Can Pac Swire (Flickr/CC)

Legal Immigration Decreases For First Time in Decades


The Trump administration is responsible for the first substantial decrease of legal immigration to the United States in decades.

Recently-released Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data reporting the number of people “obtaining lawful permanent resident status” between 2016 and 2018 shows a decline of nearly seven percent – almost 87,000 people.

Overall, the number fell from 1,183,505 individuals becoming naturalized during Obama’s final year in office to 1,096,611 by the middle of President Trump’s first term.

Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Type and Major Class of Admission: Fiscal Years 2016 to 2018


The largest reduction occurred for “immediate relatives of U.S. citizens” where 87,745 fewer immigrants were granted citizenship, a nearly 15 percent drop. “Family-sponsored preferences” also experienced a similar decline in admissions of nearly 10 percent.

This decline is inextricably linked to President Trump’s crusade against chain migration, depicted in the graphics below, which is the “primary source of low-skilled immigration into the US.” An unintended byproduct of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, chain migration is “the process by which foreign nationalist permanently resettle within the US and subsequently bring over their foreign relatives, who then have the opportunity to bring over their foreign relatives, and so on, until entire extended families are resettled within the country”; the Trump administration warns it is a process “that can continue without limit.”

It’s also part of the Trump administration’s broader America First efforts to curtail both legal and illegal immigration in defense of American workers and wages.

Graphic from Trump administration 2017 campaign against chain migration.


Similarly, citizenship acquired via “diversity” dropped nearly 10 percent and “asylee” admission were reduced by nearly 19 percent.

Naturalization also decreased for “parolees,” “children born to alien resident,” “Iraqis and Afghans employed by US government and their spouses and children,” and “victims of crimes and their spouses and children.”

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However, thanks to corporate desires for suppressing workers’ wages,  citizenship granted for “employment based preferences” increased for “professionals with advanced degrees or aliens of exceptional ability” and “skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers.”

Although, the Trump administration was able to limit the increase to roughly .2 percent.

“Cancellation of removal” and naturalization of “human trafficking victims” also increased by a sizable 28 percent.

Also, seemingly contradictory to President Trump’s immigration doctrine, “refugee” naturalization increased nearly 30 percent.

However, the administration significantly limited the cap on admitting additional refugees to a 40-year-low of 18,000 for 2020. Since President Trump’s first day in office, only 76,200 refugees have been admitted; whereas, the Obama administration pushed 85,000 refugees in just 2016 alone.

This follows President Trump reducing illegal immigration despite efforts by the political establishment to thwart his plans to construct a wall along the southern border, defund sanctuary cities, and allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol agents to enforce the current laws.

Not only does President Trump’s track record on illegal immigration prove his America First intuition, his willingness to tackle legal immigration demonstrates his commitment to the agenda, triumphant over the political establishment, media bias, and corporate desire to increase profit margins. And the numbers prove it.

Natalie Winters

Natalie Winters is freelance reporter.

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