New data from the Pew Research Center found that illegal alien males are more likely to be working than male U.S. citizens or legal immigrants. Pew Senior Demographer Jeffrey Passel presented the data during a March 26 Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing intended to be about securing the border but instead focused on granting amnesty to illegal aliens. (Video of the hearing available here)
According to Pew, in 2012 — the most recent data available — there were 8.1 million illegal aliens working in the U.S. unlawfully. (Passel Testimony, Mar. 26, 2015 at 6) Department of Labor statistics show that illegal aliens made up approximately 5.1% of the 155 million person workforce (82.3 million men; 72.7 million women) in 2012. (Department of Labor statistics) Pew’s data found that illegal alien males of working age — defined as age 16 and older — are “considerably more likely to be in the workforce than U.S.-born men.” (Passel Testimony at 6-7) Specifically, 91% of illegal alien males of working age are in the workforce compared to 79% of U.S. citizen males and 84% of male legal immigrants. (Id. at 7) Additionally, Pew found that 61% of illegal alien women are in the workforce compared to 72% of U.S.-born women. (Id.)
Pew’s data also focused on the types of jobs illegal aliens have and the states where they make up the largest share of the workforce. “Because unauthorized immigrants tend to have less education than people born in the U.S. or legal immigrants, they are more likely to hold low-skilled jobs,” the report noted. (Id.) Accordingly, approximately 56% of illegal alien workers work in three sectors: services (22%); leisure and hospitality (18%); and construction (16%). (Id.) By comparison, 31% of U.S.-born workers are employed in these three sectors. (Id.) Finally, Pew noted that manufacturing (13%) and agriculture (5%) have “relatively large shares” of the illegal alien workforce. (Id.) Illegal aliens represent the highest share of the labor force in Nevada (10.2%), California (9.4%), and Texas (8.9%). (Id. at 6)
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