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Number of undocumented immigrants in U.S. below 11M for first time since 2004

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 (Getty Images)

The number of undocumented immigrants in the United States fell below 11 million for the first time since 2004, in large part due to the strong decline in arrivals from Mexico, according to a report released Wednesday.

The total number of immigrants without papers estimated to be living in this country fell to about 10.9 million in 2014, compared with 12 million in 2008, according to the report prepared by the Center for Migration Studies.

The study's author, demographer Robert Warren, said that the decline has been due to the "sharp decline" in arrivals of immigrants from Mexico over the past decade.

“One reason for the high and sustained level of interest in undocumented immigration is the widespread belief that the trend in the undocumented population is ever upward,” the report says.“This paper shows that this belief is mistaken and that, in fact, the undocumented population has been decreasing for more than a half a decade.”

Even so, a little over half of the 10.9 million undocumented people living here come from the Aztec nation. (In 2010 the number of Mexicans without legal status was approximately 6.6 million.)

Following Mexico, undocumented immigrants come from the Central American nations (1.58 million), Asia (1.57 million), South America (637,000), the Caribbean (455,000), Africa (308,000), Europe (303,000) and Oceania (21,000).

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The study reveals that the greatest decline over the past four years came among undocumented migrants from South America, down 22 percent, while the numbers from Central America, Africa and Asia rose by 5 percent, 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

Warren said that one of the motives for the study was the "widespread belief" that the number of undocumented migrants continues to rise in the United States.

“One reason for the high and sustained level of interest in undocumented immigration is the widespread belief that the trend in the undocumented population is ever upward,” the report says.“This paper shows that this belief is mistaken and that, in fact, the undocumented population has been decreasing for more than a half a decade.”

Without discussing political parties or mentioning specific names, the demographer said that the report shows that such a belief "is mistaken" because "the undocumented population has been decreasing for more than a half a decade."

The state with the largest undocumented population continues to be California, with almost 2.6 million in 2014, followed by Texas with 1.73 million, New York with 817,000 and Florida with 711,000. 

Based on reporting by EFE.

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