The health crisis affected the immigration system
The global Coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly affected multiple sectors of society as we know it, if not all, and also some territories more than others. For instance, immigration was almost entirely paused around the world.
This is because COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus through human contact. Therefore, the main recommendation of the WHO (World Health Organization) has always been social distancing, which is the prevention method used by many countries.
In fact, governments around the world decided to implement emergency measures such as quarantine for social distancing, to avoid conglomerations and prevent the massive spread of Coronavirus, although it was an almost impossible task.
Adding to that, most countries suspended flights, both national and international, and also closed borders to prevent the import and export of virus, which contributed to the decrease in immigration.
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2020 was the year with the lowest level of legal immigration in the US
The US immigration system felt the impact of the pandemic. It is no secret that this country is the destination of millions of immigrants annually, who yearn to build a promising future by finding economic and job stability in North America.
Therefore, apart from the fact that former President Donald Trump, who was leading the nation when the global Coronavirus pandemic reached the North American territory, wanted to restrict immigration at all costs since he took office in 2017, the health crisis also contributed for immigration to decrease substantially in the US.
In fact, according to a recent CATO Institute report, the second half of Fiscal Year 2020 (April-September) had the largest drop in legal immigration in the US’ history.
Let’s look at some important figures:
- During the second half of Fiscal Year 2020, legal immigration decreased 87% compared to the first half of the same year.
- Legal immigration was almost completely paused in April and May 2020, taking into account that the health crisis allowed the Trump administration to implement unconventional measures to curb immigration. In fact, in April 2020, the US issued 1,521 visas and in May 2020, the US issued only 697 visas, the lowest number in the country’s history.
Therefore, despite the fact that the US has received more than 85 million immigrants in its history, it has never had such a large drop in legal immigration as in the second half of Fiscal Year 2020.
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Immigration levels are on the rise again
Recently, we have seen how legal immigration levels gradually return to normal, after a year as peculiar as 2020. This is due to the fact that border restrictions around the world have relaxed, the national vaccination project is already underway and current president, Joe Biden, supports immigration and plans to expand alternatives available for foreigners to come to the US.
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