What We Know About Mexican Immigration

The number of unauthorized Mexican immigrants in the U.S. has fallen by 1 million since 2007 to 5.8 million.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made stopping unauthorized immigration from Mexico one of the main tenets of his presidency but though there are more undocumented immigrants from Mexico than anywhere else, the number has been falling since 2007, and border apprehensions now involve more non-Mexicans than Mexicans.

Trump has proposed building a wall across the portion of the U.S. border with Mexico that is not now fenced off, a project that could cost upwards of $20 billion, and pledged Mexico would pay for it, something Mexico has said it won’t do.

“We will soon begin the construction of a great, great wall along our southern border,” Trump said in his remarks to a joint session of Congress Tuesday. “As we speak tonight, we are removing gang members, drug dealers, and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our very innocent citizens. Bad ones are going out as I speak, and as I promised throughout the campaign.”

The Pew Research Center reported Thursday of the 11.7 million Mexican immigrants living in the United States in 2014, about half were in the country illegally. Mexican immigrants make up 28 percent of all U.S. immigrants, making them the largest group.

Pew said the number of undocumented Mexican immigrants has declined by 1 million since 2007 to 5.8 million but still constitute more than half of the estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States.

The number of Mexicans apprehended at the border last year totaled 192,969, down from 1.6 million in 2000. The number of non-Mexicans apprehended at the border totaled 222,847.

In 2015, 242,456 Mexicans were deported, up from 169,031 in 2005 when a shift in policy increased the chances of deportation. Before that, border agents would just return unauthorized immigrants without a deportation order.

The vast majority of unauthorized Mexican immigrants are long-term U.S. residents, 78 percent of whom had been in the United States for at least 10 years in 2014. Only 52 percent of other unauthorized immigrants had been in the U.S. for at least a decade as of 2014.

California has the largest number of unauthorized Mexican immigrants, 1.6 million in 2014.

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