Obama’s Executive Action Brings the Immigration Battle to Virginia

The legal status of tens of thousands undocumented immigrants currently living in Virginia could be changed as a result of President Barack Obama’s plans to halt the deportations of nearly 4 million immigrants, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch. 

Virginia saw an increase of 25,000 undocumented immigrants living in the state between 2009 and 2012. The total number is 275,000, meaning undocumented immigrants are now comprising 3.5 percent of the state’s total population, according to the Pew Research Center.

“Virginia is one of only seven states where the number of unauthorized immigrants has grown in those three years. This took place at a time when nationally the number was stable,” commented D’vera Cohn, co-author of the study. “Virginia was an unusual exception to the national pattern.”

Despite the increase, Virginia’s average of undocumented immigrants is still in line with the national average of 3.5 percent of the U.S. population.

Between the same years the total population of 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. remained unchanged. The number peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million and experience a decline during the recession of the following two years.

“We can’t explain all the reasons why the numbers (in Virginia) went up, but we do know that in most states where the numbers rose it was of an increase of immigrants from nations other than Mexico, which is still the largest group of unauthorized immigrants,” said Cohn.


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