Indians are the third largest group of ‘illegal immigrants’ in the US, according to a new report by Pew Research Center. The report estimates that there are around 725,000 Indians living in the US without proper documents, behind Mexico and El Salvador.
The report reveals that the total number of unauthorized immigrants in the US was 10.5 million in 2021, which is about 3 percent of the US population and 22 percent of the foreign-born population.
The report says that the number of immigrants from countries other than Mexico has increased rapidly in the past decade, reaching 6.4 million in 2021, up by 900,000 from 2017. The largest increases were from Central America (240,000) and South and East Asia (180,000). The report also says that about 7.8 million unauthorized immigrants were in the US labor force in 2021, slightly up from 2019 but lower than every year from 2007 through 2015.
The report cites data from US Customs and Border Protection, which shows that a large number of undocumented Indian immigrants are crossing the US borders on foot. Between October 2022 and September 2023, 6,917 Indians were apprehended, expelled or denied entry for entering the US without documents.
The number of undocumented Indians in the US increased after the borders opened due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While 30,662 were encountered in the 2021 fiscal year, 63,927 were encountered in the 2022 fiscal year. Out of the 97,000 encounters this year, 30,010 were at the Canadian border and 41,770 at the Southern border.
The report also identifies the states with the highest number of unauthorized immigrants. California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois were the top six states, accounting for 60 per cent of the total unauthorized immigrant population. Florida and Washington were the only states that saw increases in their unauthorized immigrant populations, while California and Nevada saw decreases.
The report also says that the lawful immigrant population grew by more than 8 million, a 29 per cent increase, and the number of naturalized US citizens grew by 49 per cent. In 2021, naturalized citizens made up about half (49 per cent) of all immigrants in the country.