Sept. 24, 2004 – The Department of Homeland Security reported a sharp drop in the number of foreigners who became permanent US residents in 2003. The Department attributed the drop to anti-terrorism measures delaying the processing of applications. While in 2002, 1.06 million people became permanent US residents, 2003 saw only 705,827 new green-card holders. A green card is the permanent-resident document that starts the citizenship process.
Despite this trend, immigration itself is relatively steady. Those affected were mostly foreigners who were already in the United States who were hoping to become permanent residents.