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.
Illegal Immigration Backlash Worries, Divides Latinos
About four-in-five of the nation’s estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants are of Hispanic origin; a new national survey finds that Latinos are divided over what to do with these immigrants.
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.
Unauthorized Immigrants and Their U.S.-Born Children
Unauthorized immigrants comprise about 4% of the adult population, but their children make up a much larger share of both the newborn population (8%) and the overall child population (7% of those younger than age 18) in this country.
Public Supports Arizona Immigration Law
A majority approves of the new law, and larger percentages support requiring people to produce identification documents for police and allowing authorities to detain people unable to verify their legal status.
Hispanics and Arizona’s New Immigration Law
Past Pew Research Center reports have found that Latinos are the ethnic group most likely to be illegal immigrants and that Americans see Hispanics as the racial/ethnic group most often subjected to discrimination. Find more demographic and public opinion research related to the new Arizona law in a just-released fact sheet.