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Immigration Pathways and Naturalization

In 2015, 57 percent of the 676,000 Haitians residing in the United States were naturalized citizens, compared to 48 percent of all immigrants.

Similar to the overall immigrant population, 54 percent of Haitian immigrants arrived in the United States prior to 2000, 30 percent arrived between 2000 and 2009, and 16 percent in 2010 or later, including those arriving in the wake of the 2010 earthquake (see Figure 6).

Figure 6. Haitians and All Immigrants in the United States by Period of Arrival, 2015

Source: MPI tabulation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2015 ACS. Numbers may not add up to 100 as they are rounded to the nearest whole number.

In fiscal year 2015, 17,000 Haitians obtained lawful permanent resident (LPR) status (also known as getting a green card), according to Department of Homeland Security data. Of those, 91 percent did so as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or through other family-sponsored preferences (50 percent and 41 percent, respectively; see Figure 7).

Figure 7. Immigration Pathways of Haitian and All Legal Permanent Residents in the United States, 2015

Notes: Family-sponsored: Includes adult children and siblings of U.S. citizens as well as spouses and children of green-card holders. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens: Includes spouses, minor children, and parents of U.S. citizens. The Diversity Visa Lottery: The Immigration Act of 1990 established the Diversity Visa Lottery to allow entry to immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The law states that 55,000 diversity visas are made available each fiscal year.
Source: MPI tabulation of data from Department of Homeland Security (DHS), 2015 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics (Washington, DC: DHS Office of Immigration Statistics, 2016), available online.

In contrast, virtually no Haitians obtained a green card through employment pathways or by winning the Diversity Visa Lottery. Comparatively, the foreign-born population overall was less likely to use family-sponsored pathways (20 percent), but more likely to use employment-based preferences (14 percent) to obtain LPR status.