Feb 5, 2019 - Politics & Policy

The share of unauthorized immigrants in border states is falling

Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios
Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The share of state populations made up of unauthorized immigrants fell in every state bordering Mexico, except Texas, between 2007 and 2016, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

Why it matters: While President Trump draws attention to an "invasion" of illegal immigrants and the need for a border wall, the share of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. is falling.

By the numbers:

  • Of the states with the highest percentage of unauthorized immigrants, the only one that saw an increase was Maryland.
  • Unauthorized immigrants do not make up the majority share of immigrants in any state, according to Pew. They make up a quarter of the foreign-born population overall in the U.S.
  • They do contribute to the economy, making up between 5 and 10% of the labor force in the five states with the largest share of unauthorized immigrants.
  • And industries such as construction and agriculture tend to have the highest shares of unauthorized immigrant employees, according to the study.
  • Mexicans make up about half of the national unauthorized immigrant population, but much smaller shares in states along the East Coast.
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