Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

More data on how undocumented immigrants are staying longer - and fewer are arriving

Illegal immigration continues to be a hot topic in the presidential race, in spite of federal stats that show illegal border-crossing arrests down to less than half what they were five years ago. Now there's another measure of this trend in the shape of a new Pew Hispanic Center report released yesterday.

If you haven't seen it yet, the gist of the report is that a growing number of the estimated 10.2 million undocumented immigrants in the United States have been here long term by now, also indicating that fewer are arriving as newcomers. Almost two-thirds have been living in the U.S. at least 10 years, and almost half have minor children. The full report can be downloaded by clicking on the links below - here's an excerpt from the summary:

The Pew Hispanic analysis finds that 35% of unauthorized adult immigrants have resided in the U.S. for 15 years or more; 28% for 10 to 14 years; 22% for 5 to 9 years; and 15% for less than five years.

The share that has been in the country at least 15 years has more than doubled since 2000, when about one-in-six (16%) unauthorized adult immigrants had lived here for that duration. By the same token, the share of unauthorized adult immigrants who have lived in the country for less than five years has fallen by half during this period"from 32% in 2000 to 15% in 2010.

The rising share of unauthorized immigrants who have been in the U.S. for a long duration reflects the fact that the sharpest growth in this population occurred during the late 1990s and early 2000s"and that the inflow has slowed down significantly in recent years, as the U.S. economy has sputtered and border enforcement has tightened. It also reflects the fact that relatively few long-duration unauthorized immigrants have returned to their countries of origin.

Read more at: