Unauthorized immigration in Europe far less than U.S.

Europe has had relatively very few unauthorized residents, about 1% of its population compared to the U.S.’s 3%. In 2014, The Pew Research Center estimated that there were 3 to 3.7 million unauthorized immigrants, or about 0.7%. A refugee surge after 2014 included unauthorized persons, increasing the total unauthorized population to between 3.9 and 4.8 million in 2017.

My research in the past suggested that the unauthorized population in some Western European countries such as France, Benelux, and the U.K. was 0.5% or less. I believe that the relatively low rate is due to stricter mandated employer-based practices. The U.S. does not require employers to check legal status with federal databases (e-Verify). Plus, the U.S.’s long history of an essentially transnational workforce of Latin Americans, the basis for most unauthorized immigration, has no match in Europe.

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