With the executive order of President Barack Obama, millions of undocumented immigrants have the chance to achieve amnesty or even get onto the path of American citizenship right now. Although controversial in nature and with pending litigation regarding the executive order in the US judicial system, many see the effort to reach out to undocumented immigrants as a good thing, even if how it was achieved was not so good.
Nearly 41 million immigrants current live in the United States, an all-time numerical high, and about 1 out of 4 of them may be here illegally.
Many people love the idea of having the US be open to immigration, but want the process to be completed legally instead of illegally. That’s why knowing the statistics of undocumented immigrants is important. It allows each person to form their own opinion on the subject so that all parties can have a meaningful discussion.
- The Department of Homeland Security estimates that there are 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States.
- The percentage of undocumented immigrants that come from Mexico: 59%.
- The next leading country of origin for undocumented immigrants is El Salvador, making up 6% of the population demographic.
- Guatemala, Honduras, and the Philippines make up the rest of the Top 5 countries of origin at 5%, 3%, and 3% respectively.
- 1 out of every 4 undocumented immigrant will settle down in the state of California.
- 16% of undocumented immigrants in the United States can be found in Texas.
- 61% of the estimated undocumented immigrants that are in the US right now are between the ages of 25-44.
The average undocumented immigrant is someone who isn’t here because they are trying to commit a crime or take away opportunities from Americans. They are simply here because they are trying to change their lives in some way and have no other means to make that happen. When political unrest in their country makes it impossible to apply for a travel visa to the US and they would suffer political repercussions for even making the attempt to leave their home nation, many households are choosing to cross the borders illegally because that’s their last ditch, best option. The risk of being arrested and deported are less than the risks of staying home.
Is The Undocumented Immigrant Issue An Epidemic?
- 57% of unauthorized immigrants over the age of 45 are female.
- In 2013, there were over 660,000 unauthorized immigants that were apprehended in the United States, with 64% of them having Mexico as their country of origin.
- 438,421 unauthorized immigrants were deported from the United States in 2013.
- 45% of the undocumented immigrants that were deported in 2013 from the US had at least one prior criminal conviction.
- 72% of those who were deported in 2013 were repatriated to Mexico.
- The number of unaccompanied children who crossed the US border in 2013 as an undocumented immigrant: 24,668.
- It is estimated that there will be at least 60,000 undocumented children entering the United States by themselves in 2014.
- The total number of notices to appear was down 11,000 from 2012-2013.
- The greatest increases seen in inadmissible immigrants at the border came from El Salvador [113% increase] and India [71% increase] in 2013.
There are certainly many horror stories that could be told about specific undocumented immigrants. Some have been deported more than 7 times and are still back in the United States. Others have committed heinous crimes while awaiting a deportation hearing that they never plan to attend in the first place. Yet for every horror story, there is another person in the United States who is simply trying to change their life and they are living in fear because they don’t want to be deported. They want to work, support their families, and create a new life. It is these people that need to be targeted for immigration reform. Many would be willing to pay a fine or other penalty if it meant they could stay and work toward citizenship. That level of commitment and dedication to hard work is what made America strong in the past and could make the nation strong once again.
How Much Are We Spending on Undocumented Immigrants?
- The budget to care for just the undocumented children who cross the border illegally is $911 million for FY 2014.
- The budget for undocumented children in FY 2013: $376 million.
- More children are arriving from Guatemala [37%] and Honduras [30%] to be undocumented immigrants than Mexico [3%].
- About 3 out of every 4 undocumented children are between 14-18 years old.
- The average length of a stay in a UAC shelter for an undocumented child is 35 days.
- Apprehensions by the US Border Patrol are at their lowest numbers in almost 40 years.
- More expedited removals occurred in 2013 than in any other previous year.
- More undocumented immigrants were returned to their country of origin in 2013 than in any other year previous.
The trends in the United States are interesting. Fewer people are being apprehended at the borders, which means a majority of those being apprehended are already here, trying to be productive in some way. Sometimes that productivity is to commit a crime and deporting those who have that focus helps to protect a society. For those 55% who haven’t committed any other crime than crossing the border illegally, however, there should be other options than spending money to deport them. These people are in the key working age demographic, want to work hard, and have much to contribute. That has always been the epitome of what it means to be an American. Forgiving the act of an illegal border crossing may indeed make the US one of the strongest nations on the planet right now.