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An estimated 14 million people live in families in which the head of household or the spouse is in the United States without authorization.Â The number of illegal immigrants arriving in recent years tend to be better educated than those who have been in the country a decade or more. A quarter of all immigrants who have arrived in recent years have at least some college education. Nonetheless, unauthorized immigrants as a group tend to be less educated than other sections of the U.S. population: 49 percent haven't completed high school, compared with 9 percent of native-born Americans and 25 percent of authorized immigrants.
Unauthorized immigrants work in many sectors of the U.S. economy. According to National Public Radio in 2005, about 3 percent work in agriculture; 33 percent have jobs in service industries; and substantial numbers can be found in construction and related occupations (16 percent), and in production, installation, and repair (17 percent).Â According toÂ USA TodayÂ in 2006, about 4 percent work in farming; 21 percent have jobs in service industries; and substantial numbers can be found in construction and related occupations (19 percent), and in production, installation, and repair (15 percent), with 12% in sales, 10% in management, and 8% in transportation.Â Illegal immigrants have lower incomes than both legal immigrants and native-born Americans, but earnings do increase somewhat the longer an individual is in the country.
A percentage of unauthorized immigrants do not remain indefinitely but do return to their country of origin; they are often referred to as "sojourners: they come to the United States for several years but eventually return to their home country."
Breakdown by state
As of 2006,Â the following data table shows a spread of distribution of locations where illegal immigrants reside by state.
State of Residence of the Illegal Alien Population: January 2000 and 2006
State of residence
Estimated population in January
Percent of total
Average annual change
Number of illegal immigrants
According to theÂ Government Accountability OfficeÂ (GAO), different estimates of the total number of unauthorized immigrants vary depending on how the term is defined.Â There are also questions about data reliability.
The GAO has stated that "it seems clear that the population of undocumented foreign-born persons is large and has increased rapidly."Â On April 26, 2006 the Pew Hispanic Center (PHC) estimated that in March 2005 the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. ranged from 11.5 to 12 million individuals.Â This number was derived by a statistical method known as the "residual method."Â According to the General Accounting office the residual estimation (1) starts with a census count or survey estimate of the number of foreign-born residents who have not becomeÂ U.S. citizensÂ and (2) subtracts out estimated numbers of legally present individuals in various categories, based on administrative data and assumptions (because censuses and surveys do not ask about legal status). The remainder, or residual, represents an indirect estimate of the size of the illegal immigrant population.Â Using the residential method, several different estimates of the number of illegal immigrants present in the United States have been derived:
In August, 2006, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) placed the unauthorized immigrant population at 10.5 million as of January 2005 and indicates that if recent trends continued, the figure for January 2006 would be 11 million.
The Pew Hispanic Center's indirect estimate of the number of unauthorized immigrants as of 2006 was 11.5 million to 12 million. These estimates represented roughly one-third of the entire foreign-born population.
According to the General Accounting Office, DHS had variously estimated the size of the unauthorized immigrant population as of January 2000 as 7 million and 8.5 million.
Some unofficial private estimates put the number even higher
From 2005 to 2009, the number of people entering the U.S. unauthorized declined by nearly 67%, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, from 850,000 yearly average in the early 2000s to 300,000.
TheÂ Pew Hispanic CenterÂ determined that according to an analysis ofÂ Census BureauÂ data about 8 percent of children born in the United States in 2008 - about 340,000 - were offspring of illegal immigrants. In total, 4 million U.S.-born children of unauthorized immigrant parents resided in this country in 2009 (alongside 1.1 million foreign-born children of unauthorized immigrant parents).Â These infants are, according to theÂ Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, American citizens from birth. These children are sometimes pejoratively referred to asÂ anchor babiesÂ by those aggressively opposed to this method of citizenship attained outside of the legal immigration process.
The majority of children that are born with unauthorized parents fail to graduate high school, averaging two fewer years of school than their peers. But once the parents do gain citizenship the children do much better in school. Reason for this decline in school is thought to be because of many issues not limited to but including stress, pressure to work at a younger age, and not having the economic resources needed to get higher education.Â 
Present-day countries of origin
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the countries of origin for the largest numbers of illegal immigrants are as follows (latest of 2009):
Country of origin
Percent of total
Percent change 2000 to 2009
TheÂ Urban InstituteÂ estimates "between 65,000 and 75,000 undocumented Canadians currently live in the United States."
There are four broad categories of foreign-born people in the United States.
US citizens born outside the United States (naturalized)Â 
Foreign-born non-citizens with current visa to reside and/or work in the US (documented)Â 
Foreign-born non-citizens without a current visa but that are not prohibited from entry (undocumented)
Foreign-born non-citizens in the United States that are prohibited from entry (illegal)
Foreign-born non-citizens residing in the United States are further subdivided into immigrants and non-immigrants. Immigrants are foreign-born non-citizens that are able to apply for citizenship. Non-immigrants are foreign-born non-citizens who are not able to apply for citizenship, which includes diplomatic staff, temporary workers, students, tourists, etc.
Foreign-born non-citizens can become undocumented in one of four ways: by unauthorized entry, when the employer fails to pay worker documentation fees, by staying beyond the expiration date of visa or other authorization, or by violating the terms of legal entry.[not in citation given][not in citation given]
The terms "illegal immigrant" and "illegal immigration" are sometimes used incorrectly outside the scope of US law to mean foreign-born non-citizens that are undocumented but not prohibited from entry into the United States.
If the foreign-born non-citizen entered legally without inspection, then the foreign-born non-citizen would be classified as either a "Non-Immigrant Visa Overstayer" or a "Border Crossing Card Violator".[not in citation given]
Main article:Â Illegal entry#United States
TheÂ Pew Hispanic CenterÂ estimates that 6-7 million illegal immigrants came to the United States via illegal entry, accounting for probably a little over half of the total population.Â There are an estimated half million illegal entries into the United States each year.
A common means of border crossing is to hire professionals whoÂ smuggle illegal immigrantsÂ across the border for pay. Those operating on the US-Mexico border are known informally as "coyotes".
According to Pew, between 4 and 5.5 million illegal immigrants entered the United States with a legalÂ visa, accounting for between 33-50% of the total population.Â A tourist or traveler is considered a "visa overstay" once he or she remains in the United States after the time of admission has expired. The time of admission varies greatly from traveler to traveler depending on what visa class into which they were admitted. Visa overstays tend to be somewhat more educated and better off financially than those who entered the country illegally.
To help track visa overstayers theÂ US-VISIT (United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology)Â program collects and retains biographic, travel, and biometric information, such as photographs and fingerprints, of foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States. It also requires electronic readable passports containing this information.
Visa overstayers mostly enter withÂ tourist or business visas.Â In 1994, more than halfÂ of illegal immigrants were Visa overstayers whereas in 2006, about 45% of illegal immigrants were Visa overstayers.
Those who leave the United States afterÂ overstaying their visaÂ for more than 180 days but less than one year and then attempt to re-enter on a new visa will face a three year penalty which will not allow them to re-enter the U.S. for that period.
Border Crossing Card violation
A smaller number of illegal immigrants entered the United States legally using theÂ Border Crossing Card, a card that authorizes border crossings into the U.S. for a set amount of time. Border Crossing Card entry accounts for the vast majority of all registered non-immigrant entry into the United States - 148 million out of 179 million total - but there is little hard data as to how much of the illegal immigrant population entered in this way. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates the number at around 250,000-500,000.
Main article:Â Illegal immigration#Causes
The United States is viewed worldwide as a highly desirable destination by would-be migrants. International polls by the Gallup organization have found that more than 165 million adults in 148 foreign countries would, if they could, move to the US, which is the most desired destination for migrants.Â Most immigrants who come to the United States come for better opportunities for employment, avoidance of political oppression, the opportunity to rejoin their loved ones, for the prospect of providing better lives for themselves and their children, and for the educational and medical services benefits.
Causes by region
In general illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America come for economic reasons, but also sometimes due to political oppression.Â From Asia, they come for economic reasons but some come involuntarily as indentured servants or sex slaves.Â From Sub-Saharan Africa, they come for economic activities and there is some chance of slave trade.Â From Eastern Europe, they come for economic activities and to rejoin family already in the United States. However, there are also some who come involuntarily who work in the sex industry.Â From the Middle East, they come for economic activities or to rejoin family already in the United States.
The continuing practice of hiring unauthorized workers has been referred to as "the magnet for illegal immigration." As a significant percentage of employers are willing to hire illegal immigrants for higher pay than they would typically receive in their former country, illegal immigrants have prime motivation to cross borders.
In 2003, then-President of Mexico,Â Vicente FoxÂ stated that remittances "are our biggest source of foreign income, bigger than oil, tourism or foreign investment" and that "the money transfers grew after Mexican consulates started giving identity cards to their citizens in the United States." He stated that money sent from Mexican workers in the United States to their families back home reached a record $12 billion in 2003.Â Two years later, in 2005, the World Bank stated that Mexico was receiving $18.1 billion in remittances and that it ranked third (behind only India and China) among the countries receiving the greatest amount of remittances.
As shown in the section causes by regions, economic reasons is the most popular reason as to why people illegally immigrate to the United States. The United States is attractive for economic reasons because United States employers hire illegal immigrants at wages substantially higher than they could earn in their native countries.Â A study of illegal immigrants from Mexico in the 1978 harvest season in Oregon showed that they earned six times what they coud have earned in Mexico, and even after deducting the costs of the seasonal migration and certain additional expenses for living in the United States, their net U.S. earnings were three times their Mexican alternative.Â It is also important to consider the higher availability of this type of job. In the 1960s and early 1970s, Mexico's high fertility rate caused a large increase in the population size. While the growth of the population has slowed in more recent times, the large numbers of people born in the 60s and 70s are now in prime working age looking for jobs.
According to Judith Gans, Immigration Policy Program Manager at theÂ University of Arizona, United States employers are pushed to hire illegal migrants for three main reasons - global economic change, the inadequacy of channels for legal economic migration, and ineffective employer sanctions.Â Global economic change is one cause for illegal immigration because information and transportation technologies now foster internationalized production, distribution and consumption, and labor. This has encouraged many countries to open their economies to outside investment, then increasing the number of low-skilled workers participating in global labor markets and making low-skilled labor markets all more competitive.Â This and the fact that developed countries have shifted from manufacturing to knowledge-based economies, have realigned economic activity around the world.Â Labor has become more international as individuals migrate seeking work despite governmental attempts to control this migration.Â Because the United States education system creates relatively few people who either lack a high school diploma or who hold PhD's, there is a shortage of workers needed to fulfill seasonal low-skilled jobs as well as certain high-skilled jobs. To fill these gaps, the United States immigration system attempts to compensate for these shortages by providing for temporary immigration by farm workers and seasonal low-skilled workers, and for permanent immigration by high-skilled workers.Â The third cause of illegal immigration - the ineffectiveness of current employer sanctions for illegal hiring - allows migrants who are in the country illegally to easily find jobs. There are three reasons for this ineffectiveness - the absence of reliable mechanisms for verifying employment eligibility, inadequate funding of interior immigration enforcement, and the absence of political will due to labor needs to the United States economy.Â For example, it is unlawful to knowingly hire an illegal immigrant, but according to Judith Gans, there are no reliable mechanisms in place for employers to verify that the immigrants' papers are authentic.Â Evidence is accumulating that the numbers of illegal immigrants is diminishing because of increased border security and tougher immigration laws, and because there are fewer jobs in the American economy.
Inadequate channels for legal migration
The United States immigration system provides only limited channels for legal, permanent economic migration, especially for low-skilled workers.Â The United States immigration system rests on three pillars (family reunification, provision of scarce labor) as in agricultural and specific high-skilled worker sectors and protecting American workers from competition with foreign workers.Â The current system sets an overall limit of 675,000 permanent immigrants each year; this limit does not apply to spouses, unmarried minor children or parents of U.S. citizens.Â Outside of this number for permanent immigrants, 480,000 visas are allotted for those under the family-preference rules and only 140,000 are allocated for employment-related preferences.Â The current system and low number of visas available, make it impossible for low-skilled workers to legally and permanently enter the country to work, so illegal entry becomes the way migrants respond to the lure of jobs with higher wages than what they would be able to find in their current country.Â Another reason for the large numbers of illegal immigrants present in the United States is the termination of the bracero program. This program existed from 1942 to 1964 to supply low-skilled Mexican workers to harvest fruits and vegetables in the United States. Many legal workers became illegal when this program ended because the change in law was not accompanied by a change in economic incentives for Mexican workers and the American growers.
This section requiresÂ expansion.Â (August 2008)
According to demographer Jeffery Passel of theÂ Pew Hispanic Center, the flow of Mexicans to the U. S. has produced a "network effect" - furthering immigration as Mexicans moved to join relatives already in the U.S.Â The Pew Hispanic Center describes that the recent dramatic increase in the population of illegal immigrants has sparked more illegal immigrants to cross borders. Once the extended families of illegal immigrants cross national borders, they create a "network effect" by building large communities.
According to theÂ Migration Policy Institute, increasing allowances for family members to immigrate to the US, and processing those applications faster, would reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the US.
Lower costs of transportation, communication and information has facilitated illegal migration. Mexican nationals, in particular, have a very low cost of migration and can easily cross the border. Even if it requires more than one attempt, they have a very low probability of being detected and then deported once they have entered the country.
Several ethnic lobbies support immigration reforms that would allow current undocumented Americans to gain citizenship. They may also lobby for special arrangements for their own group. The Chairman for the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform has stated that "the Irish Lobby will push for any special arrangement it can get - 'as will every other ethnic group in the country.'"
Mexican federal and state government assistance
The US Department of Homeland Security and some advocacy groups have criticized a program of the government of the state ofÂ YucatánÂ and that of a federal Mexican agency directed to Mexicans migrating to and residing in the United States. They claim that the assistance includes advice on how to get across the U.S. border illegally, where to find healthcare, enroll their children in public schools, and send money to Mexico. The Mexican federal government also issuesÂ identity cardsÂ to Mexicans living outside of Mexico.
In 2005 the government of Yucatán produced a handbook and DVD about the risks and implications of crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The guide told immigrants where to find health care, how to get their kids into U.S. schools, and how to send money home. Officials in Yucatán said the guide is a necessity to save lives but some American groups accused the government of encouraging illegal immigration.
In 2005 the Mexican government was criticized for distributing a comic book which offers tips to illegal emigrants to the United States.Â That comic book recommends to illegal immigrants, once they have safely crossed the border, "Don't call attention to yourself.... Avoid loud parties. ... Don't become involved in fights." The Mexican government defends the guide as an attempt to save lives. "It's kind of like illegal immigration for dummies," said the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, Mark Krikorian. "Promoting safe illegal immigration is not the same as arguing against it." The comic book does state on its last page that the Mexican Government does not promote illegal crossing at all and only encourages visits to the US with all required documentation.
Groups in favor of application and enforcement of current immigration law opposeÂ Matrícula ConsularÂ ("Consular Registration"), an identification card issued by theÂ Government of MexicoÂ through itsÂ consulate offices. The purpose of the card is to demonstrate that the bearer is a Mexican national living outside of Mexico. Similar consular identification cards are theÂ Guatemalan CID cardÂ and theÂ Argentinian CID cardÂ as well as a number of otherÂ CID cardsÂ issued to citizens ofÂ Colombia, El Salvador, and Honduras.Â The document is accepted at financial institutions in many states and, in conjunction with an IRSÂ Taxpayer Identification Number, allows illegal immigrants to open checking and saving accounts.Â In December 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger launchedÂ Bank on CaliforniaÂ which calls on California mayors to specifically encourage the use of theÂ Mexican CIDÂ and Guatemalan CID card by banks and credit unions as a primary identification when opening an account.[not in citation given]
Main article:Â United States nationality law
Main article:Â List of United States immigration laws
Immigrants can be classified as illegal for one of three reasons: entering without authorization or inspection, staying beyond the authorized period after legal entry, or violating the terms of legal entry.
Section 1325 inÂ Title 8 of the United States Code, "Improper entry of alien", provides for a fine, imprisonment, or both for any immigrant who:
enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration agents, or
eludes examination or inspection by immigration agents, or
attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact.
The maximum prison term is 6 months for the first offense and 2 years for any subsequent offense. In addition to the above criminal fines and penalties, civil fines may also be imposed.
Arizona, which passed immigration enforcement lawÂ Arizona SB 1070Â in April 2010, is currently the "toughest bill on illegal immigration" in the United States,Â and is being challenged by theÂ Department of JusticeÂ as encroaching on powers reserved by the United States Constitution to the Federal Government.Â On July 28, 2010,Â United States district courtÂ judge Susan Bolton issued a preliminary injunction affecting the most controversial parts of the law, including the section that required police officers to check a person's immigration status after a person had been involved in another act or situation which resulted in police activity.
The Mexican Constitution grants citizens freedom to travel. The Constitution stipulates also that the right to cross border migration is authorized only if other applicable laws and requirements are observed, and when certain prerequisites have been met.
Main article:Â United States-Mexico barrier
The cost to immigrate illegally has also increased, encouraging longer stays to recoup the cost.Â Tens of thousands of illegal Mexican immigrants head each year in the direction of Mexico.Â While no statistics are kept on this reverse migration, researchers in both countries suggest that the numbers have declined as border controls have tightened.
In October 2008, Mexico agreed to deportÂ CubansÂ using the country as an entry point to the US. Then-Cuban Foreign MinisterÂ Felipe Pérez RoqueÂ said the Cuban-Mexican agreement would lead to "the immense majority of Cubans being repatriated."
Audits of employment records in 2009 atÂ American Apparel, a prominent Los Angeles garment manufacturer, by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) uncovered discrepancies in the documentation of about 25 percent of the company's workers. This technique of auditing employment records originated during the George W. Bush presidency and has been continued under President Obama. It may result in deportations should definite evidence of illegality be uncovered, but at American Apparel the audit resulted only in the termination of employees who could not resolve discrepancies. Most fired workers, some of whom had worked a decade at the plant, reported that they would seek other employment within the United States. This technique of enforcement is much less disruptive than mass raids at workplaces, but is not popular with employers who feel targeted and threatened.
US ICE, USBP, and CBP enforce theÂ INA, and to some extent the United States military, local law enforcement and other local agencies, and private citizens and citizen groups guard the border.
TheÂ U.S. Customs and Border ProtectionÂ is responsible for apprehending individuals attemptingÂ illegal entryÂ to the United States. TheÂ United States Border PatrolÂ is its mobile uniformed law enforcement arm, responsible for deterrence, detection, and apprehension of those who enter the United States without authorization from the government and outside the designated ports of entry.
In December 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to build a barrier along parts of the border not already protected by barriers. A later vote in theÂ United States SenateÂ on May 17, 2006, included a plan to blockade 860 miles (1,380Â km) of the border with vehicle barriers and triple-layer fencing along with granting an "earned path to citizenship" to the 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. and roughly doubling legal immigration (from their 1970s levels)Â . In 2007 Congress approved a plan calling for more fencing along the Mexican border, with funds for approximately 700 miles (1,100Â km) of new fencing.
"If immigrants, whether legal or illegal, are apprehended entering the US while committing a crime, they are usually charged under federal statutes and, if convicted, are sent to federal prisons."
For decades, immigration authorities have alerted ("no-match-letters")Â employers of mismatches between reported employees'Â Social Security cardsÂ and the actual names of the card holders. On September 1, 2007, a federal judge halted this practice of alerting employers of card mismatches.
Illegal hiring has not been prosecuted aggressively in recent years: between 1999 and 2003, according toÂ The Washington Post, "work-site enforcement operations were scaled back 95 percent by theÂ Immigration and Naturalization Service.Â Major employers of illegal immigrants have included:
Wal-Mart. In 2005, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $11 million to settle a federal investigation that found hundreds of illegal immigrants were hired by Wal-Mart's cleaning contractors.
Swift & Co.: In December 2006, in the largest such crackdown in American history, U.S. federal immigration authoritiesÂ raided Swift & Co. meat-processing plantsÂ in six U.S. states, arresting about 1,300 illegal immigrant employees.
Tyson Foods. This company has also been accused of actively importing illegal labor for itsÂ chickenÂ packing plants; however, the jury acquitted the company after evidence was presented that Tyson went beyond mandated government requirements in demanding documentation for its employees.
Gebbers Farms. In December 2009, US immigration authorities forced thisÂ Brewster, WashingtonÂ farm known for its fruit orchards to fire more than 500 illegal workers, mostly immigrants from Mexico. Some were working with false social security cards and other false identification.
El PasoÂ (top) and Ciudad Juárez (bottom) seen from earth orbit; the Rio Grande is the thin line separating the two cities through the middle of the photograph.
Main article:Â Immigration detention in the United States
About 40% of illegal immigrants enter legally and then overstay.Â About 31,000 people who are not American citizens are held in immigration detention on any given day,Â including children, in over 200 detention centers, jails, and prisons nationwide. TheÂ United States governmentÂ held more than 300,000 people inÂ immigration detentionÂ in 2007 while deciding whether to deport them.
Deportations of immigrants, which are also referred to as removals, may be issued when immigrants are found to be in violation of the United States' immigration laws. Deportations may be imposed on a person who is neither native-born nor a naturalized citizen of the United States.Â Deportation proceedings are also referred to as removal proceedings and are typically initiated by the Department of Homeland Security. The United States issues deportations for various reasons which include security, protection of resources, and protection of jobs.
The AEDPA and IIRIRA Acts of 1996
In 1996 there were two major pieces of legislation passed that had a significant effect on illegal immigration and most importantly deportations in the United States. The two new laws were the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). These two laws were introduced following the events of the World Trade Center bombing of 1993 and the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, both of which were terrorist attacks that claimed American lives. These two acts resulted in a significant change in the process of convicting lawful permanent residents. Although deportation had always been a viable and practiced sentence, these new laws changed the way criminal cases of lawful permanent residents were handled which in turn resulted in an increased number of deportations from the United States.Â Before the 1996 deportation laws there were two steps that lawful permanent residents who were convicted of crimes had to go through. The first step was simply to determine whether or not the person was deportable. The second step reviewed the case to determine if that person should or shouldn't be deported. Before the 1996 deportation laws the second step prevented many permanent residents from being deported by allowing for their cases to be reviewed in full before issuing deportations. External factors were taken into consideration such as the effect deportation would have on a person's family members and a person's connections with their country of origin. Under this system permanent residents were able to be relieved of deportation if their situation deemed it unnecessary. The 1996 laws however issued many deportations under the first step without ever arriving at the second step resulting in a great increase in the likelihood and frequency of permanent residents being subjected to deportation. One significant change that resulted from the new laws was the definition of the term 'aggravated felony.' Being convicted of a crime that is categorized as an aggravated felony results in mandatory detention and deportation. The new definition of aggravated felony includes simple convictions like shoplifting that would not be considered anything more than a misdemeanor in a lot of states. The new laws have categorized a much wider range of crimes under the term aggravated felony. The effect of this has been a large increase in permanent residents facing mandatory deportation from the United States without the opportunity to plea for relief. The 1996 deportation laws have received a lot of criticism for their curtailing of permanent resident's rights.
The USA Patriot Act
The USA Patriot Act was passed seven weeks after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The purpose of the act was to give the government more power to act against suspicious terrorist activity. The new governmental powers granted by this act included significant expansion in surveillance as well as a significant expansion in the range of conditions in which illegal aliens could be deported from the United States based on suspicion of terrorist activity. The USA Patriot Act had a direct effect on deportations of immigrants from the United States. The new act gave the government the power to deport individuals based not on plots or acts of terrorism but simply on affiliations with certain organizations. The Secretary of State designated specific organizations 'foreign terrorist organizations before the USA Patriot Act was implemented. Organizations on this list were deemed dangerous because they were actively involved in terrorist activity that threatened United States national security. The USA Patriot Act created a type of organization deemed 'designated' organizations. The Secretary of State and Attorney General were given the power to designate any organization that supported terrorist activity on any level. The act also allows for penalization of an individual's involvement in undesignated organizations that were still deemed suspicious.Â Â Under the USA Patriot Act the Attorney General was granted the power to 'certify' illegal aliens based on the grounds that they pose a threat to national security. Once an illegal alien is certified they must be taken into custody and face mandatory detention which will result in a criminal charge or release. The USA Patriot Act has been criticized for violating the Fifth Amendment's right to due process. Under the USA Patriot Act an illegal alien is not granted the opportunity for a hearing before given certification. It is criticized in general for allowing mandatory detention of illegal aliens on inadequate grounds.Â 
Complications in deportation efforts ensue when parents are illegal immigrants but their children areÂ birthright citizens. Federal appellate courts have upheld the refusal by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to stay the deportation of illegal immigrants merely on the grounds that they have U.S.-citizen, minor children.Â There are some 3.1 million United States citizen children with at least one illegal immigrant parent as of 2005; at least 13,000 American children had one or both parents deported in the years 2005-2007.
Such was the case of MexicanÂ Elvira Arellano, who had a child while in the U.S. illegally and later soughtÂ sanctuaryÂ at a Chicago-area church in an effort to evade a deportation order.Â This was also the case in the instance of Sadia Umanzor, a fugitive from a 2006 deportation order who failed to appear in court after her arrest for illegally crossing into the U.S.Â Deportations from the United States increased by more than 60 percent from 2003 to 2008, with Mexicans accounting for nearly two-thirds of those deported.[not in citation given]Â Under theÂ Obama administration, deportations have increased to record levels beyond the level reached by theÂ George W. Bush administrationÂ with a projected 400,000 deportations in 2010, 10 percent above the deportation rate of 2008 and 25 percent above 2007.Â Fiscal yearÂ 2011 saw 396,906 deportations, the largest number in the history ofÂ U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; of those, 216,698 had been convicted of crimes, including:
44,653 convicted of "drug-related crimes"
35,927 convicted ofÂ driving under the influence
5,848 convicted ofÂ sexual offenses
1,119 convicted ofÂ homicide
Through the end of 2012, President Obama has deported as many illegal immigrants in his first four year term as George W. Bush did in his eight years in office.
The DREAM Act was intended to alleviate the issue of children of illegal immigrants being deport as a result of their parents illegal status. The Act would allow immigrant students the opportunity to be protected from deportation and receive lawful permanent residency under certain conditions which include: good moral character, enrollment in a secondary or post-secondary education program, and having lived in the United States at least 5 years. Those in opposition of the DREAM Act believe that it encourages illegal immigration.
A direct effect of the deportation laws of 1996 and the USA Patriot Act have been a dramatic increase in deportations. Prior to these acts deportations had remained at about an average of 20,000 per year. Between 1990 and 1995 deportations had increased to about an average of 40,000 a year. From 1996 to 2005 the yearly average had increased to over 180,000. In the year 2005 the number of deportations reached 208, 521 with less than half being deported under criminal grounds.Â 
According toÂ The Washington Post,Â Rajeev K. Goyle, of the Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington think tank, says he conducted a study to respond to officials who have advocated mass deportations. This study claims that the cost of forcibly removing most of the nation's estimated 10 million illegal immigrants is $41 billion a year. A spokesman for Rep. Tom Tancredo calls the study "useless" because no one's talking about employing mass deportation as a tactic. Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, describes the study as a cartoon version of how enforcement would work.
There have been two major periods of mass deportations in U.S. history. In theÂ Mexican RepatriationÂ of the 1930s, through mass deportations and forced migration, an estimated 500,000 Mexicans and Mexican Americans were deported or coerced into emigrating, in what Mae Ngai, an immigration history expert at the University of Chicago, has described as "a racial removal program".Â The majority of those removed were U.S. Citizens.Â Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., cosponsor of a U.S. House Bill that calls for a commission to study the "deportation and coerced emigration" of U.S. citizens and legal residents, has expressed concerns that history could repeat itself, and that should illegal immigration be made into a felony, this could prompt a "massive deportation of U.S. citizens".Â Later, inÂ Operation WetbackÂ in 1954, when the United States last deported a sizable number of illegal immigrants, in some cases along with their U.S. born children (who are citizens according to U.S. law),Â some illegal immigrants, fearful of potential violence as police swarmed through Mexican American barrios throughout the southeastern states, stopping "Mexican-looking" citizens on the street and asking for identification, fled to Mexico.
Police and military involvement
In 1995, theÂ United States CongressÂ considered an exemption from theÂ Posse Comitatus Act, which generally prohibits direct participation of Department of Defense personnel in civilian law enforcement activities, such as search, seizure, and arrests.
In 1997,Â MarinesÂ shot and killed 18 year old U.S. citizenÂ Esequiel Hernández JrÂ while on a mission to interdict smuggling and illegal immigration near the border community ofÂ Redford, Texas. The Marines observed the high school student from concealment while he was tending his family's goats in the vicinity of their ranch. At one point, Hernandez raised hisÂ .22-caliberÂ rifle and fired shots in the direction of the concealed soldiers. He was subsequently tracked for 20 minutes then shot and killed.Â In reference to the incident, military lawyer Craig T. Trebilcock argues that "the fact that armed military troops were placed in a position with the mere possibility that they would have to use force to subdue civilian criminal activity reflects a significant policy shift by the executive branch away from the posse comitatus doctrine."Â The killing of Hernandez led to a congressional reviewÂ and an end to a nine-year old policy of the military aiding the Border Patrol.
After theÂ September 11 attacksÂ in 2001, the United States again considered placing soldiers along the U.S.-Mexico border as a security measure.Â In May 2006, PresidentÂ George W. BushÂ announced plans to use theÂ National GuardÂ to strengthen enforcement of theÂ US-Mexico BorderÂ from illegal immigrants,Â emphasizing that Guard units "will not be involved in direct law enforcement activities."Â Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez said in an interview with a Mexico City radio station, "If we see the National Guard starting to directly participate in detaining people ... we would immediately start filing lawsuits through our consulates."Â TheÂ American Civil Liberties UnionÂ (ACLU) called on the President not to deploy military troops to deter illegal immigrants, and stated that a "deployment of National Guard troops violates the spirit of the Posse Comitatus Act".Â According to theÂ State of the Union addressÂ in January 2007,Â more than 6000 National Guard members have been sent to theÂ US-Mexico borderÂ to supplement the Border Patrol,Â costing in excess of $750 million.
Main article:Â Sanctuary city
Several US cities have instructed their own law enforcement personnel and other city employees not to notify or cooperate with the federal government when they become aware of illegal immigrants living within their jurisdiction.
Many cities, includingÂ Washington, D.C.;Â New York CityÂ NYC;Â Los Angeles;Â Chicago;Â San Francisco;Â San Diego;Â Austin;Â Salt Lake City;Â Dallas;Â Detroit;Â Honolulu;Â Houston;Â Jersey City;Â Minneapolis;Â Miami;Â Denver;Â Aurora, Colorado;Â Baltimore;Seattle;Â Portland, Oregon;Â Portland, Maine; andÂ Senath, Missouri, have become "sanctuary cities", having adoptedÂ ordinancesÂ refraining from stopping or questioning individuals for the sole purpose of determining their immigration status.
Most of these cities claim that the benefit illegal immigrants bring to their city outweigh the costs.[not in citation given]Â Opponents say the measures violate federal law as the cities are in effect creating their own immigration policy, an area of law which only Congress has authority to alter.
However scholars have tagged these so-called "don't tell" measures as "obvious targets for express preemption" given the apparent conflict between "don't tell" policies and the restrictions in Sections 434 of the "Welfare Reform Act" and Section 642 of the "Immigration Reform Act" that expressly forbid restraints on communications with federal officials, including the sharing of information relating to people's illegal immigration status.
According to a 2006 report by theÂ Anti-Defamation League, white supremacists and other extremists were engaging in a growing number of assaults against legal and illegal immigrants and those perceived to be immigrants.
TheÂ No More DeathsÂ organization offers food, water, and medical aid to migrants crossing the desert regions of the American Southwest in an effort to reduce the increasing number ofÂ deaths along the border.