by Mary Tuma
A Pew Study finds the undocumented immigrant population could be on the rise. Courtesy image.
From 1990 to 2002, the total number of undocumented Texans has quadrupled, according to Pew. Representing 15 percent, or 1.75 million, of those living without citizenship documentation in the U.S., the state trails only California as home to the largest percentage of undocumented immigrants.
“The kind of overreaching factor here affecting the size of the unauthorized immigrant population seems to be economic,” co-author Jeffrey Passal told the Current. “How that translates to Texas? The state looks like it’s doing better economically than the whole country. The impact of the Recession on Texas wasn’t as big, so the economy there is doing well enough to attract the unauthorized immigrants.”
"And by and large, unlike legal immigrants, they come for jobs," said Passal.
While Gov. Rick Perry and Texas officials tout the state's job growth numbers on one hand while opting to tighten border security, the Center for Immigration Studies estimate that from 2007-2011, nearly 40 percent of those jobs went to undocumented immigrants.
Overall, while the country as a whole saw lower undocumented populations during the Recession era, those numbers may be reversing, the report finds.
Breaking a decades-steady trend, the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. fell from 12.2 million in 2007 to 11.3 million in 2009. In March 2012, 11.7 unauthorized immigrants were living in the U.S., according to preliminary Pew research based on government data. Undocumented immigrants comprised 28 percent of total U.S. immigration in 2012.
After 2007, there was a drop in undocumented immigrants originating from Mexico, but since 2010 that trend seems to have halted, the report notes. In 2012, the population accounted for roughly 6 million of those living in the U.S.– a 900,000 dip from 2007.
Incorporating information from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) for 2005 to 2011, the analysis is an initial report to be fleshed out with more detailed estimates later.