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New facts about unauthorized immigrants

A report, The Number of Unauthorized Immigrants and their Characteristics, was published on January 29 by the Pew Hispanic Center. Here are some important facts about unauthorized immigrants. Three stand out:

Item: Been here a long time. In 2010, nearly two-thirds of unauthorized immigrants had lived in the U.S. for at least a decade.

Item: Many mixed marriages with one citizen adult. Mine million people lived in “mixed-status” families in 2010.

Item: Children of unauthorized immigrants are mostly born here and are U.S. citizens. Nearly half of unauthorized immigrant households (47%) consist of a couple with children. Most children of unauthorized immigrants—73% in 2008—are U.S. citizens by birth. I have seen them estimated elsewhere as 3.2 million children.

Other details:

The Pew Hispanic Center has published a number of reports on the size and characteristics of the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population. The Center’s latest estimate of the number of U.S. unauthorized immigrants was 11.1 million in 2011, a number that did not significantly change from the previous two years (Passel and Cohn, 2012). Other findings from the Center, based on a number of data sources, include:

Trends in unauthorized immigration: The most recent Pew Hispanic Center estimate is that 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants lived in the U.S. in 2011. Unauthorized immigration peaked at 12.0 million in 2007, and fell since then mainly because of less immigration from Mexico, the largest source of U.S. immigration (Passel and Cohn, 2012). In 2010, unauthorized immigrants from Mexico made up 58% of all unauthorized immigrants (Passel and Cohn, 2011).
Unauthorized immigration and children: In 2010, there were 1 million unauthorized immigrants under age 18 in the U.S., as well as 4.5 million U.S.-born children whose parents were unauthorized. These details are included in a report based on 2010 data that also estimates births to unauthorized immigrants; region of origin for unauthorized immigrants; state populations of unauthorized immigrants and unauthorized workers; and overall labor force participation (Passel and Cohn, 2011).

Characteristics of unauthorized immigrants: In 2010, nearly two-thirds of unauthorized immigrants had lived in the U.S. for at least a decade and nearly half (46%) were parents of minor children. This Census Bureau data-based report also includes data comparing the length of U.S. residence for unauthorized immigrants in 2000, 2005 and 2010. It estimates that 9 million people lived in “mixed-status” families (Taylor et al. , 2011).

Migration from Mexico: Immigration from Mexico has declined since 2007, largely because of the first decrease in unauthorized immigration in at least two decades. This report includes Mexican data about the characteristics, experience and future intentions of Mexican migrants handed over to Mexican authorities by U.S. law enforcement agencies; and U.S. data on border enforcement as well as characteristics of Mexican-born immigrants in the U.S. (Passel, Cohn and Gonzalez-Barrera, 2012).

Unauthorized immigrant worker characteristics: Unauthorized immigrants make up 25% of farm workers (not including temporary workers), according to 2008 data in a Pew Hispanic Center report that also includes estimates of unauthorized immigrant shares of other occupations and industries. This report includes details on school enrollment by unauthorized immigrant children and by U.S.-born children of unauthorized immigrants; and estimates of educational attainment, income, poverty rates and health insurance status of unauthorized immigrants (Passel and Cohn, 2009).

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