A timeline of news, statistics, and policies related to U.S. immigration

According to Pew Research Center analysis of 2014 Census Bureau data, the number of Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin living in Florida has surpassed 1 million.

Florida’s Puerto Rican Population Surpasses 1 Million, Rivaling New York

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection released Fiscal Year 2015 apprehension statistics on unaccompanied children from U.S. southwest border.

Southwest Border Unaccompanied Alien Children (0-17 yr old) Apprehensions

Comparisons below reflect Fiscal Year 2015 (October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015) compared to the same time period for Fiscal Year 2014.


Fiscal Year 2014

Fiscal Year 2015

% Change

Big Bend Sector


839 228%

Del Rio Sector

3,268 2,285 -30%

El Centro Sector

662 668 1%

El Paso Sector

1,029 1,662 62%

Laredo Sector

3,800 2,459 -35%

Rio Grande Sector

49,959 23,864 -52%

San Diego Sector

954 1084 14%

Tucson Sector

8,262 6,019 -27%

Yuma Sector

351 1,090 211%

Southwest Border Total

68,541 39,970 -42%

Southwest Border Family Unit Apprehensions*

Comparisons below reflect Fiscal Year 2015 (October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015) compared to the same time period for Fiscal Year 2014.


Fiscal Year 2014

Fiscal Year 2015

% Change

Big Bend Sector


807 359%

Del Rio Sector

4,950 2,141 -57%

El Centro Sector

630 675 7%

El Paso Sector

562 1,220 117%

Laredo Sector

3,591 1,372 -62%

Rio Grande Sector

52,326 27,409 -48%

San Diego Sector

1,723 1,550 -10%

Tucson Sector

3,812 2,930 -23%

Yuma Sector

675 1,734 157%
Southwest Border Total 68,445 39,838 -42%

U.S. Border Patrol Southwest Border and Rio Grande Valley Sector Other Than Mexicans

Comparisons below reflect Fiscal Year 2015 (October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015)



Rio Grande Valley


Southwest Border


Unaccompanied Alien Children Encountered by Fiscal Year

Fiscal Years 2009-2015

Country FY 2009 FY 2010 FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014 FY 2015
El Salvador 1,221 1,910 1,394 3,314 5,990 16,404 9,389
Guatemala 1,115 1,517 1,565 3,835 8,068 17,057 13,589
Honduras 968 1,017 974 2,997 6,747 18,244 5,409
Mexico 16,114 13,724 11,768 13,974 17,240 15,634 11,012

Family Unit Apprehensions Encountered by Fiscal Year*

Fiscal Year 2015 (October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015)

Country FY 2015
El Salvador 10,872
Guatemala 12,820
Honduras 10,671
Mexico 4,276

*Note: (Family Unit represents the number of individuals (either a child under 18 years old, parent or legal guardian) apprehended with a family member by the U.S. Border Patrol.)

Pew Research Center published 2013 data on birthplaces of African immigrants.

Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt Are Top Birthplaces for African Immigrants in U.S.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released statistics on the application of use of force by CBP law enforcement officers, including U.S. Border Patrol agents, CBP officers and air and marine agents.

Fiscal Years 2011 – 2015

FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014 FY 2015
1179 932 1215 1037 768

Fiscal Years 2011 – 2015

FY 11 FY 12 FY 13 FY14 FY15
Firearms 60 58 48 29 28
Less Lethal 1119 874 1167 1008 740

Fiscal Years 2011 – 2015

FY 11 FY 12 FY 13 FY14 FY15
Assaults 675 555 468 373 390

Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows that new immigrants are increasingly higher educated since the 1970s.

Today's Newly Arrived Immigrants Are More Educated Than Ever

Pew Research Center published data on where each state’s largest immigrant population was born, since 1850.

(Use the year slider to navigate data.)

Pew Research Center published predictions on future U.S. immigrant population growth.

Immigrants and Their Descendants Accounted for 72 Million in U.S. Population Growth from 1965 to 2015; Projected to Account for 103 Million More by 2065

First- and Second-Generation Share of the Population to Reach Record High in 2065

Pew Research Center published estimates of U.S. births to unauthorized immigrants from 1980 to 2013.

Annual U.S. Births to Unauthorized Immigrants, 1980-2013

U.S. Customs and Border Protection launched a campaign in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to encourage those considering attempts to illegally enter the U.S., to “Know the Facts” before putting themselves in danger, only to be returned to their home country.

“This campaign is designed to educate would-be travelers in Central America and Mexico about the realities of the journey north—human smugglers have no regard for human life,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “It is critical that they are aware of the facts behind U.S. immigration policies before risking their lives. There are no ‘permisos.’”

A study of startup activity showed a 15.2% increase in the percentage of new entrepreneurs that are immigrants from 1996 to 2014.

The United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, published recommendations for “ten areas where we, within the confines of the law, could take action to increase border security, focus enforcement resources, and ensure accountability in our immigration system.”

  1. Strengthen Border Security
  2. Revise Removal Priorities
  3. End Secure Communities and Replace it with New Priority Enforcement Program
  4. Personnel Reform for ICE Officers
  5. Expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program
  6. Extend Deferred Action to Parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents
  7. Expand Provisional Waivers to Spouses and Children of Lawful Permanent Residents
  8. Revise Parole Rules
  9. Promote the Naturalization Process
  10. Support High-skilled Business and Workers

Pew Research Center published estimates on 2012 unauthorized immigrant populations.

States with Largest Unauthorized Immigrant Populations, 2012


States with Largest Shares of Unauthorized Immigrants in the Population, 2012


U.S. Foreign-born Population, 2012

The Department of Homeland Security reported that, “A total of 69,909 persons were admitted to the United States as refugees during 2013. The leading countries of nationality for refugees were Iraq, Burma, and Bhutan. “

The REAL ID Act passed, enacting the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.

The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.

The Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 authorized funds for additional INS, Border Patrol, and consular personnel, training, facilities, and security-related technology.


Sec. 101. Authorization of appropriations for hiring and training Government personnel.
Sec. 102. Authorization of appropriations for improvements in technology and infrastructure.
Sec. 103. Machine-readable visa fees.


Sec. 201. Interim measures for access to and coordination of law enforcement and other information.
Sec. 202. Interoperable law enforcement and intelligence data system with name-matching capacity and training.
Sec. 203. Commission on interoperable data sharing.
Sec. 204. Personnel management authorities for positions involved in the development and implementation of the interoperable electronic data system (“Chimera system”).


Sec. 301. Electronic provision of visa files.
Sec. 302. Implementation of an integrated entry and exit data system.
Sec. 303. Machine-readable, tamper-resistant entry and exit documents.
Sec. 304. Terrorist lookout committees.
Sec. 305. Improved training for consular officers.
Sec. 306. Restriction on issuance of visas to nonimmigrants who are from countries that are state sponsors of international terrorism.
Sec. 307. Designation of program countries under the Visa Waiver Program.
Sec. 308. Tracking system for stolen passports.
Sec. 309. Identification documents for certain newly admitted aliens.


Sec. 401. Study of the feasibility of a North American National Security Program.
Sec. 402. Passenger manifests.
Sec. 403. Time period for inspections.
Sec. 404. Joint United States-Canada projects for alternative inspections services.


Sec. 501. Foreign student monitoring program.
Sec. 502. Review of institutions and other entities authorized to enroll or sponsor certain nonimmigrants.


Sec. 601. Extension of deadline for improvement in border crossing identification cards.
Sec. 602. General Accounting Office study.
Sec. 603. International cooperation.
Sec. 604. Statutory construction.
Sec. 605. Report on aliens who fail to appear after release on own recognizance.
Sec. 606. Retention of nonimmigrant visa applications by the Department of State.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 was passed, upholding the national origins quota system established by the Immigration Act of 1924.

Also known as the The McCarran-Walter Act, the act also ended Asian exclusion from immigrating to the United States and introduced a system of preferences based on skill sets and family reunification.

The Cable Act passed, repealing the 1907 Expatriation Act and meaning American women would no longer lose their citizenship if her husband was not a US citizen.

Ohio Congressman John L. Cable sponsored the legislation to give American women “equal nationality and citizenship rights” as men.

The Cable Act is also known as the “Married Women’s Independent Nationality Act” or the “Married Women’s Act”.

The Immigration Act of 1917, also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act, banned immigration from Asia except for Japan and the Philippines.

The  act also excluded admission to the United States the following: idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, epileptics, chronic alcoholics, insane persons, paupers, professional beggars, vagrants, criminals, beggars, any person suffering attacks of insanity, those with tuberculosis, those who have any form of dangerous contagious disease, aliens who have a physical disability that will restrict them from earning a living, polygamists, anarchists, those who were against the organized government or those who advocated the unlawful destruction of property and those who advocated the unlawful assault of killing of any officer, prostitutes and anyone involved in or with prostitution.

The Dillingham Commission was created to investigate the effects of immigration on the United States.

The commission was created in 1907 in response to growing political concern about immigration. The investigation was concluded in 1911 and it found that “immigration from southern and eastern Europe posed a serious threat to American society and culture and should therefore be greatly reduced.”

The Gentleman’s Agreement between the U.S. and Japan restricted the immigration of Japanese workers in 1907.

The Expatriation Act of 1907 declared that an American women that married a foreign national would lose her citizenship.

The Basic Naturalization Act of 1906 required immigrants to learn some English before they could become citizens.

The act established the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, (now the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services, or USCIS). It also added the section of the oath requiring new citizens to defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; and bear true faith and allegiance to the same.

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