Immigration and Naturalization Fundamentals

Publication Date: May 2003

Publisher: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service


Research Area: Population and demographics



Congress typically considers a wide range of immigration issues and now that the number of foreign born residents of the United States -- 32.5 million in 2002 -- is at the highest point in U.S. history, the debates over immigration policies grow in importance. As a backdrop to these debates, this report provides an introduction to immigration and naturalization policy, concepts, and statistical trends. It touches on a range of topics, including numerical limits, refugees and asylees, exclusion, naturalization, illegal aliens, eligibility for federal benefits, and taxation. This report does not track legislation and will not be regularly updated.