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Reversing a Trump-era decline, more people are now coming to the US — and fewer are leaving

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man's hand holding tiny american flagLeon Small, originally from Jamaica, holds a United States flag in a naturalization ceremony, Wednesday, April 28, 2021 in New York.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

  • Net international migration to the US is projected to increase for the first time since 2016.
  • Net international migration refers to the number of new immigrants minus those who have left.
  • In 2022, newcomers exceeded those leaving by more than 1 million, according to the US Census Bureau.

For the first time since Donald Trump was elected president the number of people coming to the United States versus those leaving has increased, according to data from the US Census Bureau, which projects that net international migration this year is projected to exceed 1 million people.

“This is the first time net international migration increased since 2016, marking the largest single-year increase since 2010,” according to the bureau.

Net international migration is calculated by counting the number of new immigrants coming to the US and subtracting the number of people who have left the country. In 2022, net migration is expected to hit more than 1 million, up from a 12-year low of 376,000 in 2021.

Net international migration began falling in 2017, Trump’s first year in office. Still, the number of foreign-born immigrants coming to the US remained relatively steady through Trump’s four-year term, despite efforts to curtail both legal and unauthorized migration.

According to the bureau, the number of new immigrants to the US exceeded 1.4 million in Trump’s first three years — a number that his predecessor, Barack Obama, reached only in his final two years in office. By 2020, however, the effect of immigration restrictions and the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a decline that has only now been reversed, in part due to an influx of Afghans and Ukrainians fleeing violence and political instability.

The increase in net international migration comes despite a Trump-era border measure known as Title 42 remaining in effect. Under the policy, the US has been removing migrants from the country without offering them a chance to seek asylum, ostensibly to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

President Joe Biden has vowed to lift Title 42, and has carved out exceptions for unaccompanied minors and others who can not be sent to their country of origin, but continued to uphold it throughout 2021, prompting the resignation of a top legal expert at the State Department over concerns that it violates international law. More recent efforts by the administration to end the policy have been thwarted by conservative judges. The issue is now before the Supreme Court.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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