Unauthorized Immigrants

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Illegal immigrants are a major part of the US labor force and have been an important source of low-skilled labor supply to the US economy for many decades. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that the number of unauthorized immigrants in the US labor force was 8.3 million in 2008, up from 6.3 million in 2003 but down slightly from the 2007 peak of 8.5 million. And there are currently 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States, with an average of 500,000 new entrants arriving annually over the last decade. (Passel and Cohn, A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States, 2009).

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