The most illegal immigrants in the United States are concentrated mainly on the western region of the country, a new estimate revealed.
According to data from the Pew Hispanic Center, California has the most undocumented immigrants, with 6.8 percent of the population (or roughly 2.5million people) living in the country illegally.
But it is Nevada – with an estimated 180,000 illegals out of the state’s 2.65 million population – that has the highest percentage of illegal immigrants.
New Jersey also has a fairly high percentage of undocumented immigrants, with around 550million out of a state population of 8.7million.
The map uses data collected by the Pew Hispanic Center in 2011, which notes that while impossible to gather data that was 100 percent accurate, they were confident to the 90th percentile that the numbers were correct.
The organization’s research shows that illegal immigrants’ population declined slightly to a little more than 11million, down from its peak at around 12million in 2007.
In 2011, the total legal immigrant population topped 40.4 million, a record.
The nation has remained deeply divided over the controversial subject, even as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said today that the nation’s system is ‘in desperate need of repair’ during a hearing.
President Obama is currently pushing for swift action to pass immigration legislation, but could face a snag from Republican members of Congress.
The hearing was the panel’s first since last November’s elections when Hispanic-Americans voted in droves for Obama and his fellow Democrats in Congress.
Those election results caused Republicans to rethink their anti-immigration stances, which were highlighted by presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s urging that illegal residents should simply ‘self-deport.’
A standoff over Democrats’ goal of providing citizenship hopes for the immigrants living illegally in the United States could torpedo reform efforts in this Congress.
Still, many Republicans expressed concerns about rewarding illegal immigrants with eventual citizenship, which they often decry as an ‘amnesty.’
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, in a speech to the conservative American Enterprise Institute, noted, ‘While we are a nation that allows anyone to start anew, we are also a nation of laws.’
Cantor of Virginia is the second-ranking House Republican and has a say in which bills are debated before the full House.
At the House Judiciary hearing, Goodlatte, another Virginia Republican, asked, ‘Are there options to consider between the extremes of mass deportation and pathway to citizenship?
Julian Castro, the Democratic mayor of San Antonio, Texas, who testified before Goodlatte’s panel, responded: ‘I believe, as the president has pointed out … that a path to citizenship is the best option’ for the 11 million, many of whom have lived in the United States for a decade or more.