There is a record 42.1 million legal and illegal immigrants in the United States, according to a new analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday.
America's immigration population has surged since the second quarter of 2011, when an additional 4.1 million entered the county both legally and illegally, according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)
That number includes the 1.7 million immigrants who entered just in the past year, of which 740,000 are Mexicans. The total Mexican immigration population in the U.S. was 12.1 million as of the second quarter of this year, its highest quarterly total, CIS said.
The immigrant population now totals more than 13.3 percent of the entire U.S. population — its largest share in 105 years, CIS said of the Census data for the second quarter of 2015.
CIS cites "the significant cutbacks in enforcement in recent years, the permissive nature of the legal immigration system and improvements in the economy" as factors that have contributed to the surge.
There was very little immigration growth from 2007 to 2011, when the numbers began to spike. According to CIS, the growth in the last four years is about equal to the growth from 2000 through 2007.
"For the immigrant population to increase by one million means that significantly more than one million new immigrants must enter the country, because some immigrants already here return to their homeland each year and natural mortality totals 250,000 annually," the Center wrote in its report.
This growth will certainly add to the already heated debate in both Congress and on the campaign trail among the presidential candidates, but CIS notes that legal immigration has not been on the radar of most candidates. According to the group, about three-quarters of the total immigration population are here legally.
"While the impact of illegal immigration is often the subject of intense national debate, the much larger flow of legal immigrants has seen almost no discussion, even though its impact on American society is much larger," the report concluded.
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