U.S. Immigration at 15-Year High With 3 Million Arrivals Over the Past Two Years

Brittany M. Hughes | June 1, 2016
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More than three million new immigrants have settled in the United States over the past two years, with more than one-third of them arriving illegally, according to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies.

The number of new immigrants coming to the U.S. is the highest influx since 2000-2001.

The report, published Wednesday and derived from the latest data by the U.S. Census Bureau, explains:

An analysis of new government data by the Center for Immigration Studies shows more than three million new legal and illegal immigrants settled in the United States in 2014 and 2015 — a 39 percent increase over the prior two years. The number of legal and illegal immigrants settling in the country is now higher than before the 2007 recession and may match the level in 2000 and 2001. Immigration from other countries has offset a decline in immigration from Mexico.

Several factors have likely contributed to the rebound, including cutbacks in enforcement, an improved economy, and the expansive nature of our legal immigration system (especially for long-term temporary visas such as guestworkers and foreign students).

By comparison, about 2.3 million immigrants arrived during 2012 and 2013, the report adds. CIS estimates that about 700,000 of these were illegal immigrants.

The following two years saw a 39 percent increase in both the total number of immigrants and the number of illegal aliens who came to the United States. CIS estimates that about 1.1 million legal immigrants and 550,000 new illegal aliens settled in the United States annually in 2014 and 2015.

While the number of legal immigrants is documented by the federal government, the number of illegal aliens is a bit harder to calculate. However, CIS's estimate for the surge in new illegal alien arrivals is in line with the increasing influx of border crossers apprehended at the Southwest border since 2014. Apprehensions so far in FY2016 have already surpassed FY2015 numbers for the same time period, and could surge past FY2014 totals if the trend continues.

Since the start of FY2014, the Obama administration has released more than 110,000 illegal alien children into the United States, including about 30,000 released during the first six months of FY2016. 

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