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Expand chart
Data: Pew Research Center and Migration Policy Institute; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has fallen or flattened after rapid growth in the late 1990s and early 2000s, according to estimates by think tanks like the Migration Policy Institute and Pew Research Center.

The big picture: The overall number is about 11 million. While the surge of Central Americans trying to cross the border has attracted recent headlines, there has been a steady decline in the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico.

  • These fluctuations mean the current influx and another in 2019 are more likely to change the demographic makeup of the undocumented population, rather than the overall number, MPI's research director Randy Capps told Axios.

Between the lines: In recent years, roughly two-thirds of new, unauthorized immigrants came to the U.S. legally but overstayed their visas — as opposed to crossing the border unlawfully, Capps said.

  • This is especially common among the rising number of unauthorized immigrants from Asian countries.

Of note: It's difficult to get an accurate count of the unauthorized immigrant population. Researchers can use slightly different models, which leads to the disparities seen in the chart above.

Go deeper

Harris to visit Mexico and Guatemala to address "root causes" of border crossings

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Harris said Wednesday she plans to visit Mexico and Guatemala "as soon as possible" in a diplomatic effort to address surging migration at the U.S.-Mexico border, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border has reached crisis levels. Harris, appointed by Biden as border czar, said she would be looking at the "root causes" that drive migration.

House passes $768 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House approved a $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2022 fiscal year in a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday.

Why it matters: The annual bill, which authorizes Pentagon spending levels and guides policy for the department, would require women to register for the military draft, among other provisions.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.