Estimating Green Card Holders During Different Periods

November 3, 2011 § 2 Comments

LPR Entrants before 1980

Earlier, it was considered that all non-citizen residents of the US in 2010 who entered prior to 1980 were legal permanent residents (LPRs). Per certain provisions in the immigration law, foreign nationals of good moral character who are eligible for Naturalization are not removable on terrorism grounds and have lived in the US continuously since January 1, 1972 are eligible for green card status. In addition to this, some persons living in the US before 1982 as unauthorized residents were allowed to adjust their status to LPR. DHS estimates of the unauthorized immigrant population assume that the foreign-born population entering the US before 1980 is legally resident. Estimates of the LPR population in 2010 that entered before 1980 were from data from the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) of the US Census Bureau on non-citizen residents with a year of entry before 1980.

LPR Entrants from 1980 through 2009

Estimates on LPRs who entered the US between January 1980 and December 2009 were got from application case tracking systems of USCIS. Information on persons obtaining LPR status is through two applications. Foreign nationals living outside the US use the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration of the U.S. Department of State. Such applicants who subsequently become LPRs are known as “new arrivals.” Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Residence is filed by foreign nationals already living in the US. Any information about the naturalization of LPRs if obtained from the Application for Naturalization (N-400). The citizenship form, N-400 is used by applicants aged 18 years and over. The general information maintained in the USCIS case tracking systems are alien identification number (A-number), date of birth, country of birth, gender, US address, date, LPR status or naturalization was obtained, and class of admission for LPR status.

Estimates were done in such a way that records for LPR entrants from January 1980 through December 2009 were matched by the Alien Registration Number (A number) with naturalization records for the same time period to exclude LPRs who later got naturalized. Then, many adjustments were then made to reduce the total of 1980-2009 LPRs to a 2010 LPR population of 1980-2009 entrants. The methods for adjustments and mortality are the same as those used in DHS unauthorized immigrant population estimates. An adjustment for derivative citizenship is unique to the LPR population calculation. LPRs who entered the US before 1980 were excluded from the estimates as such persons were counted in the pre-1980 entrant population from the ACS.

Remember that the date of entry for “new arrival” LPRs is the date of approval for permanent resident status. However, for “adjustment of status”, the entry date is usually not recorded directly so the year of last entry prior to adjustment of status is generally taken as an approximation. Year of last entry was imputed where missing (approximately 40 percent of adjustment of status records during 1998-2005) using category of admission, year of LPR adjustment, and known last entry date. Additional adjustments were made for LPR children who had derived citizenship, mortality, and emigration.


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