Facts on immigration in the United States
A section of the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border at Imperial Beach, California.
June 15th, 2012
11:14 AM ET

Facts on immigration in the United States

The Obama administration said Friday that it will stop deporting illegal immigrants younger than 30 if they were brought to the United States as children and meet certain other requirements. (See Department of Homeland Security's explanation of the new policy)

Below are a few facts about immigration in the United States:

- The number of illegal immigrants in the United States was estimated at 11.5 million in 2011, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

- The illegal immigrant population grew by 27% between 2000 and 2009, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

- Sixty-three percent of the illegal immigrant population (approximately 6.8 million) entered the United States before 2000. (DHS)

- Fifty-eight percent of the illegal immigrant population is from Mexico. (Pew)

- Twenty-four percent of illegal immigrants reside in California; 16% reside in Texas. (DHS)

And here are recent developments relating to immigration in the United States:

- 2008: The Department of Homeland Security apprehended 792,000 foreign nationals. Eighty-eight percent of those arrested were natives of Mexico. Immigration and Customs Enforcement apprehended 379,000 people. (DHS)

- 2008: The Department of Homeland Security removed 359,000 illegal immigrants from the United States. Of those, 69% were repatriated to Mexico; 8% were repatriated to Honduras; 7.7% were repatriated to Guatemala. (DHS)

- 2008: More than 810,000 illegal immigrants accepted offers to return to their home countries without being forcibly removed. (DHS)

- 2008: The Department of Homeland Security removed 97,100 criminals who were also illegal immigrants. Of those, 36% had been convicted of drug-related crimes. (DHS)

- 2009: The number of children born to at least one unauthorized-immigrant parent was 350,000. These made up 8% of all U.S. births. (Pew)

- 2010: The total number of unauthorized immigrants in the nation's labor force in United States is 8 million. They made up 5.2% of the labor force in 2010. (Pew)

- 2010: About 1.04 million people received legal permanent resident status. Of those, 139,120 were born in Mexico, 70,863 were born in China, and 58,173 were born in the Philippines (DHS).

- 2011: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed 396,906 illegal immigrants from the United States, the largest number in the agency's history. Of those, 216,698 (nearly 55%) had been convicted of felonies or misdemeanors. (ICE)

- April 23, 2012: The Pew Hispanic Center announced that net migration from Mexico to the United States had stopped and possibly even reversed. The center noted that from 2005 to 2010, about 1.4 million Mexicans immigrated to the United States, and about 1.4 million Mexican immigrants and their U.S.-born children moved from the United States to Mexico.

Related stories:

Immigration shift sparks reaction from both sides

Photos: Putting a face on the immigration debate

Time: Family photos of an undocumented immigrant

CNN Money: On the rise - immigrant entrepreneurs

CNN Money: I'm a successful entrepreneur but might get deported

WSB: Teen to file paperwork fighting deportation

Immigration lessons for the U.S. from around the world

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Filed under: Immigration
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Do it right

    Enforce the laws we have or change them. Not too many politicians are willing to put their political careers on the line to do that. But based on current status, where do we draw the line as too how much taxpayers have to absorb for an apparently increasing number of illegal immigrants coming into the U.S. and having children which they now have to pay for in various ways...will Obama's initiative only encourage more to come and add to this problem? I give him credit for at least stating his position during election time that we can all ponder when going to the polls.

    June 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. maureen

    omg why not across the board amnesty. We dont have jobs for people who were born here. yet we just let everyone come in and compete for jobs. this president is desperate

    June 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • jen58

      nobody is letting just anyone come on in - the policy is very specific...if you were taken to another country as a child and you lived there your entire life and just wanted to work and serve that country, i think you would think differently. These people were brought here as children, with no say whatsoever, this policy allows for them to have gotten a HS diploma or GED AND serve in the military before being allowed to stay - learn about the policy before you bash it. it's worth a lot more to get these people as productive and tax paying members of our society than to #1 do nothing, and #2 treat them as criminals who had no choice to come here in the first place.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • spikemanlou

      Hey Maureen, you want a job so you and your fellows nopublicans can quit your whining, then go out in the fields and pick fruits and vegetables. Yeah, I didn't think you would be willing to do that. Finally, this President has done something that your party of NO wouldn't, which is starting to work on the immigration issues. Your party is nothing but a bunch of whiners, what are you going to do IF Romney wins and wants to expand the White House so that he can house all of his sister wives. I'm sure you will cheer that.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • vickie

      This is pretty bad when illegals can stay in our country and recieve Social Security, Welfare and what ever else our goverment will give them and now they are going to let them stay. Shame on them. As you say we don't even have enough jobs for our AMERICAN people the ones that are from here let alone let them take over. It sickens me to know that we have to be afraid of loseing our jobs and then not getting any help. I went to the Welfare office with my niece when she needed help and all these illegals were in there and they got all the help they needed and my niece (who was born here) was denide. Now, so if they are taking the help needed for seniors, disabled and so on away what is this country coming to.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Are you commenting on the headline alone or did you take the time to actually read and understand what he is doing? Not a bad thing, actually shows some common sense and will probably save taxpayer money.

      June 15, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      i agree. we do not have jobs for Americans including our vets, but we have jobs for illegals.

      June 15, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ancient Texan

    Forecast: Next Friday's bombshell onnouncement will be that the president has determined that the nation no longer needs the legislative or judicial branches of government and that in the future the country will be run by the executive branch of government only, by presidential executive order.

    June 15, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • b4bigbang

      Getting rid of congress would make things run more efficiently......

      June 15, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kathy60

    We do not need to change any immigration laws that are already on the books – just ENFORCE them. If you are here illegally you should be deported! If we don't begin to go after these illegals and send them back our country is going to go broke. Why do you think our health care is in such bad shape (giving free medical services to illegals). Why do you think our schools are in such bad shape (because illegals are putting a burden on the system causing overcrowding). Why do you think medicare and social security are in such bad shape (again, illegals). They are here sucking us dry and it has to stop – NOW!!!

    June 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • b4bigbang

      Well then kathy, stop crying and join the Minutemen.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • virgo

      you don't understand how long it takes for legal immigration – 10-20 years minimum. The laws are biased, if you can research well before commenting stupid and biased opinions.

      June 16, 2012 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      @virgo, that is not our problem. The laws are here to protect the citizens, not immigrants. If they don't live it, then they need to reform there own country, not envade ours

      June 16, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • DREAM15

      I honestly don't have an issue with people wanting to immigrate and I believe as a country so rich we should share, however we should be able to determine who gains citizenship and who does not. It should not be a 'gimme' just because of geographical locality and somewhat easy access south of the border. I also really resent the idea that some of the illegal immigrants arriving demand rights once they are here and I have spoke to some who refuse to learn the language or become legal citizens as they pay loyalties from the country they came from. There is a huge abuse of the system, and in the event President Obama seems to have overlooked this, I find more and more of a bad taste in my mouth with this presidency.
      Furthermore as a descendant of grandparents who LEGALLY immigrated, what a slap in the face for any resident/citizen who immigrated legally to now watch the immigration policies and not find it a joke.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Beeg

      Kathy60, don't believe everything you hear on Faux News. Illegal immigrants have NEVER been able to receive either Medicare or Social Security, although most are required to pay into them. As for the schools, overcrowding is the result of years of cutting budgets and failure to build more schools, since no one wants to pay for them. Illegal immigrant children only make up a minuscule portion of the school population – a mere drop in a very big bucket.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. Doug from Seattle

    What is going to turn this country into a third world nation are the republican fiscal policies! There is no doubt in my mind that if the republicans take control of this country they will pass President Obama's job's bills. But, instead of paying for it by raising taxes on the rich, they will begin to dismantle social security, medicare, and medicaid. So kathy60, you won't have to worry about illegals getting these benefits because no one else will be getting them either!!!

    June 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ancient Texan

      Doug, it may come as a shock to you, but if Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is not reformed into something different than the present pyramid schemes, they will just eventually disappear without any protection for future retirees. There are too many baby boomers now retiring and fewer workers to carry the load in it's present form.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      I agree. Things get worse by the year for the middle and lower classes, but better and better for the elite. It is about time for the 300 million Americans need to wake up and read or declaration of independence and our const it ution. We are as slaves now, and no one cares. Or Owen laws state when a governing body issues a long string of grievances for the purpose of taking away rights, it is the responsibility to abolish that tyrannical body, and start anew. Corporate Americas has failed, the greed of our politicians has failed us. We need to rebel against this out right terany.

      June 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hope

    The 'Great Wall' between the land of opportunity and a stringent cast system where only the wealthy can afford an education, decent housing and medical care. The land of the free where justice is served, fairly, for the rich and poor. The nation that stands for liberty, the right to come and go as you please with no militias barring you from your friends and family... where only a judge has the power to issue a warrant to enter your home and do as they wish. Freedom of speech, religion and privacy. Who wouldn't dream of crossing that imaginary line... to become human and see future generations benefit from your sacrifice. That's what those pickets, weathered and worn from distinction mean to me.

    All men are created equal...
    Hope

    June 15, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hope

    Government and politics... aren't they both corrupt? They've been 'dipping' into those funds for years. Obama said our government was simply borrowing the funds from our retirement accounts to fund the stimulus package endorsed by the Bush Administration...

    We want our money back!

    Signed and delivered,
    The 99% of Americans who barely 'get by'. Wall Street, the flip side of the coin, overstating profits and holdings to hide the truth from their investers, securing financing to keep their doors open while the banks rip off the American 'dreamers' by financing houses based on future values in a failing economy. Darn it, any how!

    Signed,
    The Average Taxpayer Picking up the Tab
    😦

    June 15, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • phunk

      Go occupy my kitchen and make me dinner. I'm sooooooooo tired of the "crooked banksters" line. You have NO idea how much we make the world go around.

      June 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      If by we, you mean bankers, then ya i do. NOT AT ALL. Multinationalism is the downfall of America. Debt as currency is the downfall of civilization. We need to end the golden parachutes for croupt businessmen who are willingly and knowingly robbing or nation

      June 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hope

      Barefoot in your kitchen? I'd rather be barefoot in the park...

      June 17, 2012 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  8. Hope

    The short of it?

    We've invested our retirement into a nation who backs Wall Street, rather than its' citizens. Tilt... Game Over!

    🙂

    Happy Trails... Not!

    June 15, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barbara

      You must have a 2-digit IQ in low 80s.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. How soon we forget

    And they still are'nt the ones who built this country (Africans) are the reason. How dare you people give these blood suckers any kind of credit for breaking your laws move to SOCAL AND WE WILL SEE HOW MUCH YOU LIKE THEM THEN

    June 15, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • hm

      actually @ how soon we forget africans were NOT the only ones who built this country Europeans and Asians and yes even in the west Mexican immigrants who came here through el paso also contributed got it? last time i checked it wasnt africans who helped to build the railroads <..asians and europeans and had built up the north, also helped with the expansion of the west the only thing you guys helped with was the building of the south..i think you need to go to college and take a us history class EVERYONE of every race has contributed to this country so knock it off with your persecution complex not everyone is out to get you

      June 18, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. Hope

    My point?

    I don't blame people who flee from South of the border. I've seen, first-hand how they live.… but, we have our own problems.

    June 16, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
    • DREAM15

      I'm certain there are terrible conditions in such countries, however what about the people in Sudan, Syria or West Africa, they too, have unfathomable conditions they are struggling to survive in. Not all of the folks from south of the border are honorable or attempting to live a better life. There are some that have created bad situations there and only bring the problems here.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. virgo

    ..And what about legals who are here on work visa? they are not complaining.....they pay taxes too..... moreover they don't get social security despite paying social security taxes....Are US citizens taking their side? No....8-20 years for citizenship is madness....Immigration laws needs major reforms for all intelligent immigrants with advanced degrees who could be entrepreneurs generating jobs....world is attracting them...US will soon loose its edge and go further into economic depression...

    June 16, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. Shawn from PA

    Illegal immigration IS the migration into a country/state in VIOLATION of the immigration laws and sovereignty of that country/state. That mean their breaking the law of the United States of America by living here as an illegal immigrant. If an American was to commit a crime the hammer of justice would come crashing down on that person. But these illegal immigrants they get the red carpet treatment. Wake up goverment your suppose to help the american people not screwing us over.

    June 16, 2012 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. Shaun

    It's funny how American's VACATION or VISIT(as a science project) in most of the places immigrants are trying to run away from like Jamaica, Vietnam, China, etc. All of this is just ridiculous. Pretty soon people are going to want to get out of America because our country really has the most poverty and needs the most help.

    June 17, 2012 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. Polli

    I believe your data is very wrong, there are millions of illegals that have entered Texas since 2000. AMny of these are probably emplyed ont eh road construction crews which are instruments of he big unions that actually traverse both countries....a bad seed. Most illegasl are from Mexico...at an astounding number of 87%-I have no idea where your numbers come from CNN but they are wrong.

    June 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Polli

    We should not let Obama back into the country after he goes to the UN meeting in Mexcio.......

    June 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • DREAM15

      I certainly am hoping we have a good presidential candidate we are able to vote for in upcoming elections. There is just SOOOO much about President Obama and his policies and the policies he altered that makes me want for Change!

      June 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
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