Monday, September 23, 2013

Is the Undocumented Immigrant Population Growing Again?

By Claudio Iván Remeseira | Posted Monday, September 23, 2013, at 12:59 a.m. ET.

The sharp decrease of unauthorized immigrants arriving into the U.S. after the 2007-2009 recession has bottomed out and their number might be rising again, says a report issued today by the Pew Research  Hispanic Trends Project.

That number peaked 12.2 million in 2007 and fell to 11.3 million two years later, breaking the upwards trend that dominated for decades [see Figure 1]. But as of March 2012, the figure was 11.7 million, according to a new preliminary Pew Research Center estimate based on U.S. Census Bureau data.

The majority of undocumented immigrants (52 percent) comes from Mexico. The post-2007 decline was steeper among Mexican immigrants as well: In 2009 they reached 6.9 million and in 2012 they were an estimated 6.05 million. On the other hand, the number of undocumented immigrants from other countries (mostly Latin Americans) grew steadily through 2007, declined the following year, and started rising again in 2010.

Six statesCalifornia, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Texasconcentrate 60 percent of the nation's undocumented immigrants. Texas is the only state that experienced no decrease in its unauthorized population during the 2007-2011 period.

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