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THE IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1990 AND LEGAL IMMIGRATION

The Immigration Act of 1990 [IMMACT] provided the most comprehensive change in legal immigration since 1965, while retaining the basic principles of that earlier legislation. The 1965 Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act had removed national origins as the principal method of selecting immigrants for admission, replacing what was widely perceived as a racist policy with a system of legal immigration based on family reunification and, to a lesser extent, skills.19 As President Lyndon Johnson stated in signing the law, "From this day forth, those wishing to emigrate into America shall be admitted on the basis of their skills and their close relationship to those already here."

The 1965 Amendments led to significant changes in immigration patterns: initially, these included greater diversity in the national origin of entering immigrants, as residents of countries previously barred sought admissions under the new provisions; increases in the proportion of immigrants coming from Asia, with a corresponding decrease in the numbers from northern and western Europe; and growing backlogs in applications for both family reunification and skills-based immigration, as the demand for visas outstripped their availability. At the same time, unlawful immigration appeared to be growing, often from the same countries that evidenced high levels of legal immigration.

Towards the end of the 1970s, the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy [SCIRP] was established to assess and make


19The 1965 Amendments also provided 17,000 visas that permitted refugees to enter as conditional entrants. These numbers proved inadequate in addressing a variety of refugee crises that occurred during the 1970s, and the refugee system was changed in 1980 and the conditional entrant category abolished.

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recommendations regarding immigration policy. In 1981, SCIRP issued a report concluding that legal immigration was in the national interest but could not be sustained without a significant effort to reduce unlawful immigration. In the words of SCIRP's chair, Father Theodore Hesburgh, "We recommend closing the back door to undocumented/illegal migration, opening the front door a little to

accommodate legal migration in the interests of this country, defining our immigration goals clearly and providing a structure to

implement them effectively, and setting forth procedures that will lead to fair and efficient adjudication and administration of U.S. immigration laws."

More specifically, with regard to legal immigration, SCIRP recommended a two-tiered system of family reunification and "independent" immigration, the latter category consisting of immigrants to be admitted on the basis of exceptional merit, other skills and qualifications, or investment in the U.S. economy, rather than on the basis of connections to persons in the United States. It also recommended increasing legal immigration by 80,000 visas per year, in part to provide more visas for independent immigration, and adding an additional 100,000 visas to reduce the backlogs for a five-year period. SCIRP further recommended changes to streamline the nonimmigrant admissions categories and provide better protection of the rights of U.S. workers. Finally, SCIRP urged Congress to reexamine the INA grounds for exclusion and made modest recommendations for streamlining the naturalization process.

Congress took up the first part of SCIRP's recommendations

closing the backdoorin the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Following IRCA's passage, the legislators turned to the second partopening and restructuring the front door. The debate on what became IMMACT addressed many themes raised by SCIRP. As described by the Congressional Research Service: "Concern developed regarding the greater number of immigrants admitted on

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the basis of family reunification compared to the number of `independent' nonfamily immigrants, over the limited number of visas available under the preference system to certain countries, and about the backlogs under the existing preference system." Levels of immigration were also of concern: certain types of immigration were numerically unlimited; others had numerical restrictions. Some members of Congress wanted a cap on overall levels, keeping both restricted and exempt categories under the same worldwide limit. Others worried that such a limit would increase the backlogs for close family members, making the reunification of spouses and minor children of permanent residents more difficult.

IMMACT [P.L. 101-649 passed in 1990] attempts to balance these competing interests by (1) encouraging overall limits on legal immigration through establishment of annual numerical targets for total immigration , (2) permitting continued reunification of close family members with a guaranteed minimum for family preference visas if there are increases in the number of immediate relatives of U.S. citizens seeking entry, (3) meeting present and future labor market needs by increasing the proportion admitted for employment-based reasons and giving higher priority to the entry of professionals and highly skilled persons, (4) providing greater national origin diversity by offering new opportunities for migration from countries that have not recently experienced much emigration to the United States, (5) creating a better balance in nonimmigrant categories between

the needs of U.S. workers and U.S. employers, (6) updating

exclusion and deportation grounds to reflect post-Cold War

developments, and (7) establishing a timely and more efficient

naturalization process.

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IMMACT Effects On Migration

To accomplish these objectives, Congress significantly revised the INA. The principal provisions of IMMACT were not implemented until 1992, and with only two years worth of data, there is little experience to use in determining IMMACT's effects. Immigrant admissions in 1992 were primarily from the pre-IMMACT backlog. The Diversity Program does not go into effect until FY 1995. The following analysis, therefore, must be considered preliminary at best.

Legal Immigration

Immigrants fall into two major categories: those whose numbers are subject to annual statutory limits and those whose numerical limits can change each year (primarily refugees) or who have no numerical limits at all. As Table 4 shows, overall admissions of legal immigrants averaged about 640,000 annually during the five-year period prior to the implementation of IMMACT. These numbers include all immigrants, whether admitted within or outside any statutory limits. Overall admissions since IMMACT, just over 800,000 in FY 1992 and about 880,000 in FY 1993, are projected to drop in FY 1994 to 830,000. (These numbers do not include adjustments to permanent resident status of the 2.7 million illegal aliens legalized under IRCA.)

Statutory Cap. IMMACT established a flexible worldwide level of 700,000 family-based, employment-based, and diversity immigration visas for FYs 1992-1994. In FY 1995, the worldwide level reduces to 675,000. Separate ceilings were set for each of these immigrant categories, and, as described below, subceilings were created within each category. The totals admissions under the statutory cap were about 650,000 in FY 1992, 720,000 in FY 1993 (thereby exceeding the target), and are projected to be about 680,000 in FY 1994. (The carry-over of unused FY 1992 numbers as well as in

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Table 4.

Immigrant Admissions by Major Category:

FYs 1987-1993, Projections for FY 1994

Category of Admission Average 1987-1991 1992 1993 Proj. 1994

Subject to the Numerical Cap 511,427 655,541 719,701 683,350

Family-based immigrants 439,614 502,995 539,209 512,600

Immediate Relatives of U.S. citizens 224,842 235,484 255,059 251,000

Spouses 127,999 128,396 145,843 143,000

Parents 53,388 64,764 62,428 60,000

Children 43,455 42,324 46,788 48,000

Children born abroad to alien residents 2,709 2,116 2,030 1,900

Family-sponsored immigrants 212,062 213,123 226,776 225,300

Unmarried sons/daughters of U.S. citizens 13,599 12,486 12,819 14,400

Spouses, children, sons & daughters of LPRs 108,824 118,247 128,308 123,500

Married sons/daughters of U.S. citizens 24,697 22,195 23,385 23,400

Siblings of U.S. citizens 64,943 60,195 62,264 64,000

Legalization dependents X 52,272 55,344 34,400

Employment-based immigrants 58,341 116,198 147,012 128,750

Priority workers X 5,456 21,114 22,000

Professionals w/ adv. deg. or of advanced ability X 58,401 29,468 15,000

Skilled, professionals, other workers, (CSPA) X 47,568 87,689 82,700

Skilled, professionals, other workers X 47,568 60,774 58,000

Chinese Student Protection Act (CSPA) X X 26,915 24,700

Special immigrants 4,558 4,063 8,158 8,500 Investors X 59 583 550

Professionals or highly skilled (Old 3rd) 26,939 340 X X

Needed skilled or unskilled workers (Old 6th) 26,844 311 X X

Diversity programs 13,473 36,348 33,480 42,000

Diversity transition X 33,911 33,468 42,000

Nationals of adversely affected countries 9,755 1,557 10 X

Natives of underrepresented countries 3,718 880 2 X

Not Subject to the Numerical Cap 131,926 155,094 160,313 150,100

Amerasians 7,595 17,253 11,116 3,000

Cuban/Haitian Entrants 7,475 99 62 50

Parolees, Soviet and Indochineese 1,000 13,661 15,772 12,000

Refugees and Asylees 98,858 117,037 127,343 131,000

Refugee adjustments 90,220 106,379 115,539 125,000

Asylee adjustments 8,638 10,658 11,804 6,000

Registered Nurses and their families 1,205 3,572 2,178 350

Registry, entered prior to 1/1/72 13,109 1,293 938 700

Other 2,685 2,179 2,904 3,000

Total 643,353 810,635 880,014 833,450

Note: X - Not Applicable. Excludes persons granted legal permanent resident status under the provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

Categories are arranged according to the limitations specified in IMMACT.

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creased immediate relative admissions account for admissions above 700,000 in FY 1993.)

• Family-Sponsored Immigration. Concerned that a worldwide limit on family-sponsored immigration had a potential to disrupt family reunification, Congress established an overall cap which could be pierced if the number of immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, for whom there are no numerical limits, exceeded expectations. IMMACT established a minimum floor of 226,000 per year for numerically-limited family-sponsored preferences to ensure that these visas would continue to be available. Should the number of unrestricted immediate relatives exceed 239,000 (465,000 less 226,000) in FYs 1992-1994 or 254,000 (480,000 less 226,000) after FY 1994, the family-sponsored cap would be pierced. Under the flexible cap, the number of spouses, minor children, and parents of U.S. citizens admitted in the previous year is subtracted from the overall numbers available for family sponsorship, and (as of FY 1994) the number of unused employment-based visas from the previous year is added to the total. In no event, however, can the remaining family-based visas be less than 226,000.

In addition to setting an overall, flexible limit on admissions, IMMACT altered the per-country limitations used to determine how many immigrants from each country may enter the United States each year. Immediate relatives may still enter without regard to per-country limits. Section 102 of IMMACT provides that the family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas made available to citizens of a single independent foreign state may not exceed 7 percent of their total. Since the family preference annual floor is set at a minimum of 226,000 and the employment-based limit is set at a minimum of 140,000, the per-country ceiling for independent countries is 25,620 (7 percent of 366,000). Pre-IMMACT per-country levels were set at 20,000

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visas. The 7 percent limit is not subdivided between family-sponsored and employment-based. Therefore, if in any given year there is little demand for employment-based visas from a country, more of the country's limit will be available for family-sponsored immigrants.20

Table 5 describes the categories and allocation of preference visas. IMMACT's major change in the family-sponsored categories involved spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents (family-based 2A and 2B, hereinafter FB-2A/2B). Congress addressed the FB-2A backlog in two ways. First, IMMACT increases the visa allotment to 114,200 visas, corresponding to actual usage under the INA's former provisions (each year large numbers of unused first preference numbers had dropped down to second preference). Additionally, IMMACT provides a special suballocation of visas. At least 77 percent of the visas are designated for spouses and minor children of permanent residents (FB-2A category), and three-quarters of these are not subject to per-country limits. This removal of per-country limits addressed the increasing backlogs of Mexican, Filipino, and Dominican beneficiaries. Congress addressed one other major factor contributing to increased family 2A visa demand, the filing of immigrant petitions for family members by persons legalized under IRCA who began to be admitted to permanent residence in large numbers during 1989. For FYs 1992-1994, IMMACT provides up to 55,000 additional visas annually for the admission of spouses and children of aliens legalized under IRCA.

The family numbers in the first two years of IMMACT (FYs 1992,1993) were some 503,000 and 539,000, respectively (including the relatives of legalized aliens), and are projected in FY 1994


20Section 202(e) of the INA sets out special procedures for allocating visas when a country is oversubscribed in terms of its demand for visas.

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Table 5.

Categories and Allocation

of Preference Immigrants

Preference Provision Allocation

Family-sponsored immigrants (minimum or 226,000)

First Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens 23,4001

Second Spouses and unmarried sons and daughters

of permanent resident aliens 114,2002

Third Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens 23,4003

Fourth Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (as least

21 years of age) 65,0003

Employment-based preferences (minimum or 140,000)

First Priority Workers 28.6% of total

or 40,0404

Second Professionals with advanced degrees or

aliens of exceptional ability 28.6% of total

or 40,0403

Third Skilled workers, professionals, needed

unskilled workers (limited to 10,000) 28.6% of total

or 40,0403

Fourth Special immigrants 7.1% or total

or 9,940

Fifth Employment creation ("investors") 7.1 % of total

or 9,940

1Plus the number of unused family 4th preference visas

2Plus the number of visas (if any) by which the worldwide level exceeds 226,000 visas; plus unused visas from the family 1st preference

3Plus the number of unused visas from higher preferences

4Plus the number of unused visas from the employment 4th and 5th preferences

Source: U.S. Department of State



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at 513,000. The increase over pre-IMMACT levels (455,000 in FY 1991) can be explained largely by the additional numbers available for dependents of legalized aliens.

More specifically, the family numbers are divided as follows:

Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens. This category has experienced a series of periods of steady growth followed by a levelling off, such that over time, the category has increased considerably. In 1980, just under 160,000 immediate relatives entered the U.S. The numbers grew until 1986, when they leveled off at 220,000. In the 1990s, the numbers increased again, reaching 237,000 in FY 1991 and 255,000 in FY 1993, when the flexible cap was pierced. As a result, the number of numerically-limited visas for other family member categories was set at the floor of 226,000 in FY 1994, and an offset was taken against the spouses and children of legalization beneficiaries. The number of immediate relatives entering in FY 1994 are projected to be about the same as in FY 1993.

Unmarried Adult Children of U.S. Citizens (FB-1). The FB-1 limit is 23,400 visas, plus any unused numbers from the siblings of U.S. citizens (FB-4) category, a reduction from the previous limit of 54,000 because Congress recognized that this category has always been underutilized (averaging 11,000 in the second half of the 1980s) and annual increases have been low. In FYs 1992 and 1993, about 12,500 and 13,000 FB-1s were admitted, respectively. More than 14,000 are projected for FY 1994.

Despite the worldwide low usage, waiting lists for FB-1 visas have existed for certain countries due to per-country limits, which are prorated among the various preferences.

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Prior to the implementation of IMMACT, some 29,000 Filipino applicants were on the waiting list, and those who had applied six years before were being admitted. Some 49,000 Filipino and 4,000 Mexican applicants are now on the waiting list. Mexicans who have been waiting for one year and Filipinos who have waited nine years are being admitted. This wait for unmarried Filipino adult children of U.S. citizens is considerably longer than the current five-year wait for unmarried adult children of permanent residents. IMMACT has thus exacerbated the backlog, which will continue to grow, as only 1,600 Filipino applicants will become eligible for admission in this category annually. While the real wait for new applicants cannot be predicted with certainty due to changing factors over time, even if the maximum number of Filipinos receive visas every year, it will take more than thirty years to admit the current 49,000 on the waiting list.

Spouses, Minor Children, and Unmarried Adult Children of Permanent Residents (FB-2A and 2B). To match actual usage, IMMACT increased the family second preference allotment from 70,200, plus any unused first preference numbers, to at least 114,200 visas, plus unused FB-1 numbers. In FY 1992, about 118,000 entered under the FB-2A (spouses and minor children) and 2B (unmarried adult children) categories. The numbers increased to 128,000 in FY 1993 and are projected at 123,500 for FY 1994. (The numbers above the 114,200 allotment come from unused FB-1 numbers in the current year as well as from unused numbers from the previous year's immigrant allotment).

One objective of IMMACT was the reduction in the waiting period for reunifying spouses and children of permanent residents, particularly those from countries with significant

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backlogs. Prior to IMMACT, applicants from most countries were admitted after about two years. For applicants from a few nations, the waiting period was far longer. The elimination of the per-country limits for a proportion of the FB-2 visas was adopted with the purpose of reducing the waits for such groups. IMMACT accomplished that goal: it removed the especially long FB-2 waits for Mexican,

Filipino, and Dominican spouses and children already on the waiting list, virtually equalizing their wait with the worldwide one.

The waiting list for the FB-2 category, however, remains very large and is increasing annually. As shown in Table 6, it was some 1.5 million as of January 1994, an increase due largely to applications for the admission of the spouses and children of legalized aliens. Some of these relatives enter under the special category for legalization dependents (see below), but for waiting list purposes, they are all counted under the FB-2 category. Demand for 2A visas for spouses and children of legalized aliens appears to have peaked, thus the backlog should not increase as markedly as it has in

recent years.

Of the FB-2 backlog, more than 1 million are in the 2A category, some 850,000 of whom are spouses and children of legalization immigrants. Because of the large number of dependents of legalization immigrants who have applied since IMMACT, the waiting period for the 2A category has increased. Now 2A applicants from all countries who have waited about three years are being admitted. While the actual 2A wait for new applicants is not known, it would take at least ten years at the expected FY 1994 usage of 2A visas (about 95,000) to work through the more than one million waiting applicants. The wait may be reduced if

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Table 6.

Immigrant Waiting List for FY 1993-1994

The figures below have been compiled from the reports submitted to the Department of State in January 1994 and show the number of immigrant visa applicants on the waiting list in the various preferences and subcategories established under the Immigration Act of 1990. Provided for comparison are totals prepared following the January 1993 tabulation. All figures reflect persons registered under each respective numerical limitation, i.e., the totals represent not only principal applicants or petition beneficiaries, but their spouses and children entitled to derivative status under INA 203 (d) as well.

Category Jan. 1994 Totals Jan. 1993 Increase/Decrease

(and % or total Totals from 1993 Totals

registrants) (and % of change)

Family Preferences

First 63,499 ( 1.8%) 54.779 + 8,720 (+15.9%)

Second

Spouses/Children 1,047,496 ( 29.0%) 958,839* + 88,657 (+ 9.2%)

Adult Sons/Dgtrs 450.579 ( 12.5%) 391,816 + 58,763 (+15.0%)

Pref. Total 1,498,075 ( 41.5%) 1,350,655 + 147,420 (+10.9%)

Third 257,110 ( 7.1%) 218,121 + 38,989 (+17.9%)

Fourth 1,643,463 (45.5%) 1,611,715 + 31,748 (+ 2.0%)

Family Total 3,462,147 ( 95.9%) 3,235,270 + 226,877 (+ 7.0%)

Employment Preferences

FIrst 8,315 ( 0.2%) 6,882 + 1,433 (+20.8%)

Second 11,159 ( 0.3%) 18,682 - 7,523 (- 40.3%)

Third

Skilled Workers/

Baccalaureate

Degree Holders 30,735 ( 0.9%) 32,813 - 2,078 (- 6.3%)

Other (i.e.,

Unskilled) Workers 94,348 ( 2.6%) 95,362 - 1,014 (- 1.1%)

Pref. Total 125,083 ( 3.5%) 128,175 - 3.092 (- 2.4%)

Fourth 5,241 ( 0.1%)** 4,045*** + 1,196 (+29.6%)

Fifth 176 (minimal)*** 139*** + 37 (+26.6%)

Employment Total 149,974 ( 4.1%) 157,923 - 7,949 (- 5.0%)

GRAND TOTAL 3,612,121 (100%) 3,393,193 + 218,928 (+ 6.5%)

*of which, spouses/children of legalization beneficiaries: 1994: 853,382 (81.5% of family 2A total); 1993: 739,774 (77.2% of Family 2A total); increase over 1992 total: +113,608 (+15.4%)

**of which, certain religious workers in the classes established under the Immigration Act of 1990: 1994: 1,823; 1993: 1,510

***of which, investors in targeted employement areas: 1994: 76; 1993: 17

Source: U.S. Department of State

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large numbers of those who legalized under IRCA naturalize and their spouses and minor children enter under the exempt immediate relative category. The Commission intends to monitor the naturalization patterns of the legalized to measure their effect on the number of immediate relatives and the 2A backlog (as well as on the need for naturalization resources).

The 2B visas are now available for applicants who have been waiting about four and one-half years. The real wait for a new 2B applicant, more than fifteen years if the 28,500 limit were reached each year, is already expected to increase due to growing applicant demand, unless naturalization rates increase significantly. Should the petitioner become a citizen, the 2B beneficiaries would be transferred to the first preference category (unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens), thereby increasing that backlog, particularly for Mexico. [See Chart 2 showing family waiting lists, with significant increases in FB-2A/2B backlogs.]

Spouses and Children of Legalization Beneficiaries (LB). Separate and in addition to the 2A limit, IMMACT includes a transition provision authorizing up to 55,000 visas annually in FYs 1992-1994 for spouses and children of legalization beneficiaries. These visas are subject to the per-country limits. The 850,000 2A spouses and children of legalization beneficiaries are entitled to status under both the 2A and LB categories, with visa issuance determined by the category in which a visa first becomes available. Some 52,000 and 55,000 LBs were admitted in FYs 1992 and 1993, respectively. Another 34,000 are expected in FY 1994. The legislation

requires a reduction in the LB category if the number of immediate relatives of U.S. citizens exceeds 239,000, as it did in FY 1993. This requirement, together with the minimum

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floor of 226,000 for other relatives in the year following an excess of immediate relatives, is to help ensure that the cap will not be pierced repeatedly during the first three years of the new law's operation.

The LB category helped reduce the pressure on the 2A category, but the phase-out at the end of FY 1994 will, in effect, reduce the annual visa issuance to spouses and children of permanent residents and could result in an even longer wait in the 2A category.

Married Children of U.S. Citizens (FB-3). The annual visa limit was lowered from 27,000 to 23,400 (plus any unused FB-2 visas) by IMMACT, which was about the average for this category in the latter part of the 1980s. The new limit was reached in FY 1993, and is projected to be reached again in FY 1994.

About 250,000 applicants are waiting for a visa in this category. Prior to IMMACT, visas were available for applicants who had waited about one year, with the exception of those from Mexico and the Philippines, where visas were available for those who had waited about eight and nine years, respectively. Visas are now available for those who have waited about two years from most countries. Those from Mexico and the Philippines who have waited about eight and eleven years, respectively, now have visas available to them. FB-3 demand increased the most (some 18 percent) of any family-sponsored category from FY 1993 to FY 1994.

Siblings of U.S. Citizens (FB-4). IMMACT essentially maintained the 65,000 visas in this category (adding any unused FB-3 visas). Some 60,000 and 62,000 FB-4 immigrants were

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admitted in FYs 1992 and 1993, respectively. About 64,000 are expected to be admitted in FY 1994.

There are over 1.6 million FB-4 registrants. Prior to

IMMACT, visas were available for applicants who had waited nine years from most countries; now they are available for those who have waited ten. The longest wait is for those from the Philippines: visas were available for those who had waited fourteen years prior to IMMACT; currently they are available for those who have waited seventeen years. While for certain nationalities the wait continues to grow in this category, the numbers added each year to the backlog

are decreasing, perhaps due to the very extensive waiting period.

• Employment-Based Immigration. IMMACT extensively revised the employment-based categories and numbers to emphasize skill and, for the first time, include immigrant investors. Prior to IMMACT, 54,000 visas were available annually for occupation-based immigration, not including the special immigrants now admitted under the employment-based categories. IMMACT allows up to 140,000 employment-based visas to be issued each year to applicants and their spouses and children. Table 6 describes the new employment-based categories and allocations.

Employment-based immigration rose from an annual average of 58,000 in FY 1987-91 to 147,000 in FY 1993 (the latter includes unused FY 1992 employment-based numbers). This increase is not as large as it appears, however, since it includes some 27,000 who adjusted status under the Chinese Student Protection Act [CSPA]. Of the 120,000 FY 1993 admissions that actually involved immigrants coming to work and their dependents, about 52,000 were workers. The economic recession may have led employers to petition for fewer immigrant workers than the

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number possible under the new employment ceilings. Table 7, which provides the total number of immigrant worker petitions received in FYs 1985-1993, indicates that only 67,000 petitions were received in FY 1992 and 51,000 in FY 1993. About 129,000 employment-based immigrants and their dependents are expected in FY 1994, including, once again, some 27,000 adjustments under CSPA.

The employment-based numbers break down as follows:

Priority Workers (EB-1). Approximately 40,040 visas (plus unused EB-4 and EB-5 visas) are available annually for priority workers with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, and for outstanding professors and researchers and certain multinational executives and managers. Some 21,000 priority workers and their dependents were admitted in FY 1993. Of these, 8,000 were the actual workers: 1,250 workers with extraordinary ability; 1,675 professors and researchers; and 5,075 multinational executives and managers. Some 22,000 priority workers and their dependents are expected to become permanent

residents in FY 1994. It is expected that they will be divided among the subcategories in much the same way as in

FY 1993.

Professionals (EB-2). About 40,040 visas (plus unused EB-1 visas) are available annually for professionals with advanced degrees or persons of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Some 29,000 EB-2 workers and dependents were admitted in FY 1993; the number of workers was about 14,000. The projected total of EB-2 workers and dependents for FY 1994 is 15,000, of whom 7,000 will be workers. FY 1994 numbers appear to be a more accurate reflection of current demand, as both the FYs 1992 and 1993 EB-2 figures

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Table 7.

Immigrant Worker Petitions Filed with the INS:

FYs 1985-1993

Pending Pending

beginning Initial end of

Fiscal Year of Year Receipts Approved Denied Other** Year

(+) (+) (-) (-) (+) (=)

1985 5,508 33,977 27,644 3,759 -1,249 6,833

1986 6,833 37,350 32,100 3,527 -1,935 6,621

1987 6,621 48,761 39,577 3,855 91 12,041

1988 12,041 40,992 38,931 3,192 -2,734 8,176

1989 8,176 47,271 39,041 2,640 -3,686 10,080

1990 10,080 43,609 61,726 3,633 14,421 2,751

1991 2,751 65,684 59,890 6,213 5,018 7,350

1992 7,350 67,044 60,371 4,816 -4,890 4,317

1993 4,317 50,894 55,445 4,667 10,173 5,272

** Includes miscellaneous actions such as the return of incomplete petitions and the resubmission of returned petitions. A negative number indicates that, absent other actions, more petitions were returned during the year than resubmitted.


Source: U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

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included a significant number of pre-IMMACT third preference applicants and their dependents who had been waiting for available visas. That fewer immigrants are projected to enter under the EB-2 than EB-1 category does not mean, however, that there are more workers of extraordinary ability rather than exceptional ability, as the larger EB-1 figure reflects the predominant number of multinational executives and managers in that category.

Visas are immediately available for EB-2 workers from all countries. Prior to IMMACT, visas were available for professionals and highly skilled immigrants (former third preference) who had waited about a year and a half, except for the Philippines, where visas were available for applicants who had waited for sixteen years.

Skilled Workers, Professionals with Baccalaureate Degrees, and Unskilled Workers (EB-3). About 40,040 visas (plus unused EB-2 visas) are available annually to EB-3 applicants. A maximum of 10,000 of these is allotted to unskilled workers. "Unskilled" jobs are considered to be those requiring less than two years of training or experience. Some 78,000 skilled workers, professionals and their dependents, as well as 10,000 unskilled workers and their dependents, were admitted in FY 1993. The 78,000 included about 27,000 Chinese Student Protection Act visas. The actual number of skilled workers and professionals was about 22,000; unskilled workers numbered some 4,400. The FY 93 visa numbers were above

the 40,040 allocated annually because of unused EB-2

visa numbers.

Prior to IMMACT, visas were available for skilled and unskilled workers (former sixth preference) who had waited about four years, though visas were unavailable at times for

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applicants from mainland China and India and were available for applicants from the Philippines who had waited about five years. Visas are now available for skilled workers from most countries, though backlogs exist for about 1,700 mainland Chinese and more than 10,000 Filipinos: for Chinese who have waited one year and for Filipinos who have waited almost one and one-half years. The only worldwide wait for employment visas now is for unskilled workers, some 94,000 of whom make up the waiting list. Unskilled worker visas are now available for those who have waited six years, regardless of nationality. Given the large waiting list, if 10,000 unskilled workers were admitted annually, it would take longer than nine years to work through the current list. The waiting list total in this category dropped by about 1,000 in the past year, perhaps in part because the long wait for a visa discouraged new applicants.

Special Immigrants (EB-4). IMMACT placed the formerly numerically-exempt category of Special Immigrants in the numerically-limited employment-based categories. The EB-4 category is a catch-all for a variety of different groups, including ministers of religion, religious workers other than ministers, certain former U.S. government workers, and certain juvenile court dependents. This category is limited to 9,940 annual visas. Ministers and other religious workers are limited to 5,000 of these visas (reached in FY 1994), and religious workers are to be phased out of this category at the end of FY 1994. About 8,200 special immigrants and dependents were admitted in FY 1993. The actual number of principals was about 3,600. About 8,500 special immigrants and their dependents are projected to be admitted in FY 1994.

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Visas in this category are immediately available for applicants from all countries other than the Philippines: 1,600 Filipinos, including a significant number of former U.S. government employees, are on the waiting list. Visas are available for Filipinos who have waited a little more than a year. As Filipinos are limited to approximately 700 EB-4 visas

annually, the wait for new Filipino applicants is more than two years.

Investors (EB-5). IMMACT created a new category for

employment-creating investors and set the limit at 9,940 annually, of which 3,000 are reserved for new commercial enterprises in targeted employment areas. About 600 investors and dependents were admitted in FY 1993. Actual investors numbered just under 200. Visas are immediately available to investors from all countries. Some 550 investors and their dependents are projected to be admitted in FY 1994.

A number of explanations have been offered about why the entry of investors is substantially below the anticipated level. Some experts believe that U.S. tax laws are largely responsible for the relatively small show of interest; unlike other countries, the U.S. taxes all of an investor's worldwide income if an investor obtains permanent residence. Others have argued that the job-creation requirements of the original law were unrealistic. In 1992, Congress enacted legislation to create a pilot program designed to take into account the indirect creation of jobs. The pilot program began October 1, 1993. So far, no one has been admitted in the EB-4 category under the pilot program. INA provisions offer another reason for low EB-4 admissions: investors enter under a conditional status, and the final rules to remove the conditions were not issued until April 1994. Investors may have

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been unwilling to begin a process until they knew the conditions they must meet to obtain permanent status.

• Diversity Immigration (DV-1). The Diversity Immigrant provisions contained in IMMACT aim to increase national diversity in the immigrant population by widening access to immigration to individuals from underrepresented countries who have neither family nor job ties to the United States. This permanent diversity program begins in October 1994. It will provide 55,000 visas to nationals of a country that has sent fewer than 50,000 legal immigrants to the United States over the previous five years. Each applicant must have a high school education or its equivalent, or two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience. In FY 1995, the numbers are to be apportioned as follows: 20,200 to Africa; 6,850 to Asia; 24,550 to Europe; 8 to North America; 2,600 to South America; and 800 to Oceania. No single country may receive more than 7 percent (3,850) of the numbers available worldwide.

As a transition toward the permanent program, Congress allocated 40,000 visas in each of three years (FYs 1992-1994) for persons from countries "adversely affected" by the 1965 Amendments to the INA, which removed national origins as the principal determinant of U.S. immigration policy. In FYs 1992-1993, 73,000 of a potential 80,000 diversity visas were issued. Only 67,000 immigrants have used their visas to come to the United States during those two fiscal years. Unissued visas, which result when applicants either do not go to the U.S. consulate to receive their visas or do not meet the qualifications for visa issuance, are carried over from one year to the next. Thus as many as 47,000 diversity visas can be issued in FY 94 (40,000 plus 7,000 unissued in FY 1993), though the expectation is that a certain number of applicants will not show up to receive their visas and still others will not use their visas to come to the U.S. About 42,000 diversity

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immigrants are expected to be admitted in FY 1994. Since immigrant visas are valid for four months following issuance, some of those diversity immigrants receiving their visas during the summer of FY 1994 may not come to the U.S. until FY 1995.

Immigrants outside the Statutory Cap. As Table 4 shows, some 160,000 other immigrants not subject to a numerical cap were admitted to the U.S. in FY 1993.

• Refugees. IMMACT made no changes in the refugee admissions program and the Refugee Act of 1980 continues to govern. Prior to the beginning of each fiscal year, the President, in consultation with Congress, reviews the worldwide refugee situation, determines the number of refugees in need of resettlement who are of special humanitarian concern to the U.S., and establishes the authorized number of admissions for that fiscal year. Such refugees are initially admitted under conditional status. Table 8 provides a summary of refugee admissions by geographic area for FYs 1987-1993. Pursuant to the Refugee Act of 1980, refugees are eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after one year of residence in the U.S. and are exempt from the annual worldwide limits. Table 4 provides refugee adjustment numbers for FYs 1987-1993, ranging from 76,000 in FY 1988 to about 116,000 in FYs 1991 and 1993, including those adjusted under the Cuban Adjustment Act. About 125,000 refugees are projected to adjust in FY 1994. Table 9, which breaks down refugee and asylum adjustments by region and selected countries of birth for FYs 1984-1993, shows that the largest groups have come from the former Soviet Union, Vietnam, Laos,

and Cuba.

• Asylees. The Refugee Act of 1980 established the statutory basis for granting asylum to refugees who present themselves in the U.S. or at a port of entry, rather than overseas as in the refugee

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admissions program. There are no legal limits on the number of individuals who may be granted asylum in the U.S. in a fiscal year. Asylees who have been in the U.S. for at least one year after being granted asylum are eligible to become permanent residents. Although asylee adjustments are exempt from the worldwide annual limits, the law places a ceiling on the number of asylees who may adjust to lawful permanent resident status each year. IMMACT increased the ceiling from 5,000 to 10,000, including dependents. Some 12,000 asylees and their dependents became permanent residents in FY 1993. This number included some asylees and their dependents eligible for and awaiting adjustment prior to IMMACT who were permitted to adjust under the new law without being subject to the annual limit. There is no current wait for asylees adjusting status, and some 6,000 asylees and their dependents are expected to adjust in FY 1994.

• Parolees. Special provisions have allowed for the entry of Indochinese and Soviets who were paroled into the U.S. between August 15, 1988 and September 30, 1992, after being denied refugee status. These parolees can adjust to permanent resident status one year after their admission to the U.S. About 5,000 parolees adjusted status in FY 1991, 14,000 in FY 1992, and 16,000 in FY 1993. About 12,000 parolees are expected to adjust in

FY 1994.

• Amerasians. Special provisions also have applied in recent years to the entry of Amerasians born in Vietnam between January 1, 1962 and January 1, 1976 and fathered by a U.S. citizen. Eligible Amerasians are issued permanent resident visas for entry. Some 11,000 Amerasians were admitted in FY 1993. These numbers include accompanying family members and guardians. Some 3,000 are expected to be admitted in FY 1994.

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• Other Immigrants. Immigrants can enter under a number of other categories, including categories for Cuban/Haitian entrants, registered nurses, and individuals granted suspension of deportation. (An alien otherwise deportable is eligible to adjust status under the discretionary suspension of deportation if that person has been in the U.S. for at least seven years, is of good moral character, and his deportation would result in extreme hardship.)

Characteristics of Legal Immigrants

IMMACT has not significantly changed the characteristics of the immigrants entering the United States, which is not surprising given the relatively short period IMMACT has been in effect. The categories of immigration revised or added by IMMACT accounted for less than 30 percent of the annual number of immigrants admitted in fiscal year 1992 (employment-based preferencesmaximum of 140,000; legalization dependentsmaximum of 55,000; and the transitional diversity programmaximum of 40,000). Most immigration continues to be based on family reunification; thus the new immigrant pool primarily reflects the characteristics of the recent immigrant pool and is not likely to change in the immediate future.

Data on the characteristics of legal immigrants gathered by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service are presented in the accompanying tables by period of admission. Data on legal admissions are summarized for those who arrived during the 1980s, the 2-year period immediately before IMMACT took effect (FYs 1990-1991), and the

2-year period after IMMACT took effect (FYs 1992-1993). Aliens granted permanent resident status under the provisions of IRCA

are shown in a separate column regardless of their year of entry. Their characteristics are pertinent to understanding future immigration trends, because their relatives account for a large share of the family backlog.

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• Places of Origin. Asia and North America, principally Mexico, continue to be the two largest source regions of legal immigrants, with 41.7 and 30.7 percent of the total immigrants admitted during FYs 1992-1993, respectively [Table 10]. The percentage admitted from these two regions declined slightly from 72.9 in FYs 1990-1991 to 72.4 in 1992-1993. The increases in the overall limits under IMMACT, however, have allowed for increased numbers of immigrants from all the regions of the world. North America and, especially Mexico, had the largest average annual increase between the two two-year periods (68,022 or 36% increase), while Oceania had the smallest increase (472 or 11% increase).

The countries with the largest increases in the number of immigrants admitted between 1990-1991 and 1992-1993 were primarily countries that were major sources during the 1980s: Mexico; Mainland China; Vietnam; and the Dominican Republic. Other countries had large increases, both in terms of numbers and percent: Poland; El Salvador; the United Kingdom; Ireland; and Japan.

The elimination of the per-country limit for 75 percent of the

FB-2A spouses and children of permanent residents allowed for increased immigration from countries with large backlogs, such as Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Mexican immigration also increased due to the temporary category added under IMMACT allowing for the immigration of spouses and children of legalization dependentsnearly three-quarters of all legalization dependents were born in Mexico and El Salvador.

The country with the largest increase in employment-based immigration was Mainland China, which increased from an average of 2,585 a year before IMMACT to 24,800 after IMMACT. More than one-half of the increase was due to the Chinese Student Protection Act, which allowed certain Chinese persons in

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Table 10.

Immigrant Admissions by Region and Country of Birth: Fiscal Years 1980-93

Number Percent

1980-89 1990-91 1992-93 IRCA 1980-89 1990-91 1992-93 I RCA

All countries............. 5,853,404 1,360,116 1,690,649 2,669,968 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Europe.................. 656,080 224,293 301,649 34,609 11.2 16.5 17.8 1.3

France................ 22,004 4,781 6,100 746 .4 .4 .4 .0

Germany............... 67,941 13,234 17,126 804 1.2 1.0 1.0 .0

Ireland............... 23,320 13,986 25,742 1,364 .4 1.0 1.5 .1

Italy................. 34,800 5,014 5,022 1,223 .6 .4 .3 .0

Poland................ 76,087 29,945 52,566 16,066 1.3 2.2 3.1 .6

Portugal.............. 44,223 6,446 4,588 2,524 .8 .5 .3 .1

Romania............... 36,153 12,640 12,092 188 .6 .9 .7 .0

Soviet Union.......... 68,981 82,189 102,158 461 1.2 6.0 6.0 .0

United Kingdom........ 140,482 26,537 38,469 4,779 2.4 2.0 2.3 .2

Yugoslavia............ 18,115 4,285 5,294 1,713 .3 .3 .3 .1

Other Europe.......... 123,974 25,236 32,492 4,741 2.1 1.9 1.9 .2

Asia................... 2,683,756 609,650 705,592 128,055 45.8 44.8 41.7 4.8

Afghanistan........... 23,852 5,260 5,557 1,160 .4 .4 .3 .0

Bangladesh............ 10,968 9,977 6,403 6,082 .2 .7 .4 .2

China, Mainland....... 208,180 60,445 104,287 9,376 3.6 4.4 6.2 .4

China.................. 53,454 NA NA NA .9 NA NA NA

Hong Kong............. 56,404 18,684 19,559 2,269 1.0 1.4 1.2 .1

India................. 251,123 59,844 74,650 20,771 4.3 4.4 4.4 .8

Indonesia............. 11,487 5,311 4,654 755 .2 .4 .3 .0

Iran.................. 136,202 36,050 27,508 13,150 2.3 2.7 1.6 .5

Iraq.................. 19,880 2,721 8,134 1,153 .3 .2 .5 .0

Israel................ 34,791 7,811 9,479 1,568 .6 .6 .6 .1

Japan................. 41,336 9,613 17,858 1,651 .7 .7 1.1 .1

Jordan................ 31,448 7,966 8,702 952 .5 .6 .5 .0

Korea................. 336,887 51,176 36,932 10,100 5.8 3.8 2.2 .4

Laos.................. 149,181 20,304 15,974 156 2.5 1.5 .9 .0

Lebanon............... 39,635 10,222 10,755 2,470 .7 .8 .6 .1

Pakistan.............. 54,156 16,054 17,814 17,101 .9 1.2 1.1 .6

Philippines........... 466,546 110,283 122,368 26,465 8.0 8.1 7.2 1.0

Syria................. 19,025 5,190 5,600 1,125 .3 .4 .3 .0

Taiwan................ 101,450 26,387 30,541 3,674 1.7 1.9 1.8 .1

Thailand.............. 57,861 13,892 13,540 4,400 1.0 1.0 .8 .2

Turkey................ 20,414 4,149 4,612 1,121 .3 .3 .3 .0

Vietnam............... 395,943 103,940 137,341 334 6.8 7.6 8.1 .0

Other Asia............ 163,533 24,371 23,324 2,222 2.8 1.8 1.4 .1


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Table 10. continued

Africa................... 163,584 42,042 52,230 39,385 2.8 3.1 3.1 1.5

Egypt................. 29,551 6,919 6,932 3,591 .5 .5 .4 .1

Ethiopia.............. 23,028 7,327 9,651 3,190 .4 .5 .6 .1

Nigeria............... 26,066 5,514 8,210 14,382 .4 .4 .5 .5

South Africa.......... 15,525 3,494 4,675 571 .3 .3 .3 .0

Other Africa.......... 69,414 18,788 22,762 17,651 1.2 1.4 1.3 .7

Oceania.................. 38,980 8,347 9,291 5,315 .7 .6 .5 .2

Australia............. 13,522 3,199 4,530 319 .2 .2 .3 .0

Other Oceania......... 25,458 5,148 4,761 4,996 .4 .4 .3 .2

North America............. 1,915,181 382,318 518,361 2,370,271 32.7 28.1 30.7 88.8

Canada................ 114,468 25,917 32,039 6,254 2.0 1.9 1.9 .2

Mexico................ 692,135 109,415 200,359 1,994,551 11.8 8.0 11.9 74.7

Caribbean............. 841,064 168,172 182,383 111,370 14.4 12.4 10.8 4.2

Cuba................ 163,583 20,667 25,404 463 2.8 1.5 1.5 .0

Dominican Rep.................. 225,752 62,241 85,726 24,123 3.9 4.6 5.1 .9

Haiti............... 122,421 24,198 12,007 56,700 2.1 1.8 .7 2.1

Jamaica............. 205,230 36,853 33,789 16,887 3.5 2.7 2.0 .6

Trinidad & Tobago... 37,510 11,398 13,111 4,660 .6 .8 .8 .2

Other Caribbean..... 86,568 12,815 12,346 8,537 1.5 .9 .7 .3

Central America........ 266,389 78,638 103,451 258,056 4.6 5.8 6.1 9.7

El Salvador......... 96,209 25,434 46,627 152,765 1.6 1.9 2.8 5.7

Guatemala........... 45,993 11,361 18,709 63,545 .8 .8 1.1 2.4

Honduras............ 37,535 10,911 12,834 16,077 .6 .8 .8 .6

Nicaragua........... 29,938 19,658 15,419 15,338 .5 1.4 .9 .6

Panama.............. 28,852 6,352 5,386 1,755 .5 .5 .3 .1

Other C. America 27,862 4,922 4,476 8,576 .5 .4 .3 .3

Other N. America... 1,125 176 129 40 .0 .0 .0 .0

South America............. 395,702 93,464 103,524 92,167 6.8 6.9 6.1 3.5

Argentina............. 22,003 5,399 6,449 5,271 .4 .4 .4 .2

Brazil................ 20,882 6,670 8,384 6,898 .4 .5 .5 .3

Colombia.............. 106,900 19,507 24,356 30,684 1.8 1.4 1.4 1.1

Ecuador............... 47,172 10,827 13,965 14,763 .8 .8 .8 .6

Guyana................ 91,581 20,368 17,084 3,836 1.6 1.5 1.0 .1

Peru.................. 50,260 17,815 19,160 17,719 .9 1.3 1.1 .7

Venezuela............. 15,589 4,178 4,928 1,983 .3 .3 .3 .1

Other S. America......... 41,315 8,700 9,198 11,013 .7 .6 .5 .4

Born on board ship...... 13 0 2 0 .0 .0 .0 .0

Unknown or

not reported. 108 2 0 117 .0 .0 .0 .0

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the United States to adjust status under the EB-3 category. Other countries with a large average annual increase in employment-based immigration after IMMACT were: India; the Philippines; Canada; the United Kingdom; and Taiwan. Immigrants from El Salvador, who previously had been the largest group entering under the old 6th preference, declined an average of 800 over the two two-year periods, a decline largely due to the reduction in the number of visas available for unskilled workers.

Of the 120,000 transitional diversity visas issued in FYs 1992-1994, 40 percent were legislated to go to natives of Ireland. During the first two years of the program, Ireland accounted for 33.1 percent of the arrivals, second to Poland with 35.9 percent. The number of Irish immigrants entering the United States did not reach 40 percent because of a lack of demand. The transitional diversity program was largely responsible for the significant increases in immigration from these two countries. Other countries accounting for a large number of diversity immigrants during FYs 1992-1993 were the United Kingdom and Japan.

• Age and Gender. The median age of immigrants admitted in FY 1992 and FY 1993 was twenty-eight years, no different than immigrants admitted in FYs 1990-1991, and only a slight increase (from twenty-seven) for immigrants admitted during FYs 1982-1989. Even though the median ages did not change significantly between the two-year periods beginning in 1990 and 1992, Chart 3 indicates a long-term trend towards a more even distribution of immigrants by age. Although the largest number of entering immigrants are typically in their twenties, recently the percentage of immigrants who enter in their twenties has declined and the percentage of immigrants who enter in their forties and fifties has increased. It is difficult to draw any conclusions from these data on the impact of IMMACT, as the change appears to predate IMMACT. IRCA immigrants were much older than other

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immigrants at their time of adjustment; however, many had been in the United States for more than ten years and, thus, were younger at the time of their entry.

Nearly 54 percent of the immigrants admitted in FYs 1992 and 1993 were female [Chart 4]. By contrast, during the 1980s, men and women were equally represented. The trend toward more women admitted as legal immigrants began prior to IMMACT. It is likely to be reinforced, however, by the entry of the family members of aliens legalized under IRCA. Very high proportions of young adult legalized aliens were men, many of whom have already petitioned for their wives and children.

• Intended Residence. Immigration follows much the same pattern as in the 1980s regarding intended residence [Table 11]. Approximately 70 percent of the immigrants intend to live in the six states of California (28.7 percent), New York (17.2), Texas (7.1), Florida (6.5), New Jersey (5.7), and Illinois (4.7). Many immigrants settle in large urban areas; more than 25 percent intend to live either in New York City or Los Angeles. Other metropolitan areas with significant immigrant arrivals are Chicago, Miami, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.

The patterns of residence of the IRCA immigrants is different than other legal immigrants. Although the top six states are the same for IRCA immigrants as for other immigrants, IRCA immigrants are more concentrated. More than 85 percent of IRCA immigrants live in the top six states and more than 50 percent live in California. The family members of the legalized aliens who immigrate in the future should further increase the proportion of legal immigrants residing in California and Texas.

• Occupation. The increase in the employment-based preference limit from approximately 54,000 in 1991 to 140,000 in 1992 could

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have the most impact on the occupational characteristics of new immigrants. Beyond increasing overall admissions, IMMACT reduced the number of unskilled immigrants and their family members from 27,000 to 10,000, while raising the number of highly skilled immigrants allowed to enter from 27,000 to approximately 110,000.

The reported occupations of immigrants of working age changed slightly after IMMACT. (All but about 6 percent of adult immigrants report an occupation or report that they are homemakers, students, unemployed, or retired. What is reported may be either their last job in their home country or, if entering under the employment-based preferences or adjusting in the U.S., the job they are or will be performing in the United States.) The percentage of all adult immigrants who reported they were professionals or executives increased from 15.0 percent in the two-year period before IMMACT to 17.0 percent after IMMACT [Table 12]. Every other occupation group declined, except for operators, fabricators, and laborers, which increased from 9.2 to 9.7 percent. The shift in occupational characteristics is consistent for both males and females.

Nonimmigrant Admissions

Nonimmigrants are aliens who are admitted to the United States for a specified, temporary time period to fulfill a stated purpose. They may enter as business or tourist visitors, students, or temporary workers. Overall nonimmigrant admissions have more than doubled since 1984, with tourists accounting for almost all of the increase. The increase has been steady over the last ten years. In FY 1993, overall nonimmigrant admissions totalled 21.4 million, which includes 16.9 million tourists (compared to some 6.6 million tourists in FY 1984) and almost 3 million business visitors.

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Table 12.

Immigrants Aged 16-64:

Admissions by Occupation and Gender FYs 1990-1993

Total Male Female

(Number) 1990-91 1992-93 1990-91 1992-93 1990-91 1992-93

Total 991,887 1,233,199 465,025 556,070 526,600 676,957

White-collar workers 222,107 281,415 122,127 155,535 99,920 125,823

Professional 106,263 150,161 59,369 84,293 46,855 65,832

Executive 42,811 58,633 31,124 43,235 11,678 15,386

Sales 25,395 27,049 14,289 13,880 11,103 13,164

Clerical 47,638 45,572 17,345 14,127 30,284 31,441

Blue-collar workers 142,037 171,387 107,599 123,645 34,426 47,732

Skilled Craft 50,371 51,639 38,020 39,231 12,346 12,406

Operater, fabricator, laborer 91,666 119,748 69,579 84,414 22,080 35,326

Farming, forestry, fishing 25,609 26,713 17,498 17,575 8,111 9,137

Service 91,444 101,097 47,629 49,025 43,785 52,060

No occupation 451,379 575,211 141,845 172,981 309,401 402,151

Homemaker 163,115 212,807 1,550 1,179 161,546 211,617

Student 150,589 180,567 79,619 92,921 70,933 87,628

Unemployed or retired 137,675 181,837 60,676 78,881 76,922 102,906

Not reported 59,311 77,376 28,327 37,309 30,957 40,054

(Percent)

Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

White-collar workers 22.4 22.8 26.3 28.0 19.0 18.6

Professional 10.7 12.2 12.8 15.2 8.9 9.7

Executive 4.3 4.8 6.7 7.8 2.2 2.3

Sales 2.6 2.2 3.1 2.5 2.1 1.9

Clerical 4.8 3.7 3.7 2.5 5.8 4.6

Blue-collar workers 14.3 13.9 23.1 22.2 6.5 7.1

Skilled Craft 5.1 4.2 8.2 7.1 2.3 1.8

Operater, fabricator, laborer 9.2 9.7 15.0 15.2 4.2 5.2

Farming, forestry, fishing 2.6 2.2 3.8 3.2 1.5 1.3

Service 9.2 8.2 10.2 8.8 8.3 7.7

No occupation 45.5 46.6 30.5 31.1 58.8 59.4

Homemaker 16.4 17.3 0.3 0.2 30.7 31.3

Student 15.2 14.6 17.1 16.7 13.5 12.9

Unemployed or retired 13.9 14.7 13.0 14.2 14.6 15.2

Not reported 6.0 6.3 6.1 6.7 5.9 5.9


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Nonimmigrants are encouraged to visit the U.S., as their dollars contribute directly to the American economy. Most nonimmigrants are required to obtain a visa issued by an American embassy or consulate to enter the U.S., but many qualify for a visa waiver. To get the visa, aliens must qualify in one of the legally defined non-

immigrant classifications and not fall in one of the categories of excludable aliens.

IMMACT made a number of changes in nonimmigrant categories aimed to create a better balance between meeting the needs of U.S. workers and U.S. employers. These changes include greater specification of the categories under which nonimmigrant workers can enter and limits on the numbers of temporary workers in specialty occupations (H-1B) and temporary nonagricultural workers (H-2B).

• Temporary Worker (H) Visas. Many of the nonimmigrant admission provisions established under IMMACT apply to temporary workers. IMMACT elaborated the classification scheme for temporary workers and, in particular, made a number of substantial changes to the H-1B visa (one of the more widely used categories), which originally applied to "prominent" aliens or "aliens of distinguished ability." The classification is now defined to cover aliens who are members of "specialty occupations" rather than members of "professions." A specialty occupation requires specialized knowledge and at least a bachelor's degree or equivalent experience. The only "prominent" alien considered within the H-1B category is the fashion model of distinguished merit and ability, pursuant to the 1991 Miscellaneous and Technical Immigration and Naturalization Amendments [MTINA].

Further, IMMACT limited the annual number of temporary specialty worker (H-1B) visas to 65,000 and temporary nonagricultural worker (H-2B) visas to 66,000. The Commission

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requested precise data from INS on these nonimmigrant categories. However, reliable data for nonimmigrant admissions in FYs 1993 and 1994, including the restricted categories, are not yet available. The Commission is very concerned that such fundamental and accurate information has not yet been produced. We are particularly concerned because of speculation, apparently not based on accurate data, that H-1B approvals came very close to the annual cap in FY 1993.

• New Categories. In addition to the changes made within the

H-1B category, IMMACT created four new nonimmigrant worker categories: O - "those with extraordinary ability" in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; P - athletes, artists, or entertainers; Q - cultural exchange program participants; and R - religious occupations. The total visa issuances in these four categories was about 23,000 in FY 1993. The O visa application requires an advisory opinion from a relevant peer group, labor group, and/or management organization regarding the alien's eligibility, the nature of the work, and the need for any accompanying alien staff. An advisory opinion from a labor union is required for the P visa, unless a relevant union does not exist.

• Intracompany Transferees. IMMACT also somewhat liberalized the L Intracompany Transferee Visa provisions. The act changed the intracompany transferee visa in a number of ways. L-1 managers were expanded beyond those who primarily manage personnel to include those who manage functions. The executive category was expanded to include those executives who primarily manage functions necessary to produce the product or provide the service offered by the company. IMMACT defined "specialized knowledge" transferees without making proprietary knowledge a requirement. The maximum stay on the L-1 for managers and executives was increased from five to seven years. Finally, the prior experience requirement was lib

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eralized so that the transferee must have been employed with the company for one of the last three years rather than the year immediately preceding admission.

• Visa Waiver Pilot Program. Recognizing the benefits of promoting the flow of foreign visitors, Congress included in IRCA a pilot visa waiver program for visitors from certain countries with low visa refusal rates as well as low overstay rates. Individuals from the twenty-two participating countries are not required to have a visa when traveling to the U.S. for up to ninety days. Similarly, about 100 countries do not require visas for short visits from American visitors. Most of the countries that have fulfilled the requirements to participate in the program are European, as Table 13 shows. More than 8.6 million tourists and 600,000 business visitors in FY 1993 entered through the visa waiver program. IMMACT extended the program until September 30, 1994. As of the printing of this report, Congress was considering legislation to extend the program.

• Student Work Program. A three-year off-campus work authorization program for student visa holders was created by

IMMACT. A preliminary program evaluation done by Casals and Associates for the Department of Labor indicated that there was little utilization by employers of this temporary program. The legislation required INS and DOL to report to Congress by April 1, 1994, on whether to extend the program and on the impact of the program on prevailing wages. On August 10, 1994, the Secretary of Labor and the INS Commissioner submitted a report calling for the elimination of the program for the following reasons: (1) the program's design is inconsistent with the statutory intent of the F-1 nonimmigrant visa; (2) the program's mechanisms run counter to the Clinton Administration's commitment to an affirmative policy of U.S. labor force development; and (3) existing research raises a con

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Table 13.

Countries Participating

in the Visa Waiver PIlot Program

for FY 1994

Andorra

Austria

Belgium

Brunei

Denmark

Finland

France

Germany

Iceland

Italy

Japan

Liechtenstein

Luxembourg

Monaco

The Netherlands

New Zealand

Source: U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service

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cern that the program may have adverse consequences for some U.S. workers.

Exclusion and Deportation Grounds

IMMACT also provided a comprehensive revision of all of the existing grounds for exclusion and deportation, including repeal of outmoded grounds, expansion of waivers for certain grounds, revision of security and foreign policy grounds, and consolidation of related grounds.

Two principal changes involved public health and foreign policy. Specifically, the legislation changed the definition of public health grounds from "dangerous contagious diseases" to "communicable diseases of public health significance." It gave the Secretary of Health and Human Services [HHS] the authority to determine which diseases were of "public health significance." Efforts by HHS to remove AIDS from the list of communicable diseases resulted in

legislation that explicitly keeps it on the list. IMMACT also deleted the exclusion grounds regarding mental retardation, insanity, psychopathic personality, sexual deviation, and mental defect, and replaced them with one based on a physical or mental disorder and behavior that may pose a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the individual or others.

With respect to foreign policy grounds, IMMACT built upon changes introduced by the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, FYs 1988 and 1989. An alien is now excluded only if there are reasonable grounds to believe that his or her entry would pose serious adverse foreign policy consequences, not because of any of the alien's prior or current political views or associations as long as these are lawful in the United States. The legislation also reformed the grounds based on membership in a communist or any other totalitarian party to reflect post-Cold War developments. Such membership is no longer a ground for exclusion of nonimmigrants, but remains a ground of

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exclusion for immigrants. IMMACT retains the exemption for involuntary membership and eases the process for those who

renounced membership.

IMMACT also made some changes regarding deportation procedures. The Commission will be issuing a special report on exclusion and deportation in FY 1995 that will discuss these changes and the deportation system as a whole.

Naturalization

Naturalizationthe process by which a legal permanent resident becomes a citizensignifies the will of an immigrant to enter into the U.S. political community as a full-fledged member. The increase in demand for naturalization and court backlogs have led to legislative interest and reform. IMMACT and MTINA made significant changes to the naturalization process.

A vast number of immigrants are or will soon become potential U.S. citizens. Approximately 4 million legal permanent residents who have not yet taken this step are eligible for U.S. citizenship. Under the amnesty provisions of IRCA, 2.7 million immigrants who gained legal status are just now becoming eligible for citizenship.

IMMACT created an administrative naturalization scheme to

address court case backlogs, which had developed in certain jurisdictions. Effective October 1991, exclusive jurisdiction for alien naturalization was transferred from its traditional locus in the Judicial Branch to the Executive branch, subject to judicial review. Previously, the INS role in naturalization was limited to recommending to the judiciary the approval or denial of naturalization for a particular alien. Under IMMACT, the INS is empowered to administratively naturalize such eligible aliens itselfboth to adjudicate applications and conduct naturalization ceremonies. IMMACT specifically di

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rected INS to conduct naturalization ceremonies at regular intervals (at least once a month).

This transfer was partially reversed, however, when MTINA provided that a federal or state court may declare exclusive jurisdiction to administer the oath of allegiance in a judicial ceremony. The courts are required to conduct naturalization ceremonies within forty-five days after INS notification to the court that a person is approved for naturalization. If the courts cannot accommodate such a requirement, the applicant is given the choice of either completing the naturalization process in an administrative ceremony or waiting for the next available date for a judicial ceremony. Court receipt of reimbursements for the costs of the naturalization process from INS is one incentive for them to maintain jurisdiction. Currently 80 percent of naturalization ceremonies are handled by the courts.

Presently, the INS statistical systems cannot provide data to reflect implementation of the new procedures. Preliminary data indicates that the numbers of naturalization cases pending in the courts are diminishing and the numbers pending at INS are substantial. In some INS offices at present, applicants must wait almost one year to be interviewed on their application, with another lengthy period before the successful applicant can actually take the oath.

INS has announced a new initiative to encourage naturalization through increased outreach, streamlining of the application process, increased use of standardized English and civics tests, and other improvements. To carry out these functions, however, INS will

require additional resources. The Commission will be monitoring this initiative.

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Looking to the Future

Congress established the Commission on Immigration Reform to examine the effects of immigration on American life. Congress passed IMMACT at a time when arguments were being made about a looming labor shortage and especially a current and growing demand for highly skilled labor, when the fifteen nations of the former Soviet Union were one, and NAFTA did not exist. In making its recommendations, the Commission must take into account both the evolving context and changes brought about by IMMACT. In particular, the Commission is mandated to study and make recommendations regarding the impact of immigration on family reunification; labor needs, employment, and other economic conditions; social relations; demographics and natural resources; and foreign policy and national security.

Family Reunification. U.S. immigration policy is based mainly on family reunification. The Commission's mandate includes an explicit requirement to assess the impact that the establishment of a national level of immigration has upon the availability and priority of family preference visas, including examination of: the role of family reunification in the integration of new immigrants into U.S. society; the effects of IMMACT on the numbers of individuals admitted for family reunification; the effects of

IMMACT on the waiting period for family-sponsored preferences; the effects of different family reunification policies on future demand for visas; the extent to which extended waiting periods for the admission of spouses and children contribute to unlawful immigration; the priority to be given to the admission of individuals of different family ties (that is, spouses, minor children, adult children, siblings); and other issues.

The Commission will pay particularly close attention to how the naturalization of immigrants who legalized under IRCA affects

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family admissions and backlogs, particularly in the FB-2A and FB-4 categories. Significant rates of naturalization would make those spouses and minor children now waiting in the 2A category immediate relatives and thus reduce the 2A backlog considerably while increasing the FB-1 and FB-3 backlogs for adult children of U.S. citizens. Naturalized citizens would also be eligible to petition for their parents and siblings. It is too soon to judge the effects of naturalization patterns on future admissions, but evidence from a large household survey of individuals who legalized under Section 245A of the INA (those who were resident here since prior to January 1, 1982) provide some indications of trends to monitor. About 75 percent of those who legalized their status under IRCA indicated that they would "definitely" or "probably" naturalize. They also reported the number of their relatives who, they believed, would immigrate to the United States. Extrapolating from this combined data, as many as 180,000 parents and 1 million siblings might apply to immigrate upon the naturalization of their relatives in the United States.21 While the eligible parents of U.S. citizens would be admitted without limit, eligible siblings would be added to the 1.6 million currently on the FB-4 waiting list.

• Impact on labor needs, employment and other economic conditions in the United States. Both the long and short-term effects of immigration on the labor market need to be understood in formulating sound policy. The evolving international context of the U.S. economy must be a part of this analysis along with the U.S. economic restructuring that has led to more U.S. workers finding different kinds and amounts of employment in

serviceas opposed to manufacturingindustries. In examining the impact of immigration on wages and jobs, it will be


21Karen Woodrow-Lafield, "Potential Sponsorship by IRCA-Legalized Immigrants," unpublished report prepared for the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, Summer 1994.

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necessary to look at both aggregate data and specific labor markets over time. It will also be important to examine the nature and degree of self-employment, as well as the economic effects of immigrant entrepreneurs and consumers. In assessing the fiscal effects of immigration, the Commission will look at costs and revenues at the federal, state, and local levels and examine the implications of proposed changes in the U.S. health care and welfare systems.

More specifically, the Commission will examine: the characteristics of immigrants and nonimmigrants (hereinafter "migrants") entering the U.S. under different categories as they relate to U.S. labor market considerationseducation, skill level, occupation, employment experience, etc.; having entered, their labor force participation rate, employment, wages/income and job mobility experience by different categories of immigration; the impact of migrants in different categories on the labor force participation rate, employment and earnings of domestic workers (by race, ethnicity, citizenship); the impact of migrants in different categories on the working conditions and benefits of domestic workers; the type and impact of entrepreneurial activities in which migrants engage; the effects of migrants on specific industries; the extent to which migrants admitted under different employment-based provisions continue to work in the jobs for which they were admitted or in jobs in similar occupations or industries; and the impact of the investor category on the generation of jobs for U.S. workers.

• Social and Community Relations. Immigrants have historically brought to the United States different cultural, religious, and political backgrounds. Over the last few decades, our new immigrant population has shifted from predominantly European to largely Asian and Latin American. Unlike earlier periods of immigration, admissions are not dominated by a small number

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of countries. At the turn of the century, the top five source countries accounted for 75 percent of new legal arrivals. During the 1990s, the top fifteen countries account for fewer than 70 percent. These top sending countries include such diverse nations (in terms of economic status, political systems, religious backgrounds, and racial makeup) as Mexico, China, Philippines, Vietnam, the former Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom. The Commission will examine the effects of our immigrant population on social and community relations, as well as the effects of American life on immigrants. The Commission will also compare the absorption of new arrivals in high and low periods of immigration to periods of steady immigrant flow. Further the Commission will look at the civic integration of immigrants, including participation in local, state, and national political affairs, development of political constituencies, and other manifestations of civic involvement.

• Demographics. In connection with Congress' instruction that the Commission report on the effects of immigration on demographics, the Commission will look at population data and analyses examining the effects of immigration on overall demographic trends and on the ethnic, racial, and age composition of the U.S. population. The Commission will seek estimates of future demographics incorporating data on the numbers of immigrants, countries of origin, age and gender distribution, fertility patterns in country of origin, etc.

• Environment. The Commission's legislative mandate provides for examination of the interconnections between immigration and the environment. The Commission will look into environmental problems as a possible cause of migration. Further the Commission will examine the new positive and negative environmental impacts of migration on the U.S., carefully differentiating between the impacts related to increased population and those more

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directly attributable to immigration. For example, an increase in population due to internal migration might cause different impacts than an increase due to immigration. The analysis will look at impacts in the aggregate as well as in specific communities with concentrations of immigrants. It will also compare natural resource utilization patterns of different groups of immigrants to native-born U.S. residents and to residents in their home countries.

• Foreign Policy and National Security. Immigration intersects with foreign policy and national security issues in a number of ways. The Commission will examine: migration trends from countries in which the U.S. has a foreign policy interest; the relationships in both directions between U.S. immigration policy and U.S. foreign economic (trade, aid, investment) policies,

including impacts upon trade relationships; the impacts of migration upon U.S. foreign policy, including the role played by immigrants and refugees in influencing U.S. policy with regard to the countries of their birth or ethnicity; the impact of changes in U.S. immigration policy on countries of origin or third countries, with resulting implications for U.S. relationships with those countries; the impacts of U.S. foreign policy on international migration and refugee flows; the effects of U.S. refugee policies on U.S. foreign policy objectives; the appropriateness of various foreign policy initiatives to prevent or deter mass migration; transnational issues of international migration and refugee movements, including regional safe haven arrangements; and security aspects of migration. The Commission will pay attention to foreign relations and to the impact of highly skilled labor migration to the United States on the countries of origin.

There is a strong connection between foreign policy and refugee policy. Despite hopes that the end of the Cold War would see fewer refugee crises, the opposite has occurred. There are now

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nearly 19 million refugees and at least another 25 million internally displaced people who have fled from violence and persecution but have not crossed an international border. The U.S. plays an important role in refugee affairs as the principal donor to international refugee programs and a major receiver of refugees for resettlement. The Refugee Act of 1980 adopted the international definition of refugees, rejecting the earlier U.S. definition that specified that refugees were individuals fleeing Communist countries. Yet, refugees from (former) communist countries continue to account for the vast majority of those admitted to the U.S. as refugees. The Commission will address questions about: what role refugee resettlement should play in the post-Cold War era, what factors should replace Cold War criteria in deciding who should be given priority for resettlement, and what size program makes sense in light of these changing standards and of the continued numbers of refugees in need of the assistance and protection that the U.S. has traditionally provided.

Plans for FY 1995-FY 1997

The Commission will launch a new research program to gauge the effects of IMMACT upon the size and characteristics of the incoming immigrant population and to evaluate the impacts that legal immigration poses for family reunification, the U.S. economy, social relations, demographics, the environment, foreign policy and national security.

The Commission will also develop further recommendations to address two issues touched on in this reportremoval of deportable aliens and handling of immigration emergencies.

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The Commission plans to continue its schedule of public hearings, roundtable consultations, and fact-finding missions.

The Commission's assessments will be discussed and recommendations offered in future reports.

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