More than nine million foreign relatives of immigrants have entered the United States in the last ten years, explosive data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reveals.
Previously unreleased DHS information on the number of foreign relatives who enter the U.S. simply because their family member is an immigrant sheds light on the massive scale of this process that is known as “chain migration.”
According to the data, about 9.3 million foreign nationals have come to the U.S. as chain migrants between 2005 and 2016. In that same time period, a total of 13.06 million foreign nationals have entered the U.S. through the legal immigration system, as every seven out of ten new arrivals come to the country for nothing other than family reunification.
This makes chain migration the largest driver of immigration to the U.S. — making up more than 70 percent — with every two new immigrants bringing seven foreign relatives with them.
Currently, only one in 15 foreign nationals admitted to the U.S. come to the country based on skills and employment purposes. Though roughly 150,000 employment-based Green Cards are allotted every year, half of those Green Cards actually go to the foreign relatives of employees.
The DHS data is the first time the agency has ever released chain migration statistics broken down into the country of origin from which foreign nationals arrive to the U.S.
In the last decade, 1.7 million chain migrants have entered the country from Mexico, with the average Mexican immigrant bringing roughly six foreign relatives with them to the U.S. Mexico sends more chain migrants to the U.S. than any other country.
Over the past ten years, these countries have sent the following number of chain migrants to the U.S.:
- 600,000 from India
- 600,000 from the Phillippines
- 500,000 from China
- 177,000 from Pakistan
- 80,252 from Iran