The U.S. is a nation of immigrants. But unauthorized immigrants have become a source of political debate over 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.
Selected U.S. Immigration Legislation and Executive Actions, 1790 – 2014
Explore how immigration in the U.S. was shaped by laws and acts in this interactive timeline of U.S. immigration legislation since the 1790s.
Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to the U.S.
The nation’s foreign-born population has swelled from 10 million in 1965 to a record 45 million in 2015. By 2065, the U.S. will have a projected 78 million immigrants.
Number of babies born in U.S. to unauthorized immigrants declines
About 295,000 babies were born to unauthorized-immigrant parents in 2013, making up 8% of the 3.9 million U.S. births that year. This was down from a peak of 370,000 in 2007.
What Americans want to do about illegal immigration
There is little support overall for an effort to deport all those in the U.S. illegally, but past surveys have found support for building a barrier along the Mexican border and for banning birthright citizenship.
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.