The United States is on pace to legally admit 10 million immigrants over the next decade, an amount equal to the current populations of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles and St. Louis combined, according to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).
And that’s just legal immigration, which doesn’t count the addition of illegal immigrants, including those who might be drawn by the promise of a further relaxation of U.S. immigration laws.
According to Sessions and his staff, the U.S. has issued 5.25 million green cards to legal immigrants over the last five years, an average of just a bit more than 1 million per year. These legal permanent residents are also allowed to petition to bring relatives into the country as well, and are also able to apply for various federal benefits.
The 10 million legal additions expected over the next decade would be like adding, Los Angeles, Chicago and other big cities across the country.
Sessions is one of the leading opponents of the Senate’s immigration bill from the last Congress, which would have roughly tripled the number of immigrants with some form of legal status. He and other opponents of that bill have said the addition of 30 million legal immigrants would put an even greater strain on schools, infrastructure and state and federal budgets.
Sessions has also argued that the addition of this many people would lower wages around the country, making it harder for millions of Americans to support their families, and also making it harder for the millions of unemployed people to find work.
In February, the Center for Immigration Studies reported that the U.S. took in two immigrants for every net new job created over the last 15 years.
President Barack Obama has proposed giving legal protection to as many as 5 million people over the next half-decade, but his executive action has been blocked by a federal judge. That injunction is being challenged by the Obama administration at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.