Mexican illegal immigrant population in US lowest since 2009 – study
The Pew Research Center released a report Tuesday that estimates the population of unauthorized immigrants living in the US to have decreased from its peak of 12.2 million during the recession in 2007 to 11.3 million in 2016.
For the first time, the population of unauthorized immigrants living in the US has fallen below the level in 2009, the end of the Great Recession, the report found.
Pew included immigrants who entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas as unauthorized immigrants.
The report estimates the unauthorized immigrant population in 1990 was around 3.5 million, which grew to a peak of 12.2 million in 2007.
Since 2009, the report estimates the population grew by around 350,000 unauthorized immigrants per year, with 100,000 of those coming from Mexico.
It is estimated that 2016 was the first year since 2005 that Mexicans have not made up the majority of the unauthorized immigrant population.
Using data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and Current Population Survey through former President Barack Obama’s second term, the report estimated the number of unauthorized Mexican immigrants decreased from 6.9 million in 2007 to 5.6 million in 2016.
Their data showed Mexicans went from making up 57 percent of the unauthorized immigrant population to around 50 percent in roughly 10 years.
While the Pew report did not include any data from the Trump administration, it did note that policy changes on increased border protections under the current administration have accompanied a sharp decline in the number of apprehensions at the southwest border, according to data from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
CBP data shows 16,600 apprehensions were made along the southwest border in March 2017, a 30 percent decrease from the previous month and a 64 percent increase from the same month in the previous year.
During Monday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended Trump’s plan to build a wall along the southern border, despite the fact that border crossings have decreased, calling the wall “a permanent step that will extend beyond his presidency.”
“Just because you have a couple good months in a year, I think you want to make sure that you take prudent long-term steps,” Spicer said. “Eight years from now, the next President will have that wall in place to make sure that it doesn’t continue.”
Pew also found that while the share of unauthorized Mexican immigrants has been declining, there have been a growing number of immigrants coming from other areas in the world, namely Central America and Asia.
In 2015, the report estimates there were 1.8 million unauthorized immigrants from Central America and 1.5 million from Asia. Both of these populations have increased by around 200,000 since 2009.
The Pew Research Center also released a report earlier this month that showed federal law enforcement agencies have been making more immigration-related arrests and fewer arrests for other offenses, including drug, property and gun-related crimes.
Their data showed half of the 165,265 arrests made by federal law enforcement agencies in fiscal year 2014 were related to immigration, an increase of 22 percent from 2004.