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Legal Immigration to the US

Legal Immigration to the United States

Legal immigration to the United States totals approximately 800,000 per year.

Family-sponsored immigrants total 480,000 each year. These immigrants are:

Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens (spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens (no numerical limit, approximately 220,000 to 240,000 per year);
Unmarried Adult Children of U.S. Citizens (23,400);
Spouses and Children of Lawful Permanent Residents (87,900);
Unmarried Adult Children of Lawful Permanent Residents (26,300);
Married Adult Children of U.S. Citizens (23,400);
Brothers and Sisters of U.S. Citizens (65,000)
Employment-based immigrants total 140,000 each year. These are primarily skilled professionals with exceptional ability and other priority workers, immigrating to jobs for which U.S. Department of Labor has certified that no qualified U.S. worker is available.

Diversity immigrants total 55,000 per year under the present lottery system that makes immigrant visas available to nationals from "undersubscribed" countries.

Refugee admissions are determined annually. They presently total approximately 120,000, with nearly half these numbers being assigned to nationals from the former Soviet Union and one-third to Southeast Asian refugees.

The leading source countries for legal immigration are

Mexico (91,000),
Vietnam (78,000),
the Philippines (59,000), and
the republics of the former Soviet Union (44,000).*
The leading source countries for refugee admissions are the republics of the former Soviet Union (62,000).*

Nearly three-fourths of all new immigrants intend to reside in six states: California, New York, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and Illinois.

Undocumented immigration total approximately 300,000 annually, according to the INS. One half of these undocumented immigrants arrive in the U.S. legally and overstay their non-immigrant visa.

* Based on 1992 figures; all others are current


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