PRESS RELEASE: CMS Releases Estimates from New Database on US Unauthorized Population

PRESS RELEASE: CMS Releases Estimates from New Database on US Unauthorized Population

New York, NY – On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) published a paper on its development of a new database that provides detailed information on the US unauthorized population derived from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The CMS database is the product of a 15-month process of engagement with researchers, academics, demographers, government officials, and non-governmental organizations that serve immigrants. It has been designed to allow a wide cross-section of data “users” to produce tailored estimates of the size and characteristics of the US unauthorized population at national, state, and sub-state levels in population units as small as 100,000 persons. The paper is authored by Robert Warren, a CMS Senior Fellow and former director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s Statistics Division. It provides sample estimates derived from the database, including on:

  • The states with the largest numbers of US unauthorized residents by country of origin;
  • Parents of US citizens and lawful permanent residents who are eligible for the recently announced Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program; and
  • Persons eligible for the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“This dataset will be an invaluable tool to policy-makers, government entities, and non-profit organizations that craft, implement, and evaluate programs that serve immigrants, including the unauthorized,” said Donald Kerwin, CMS Executive Director. “It will have the potential to assist public and private stakeholders to determine: (1) how to allocate their limited resources; (2) which populations will likely struggle with application fees and financial requirements; (3) where to expand legal service capacity and English language classes; (4) how and where to conduct outreach, and in what languages; and (5) which immigrants might be able to pursue a path to lawful permanent residency and citizenship.”

The report, entitled, “Democratizing Data about Unauthorized Residents in the United States: Estimates and Public-Use Data, 2010-2013,” is now available in the Journal on Migration and Human Security at https://doi.org/10.1177/233150241400200403. Interviews are available upon request by contacting Rachel Reyes at (212) 337-3080 x. 7012 or [email protected].

The study was made possible through the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) is a New York-based educational institute devoted to the study of international migration, to the promotion of understanding between immigrants and receiving communities, and to public policies that safeguard the dignity and rights of migrants and newcomers. For more information, please visit www.cmsny.org.