A half-million new people settle illegally in the United States each year, marking numbers that are roughly equivalent to the population of Atlanta, Steven Camerota, the research director for the Center for Immigration Studies said Thursday.
"The 500,000 figure doesn't necessarily mean the border," Camerota told Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "That can include people that overstay a visa. At minimum, 200,000, and more are expected to do it this year successfully, illegally cross the border between the ports of entry."
He said the figures are based on census data and other sources and there is "no question about it; it is a pretty solid estimate."
There is some evidence that the level of illegal immigration is not as high now as it was a decade ago, but the last year looks to be "pretty high," said Camerota.
"We don't have all the complete data for that," he said. "Here's the bottom line...500,000 new people settle in the United States illegally each year, (and) 200,000 to 250,000 cross the border successfully. (Another) 200,000 or 250,000 or 300,000 overstay the temporary visa. Those numbers are enormous."
The news comes as 16 states have filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency in order to obtain additional funding beyond $1.4 billion that Congress has approved for border security. He has said he has legal rights to declare an emergency, but his use of the declaration has drawn criticism from both sides of the aisle.
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