Report: Big drop in immigrants living illegally in U.S., Georgia


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ExploreReport: Georgia’s population of immigrants without legal status falls

Donald Trump is campaigning on building a wall on the southwestern border — at Mexico's expense — to keep out immigrants seeking to enter the U.S. illegally. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are also proposing beefing up border security.

Illegal immigration has emerged as a central issue in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, which heads to Georgia and other Southern states next week for Super Tuesday. But a report shows a big drop in the number of immigrants living without legal status in the Peach State and across the nation, including Mexicans.

Since 2008, their numbers have fallen by more than a million, from 12 million to 10.9 million, according to the Center for Migration Studies of New York, which based its report on census data. In Georgia, the number dropped by 14 percent between 2008 to 2014, falling from 400,000 to 345,000.

The report does not say why the numbers have dropped. But a sharp reduction in arrivals from Mexico over the past 10 years has played a key role, according to the report, released last month. Nationwide, the number of immigrants without legal status from Mexico has dropped by 600,000 since 2010, from 6.6 million to 6 million. During that same timeframe in Georgia, the number has dropped by 15 percent, from 239,000 to 203,000.

“Despite the claims of an ever-rising, out-of-control U.S. undocumented population,” Donald Kerwin, the center’s executive director, said in a prepared statement, “the number of undocumented has fallen each year since 2008. In addition, the number and percentage of foreign-born persons with legal status has increased. These trends should be applauded by partisans on all sides of the immigration debate.”