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.
If there are now fewer unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. where did they go?
Senior research staff answer questions from readers relating to all the areas covered by our seven projects, ranging from polling techniques and findings, to media, technology, religious, demographic and global attitudes trends.
Unauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, 2010
As of March 2010, 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants were living in the U.S., virtually unchanged from a year earlier and remaining well below the population’s peak of 12 million in 2007. The number of unauthorized immigrants in the nation’s workforce (8 million) also has not changed in the past year.
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.
Mexican Immigrants: How Many Come? How Many Leave?
The flow of immigrants from Mexico to the United States has declined sharply since mid-decade, but there is no evidence of an increase during this period in the number of Mexican-born migrants returning home from the U.S.
Recession Slows — but Does Not Reverse — Mexican Immigration
The flow of immigrants from Mexico to the U.S. has declined sharply since mid-decade, but there is no apparent increase in the number of Mexican-born migrants returning home.
A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States
Unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. are more geographically dispersed than in the past and are more likely than either U.S.-born residents or legal immigrants to live in a household with a spouse and children. But the recent rapid growth in the undocumented immigrant labor force has come to a halt. The new report also includes population and labor force estimates for each state.