June 17, 2005 – With citizensâ€™ groups patrolling the borders and heated debates over immigration continuing, a little heralded report released earlier this week found that most undocumented immigrants live much like the rest of US society.
According to a Pew Hispanic Center study, almost 11 million unauthorized immigrants live in families. Undocumented men are more likely to be part of a family than not, and a greater proportion of them -- 92 percent -- are likely to be employed than native-born men. They account for slightly more than four percent of the workforce and can increasingly be found in construction and service industry jobs.
Additionally, the undocumented immigrant population is becoming increasingly educated. Newly entered immigrants are increasingly coming from more educated segments of their home countries, with most possessing more education than their legal counterparts who have been in the US for ten years or more.
Around a quarter of the unauthorized population has some college education and the numbers of high school degree holders -- over half -- among the subset is greater than that of their documented peers.
Most immigrants, documented or not, are of Latin American or Hispanic heritage. Mexicans make up about three-fifths of the undocumented immigrant population. As a whole, unauthorized immigrants make up around a third of the total foreign born population in the US, according to the study.
The research was conducted for the Independent Task Force on Immigration and Americaâ€™s Future, a non-partisan body examining legal and illegal immigration and the ways immigrants interact and integrate with US society as a whole. The Pew Hispanic Center is part of the Pew Research Center and supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a private foundation.