Shortly after the then candidate, Donald Trump, announced his presidential campaign, he suggested that the number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States would exceed 30 million. But a new study indicates that the number is much lower and shows a significant decline over more than ten years.
The study, published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, estimates 10.7 million undocumented immigrants in the United States in 2016, up from 12.2 million in 2007.
While Pew was analyzing new data from recent years, his researchers found that "it's not just the number of people who have decreased, but also that has changed these immigrant immigrants since 2007," said D'Vera Cohn , senior editor of Pew Research.
Estimates are derived from figures published by sources such as the Census Bureau, which counts foreign-born persons living in the United States, as well as other demographic data, including mortality rates and deaths. legal admissions at borders.
The report showed that the landscape of immigration was different from that described by many politicians:
In 2016, when President Barack Obama stepped down, the number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States was at its lowest level in a decade.
According to the most recent data available in 2016, the number of undocumented people in the United States rose from 12.2 million in 2007 to 10.7 million, a peak. The sharp decline was recorded mainly under the Obama administration and following the Great Recession. Deportations also increased sharply during this period.
"The recession and the collapse of the property market have certainly been important events that have lowered these numbers, but it is also possible that several other factors are important," Ms. Cohn said. "We know that border controls have been strengthened over this period as well and that smuggling costs have increased. And we also know that deportations have increased. "
In the midst of global economic and political changes, there are fewer undocumented Mexican migrants today and more Central Americans.
In 2016, there were 1.5 million unauthorized Mexicans living in the United States compared to 2007. Although they still make up the majority of illegal immigrants living in the United States, migration out of Mexico has slowed . Pew notes that, according to data from the Mexican government, "the majority cited family reunification as the main reason" for their return to Mexico.
And there has also been a sharp drop in the number of "newcomers" – immigrants who have entered the country in the last five years. "There has been an average of 386,000 unauthorized annual arrivals for the period 2011-2016, compared to 715,000 for the period 2002-2007. This equates to a drop of 46%, "according to the report. During this period, entry into the country became more difficult and, throughout the recession, jobs in construction and in other areas became scarce.
In contrast, the number of Central American migrants illegally living in the United States increased somewhat between 2007 and 2016, in a context of increased violence and economic uncertainty in the North Triangle region.
The vast majority of undocumented immigrants have been in the country for a decade or more.
The typical undocumented migrant living in the United States in 2016 had been here for about 15 years, compared to an average of nine years in 2007. The researchers found that two-thirds of undocumented immigrants had been living in the United States for more than two years . 10 years old.
"It's a much more ingrained and established population than in 2007," Ms. Cohn said. "There are significantly fewer short-term residents and more long-term residents."
One million undocumented immigrants are protected from deportation by the deferred action program for child arrivals and other mechanisms.
Pew estimates that about 700,000 people in the United States who were brought into the country without papers while they were children were protected from being deported by the DACA. An additional 300,000 people have temporary protection status, which is applied to migrants from countries like El Salvador and Haiti who have experienced natural disasters.
Visa overruns have become an increasingly important part of unauthorized migration.
Due to the limited amount of statistical data, it is difficult to account for the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States who are here because of the extension of the validity period of a visa. But these migrants seem to be increasingly an important part of illegal immigration as a whole.
"We do not have the exact numbers," said Ms. Cohn, "but from what we know, it appears that the majority of newcomers in 2016 are not unauthorized immigrants who have gone through undocumented, but people who arrived with a legal visa and exceeded their deadlines to leave. "
These immigrants, who generally have the means to legally enter the country but are not allowed to stay beyond a certain period, "probably make up most recent arrivals of unauthorized immigrants in 2016, "according to the report.