While the debate over amnesty rages, the U.S. already expects to admit 10 million new legal immigrants on a path to citizenship over the next decade — more than the population of seven large American cities combined.
At the current rate, the influx of legal immigrants over the next ten years will exceed the total populations of Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Boston, Atlanta and St. Louis combined, according to federal data compiled by Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions’ office.
The U.S. offers green cards to about 1 million new legal permanent residents each year. Over the past five years, the Department of Homeland Security has issued 5.25 million green cards total.
Recent immigration reform proposals would have drastically upped the number of legal immigrants entering the country each year. The 2013 Gang of Eight immigration bill would have tripled the number of green cards issued over the next decade to a total of 30 million new legal residents.
To put that in context, that’s more than the entire populations of five Central American countries combined Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.
Sessions’ office says that polls have consistently found that only a very small number of Americans hope to increase legal immigration. Gallup found in June that a plurality of 41 percent of Americans said they’d support decreasing legal immigration, while just 22 percent think legal immigration should be upped.
American voters are even more decisively opposed to giving amnesty to people in the country illegally. A poll from Paragon Insights found in January that 58 percent of voters opposed President Obama’s current proposal to end deportation for four million undocumented immigrants. (RELATED: Scott Walker Solidifying Immigration Position After Pro-Amnesty Reports)
While Americans have often focused on the rapid influx of illegal immigrants, some are turning their attention toward legal immigration and its affect on jobs and wages for American workers.
Probable Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker, who has denied reports that he favors eventual citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, has suggested that he would take a look at existing legal immigration policies if he ends up in the White House. (RELATED: Walker Flubs Amnesty Zig-Zag)
“Any legal immigration system we go forward with is one that ultimately has to protect American workers and make sure American wages are going up,” Walker told Fox News’ Sean Hannity last week.