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TribBlog: Illegal Immigration Down in U.S.

The number of undocumented immigrants entering the U.S. has declined considerably in the past few years when compared to the first half of the previous decade, according to a new study by the Pew Hispanic Center.

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The number of undocumented immigrants entering the U.S. has declined considerably in the past few years when compared to the first half of the previous decade, according to a new study by the Pew Hispanic Center.

From 2000 to 2005, an average of 850,000 undocumented immigrants entered the U.S. each year. From 2005 to 2007, the figure decreased to 550,000 annual entries. Between 2007 and 2009, that number dropped to 300,000. According to the report, that decline makes up to an 8 percent reduction overall in the number of authorized immigrants living in the U.S. — from 12 million in March 2007 to 11.1 million in the same month in 2009.

The most recent count taken in 2009 shows approximately 1.6 million undocumented immigrants living in Texas. That's 6.5 percent of the population. About 1.05 million undocumented immigrants make up about 8.7 percent of the labor force, according to an interactive map included in the data. The majority of the immigrants, about 60 percent, come from Mexico. Twenty percent come from elsewhere in Latin America and 11 percent from Asia. The remaining 8 percent are Europeans, Canadians and Africans.

The Department of Homeland Security claims its increased manpower and resources is a major reason for the decline.

“This administration’s unprecedented commitment of manpower, technology and infrastructure to the Southwest border has been a major factor in this dramatic drop in illegal crossings,” said DHS Deputy Press Secretary Matt Chandler. “We are cracking down on employers who hire illegal labor, seizures of illicit goods are up across the board, and criminal alien removals are at an all-time high.”

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