Irregular / Unauthorized / Undocumented Migration

Irregular / Unauthorized / Undocumented Migration

A Demographic Profile of Undocumented Immigrant Women and Estimates of Those Potentially Eligible for Permanent Residence under Pending Bills

Undocumented immigrant women are an immigrant group whose contributions to the economy, culture, and social life in the communities in which they live often go unrecognized. According to CMS estimates, there are 4,806,000 undocumented female immigrants living in the United States. Women and girls make up 46 percent of the total US undocumented population.[1] The vast majority (45 percent) come from Mexico, followed by El Salvador (7 percent), India (6 percent), Guatemala (5 percent), Honduras (5 percent), China (4 percent), Venezuela (2 percent), Philippines (2 percent), Dominican Republic (2 percent), and Brazil (2 percent). Female undocumented immigrants from China, the Philippines, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic outnumber male undocumented immigrants from these countries (Table 1). However, among undocumented immigrants from Guatemala, the female population makes up a relatively small proportion (39 percent) of the total population.

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Reverse Migration to Mexico Led to US Undocumented Population Decline: 2010 to 2018

This paper presents estimates of the undocumented population residing in the United States in 2018. Since 2010, the total undocumented population in the United States has declined because large numbers of undocumented residents returned to Mexico. From 2010 to 2018, a total of 2.6 million Mexican nationals left the US undocumented population; about 1.1 million, or 45 percent of them, returned to Mexico voluntarily. Additional findings include the following:

  • The total US undocumented population was 10.6 million in 2018, a decline of about 80,000 from 2017, and a drop of 1.2 million, or 10 percent, since 2010.
  • Since 2010, about two-thirds of new arrivals have overstayed temporary visas and one-third entered illegally across the border.
  • The total undocumented population in California was 2.3 million in 2018, a decline of about 600,000 compared to 2.9 million in 2010. The number from Mexico residing in the state dropped by 605,000 from 2010 to 2018. 
  • The undocumented population in New York State fell by 230,000, or 25 percent, from 2010 to 2018. Declines were largest for Jamaica (−51 percent), Trinidad and Tobago (−50 percent), Ecuador (−44 percent), and Mexico (−34 percent).
  • Two countries had especially large population changes — in different directions — in the 2010 to 2018 period. The population from Poland dropped steadily, from 93,000 to 39,000, while the population from Venezuela increased from 65,000 to 172,000. Almost all the increase from Venezuela occurred after 2014.

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Migrant Children and Blessings at The Casa

In early 2019 life at the Casa changed dramatically when men started arriving with children. “We were being invited to become more welcoming to an entirely new population,” writes Fr. Pat Murphy, c.s. in this blog. “I am amazed at how rapidly things can change in the world of migration and how rapidly we are invited to adapt in helping the migrants we are called to serve. The good news is that I believe we have adapted well to serving our new population at the Casa.”

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