- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Illegal immigration is holding steady at about 11.1 million unauthorized people in the U.S. as of 2014, according to the latest numbers from the Pew Research Center Tuesday that signaled Mexicans continue to drop, while Central Americans and Indians make up a greater percentage.

About the same number of new illegal immigrants arrive each year as return home, die, or gain legal status — a trend that’s held steady since 2009, when the unauthorized population stood at 11.3 million.

And those illegal immigrants who are already here, usually living without fear of deportation, are becoming ever more deeply entrenched. Pew said the median length of time in the U.S. is now nearly 14 years, while just a decade before it was eight years.

That could make it even tougher for a future president to oust them, since they’ve put down deeper roots — the kind of situation that even GOP nominee Donald Trump has said could earn some form of legal status.

For his part President Obama has set out rules that make longer-term illegal immigrants generally safe from deportation, saying he wants to instead focus on new arrivals.

“Unauthorized immigrants increasingly are likely to have been in the U.S. for 10 years or more,” Pew said in the new report.

Overall, illegal immigrants made up 3.5 percent of the U.S. population, and were a quarter of all immigrants in 2014. Combined, immigrants made up 13.6 percent of the U.S. population.

Pew derived its numbers from Census Bureau statistics.

Its estimate is in line with other recent calculations from the Center for Immigration Studies, which calculates a slightly higher number, and the Center for Migration Studies, whose latest estimate is slightly lower — just less than 11 million.

The Obama administration’s most recent count dates back more than 4 years, to January 2012.

Many voters feel the estimates are an undercount.

Last month Mr. Trump, who has tapped into distrust over the immigration issue to power his presidential campaign, said nobody knows the real figure for the unauthorized population, and said it could be as high as 30 million. There is no calculation to back up that figure, though one estimate from the early part of this century did say the number could be 20 million.

And the top federal deportation official, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana, last year testified to Congress that the number could be 15 million.



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