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Immigration is a hot-button issue right now. With all the rhetoric in politics and on the news, it’s hard to find unfiltered information about immigration facts. We take a look at the numbers to offer a true picture of migration patterns, and the number of legal and unauthorized immigrants.
Immigration Facts: An Overview of the U.S. Population
The United States has always been a country of immigrants. From our earliest origins to mass migrations in the 1800s – 1900s, during which millions arrived through places like Ellis Island, men, and women (and their children), have always come seeking a better life.
According to Pew Research, 44.4 million people living in the U.S. today were born in another country. Immigrants now make up about 13.6% of the U.S. population. While the news about immigration facts focuses on particular regions, our immigrants come from almost every country in the world.
- About 70% of immigrants were legal residents
- Around 45% became naturalized citizens
- Permanent residents = 27%
- Temporary residents = 5%
Now, let’s look at our recent immigration trends, including where people are coming from and where they are settling within the U.S.
Overview of Lawful Permanent Residents
Lawful permanent residents are so-called “green cards” holders. They are legally allowed to live and work anywhere within the U.S. Many come here for college or because of job opportunities. Permanent residents are also free to apply to become U.S. citizens.
Here are pertinent immigration facts about the lawful permanent resident population from the Department of Homeland Security.
Lawful permanent residents by region of origin:
- Asia = 404,371
- Africa = 116,667
- Europe = 89,706
- South America = 75,595
- Caribbean = 64,749
- Central America = 52,907
Lawful permanent residents by country of origin:
- Mexico = 168,980
- China = 66,479
- Cuba = 64,749
- Dominican Republic = 58,384
- India = 57,155
- Philippines = 46,542
- Vietnam= 37,541
- El Salvador = 21,920
- Korea = 18,559
- Colombia = 16,341
- Ethiopia = 15,678
- UK =13,318
- Venezuela = 11,465
Top 4 states where lawful permanent residents have settled:
- California = 214,243
- New York = 139,409
- Florida = 127,609
- Texas = 110,126
In total, there are 1,127,168 lawful permanent residents from all countries.
An Overview of Unauthorized Immigration
Unauthorized immigrants are those who are not in the country legally. Pew Research found that about 27% of immigrants were unauthorized as of 2017. From 1990 – 2007, the number of unauthorized immigrants tripled, from 3.5 million to 12.2 million.
Top 10 states with unauthorized immigrant populations:
- California = 3,069,000
- Texas = 1,597,000
- New York = 940,000
- Florida = 656,000
- Illinois = 487,000
- Georgia = 351,000
- North Carolina = 321,000
- Virginia = 269,000
- Washington State = 229,000
- Colorado = 162,000
In total, there were an estimated 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. as of 2017.
An Overview of Deportation Statistics
Some unauthorized immigrants are eventually returned to their country of origin. In 2017, the total number of deportations was 100,754. The year before, 106,473 people were deported.
Breaking down the numbers, you can see the region of nationality for those who were returned to their countries.
Region of return:
- North America = 63,404 (includes Canada and Mexico/Central America)
- Asia = 21,444
- Europe = 9,079
- South America = 3,380
Return by individual country:
- Mexico = 39,842
- Canada = 18,538
- Philippines = 6,564
- China = 5,195
- India = 2,350
Learn more about immigration facts and how to protect your status in the U.S.
Protecting the Rights of Immigrants
U.S. Immigration Bonds help people who have been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We have helped thousands of families reunite and control their future, as they navigate the system.
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