Thursday, February 3, 2011

Number of illegal immigrants in US holding steady

Reuter's News Service is reporting the the overall number of illegal immigrants in the US has held steady over the last couple of years. Although the article mentions some states that have seen a drop in the number of undocumented immigrants, it does not specify what states have experienced increases. Reason tells us that if the number has remained just about unchanged, then there must be some states that have had an increase in their numbers to offset the states showing decreases.  From Reuters:

The study by the Pew Hispanic Center noted 11.2 million illegal immigrants living and working in the shadows in the United States in March 2010, virtually unchanged from a year earlier. The report, which drew on U.S. Census Bureau data, noted the number of illegal immigrants in the workforce remained steady at around 8 million. The leveling off last year followed a two-year slide in the population to 11.1 million in 2009 from a peak of 12 million in 2007, at the start of the U.S. recession.

"What we have seen in the past is that the flow of unauthorized immigrants, particularly from Mexico, has been very closely tied to the state of the U.S. economy," senior demographer Jeffrey S. Passel told Reuters.
"We've seen large drops in the inflows when the U.S. went into a recession, and large increases when the U.S. economy was booming," he added.

The issue of what to do with the shadow population divides Americans.
President Barack Obama backs comprehensive immigration reform, tightening enforcement while giving millions of illegal immigrants a shot at legal status, while Republicans generally favor an enforcement-only approach. (So what else is new?)

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