REPORT: Majority of illegal immigrants have good-paying jobs


Nearly three-quarters of all illegal immigrants — seven out of ten — are holding lucrative jobs in American industries, including construction, hospitality, and agriculture, according to a new analysis of immigrants in the workforce from the Pew Research Center.

A report in the Washington Examiner noted that advocates of closing our porous borders and deporting criminal illegals often say that too many illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans; even high-paying jobs. Their concerns were validated by the report, which revealed that “immigrants made up 17.1 percent of the total U.S. workforce in 2014, or about 27.6 million workers out of 161.4 million.”

“About 19.6 million workers, or 12.1 percent of the total workforce, were in the U.S. legally; about 8 million, or 5 percent, entered the country without legal permission or overstayed their visas,” said Pew, noting that there “is no industry where immigrants, legal and illegal, have a majority of jobs.”

The industries and occupations in which U.S. workers are most likely to be immigrants

However, the research showed that immigrants do dominate certain industries, especially private home care work and agriculture.

In 2014, private households were identified as being the most immigrant-intensive industry. According to data, “Of the 947,000 people working for private households, 45% were immigrants, with lawful immigrants slightly outnumbering unauthorized immigrants. The industries with the next-biggest shares of immigrant workers were textile, apparel and leather manufacturers (36%) and the farm sector: A third (33%) of the nearly 2 million agriculture workers in 2014 were born outside the U.S.”

“Immigrants account for about 60 percent of graders and sorters of agricultural products as well as plasterers and stucco masons, 55 percent of sewing machine operators, and about half of maids and housekeepers, tailors and dressmakers, and miscellaneous agricultural workers,” according to the research.


The top industry called out for hiring illegal immigrant workers was construction. Data showed that 16% of all illegal immigrant workers are doing construction jobs, followed by restaurants and bars, in which 14% of their workforce consists of illegal immigrants.  Administrative and support services consisted of 9 percent illegals. It was further noted that those three industries “each included between 5% and 7% of lawful immigrants.”

Retail was identified as the single biggest employer of lawful immigrants.

The top jobs most often worked by immigrants (63 percent) are in the “miscellaneous personal appearance” category, which includes manicurists and pedicurists, makeup artists, shampooers and skin care specialists.

More than half of all illegal immigrant workers in 2014 were employed in the following occupations:

  • construction and extraction
  • building and grounds cleaning and maintenance
  • food preparation and serving
  • production

However, Pew noted that “those four groups accounted for only about a quarter of lawful immigrants’ jobs.”

“The biggest occupational sectors for lawful immigrant workers were office and administrative support, sales, and management (each with 9% to 10% of the total).”

H/T: Washington Examiner

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