Politics & Government

Report: Undocumented immigrant population flat nationwide but up in Florida, six other states

A new report puts Florida’s undocumented immigrants at 925,000, and the state was one of seven in the country to see that population jump in recent years.

The report out Tuesday from the Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project estimated the undocumented immigrant population in 2012, using U.S. Census Bureau data. It also tracked the population over time, finding the national undocumented population basically unchanged in recent years but some state-level numbers changing significantly.

For its analysis, the Pew report estimated the number of foreign-born non-citizens residing in the country who are not legal immigrants.

The report comes as the White House and Congress prepare for a showdown on immigration policy. President Barack Obama is expected to soon issue an executive order that could shield as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. Republicans who will control both sides of Congress in January are outraged at the coming action, saying the president should not act unilaterally and should wait for the House and Senate to weigh in.

The overall undocumented immigration population was flat from 2009 to 2012, standing a bit over 11 million. The undocumented immigration population grew dramatically from 1990 to 2007 but has since trended down.

In Florida, however, the number of undocumented immigrants rose about 6 percent, or 55,000 people, to an estimated 925,000. Six other states also saw increases: Idaho, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The number fell in 14 states, and in all other states there was no change.

Among other findings for Florida:

--The state has the third-highest undocumented immigrant population, after California and Texas.

--The state has the fifth-highest share of the population that is undocumented: 4.8 percent. The top four are Nevada, California, Texas and New Jersey.

--The top countries of birth for undocumented immigrants in Florida are Mexico (13 percent of undocumented Floridians are from Mexico), Cuba (9 percent) and Haiti (8 percent).

The Pew report looked beyond the undocumented population to the overall U.S. foreign-born population. In 2012, that stood at 42.5 million, or more than 13 percent of the national population of about 316 million.

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