The current administration is considering a policy to curb legal immigration. In fact, the president's populist message about immigration certainly helped him win the election. This post seeks to clarify some relevant statistics regarding immigration. First, the number of legal immigrants to the US has been steadily increasing since World War II:
However, as percentage of US population, that increase is muted particularly in comparison to the pre-World War era:
The percentage of legal permanent residents is increasing, and as many economist have noted, that may not be a bad thing. One point that has not been mentioned, as far as I know, is whether the US has immigrants pouring into it's borders, as the populist narrative might have us believe. Certainly in terms of raw numbers that may be true, but if we compare the US to several developed countries we see the US does not have a substantial amount of immigration:
In the graph above the black solid line is the US and the other blue lines are OECD countries minus the former USSR countries. Clearly the US is not remarkable in terms of immigrants. The narrative of protectionist policies for legal immigration seems to lack grounding in facts.
Note on data sources: US imigration statistics come from the Migration Policy Institute. US population statistics come from Measuring Worth. And the migrant in-flow data comes from the OECD.