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Growing Challenge: India Ranks Third in US Illegal Immigrant Population

Recent estimates from the Pew Research Center reveal that Indians constitute the third-largest group of illegal immigrants in the United States, numbering around 725,000, following Mexico and El Salvador. As of 2021, the total unauthorized immigrant population in the US reached 10.5 million, comprising about three percent of the overall population and 22 percent of the foreign-born population.

While the number of illegal immigrants from Mexico decreased by 900,000 from 2017 to 2021, populations from other countries, including India, experienced rapid growth during the same period. US Customs and Border Protection data indicate an alarming trend of undocumented Indian immigrants crossing the border on foot, with nearly 97,000 encounters reported from October 2022 to September 2023.

This surge follows the reopening of borders post-Covid, with 30,662 encounters in the 2021 fiscal year and a significant increase to 63,927 in the 2022 fiscal year. The Pew research also highlights that, overall, approximately 7.8 million illegal immigrants were part of the US labor force in 2021, posing complex challenges for immigration management.