Pew Report: Philly Is Home to 50,000 Undocumented Immigrants

Johanna Noonan, of Philadelphia, holds up a sign during a protest of President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel to the U.S. by citizens of several countries Sunday, January 29th, 2017, at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Corey Perrine)

A new study from the Pew Research Center claims that Philadelphia is home to about 50,000 undocumented immigrants. 

That accounts for a quarter of all foreign-born Philadelphia residents, according to the report, which found that about 200,000 immigrants live in Philly – 13 percent of the city’s overall population. Undocumented immigrants account for 3.2 percent of the overall population, Pew found.

According to the study, which was conducted using data from 2014, Philadelphia population of foreign-born residents has increased in the last decade. In 2005, unauthorized immigrants accounted for about 27 percent of the city’s 170,000 foreign-born residents, Pew found.

Among major cities in the Northeast, only New York’s population of undocumented immigrants (525,000) is higher than Philly’s. Boston, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. all hold less.

Yesterday, immigrants across the country participated in a “Day Without Immigrants” and opted not to show up at work, school or elsewhere out of protest against President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration and a wave of high-profile immigration raids that have left many immigrants – both documented and undocumented – living in fear.

The “Day Without Immigrants” was widely-felt in Philadelphia, which holds 28 percent of Pennsylvania’s 180,000 undocumented immigrants (accounting for 12 percent of the state’s total population), according to Pew. The city, which is considered a so-called sanctuary city, has come under fire from Trump and lawmakers like Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, who oppose Philly and other so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to fully comply with federal immigration authorities, specifically in upholding detainer requests from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

Mayor Jim Kenney has long supported immigrant rights and has refused to back down on the city’s immigration policy. Last week, the state Senate passed a bill that could cut federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities.

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