A recent report from the Congressional budget Office says that 1.1 million individuals were granted green cards in 2009. The government gives green cards to individual granted permanent admission to the country.
People granted permanent admission are classified as permanent legal residents. A person with legal permanent residency is eligible to live and work in the country, own property, join the Armed Forces and eventually may apply for U.S. citizenship.
The vast majority of individuals granted U.S. permanent residency in 2009 entered the country as a result of family ties. Roughly two-thirds of all the individuals granted permanent residency in the U.S. in 2009 entered under a family based admission.
The government allows permanent residency status under five categories. Residency status may be granted to relatives of U.S. citizens, under family-sponsored preferences, employment-based preferences, the Diversity Program, and for humanitarian reasons.
Roughly 66 percent of foreign nationals granted permanent residency entered due to family ties. About 536,000 individuals, nearly half of the 1.1 million granted permanent residency, were immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Another 212,000 individuals were granted residency under family-sponsored preferences.
The Congressional Budget Office says that 17 percent of the individuals receiving green cards in 2009 were granted permanent residency for humanitarian reasons. 13 percent of the individuals received their green card for employment-based preference and roughly 4 percent were granted residency status under Diversity Program admissions in 2009.
Roughly 60 percent of the individuals granted a green card in 2009 were already living in the country when the government granted the individual legal permanent residency status. The remaining 40 percent entered the country for the first time as a permanent resident of the country.
Source: CNS News, "CBO: 748,000 Foreign Nationals Granted US Permanent Residency Status in 2009 Because They Had Immediate Family Legally Living in America," Edwin Mora 11 Jan 2011