False claim 17 million immigrants are expected to the United States during Biden’s term
The claim: The Biden administration predicts 17 million immigrants over four years
An Instagram post on March 2 (direct link, archive link) shows the face of the Statue of Liberty with a tear rolling down her cheek.
“(Twelve) million immigrants passed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954, 12 million in 62 years,” the post reads. “(Seventeen) million in 4 years now envisioned by the Biden admin. This is not normal immigration – this is an invasion.”
The post was liked more than 9,000 times in eight days.
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Our assessment: False
Several experts told USA TODAY they are unaware of an estimate that says 17 million immigrants are expected to arrive in the United States during President Joe Biden’s four-year term. Legal immigration during the first part of his term has actually been down in the wake of the pandemic.
Experts say estimate of 17 million immigrants is wrong, not real
Aaron Reichlin-Melnickpolicy director for American Immigration Counciltold USA TODAY he was unaware of any federal government estimate that says 17 million immigrants are expected to come to the United States during Biden’s term, which ends in 2025.
“To my knowledge, no such discretion exists,” Reichlin-Melnick said.
Michelle Mittelstadtcommunications director for Migration Policy Institutesaid that no one from their organization was aware of such an estimate either.
The number of legal immigrants to the United States each year is relatively consistent. Between 1 million and 1.2 million people were able to obtain legal permanent resident status annually from 2014 to 2019, according to Department of Homeland Security.
In 2020, that number dropped to about 707,000 people, then rose slightly to about 740,000 people in 2021. The decline was largely a result of pandemic-related office closings, Reichlin-Melnick said.
“So a little less than four million people are likely to gain legal immigration under the Biden administration,” he said. “And some of these people will have already been to the United States and will not be new arrivals.”
Fact check: False claim that undocumented immigrants are given Social Security numbers at the border
US Customs and Border Protection reported more than 2.7 million meetings in fiscal year 2022, up from about 1.9 million in fiscal year 2021.
“Even if you add all these different sources together, you don’t come close to (17 million people),” Reichlin-Melnick said.
ONE report by Center for Immigration Studieswhich used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, estimated the total foreign-born population to be about 48.4 million in October 2022, “by far the largest number in U.S. history.”
“This means the foreign-born population has increased by 3.4 million since January 2021, the month President Biden took office,” the report said.
Ellis Island was not only a source of American// immigration
The post also mischaracterizes the immigration situation from the early 1900s.
Ellis Island, a small piece of land at the mouth of the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey, was one of the country’s first federal immigration stations. It was, the record says, the point of entry for more than 12 million immigrants from 1892 to 1954, according to Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.
Not all immigrants went through Ellis Island, however.
Annual immigration data show that a total of 24 million immigrants entered the United States legally between 1892 and 1954, according to Department of Homeland Security.
Fact check: Screenshot of purported New York Post headline on immigration is satire
The social media user who shared the post could not be reached for comment.
Our fact-checking sources:
Aaron Reichlin-MelnickMarch 14, Telephone interview with USA TODAY
Michelle MittelstadtMarch 9 Email exchange with USA TODAY
Department of Homeland Security, visited March 14, 2021 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics
US Customs and Border Protection, accessed March 14, CBP Enforcement Statistics Fiscal Year 2023
Center for Immigration Studies, 7 Nov. 2022, New data: Illegal population increased by two million under Biden
National Park Service, accessed March 13, Fact sheet: Ellis Island – Statue of Liberty NM
Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, accessed March 13, Ellis Island
History Channel, accessed March 13, Ellis Island
History Channel, accessed March 13, American immigration before 1965
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim 17 million immigrants are expected in Biden’s term