Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Estimates on the Undocumented Population

The Pew Hispanic Center has updates its previous estimates and profile of the undocumented immigrant population of the U.S. from recent census bureau information. It still estimates that 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants are in the country. That amounts to about 4 % of total population. Fifty-eight percent is from Mexico and another 22% from the rest of the Americas. The undocumented make up 5.4% of the country's workforce.

The children of all immigrants are 6.8% of elementary and secondary school students. One important aspect of the study is to underscore that the children of the undocumented are twice as likely to live in poverty than other children and to drop out before high school graduation. Also the number of children in immigrant households where at least one parent is undocumented, yet born in the U.S.A., is growing-- about 4 million of 5.5 million overall in such families. (Pew Hispanic Center's website contains the total report. See also New York Times article.))

The Houston, TX, area has more than 1,500 gun dealers and, because of non-restrictive laws, lax enforcement and an idolatrous gun culture, is considered the shopping mall of convenience for the Mexican drug cartels to get guns for their border wars. Often a U.S. citizen with no criminal record will be recruited to make a "straw purchase" -- even of semi-automatics -- with few questions being asked. The guns are turned over to the cartels' agents for shipment to Mexico. The issue of gun-smuggling will be high on President Barack Obama's agenda as he meets with Mexican President Felipe Calderon tommorrow. (See New York Times article.)

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