June 15, 2012

Up to 1.4 Million Unauthorized Immigrants Could Benefit from New Deportation Policy

On August 14, the Pew Hispanic Center updated its estimate of how many young unauthorized immigrants could benefit from the new deportation policy. See Up to 1.7 Million Unauthorized Immigrant Youth May Benefit from New Deportation Rules.

Up to 1.4 million children and young adults who are in the United States illegally could potentially benefit from today’s announcement by the Obama Administration about changes in deportation policies, according to an estimate from the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.

The 1.4 million estimate includes 700,000 unauthorized immigrants who are ages 18 to 30 but arrived in the U.S as children and are currently enrolled in school or have graduated from high school; and an additional 700,000 who are under the age of 18 and are enrolled in school. This includes 150,000 who are currently enrolled in high school.

Overall, the 1.4 million estimate represents about 12% of the 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. as of 2010, according to an estimate by the Pew Hispanic Center. Among the 1.4 million potential beneficiaries of the new policy, some 70% are from Mexico. For details on the numbers and characteristics of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S, see the Pew Hispanic Center report “Unauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, 2010.”

A Pew Hispanic Center survey taken late last year found that by a margin of 59% to 27%, Latinos oppose the deportation policies of the Obama Administration. Among Latinos, some 41% are aware that the number of deportations of unauthorized immigrants annually has been higher during the Obama Administration than during the George W. Bush Administration, while 36% say the two Administrations have deported the same number of unauthorized immigrants, and 10% say fewer have been deported under the Obama administration.

Nearly 400,000 unauthorized immigrants were deported annually during the first two years of the Obama Administration—about 30% more than the annual average during the second term of the Bush Administration. Among those deported in 2010, nearly all (97%) were Hispanic. By comparison, among all unauthorized immigrants, 81% are Hispanic.

According to the same 2011 Pew Hispanic Center survey, 91% of Latinos support the DREAM Act, a proposal that would grant legal status to unauthorized immigrant children if they attend college or serve in the U.S. military for two years. And 84% of Latinos favor granting in-state tuition at public colleges to unauthorized immigrants who graduated from high school in their states.