In 1819, Congress passed a law that required the name, ages and occupation of all the new arrivals must be recorded. This was the first significant legislation on immigration by the Federal Government. High levels of illegal immigration into the U.S began in the 1940’s when due to labor shortages, workers were brought in from Mexico, but did not return to their country. They rather chose to continue working for their employers than go back.
Since 2009, the number of illegal immigrants entering the U.S has stabilized and the number of babies born to illegal immigrants has also decreased from about 330,300 to 275,000. As of 2017, it is estimated that the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S in 2015 is lower than 2009, during the Recession Period.
Here are 5 facts about illegal immigration in America
1. There are 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S:
This number accounts for 3.5% of the total American population. From 2009 to 2013, 7.8 million unauthorized immigrants entered the country. The top 5 countries from where the immigrants arrived are Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and China. When these numbers are added to the immigration population, the U.S has more than 50 million immigrants working and living on its soil. This amounts to 15%, the highest in the history of the country.
2. Mexico loses its place as the top country of immigrants:
Up until 2014, it was Mexicans who made up 52% of the total unauthorized immigrant population in the country. That converts to 5.8 million Mexicans living in the U.S without documents in 2014. However, after 2009, the number of immigrants from other countries went up from 325,000 to about 5.3 million in 2014. The number of unauthorized immigrants from Central America, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa also went up. The country of origin of today’s immigrant population is very diverse than when they were 50 years ago.
3. Most of the unauthorized immigrants are working:
In 2010, 8.4 million undocumented immigrants were employed in the United States. This represents 5.2% of the total U.S labor force. In 2014, this number went up to 17% of the total civilian workforce. They are the major laborers in the Agriculture (26%) and Construction (15%) sectors.
4. Six states are the home to majority of the undocumented immigrant population:
California, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, New York and Illinois Put together, these states account for 59% of the total immigrant population. As of 2012, the 22% of the undocumented immigrants live in California, 15% in Texas, 8% in Florida, 7% in New York, 4% live in Illinois and the remaining live in New Jersey.
5. They have been here for a long time:
The majority of the undocumented immigrants are long term residents (a decade at least) and have made the United States their home and are committed to the country as others. As of 2014, about two-thirds of the adults (66%) had been in the U.S for the past 10 years or more and about 14% of the adults had been in the country for the past 5 years.