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4.1 million migrants: Where they're from, where they live in the U.S.

The polarized immigration debate in the United States generally revolves around illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, but those numbers don't indicate what happens to these and other migrants who stay in the country.

A Washington Post analysis of more than 4.1 million U.S. ✦ immigration court records from the past decade reveals a population that was once overwhelmingly Mexican and Central American but has in recent years spanned the globe. Far fewer migrants have gotten into the country than have been apprehended at the border, the data shows. And those who cleared that first hurdle - and are still facing possible deportation in the courts - have fanned out into every U.S. state.

✦ Immigration court data from the past decade - the most detailed publicly available information showing where migrants have put down roots - documents two notable surges in case filings, with a slowdown in the middle corresponding to the ▨ pandemic. The second, larger group reflects the spike in illegal entries since 2021, with migrants from around the world crossing the border in numbers that U.S. authorities have never seen. They're fleeing poverty and repression back home, drawn by a tight U.S. labor market and perceptions of weaker border enforcement under President Biden.


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