Has Fewer Illegal Immigrants
February 4, 2003
By Mae M. Cheng
While the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States
doubled between 1990 and 2000, New York State's share of the population
diminished, according to newly-released Immigration and Naturalization
INS officials said undocumented immigrants in the United States
increased from 3.5 million in 1990 to 7 million in 2000 largely
due to the growing population of Mexicans, many of whom enter illegally.
The number of undocumented Mexicans soared from slightly more than
2 million in 1990 to 4.8 million in 2000, making them an even larger
proportion of the illegal immigrant population.
The INS estimates, released Friday, are based on data from Census
2000 and from INS records.
While New York City has witnessed a growing Mexican community,
many of the other groups that make up much of its immigrant population
have not seen a significant increase in their undocumented numbers.
So the city's share of illegal immigrants has decreased.
"Our immigration deviates from the nation's," said Joseph
Salvo, a demographer with the Department of City Planning. "The
nation is driven by Mexico and we're not. By and large, our immigration
is driven by the Caribbean and increasingly Asia."
The latest INS estimates show New York State's undocumented population
grew 37 percent to 489,000 in 2000, from 357,000 in 1990, giving
it the third largest number of illegal immigrants. However, its
share of the nation's undocumented population decreased from 10.2
percent in 1990 to 7 percent in 2000. The vast majority of the state's
undocumented people live in the city, demographers say.
Despite the large increase in New York State's undocumented population,
the greatest growth was found in California, Texas, Arizona, Georgia
and North Carolina, according to the INS.
The INS estimates that on average, the undocumented population
grew by 350,000 annually between 1990 and 2000. About a third of
the undocumented immigrants currently here are people who overstayed
their visas, officials said.
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