US Accepted 271,000 Ukrainians Over the Last Year—But Can Do Much Better
Over the last year, the United States has accepted some 271,000 Ukrainians fleeing Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion. As Reason immigration expert Fiona Harrigan points out in a recent article, this is a very impressive figure. As she notes, some 117,000 entered through the innovative Uniting for Ukraine private sponsorship program, and the rest by other means. To give some context, pre-pandemic the total annual amount of net legal migration in to the US was about 1 million per year (a figure only recently regained in fiscal year 2022). Thus, the Ukrainian influx is about a 25% increase from pre-pandemic “normal” migration levels.
On top of that, in January, the Biden Administration expanded the Uniting for Ukraine private sponsorship system to include migrants from four Latin American nations. By mid-February, this resulted in 36,500 new migrants from these countries entering the US, and another 24,000 getting authorization.
This sudden large increase in migration has not resulted in any of the harms predicted by immigration restrictionists, such as dangerous culture-clash, violence, or significant added burdens to the welfare state. To the contrary, most of the Ukrainians and others are on their way to becoming productive members of society. By letting in these people, we saved hundreds of thousands from war, poverty, and oppression, while also bolstering our economy, and America’s image in the international war of ideas against authoritarians like Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
But, as Harrigan explains, the US can do a lot better. The approach taken with Ukrainians (and a few others) can be expanded to more groups. To the extent it is unfair that Ukrainians are getting access denied to many others fleeing comparable evil elsewhere, the appropriate solution is “leveling up.” That especially applies to Russians fleeing Vladimir Putin’s increasingly repressive regime, to whom the US has been far less welcoming.
Some indication of what is possible comes from Canada, the nation usually considered most similar to the US. During roughly the same period in which the US took in 271,000 Ukrainians, Canada admitted 132,000. The Canadian population (about 39 million) is a little over one-ninth the size of the US (some 334 million). On a per capita basis, Canada has admitted some four times more Ukrainians than we have.
The same is true of Canadian immigration generally. During the 2021-22 fiscal year, Canada admitted over 430,000 imm
Article from Latest