Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Increased enforcement of immigration laws - combined with a weak economy - have changed the landscape of the country's undocumented population.
The U.S. deported a record 396,906 people in fiscal year 2011, according to figures released Tuesday. That's about 4,000 more people deported than in the previous year.
Deportations have increased steadily under the Obama administration, and a larger percentage of deportees are convicted criminals. At the same time, the estimated number of unauthorized immigrants in the country has declined.
Experts say the weak economy is largely responsible for the latter, but beefed up enforcement has also made an impact.
Hans Johnson, a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, said the effect is a very different undocumented immigrant population than in recent decades.
“The unauthorized immigrants who are here are more likely to have resided here for some time," Johnson said. "So in many cases, that means they’re more settled. More likely, for example, to have children who are born here. More likely to have job connections and networks.”
The Pew Hispanic Center estimates the undocumented population in the U.S. to be 11 million. That’s down from a peak of 12 million in 2007.