Unauthorized Immigrants: Length of Residency, Patterns of Parenthood
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s recent endorsement of a proposal to create a path for unauthorized immigrants to gain legal status if they have lived in the country for a long period of time has prompted renewed interest in the characteristics of this population. An analysis finds that nearly two-thirds of the 10.2 million unauthorized adult immigrants have lived in the U.S. for at least ten years.
U.S. Unauthorized Immigration Flows Are Down Sharply Since Mid-Decade
The annual inflow of unauthorized immigrants to the U.S. was nearly two-thirds smaller in the March 2007 to March 2009 period than it had been from March 2000 to March 2005. This decline contributed to an overall 8% reduction in the unauthorized immigrant population, which fell to 11.1 million in 2009 from 12 million in 2007. The decrease represents the first significant reversal in the growth of this population over the past two decades.
Undocumented Immigration Now Trails Legal Inflow, Reversing Decade-Long Trend
Estimates now show that the unauthorized immigrant population grew more slowly from 2005 to 2008 than it did earlier in the decade, although its size has increased by more than 40% since 2000, and now constitutes 4% of the total U.S. population.
A Slower Flow from Mexico?
While short-term changes in immigration flows are difficult to measure, several indicators suggest a possible slackening in migration across the U.S. border since mid-2006.
Nearly half of all the unauthorized migrants now living in the U.S. entered the country legally, according to a new Pew Hispanic Center estimate.