Immigrants in the U.S.
• The U.S. has always been a country of immigrants. The vast majority of people in the US are either immigrants themselves or the relatives of immigrants.
• There are 38 million immigrants in the US, twelve percent of the total population.
• There are 9.3 million immigrants who don’t have legal status.
• Half of the undocumented immigrants are from Mexico, while another 23 percent are from other Latin American countries. Ten percent come from Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Eastern Europe.
• Over one quarter of undocumented immigrants live and work in California.
Immigrants do the Work
Immigrant workers do the worst, hardest, dirtiest jobs and are paid some of the worst wages in the country.
• There are 24 million immigrants working in the United States. This represents sixteen percent of the
workforce. Out of these 24 million immigrants, six million are undocumented immigrants.
• Undocumented workers make up five percent of the U.S. workforce.
• Two thirds of immigrant workers make only a little more than ten dollars per hour – compared to one third
of workers born in the U.S.
• Almost a quarter of the immigrant population works in sales, retail or service in restaurants and shops. Another 16 percent work in production, transportation and material moving, while 12.5 percent work in construction and maintenance.
Immigration Laws – A Stick to Beat Immigrant Workers
Immigrants live in constant danger of harassment by police and federal authorities.
• In 2003, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department (or ICE) was set up to conduct raids, imprison and deport undocumented immigrants.
• Since 2003, ICE has imprisoned 1.7 million people using 350 different prisons and detention centers.
• Over 30 percent of prisoners in federal prisons are immigrants – mostly in jail for being undocumented.
• In 2009, 33,000 people were deported to their country of origin.
• Since 1996, 1.6 million children, wives or husbands in immigrant families have been deported, pulling families apart and endangering children.
• In Arizona, the recent state law, SB1070, gives police the right to stop, question and search anyone who they suspect of being undocumented. This gives the police a free hand to harass anyone from the immigrant community.
Immigrants Fight Back!
The biggest mobilizations of working people in the last ten years have been immigrants fighting against the attacks of the government.
• On May 1, 2006, over a million people all over the U.S. demonstrated against a federal bill that would make undocumented workers federal criminals. Over half a million people demonstrated in Los Angeles and Chicago. Businesses which rely on immigrant labor were shut down completely.
• On May 1, 2010, thousands of immigrants, families, friends and others across the country came out to demonstrate their opposition to the Arizona law, SB 1070 and all other harassment of immigrants.