Number of unauthorized immigrants is down sharply in Colorado

immigration seal
(image: New Mexico Independent)

While the number of unauthorized immigrants has remained more or less steady in the United States for the last several years at around 11 million, the number of undocumented immigrants in Colorado has fallen substantially in recent years, according to a study released by the Pew Research Center Tuesday.

The study reveals that the number of unauthorized immigrants in Colorado has fallen from 240,000 in 2007 to 180,000 in 2010.

The report comes as the Colorado legislature considers several pieces of legislation dealing with immigration, including one bill that mimics a law passed last year in Arizona.

The study further found that only about 28 percent of the foreign born population of the United States is here without authorization. Mexican nationals make up just over half of the unauthorized population.

The number of undocumented people in the country peaked in 2007 at 12 million. The number of undocumented people in the workforce has remained steady for several years at around eight million, or just over five percent of the workforce.

Of children born in the United States last year, about 350,000 had at least one unauthorized parent, accounting for about eight percent of births in the country.

The study, authored by Jeffrey S. Passel, senior demographer, and D’Vera Cohn, senior writer, was based on information obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Besides undocumented immigrants, the foreign-born population of just over 40 million people also includes 29 million legal immigrants, (14.9 million naturalized citizens, 12.4 million permanent residents and 1.7 million legal temporary migrants). Legal immigrants make up 72 percent of the immigrant population, according to the study.

The study says the inflow from Mexico has fallen dramatically, with about 500,000 undocumented Mexicans arriving per year in the early part of the 2000s, but only about 150,000 arriving each year now.

Meanwhile, deportations have gone up, reaching about 400,000 in 2009.

Colorado does not rank in the top 12 in terms either of number of unauthorized immigrants or in the percentage of the population that is unauthorized.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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