Most new immigrants are simply relatives of earlier immigrants.
Many others are admitted because they, under our employer-tilted laws, are considered "needed workers" or are their relatives.
A growing number of migrants, however, fit into neither category; they manage to secure legal status in the United States because they fall into one of the many classes of victims that a generous Uncle Sam says qualifies them to be acceptable migrants to the United States.
These admissions have nothing, or nearly nothing, to do with the needs of this nation; they are sheer examples of, to use the Brit term, "grace and favor". We are admitting them to our shores because we, as a nation, feel sorry for them and want to help them.
Various lobbies are constantly at work seeking to create new categories or to expand old ones; further, this administration is busily promoting the use of these channels. For example, in an April 16 webinar (hate that term) to spread the word on the T and U victim visas.
Clearly, however, there is a need for a refugee policy — something we lacked to our shame in the 1930s and 1940s when we turned away some of Hitler's future victims due to our ethnocentric policies of the time.
Further, I think we should always be in a position to give refuge to our more prominent defeated allies in our failed international adventures, such as in Vietnam.
But the concept of creating ever more complex sets of definitions of admissions-through-victimhood is getting out of hand. (I pointed out in an earlier blog how much time and executive energy USCIS spent working out the exact definitions of one such obscure class, abused parents or step-parents of citizens, as would-be immigrants. Despite all these efforts, the agency actually admitted only one or two people in this category in fiscal year 2010.)
Today's challenge was to count up and record all the categories of people who were admitted to the United States (or adjusted from some other status) as victims in FY 2012. I have not seen such a calculation, though one may exist.
The policy point is that the influx of victims of various kinds is a major part of our immigration flow, and there appears to be little or no recognition of its significance. It is never discussed as a whole; advocates for more migration always concentrate on one small, often sympathetic sub-set of this flow, never the whole picture. For example, pleas for more admission of abused illegal alien women — usually abused by illegal alien partners — are always made in a vacuum with no reference to their membership in the larger class of victims we are sketching here.
The table below shows the major classes of victim newcomers, who is said to have abused them, the legal sub-categories within the major classifications, and the total number of admissions of persons. These are counts of people getting green cards; still other victims, not covered by the table, secure temporary admission through similar rules.
The table is organized to show first the larger major categories and then the lesser ones. (The table uses the government's concept of "D" to show one or two admissions; why DHS will not publish the numbers "1" or "2" is one of those odd privacy mysteries lost in the mists of history. "Co limits" means subject to country limits on numbers of admissions, while "no co limits" means such limitations do not apply; USC stands for citizens).
| Number of Admissions,
|Non-Cuban relatives of Cuban refugees
|Spouses of above
|Children of above
|By USCs (3,711) and by other aliens (3,503)
|Abused by citizens -
|Abused by children
|D + D
|Children of above
|Another group abused by USC children
|D + D
|Abused by aliens -
|Parents (4th Pref.)
|Spouses, co limits
|Spouses, no co limits
|421 + D
|Children, co limits
|Children, no co limits
|63 + D
|7 + D
|Cancellation of Removal
|Section 244 cases
|Central Americans and ex-Soviet bloc aliens
|Victims of Crime
|Criminals in the U.S.
|(U visa adjustments)
|Smugglers of Humans
|(T visa adjustments)
|Help Haiti Act
|Children without parents
|Orphans in U.S.
|Spouses of asylum applicants
|Spouses of parolee applicants
|Children of asylum applicants
|Children of parolee applicants
|Central American Relief Act
|Spouses & children
|Mothers & guardians
|10 major classes
|70 specific categories
Sources: columns one and two: CIS characterizations; columns three and four: Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, 2012, DHS, Table 7, with some editing of category titles. Totals and subtotals calculated by CIS. Some subtotals may be off by one or two because of the USCIS use of the "D" concept explained earlier.
What can one conclude from all these numbers and notations?
First, if 2012 can be regarded as typical, each year about one legal immigrant in six is a victim of some kind; a migrant admitted not because they will make a contribution to the United States — though some will — but because we are a magnanimous nation.
Second, we have a plethora of immigration programs, often for tiny populations, which leads to extra and probably extraneous work for our migration minders. Policies and procedures must be prepared and reviewed for each of the 70 specific victim categories, in addition to a similar spread of policies and procedures for relatives, relatives of relatives, workers, and relatives of workers — program categories not covered by this long table.
In 15 of the 70 categories the use in 2012 was so small that USCIS recorded "D", or the presence of only one or two migrants.
All of this suggests that the nation probably does not need any more specific programs for specific subsets of legal migrants, and certainly it could get along without many of the existing ones. I would suggest, among other things, that we should eliminate visas for parents and the siblings of T and U visa holders in any tightening process.
It should be borne in mind, further, that this seemingly endless table dealt only with victims securing green cards; it did not touch the many, often similar, programs that other migrants can use to secure temporary legal status in the United States.