The U.S. is a nation of immigrants. But unauthorized immigrants have become a source of political debate, and Congress and President Obama disagree over the best course of action to address issues such as deportations, legal status, education and benefits. For years, the Pew Research Center has estimated the size of the unauthorized immigrant population and surveyed the U.S. public about immigration.
Interactive: U.S. Unauthorized Immigration Trends
Explore population trends from a new analysis of the unauthorized immigrant population in the United States based on Pew Research Center estimates.
State Unauthorized Immigrant Populations Rise and Fall
Since the Great Recession ended, the population of unauthorized immigrants has risen in seven states and fallen in 14.
Unauthorized Immigrants in the U.S., 2012
See how the unauthorized immigrant population varies state-by-state, how it has changed since 2009 and which states have the highest and lowest shares of unauthorized immigrants with our interactive maps.
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Public Views of Immigration
There is broad public support for a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. But other opinions on immigration, including views of legal immigration, are more mixed.
With help from Mexico, number of child migrants crossing U.S. border falls
Mexico’s 3,819 deportations of unaccompanied minors from Central America during the first five months of fiscal year 2015 represent a 56% increase over the same period a year earlier.
U.S. Unauthorized Immigrants in the Labor Force
Most hold low-skilled service, construction and production jobs, but those shares have fallen since 2007. In the states, the leading industry employers are hospitality, manufacturing and construction.
States suing Obama over immigration programs are home to 46% of those who may qualify
A group of 26 states filed a lawsuit in December to stop his executive actions on immigration, arguing that he didn’t have the authority to make the changes.
50 years later, Americans give thumbs-up to immigration law that changed the nation
As Washington once again engages in a heated political battle over immigration policy, it’s worth reminding ourselves just how much the country and its politics have changed since the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act — a law that dramatically changed the makeup of the nation.
U.S. border apprehensions of Mexicans fall to historic lows
For the first time on record, more non-Mexicans than Mexicans were apprehended at U.S. borders in 2014 by the Customs and Border Patrol.
Immigration Action Gets Mixed Response
Americans are divided over President Obama’s recent executive action that allows more unauthorized immigrants to stay and work in the U.S. At the same time, the public continues to support a pathway to legal status for those here illegally.
Texas tops list of states where this year’s unaccompanied child migrants ended up
One-in-three (36%) of the nearly 54,000 unaccompanied children released to sponsors over the past year after their apprehension by immigration authorities have been placed in homes in three states – Texas, New York and California.
How the 1986 immigration law compares with Obama’s program
As the federal government gears up to offer deportation relief to about 4 million unauthorized immigrants, it’s worth looking back to 1986, when a new law established what was then the biggest legalization and citizenship process in U.S. history.
If original DACA program is a guide, many eligible immigrants will apply for deportation relief
So far, about 702,000 unauthorized immigrants have had their applications accepted for review since the program began in August 2012, according to government data. Of the applicants, 87% have been approved for the renewable two-year permits.