Factbox: Illegal immigration in the United States

Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:04pm EDT

Related Topics

(Reuters) - An Arizona immigration law that requires police in the U.S. state bordering Mexico to determine whether people are in the country illegally if there is "reasonable suspicion," has stirred a national furor and pushed immigration to the forefront of U.S. politics.

Here are some facts about illegal immigrants in the United States, together with some of the policy initiatives by federal and state governments to address immigration:

* There were an estimated 10.8 million illegal immigrants living in the United States on January 1, 2009.

* Most were from Latin America, with some 6.7 million from Mexico and 1.33 million from Central American nations El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

* Arizona had a total population of 6.6 million in 2009, including an estimated 460,000 undocumented immigrants.

* The state is the principal corridor for illegal immigrants entering the United States from Mexico. The U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson sector has made an average of 650 arrests a day so far this year. Phoenix police reported 357 extortion-related abductions in 2007 targeting people with ties to Mexican smuggling rings.

* President Barack Obama backs a comprehensive overhaul of federal immigration laws. Any reform is seen as unlikely to pass Congress this year and Obama has said lawmakers may not have the appetite to tackle it before the November congressional elections. Some Democrats fear delay could cause a backlash among Latino voters.

* Obama supports a system that allows illegal immigrants who have otherwise obeyed U.S. law to pay a fine, learn English and become citizens; as well as tightening border security and clamping down on employers that hire undocumented workers.

* The last attempt to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, by Obama's predecessor, President George W. Bush, in 2007, was torpedoed by Bush's fellow Republicans in Congress.

* Arizona's law is the toughest but by no means the only immigration-related measure passed by U.S. states, which traditionally leave border security to the federal government.

* It requires state and local police officers to arrest those unable to provide documentation proving they are in the country legally. It also makes it a crime to transport someone who is an illegal immigrant and to hire day laborers off the street.

* In just the first three months of 2010, more than 1,180 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees were introduced in state legislatures across the country. Of those bills, 71 laws were enacted and 87 resolutions adopted in 25 states.

Sources: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Census Bureau and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Peter Cooney)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (66)
HernandezUSA wrote:
Americans are sick and tired of illegals taking advantage of our nation.

This isn’t about immigrants – Americans want LEGAL immigrants.

This isn’t about RACE – Americans and LEGAL immigrants are of all RACES.

This is about a laws, culture and language being respected.

Our leaders have tried Amnesty 19 x in the past and results – more and more and more illegals rushing the borders and demanding and demanding we change our laws, culture and language to fit them.

Enough is Enough! Americans demand enforcement of immigration laws and protection of our jobs!

Apr 30, 2010 10:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Quark wrote:
Now if they are illegal how do they know how many are here. If so many are working under the table, not paying SSI, etc. how do thye know. The truth is that’s a number they threw out there. I have talke to a number of border patrol agents and they tell me the number is wrong and about double what is being reported based on their number of apprehensions and the number they know get through on an annual basis. I tend to believe these people rather than our government officials and day of the week.

Apr 30, 2010 10:41am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Warof2010 wrote:
Our Southwest Border

STOP THE INVASION

In the last 23 years, since the 1986, Reagan, one-time amnesty,
over 27 million illegals have been apprehended,
as they crossed the border into our United States.

UNITED STATES BORDER APPREHENSIONS
(Source DHS/CBP)
1987–1,190,488——1995–1,394,554——2003—-931,557
1988–1,008,145——1996–1,649,986——2004–1,160,395
1989—-954,243——1997–1,412,953——2005–1,189,075
1990–1,169,939——1998–1,555,776——2006–1,089,902
1991–1,197,875——1999–1,579,010——2007—-876,704
1992–1,258,482——2000–1,676,438——2008—-723,825
1993–1,327,259——2001–1,266,213——2009—-556,041
1994–1,094,717——2002—-955,310——2010—-beg. 10/01/09

UNFORTUNATELY, far less than half of illegals are apprehended at the border.

Apr 30, 2010 10:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.