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Report: Most illegal immigrants have been in U.S. for over decade

A new report shows that 60 percent of adult undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States for a minimum of a decade. Additionally, about half of the 10.2 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country are the parents of minor children, data gathered by the by the Pew Hispanic Center showed.

According to the report, 35 percent of undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States for at least 15 years or longer, which is a dramatic increase from 2000, when as few as 16 percent were found to have resided in the country for that length of time, the report found.

The report was based on the Pew Hispanic Center's 2010 National Survey of Latinos and data from the March 2010 Current Population Survey.

The percentage of the undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for a period between 14 and 10 years remains a stable 28 percent, unchanged from a decade ago, according to the report.

The only figure showing a decline was that of undocumented workers who arrived in the country more recently and who have lived here less than five years, which lessened from 32 percent in 2000 to only 15 percent during 2010.

The report attributes the recent decline in new arrivals to a combination of the increasingly poor shape of the country's economy and the recent upgrades in enforcement of border restrictions designed to keep undocumented workers out.

Contributing to increase in undocumented immigrants who are long-term residents of the United States is the fact that very few currently seek to return to their former countries of origin, the report suggested.

This population of people who have no desire to return to their home countries may find it possible to attain permanent residency with the help of an experienced immigration attorney. Although the immigration laws can be complex, assistance is available to make the dream a reality.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, "60% of adult illegal immigrants in U.S. for 10 years or more, report says," Dec. 1, 2011

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