There are a record 61 million immigrants and their American-born children in the United States, including an estimated 15.7 million illegally here, according to a new analysis of 2015 U.S. Census data.
The estimated number of undocumented immigrants is one of the highest ever.
The analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies found that 45.3 million, or three-fourths of the 61 million, are legal immigrants and their children. The report out Monday notes that the so-called "Gang of Eight" immigration bill supported by GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio would have doubled that number of legal immigrants.
"These numbers raise profound questions that are seldom even asked: What number of immigrants can be assimilated? What is the absorption capacity of our schools, health care system, infrastructure, and labor market? What is the effect on the environment and quality of life from significantly increasing the nation's population density?" wrote Steven Camarota, the Center's director of Research.
"With 45 million legal immigrants and their young children already here, does it make sense to continue admitting more than one million new legal permanent immigrants every year?" he added.
His report found that the normal pattern of immigration to the United States changed after 1970. At that time, there were 13.5 million immigrants, or about one in 15 U.S. residents.
But since 2000, the number of immigrants has increased 18.4 million, and now nearly one of every five U.S. residents are immigrants.
"The number of immigrants and their young children grew six times faster than the nation's total population from 1970 to 2015 — 353 percent vs. 59 percent," he added.
Camarota dug deep into Census Current Population Survey and other data to determine his estimate of 15.7 million illegals in the United States.
"Our best estimate is that in 2015 there were 5.1 million children with at least one illegal immigrant parent. Taken together, the best available evidence indicates that there were a total of 15.7 million illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children in the adjusted December 2015 CPS, accounting for 25.7 percent of the 61 million immigrants and their children in the country," he said.
He broke the figures down state by state and Camarota said that "the number of immigrants and their minor children from 1970 to 2015 has been nothing short of astonishing." Some examples:
-- In Georgia, this population grew 3,058 percent (from 55,000 to 1.75 million), 25 times faster than the overall state population.
-- In Nevada, this population grew 3,002 percent (from 26,000 to 821,000), six times faster than the overall state population.
-- In North Carolina, this population grew 2,937 percent (from 47,000 to 1.43 million), 30 times faster than the overall state population.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org