Understanding the numbers behind illegal immigration

World Today

This photo obtained May 25, 2017 courtesy of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shows a convicted rapist and a previously deported cocaine trafficker who is among those arrested in the greater Los Angeles area on May 23, 2017, by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Fugitive Operations officers. (AFP PHOTO/ICE/Ron Rogers)

U.S. President Donald Trump came into office promising to crack down on illegal immigration by building a border wall and increasing deportations.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman looks at the numbers behind illegal immigration.

Understanding the numbers behind illegal immigration

U.S. President Donald Trump came into office promising to crack down on illegal immigration by building a border wall and increasing deportations. CGTN's Jim Spellman looks at the numbers behind illegal immigration.

Pew Research found that there are about 11 million people in the U.S. illegally, that’s about a quarter of all foreign-born individuals in the United States.

That number has stayed fairly constant since 2009 and is down from a high of more than 12 million in 2007.

About half of those people are from Mexico, another 2.5 million are from Central America and South America.

Under federal law, all of those 11 million people can be deported at any time, but politically and practically, that has never been an easy option for U.S. presidents. Deporting millions of people would cost huge sums of money and bring political backlash.

Under President Barack Obama, expulsions soared and some critics called him “Deporter in Chief.”

The Obama administration deported more than 3 million people from the U.S. over eight years. The previous President, George W. Bush, deported two million during his two terms.

Many unauthorized immigrants are deeply integrated into U.S. society.

Of all people in the U.S. illegally, about two-thirds, or 66 percent, have lived here for more than 10 years and among Mexican born unauthorized immigrants, 78 percent have lived here more than a decade.

Trump says removing these unauthorized immigrants means more jobs and resources for U.S. born citizens and authorized immigrants. All part of his plan to “Put America first.