Legal immigration to the United States has fallen by 11% in the wake of many restrictive immigration policies put into place by the Trump administration. Through these policies, Trump has done more to restrict immigration than a border wall could accomplish. Two of these new policies went into effect in February 2020, an expanded travel ban that included Nigeria, and strict wealth tests on green card applicants.
Legal Immigration Down
The number of people who obtained permanent legal status in the United States, besides refugees that had previously entered, was down to 940,877 in the 2018 fiscal year from 1,063,289 in the 2016 fiscal year. This was according to an analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy. Four years ago, legal immigration was at its highest level since 2006. The foundation projected a 30 percent drop by 2021.
Experts believe that new immigration policies will accelerate the downward trend. Asylum seekers face tightened rules and have been forced to live in squalid camps on the border in Mexico. They face a refugee cap of 18,000 compared to the 110,000 cap under Obama in 2016. In addition, increased vetting and additional in-person interviews for visa and green card applicants have further reduced the number of foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States.
The expansion of the travel ban has also had an effect on immigration numbers. Of the 537,000 average number of people abroad granted permanent residency from 2014-2016, nearly 28,000, or 5 percent, would be blocked by the travel bans put in place.
Now the new public charge rule, which imposes a wealth test on immigrants, will certainly cause legal immigration numbers to decrease. Around two-thirds of immigrants who came into the United States from 2014-2016 could be blocked from doing so under the new rule. The rule denies green cards to those individuals who are likely to need public assistance. Immigrants now have to do more than just demonstrate an income over the poverty line. Factors such as age, health, language, and credit score are now used to determine whether someone is likely to need public assistance in the future.
There is little sign that there won’t be further policies restricting immigration. Supporters of Trump want less immigration, legal or otherwise, and will continue to praise these changes.
Contact an Immigration Attorney
If you are interested in applying for a visa or a green card, you want an experienced immigration attorney on your side. At Serving Immigrants, Inc., we have the experience and the knowledge to guide you through the application process. Contact us online or call us at (305) 907-6151 to schedule a strategy session.