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Policy of the American Economy

According to the 2016 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, the United States admitted 1.18 million legal immigrants in 2016.[5] Of these, 20% were family-sponsored, 47% were the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, 12% were employment-based preferences, 4% were part of the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, and 13% were refugees and/or asylum seekers.[5] The remainder included small numbers from several other categories, including those who were granted the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV); persons admitted under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act; children born subsequent to the issuance of a parent’s visa; and certain parolees from the former Soviet Union, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam who were denied refugee status.[5]

The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding such issues as maintaining ethnic homogeneity, workers for employers versus jobs for non-immigrants, settlement patterns, impact on upward social mobilitycrime, and voting behavior.

Prior to 1965, policies such as the national origins formula limited immigration and naturalization opportunities for people from areas outside Western Europe. Exclusion laws enacted as early as the 1880s generally prohibited or severely restricted immigration from Asia, and quota laws enacted in the 1920s curtailed Eastern European immigration. The civil rights movement led to the replacement[6] of these ethnic quotas with per-country limits.[7] Since then, the number of first-generation immigrants living in the United States has quadrupled.[8][9]

Research suggests that immigration to the United States is beneficial to the U.S. economy. With few exceptions, the evidence suggests that on average, immigration has positive economic effects on the native population, but it is mixed as to whether low-skilled immigration adversely affects low-skilled natives. Studies also show that immigrants have lower crime rates than natives in the United States.[10][11][12] Research shows that the United States excels at assimilating first- and second-generation immigrants relative to many other Western countries.