Having studied economics in college, I’ve learned statistics can be made to show almost anything. And it’s actually common, especially in immigration debates, to hear opponents using the same exact set of date for two different positions.
Yet, I believe statistics, when used properly, can reveal useful trends and insights.
As an immigration attorney in Escondido, handling permanent residence cases and family-based petitions, the recent figures on new lawful permanent residents released revealed some suprising data about green cards granted in 2009.
One can never be too sure when that little tidbit, that tiny piece of data, might make a huge difference in whether a client wins or loses their case.
In my view, it’s better to have too much, rather than too little, background knowledge.
Recently, the Department of Homeland Security released data on immigrants granted lawful permanent resident status in 2009.
Here’s what I learned.
Total Immigrants Granted Permanent Resident Status In 2009
There are two general paths to obtaining a green card.
The first path is called “adjustment of status.” It takes place when the immigrant, already living in the U.S., goes to a green card interview inside the United States at a nearby U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services district office.
On the one hand, not all immigrants living here qualify for these interviews. On the other, some immigrants who are undocumented will qualify for these interviews – along with certain refugees, temporary workers, and foreign students.
The second path is called “consular processing.” Here, immigrants seeking to become lawful permanent residents live abroad, usually in their home countries. They go to their green card interviews at a Department of State consulate office.
Total – 1,130,818 immigrants became lawful permanent residents of the United States in 2009
- LPRs Through Adjustment of Status/Already Living In U.S. (59.1%)
- LPRs Through Consular Processing/New Arrivals (40.9%)
New LPRs By Country Of Birth
When the new lawful permanent residents are viewed by their county of origin, the DHS statistics show 48% come from 1o countries. The other 52% are spread out among all other countries of the world.
The top three countries are no surprise. With many immigrants from these three countries trying to become LPRs, the waiting list for other immigrants from those countries tend to be longer. This means their paperwork often takes many years longer to process than immigrants from all other countries in the world.
As a Southern California immigration lawyer, I think this information points to an issue which should be addressed in the current the immigration reform debate. Should the number of immigrant visas allowed per year for the top three countries be modified?
- 1. Mexico
- 2. China
- 3. Philippines
- 4. India
- 5. Dominican Republic
- 6. Cuba
- 7. Vietnam
- 8. Colombia
- 9. South Korea
- 10. Haiti
New LPRs By Admission Category
There are many, many roads to permanent residence.
Immigrants can obtain green cards through family members who sponsors them. As a family-based immigration attorney, as these figures show, I know it makes a big difference whether the family sponsor is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
There are various other green card tracks. For instance, some immigrants qualify for benefits through an employer sponsor. Other file for benefits under a wide variety of special green card programs, like asylum, NACARA, TPS, and registry.
Some immigrants go the harder route, winning their green cards through deportation defense trials at immigration court.
- Family-Sponsored Petitions
- U.S. Citizen Sponsor (47.4%)
- LPR Sponsor (18.7%)
- Employment-Based Petitions (12.7%)
- Refugees and Asylees (15.7%)
- Diversity Lottery Program (4.2%)
- NACARA (0.4%)
- Cancellation of Removal (0.3%)
- Other (0.5%)
New LPRs By Age
- 25 to 34 years old (24.6%)
- 35 to 44 years old (18.7%)
- 15 to 24 years old (18.5%)
- 5 to 14 years old (11.6%)
- 45 to 54 years old (11.0%)
- 55 to 64 years old (7.1%)
- 65 years and older (5.2%)
- Under 5 years old (3.4%)
New LPRs By Gender
- Female (54.6%)
- Male (45.4%)
New LPRs By Marital Status
- Married (57.9%)
- Single (36.9%)
- Other/Unknown (5.2%)
New LPRs By Area Of Residence
Here’s another interesting set of statistics. Where do the new LPRs choose to live?
- New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NY-PA (16.8%)
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA (8.6%)
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL (7.4%)
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV (3.8%)
- Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI (3.4%)
- San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA (2.9%)
- Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX (2.8%
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX (2.6%)
- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA (2.1%)
By Carlos Batara, Immigration Law, Policy, And Politics