The issue of undocumented workers took center stage in the U.S. presidential election, raising questions about how many immigrants are working unlawfully here.
The answer, according to a recent CBS news story, is not as many as in 2008.
The story drew on research published this year by the Pew Research Center, which looked at data from the U.S. Census Bureau. It estimated there were about 8 million undocumented workers in 2014.
The figure was down from about 8.3 million in 2008, which was at the height of the recession and 8.1 million the following year in 2009.
male hand pressing immigration key button over blue abstract background
At the same time, the size of the American labor force comprised of people born in the United States or immigrants who are entitled to work, grew by 2.2 percent.
Undocumented workers are making up a smaller share of America’s labor force than in 2009.
Where Are Undocumented Workers Coming From?
The survey also provides some information about the source of the unauthorized workers.
The number of undocumented workers from Mexico has decreased in recent years. However, Mexicans still make up the largest share of unauthorized workers.
U.S. Census Bureau figures state about 5.85 million unauthorized immigrants are from Mexico. El Salvador is the second largest source of undocumented workers. About 700,000 were born in the Central American country.
Over the last five years, there has been a steady increase in unauthorized immigrants coming from Guatemala, China, and Canada.
Pew found the number of unauthorized workers rose in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, while it fell in South Carolina, Georgia, and California.
Unauthorized workers are most likely to work as drywall installers and agricultural workers.
Other professions that employ high numbers of unauthorized workers are roofing and construction, carpet installers, maids and housekeepers.
It is prohibited for undocumented immigrants to seek employment, although undocumented workers can be self-employed. Recently, the Los Angeles Times reported on how thousands of undocumented immigrants are their own bosses.
If you are undocumented, making a living can be a major problem and you are likely to be living in constant fear of potential deportation. Our Austin immigration attorneys may be able to help you. Read about our success stories here.
If you or a loved one is facing an immigration dilemma, call us at (512) 399-2311.