[FoRK] U.S. Undocumented Immigrant Numbers Surge

Adam L Beberg beberg at mithral.com
Mon Mar 21 12:46:33 PST 2005

So when we start having bloody battles over fresh water, bird flu kills
10M or so, and the housing bubble/dollar collapses putting unemployment
into the 20%+ range, THEN will they kick them all out?

Not that I mind having to order food in Spanish or get the wrong
thing... Oh wait, I don't speak Spanish... good thing I can cook :)

Adam L. Beberg


U.S. Undocumented Immigrant Numbers Surge

6 minutes ago

By GENARO C. ARMAS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The nation's undocumented immigrant population surged to
10.3 million last year, spurred largely by the arrivals of unauthorized
Mexicans in the United States, according to a report released Monday.

Related Links
•    Immigrant Population Report (Pew Hispanic Center)

The population of undocumented residents in the United States increased
by about 23 percent from 8.4 million in the four-year period ending last
March, according to the analysis of government data by the Pew Hispanic
Center, a private research group.

That equates to a net increase of roughly 485,000 per year between 2000
and 2004. The estimate was derived by subtracting the number of
unauthorized immigrants who leave the United States, die or acquire
legal status from the number of new undocumented immigrants who arrive
each year.

The prospect of better job opportunities in the United States in the
United States than in their native countries remains a powerful lure for
many immigrants, said Pew center director Roberto Suro, pointing to a
reason often cited by other researchers.

"The border has been the focus of federal efforts (to cut illegal entry)
and has not produced a reduction in flow. Certainly that's an indication
of ongoing demand," he said.

The population is growing at a similar pace as in the late 1990s even
though the U.S. economy today isn't as robust, Suro said.

Assuming the flow of undocumented immigrants into the country hasn't
abated since March 2004, the population is likely near 11 million now.

The report considered "undocumented" immigrants primarily as those here
illegally, those in the United States on expired visas, or those who
violated the terms of their admission in other ways.

Also included are a small percentage of immigrants who may have legal
authorization to be in the United States, including those with temporary
protected status and those seeking asylum.

Mexicans by far remain the largest group of undocumented migrants at 5.9
million, or about 57 percent of the March 2004 estimate. Some 2.5
million others, or 24 percent, are from other Latin American countries.

Overall, the U.S. foreign-born population, regardless of legal status,
was 35.7 million last year. Those of Mexican descent again comprised the
largest group — more than 11 million, or 32 percent.

Controlling the flow of immigrants over the porous U.S.-Mexico border
will be a central topic of discussion when Mexican President Vicente Fox
(news - web sites) meets with President Bush (news - web sites) in Texas
on Wednesday.

The number of U.S. residents with Mexican backgrounds has increased by
nearly 600,000 annually since 2000, with more than 80 percent of the new
arrivals here without proper documentation, the Pew center estimated.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites) and other
government officials have raised concerns about border security amid
recent intelligence that al-Qaida terrorists have considered using the
Southwest border to infiltrate the United States.

Bush, meanwhile, has also promoted a guest-worker program that would
allow migrants to work in the United States for a limited time as long
as they have a job lined up.

Critics of the plan argue that such workers drive down wages because
they often work for lower pay and fewer benefits that native-born residents.

"The best way to approach this is attrition by enforcement — better
enforcement of the borders and of work sites," said Steve Camorata of
the private Center for Immigration Studies.

The Pew report found undocumented immigrants increasingly fanning out
beyond longtime destination for foreign-born residents. In 1990, 88
percent of the undocumented population lived in six states — California,
New York, Texas, Illinois, Florida and New Jersey.

By 2004, those states accounted for 61 percent of the nation's
undocumented population. The top state is California, where nearly
one-quarter of the undocumented reside, followed by Texas (14 percent)
and Florida (9 percent).

Next on the list were New York (7 percent), Arizona (5 percent),
Illinois (4 percent), New Jersey (4 percent), and North Carolina (3

Arizona and North Carolina are two of the fastest-growing states in the
nation overall and have metropolitan areas booming with new
construction, restaurants and service-oriented businesses — job sectors
that often hire undocumented workers.

More information about the FoRK mailing list