Most went to nationals from Mexico, India and China.
More than three million individuals were granted work permits, work visas, and green cards in 2013, with most being granted to foreign nationals from Mexico, China, and India, according to the most recent data issued by the Congressional Research Service.
While the 2014 numbers have not been disclosed, recent statistics provided to Congress reveal that work permits continued to be issued at record numbers, according to congressional sources and statistics provided to the Washington Free Beacon.
This includes about 1 million green cards with work authorization, 1 million employment-based nonimmigrant visas for foreign workers, and 1.2 million work-permit authorizations for foreign nationals.
The disclosure of the ongoing uptick in visas and green cards comes amid a larger debate on Capitol Hill about tightening immigration restrictions in light of recent terror attacks and concerns about the U.S. workforce.
The total number of foreign workers in the United States stands at 26 million as of 2014, according to numbers issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“All foreign nationals who gain lawful permanent resident status in the United States are eligible to work, regardless of what preference category or class they entered through,” according to a congressional research memo obtained by the Free Beacon.
These numbers are likely to increase in the next year as Congress prepares to approve a sprawling funding bill that critics say will do little to alter Obama administration plans to boost work permits and visas, as well as permit some 10,000 Syrian refugees to relocate to America.
The U.S. immigrant population—both legal and illegal—hit a “record” 42.4 million in 2014, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.
Additional polling data collected by Pew shows that 83 percent of the public would like the level of immigration frozen or reduced, including at least 92 percent of Republicans polled.
A critic, Jeff Sessions, has further warned that the costs associated with resettling refugees and providing them welfare benefits have not been offset.
“The net cost of resettling 10,000 refugees averages out to $6.5 billion over the lifespan of those refugees,” Sessions wrote in a recent letter to congressional appropriators. “The president’s proposal to resettle 85,000 refugees this fiscal year alone will result in a net cost of approximately $55.25 billion.
On the work permit front, non-Middle Eastern immigrants account for the largest percentage of foreign nationals in the workforce, according to labor statistics.
“Hispanics accounted for 48.3 percent of the foreign-born labor force in 2014 and Asians accounted for 24.1 percent,” according to the most recent numbers.