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Most recent data shows Alabama’s illegal immigrant population down to 65,000

Illegal immigrants jump a fence along the U.S.-Mexican borden (Photo: Bob Moore)
Illegal immigrants jump a fence along the U.S.-Mexican borden (Photo: Bob Moore)

On Nov. 20, President Barack Obama delivered a speech in which he laid out the details of his controversial executive order on immigration. Republicans have been quick to criticize the President’s plan, and even the often left-leaning Washington Post questioned the wisdom of his decision.

The Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project, which “seeks to improve public understanding of the diverse Hispanic population in the United States and to chronicle Latinos’ growing impact on the nation,” has provided a detailed look at immigration in America, and how Obama’s executive order could impact Alabama.

The Pew Research Center found that the number of illegal immigrants fell in 14 states from 2009 to 2012, including in Alabama, where the illegal immigrant population fell from 80,000 to 65,000. Pew says the drop in Alabama can be attributed to fewer illegal immigrants coming into the state from Mexico.

While seven states saw an increase in illegal immigrants, the national population of 11.2 million remained basically stable.

“Among the groups widely thought to be under consideration for relief from deportation are long-time U.S. residents with U.S.-born children,” says the Pew report. “The Pew Research Center estimates that 4 million unauthorized immigrant parents, or 38% of adults in this population, lived with their U.S.-born children, either minors or adults, in 2012. Of these, 3 million had lived in the U.S. for 10 years or more.”

In his speech on Nov. 20, Obama spelled out his plan more clearly. “The president will protect about 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportations,” writes Alan Gomez for USA Today. “They will not get U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residence, known as a green cards. But they will be able to live in the United States without fear of deportation, get a work permit and a Social Security number.”

Under the President’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, illegal immigrants had to be younger than 31 and had to have arrived in the United States before June 15, 2007 to be considered for deportation protections. The President’s new plan expands on the DACA by dropping the age cap and requiring applicants to have arrived in the States before Jan. 1, 2010.

As previously stated, there are 65,000 illegal immigrants in Alabama, which makes up 1.4% of the state’s population, and 2% of the state’s labor force. Below is an interactive map that goes into further detail about illegal immigration in each state.

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