Who is working here with irregular status

How many persons are in the 160 million workforce whose legal status is either non-existent or irregular but permitted to work? Less than I thought, and the many are working with authorization.

The Center for Immigration Studies estimates there are about 5 million who conventionally would be called illegal. Another 2 million who would be considered otherwise illegal workers but are working with federal government authorization. The total of 7 million constitutes 4.4% of the total private sector workforce.

Those working illegally. They comprise (A) 2 million “off the books,” (B) 1.8 million where the names and SS numbers do not match, (C) 700,000 with expired temporary work visas, and (D) 600,000 with stolen SS numbers. They total to 5.1 million, or 3.2% of the workforce. Most are paying into Social Security and Medicare, and pay income taxes. Off the books are 2 million or 1.25% of the workforce.

Those working with federal approval. They comprise (E) 650,000 DACA status, and (F) 1.3 million other temporary status, including 410,000 Temporary Protected Status, 440,000 persons with asylum applications, and 440,000 others with formal work permission but whose status is irregular. They total to 0.8% of the workforce.

[This was first posted in 2021, but its relevence is even more important today due to the continued shortage of workers in the economy.]

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