President Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order on Wednesday, kick-starting the construction of a wall along the Mexican border.
He will also sign a separate order, temporarily banning refugees from entering the country as well as visas being issued to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Promises to curb immigration were central to Trump’s pitch for the White House and today’s orders certainly give the impression that he intends to follow up on these promises.
How much immigration does the US get each year?
According to figures from the Department of Homeland Security, 1.05 million immigrants were granted permanent residence in the US in 2015, up from 1.02 million in 2014. For 2015 this works out as 328 immigrants for every 100,000 people living in America.
In comparison the UK received 650,000 long-term migrants in the year to June 2016 at a rate of 1,004 migrants for every 100,000 residents – three times higher than the rate in the US.
Immigration into the US remained at roughly the same level over Obama’s presidency, at around one million people per year. His administration was focused on enforcement efforts along the border, with deportations increasing under Obama – they peaked at 410,000 in 2012.
At the same time, his executive action allowed almost half of the 11 million undocumented immigrants to legally stay and work in the United States, although it offers no path to citizenship.
Where do immigrants to the US come from?
Given its proximity to the US, it isn’t surprising that Mexico sends more migrants to America every year than any other country in the world.
As many as 157,227 people coming from Mexico were granted the right to permanently reside in America in 2015, up from 133,107 in 2014.
It is, however, worth noting that net migration from Mexico is actually now in the negative numbers, with an analysis from the Pew Research Center showing more people moving from America to Mexico between 2009 and 2014 than vice versa.
After Mexico, the Caribbean – as defined by the Department of Homeland Security – was the next biggest contributor ( 146,086) followed by China (70,977) and then India (61,380)
None of the seven countries targeted by Trump for a visa ban are significant contributors of migrants to the US. Iran sent slightly more than 9,000 immigrants to the US.
As few as 5,459 Syrians were granted green card status in 2015 – equivalent to 0.5 per cent of all immigration to the US.
Breakdowns for the other five countries were not available in the data, as they had been grouped with other African countries.
How many refugees arrive in the US each year?
The number of refugees entering the US has increased over the past decade but it has remained relatively stable over the past few years. It is significantly lower than the levels seen in the early 80s and the early 90s.
At total of 69,920 refugees arrived in 2015, with 18,386 of these coming from Burma – the most from any one country.
As many as 12,676 came from Iraq, while 8,858 were from Somalia, 3,109 were from Iran, 1,682 were from Syria, 1,578 from Sudan and just 16 came from Yemen.