Immigration Since September 11, 2001
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, changes to visa policies, new security procedures, and measures to combat fraud contributed to a shift in the traditional composition of immigration flows. This report highlights recent data on immigrants to the U.S. and offers key analysis of what these figures mean in terms of U.S. policy.
The report finds that while the number of immigrants who obtained legal permanent resident status remained relatively stable between 2001 and 2002, the number of non-immigrant and refugee admissions dropped significantly. Of 1.1 million offers for permanent residence granted in 2002, the authors find that 679,000, or about two-thirds, were granted through an adjustment of status to individuals already present in the U.S. In contrast, only 384,000 of those granted legal permanent resident status were new arrivals. In addition, nearly two-thirds of those who obtained permanent residence were relatives of U.S. citizens or permanent residents, over half of which came from just ten countries. In terms of non-immigrant admissions to the U.S., the authors noted a 15 percent decline from 2001 to 2002.
More specifically, the report finds that the uncertain environment in the aftermath of September 11 may have contributed to the 37 percent drop in the number of non-immigrants from Asian Islamic countries. Most notably, the authors find that refugee admissions in 2002 plummeted. Despite authorizing the admission of up to 70,000 refugees, the number of refugee admissions reached a 25-year low of 27,508.