The number of Mexicans illegally inside the United States now, for the first time, is no longer half of the total population of illegals inside the country, says a new report from Pew Research.

It’s because that population has dropped some two million from its peak in 2007, and now more Mexicans inside the U.S. without authorization are leaving than are coming in, the report said.

In 2017, there were 10.5 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S., including 4.9 million Mexicans, the report estimated.

“The number of Mexican unauthorized immigrants declined because more left the U.S. than arrived. Mexicans remain a much larger percentage of all unauthorized immigrants than those from any other birth country. But their 47 percent share of U.S. unauthorized immigrants in 2017 amounted to less than a majority for the first time since the beginning of a long era of growth in illegal immigration a half century ago.

“That rise began after passage of a major overhaul of immigration policy in 1965, which imposed the first limits on immigration from Western Hemisphere countries, including Mexico, and coincided with the end of the Bracero program that had allowed temporary farm workers from Mexico to work legally in the U.S.,” Pew reported.

“The number of Mexican unauthorized immigrants has fallen by two million since its peak of 6.9 million in 2007 and was lower in 2017 than in any year since 2001. Similarly, the number of apprehensions of Mexicans at the U.S. border also has fallen over the decade, a trend that began even earlier. In fact, apprehensions of non-Mexicans outnumbered those of Mexicans for the past three fiscal years, according to federal statistics,” the report said.

The declining number of Mexicans, however, was more than compensated for by higher numbers of illegal aliens from around the rest of the world.

In 2017, there were 5.5 million “non-Mexican unauthorized immigrants in 2017, compared with 5.3 million in 2007,” the report said.

There are several factors in the change, the report said.

“A growing share of U.S. unauthorized immigrants do not cross the border illegally, but probably arrive with legal visas and overstay their required departure date. These ‘likely overstays’ have made up a large majority of unauthorized immigrant arrivals since 2010,” the organization reported.

The report continued, “The number of unauthorized immigrants rose over the 2007-2017 decade from two birth regions: Asia and Central America. The numbers declined over the past decade from two others: South America and the combined regions of Europe and Canada. The decline was statistically significant among European-born unauthorized immigrants, but not among those from Canada.”

The report said five states had unauthorized immigrant populations grow from 2007 to 2017 and 12 where they declined. States with growth included Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Those with declines included five of the six states with the largest unauthorized immigrant populations: California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and New York (but not Texas, which had no statistically significant change). The other states with fewer unauthorized immigrants in 2017 than in 2007 were Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and Oregon, the report documented.


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