In a tweet in Spanish, Democrat Hillary Clinton appeared to counter claims about the number of illegal aliens living in the United States. On her Twitter feed appeared the following message in Spanish: “No vamos a construir una muralla y deportar a 16 millones de personas. No va a suceder.” Translated, it means: We are not going to build a wall and deport 16 million people. It’s not going to happen. 
 
With her figure of 16 million, Clinton surpassed the estimate provided by the nonprofit Pew research organization. Since 2000, the number of illegal aliens stood at approximately 7 million, according to DHS. However, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the 2000 population of illegal aliens at about 8.7 million residents. By 2005, the DHS estimate rose to 10.76 million and by 2007 it rose to 11.78 million. In 2010 the DHS estimate of the illegal alien population was 10.79 million.
Another Pew estimate put the number of illegal aliens at 10.8 million increasing to 11.96 million from 2005 on 2008, before falling to 11.2 million in 2010.
 
The Federation for American Information estimate for 2007 was 13 million. FAIR -- a nonprofit which seeks to reform immigration --  is that the official estimate of the illegal alien population is understated because it excludes recently arrived illegal aliens and illegal aliens that have been given a temporary reprieve from deportation in the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program.
 
Other sources put the figure all over the map. In a 2001 issue of Demography, researchers estimated the total immigrants at  the August 2001 issue of Demography, immigration researchers estimated the current total population of illegal immigrants at 7.1 million, of whom 3.9 million were Mexicans. That year, a demographer at the Urban Institute estimated the illegal immigrant population at 8.5 million. 4.5 million of them are Mexican.
 
However, in 2005, the Bear-Stearns investment firm said the illegal immigrant population "...may be as high as 20 million people." Thus, Hillary Clinton’s estimate is higher than that published by the Department of Homeland Security and various nongovernmental organizations. Clinton was confronted earlier this year by an audience member during a rally in the primary campaign who asked what she thought about securing the border. She answered, “I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in, and I do think that you have to control your borders.”
 
The exact number of illegal aliens may be impossible to determine. The Federation on American Immigration Reform estimates come from taking the foreign-born population from census records, then subtracting the number of legal immigrants. Almost two-thirds of undocumented immigrants are believed to have been in the U.S. for more than 10 years. Six states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois, harbor 60% of them. They are more likely than native-born residents to be part of a nuclear family — 47 percent of illegal immigrant households consist of couples with at least one child, compared with 21 percent of non-immigrant households. 
 
Mexicans account for 52% of the illegal aliens in the country in 2014, a figure that is dropping. The republics of Central America also contribute a considerable number. But it is India that is providing the greatest growth among illegal alien communities. 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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