For most US immigrants, acquiring a green card is a major step. The permanent residence card gives greater flexibility and reduces the fear of deportation. Each year, the US government awards a set number to applicants across the country.
While many new arrivals can get a green card, data from the Department of Homeland Security says that over half of the green cards issued go to those already in the country. The report reviews the years 2004 to 2015, finding that, in recent years, distribution of resident cards has been close to an even split between new arrivals and those who were already in the country but changed their status.