Immigration from Latvia decreased in 2003

The number of immigrants from Latvia admitted to the United States continued to decline in 2003, according to the latest Yearbook of Immigration Statistics released Sept. 28 by the Department of Homeland Security.

A total of 459 immigrants from Latvia were admitted last year, down from 684 in 2002. A total of 712 immigrants were admitted in 2001.

Of the Latvian immigrants admitted in 2003, more than half, 250, were relatives of U.S. citizens. Ninety were admitted under the diversity program, while 54 were admitted as refugees or persons seeking asylum. A total of 24 were admitted because of special employment needs.

The immigration yearbook also shows that 13 children from Latvia were adopted by U.S. citizens in 2003.

During 2003, a total of 224 Latvians became naturalized U.S. citizens.

A total of 10,142 nonimmigrants from Latvia, including tourists and students, were admitted to the United States during 2003. Of those, the greatest number came through New York. They tended to be young, too, with 46 percent ranging in age from 20-34.

Immigration from Estonia also declined. A total of 236 immigrants from Estonia entered the United States in 2003, down from 344 in 2002. But immigration from Lithuania jumped to 2,266 last year, compared to 1,787 in 2002.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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