District of Columbia — In newly released statistics from United States Customs and Immigration Services, data shows a spike in legal immigration for FY2018, particularly among asylum seekers, credible fear admissions, and naturalized citizens. The new statistics come at a time when President Donald Trump and his administration are looking to crack down on immigration and refugee admissions.
In 2018, USCIS naturalized 756,800 citizens, up from 707,300 in 2017. Asylum admissions spiked to 81,900 in 2018 compared to only 50,800 in 2017, and credible fear admissions jumped 17,700 from 2017 to 97,700 last year. However, Trump administration’s policies targeting refugee admissions have proven to be effective, as refugee interviews plummeted from 49,300 to 26,400. Sponsorship visas also rose from 561,900 to 578,200, with the majority of those being sponsorships through family ties.
The Trump Administration has taken steps to crack down on asylum and migrant admissions in recent weeks, making a rule barring asylum seekers from seeking asylum if they pass through another country prior to their arrival, another rule that gave authority to law enforcement at the border to remove immigrants without them appearing before an immigration judge, and signing an agreement with Guatemala designating them as a safe third country among other measures. The policies have been criticized as inhumane and hateful by critics, and the court system has blocked several of the Administration’s measures.