DHS: Legal Immigrants from Asia Outnumbered Latin Americans in FY2012

April 2, 2013 - 10:47 AM

Map of Asia

(Central Intelligence Agency map)

(CNSNews.com) - Legal immigrants to the United States from Asia outnumbered legal immigrants from any other region of the world in fiscal 2012, according to new data from the Department of Homeland Security.

That makes 2012 the second year in a row when Asia has been the number one source of legal immigrants to the Untied States, with Asian immigrants outnumbering immigrants from Europe, from Africa, and from the entire continents of North and South America combined.

429,599 people from Asian nations were granted permanent legal resident status in the United States in fiscal 2012, according to DHS. By contrast, a combined 407,172 people from nations in North America (327,771) and South America (79,401) were granted permanent legal resident status. 107,241 new legal permanent residents in fiscal 2012 came from African nations, 81,671 from European nations, and 4,742 from Oceania.

In fiscal 2011, 451,593 people from Asian nations were granted permanent legal resident status in the United States, compared to a combined 419,998 people from North America (333,902) and South America (86,096). In fiscal 2011, 100,374 Africans, 83,850 Europeans, and 4,980 people from Oceania were given permanent legal resident status.

In fiscal 2010, legal immigration from the Americas was slightly greater than legal immigration from Asia. In that year, a combined 423,721 people from North America (336,553) and South America (87,178) were given permanent legal resident status in the United States, while 422,063 from Asia were given permanent legal resident status.

In years prior to 2010, legal immigration from other American nations outpaced legal immigration from Asia be larger margins. In 2009, for example, 478,040 people from North America (375,180) and South America (102,860) were granted legal permanent resident status, while 413,312 from Asia were granted that status. In 2008, 491,745 people from North America (393,196) and South America (98,549) were given permanent legal resident status, while 399,027 from Asia were given that status.

Although more Asians than North Americans received permanent legal resident status in the United States in fiscal 2012, Mexico with 146,406 people winning permanent legal resident status was the single nation sending the largest number of legal immigrants to the United States during the fiscal year. China was second with 81,784, India was third with 66,434, and the Philippines were fourth with 57,327.

Overall, legal immigration has declined slightly during the Obama presidency. In fiscal 2009, which started in October 2008, the United States granted 1,130,818 people permanent legal resident status, according to DHS. In fiscal 2010, it was 1,042,625; in fiscal 2011, it was 1,062,040; and in fiscal 2012, it was 1,031,631.

The majority of legal immigrants to the United States in fiscal 2012 were relatives of people already here, according to DHS. “Nearly 66 percent of the new LPRs were granted permanent resident status based on a family relationship with a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States,” said a DHS report on the fiscal 2012 immigration data.

“U.S. law gives priority for LPR status to foreign nationals who have a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen or LPR, needed for job skills, refugee or asylee status, or who come from countries with relatively low levels of immigration to the United States,” said the report.

“Family-sponsored preferences,” says the report, “consist of four catogories: unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their children; spouses, children and unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and their children; married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and children; and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens aged 21 and older and their spouses and children.”

Other nations in the Americas first became the leading source of legal immigrants to the United States in the decade of the 1960s (1960-69) and remained the leading source in every full decade since then, according to DHS. For historical data compiled by DHS on the national origin of legal immigrants to the United States dating back to the 1820s click here.

Here are the 25 nations that provided the largest number of legal immigrants to the United States in fiscal 2012:

Nation............................Legal Immigrants

1. Mexico.........................146,406

2. China............................81,784

3. India..............................66,434

4. Philippines...................57,327

5. Dominican Republic....41,566

6. Cuba.............................32,820

7. Vietnam........................28,304

8. Haiti...............................22,818

9. Colombia......................20,931

10. South Korea................20,846

11. Jamaica.......................20,705

12. Iraq...............................20,369

13. Burma..........................17,383

14. El Salvador..................16,256

15. Pakistan.......................14,740

16. Bangladesh..................14,705

17. Ethiopia........................14,544

18. Nigeria..........................13,575

19. Canada.........................12,932

20. Iran.................................12,916

21. Peru................................12,609

22. United Kingdom............12,014

23. Brazil..............................11,441

24. Nepal..............................11,312

25. Ghana.............................10,592