If illegal immigration is considered a serious issue that the developed economies face today, it is largely because of the ‘numbers’ involved. As you go through these illegal immigration statistics for the United States, you will realize that the issue does alter the demographics of the nation.
According to the statistics compiled by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the US population is expected to increase by 167 million―a rise of 56 percent―by 2060, if immigration continues at the ongoing rate.
Illegal immigration is a problem which is being faced by several developed and developing nations of the world; the United States is no exception. Of late, it has become one of the most important issues in the American electoral politics, with politicians flirting with it for votes and businessmen lobbying in its favor for their vested interests (… cheap labor to be precise).
So, is the issue of undocumented immigration really as serious as it is made out to be? In order to asses its severity, one has to look at the statistics compiled by various organizations.
Statistics on Illegal Immigration in the US
With no accurate method of monitoring undocumented immigration, it is difficult to determine the size of unauthorized population in the United States. It also makes the task of compiling statistical data difficult, and therefore, one is by and large dependent on estimates and sample studies by various Federal agencies and non-profit organizations.
- Statistical estimates released by the Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS) of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in March 2012 reveal that 11.4 million unauthorized or illegal migrants were residing in the United States as of January 2012. The estimated number was 11.5 million in January 2011 and 11.6 million in 2010.
- The data compiled by the OIS further reveals that 9 million―nearly 79 percent―of the total illegal immigrants are from North America and 1.3 million from Asia. South America and Europe account for 0.9 million and 0.2 million undocumented immigrants respectively, while 0.2 million come from the other parts of the world.
- Accounting for 59 percent (6.7 million) of the total unauthorized entrants, Mexico tops the list, and is followed by the Central American nations of El Salvador (6 percent), Guatemala (5 percent) and, Honduras (3 percent). As for the Asian nations, Philippines tops the list with a share of 3 percent in the unauthorized population, with India, Korea, and China, each having a 2 percent share in the same.
- California seems to be one of the most preferred American states for illegal immigrants, with 25 percent of those residing illegally making it their home. Coming second is the state of Texas, which is home to 16 percent of the illegal immigrants. Other preferred states include Florida (6 percent), New York (5 percent), and Illinois (5 percent).
- The data compiled by the DHS-OIS also reveals that 61 percent of the total illegal immigrants, i.e., roughly around 6.9 million individuals, are between 25 to 44 years old, which hints at the fact that most of these people come to the United States in search of better opportunities.
- The statistical data released by the Pew Hispanic Center shows that the number of illegal immigrants in the United States in 2012 was 11.2 million, down from 11.5 million in 2011.
- The number of Mexicans illegally entering the US territory has been on a decline since 2007. From 6.9 million in 2007, it has come down to 5.8 million in 2012.
- This steady decline in illegal immigration from Mexico since 2007―and possibly reverse migration since 2010―has had a crucial role to play in the overall decline.
- According to the PEW Research Center, around 8.1 million illegal immigrants were either working or looking for work in the US. In California, unauthorized immigrants account for 10 percent of the workforce.
- The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted 315,943 removals for the Fiscal Year 2014, down from 368,644 in Fiscal Year 2013.
- In 2014, 229,000 Mexicans were arrested by the US Border Patrol whilst trying to crossover into the US illegally; this has been the first instance wherein non-Mexicans (257,000) have outnumbered Mexicans in illegal immigration.
There have been instances wherein the US federal immigration authorities have raided some of the big names of the industrial sector for employing illegal immigrants. In 2005, for instance, Wal-Mart was fined USD 11 million for hiring illegal immigrants for cleaning their stores in different parts of the United States. Similarly, in 2006, six Swift & Co. meat processing plants across the nation were raided and around 1,300 illegal immigrants were arrested.
The fact that millions of people are migrating illegally with ease, hints at a problem with the state machinery, and therefore, the onus is on the administration to come up with solutions to curb this illegal practice―for as long as that doesn’t happen, the influx of illegal immigrants will continue.