Some immigrants are residing in Kentucky and elsewhere in the nation illegally. However, they often are still working, raising their family and in general contributing to our nation. They may have crossed into the U.S. illegally or they may have overstayed a lawful visa. No matter what the reason, it is interesting to note that according to the Pew Research Center, the number of undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S. is at a 12-year low.
2016 saw the lowest number of undocumented immigrants living in the nation in 12 years. In 2007, there were approximately 12.2 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. By 2016, this number had dipped to 10.7 million. Researchers believe that many of these undocumented immigrants came to the U.S. over the past five years on a valid visa, but then remained in the country after their visa expired.
Researchers believe this downturn can be attributed to the fact that many jobs that would have appealed to undocumented immigrants disappeared due to the Great Recession. In addition, the economy in Mexico has improved, meaning that fewer people from Mexico are leaving the country in search of better opportunities in the United States. Also, a greater security presence at the U.S.-Mexico border made crossing it illegally less attractive. The research found that in 2015, more native Mexicans living illegally in the U.S. returned to Mexico than those who entered the U.S. that year. The number of individuals from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador living illegally in the U.S. did go up 5 percent in 2016 compared to 2007. However, this did not offset the overall decrease in undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
While an undocumented immigrant faces the threat of deportation and removal, this does not always stop them from remaining in the U.S. Oftentimes, even living in the U.S. illegally provides an undocumented immigrant with a life they would not be able to enjoy in their home nation. Especially if they have a job and family in the U.S., these individuals may be more likely to continue residing in the U.S. even if they must do so illegally. However, it is generally wise for individuals to pursue legal means of entering and residing in the U.S. For example, they may be eligible for certain visas or they may be able to claim asylum. Those who want more information on entering the U.S. legally or becoming a lawful permanent resident are encouraged to seek legal guidance.