Report: Mass. and N.H. gain 60K undocumented immigrants since 2007

NASHUA – The total number of undocumented immigrants in Massachusetts and New Hampshire grew by an estimated 60,000 from 2007 to 2017, according to a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

This increase in unauthorized immigrants populating New Hampshire and Massachusetts defies the national trend, as the U.S. total number of undocumented declined by about 1.7 million during the same time period.

Thursday, the Pew Research Center released a new study tracking immigration trends. According to the think tank, Massachusetts saw its number of undocumented go from 220,000 in 2007 to 275,000 in 2017. New Hampshire, meanwhile, had approximately 10,000 undocumented immigrants living in the state in 2007, but the more recent estimate is 15,000.

Now, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., says that as president, she will use executive action to shield approximately 3,800 of those 15,000 in New Hampshire from any efforts to deport them.

“Every day in the life of a Dreamer who fears deportation is a long day. Dreamers cannot afford to sit around and wait for Congress to get its act together. Their lives are on the line,” Harris said.

The Harris campaign states that 3,400 of the New Hampshire immigrants would be considered Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) initiative. The remaining 400 would be part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“As president, while I fight for Congress to pass 21st Century immigration reform, I won’t wait. I’ll take action to lift barriers Dreamers face to pursuing legal status and put them on a meaningful path to citizenship,” Harris added. “These young people are just as American as I am, and they deserve a president who will fight for them from day one.”

Countries Of Origin

In addition to showing the number of undocumented immigrants throughout the U.S. fell by 1.7 million from 2007 to 2017, the Pew Research Center study also shows a significant shift in the countries of origin for those who are here.

In 2007, more than half of undocumented immigrants were Mexicans. However, the number of Mexicans estimated to be in the U.S. illegally fell from nearly 7 million in 2007 to fewer than 5 million a decade later.

Meanwhile, the numbers from several other countries around the globe, where people tend to be fleeing danger or oppression, has grown as follows:

• El Salvador: From 600,000 in 2007 to 750,000 in 2017

• Guatemala: From 400,000 in 2007 to 600,000 in 2017

• Honduras: From 300,000 in 2007 to 400,000 in 2017

• Venezuela: From 55,000 in 2007 to 130,000 in 2017

• Vietnam: From 55,000 in 2007 to 80,000 in 2017

• China: From 325,000 in 2007 to 375,000 in 2017

• India: From 325,000 in 2007 to 525,000 in 2017

Conundrum

As a prime example of the current conundrum of unauthorized immigration, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and the ACLU of New Hampshire on Thursday filed a class action lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for allegedly jailing immigrants without due process.

“In order to keep someone behind bars in this country, the government must prove why they should be detained: but for immigrants, that is not the case. This lawsuit raises an alarming issue where due process is being denied to those that have the most difficulty accessing counsel and navigating the American immigration system,” SangYeob Kim, immigration legal fellow at the ACLU of New Hampshire, said.

“This approach to detention is contrary to common sense and our fundamental values. In America, liberty should be the norm for everyone-and detention the last resort. We will continue to fight the gross overuse of detention in the immigration system,” ACLU of Massachusetts Executive Director Carol Rose added.

Officials with ICE declined to comment on the ACLU lawsuit. However, the agency states on its website that from May 19-23, authorities arrested 32 people via Enforcement and Removal Operations in New England. The agency said 22 of the 32 people arrested already had criminal convictions, while 10 had charges pending.

“This successful targeted enforcement operation removed many serious public safety threats from multiple communities throughout the New England region,” said Marcos Charles, acting field office director for ERO Boston. “It’s because of the professionalism of ICE law enforcement officers and special agents working operations aimed at arresting criminal aliens, that real progress is being made in protecting our communities from the threat posed by criminal aliens.”