Charts: Immigration Nation

In the American political lexicon “undocumented” means “Mexican”—our largest immigrant group. Unauthorized immigrant residents peaked at 12 million in 2007. Today Mexicans represent 28 percent of the foreign-born population and 58 percent of the undocumented population. In 2010, 73 percent of all deportees were deported to Mexico.

What are the costs of large-scale deportation?

A Mitt Romney-style self-deportation program would have impaired the construction industry, where 15 percent of workers are undocumented Mexicans, would have increased the cost of eating out, as 1 million undocumented Mexicans would have to be removed from restaurants, and would have devastated agriculture, in which 73 percent of farmworkers are born in Mexico.

immigration nation

Among Hispanics who said they intended to vote in the 2012 election, 73 percent supported President Barack Obama. Seventy percent of Hispanics identified with the Democratic Party. Those percentages explain the Republican Party’s aversion to a “path to citizenship.”

Sources: Pew Hispanic Center, Immigration Policy Center, U.S. Census, U.S. Immigration and Customs Service, Colegio de la Frontera Norte