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Indians are the fastest-growing illegal immigrant population in the US

People take part in the annual India Day Parade in Manhattan, New York
Reuters/Eduardo Munoz
Desi me rollin’, they hatin’.
  • Ananya Bhattacharya
By Ananya Bhattacharya

Tech reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Indians are staying in the US illegally at far higher rates than any other nationality.

In 2014, there were nearly half a million unauthorized Indian immigrants, according to a recent Pew Research Center report. The influx represented a nearly 43% spike since 2009, when the number was 350,000.

The Department of Homeland Security attributes the growing immigrant populations from Asia and other far-off places to people who initially “arrived with legal status and overstayed their visas.” Last year, 14,000 Indians on tourist or business visas overstayed their legally-permitted welcome. It beats all other Asian nations when it comes to illegal entrants.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s favorite punching bag, Mexico, saw its illegal immigrant population fall by almost half a million over the five-year period from 2009 to 2014, though it is still by far the biggest source of illegal immigrants to the US.

The number of illegal immigrants from Mexico living in the US peaked at 6.9 million in 2007. That number fell to 5.8 million in 2014. “Mexico accounted for 52% of unauthorized immigrants in 2014, but that is down from 57% in 2007,” the report states.

Mexico is also the largest source of lawful permanent residents in the country. The world’s second largest country, India, follows right behind.

Countries like El Salvador and Honduras also represent a sizable chunk of unauthorized residency in the US. Many of them are protected from being deported due to continuing impacts from natural disasters in their birth countries that might prevent them from returning home. For instance, an estimated 57,000 Hondurans have Temporary Protected Status due to ongoing problems stemming from a hurricane in 1998.

The overall number of US unauthorized immigrants held steady between 2009 and 2014, Pew found. And the top countries have largely remained unchanged over the last decade, as have their reasons for unlawful stays.

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