Report: Illegal immigrants may be on the rise in U.S.

The sharp drop in the number of immigrants living illegally in the U.S. that accompanied the Great Recession has stopped and their numbers may be rising again, a new report says.

The Pew Research Center has estimated the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. grew by nearly 2 percent between 2011 and 2012 to 11.7 million. The count hit a high of 12.2 million in 2007 before falling to 11.3 million in 2009.

The Washington-based nonpartisan group — which partly bases its estimates on census information — cautioned Monday that the data are insufficient to definitively say whether there has been an actual increase in illegal immigrants. The center added that its 2009 and 2012 estimates are statistically no different.

State estimates are also included in the center’s report for California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas. Of these, only Texas had increases but no decrease in its counts of illegal immigrants between 2007 and 2011. Counts for Georgia and the other states are expected to be released in the coming months.

Check for updates.

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