Update, Jan. 9: We have updated these statistics come the many recent numbers obtainable as that Jan. 9, 2019.

You are watching: How many illegal immigrants are there

With the controversy over family members separations, much of the politics rhetoric in current weeks has concentrated on illegal immigration. We thought it would be valuable to take a step earlier and look at some actions of illegal immigrant in a larger context.

For example, how numerous immigrants live in the U.S. Illegally, and also how numerous are recorded each year make the efforts to overcome the Southwest border? How countless of lock are families or unaccompanied children? and how have actually these statistics changed over time? Let’s take it a look in ~ the numbers.

How plenty of immigrants room living in the U.S. Illegally?There to be 12 million immigrants living in the country illegally as of January 2015, follow to the many recent estimate from the room of countryside Security. The estimates from two independent teams are similar: The Pew Research center estimates the number at 10.7 million in 2016, and also the center for hike Studies claims there to be 10.8 million human being in 2016 living in the U.S. Illegally.

That would certainly be about 3.3 percent to 3.7 percent that the total U.S. Population in 2016 or 2015.

All three teams use Census bureau data ~ above the foreign-born or noncitizens and change to subtract the legal immigrant population.

DHS estimated that the expansion of the illegal immigrant population had slowed considerably, saying the populace increased by 470,000 every year from 2000 come 2007, however only by 70,000 per year indigenous 2010 to 2015.

CMS discovered a decrease in the undocumented population, and also specifically those indigenous Mexico, of around 1 million because 2010. And also the Pew Research facility found a optimal of 12.2 million in the populace in 2007, and a decline since.


All three groups uncover Mexicans comprise the majority of the undocumented population — 55 percent in 2015, according to DHS — but the number and share of Mexicans amongst this populace has been decreasing in recent years.

Those living in the country illegally likewise have increasingly been below for 10 years or more. DHS says nearly 80 percent in 2015 have lived in the U.S. For an ext than a decade, and only 6 percent involved the nation over the previous 5 years.

Update, June 7, 2019: after ~ this story was originally published in June 2018, a research by researcher at Yale University and the Massachusetts academy of Technology estimated that the illegal immigration populace was lot higher: an typical 22.1 million because that 2016. The researchers offered a mathematical design with presumptions on immigration inflows and also outflows to estimate the growth in the illegal immigration population from 1990 to 2016. Immigrant experts, consisting of those with the Migration policy Institute, the Center for Migration Studies, the Center for immigrant Studies (a self-described “low-immigration, pro-immigrant” group) and also the libertarian Cato Institute, have actually criticized the Yale study. 

MPI said it was “based on seriously flawed assumptions,” and CIS said, “The findings are unsupportable.” among the main objections is the the research didn’t adequately account for circular hike in the 1990s (people coming and going lot of times) and overestimated the number who continued to be in the U.S. The facility for migrate Studies’ Robert Warren, who was the manager of the statistics division of Immigration and also Naturalization solutions from 1986 come 1995, created in his criticism the the apprehension rates the Yale researchers offered for the 1990s to be “purely speculative.” The approximates for inflows space “far also high” and also for outflows “far also low,” the said. The Cato Institute’s Alex Nowrasteh said the media and researchers “should no support” the study’s findings “based ~ above the quality of the criticisms.” as soon as the room of homeland Security published its own most recent estimate on the illegal immigration populace in December, it mentioned the Pew study Center and Center for Migration research studies estimates, but it didn’t mention the Yale study. 

How many civilization are cross the border illegally?There’s no official measure of how many people succeed in illegally cross the border, yet authorities use the variety of apprehensions to gauge changes in illegal immigration. Apprehensions on the Southwest border peaked in 2000 in ~ 1.64 million and also have generally decreased since, totaling 396,579 in 2018.

Those numbers, i m sorry come from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, are for budget years and also date earlier to 1960.


That’s a 76 percent decrease in the number of apprehensions in between the top in 2000 and also 2018.

We can additionally look at exactly how the numbers have changed over the previous several years.

Under the Obama administration, the yearly apprehensions ~ above the Southwest border decreased by 35 percent native calendar year 2008, the year prior to President Obama took office, through the finish of 2016. In president Donald Trump’s an initial full year in office, the apprehensions declined by 43 percent, native calendar year 2016 to 2017.

On a monthly basis, the apprehensions decreased significantly during the first six months of Trump’s tenure and also then started to rise. The number to be actually greater in November (the many recent month because that which the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has published figures) than it was once Trump was sworn in.


What about people overstaying your visas?As border apprehensions have declined, estimates display a cultivation proportion that the undocumented population legally gone into the country on visas however overstayed the time borders on those visas. A center for Migration researches report approximates that 44 percent of those in living in the U.S. Illegal in 2015 were visa overstays. That’s up from an approximated 41 percent in 2008.

The CMS report, created by Robert Warren, a former director of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service’s statistics division, claims 65 percent of network arrivals — those joining the undocumented population — native 2008 to 2015 to be visa overstays.

There room no solid, long-term estimates of the visa overstay problem. Once we wrote about this issue in respectable 2015, DHS told united state it didn’t have statistics top top visa overstays. Yet DHS has due to the fact that issued some estimates. It said that around 629,000 human being on visas that were meant to leaving in fiscal year 2016 hadn’t done so by the finish of that fiscal year (that’s out of 50.4 million arrivals).

That number, however, had declined to about 545,000 by January 2017, DHS said, noting the it intended the estimate to “shift over time as additional information is reported.” CMS questioned the DHS estimate, finding the the number was as well high.

For fiscal year 2017, DHS estimated in a report released in August that there were 606,926 suspected in-country overstays, a price of 1.15 percent of meant departures.

What about families trying to overcome the border illegally?The variety of family units apprehended has increased due to the fact that fiscal year 2013, the very first year for which we have actually such data. While 3.6 percent that those arrest in 2013 to be in a household unit, the proportion to be 27 percent in 2018.

In budget year 2013, according to Customs and also Border security data, there were 14,855 human being apprehended on the Southwest border who were component of a “family unit” — those are individuals, including kids under 18, parents or legitimate guardians, apprehended through a family members member.

The number increased substantially in budget year 2014 come 68,445. Then, the dropped the complying with year to 39,838, before increasing again in budget year 2016 to 77,674. The number was comparable in 2017, and it went up in 2018, to 107,212.


We asked Customs and Border security if it could carry out family unit numbers for years prior to 2013. We have not got a response.

How countless unaccompanied kids are caught trying to overcome the border?Using the very same time period that we have for family units, the variety of children under period 18 apprehended cross the border there is no a parental or legit guardian was around the same in fiscal year 2013 as it was in 2017 — roughly 40,000. But it fluctuated in the year in between. In budget 2018, the number to be 50,036.

In 2014, the Obama administration dealt through a surging of unaccompanied minors on the Southwest border, largely as result of those fleeing violence and also poverty in the “northern triangle” of Guatemala, Honduras and also El Salvador and also false rumors about “permits” gift issued, as we explained at the time. The number of apprehended unaccompanied youngsters rose native 38,759 in budget year 2013 come 68,541 in budget year 2014. It went earlier down to just under 40,000 the complying with year.

CBP data because that unaccompanied children go ago further than the accessible statistics on family units. In budget year 2010, the number of unaccompanied youngsters apprehended to be 18,411.


How numerous unaccompanied children, including children separated from their parents, space being hosted in shelters in the U.S.?Unaccompanied children are described the room of Health and Human Services’ Office of refugees Resettlement. HHS said during a conference contact on June 26 the there were 11,800 kids in ORR shelters, v 2,047 of those being children who had been separated from your parents. The remainder — about 83 percent — had crossed the border without a parental or legit guardian.

By at an early stage July, HHS Secretary Alex Azar claimed his agency would reunite almost 3,000 youngsters who had been be separated from their parents.

According to a Dec. 12 court filing in a case brought by the American polite Liberties Union, there to be 131 youngsters still in custody be separate from their parents; however, in much more than 90 percent the those situations either the parents have indicated they i will not ~ reunify through their children or officials have discovered the parents space unfit.

DHS and also HHS have actually not noted any figures on exactly how many children were be separated from your parents in prior years.

The ORR program homes the youngsters in about 100 house in 14 states. In May, an HHS main told conference that youngsters had spent an mean of 57 job in such shelters in budget 2018 before being put with a sponsor, who might be a parent, one more relative or a non-family member.

About 80 percent or an ext of the unaccompanied kids referred to HHS over the last number of years have actually been age 13 and older, follow to HHS statistics, and around 90 percent or much more have been from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Is there recidivism?Yes. Customs and also Border Patrol claims 10 percent that those apprehended in budget year 2017 were caught an ext than once that year. In 2016, the figure was 12 percent.

How many border patrol agents room there?In fiscal year 2017, there were 19,437 border patrol agents. The number peaked in budget year 2011 at 21,444, so it has declined a bit since then. However the variety of agents is quiet much bigger than that was about two years ago.

The vast majority of agents space assigned come the Southwest border. Earlier in budget year 2000, when apprehensions peaked at 1.64 million, there were 8,580 agents assigned to the border v Mexico. In 2017, as soon as apprehensions were 303,916, there were 16,605 Southwest border agents.

How many world are deported every year?The department of Homeland defense says 340,056 civilization were eliminated from the U.S. In fiscal 2016. A “removal” is “the compulsory and confirmed activity of one inadmissible or deportable alien the end of the united States based on an bespeak of removal.” (See Table 39 that the 2016 Yearbook of immigration Statistics.)

There are likewise “returns,” which space “inadmissible or deportable” immigrants who leave voluntarily prior to a formal removal stimulate is issued. Return totaled 106,167 that year.

The top for combined removals and also returns was 1.86 million in budget 2000 — the very same year that apprehensions top top the Southwest border likewise peaked. In fact, the bar graph of these statistics mirrors the graph top top apprehensions (see above) — generally, as soon as apprehensions were higher, so, too, were removals and returns.

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Since fiscal 2011, removals have actually been higher each year than returns. Before that, the turning back was true.