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Surprising facts about American immigrants

Immigrants wait in line outside of an U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

In December, 2018, the non-partisan Pew Research Service finished a major study of foreign-born Americans that provides useful background for today’s immigration debates.

First, the vast majority of today’s immigrants are either permanent legal residents or naturalized citizens — some 72 percent. Even among illegal immigrants, a big majority — 66 percent — have lived in the United States for ten years or more. Since 2010, immigrants from Asia have easily outnumbered all immigrants from Latin America, and currently India is the top country of origin for immigrants to America.

The Pew Study also notes sharp declines in illegal immigrant populations since 2007 — from 12.2 million to 10.7 million — due to improved border security and the recession. The Department of Homeland Security and all other scientific estimates come close to the lower numbers from Pew. Yes: Illegal immigration is an issue. But the claims of 20 or 30 million illegals cited by activists and advocates are groundless.

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