Central American and African Immigrants Changing the Mexico Border Discussion

American Flag, Social Security Card, and Green Card

Conversations about building a border wall with Mexico and undocumented immigration has taken a turn. For the first time, there are more Central American undocumented immigrants than Mexican undocumented immigrants in the United States. And, immigration officials are seeing an unprecedented amount of African immigrants coming to the US from Mexico.

The changing demographics of undocumented immigrants in the US is changing the services they need to legally live in the United States.  

A new study by the Pew Research Center reports,

“The number of Mexican unauthorized immigrants in the United States declined so sharply over the past decade that they no longer are the majority of those living in the country illegally.”

Mexican unauthorized immigrants in the US has fallen by 2 million since it reached its peak of 6.9 million in 2007 and was lower in 2017 than in any year since 2001. At the same time, the number of unauthorized immigrants from other parts of the world living in the US has increased. The study reports the overall number of illegal immigrants in the US has decreased by 14% since 2007, while legal immigration has continued to grow.

Undocumented Immigrants from Central America

The number of undocumented Central Americans immigrants has increased from 1.5 million in 2007 to 1.9 million in 2017, reports NBC news. Fewer immigrants who are not legally in the country are working: only 5 states have increased workers without legal documentation: Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Dakota and South Dakota – none of which are border states.

African Migrants Crossing the US-Mexico Border

Since May 30, US Border Patrol agents arrested more than 500 people from Africa, including nationals from Angola, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, reports Fox news.

“Some [refugees] may have been traveling for months to get to the Mexico border in search of better opportunities that the U.S. has to offer, the human rights that the U.S. has to offer.”

Most Africans do not have families to sponsor them to live in the US, and they speak languages that immigration officials don’t know.

Majority of Illegal Immigrants Arrive in the US Legally
Contrary to popular belief, most undocumented immigrants do not illegally cross the Mexican border into the US. Most illegal immigrants arrived in the US with a visa but over-extended their stay. According to Pew,

“1.5 million or more people who have temporary permission to stay in the U.S. but could be subject to deportation by changes in government policy. In 2017, they included about 320,000 people from 10 nations with Temporary Protected Status, about 700,000 beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and a rising number of people who have applied for asylum and are awaiting a ruling.”

Immigration lawyer Mario Godoy says,

Immigrants do not all need the same services to become legal residents in the United States. Our immigration law practice works with people here with Temporary Protected Status, young adults who benefited under DACA, asylum seekers, people with family who are already citizens – every case is unique. What they all have in common is they need guidance to get through our complicated immigration legal system. That’s what our role is: we have the expertise to make their immigration journey easier.

The Immigration Simplified attorneys work with you to evaluate your immigration status and guide you in your journey to obtain legal immigration status. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office or call us at (312) 883-9944.

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