This paper provides estimates on “essential” immigrant workers in New York State. These workers play a central role in safeguarding and sustaining state residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, often at great risk to their health and that of their families. Based on estimates drawn from 2018 US Census data, the Center for Migration Studies (CMS) estimates that 1.8 million immigrants work in jobs in the “essential businesses” identified by New York State. These businesses fall into 10 categories that meet the health, infrastructure, manufacturing, service, food, safety, and other needs of state residents. The majority of the New York foreign-born essential workers – 1.04 million – are naturalized citizens, 458,400 are legal noncitizens (mostly lawful permanent residents or LPRs), and 342,100 are undocumented.
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.
This report describes a unique methodology to produce estimates and set forth the characteristics of US residents who are potentially stateless or potentially at risk of statelessness. It also lifts up the voices and challenges of stateless persons, and outlines steps to reduce statelessness and to safeguard the rights of stateless persons in the United States.
As part of the study, CMS developed extensive, well-documented profiles of non-US citizen residents who are potentially stateless or potentially at risk of statelessness. It then used these profiles to query American Community Survey data in order to develop provisional estimates and determine the characteristics of these populations.