FACTBOX-Illegal immigration in the United States

Sat May 1, 2010 11:16am EDT

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May 1 (Reuters) - Thousands of Hispanic, religious and labor activists are expected to join May Day rallies in cities across the United States on Saturday, protesting Arizona's tough crackdown on illegal immigrants and urging President Barack Obama to overhaul federal immigration laws.

Here are some facts about illegal immigrants in the United States, together with details of the controversial Arizona state law, reform initiatives backed by Obama, and measures enacted by other states:

* There were an estimated 10.8 million illegal immigrants living in the United States on Jan. 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.

* Arizona, which borders Mexico, is the principal corridor for illegal immigrants entering the United States. The U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson sector has made an average of 650 arrests a day this year.

* President Obama backs a comprehensive overhaul of federal immigration laws. Any reform bill has a slim chance of passage in Congress this year. Obama has said lawmakers may not have the appetite to tackle it ahead of the November elections. But some Democrats fear delay could cause a backlash among Latino voters.

* Obama supports a system that allows undocumented immigrants in good standing to pay a fine, learn English and become citizens. He also backs tightening border security and clamping down on employers that hire undocumented workers.

* The last attempt to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, by his predecessor, President George W. Bush in 2007, was torpedoed by 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.

* Under Arizona's new law, state and local police officers are required 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 the first three months of this year, 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 Stacey Joyce)

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Comments (4)
5r13zenun wrote:
As an American-Hispanic citizen I do not totally agree with the rallies.

Porque los EE.UU. tiene que lidiar con un problema social Latino Americano creado por Latinoamericanos? Shakira recientemente hablo acerca de su temor por la ley en Arizona y sin embargo ella mantiene sus ganacias por conciertos en bancos Estadounidenses. Ademas, ella no dice nada acerca de los 20 millones de pobres en su pais (noticias de Colombia), ni invierte sus ganancias a largo plazo en la economia Colombiana. Los Estefan protestan por la situacion migratoria pero no dicen nada acerca de la situacion de los Cubanos que entran beneficiosamente a este pais como “asilados politicos.” De la misma manera, los Estefan no se manifestaron cuando se les nego a los miles de Colombianos en guerra civil el derecho al “asilo politico” que hasta el dia de hoy gozan los balseros Cubanos.

Existe un procedimiento legal para permitir el ingreso de inmigrantes a los EE.UU. Siguiendo ese proceso, inmigrantes con recursos intelectuales y economicos vendrian a trabajar a los EE.UU. sin ningun problema. Desafortunadamente, los pobres en Latino America no encuentran ayuda social ni oportunidades en sus paises y migran al norte con la bendicion de los ricachones Latino Americanos que mantienen sus fortunas en los EE.UU. y sus mansiones en Miami, Texas y Latinoamerica.

Los ciudadanos de EE.UU. que mantienen con sus impuestos nuestra infraestructura social tienen el derecho de decir BASTA. Pudientes de Latinoamerica inviertan en sus paises y en sus pobres!

Now, lets see the faces of all the protesters. One might see in the mix US business people used to exploit cheap labor and that are now are afraid of loosing that cheap source of income.

And please, to all the bashers that will follow, don’t envy me just because I am better educated.

May 01, 2010 11:54am EDT  --  Report as abuse
jollypants wrote:
The rallies are organized and funded by “professional protesters” such as unions. You will not see a single handwritten sign in the crowd. Notice how they got all the permits to rally with a SINGLE WEEK. Only the professionals are that organized. These rallies are nothing but a show. Fact is, 70% of Americans agree with Arizona that ILLEGAL immigration must be stopped.


May 01, 2010 12:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
colo000 wrote:
When you consider, our population is growing faster than it ever has, much faster in fact than the peek of the baby boom. Legal and illegal immigration is four times higher than it was before 1970. If this continues the U.S. population will hit half a billion in about 50 years. Immigration numbers simply must come down if we are going to have any reasonable quality of life in this country in the future.

Therefor, its actually NOT striking that a nation of immigrants would like to see lower immigration levels.

P.S. I am a Democrat and I voted for Obama, I just think the DNC and a lot of journalists are out of touch with reality on this issue. My source is the US Census Bureau.

May 01, 2010 12:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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