The number of illegal immigrants from Mexico is down, while the number from Central America and Asia is increasing, according to a new Pew Research study.
Overall there has been a slight decline in the total number of illegal immigrants living in the U.S, with the number in 2015 falling below the total at the end of the recession for the first time. The number dipped from 11.3 million in 2009, the last year of the recession, to 11 million in 2015. The figure includes those who enter the country illegally as well as those who overstay visas.
Some critics have challenged the total number in recent years, saying it’s probably far above 11 million. However, the Pew Research Center notes that some illegal immigrants are deported, others leave voluntarily or convert to legal status, and some die.
The total number is still more than triple the size of the illegal immigrant population in 1990, when it was about 3.5 million, according to the Pew Research Center. It rose dramatically to 12.2 million in 2007 before dipping during the recession.
Long the largest group among illegal immigrants, Mexicans now represent a lesser share of the overall illegal immigrant population than they once did. Their numbers peaked at 6.9 million, or 57 percent of the total, in 2007, dropping to 5.6. million, 51 percent of the total, in 2015.
Since President Trump was elected in November, there have been numerous reports of fewer attempted illegal border crossings at the border with Mexico, a result of Trump’s tough talk and actions on immigration enforcement. In its news release on its recent study, the Pew Research Center cites U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics showing that the number of apprehensions at the Southwest border fell in January, February and March after rising last spring and fall, during former President Obama’s last year in office.
Pew Research studies are based on data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and Current Population Survey.