“A Portrait of Unauthorized (“illegal”) Immigrants in the United States” Pew Research


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Today the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of Pew Research Center, just released a 52 page report entitled “A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States.”

Before providing some of their data I need to state my opposition to their constant use of the word “unauthorized” immigrants which we know to be “illegal” immigrants.

I will not count the number of references to the use of the word “unauthorized” which we first see in their title. “Unauthorized” (immigrants) is also the first word of their Executive Summary.

What do they mean by that “spin” as they try to desensitize us to accepting the 11,400,000 to 12,400,000 currently in this country “illegally” based on their data as found in Table 1? As we all expected, the state of California is listed first with the largest number of  illegals at 2,700,000 which is virtually double the total of Texas which has the next highest population. As president Obama intends to promote his concept of a solution for resolving this debate let’s not get cute with definitions.

Under the topic heading “About this Report” it reads. “These unauthorized immigrants consist of residents of the United States who are not U.S. citizens, who do not hold current permanent resident visas or who have not been granted permission under a set of specific authorized temporary statuses for longer-term residence and work. The vast majority of undocumented immigrants either entered the country without valid documents or arrived with valid visas but stayed past their visa expiration date or otherwise violated the terms of their admission.”

Some of their major findings in the report include:

“Adult unauthorized immigration are disproportionately likely to be poorly educated. Among unauthorized immigrants ages 25-64, 47% have less than a high school education. By contrast, only 8% of U.S. -born residents ages 25-64 have not graduated from high school.

An analysis of college entrance finds that unauthorized immigrants ages 18 to 24 who have graduated from high school, half (49%) are in college or have attended college. The co parable figure for U.S. born-residents is 71%.

The 2007 median household income of unauthorized immigrants was $36,000, well below the $50,000 median household income for U.S.-born residents. In contrast to other immigrants, undocumented immigrants do not attain markedly higher incomes the longer they live in the United states.

A third of the children of unauthorized immigrants and a fifth of adult unauthorized immigrants live in poverty. This is nearly double the poverty rate for children of U.S.-born parents (18%) or for U.S.-born adults (10%).

More than half of adult unauthorized immigrants (59%) had no health insurance during all of 2007. Among their children, nearly half of those who are unauthorized immigrants (45%) were uninsured and 25% of those who were born in the U.S. were uninsured.”
Following is part of the introduction after which I have included the link to the 52 page report.

A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States
By Jeffrey S. Passel, Senior Demographer, Pew Hispanic Center, and D’Vera Cohn, Senior Writer, Pew Research Center

“Based on March 2008 data collected by the Census Bureau, the Center estimates that unauthorized immigrants are 4% of the nation’s population and account for 5.4% of its workforce. Their children, both those who are unauthorized immigrants themselves and those who are U.S. citizens, make up 6.8% of the students enrolled in the nation’s elementary and secondary schools.

About three-quarters (76%) of the nation’s unauthorized immigrants are Hispanic. The majority of undocumented immigrants (59%) are from Mexico. Significant regional sources of unauthorized immigrants include Asia (11%), Central America (11%), South America (7%), the Caribbean (4%) and the Middle East (less than 2%).

These estimates are based mainly on data from March Current Population Surveys, conducted by the Census Bureau, through 2008, augmented with legal status assignments and adjusted to compensate for undercount; some estimates are from the 1990 and 2000 Censuses. For more details, see the report’s Methodology appendix.”

The Pew Research report link is found here: http://pewhispanic.org/


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