WASHINGTON; The number of unauthorized immigrants in the US workforce has held fairly steady at about eight million since the economic crisis, according to a study released Thursday.
Contradicting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s claim the number of illegal immigrant workers is soaring, the Pew Research Center study said between 2009 and 2014 the number stayed at around eight million.
And the total number of unauthorized immigrants, working and not working, also held steady at about 11.1 million, the study said.
Illegal immigrants made up 5 percent of the civilian US workforce, compared to 12 percent of legal immigrants.
“There is no sector or occupation where unauthorized immigrant workers were a majority; in all industries or occupations, they were outnumbered by US-born workers,” Pew said in a statement.
The largest populations of illegal workers were in large states — California, Texas and New York — but made up the largest share of the workforce in relatively sparsely-populated Nevada at 10.4 percent of all workers.
Unauthorized immigrants concentrate in a few industries, including farming, construction and hotel and restaurants.
Campaigning for the White House, Trump has argued repeatedly that the country needs to build a wall along the entire US-Mexico border to halt the flow of immigrants, and meanwhile deport those already in the country.
Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has offered a more moderate proposal to allow illegal immigrants to regularize their status in the United States with eventually an opportunity to gain citizenship.