Obama legacy: One million green cards to migrants from Muslim-majority nations

by WorldTribune Staff, June 17, 2016

The administration of President Barack Obama will have issued more than one million green cards to migrants from majority-Muslim countries by the end of the president’s tenure, according to a report.

The Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest on June 17 reported that, in the first six fiscal years of Obama’s presidency (FY2009 – FY2014), his administration issued 832,014 green cards to migrants from majority-Muslim countries, led by Pakistan (102,000), Iraq (102,000), Bangladesh (90,000), Iran (85,000), Egypt (56,000), and Somalia (37,000).

Muslims praying on the Washington Mall, Sept. 25, 2009.
Muslims praying on the Washington Mall, Sept. 25, 2009.

That total does not include migrants on temporary, non-immigrant visas — which allow foreign nationals to come to the U.S. temporarily for work, study and tourism. The Senate subcommittee also noted the number does not include migrants who overstayed the terms of their visas.

CIA Director John Brennan on June 16 warned that Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) is preparing more attacks, including by infiltrating refugees into Western nations.

“We judge that ISIL is training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks,” he said. “ISIL has a large cadre of Western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the West. And the group is probably exploring a variety of means for infiltrating operatives into the West, including refugee flows, smuggling routes, and legitimate methods of travel.”

As the Senate subcommittee detailed in its analysis, the U.S. is playing host to immigrants from majority-Muslim countries at an increasing pace.

Between FY 2013 and FY 2014, the number of green cards issued to migrants from Muslim-majority countries increased from 117,423 in FY 2013, to 148,810 in FY 2014, a nearly 27 percent increase.

Throughout Obama’s time in office, the United States has issued green cards to an average of 138,669 migrants from Muslim-majority countries per year, meaning that it is nearly certain the United States will have issued green cards to at least 1.1 million migrants from Muslim-majority countries on the president’s watch. It has also been reported that migration from Muslim-majority countries represents the fastest growing class of migrants.

Green cards allow immigrants to get on the path to citizenship which allows for lifetime residency, federal benefits, and work authorization. Included in the totals are refugees, who are required to apply for a green card after one year of residency in the U.S. Unlike other types of immigrants, refugees are immediately eligible for welfare benefits including Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), food stamps, and Medicaid.

A report from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) indicated that in FY 2013, 91.4 percent of Middle Eastern refugees (accepted to the U.S. between 2008-2013) received food stamps, 73.1 percent were on Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance and 68.3 percent were on cash welfare.

Green card totals, FY09-FY14:

Pakistan (102K), Iraq (102K), Bangladesh (90K), Iran (85K), Egypt (56K), Somalia (37K), Uzbekistan (30K), Turkey (26K), Morocco (25K), Jordan (25K), Albania (24K), Afghanistan (21K), Lebanon (20K), Yemen (20K), Syria (18K), Indonesia (17K), Sudan (15K), Sierra Leone (12K), Guinea (9K), Senegal (8K), Saudi Arabia (9K), Algeria (8K), Kazakhstan (8K), Kuwait (6K), Gambia (6K), United Arab Emirates (5K), Azerbaijan (4K), Mali (4K), Burkina Faso (3K), Kyrgyzstan (3K), Kosovo (3K), Mauritania (3K), Tunisia (2K), Tajikistan (2K), Libya (2K), Turkmenistan (1K), Qatar (1K), Chad (1K).

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