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April 17, 2014 - No. 44

Movement in the United States in Defence of Migrant Rights

National Day of Action to
Stop Deportations

Atlanta, Georgia, April 5, 2014 (S. Eberhardt)

Movement in the United States in Defence of Migrant Rights
National Day of Action to Stop Deportations
Hunger Strikers Demand End to Deportations - Voice of Revolution
Children of Deportees Orphaned in U.S.
Border Agents Kill with Impunity
The Rise of Federal Convictions for Immigration Issues - Michael T. Light, Mark Hugo Lopez and Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Pew Research Center

For Your Information
Recent Immigration Statistics
Executive Summary: Immigrants in the United States A Profile of America's Foreign-Born Population - Steven A. Camarota, Center for Immigration Studies

Movement in the United States in Defence of Migrant Rights

National Day of Action to Stop Deportations

Newport, Oregon, April 5, 2014

Activists in the U.S. held a National Day of Action to Stop Deportations on April 5, with many immigrant rights, anti-war and labor organizations participating. More than 70 actions were held in cities and towns across the country. The protesters targeted U.S. President Barack Obama, now known as Deporter-in-Chief for the two million people deported in his six years in office -- far more than any other president. Millions more family members, many of them children, are impacted by this brutal attack on immigrant workers.

Des Moines, Iowa

The U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization points out that, "The deportations are part of the growing use of force and violence against the people in an effort to both terrorize and divide the working class. Immigrants are being criminalized, with many detained for minor infractions like traffic tickets and many others deported despite living and working in the country for years and being guilty of no crime. The increase in deportations and continued militarization of the border indicate that U.S. rulers have no solutions to the problems facing the people -- including imperialist-imposed poverty and wars, a main source for migration. They are showing themselves unfit to rule, as their only response to problems is more and more use of force and repression.

"The actions are calling for an end to deportations, demanding Not One More! 2Million2Many! These are part of the stand of the people that no human being is illegal and all have rights. The many local activities occurring as part of the protest include demonstrations, vigils, forums, workshops, meetings and more in every region of the country, including: Washington, DC; Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia; Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island; Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin; Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah; California, Oregon, and Washington State."

People from all walks of life took part in the actions. Some walking many miles to detention centres, which are purposely placed outside cities to make it more difficult to visit them and organize. Others demonstrated at local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices, city halls and police departments, calling on local governments and police not to join in enforcing the unjust federal immigration laws.

Bridgewater Detention Center, Illinois (top); Etowah County Detention Center, Alabama

In Washington, DC, families and undocumented immigrants opposing deportations and refusing to remain silent about the suffering imposed on them began a daily presence in Lafayette Square, right across from the White House. They are demanding that Obama take action to stop deportations and detentions. Many have friends and relatives being unjustly and indefinitely detained, blocked from a court hearing although they have committed no crime or only small misdemeanours. These organizers refuse to wait for legislation and demand that Obama use the discretion ICE and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have to stop deportations and instead act to protect the rights of immigrants.

Top: New Orleans, Lousiana; bottom: demonstration at the White House.

The actions show how the discretionary powers are used to serve reactionary interests to the detriment of what used to be a civil society. For example, when it comes to Cubans, special executive regulations have been formulated so that any Cuban reaching the U.S. automatically gets to remain and receive preferential treatment. Others the U.S. has brought into the country also see discretion used, such as former U.S.-backed contras from Nicaragua, or those responsible for crimes in Chile or Vietnam. When it comes to protecting reactionary, often criminal pro-U.S. forces, deportation is not imposed. When it comes to workers and their families and those fighting for rights, force and violence are imposed.

Voice of Revolution, a publication of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization states, "Deportations are used as a weapon, to terrorize, humiliate and divide. The detention camps and border militarization are also used to justify a massive increase in policing agents to be used against the people. Customs and Border Protection and the Border Patrol, with roughly 43,000 agents and officers, now constitute the country's largest enforcement body. They are commonly not held accountable for their arbitrary actions, including killings of unarmed teenagers at the border, racial profiling and going to schools to grab parents 'suspected' of being undocumented, while leaving the children behind and alone.

"It is the actions of the government that are criminal and inhumane and the broad organizing taking place contributes to the security and well-being of the people."

Charlotte, North Carolina

(Photos: Immigrant Information Response Team, League of Latin American Citizens Council 307, Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice, T. Jill, Popular Resistance, J. Vasquez)

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Hunger Strikers Demand End to Deportations

Immigrants being held at privately run detention camps went on hunger strikes in March to demand an end to deportations and just treatment for those detained. In Tacoma, Washington, at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) run by GEO Group, more than 1,000 people went on hunger strike, with some remaining on strike more than two weeks. One sustained his efforts for 25 days, despite being placed in solitary confinement.

The people being detained took up their strike after an action in February by immigrant rights organizers to stop the NWDC buses carrying those being deported. The action prevented 120 deportations that day.

Those inside took up the fight against deportations with their hunger strike, and also demanded justice for those being detained, often indefinitely. Many people were detained after being stopped for minor infractions, but not yet found guilty. One person, for example, was stopped for "suspicion of driving under the influence," with the charges dropped as he was not the one driving. Even so, he has been indefinitely detained. Many of those detained in what are basically concentration camps have been living and working in the country for many years, and have families that include U.S. citizens.

The hunger strikers are also standing up for their dignity as human beings, demanding and end to overcrowding in the cells, better medical care, food with nutrition in it, and lower commissary and calling prices. Families of those detained report that the "pods" where groups of people are kept can have 48 people in one pod, with only two toilets for everyone. Others report that those with infected and open wounds were given only painkillers -- nothing to clean or disinfect their wounds.

As word of the strike spread, there were support actions and petitions by immigrant rights organizations and many others, joining in the call to End Deportations Now! Not One More! Families of those detained have played a major role in defending and promoting their actions, and demanding that President Obama act now to end deportations.

Conroe Texas Strike

After the NWDC strike continued for 11 days, 120 people at the Conroe Texas detention center, near Houston, also went on hunger strike. Those in Tacoma sent their support and both forces raised similar demands. Both made ending deportations central, along with demands for just treatment and better conditions inside the detention camps.

The Joe Corley Detention Center in Conroe is also run by GEO group, notorious for its rotten conditions and numerous violations.

Those in Texas are also contending with retaliation by ICE, with several strikers being placed in solitary confinement. ICE is demanding that the strikers sign voluntary deportation papers. Officials at the detention camp continue to claim there is no strike, even though lawyers and family members have confirmed the strike. Family members and supporters have demonstrated outside the facility and Houston will be joining April 5 actions to demand an end to deportations and defend the rights of those held in detention.

Strikers and their supporters at the two facilities and from across the country bring out that federal law currently requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to meet a daily quota of about 34,000 detention beds -- or it will not receive funding. In addition, federal law requires certain categories of people to be indefinitely detained, with very high or no bail, until their case can be heard. Some have remained in these privately run, for-profit concentration camps for more than a year and longer without going to court. Others are detained after having served time for minor infractions, as ICE places a hold on them and then puts them in detention -- a practice known as double jeopardy, which is illegal.

The federal programs like "Secure Communities" and others, along with the bed quota and mandatory detention, have contributed to massive numbers of immigrants being deported and/or being held in detention. The federal government is handing the private prison monopolies like GEO billions every year for immigration detention.

As well, with the criminalization of immigrants, more than 50 percent of all federal felony convictions are now for immigration violations. These violations had long been civil, not criminal violations, often dealt with using only a fine. But now, for example, anyone who has been deported and is then found to be back in the country is given a felony conviction -- even if they have done nothing criminal and are returning to reunite their families. The effort to have people sign "voluntary" deportation papers is precisely so they can then be charged with a felony on returning.

The many who participated in the hunger strikes, their families and many more rights activists from across the country joined the April 5 demonstrations which took place in dozens of cities and towns across the country.

(Voice of Revolution, April 4, 2014)

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Children of Deportees Orphaned in U.S.

A December 2012 item from Colorlines.com, reported that the U.S. government "conducted more than 200,000 deportations of parents who said their children are U.S. citizens in a timespan of just over two years [...]. The figures represent the longest view to date of the scale of parental deportation.

Atlanta, Georgia

"Between July 1, 2010, and Sept. 31, 2012, nearly 23 percent of all deportations-or, 204,810 deportations-were issued for parents with citizen children, according to federal data unearthed through a Freedom of Information Act request.

"Because some people may have been deported more than once in the time period, the data represents total deportations conducted, not the number of individuals removed from the country. However, experts say that the total number of deportations of parents may be higher because some mothers and fathers fear telling authorities that they have kids. An additional group of parents whose kids are not U.S. citizens are not reflected in the numbers.


"The new data includes all deported mothers and fathers who reported having U.S.-citizen kids since July 1, 2010, including those in the previously reported six-month period. Rates of parental deportation have remained more or less level since the government began collecting the data [in 2010], and annually, more than 90,000 parents with U.S.-citizen kids are removed from the United States.

"[... A] disturbing number of children are separated from their families for significant stretches of time, and some permanently. A Colorlines.com investigation released in November 2011 estimated that there were at least 5,100 children in foster care who faced significant barriers to reunifying with their detained and deported parents. We projected that if deportation and child welfare policies remained unchanged, another 15,000 kids could face a similar fate over the three years between 2012 and 2014."

A March 19 item from Al Jazeera states: "Some 5 million children in the U.S. have at least one undocumented parent, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. As the Obama administration has ordered a record number of deportations, the proportion of deportees reporting that they are parents has also increased. [...]

"Deported parents can petition the family court to grant a reunification plan, a costly and lengthy court-supervised process coordinated by child welfare officials in the U.S. and their Mexican counterparts that often involves parenting classes, substance abuse classes, therapy, drug testing and an economic study to prove that she can provide for her U.S.-born children in Mexico.

"Time, if not distance, is now the obstacle. Federal law requires states to pursue termination of parental rights if the parent has been absent for 15 out of 22 consecutive months, and some states allow proceedings to begin even sooner. California, however, passed a law that gives detained and deported immigrant parents additional time to reunite with their families."

(Colorlines.com, Al Jazeera, University of Texas, OPB; Photo: S. Eberhardt)

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Border Agents Kill with Impunity

Protest in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, against the killings of Mexican youth by the U.S. Border Patrol, October 2012.
(Nogales International)

Posted below are excerpts from a December 17, 2013 item by Bob Ortega and Rob O'Dell, published in The Arizona Republic about U.S. border patrol agents are rarely held to account for killings of those attempting to covertly enter the U.S.



An Arizona Republic investigation has found Border Patrol agents who use deadly force face few, if any, public repercussions, even in cases in which the justification for the shooting seems dubious.

Since 2005, on-duty Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers have killed at least 42 people, including at least 13 Americans.

These deaths, all but four of which occurred along or near the southwest border, vary from strongly justifiable to highly questionable. CBP officials say agents who use excessive force are disciplined. But they will not say who, when, or what discipline, with the exception of a short administrative leave. In none of the 42 deaths is any agent or officer publicly known to have faced consequences -- not from the Border Patrol, not from Customs and Border Protection [CBP] or Homeland Security, not from the Department of Justice, and not, ultimately, from criminal or civil courts.

Internal discipline is a black hole. There have been no publicly disclosed repercussions -- even when, as has happened at least three times, agents shot unarmed teenagers in the back.

That appearance of a lack of accountability has been fed by a culture of secrecy about agents' use of deadly force.

CBP leaders refuse to release their policies, calling them law-enforcement sensitive. They will not disclose the names of agents who use deadly force. They will not say, in any instance, whether deadly force was justified. The lack of transparency goes against the "best practices" that national police organizations recommend for dealing with deadly-force incidents.

The Republic found the vast majority of Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers respond to conflict with restraint. Even when facing potentially deadly force, most agents and officers do not turn to their firearms. But agents who killed mostly did so under circumstances virtually identical to hundreds of encounters that other agents resolved without lethal force and without serious injuries to either side.

In the last four years, rock-throwing incidents accounted for eight of the 24 instances in which agents killed people. The Border Patrol considers rocks deadly weapons that justify lethal force, even though it is rare for agents to be injured in "rockings," as they call them, and even though, as agents' reports showed, several less-lethal long-distance weapons are highly effective against rock-throwers, The Republic found.

The vast majority of rockings take place in a few, well-known, mostly urban spots along the border. But the Border Patrol does not require agents working in those areas to carry or use less-lethal alternatives.

And when agents use deadly force, investigations by CBP and the FBI can take years to be released, yet can be perfunctory, and are typically opaque.

The Republic reviewed nearly 1,600 use-of-force cases by the Border Patrol and CBP between 2010 and May 2012 -- some 12,000 pages of documents that it took the agency nearly a year to release. The Republic also examined many other documents relating to use-of-force deaths and use of firearms by agents since 2005. (CBP includes both Border Patrol agents, who work between ports of entry, and Customs and Border Protection officers, who work at ports of entry.)

The investigation offers the most comprehensive look to date into the use of force by CBP and the Border Patrol, which, with roughly 43,000 agents and officers, comprise the country's largest law-enforcement body.

Border Patrol agents do face dangers. Of the 22 who died in the line of duty in the last nine years, most died in vehicle or training accidents. Four died in direct conflicts with aggressors -- including one case in which Border Patrol agents fired on one another.

Of the 42 use-of-force fatalities, some -- such as the five cases in which agents shot and killed people who fired at them first -- provoked little dispute.

But in nine of the 24 use-of-force deaths since 2010, agents' accounts were contradicted by other witnesses or by other law-enforcement officers. In three cases, widely distributed videos conflicted with agents' reports of what happened.

In reviewing these incidents, The Republic filed more than 120 Freedom of Information Act and public-records requests (and many appeals) with six federal departments or agencies and seven states.

Often, records were heavily redacted and incomplete. For example, The Republic documented, through other sources, four deaths at the hands of agents that were not included in CBP's nearly 1,600 use-of-force incident reports. In many reports, the information is so incomplete that it is impossible to determine what happened. [...]

Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher insisted agents will continue to use deadly force against rock throwers, because rocks are potentially deadly weapons. [...]

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The Rise of Federal Convictions
for Immigration Issues

(As part of its criminalization of immigrants, since 2005 Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have stopped allowing voluntary returns of undocumented individuals it stops, without penalties or criminal convictions. Entry and re-entry for work or reuniting families were civil matters and did not involve convictions of any kind. Now the federal government is charging those returning, or stopped for a second time, with "unlawful re-entry," which has been made a federal felony crime. In addition, for the many people being detained, often without having committed any crime but instead being racially profiled, or stopped for traffic violations, the government demands that they accept deportation or face indefinite detention. Then when these immigrants, many long-time workers in the U.S., attempt to return to their families, they are charged with "unlawful re-entry" and sentenced to prison.

As a result of this criminalization of undocumented immigrants, there has been a huge rise in federal convictions, as the following data brings out. As an organizer to stop deportations and detentions brings out, "At a time when the President says he will review his deportation policies, he'll also need to revise the extent to which immigration itself has been criminalized. The administration says it is targeting criminals but uses a sleight of hand to reclassify most immigrants with that label. People who are coming back to the only home they've known or the place they've settled with their family are treated as priorities for removal simply because they've had their families and their lives divided.")


Dramatic growth over the past two decades in the number of offenders sentenced in federal courts has been driven primarily by enforcement of a particular immigration offense -- unlawful reentry into the United States -- according to an analysis of data from the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) by the Pew Research Center.

Between 1992 and 2012, the number of offenders sentenced in federal courts more than doubled, rising from 36,564 cases to 75,867. At the same time, the number of unlawful reentry convictions increased 28-fold, from 690 cases in 1992 to 19,463 in 2012. The increase in unlawful reentry convictions alone -accounts for nearly half (48%) of the growth in the total number of offenders sentenced in federal courts over the period. By contrast, the second fastest growing type of conviction -- for drug offenses -- accounted for 22% of the growth.

Immigrants charged with unlawful reentry -- now a federal crime -- have entered or attempted to enter the U.S. [without documentation] more than once. They may also have attempted to reenter the U.S. after having been officially deported. Many of those charged with unlawful reentry were apprehended at the U.S. border by the U.S. Border Patrol (Rosenblum, 2013).

As unlawful reentry convictions increased, the demographic composition of sentenced offenders changed (Lopez and Light 2009). In 1992, Latinos made up 23% of sentenced offenders; by 2012, that share had grown to 48%. Over the same period, the share of offenders who did not hold U.S. citizenship increased from 22% to 46%. Among federal sentenced offenders in 1992, 12% were unauthorized immigrants. By 2012, that share had increased to 40%.

Nearly all of those sentenced for unlawful reentry in federal courts received a prison sentence. On average, the sentence length for these offenders was about two years. As the number of offenders sentenced in federal courts for unlawful reentry increased, so too did the number of immigration offenders incarcerated in federal prisons. Between 1998 and 2010 alone, growth in the number of immigration offenders accounted for 56% of the increase in federal prison admissions (Mallik-Kane, Parthasarathy and Adams, 2012).

The data for this report comes from the USSC and covers all federal felony and misdemeanor cases between 1992 and 2012 for which the offense category is known and the offender is sentenced in federal courts.4 These data include all criminal immigration offenses sentenced under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, but do not include civil immigration charges that are heard before U.S. immigration courts.5

More Convictions, Fewer Voluntary Returns

Unlawful reentry convictions in federal courts are part of a broader stepped up enforcement effort from the U.S. Border Patrol begun in 2005.6 Prior to this change, immigrants -apprehended at the border were largely allowed to voluntarily return to Mexico -- without any penalty.

Since 2005, however, the Border Patrol has reduced voluntary returns for immigrants it apprehends, while increasing the use of other strategies. These include criminally charging immigrants apprehended at the border with unlawful reentry and increasing the use of expedited removals (which do not require a judicial review). And for those immigrants who are apprehended at the border and removed, the Border Patrol has used remote repatriation as an additional strategy, sending deported immigrants to border ports many miles away from where they were apprehended, or, in the case of Mexican nationals, repatriating immigrants into the interior of Mexico (Rosenblum, 2013). [...]

Operation Streamline

Many immigrants convicted in federal courts of unlawful reentry in recent years were processed under a Border Patrol program called "Operation Streamline." This program, implemented in five Border Patrol Southwest sectors in conjunction with federal courts and attorneys, allows up to 40 unauthorized immigrants charged with unlawful reentry to be prosecuted at the same time. This program alone has accounted for nearly half (45%) of all federal immigration-related prosecutions in Southwest border districts between 2005 and 2012 (Rosenblum, 2013). [That is, the judge involved does not examine each individual case and decide it on its merits, as is necessary for due process and equality before the law. Rather, decisions about groups of 40 people are made, with lawyers having to defend all forty in what is often just a few minutes before the judge. -- TML Ed. Note]

Border enforcement efforts have increased even as the number of apprehensions at U.S. borders declined. Between 2005 and 2011, the number of border apprehensions fell by more than half, from 1.2 million to 340,000.

Since 2011, though, border apprehensions have begun to rise again, reaching 421,000 in 2013. Much of the recent increase is among non-Mexican immigrants (Passel, Cohn and Gonzalez-Barrera, 2013).

The federal government has deported nearly 400,000 unauthorized immigrants a year since the start of the Obama administration. [...]

Criminalization of Immigrants

The rising number of convictions for unlawful reentry has altered the offense composition of federal offenders. In 2012, immigration offenses -- of which unlawful reentry is the largest category -- represented 30% of offenders, up from 5% in 1992.

Unlawful reentry cases alone accounted for 26% of sentenced federal offenders -- second only to drug offenses in 2012. This is up 13-fold since 1992, when offenders sentenced for unlawful reentry made up just 2% of sentenced offenders. These trends match the population growth in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system. [...]

Among unauthorized immigrants sentenced in federal courts in 2012, 68% were convicted of "unlawfully entering or remaining in the United States," 19% were sentenced for drug offenses, 7% were sentenced for other immigration related offenses and the remainder (6%) were sentenced for other crimes.

In 2012, 74% of all unlawful reentry cases were sentenced in just five of the nation's 94 U.S. district courts. All five were located along the U.S.-Mexico border: the Southern and Western Districts of Texas, the District of Arizona, the District of New Mexico, and the Southern District of California. [...]

Non-U.S. citizens sentenced in federal courts were more likely to receive a prison sentence than U.S. citizens -- 97% versus 86%.

Unauthorized immigrants were somewhat more likely to be incarcerated after conviction than immigrants who were in the U.S. legally -- 98% versus 91%.

Hispanic offenders are more likely than non-Hispanic offenders to receive a prison sentence in 2012 -- 97% versus 87%.

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For Your Information

Recent Immigration Statistics

Percent of U.S. foreign-born population 27%
Total U.S. population that live outside their country of birth 189 million
Percent of first generation U.S. born Mexicans that speak English proficiently 80%
Percent of first generation U.S. born that speak English proficiently 88%
Percent of second generation U.S. born Mexicans that speak proficient English 92%
Percent of second generation U.S. born that speak proficient English 96%
Percent of 3rd generation Mexicans who speak only English 77%
Percent of 3rd generation who speak only English 92%
Total percentage of immigrant children that are U.S. citizens 75%
Total number of illegal immigrants employed in the U.S. 7.7 million

Top Ten Foreign Countries – Foreign Born Population Among U.S. Immigrants
Country New Immigrants Per Year Total U.S. Population
Mexico 175,900 9,600,000
China 50,900 1,900,000
Philippines 47,800 1,700,000
India 59,300 1,610,000
Vietnam 33,700 1,200,000
Cuba 14,800 1,100,000
El Salvador 33,500 1,100,000
Dominican Republic 24,900 941,000
Canada 24,200 920,000
Korea 17,900 880,000
Total For Top 10 498,900 21,741,000
Total Foreign Born 940,000 40,500,000

(Statistics Brain; Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Immigration Worldwide, Yahoo News; Date Verified: 12.27.2013)

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Immigrants in the United States --
A Profile of America's Foreign-Born Population

Executive Summary

The Center for Immigration Studies, founded in 1985, is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization in Washington, D.C., that examines and critiques the impact of immigration on the United States. It provides a variety of services for policymakers, journalists, and academics, including an e-mail news service, a Backgrounder series, and other publications, congressional testimony, and public briefings.

Using the latest Census Bureau data from 2010 and 2011, this paper provides a detailed picture of the more than 50 million immigrants (legal and illegal) and their U.S.-born children (under 18) in the United States by country of birth, state, and legal status. One of the most important findings is that immigration has dramatically increased the size of the nation's low-income population; however, there is great variation among immigrants by sending country and region. Moreover, many immigrants make significant progress the longer they live in the country. But even with this progress, immigrants who have been in the United States for 20 years are much more likely to live in poverty, lack health insurance, and access the welfare system than are native-born Americans. The large share of immigrants arriving as adults with relatively little education partly explains this phenomenon.

Overall Numbers

• The number of immigrants (legal and illegal) in the country hit a new record of 40 million in 2010, a 28 percent increase over the total in 2000. See Table 2, p. 15.

• Of top sending countries, the largest percentage increase in the last decade was for those from Honduras (85 percent), India (74 percent), Guatemala (73 percent), Peru (54 percent), El Salvador (49 percent), Ecuador (48 percent), and China (43 percent). See Table 5, p. 18.

Labor Force

In March of 2011, the share of working-age (18 to 65) immigrants holding a job was the same as natives -- 68 percent. Immigrant men have higher rates of work than native-born men, while immigrant women have lower rates. See Table 8, p. 24.

While immigrants tend to be concentrated in certain jobs, natives comprise the majority of workers in virtually every occupational category. For example, natives comprise 52 percent of maids, 73 percent of janitors, 66 percent of construction laborers, and 65 percent of butchers and meat processors. Table 9, p. 25.


• In 2010, 23 percent of immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) lived in poverty, compared to 13.5 percent of natives and their children. Immigrants and their children accounted for one-fourth of all persons in poverty. See Table 10, p. 27.

• The children of immigrants account for one-third of all children in poverty. See p. 26.

• Among the top sending countries, poverty is highest for immigrants and their young children from Mexico (35 percent), Honduras (34 percent), and Guatemala (31 percent); and lowest for those from Germany (7 percent), India (6 percent), and the Philippines (6 percent). See Table 10, p. 27.

Welfare Use

• In 2010, 36 percent of immigrant-headed households used at least one major welfare program (primarily food assistance and Medicaid) compared to 23 percent of native households. See Table 12, p. 30.

• Among the top sending countries, welfare use is highest for households headed by immigrants from Mexico (57 percent), Guatemala (55 percent), and the Dominican Republic (54 percent); and lowest for those from Canada (13 percent), Germany (10 percent), and the United Kingdom (6 percent). See Table 12, p. 30.

Health Insurance Coverage

• In 2010, 29 percent of immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) lacked health insurance, compared to 13.8 percent of natives and their children. See Table 11, p. 28.

• New immigrants and their U.S.-born children account for two-thirds of the increase in the uninsured since 2000. See p. 29.

• Among the top sending countries, the highest rates of uninsurance are for those from Guatemala (46 percent), Honduras (44 percent), El Salvador (44 percent), and Mexico (41 percent); and lowest for those from Canada (9 percent), Japan (8 percent), and Germany (5 percent). See Table 11, p. 28.

Public Schools

• There are 10.4 million students from immigrant households in public schools, accounting for one in five public school students. Of these students, 78 percent speak a language other than English at home. See Table 20, p. 41.

• Overall, one in four public school students now speaks a language other than English at home. See Table 20, p. 41.


• Of immigrant households, 53 percent are owner-occupied, compared to 68 percent of native households. See Table 17, p. 38.

• Rates of home ownership are highest for immigrants from Italy (83 percent), Germany (75 percent), and the United Kingdom (73 percent); and lowest for those from Guatemala (30 percent), Honduras (28 percent), and the Dominican Republic (24 percent). See Table 16, p. 37.

Housing Overcrowding

• In 2010, 13 percent of immigrant households were overcrowded, compared to 2 percent of native households. See Table 14, p. 34.

• Immigrant households account for half of all overcrowded households. See p. 35.


• Immigrants and natives have very similar rates of entrepreneurship -- 11.7 percent of natives and 11.5 percent of immigrants are self-employed. See Table 13, p. 33.

• Among the top sending countries, self-employment is highest for immigrants from Korea (26 percent), Canada (24 percent), and the United Kingdom (17 percent). It is lowest for those from Haiti (6 percent), Honduras (5 percent), and Jamaica (3 percent). See Table 13, p. 33.

Educational Attainment

• Of adult immigrants (25 to 65), 28 percent have not completed high school, compared to 7 percent of natives. See Table 7, p. 20.

• The share of immigrants (25 to 65) with at least a bachelor's degree is somewhat lower than that of natives -- 29 vs. 33 percent. See Table 7, p. 20.

• The large share of immigrants with relatively little education is one of the primary reasons for their lower socioeconomic status, not their legal status or an unwillingness to work. Table 25, p. 49.

• At the same time immigration added significantly to the number of less-educated workers, the share of young, less-educated natives holding a job declined significantly. The decline began well before the current economic downturn. See Table 35, p. 68.

Progress Over Time

• Many immigrants make significant progress the longer they live in the country. However, on average even immigrants who have lived in the United States for 20 years have not come close to closing the gap with natives.

• The poverty rate of adult immigrants who have lived in the United States for 20 years is 50 percent higher than that of adult natives. See Table 21, p. 42, and Figure 5, p. 46.

• The share of adult immigrants who have lived in the United States for 20 years who lack health insurance is twice that of adult natives. See Table 21, p. 42, and Figure 5, p. 46.

• The share of households headed by an immigrant who has lived in the United States for 20 years using one or more welfare programs is nearly twice that of native-headed households. See Table 22, p. 44, and Figure 5, p. 46.

• The share of households headed by an immigrant who has lived in the United States for 20 years that are owner occupied is 22 percent lower than that of native households. See Table 22, p. 44, and Figure 5, p. 46.

Legal Status

• We estimate that 28 percent of all immigrants are in the country illegally. Roughly half of Mexican and Central American and one-third of South American immigrants are here illegally. See p. 69.

Impact on Population Size and Age

• New immigration (legal and illegal) plus births to immigrants added 22.5 million residents to the country over he last decade, equal to 80 percent of total U.S. population growth. See Table 6, p. 19.

• Recent immigration has had only a tiny impact on the nation's age structure. If the nearly 14 million immigrants who arrived in 2000 or later are excluded, it raises the average age in the United States in 2010 from 37.4 years to 37.6 years -- roughly two months. See p. 22.

State Data

• Among top immigrant-receiving states, poverty among immigrants and their children is highest in Arizona (37 percent), North Carolina (29 percent), and Minnesota (29 percent). It is lowest in Massachusetts (17 percent) Maryland (13 percent), and New Jersey (13 percent). See Table 30, p. 61.

• Among top immigrant-receiving states, welfare use by immigrant households is highest in Minnesota (48 percent), New York (41 percent), and Texas (45 percent). It is lowest in Virginia (20 percent), Georgia (30 percent), and Nevada (25 percent). See Table 31, p. 62.

• Among top immigrant-receiving states, home ownership for immigrant households is highest in Florida (61 percent), Illinois (61 percent), and Maryland (59 percent). It is lowest in California (48 percent), Massachusetts (47 percent), and Minnesota (46 percent). See Table 32, p. 63.

• Among top immigrant-receiving states, the share of adult immigrants who have not completed high school is highest in Texas (46 percent), Colorado (41 percent), and North Carolina (36 percent). It is lowest in Virginia (15 percent), Massachusetts (15 percent), and Florida (16 percent). See Table 33, p. 65.

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