Projected Immigration Under S. 448 and Recent Trends in Legal Immigration

PEMD-89-12: Published: Apr 4, 1989. Publicly Released: Apr 4, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided: (1) a projection of legal immigration between 1990 and 1999 under S. 448 and S. 358; and (2) historical data on legal immigration from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, the Philippines, and Sweden.

GAO found that: (1) family preference immigration during the 10-year period would total about 3,240,000 under S. 448, 2,160,000 under current law, and 1,213,133 under S. 358; (2) if the family connection level increased 5 percent annually beginning in 1994, family preference immigration under S. 358 would total about 1,635,071; (3) occupational preference immigration during the period would be higher under S. 448 than under S. 358; (4) estimates for all immigration would total about 8,022,616 under S. 448, 6,203,622 under S. 358, and 6,078,616 under current law; (5) immigration under S. 448 would climb substantially if it included aliens given work rights and protection from deportation; and (6) both bills reversed the pattern under current law, in which there was more family preference immigration from the eight highest-demand countries than the remaining countries. GAO also found that: (1) historical immigration data for 1949 to 1964 reflected a quota system different from the current one of admitting up to 20,000 worldwide immigrants annually; (2) immigration for independent Western Hemisphere countries was not subject to any numerical limitations until 1968; (3) immigration from the Dominican Republic was restricted until 1961 due to its political regime; (4) U.S. laws limited immigration from the Philippines and other Asian countries until 1965; (5) military unrest in El Salvador has increased legal immigration from about 2,000 annually to more than 10,000 annually in the past 4 years; and (6) immigration from Sweden has remained less than 2,500 annually since 1949.

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