Analysis of FY 2018 Legal Immigration Statistics

Date of Publication: 
January, 2020
Source Organization: 
National Foundation for American Policy

The recent release of the 2018 Handbook of Immigration Statistics by the Dept. of Homeland Security shows significant reductions in legal immigration to the U.S. An analysis of the data done by the National Foundation for American Policy shows a decline of 7.3 percent from FY 2016 to FY 2018 (adjusted to more than 15 percent if refugees are excluded from the total). Most of the declines were in the immediate relative categories (spouses, children, and parents of U.S citizens), which are not subject to numerical limitations by current U.S. law.  Legal immigration from Mexico declined by 7.3 percent during this period, while immigration from China fell by 20.3 percent. Especially large drops in legal immigration occurred from “travel ban” countries like Iran (down 44 percent) and Yemen (down 87 percent).  Curiously, there was little change in the number of people receiving immigrant visas in the employment category. The authors of the report attribute most of the family category reductions to delays in processing and heightened screening procedures. If the administration’s health insurance mandate and public charge ruling are unblocked by the courts, it’s likely that hundreds of thousands of additional people would not be able to reunify with their loved ones and that legal immigration rates will continue to plummet. (Nicholas V. Montalto, Ph.D.)

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National Foundation for American Policy. (2020, January). Analysis of FY 2018 legal immigration statistics (policy brief). Retrieved from