Number of Central American illegals in the US climbs

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (June 12, 2019) — The number of Mexican illegalls in the U.S. may have declined, but the number of illegals from Central Americans is increasing — from 1.5 million in 2007 to 1.9 million in 2017, according to an estimate by the Pew Research Center Wednesday.

The numbers reflect the conundrum the U.S. is facing at the southern border: The number of Central American illegals crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is rising dramatically, and they are not easily returned over the border — unlike in previous years, when the majority of the border crossers were single men from Mexico.

Curbing immigration is President Donald Trump's signature political issue, but the refusal of Democrats to support his effort has actually resulted in an increase in illegals.

There were about 4.9 million Mexicans in the U.S. illegally in 2017, down 2 million from 2007. The decrease was the major driver in bringing down the overall population of immigrants in the country illegally. In 2017 it was about 10.5 million — the lowest since 2004. The research group found the peak was in 2007 at about 12.2 million. Previously, Mexican nationals made up most of that population. Now, it's a combination, with Central America having the second-largest, and Asia following with 1.4 million.

Mexicans made up 55 percent of an estimated 12 million people in the U.S. illegally in January 2015, according to the latest Department of Homeland Security data, compared with 55 percent of an estimated 11.6 million people five years earlier.

Guatemalans and Hondurans have overtaken Mexicans as the top nationalities of people arrested on the U.S. border with Mexico for illegally entering the country. From October to May, Guatemalans accounted for 36% of 593,507 Border Patrol arrests on the Mexican border, Hondurans made up 30% and Mexicans accounted for only 18%.

China's presence among the 10 countries whose citizens have entered the United States legally and overstayed their visas is testament to how Asians make up a growing percentage of the population in the U.S. illegally. Visa overstays account for an estimated 40% of people in the country illegally.

Five states had increases in the number of people there illegally: Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Dakota and South Dakota.

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