Politics

U.S. May House More Immigrants From Muslims Nations Over Next Five Years Than D.C. Population

| by Sheena Vasani
President Barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama

Under President Barack Obama's immigration policy, the U.S. is reportedly set to accept more immigrants from Muslim nations than the current population of Washington, D.C., over the next five years.

Over the past five years, more than 680,000 green cards have been issued to immigrants from Muslim nations, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) statistics cited by the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration and National Interest, which is headed by Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

Sessions issued a press release on Nov. 25 which addressed this statistic:

"Assuming no change in visa policy, the U.S. can expect to give green cards to another 680,000 more migrants from these countries over the next five years. A green card entitles recipients to access federal benefits, lifetime residency, work authorization, and a direct route to becoming a U.S. citizen.

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"The numbers could be higher still: Census Bureau data shows migration from the Middle East to be one of the fastest-growing categories. Additionally, if left in place, the President's refugee plan would substantially boost the annual number of migrants from this region admitted to the U.S. who, in turn, would be able to petition for their relatives to migrate to the U.S. in the future."

This number of 680,000 migrants is slightly higher than that of Washington, D.C.'s population: 658,893, The Washington Examiner reports.

Obama is also planning to accept over 100,000 more refugees, such as those migrating from Syria.

Many object to their arrival, citing concerns over the costs of housing, welfare and possible security issues.

However, some argue these immigrants may be good for the economy -- particularly in Michigan, where its largest city, Detroit, experienced the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy after a dramatic population loss.

Michigan, home to the nation's largest proportion of Arab Americans, will likely continue to house these immigrants.

“Detroit will not come back without a significant population push,” Ismael Basha, a Michigan business owner who came from Syria in the early 1980s, told the Detroit News. Basha added that he has hired many refugees, and they are hardworking employees.

Still, since the Paris attacks on Nov. 13, there have been concerns over security even in Michigan.

“Given the terrible situation in Paris, I’ve directed that we put on hold our efforts to accept new refugees until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security completes a full review of security clearances and procedures,”  Republican Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan said in a statement released by his office on Nov. 16, according to CBS.

“Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration,” the statement continued. “But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents.”

Sources: Jess Sessions Press Release, The Washington ExaminerDetroit NewsCBS / Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr, Pete Souza/Flickr