There are 11 million illegal immigrants living in US. They are laboring in American fields, construction and restaurants, illegal immigrants are also swelling American classrooms, detention centers and courts. In the public's mind, they are mostly Mexican and crossed the southwestern border in secret.
In the eyes of their advocates, they are families and workers, taking tough jobs, staying out of trouble who remain in US to get better lives for themselves and their children. The New York Times reports that at the White House, illegal immigrants are seen as criminals who have broken US laws.
President Trump has proposed building a wall along the southern border. But a high percentage of the unauthorized immigrants are not Mexican; almost a quarter are not even Hispanic.
Important Statistics on Illegal Immigrants
After Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, the largest source of illegal immigrants is China, with an estimated 268,000. China is one of 23 countries that do not cooperate with deportations. The illegals tend to be younger, about a decade younger than American-born adults.
About 60 percent of the unauthorized population has been in US for at least a decade. A third of undocumented immigrants 15 and older lives with at least one child who is a US citizen by birth. Slightly more than 30 percent own homes.
The Migration Policy Institute has estimated that 820,000 of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants have been convicted of a crime. About 300,000 have committed felonies. Immigration agents regularly arrest what the US government calls criminal aliens.
About 1.8 million undocumented immigrants worked under a number that did not match their real name. It is estimated that 416,500 people whose business or tourist visas had expired in 2015 were still living in US in 2016. It does not count people who came to US on student visas or temporary worker permits.
Nearly 409,000 migrants were caught trying to cross the United States' southwestern border illegally in the 2016 fiscal year. This is an increase of 23 percent over the previous year.