When Do People Actually Migrate to the United States?
Sherrie Kossoudji, University of Michigan
The little understood difference between in-migration and immigration to the United States drives the economic and social consequences of immigration, policy, and research. New immigrants include both “new arrivals” and “status adjusters” and the proportion of new immigrants that adjust status has been increasing since World War II. Status adjusters, who may have migrated many years before, are now more than one-half of all “new” immigrants. As a result, research and policy discussions that think of new immigrant data as migration flow data are less and less accurate every year. Further, it appears that immigration policy is now driven by non-immigrant policy. The work in this paper uses new data sets created from government data on new immigrants to examine new immigrants when they actually arrived, permitting us to consider the consequences of in-migration and non-immigrant policy on immigration consequences by examining the flow of people to the United States.