Unauthorized Immigration Down Sharply

The Pew Center for Hispanic Research reported in September that the annual inflow of unauthorized immigrants to the U.S. was down significantly from March 2007 to March 2009 when compared to the same period from 2000 to 2005.  This decrease resulted in an 8% reduction in the number of undocumented foreign nationals living in the U.S. from a peak of 12 million in 2007 to 11.1 million in 2009.  Of the 11.1 million, 60% are from Mexico, 20% from other parts of Latin America, 11% from Asia, and 8% from Africa, Europe, Canada and elsewhere.

The flow of immigrants from Latin American countries, other than Mexico, had the greatest declines followed by countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. States along the U.S.’s Southeast coast and Mountain West saw their undocumented foreign national populations shrink the most.

Virginia, Florida and Nevada are among the states with the highest declines in their populations of undocumented immigrants. The large declines in undocumented immigrants in Florida and Nevada are being attributed to the housing recession and the loss of thousands of construction jobs, which undocumented workers tended to fill.  Florida’s undocumented population fell by 375,000, to an estimated 675,000, between 2008 and 2009.

After the Pew Center’s findings were released, the DHS issued a statement on the agency’s efforts that they felt also contributed to this decline including greater enforcement of employment authorization laws, increased seizures of contraband, higher numbers of criminal removals and tougher border enforcement activity.

For more information on unauthorized immigration flow, click here.