There were about 11.2 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. in 2010, slightly above the prior year’s figures, according to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan Washington-based research organization in Washington.
The number of unauthorized immigrants in the workforce – about 8-million – was also unchanged despite persistently high joblessness in the U.S., deportations and heightened enforcement of immigration laws by states.
The undocumented represent about 5.2 percent of the U.S. workforce.
Pew also revealed that about 350,000 infants were born in 2009 to families with at least one illegal immigrant parent, also largely unchanged from the prior year, accounting for about 8 percent of all newborns.
Overall, the illegal immigrant population peaked at about 12-million in 2007 (right at the onset of the recession) and dropped to 11.1-million in 2009.
Pew attributed the decline to reduced numbers of people illegally entering the country from Mexico and Central America.
Pew indicated however that while number of unauthorized immigrants remains below peak-2007 levels, it has tripled since 1990, when it was 3.5 million and grown by a third since 2000, when it was 8.4 million.
According to Department of Homeland Security officials, federal immigration authorities have deported about 400,000 illegal immgrants in each of the past two years under the Obama Administration.
However, there is no evidence that a weak economy and increased enforcement of immigration paws is leading to a mass departure by illegal aliens.
“We just don’t see indications that enforcement is pushing people to leave the U.S.,” said Jeffrey S. Passel, co-author of the Pew report.
Mexicans account for the lion’s share of illegal immigrants – about 58 percent of the total.