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Estimates of the Undocumented Immigrant Population Residing in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, more than 11.4 million undocumented immigrants were living in the U.S. as of January 2012. Reports say that more than half of the undocumented immigrants entered into the country in 2000 or later and more than 59 percent of them were Mexicans.

Undocumented immigrants are not only those who got into the country illegally but also those who came here as non-immigrants and overstayed their temporary visas. The undocumented immigrant population does not include legal residents. It only includes foreign-born non U.S. citizens who are not legal residents or U.S. citizens.

Country of birth of the undocumented immigrant population as of January 2012: Guide to Obama's Immigration Executive Action!

Country of birth

Estimated population in January 2012

Percent

Mexico

6,720,000

59

El Salvador

690,000

6

Guatemala

560,000

5

Honduras

360,000

3

Philippines

310,000

3

India

260,000

2

Korea

230,000

2

China

210,000

2

Ecuador

170,000

2

Vietnam

160,000

1

Other countries

1,760,000

15

Total

11,430,000

100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State of residence of the undocumented immigrant population as of January 2012:

State of residence Estimates population in January 2012 Percent
California

2,820,000

25

Texas

1,830,000

16

Florida

730,000

6

New York

580,000

5

Illinois

540,000

5

New Jersey

430,000

4

Georgia

400,000

3

North Carolina

360,000

3

Arizona

350,000

3

Washington

270,000

2

Other states

3,110,000

27

Total

11,430,000

100

 

As of 2012, there were 11.4 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and the number of such immigrants living here is climbing steadily. Now, there are likely to be around 12 million undocumented immigrants. President Obama’s executive immigration reform plan is expected to benefit more than four million unauthorized immigrants living here. Migration Policy Institute (MPI) says that a total of 5.2 million undocumented immigrants will benefit from Obama’s existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the newly announced Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program.

Not all the undocumented youth eligible for the existing DACA program applied for it. That is because many did not want to self-identify themselves as undocumented and did not want to put their undocumented family members into trouble by signing up for the program. Some were not aware of the program and some did not apply because of the temporary nature of the program.

Similar to the DACA program, not all those who are eligible for legal status under Obama’s new program will apply for it. Some may not apply due to lack of information about the program and due to the program’s temporary nature. Some may not be able to afford the application costs. At the same time, some may wait for the U.S. Congress to come up with a permanent comprehensive reform bill that would grant them permanent and not temporary legal status.

However, legal status granted under the President’s DACA and the DAPA programs will be valid for three years. Beneficiaries of these programs also will become eligible for work authorization that will help them to legally work here for three years. They can also renew their legal status and work permits at the end of the three year period. These new programs will give the undocumented immigrants eligible for these programs a chance to come out of the shadows and live here legally.

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