Washington (AP) - After a dropoff during the recession, illegal immigrants seeking to sneak across the
A new study released Tuesday finds the number of illegal immigrants living in the
The number of illegal immigrants in the
States posting some of the biggest declines in the number of illegal immigrants since 2007 included
In contrast, illegal immigration was on the rise in
Jeffrey S. Passel, a senior demographer at Pew who co-wrote the report, said it was difficult to discern whether the latest numbers were a sign that illegal immigration was back on the upswing. But he noted that over the last two decades, illegal immigration in the
"It's still expensive and dangerous to sneak across the border, and the likelihood of being able to find a job in the U.S. is not very good. But things are still better here than in
According to the Pew study, the number of illegal immigrants has risen from roughly 8.4 million estimated in 2000. After the
Currently, illegal immigrants make up roughly 4 percent of the
Steve A. Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, a
"There's no reason for these numbers to go down," Camarota said. "Our legal policy remains very permissive, and we're not enforcing the law."
Other Pew findings:
-Mexicans make up the majority of the illegal immigrant population at 58 percent, or 6.5 million. They are followed by people from other Latin American countries at 23 percent, or 2.6 million;
-The states with the highest percentage of illegal immigrants were
-About 350,000 newborns last year had at least one illegal immigrant parent, representing 8 percent of all births. That share is largely unchanged from 2009.
The Pew analysis is based on the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey through March 2010. Because the Census Bureau does not ask people about their immigration status, the estimate on illegal immigrants is derived largely by subtracting the estimated legal immigrant population from the total foreign-born population. It is a method that has been used by the government and Pew for many years and is generally accepted.