Much of the debate about immigration during the current presidential race appears to be focused on the number of both legal and illegal immigrants originating in Mexico. The Pew Research Center offered in a July 23 article several sets of facts about illegal immigration to the United States from its southern neighbor.
In 2014, for the first time in history, more non-Mexicans than Mexican nationals were detained along U.S. borders. Pew found that in the 2014 fiscal year, 229,178 Mexican nationals were apprehended at U.S. borders, thereby representing a drop from the peak of 1.6 million arrested in 2000. According to Pew, this decline reflects the drop in number of unauthorized Mexicans coming into the U.S.
The number of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. illegally has declined, from 5.9 million unauthorized immigrants from Mexico in 2012 to approximately 1 million from 2007. However, Mexican nationals constitute a slight majority (52% in 2012) of unauthorized immigrants. Illegal immigration has leveled off in recent years. According to Pew, the net migration from Mexico likely reached zero in 2010, and thus means that more Mexicans have left the U.S. than have arrived.
The deportation of Mexicans reached a peak of 314,904 in 2013, having risen from 169,031 in 2005. Pew says that this is because of shift in Federal policy that has increased the likelihood of deportation following apprehension in the border region, instead of just being sent back without an order of removal.
Mexican unauthorized immigrants are more likely than unauthorized immigrants overall to work in the construction industry and less likely to work in services. Among Mexican unauthorized immigrants ages 16 and older who were employed in 2012, 19% worked in construction and 13% worked in a wide range of businesses like legal services, landscaping and car washes. By comparison, among unauthorized immigrant workers overall, 16% worked in construction and 22% in services.
Pew also found that illegal immigrants from Mexico make up at least 75% of the total unauthorized immigrant population in 10 states: New Mexico (89%), Arizona (84%), Idaho (83%), Wyoming (82%), Colorado (78%), Oklahoma (76%), Wisconsin (76%), Kansas (75%), Oregon (75%) and Texas (75%). However, half of these states witnessed a decline in the unauthorized immigrant population from 2009 to 2012. Among all states, California saw the largest decline in the number of unauthorized immigrants (90,000) during this time period. California is home to 1.6 million unauthorized immigrants from Mexico, the most in the nation.
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