Here are five facts about the unauthorized immigrant population in the U.S.
1There were 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2014. The population has remained essentially stable for five years, and currently, makes up 3.5% of the nation’s population. The number of unauthorized immigrants peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million, when this group was 4% of the U.S. population.
2Mexicans make up about half of all unauthorized immigrants (49%), though their numbers have been declining in recent years.There were 5.6 million Mexican unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2014, down from 6.4 million in 2009, according to preliminary Pew Research Center estimates.
3Six states alone account for 60% of unauthorized immigrants — California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. But the distribution of the population is changing. From 2009 to 2012, several East Coast states were among those with population increases, whereas several Western states were among those with population decreases. There were seven states overall in which the unauthorized immigrant population increased: Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Meanwhile, there were 14 states in which the population decreased over the same time period: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Oregon. Despite a decline, Nevada has the nation’s largest share (8%) of unauthorized immigrants in its state population.
4Unauthorized immigrants make up 5.1% of the U.S. labor force. In the U.S. labor force, there were 8.1 million unauthorized immigrants either working or looking for work in 2012. Among the states, Nevada (10%), California (9%), Texas (9%) and New Jersey (8%) had the highest shares of unauthorized immigrants in their labor forces.
5About 7% of K-12 students had at least one unauthorized-immigrant parent in 2012. Among these students, about eight-in-ten (79%) were born in the U.S. In Nevada, almost one-in-five students (18%) have at least one unauthorized immigrant parent, the largest share in the nation. Other top states on this measure are California (13%), Texas (13%) and Arizona (11%).
States suing Obama over immigration programs are home to 46% of those who may qualify Less than half – 2.3 million – of the nation’s unauthorized immigrants who potentially qualify for deportation relief and work permits under President Barack Obama’s executive actions live in the 26 states that have joined a lawsuit to stop the move, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.
The president’s programs are open to an estimated 5 million unauthorized immigrants who were either brought illegally to the country as children or who are parents with a child who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, so long as they meet certain requirements.
A group of states led by Texas filed a lawsuit in December to stop the actions, arguing that the president didn’t have the authority to make the changes. A federal judge heard arguments in January. A ruling could come before Feb. 18, the day the U.S. Department of Homeland Security starts accepting applications from those who arrived in the U.S. as children and have become newly eligible (some have already received relief based on a2012 program).
Among the states that have joined the lawsuit, most of the unauthorized immigrants who potentially qualify for relief under the new executive actions are concentrated in just a handful of states. For example, half live in Texas (825,000) and Florida (300,000). Four more states (Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina) each have 100,000 or more of these immigrants.
But many of the states suing have relatively few unauthorized immigrants who may qualify for relief. For example, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia each have fewer than 5,000 potentially qualified unauthorized immigrants residing in their states. (It’s worth noting all but two states have Republican governors, and all but four had Republican state attorneys general when their cases were filed.)
Overall, unauthorized immigrants potentially eligible for deportation relief make up about 1.6% of the total U.S. population and 1.5% of the combined population in the 26 states that jointly filed suit.
Nevada and Texas, both of which have joined the lawsuit, have the greatest statewide concentrations of unauthorized immigrants who could qualify for the programs (3.7% and 3.2%, respectively). Besides these states, four others exceed the national rate: Arizona (2.4%), Utah (1.8%), Idaho (1.8%) and Georgia (1.8%).
In the remaining 20 states, the shares of their populations that may be eligible are at or below the national average, including 14 states with shares that are less than 1% of their population.
Some 54% of the unauthorized immigrants who may qualify for relief live in the 24 states that have not joined the lawsuit, as well as the District of Columbia. This is in large part due to California, which alone is home to about 1.2 million of the potentially qualified unauthorized immigrants – about a quarter of the total (24%).
Twelve of these abstaining states, plus the District of Columbia, have filed a legal brief in support of the president’s executive actions. These 12 states and the district are home to 42% of the unauthorized immigrants who could qualify for the programs.
Surge in Cuban immigration to U.S. continues into 2016
The number of Cubans who have entered the U.S. has spiked dramatically since President Obama announced a renewal of ties with the island nation in late 2014, a Pew Research Center analysis of government data has found. The U.S. has since opened an embassy in Havana, a move supported by a large majority of Americans, and public support is growing for ending the trade embargo with Cuba.
Cubans seeking to enter the U.S. may receive different treatment than other immigrants under the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. Cubans hoping to live in the U.S. legally need only show up at a port of entry and pass an inspection, which includes a check of criminal and immigration history in the U.S. After a year in the country, they may apply for legal permanent residence.
During the first 10 months of the fiscal year 2016, 46,635 Cubans have entered the U.S. via ports of entry – already surpassing the full fiscal year 2015’s total of 43,159, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data obtained through a public records request. Fiscal 2015 was a surge year and was up 78% over 2014 when 24,278 Cubans entered the U.S. And those 2014 numbers had already increased dramatically after the Cuban government lifted travel restrictions that year. These totals are significantly higher than in all of fiscal 2011 when 7,759 Cubans came into the U.S.
The surge in the number of Cubans entering the country began in the months immediately following the president’s announcement. From January to March 2015, 9,900 Cubans entered the U.S., more than double the 4,746 who arrived during the same time period in 2014. The surge continued into fiscal 2016 and peaked in the first quarter (October to December 2015), when 16,444 Cubans entered the U.S., an increase of 78% compared with the same quarter of fiscal 2015. The number of Cubans entering the U.S. has ebbed somewhat since.
Thousands of Cubans have migrated to the U.S. by land. Many fly to Ecuador because of the country’s liberal immigration policies, then travel north through Central America and Mexico. However, as some Central American countries have close their borders to the flow, this route has grown more difficult to travel, and a number of Cuban immigrants have been stranded on their way to the U.S.
The majority of Cubans who entered the United States by land arrived through the U.S. Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector in Texas, which borders Mexico. In fiscal 2015, two-thirds (28,371) of all Cubans came through this sector, an 82% increase from the previous fiscal year. So far in fiscal 2016, the Laredo Sector has continued to receive the majority (64%) of Cuban migrants entering the U.S. through a port of entry. Fiscal 2016 also has seen a spike in land arrivals in El Paso from Cuba, where 4,810 have entered in the first 10 months. In full fiscal 2015, only 698 Cubans entered through El Paso.
Since 2014, a large percentage increase has occurred in the Miami sector, which operates in several states but primarily in Florida. The number of Cubans who entered in the Miami sector during fiscal 2015 more than doubled from the previous year, from 4,709 to 9,999. In the first 10 months of fiscal 2016, 8,960 Cubans have entered through the Miami sector.
Not all Cubans who attempt to enter the U.S. make it. Under current U.S. policy, Cubans caught trying to reach the U.S. by sea are returned to Cuba or, if they cite fear of prosecution, to a third country. In fiscal 2015, the U.S. Coast Guard apprehended 3,505 Cubans at sea, the highest number of any country. The total exceeds the 2,111 Cubans apprehended in fiscal 2014.
There are 2 million Hispanics of Cuban ancestry living in the U.S. today, the third largest Hispanic origin group behind Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. But population growth for this group is now being driven by Cuban Americans born in the U.S. rather than the arrival of new immigrants. Nevertheless, the majority (57%) of the group is foreign born; this share has declined from 68% in 2000, despite the recent influx in Cubans entering the U.S.
For many voters, it’s not which presidential candidate they’re for but which they’re against
American voters are generally skeptical that either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would make a “great” or “good” president. But another dynamic in the 2016 presidential election is the significant share of voters who say their vote is based more on which candidate they are against rather than which one they are for.
This stands in contrast to recent elections in years without an incumbent presidential candidate. In both 2008 and 2000, half or more of each candidate’s supporters said their vote was more a vote for their candidate than a vote against the opposing party’s candidate.
In a recent Pew Research Center survey, 53% of Clinton supporters say they consider their vote more in support of her, while 46% say their vote is more against Trump. Negative voting is somewhat more prevalent among Trump supporters: 53% say their vote is primarily against Clinton. Fewer (44%) say their vote is in support of Trump.
In both the 2008 election between Barack Obama and John McCain and the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, clear majorities of each candidate’s supporters said their vote was mainly for their candidates.
In July 2008, 68% of Obama supporters and 59% of McCain supporters said their vote was more in favor of their respective candidates. Smaller shares in both groups said they were voting more against the opposing party’s candidate (25% of Obama supporters and 35% of McCain supporters).
Similarly, in September 2000, 64% of Gore supporters said their vote was more for Gore than against Bush. A similar share of Bush supporters (60%) said their vote was for Bush, rather than against Gore.
Today, there are differences by age, gender, party identification and education among both Trump and Clinton backers when it comes to whether voters are motivated more by support of their own candidate or dislike of the opponent.
Among Trump supporters, men (48%) are more likely than women (39%) to say their vote is a vote for Trump. Men and women who support Clinton are about equally likely to say their vote is in support of her (56% vs. 51%).
But among Clinton supporters, younger voters are much less likely than older ones to say their vote is in favor of Clinton. Just 29% of Clinton supporters ages 18-29 say their vote is more a vote for Clinton (71% view theirs more as against Trump). By comparison, majorities of Clinton backers in older age groups view their vote primarily as a vote for Clinton.
Among Trump supporters with college degrees, more say their vote is against Clinton than say it is for Trump (59% vs. 40%). But those with less education are more divided: 50% say it is a vote against Clinton, while 46% say it is for Trump.
Among Clinton supporters, the pattern is reversed: 60% of those with college degrees view their vote as for Clinton rather than against Trump. A smaller share (49%) of those with less education say this.