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The number of immigrants in the US illegally in 2016 fell to the lowest level in more than a decade

The number of immigrants in the U.S. illegally has declined to its lowest level in more than a decade, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The Pew Research Center estimates that 10.7 million immigrants lacked legal status in 2016, down from 11 million a year earlier and from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007 before the U.S. economy slumped.

The latest figure is the lowest since 2004, the report said.

After rising steadily from 1990-2007, the number of immigrants in the country illegally has declined over the past decade, according to Pew Research Center 

The decline stems largely from a drop in the number of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to 5.5 million in 2016 from nearly 7 million in 2007. Some returned to their country to reunite with family, while others were deported.

During the same period, the number of immigrants from Central America without legal status increased to nearly 1.9 million from 1.5 million.

Now, the nation’s current population of immigrants in the country illegally includes fewer new arrivals than it did 10 years ago. 

Two-thirds of adults who live in the country illegally have been in the U.S. for more than 10 years.  

The report comes as the Trump administration has cracked down on immigration and bolstered security on the Southwest border, where thousands of Central American families have arrived to seek asylum.

As the number of immigrants in the country illegally declined, so too has fallen the number of unauthorized workers – and their share of the overall U.S. workforce. 

In addition, an increasing number of these immigrants live in households with U.S.-born children – 43 percent in 2016 compared to 32 percent in 2007.

The Pew report is based on U.S. Census Bureau data. It also noted an increase in the number of immigrants without legal status from India and Venezuela and a decrease in those from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Korea and Peru.

Overall, immigrants without legal status are less likely to be recent arrivals, said D’Vera Cohn, who co-authored the report.

The report also notes that the number of legal immigrants grew to 34.4 million from 28.3 million over the nine-year period, and that more than half of the country’s legal immigrants in 2016 were naturalized U.S. citizens.


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