Thursday, June 9, 2011


The number of undocumented Filipinos in the United States has decreased since the start of the economic recession, a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report has revealed.

Another report showed that fewer Filipinos immigrated to the United States in 2010 compared to past years.

Data from the agency said the number of undocumented Filipinos increased from 270,000 in 2009 to 280,000 last year – but actually declined from 2008 when the DHS estimated there were 300,000 undocumented Filipinos (some experts put the number even higher at one million).

2008 marked the first time the number of undocumented Filipinos posted a decline since the year 2000 when there were about 200,000, according to the DHS. A housing mortgage crisis exploded in 2008, nearly taking down the country’s financial system and whose lingering effects are weighing down recovery efforts today.

Data from the DHS showed this was part of bigger trend that’s being fueled by America’s continued economic woes. Unemployment is hovering at 9 percent and recovery has been sputtering. The number of unauthorized immigrants, DHS statistics showed, remained constant at 10.8 million in 2009 and 2010, but this was actually down from the 11.8 million reported in 2007.

“Between 2000 and 2007, the unauthorized population increased by 3.3 million,” the DHS report said, “equivalent to an average annual increase of 500,000 per year. The number of unauthorized residents then decreased to 11.6 million in 2008 and 10.8 million in 2009.” The agency said the difference of 1 million could not be attributed to “sampling error” and suggested it may have be the result of the economic recession.

About 80 percent of illegal immigrants come from the North America region, including Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. The Philippines was the top source of unauthorized immigrants from Asia, followed by India, Korea and China. Of this group only undocumented Koreans showed an almost consistent decline in numbers from 180,000 in 2000 to 170,000 in 2010, following a peak of 240,000 in 2008.

Illegal immigrants appeared to be concentrated in border states like California (with an unauthorized population of nearly 3 million), Texas and Florida.

A separate DHS report showed 58,173 Filipinos immigrated to the US in 2010, making them the 4th biggest group of immigrants, a drop from 3rd place in 2009. Mexico was the top source of immigrants although their numbers have dropped from 189,989 in 2008 to 139,120 in 2010. They were followed by immigrants from China and India.

The greater numbers of new Filipino immigrants are 25 to 44 years old and work in white-collar occupations as professionals, managers, and office and service workers. One noticeable change is the decrease in number of employment-based admissions, which fell from 17,182 in 2007 to 6,423 in 2010.

Of total new Filipino immigrants, 4,559 settled in the Washington DC-Maryland-Virginia region. California remained the top destination, followed by Texas, New York, New Jersey and Florida. One noteworthy change is that Hawaii dropped out as a favorite destination for Filipino immigrants in 2010.

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