There are more than 5 million unauthorized workers in the U.S. economy. This study estimates that these workers have become a very substantial presence in the sectors where they are concentrated. More than a million undocumented persons are employed in manufacturing and a similar number in the service industries. More than 600,000 work in construction and more than 700,000 in restaurants.
This paper addresses three questions: (1) How many unauthorized workers are employed in U.S. agriculture? (2) How many unauthorized farm workers would be eligible for a legalization or guest worker program that required e.g. 60, 90 or 120 days of U.S. farm work during a qualifying 12-month base period? (3)How many guest workers would be admitted under the most likely legalization/guest worker programs; that is, what are likely exit rates from the farm work force for newly legalized workers? The concluding section discusses the implications of alternative scenarios for dealing with immigration and farm workers.
This brief report presents estimates of the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States in mid-2001 for three separate groups: the total unauthorized population, the Mexican unauthorized population, and the non-Mexican Central American unauthorized population. The approach to estimation used is one set forth recently by Bean, et al (2001) that extends and amplifies work originally begun as part of the Mexico/U.S. Binational Migration Study (1997; Bean, et al. 1998). The specific features of the approach are described in detail in Bean, et al (2001). Basically, the method involves subtracting estimates of the numbers of persons residing in the country legally from the numbers of foreign born persons in official government surveys (which are known to contain both legal and unauthorized persons), and then adjusting for extra undercount of such persons in the surveys. The resulting figures give estimates of various unauthorized populations in the country.