Immigration in Arizona: Fact Sheet (2012)


The printable fact sheet is available in pdf format.

There is still much to be done to deter illegal immigration in Arizona.  However, since making E-Verify mandatory for all employers in 2005, a law that was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2011, Arizona has made much progress.  Click here to read more — Recent Demographic Change in Arizona: Anatomy of Effective Immigration Reform Legislation.



Federation for American
Immigration Reform

(2010 estimate)
Department of
Homeland Security

(2011 estimate)
Hispanic Center

(2010 estimate)
390,000 360,000 400,000

  • The illegal alien population makes up at least 46 percent of the state’s total foreign-born population (856,663), and 6% of the state’s total population. 
  • Nearly half (47%) of all illegal border crossings into the U.S. occur along the Arizona border with Mexico. 
  • From 2001 to 2010, an average of 1,374 illegal aliens a day were apprehended in the Arizona border sector. DHS does not know how many illegal aliens successfully entered Arizona each day during that period. 
  • Between 1996 and 2010, the federal government estimates that the illegal alien population in Arizona increased 213%.



  • There were an estimated 278,460 illegal aliens working in Arizona in 2011, approximately 9.3 percent of the total workforce. 
  • Unemployment in Arizona in January 2012 was 8.7 percent with 262,587 Arizonans officially unemployed. 
  • Over 10% of children enrolled in public schools (K-12) have parents who are in the U.S. illegally. 
  • Illegal aliens and their children were found to be 37 percent of the uninsured population in Arizona in 2008, and the cost of uncompensated care for illegal aliens in Arizona is $320 million annually. 
  • The total education, medical, and incarceration costs in Arizona due to illegal immigration are $2.6 billion a year. 



  • In Mexico, more than 40,000 people have been killed since 2006 in an ongoing drug war. Between January 2007 and June 2009 there were over 2,500 murders in Mexico near the Arizona border.
  • An investigation by the Phoenix police department found that in 2008 there were "668 separate incidents" in the city that "met the statutory criteria for kidnapping." Phoenix formed a police taskforce in 2009 to combat the rising levels of violence, and still recorded over 300 kidnapping that year. The city of Tucson formed a similar taskforce in 2008 as a response to 150 home invasions.
  • The Border Patrol has found that criminal gangs, such as MS-13, are drawn to Arizona because of the predominance of drug trafficking and human smuggling there. Fifty-one cross-border drug smuggling tunnels were discovered in Nogales, Arizona between 2006 and 2010.
  • The Arizona Department of Corrections estimates that 17% of its prison population is illegal aliens, and 22% of felony defendants in Maricopa County are illegal aliens. 
  • National Park rangers in Arizona are now heavily armed, and visitors are prohibited from visiting large areas of public parklands because of drug trafficking activity. 
  • Federal agents seized over 1.2 million pounds of marijuana in Arizona in 2009. Arrests have become so common that federal prosecutors in Arizona have routinely declined to press charges against smugglers who are caught with less than 500 pounds of marijuana. 
  • The Government Accountability Office in a 2005 investigation into the criminal records of over 55,000 illegal aliens nationwide revealed:
    • An average of 8 arrests and 13 offenses each per individual.
    • 45% were arrested for drug or immigration offenses; 15% for property-related offenses such as burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, or property damage; 12% were for murder, robbery, assault, and sex-related crimes. The rest of the total included "such other offenses as traffic violations, including driving under the influence; fraud — including forgery and counterfeiting; weapons violations; and obstruction of justice." 


April 2012

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