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.
All Publications from this Topic
The Immigration Debate: Controversy Heats Up, Hispanics Feel a Chill
The 2007 National Survey of Latinos finds that Hispanics in the U.S. are feeling a range of negative effects from increased public attention and stepped up enforcement measures.
Immigration Takes Center Stage at GOP YouTube Debate
In a format the public says it prefers — “regular people,” not journalists, posing the questions — immigration emerged as the hot-button issue. Were the candidates’ answers in sync with GOP voters’ opinions?
State-level Republican Candidates Stress Immigration
Candidates in several states are capitalizing on voter anger over illegal immigration after Congress failed for the second year in a row to pass major immigration reforms.
The Immigration Divide
With his renewed push for a comprehensive immigration bill, President Bush is advancing a potentially powerful political wedge issue, but one with an unlikely twist: Immigration fractures the president’s own party at least as much as it divides the opposition.
Are You a Citizen? Prove It
Worries about voter fraud, terrorism and illegal immigration are driving a surge in stiff new identification requirements. To weed out those who aren’t citizens, all Americans increasingly need a paper trail to qualify for some of the perks of citizenship — from driver’s licenses to Medicaid help.