While President Obama’s new executive order offering protection from deportation to millions of illegal immigrants raises many questions, let’s look at how many children of illegal immigrants are attending K-12 schools in the United States, and how many of those children are illegal immigrants themselves.
According to the Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project, 6.9 percent of K-12 students had parents of illegal immigrants in 2012, while far less — 1.4 percent — of all students were illegal immigrants themselves. (Anybody born in the United States automatically becomes a U.S. citizen, despite the legal status of their parents.) Nevada had the biggest percentage of students with parents who were illegal immigrants, followed by California, at 13.2 percent; Texas, at 13.1 percent; and Arizona, at 11 percent.
The figures come from a new report that says there were an estimated 11.2 million illegal immigrants in the United States in 2012 (the latest year for which there is data), the same as in 2009. (The report notes that the number of unauthorized immigrant adults with U.S.- born children may be higher than its estimates because these numbers do not include those who live separately from their children.) It also estimated that 3.5 percent of the United States’s 2012 population of nearly 316 million were illegal immigrants — and that these same people represent 26 percent of the nation’s 42.5 million foreign-born residents.