Analysis: Mass Immigration Accounts for 80% of U.S. Population Growth

Migrants wait to enter the shelter of the Sacred Heart Church near the US and Mexico borde
Eric Thayer/Bloomberg

The nation’s mass immigration policy, giving green cards to roughly a million foreign nationals and temporary work visas to another 1.4 million foreign nationals, is driving 80 percent of all population growth, new analysis details.

Census Bureau data analyzed by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) shows the scope to which legal immigration to the U.S. is fueling nearly all population growth where the resident population hit 333.3 million in 2022 — the highest in American history.

“… [N]et international migration of 1.01 million accounted for roughly 80 percent of U.S. population growth in 2022,” CIS researchers Steven Camarota and Karen Zeigler write:

[I]mmigration is the primary factor driving U.S. population growth. The net migration of immigrants plus births to immigrants once here accounted for roughly two-thirds to three-fourths of U.S. population growth over the last two decades. [Emphasis added]

Annually, the U.S. gives green cards to about a million foreign nationals. The majority of those green cards are awarded through the process known as “chain migration,” where newly naturalized citizens can sponsor an unlimited number of foreign relatives for resettlement in the U.S.

More than six-in-ten green cards in 2021, for example, were given to foreign nationals solely based on their having family members already living in the U.S. Meanwhile, just 26 percent of green cards went to foreign nationals because they scored employment in the U.S.

This same year, more than 15,000 foreign nationals won green cards through the Diversity Visa Lottery which randomly gives out up to 55,000 green cards a year.

Also in 2021, the U.S. gave temporary work visas to about 1.4 million foreign nationals who were imported by businesses to take blue-collar and white-collar American jobs. For instance, almost 600,000 foreign nationals scored H-2A visas in 2021 to take farm jobs while nearly 150,000 got H-1B visas to take professional white-collar jobs mostly in STEM fields.

All of this legal immigration is compounded by sky-high illegal immigration levels which Camarota and Zeigler suggest have been woefully underreported by the Census Bureau.

YUMA, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 30: Immigrants walk along the U.S.-Mexico border barrier on their way to await processing by the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing from Mexico on December 30, 2022 in Yuma, Arizona. (Photo by Qian Weizhong/VCG via Getty Images)

Immigrants walk along the U.S.-Mexico border barrier on their way to await processing by the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing from Mexico on December 30, 2022, in Yuma, Arizona. (Photo by Qian Weizhong/VCG via Getty Images)

“The enormous scale of the border crisis and resulting illegal immigration, as well as growth in the foreign-born population … indicate that net migration is significantly higher than the 1.01 million estimated by the Census Bureau for 2022,” the CIS researchers write:

If we are correct, then the U.S. population grew by significantly more than the bureau estimated and net international migration accounted for upwards of 90 percent of the increase in the last year. [Emphassia dded]

Immigration has exploded since the start of 2021. In the coming years, absent a change in policy, immigration will continue to drive population growth. In fact, immigration has the potential to add enormously to the size of the U.S. population. [Emphasis added]

Indeed, prior research has shown that the nation’s foreign-born population is projected to hit a record nearly 70 million by 2060 if current legal immigration levels go unreduced. Today’s foreign-born population, at 48 million, is already the largest number of immigrants ever recorded in American history.

Americans, by a consistent majority, want less overall legal immigration.

The latest Rasmussen Reports survey finds that 56 percent of likely voters want to see legal immigration levels reduced — four-in-ten want levels cut in at least half. Most prominently, a majority of Republicans and conservatives said they want legal immigration levels cut down to fewer than 500,000 annual admissions.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here.


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