ukraine, Eritrea, and Russia (see Table 2). Bhutan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo accounted for 29 and 22 percent of the total admissions, respectively, in FY18 Q1, compared to seven and 17 percent of the total admissions over the same period of FY17.

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

A total of 163 thousand aliens were naturalized in FY18 Q1, compared to 106 thousand in the same quarter in FY17 (see Table 3). The FY18 Q1 numbers were 55 percent higher than the same period of time in FY17.

Countries of Origin

Roughly 43 percent of aliens naturalized in FY18 Q1 were from Mexico, India, the People’s Republic of China, the Philippines, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic (see Table 3). These were also the six leading countries of nationality during each quarter of FY17.

Data Sources

Naturalization data presented in Table 3 come from administrative records of DHS Form N-400 applications recorded in USCIS’s CLAIMS and ELIS data systems.

I-94 Nonimmigrant Admissions

At the time of this report, data on nonimmigrant admissions were only available for FY17 (October 2016 through September 2017).[2] 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);[3] future reports will also provide detailed data on non-I-94 admissions.

Recent Trends

During FY17, DHS recorded a total of approximately 181 million nonimmigrant admissions to the United States, including 78 million I-94 nonimmigrant admissions (see Table 4B). Total nonimmigrant admissions and I-94 nonimmigrant admissions numbers in the four quarters of FY17 were comparable to those observed in the same quarters of the previous year.

Countries of Origin

The leading countries of citizenship for I-94 nonimmigrant admissions in FY17 were Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, and the People’s Republic of China (58 percent of all I-94 admissions; see Table 4A). The same five countries accounted for 59 percent of I-94 admissions in FY16.

Classes of Admission

Visitors entering for pleasure or business comprised 79 and 11 percent, respectively, of all I-94 nonimmigrant admissions in FY 2017, followed by temporary workers and families (5.1 percent) and students and dependents (2.5 percent; see Table 4B). These classes accounted for similar proportions of nonimmigrant admissions in FY16.

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’s TECS database.

 

[1] 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).

[2] The nonimmigrant admission data are always a quarter behind due to CBP’s data reporting closeout process.

[3] Information collected from these I-94 records includes arrival and departure dates, port of entry, class of admission, country of citizenship, state of destination, age, and gender. A number of changes to I-94 procedures in recent years affected I-94 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 admissions recorded compared to previous years.

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

Last Published Date: July 12, 2018
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