Illegal Immigration

Central American immigrants arrive on top of a freight train on August 6, 2013 to Ixtepec, Mexico.

How many illegal immigrants are living in the country? According to a 2017 study by the Pew Research Center, an estimated 11.3 million illegal immigrants are living in the United States. That number constitutes 3.4 percent of the total population of the U.S. A majority of illegal immigrants have lived in the country for over a decade.

What countries are most illegal immigrants from? Roughly half of the immigrants illegally leaving in the country are Mexicans, though Pew notes their percentage of the total has been declining in recent years. “There were 5.6 million Mexican unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2015 and 2016, down from 6.4 million in 2009,” Pew reports. In 2015, around 5.7 million illegal immigrants came from countries other than Mexico, a large percentage from Central America.

Where do most illegal immigrants live? Pew’s 2017 study found that 59 percent of illegal immigrants live in the following six states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.

What are DREAMers? “DREAMers” are those who entered the country illegally as children but qualify for temporary work authorization and protection from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) act, which was announced on June 15, 2012 by the Obama administration.  The Department of Homeland Security explains that under DACA qualified immigrants are “eligible for work authorization,” but while they are protected from deportation under “deferred action,” that “does not provide lawful status” to them.