- Illegal migrant population in 2016 dropped by 1.5 million as compared to 2007
- Most illegal migrants in the USA have lived in the country for more than 10 years
- The number of illegal migrants from Mexico has dropped but increased from India
The number of illegal immigrants in the USA has been on a steady decline for the past few years. In 2016, it was the lowest it has ever been since 2004. Read on to find out more about the change.
Immigrants in the USA can broadly be categorized as legal and illegal immigrants. Legal immigrants are those people who are staying in the country with a valid visa or permanent resident status.
Illegal immigrants refer to people living in the USA without visas. According to a study by the Pew Research Institute, the number of illegal immigrants in 2016 is the lowest since 2004.
Illegal Immigrants in the USA
In 2016, the number of illegal immigrants in the USA was estimated to be around 10.7 million. In comparison, 2007 was the peak period for illegal immigrants in the USA.
In that year, there were around 12.2 million illegal immigrants in America. Thus there has been a 13% drop in the illegal immigrant population of the USA between 2007 and 2016.
For the same period of time, the legal immigrant population increased by 22% or 6 million people. In 2016, there were an estimated 34.4 million legal migrants in the USA. This includes people living in the US temporarily and naturalized citizens.
The estimated number of people living illegally in the United States includes about 1 million people who are temporarily protected against deportation under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and protection program for migrants from countries that have seen violence or natural calamities.
Around 700,000 young adults are covered by the DACA program while a little over 300,000 people come from 10 countries that are difficult to return to. The US government has announced a plan to end protection against deportation for 6 of these countries including Haiti, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Country-wise Change in Illegal Immigrant Population
One of the biggest reasons for this drop in numbers is the decrease in the number of illegal immigrants from Mexico. Since 2007, the number of illegal Mexican immigrants in the USA has dropped by 1.5 million. However, there are still 5.4 million unauthorized immigrants from Mexico in the USA. Thus, Mexico still accounts for about half the number of illegal immigrants in the country.
|Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala||425,000||375,000|
Source: Pew Research Center
Illegal migration to the USA has not followed the same trend universally for all countries. There was a significant decrease in the number of unauthorized migrants from Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Korea, and Ecuador but an increase was noted from India and Vietnam.
Between 2007 and 2016, the number of illegal immigrants from Central America increased by 3,75,000. The number of illegal immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala were estimated to be around 1.85 million in 2016.
Immigrants Who Overstay their Visa
32% of the illegal population in 2007 had entered the country between 2002 and 2007. In contrast, only 20% of the illegal population in 2016 had entered the country in the 5 years preceding it.
|Annual arrivals of unauthorized immigrants||715,000||386,000|
Source: Pew Research Center
Given the drop in the number of new unauthorized immigrants, a majority of the people living illegally in the USA have been here for over 10 years now. This is estimated to account for two-thirds of the current illegal population. The percentage of unauthorized immigrant adults living with US-born children has also increased from 32% in 2007 to 43% in 2016. In 2016, an estimated 5.
A million children under the age of 18 were living with illegal migrant parents. Of these 5 million were born in the USA and the remaining 675,000 were illegal immigrants themselves.
Many migrants arrive in the USA legally but overstay their visas. The number of people following this route to living in the USA has increased over the past few years. According to one report, about 700,000 people entered on legal visas and should have left by the end of September 2017 but are still in the country.
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