Friday, February 12, 2010

Illegal Immigration Declining

Homeland Security estimates show a decrease in 'unauthorized immigrants'

By Jim Fogarty
Epoch Times Staff

The U.S.-Mexico border fence. A Department of Homeland Security report estimates the number of illegal immigrants continues decline for a second year. (David McNew/Getty Images)
The number of illegal immigrants living in the United States has declined for the second year in a row, according to a recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report. The economic downturn appears to be the reason for the drop.

The report, prepared by DHS's Office of Immigration Statistics, estimated the number of “unauthorized immigrants” in the United States as of January, 2009. The report concluded that there were 10.7 million illegal immigrants in the United States, down from 11.6 million in 2008.

The trend of decline started in the 2008 report, with the number dropping slightly from a 2007 total of 11.78 million—a peak year over the last decade.

The 2009 total is still above DHS estimates for years 2000 and 2005, which come in at 8.46 and 10.49 million unauthorized immigrants, respectively.

The largest percentage of 2009 undocumented aliens —61 percent or 6.6 million—were between the ages of 25 and 44 years old; 58 percent of these are male.

The report's statistics were generated by using a method called “residual” methodology, where the number of legal immigrants is subtracted from the total of foreign-born U.S. residents.

The foreign-born estimates were obtained through the use of the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) sampling data, with a 10 percent error margin for “persons who should have been counted in a survey or census, but were not.”

The bulk of illegal immigrants in 2009 continue to come from Mexico, making up 62 percent—or 6.65 million—of the total number of undocumented immigrants. This total is a 5.4 percent decrease from 2008 statistics, which estimated the number of Mexicans without papers at 7.03 million.

The number of unauthorized immigrants from some Central American countries actually rose in 2009, with an 11.6 percent increase from Guatemala and a 6.7 percent increase from Honduras, compared with the report's 2008 totals.

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