Legal Immigration to U.S. Could Drop Nearly 50 Percent by 2021 Under Trump

Legal immigration to the U.S. could fall by 49 percent from fiscal year 2016 to fiscal year 2021 due to the Trump administration's immigration policies, a new report has predicted.

In it's July report titled "Immigrants and America's Comeback from the COVID-19 crisis," an expansive look at the role immigrants have played and can play as the U.S. looks to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) said "restoring legal immigration" to the levels the U.S. saw before Trump came into power could help America bounce back.

"Restoring legal immigration to the level prior to when Trump administration policies reduced it will help America's comeback from COVID-19 and enhance U.S. economic growth," the report states.

According to NFAP, under the Trump administration's current policies, legal immigration to the U.S. could fall 49 percent (581,845) from FY 2016 to 2021.

"Average annual labor force growth, a key component of the nation's economic growth," the report said, would be approximately 59 percent lower "as a result of the administration's immigration policies, if the policies continue."

"Economic growth is crucial to improving the standard of living, which means lower levels of legal immigration carry significant consequences for Americans," the report said. "Without immigrants contributing to the quantity and quality of the labor supply, the majority of the economic growth gains America saw between 2011 and 2016 following the recession would have been eliminated, according to economists at Oxford University and Citi."

Not only will the labor supply and economic growth be impacted, but also the future contributions of those who study in the U.S.

According to NFAP, the enrollment of new international students at U.S. universities in the 2020-21 academic year is projected to fall 63 to 98 percent from 2018-19 levels, with around 6,000 to 12,000 new students at the low end of projections and 87,000 to 100,000 at the high end.

"The decline of as many as 263,000 students from the 2018-19 academic year total of approximately 269,000 new international students would be the lowest level of new international students since after World War II, when the numbers started to be tracked," the report warned.

The impacts of the Trump administration's immigration policies, NFAP has said, could be long-lasting, slowing the U.S.'s recovery from the pandemic.

If the Trump administration wants to encourage a "full recovery from the social and economic impacts of the coronavirus," NFAP said, "America should be open to the world rather than grow more isolated."

"The Trump administration and Congress should consider enacting immigration policies that will facilitate America's economic recovery from COVID-19 and alleviate the impact of the virus," it said.

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

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President Donald Trump holds a roundtable on 'Supporting the People of Venezuela' at Iglesia Doral Jesus Worship Center in Doral, Florida, on July 10, 2020. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty