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U.S. Immigration Priorities in a Global Context

By Matt Graham

Sunday, June 16, 2013

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In June 2013, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released the International Migration Outlook 2013, which contains standardized statistics on permanent legal immigrants for 23 OECD countries and the Russian Federation. These statistics enable comparisons of how different countries prioritized different immigration categories in 2011. Among the 24 nations, the United States ranked first in total permanent immigration, but ranked 19th in permanent immigration as a share of its total population (0.34 percent).

In 2011, the United States was a world leader in immigration for family and humanitarian reasons, but fell near the bottom in employment-based categories. As a percentage of total immigrants, the United States was first among the 24 nations in the world in family-based immigration (64.8 percent), second in humanitarian immigrants (15.9 percent), and 19th in employment-based immigration (6.1 percent). Relative to its total population, the United States was eighth in family immigration (0.22 percent), ninth in humanitarian immigration (0.05 percent), and 20th in employment-based immigration (0.02 percent).

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