One out of every 7 Asian immigrants is undocumented


The issue of undocumented immigration is gaining national attention, with the Trump administration passing an executive order on interior enforcement and floating ideas including suspending federal funding to sanctuary jurisdictions and potentially mobilizing National Guard troops for immigration enforcement. How might Asian immigrant communities be affected?

It is important to note that Asian undocumented immigrants account for about 14% of the total undocumented population in the United States. Also, about 1 out of every 7 Asian immigrants is undocumented.

The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) and and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) have published estimates of the Asian undocumented population in the United States for 2014. The total number of Asian undocumented ranges from 1.46 million (MPI) to 1.65 million (CMS).

The tables below are from the Center for Migration Studies 2014 estimates.

National Estimates


Notably, among with MPI and CMS estimates, there is a decrease in the number of Asian Undocumented from previous years.

State Estimates

According to both estimates, California, New York, New Jersey, Texas and Illinois are the states with the largest amount of Asian undocumented with MPI and CMS only differing on the order of New Jersey and Texas for the third and fourth largest states.

In most states, Asians make up relatively small portions of their total undocumented population. Both sets of estimates show Hawaii, Alaska and New Hampshire as the only states which Asians make up more than 40% of the state undocumented population.

To view these estimates from the Migration Policy Institute, click here.


Estimating the undocumented population is a complex challenge that requires researchers to make assumptions about certain groups and behaviors in order to take existing data to generate population estimates. Both sets of estimates rely on data from the American Community Survey and then make statistical adjustments to account for sampling and response bias. Click below to learn more about the methodology used by Migration Policy Institute and Center for Migration Studies