3.1 million immigrants came to U.S., 550,000 illegal
This is a 39 percent increase over the prior two years. The number of legal and illegal immigrants settling in the country is now higher than before the 2007 recession and may match the level in 2000 and 2001.
Several factors have likely contributed to the rebound, including cutbacks in enforcement, an improved economy, and the expansive nature of our legal immigration system (especially for long-term temporary visas such as guestworkers and foreign students).
New data collected by the Census Bureau shows that 3.1 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) settled in the country in 2014 and 2015, or more than 1.5 million annually.
In 2012 and 2013, 2.3 million immigrants arrived, about 1.1 million annually. In 2010 and 2011, 2.1 million new immigrants arrived, about one million annually.
The big increase in new arrivals in the last two years was driven by a rise in immigration from Latin America, particularly countries other than Mexico; South Asia (e.g. Pakistan and India); and East Asia (e.g. China and Vietnam).
The preliminary estimate is that, of the 3.1 million immigrants who arrived in that last two years, about one-third, 1.1 million (or 550,000 annually) were new illegal immigrants, a significant increase from the 700,000 illegal immigrants (350,000 annually) who entered in 2012 and 2013. ■