The number of illegal immigrants in the United States dropped to 10.7 million — the lowest figure since 2004, Reuters reported, citing a Pew Research Center study released Tuesday.
But the lower figure isn't due to President Donald Trump's policies against illegal immigration; the study is based on U.S. Census data and other figures from 2016, Reuters said, the year before Trump took office.
Why the decline?
The study said the decline in the number of illegal immigrants since the 2007 peak of 12.2 million was due in part to economic hardships stemming from the Great Recession and the slow recovery, which limited job opportunities for migrants, the outlet added.
“The combination of economic forces and enforcement priorities may be working together to discourage people from arriving, or sending them home,” D’Vera Cohn, one of the study's authors, told Reuters.
The dropoff also largely reflected a decrease in the number of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, the outlet added.
More from Reuters:
Mexico is still the country of origin for about half the unauthorized immigrants in the United States, but their number in that total population fell by 1.5 million between 2007 and 2016, the Pew Research Center report found.
During that decade, the number of unauthorized immigrants from Central America increased by 375,000.
Asians make up 22 percent of recent-arrival illegal immigrants, Reuters said, citing the report — and on the whole, illegal immigrants who overstay visas outnumber those who illegally cross the border.
Two-thirds of adults among the 10.7 million illegal immigrants have lived in the U.S. for more than a decade, the report noted, adding that 5 million children born in the U.S. are living with parents or relatives who are unauthorized immigrants.
In addition, between 2007 and 2016, the lawful immigrant population grew 22 percent, the study said, which was an increase of more than 6 million people. In 2016, 34.4 million lawful immigrants — both naturalized citizens and noncitizens on permanent and temporary visas — were in America, the study added.