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Most Unauthorized Immigrants In U.S. Are Long-term Residents

Of the estimated 10.2 million adult unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S., 6.4 million of them have resided here since at least 2000, according to a new study from the Pew Hispanic Center.

While the percentage of long-term, unauthorized immigrants in the country has grown, the percentage of new arrivals — those who have lived here for less than five years — has fallen by half since 2000, to just 15 percent, according to the study.

“The number of immigrants arriving in the U.S., particularly from Mexico, has actually dropped over the last few years,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center.

He says the drop is likely due to decreased job opportunities and, possibly, increased enforcement along the border.

The Pew report comes on the heels of a feisty debate over immigration reform among Republican presidential candidates. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was rebuked for saying he supports a path to legalization for unauthorized immigrants who have been in the country for a long time and have family and community ties.

The Pew study was based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s March 2010 Current Population Survey, and a survey conducted last year by the Pew Hispanic Center.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | December 1, 2011 at 9:01 p.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago


Ms. Replogle, how dare you report on facts.

Don't you know the San Diego Union Tribune, hysterical local news stations like channels 8 and 10, the local Republican Party, and hate groups like the Minutemen are all in sync on a campaign to portray the majority of illegal immigrants as sleazy criminals who come here to rape and pillage then take their bounty back to Mexico?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 2, 2011 at 12:51 p.m. ― 5 years, 3 months ago

This may be due more to stricter post September 11th enforcement. The harsher the punitive measures, the more difficult to go back and forth. Specialists since Manuel Gamio in the 1920s to Wayne Cornelius in the late 70s, to Douglas Massey today, have pointed out in the studies, the transient nature of immigration flows. Most of this is do to the fact that they seek seasonal employment, whether in agriculture or the hotel industry. This is a fact lost on both sides of the issue.

Also the very fact that they send remitences tells you what? Their "nest egg" ISN'T in the United States. So take a sigh of relief, Nativists, you are not being "overrun."

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | December 6, 2011 at 9:27 a.m. ― 5 years, 3 months ago

Many choose to remain in the U.S. because they believe Mexico will not change. Change is something natural, but actions need to be consistent for positive change. Mexicans need to demand from its government changes to ensure job growth, security, and a way of life they can be proud of.

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Avatar for user 'astrofan'

astrofan | December 6, 2011 at 10:48 a.m. ― 5 years, 3 months ago

I'm not sure why this is suppose to be a surprise. Our government doesn't enforce our immigration laws. And the state with the largest population of illegal aliens, California, does everything they can to protect them.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | December 6, 2011 at 11:50 a.m. ― 5 years, 3 months ago

The fact that the current federal government has deported more illegal aliens than any other administration in our history directly refutes claims that "our government doesn't enforce our immigration laws." Even a casual glance at the border refutes any notion that our borders are not being policed. Those claims are just reflexive bigotry and/or ethnic dissociative responses. One thing I never hear our resident Mexico "experts" comment about is the billions and billions of dollars in social security coffers which Mexicans left behind in the US when they returned to Mexico after decades of paying into the fund. (Millions of Mexicans and other Latinamericans returned to their native countries after long employment runs in the US.) Also, I wasn't aware of the sales tax waiver for illegal immigrants at our stores. Don't they pay CA sales taxes like the rest of us? Astrofan and David65, please enlighten us.

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Avatar for user 'jenjen'

jenjen | December 6, 2011 at 3:46 p.m. ― 5 years, 3 months ago

DeLaRick, I think David65 is actually right. It would really be in everyone's interest if Mexico could move forward and develop a healthier economy. Better for us, but mostly better for Mexicans. That's not in any way the same statement Astrofan is making.

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