Biden Puts ‘Nation of Immigrants’ on Steroids, Legally
While one part of America’s faltering immigration system allows an estimated 15.5 million migrants to remain in this country illegally, another is ramping up the number of legal immigrants to historic highs.
Bucking the lingering depressing effects of the COVID pandemic, U.S. naturalizations in 2021 rose to 814,000, far exceeding the yearly average from several preceding decades.
During both Republican and Democratic administrations, the average number of naturalizations has steadily increased from fewer than 113,000 per year in the 1950s and 1960s, to 210,000 per year in the 1980s, to 500,000 in the 1990s, 680,000 in the 2000s, and 730,000 annually between 2010 and 2019.
The 2021 boost was due in part to expedited processing and an uncommonly high 90.5 percent approval rate on applications. The pre-COVID approval rate in 2021 was 89.6 percent. Visa approval rates – accommodating virtually every imaginable purpose — registered an even bigger bump.
Meantime, issuance of green cards has hit a seven-year high. Some 282,000 immigrants received green cards in the final quarter of fiscal 2021. That was higher than in any quarter since April-June 2017, and slightly higher than the quarterly average from October 2015 to March 2020.
Going forward, the Biden administration will make it easier for low-income immigrants to become permanent U.S. residents. Per new guidelines that effectively gut long-standing public charge rules, the Department of Homeland Security will not exclude “individuals who choose to access the vast majority of health-related benefits and other supplemental government services.”
In light of these developments, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently stated, “So the issue is, how does immigration serve the people of the United States and the national interest? We’re not globalists who believe that foreigners have a right to come into our country whenever they want to.”
Contrary to the popular narrative that America has always been a country of mass immigration (“a nation of immigrants”), U.S. immigration policy has, in reality, alternated between more permissive and more restrictive schemes. FAIR has reported how mass immigration triggers more government spending while suppressing Americans’ wages.
“It is ultimately ordinary Americans and – in some ways – many immigrants themselves who pay the price. Population growth through mass immigration is a classic case of concentrated benefits and diffuse costs,” FAIR states.
As such, FAIR President Dan Stein applauded DeSantis for “making it clear he understands the full dimensions of the immigration challenge, and doesn’t shy away from dealing not only with the legality of the immigration flow, but with its overall size.”