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Undocumented population rising in Texas


By Michael Barajas

Nationwide, the number of undocumented immigrants remained largely unchanged in 2010, holding steady at around 11.2 million, or about 3.7 percent of the entire U.S. population, according to a new study from the Pew Hispanic Center. However, Texas, according to the study, was one of the few states that saw an increase in undocumented immigrants in 2010. As it stands now, they make up 6.7 percent of Texas’ population, making it the state with the second largest population of undocumented immigrants, behind only California. The study, which culled its data from the Current Population Survey (a joint Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census survey), also points out how much of the workforce is made up of undocumented labor, both nationwide and in Texas. As of March 2010, there were about 1.1 million undocumented workers in Texas, comprising 9 percent of the state’s workforce. Undocumented labor makes up 5.2 percent of the entire nation’s workforce, according to the Pew study, the vast majority of those immigrants coming from Mexico. The study explained: “Because unauthorized immigrants are more likely than the overall population to be of working age, their share in a state’s workforce is substantially higher than their share of a state’s population.” While the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. peaked at 12 million in 2007, the nation experienced a significant drop-off in the following two years, down to 11.1 million in 2009. According to the study, those years marked the first significant reversal of a two-decade period of major growth, in which the undocumented immigrant population more than tripled. “The decline in the size of the unauthorized immigrant population from its peak in 2007 appears to be driven mainly by a decrease in the number of such immigrants from Mexico,” the report states. The Pew Hispanic Center also reported that undocumented Mexicans entering the U.S. fell sharply last year. Deportation is likely another culprit – removals have more than doubled over the past decade, and more than 70 percent of deportees in 2009 were Mexican. In 2010, the undocumented population also fell in several states, including Arizona, Utah and Nevada, the study shows.

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