The issue of undocumented immigrants working is a controversial one in Texas and elsewhere. It was a major issue in the recent presidential election campaign.
Recent research by the Pew Center looked closer at this unauthorized immigrant workforce. It provided figures on how many undocumented workers are present in Texas and other states.
Obtaining figures about the size of the unauthorized immigrant workforce is problematic. Undocumented workers are not allowed to work. There is no official paper trail. The Pew Center relied on estimates using government census data.
The report said about 8 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. were working or looking for work in 2014. They make up about five percent of the civilian labor force.
The unauthorized immigrant workforce expanded rapidly during the 1990s and early 2000s. The unlawful immigrant workforce fell slightly compared to the start of the recession in 2007.
Unsurprisingly, states with the largest populations of undocumented immigrants have the largest number of undocumented workers.
California had about 1.7 million unauthorized immigrant workers in 2014, Texas, had 1.1 million and New York had 600,000.
Undocumented workers make up about 8.5 percent of the overall workforce in Texas.
The size of the unauthorized immigrant workforce has not changed markedly in the Lone Star State since 2009.
The workforce grew in Washington, Utah, Virginia, Minnesota, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and fell in California, Georgia, Alabama, Illinois, Kansas, Nevada, South Carolina and Rhode Island.
The nation’s 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants comprised just over a quarter of America’s 43.6 million foreign-born residents in 2014.
Undocumented Immigrants Are More Likely to be of Working Age
The Pew Center survey also showed that unauthorized immigrants make up a larger share of the U.S. labor force (5 percent in 2014) than of the overall US population (3.5 percent).
They are disproportionately likely to be younger of a working age. The study found just over 90 percent of unauthorized immigrant men aged 18 to 64 were working or looking for work two years ago, compared with 79 percent of U.S.-born men of similar age and 84 percent of lawful immigrants in a similar age range.
Texas has one of the highest numbers of undocumented immigrants of any state. If you require help please contact our Austin immigration lawyers for a consultation at (512) 359-3362.