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What our immigration system really looks like

Conservative Review

Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security posted the annual Yearbook of Immigration Statistics for 2016, and it appears that Obama’s promise to fundamentally transform America didn’t disappoint. Here are some key details and observations of the report:

Near-record numbers: In 2016, DHS issued 1,183,505 green cards, the most of any year during Obama’s presidency. It is also the second highest number in the modern era, if we put aside 1990-1991, when we processed hundreds of thousands of extra green cards as a result of the 1986 amnesty. Of those roughly 1.2 million, 565,427 were already living here on temporary visas and 618,078 were new arrivals.

Chain migration dominates the system: Almost all the new immigrants were the result of chain migration or refugee-type programs. Very few green cards were apportioned based on skills or merit. A whopping 120,000 refugees were brought in. Overall, only 12 percent of all immigrants came through employment-based programs that require some sort of merit. Among the new arrivals, those numbers are starker. Just four percent of all new arrivals came in on employment visas, meaning the remaining 96 percent were either family visas or refugee, asylum, and quasi-amnesties. Only 2,410 individuals, .004 percent of new arrivals, came here with advanced degrees or extraordinary skills.

The fastest-growing category is parents of U.S. citizens. Those numbers increased by 23.5 percent from 2014 to 2016. Even open-borders fanatic Jeb Bush, at least while running for president in the GOP primary, voiced his support for the idea of abolishing the parent category, saying, “We need to narrow the number of people coming here through family petitioning … I would cut it down to spouse and minor children.” Abolishing all the other categories would reduce immigration among the new arrivals by more than two-thirds.

Do they even have jobs? Among those issued a green card this year, just 21 percent had known occupations. Roughly half did not work outside the home, and another third had no known occupation. Clearly, this is not being done for the economic benefit of this country.

Mexico still dominates legal immigration: Buttressed by chain migration, Mexican nationals were, by far, the most numerous recipients of green cards. In 2016, 174,534 Mexican nationals received green cards, double the number from the second most numerous recipients — Chinese nationals. The notion that we have not been generous enough to Mexican nationals through our legal immigration system and owe primarily Mexican nationals yet another amnesty for illegal aliens is downright insulting. Fifteen percent of all green cards were handed out to Mexico alone.

Massive increase in immigration from the Middle East: Most significantly, there was a large increase in immigration from the Middle East. According to Pew Research, over the past decade, we’ve admitted roughly 100,000 Muslim immigrants per year, double the level in the ’90s. I counted the number of green cards given out in 2016 to nationals from 47 majority-Muslim countries, and the total number was up to 179,114. Overall, we’ve admitted 2 million immigrants from those countries from 2001 through 2016. Some of the most significant increases from the previous year were from countries on Trump’s immigration pause list, such as Yemen and Syria, or from countries of origin of recent domestic terrorists, such as Bangladesh and Uzbekistan. In 2016, we increased immigration from 36 of these 47 majority Muslim countries.

How can anyone look at our throttled-up immigration system and say with a straight face that it serves America’s economic and security interests? President Trump was right to suggest that we must, for the first time, make sound immigration policy and secure borders the foundation of our national security. “Leaders in Washington imposed on the country an immigration policy that Americans never voted for, never asked for, and never approved — a policy where the wrong people are allowed into our country and the right people are rejected,” lamented the president in his “America First” speech.

Sadly, leaders in both parties are plotting and scheming for more amnesty rather than first fixing immigration to work for Americans. According to CNN, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Thom Tillis are meeting in Sen. Dick Durbin’s office every day and are “making progress” toward amnesty. What about progress towards safety and prosperity for Americans? In light of the recent problems with Sharia chain migration, is anyone from either party in Congress interested in knowing how many of the 179K immigrants from these countries, almost exclusively brought in because of family ties, love America and how many hate America?

The president clearly understands the problem with our immigration system. But to take this to the next level, he must finally agree to get rid of DACA amnesty once and for all and make it clear that he will not renew the illegal program in March. Any effort to play ball with amnesty will provide him with no leverage to reform the broader immigration system. America first means sticking a fork in the amnesty agenda for good and focusing on the needs of the American citizen for a change.

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