The facts on immigration: What you need to know before the State of the Union

By Kate Smith

/ CBS News

There's little doubt that immigration will be on the agenda at President Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday night. After shutting down the government for more than a month, Mr. Trump remains without his campaign's hallmark promise: a Mexican-funded southern border wall. D.C. politicians have until February 15 before temporary funding runs out and the government shuts down for the second time this year.

Regardless of what the president says Tuesday night, here are seven facts that describe the state of immigration in 2019.

How do most unauthorized immigrants enter the United States?

Fact: Two-thirds of the recent unauthorized immigrant population entered the U.S. on valid visas, then stayed in the country after that visa expired.
Source: Center for Migration Studies

Only about one-third of the recently unauthorized immigration population got to the U.S. by sneaking across the southern border, according to Randy Capps, director of research for U.S. Programs at the Migration Policy Institute. That means a wall would not have prevented two-thirds of the country's recently undocumented immigrants from illegally entering the U.S.

How many unauthorized immigrants live in the United States?

Fact: Between 10.7 and 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants were living in the U.S. as of 2016, the most recent year for which data is available.
Source: Pew Research Center and the Migration Policy Institute

According to Pew, the number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States hit a 12-year low in 2016, a decline that researchers attribute to stepped-up enforcement at the country's southern border and shifting economic trends. The Migration Policy Institute estimates there were 11.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. in 2016.

How many people are caught attempting to illegally cross the southern border every year?

Fact: 396,579 people were caught illegally crossing the border in the year ending September 30, 2018.
Source: U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

Illegal border crossings began to fall significantly in the mid-2000s after hitting record-highs through the 1980s and 1990s. In 2005, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents apprehended just over 1.17 million migrants. Since then, arrests for illegal border crossings have fallen nearly every year.

Is asylum a form of illegal immigration?

Fact: No. "If you are eligible for asylum you may be permitted to remain in the United States."
Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Asylum is a special type immigration process reserved for people who have "suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion," according to USCIS.

Being granted asylum is not an easy feat. It's a multi-year process that involves likely detainment, multiple interviews, extensive documentation of an immigrant's prior suffering, and less than stellar odds.

How many immigrants claimed asylum last year?

Fact: Approximately 100,000 immigrants begun asylum proceedings last year, a record high.
Source: The White House

Last year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services processed about 100,000 "credible fear" claims, the first step in an immigrant's asylum proceedings. Judges decided about 42,000 asylum cases during the same time period, more than any other year since 2001, according to Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

But asylum denials also hit a record high last year. Immigration judges rejected 65 percent of the asylum claims they ruled on in 2018, according to TRAC.

How many immigrants show up for their court dates?

Fact: Asylum seekers showed up to their court dates 89 percent of the time in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017, the most recent year for which data is available.
Source: The Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review

The Trump Administration has based a handful of its new immigration policies, like the recently implemented "Remain in Mexico" policy, based on the assertion that immigrants don't show up to their court hearings, an idea the White House views as a "loophole." Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said during a Congressional testimony late last year that asylum seekers "more than not" fail to appear for their hearings. And in January, President Trump said only two percent of asylum seekers make their court dates.

How do illegal drugs enter the country?

Fact: The vast majority of illegal drugs — like heroin, cocaine and fentanyl — entered the country through legal entry points, known officially as ports of entry.
Source: The U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration

Only a "small percentage" of the heroin seized by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents was found "along the land border between Ports of Entry," according to the 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment report, published by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in October.

As for cocaine, the DEA said it was "uncommon to see very large shipments of cocaine headed toward to U.S.-Mexico border," and that instead the drug is transported on boats and "amongst legitimate cargo of commercial trucks or within secret compartments build within passenger vehicles." The DEA added that "traffickers are also increasingly targeting seaports along the East Coast."

Fentanyl enters the country from China via mail and by way of the southern border, according to the DEA. Though it noted that "most [Customs and Border Patrol] fentanyl seizures occur at [ports of entry] in Southern California."

U.S Customs and Border Protection officials announced the agency's biggest fentanyl bust ever late last month. On a tractor trailer legally crossing the border in Arizona, the agency captured 254 pounds of the synthetic opioid, according to the Associated Press.

Do illegal immigrants commit more violent crimes than legal residents?

Fact: Studies say that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit violent crimes than American-born citizens.
Source: The Cato Institute and The University of Wisconsin

According to a June 2018 research report from the Cato Institute, "illegal immigrants are 47 percent less likely to be incarcerated by natives" and "legal immigrants are 78 percent less likely to be incarcerated than natives."

Undocumented immigrants are also less likely to commit serious criminal offenses, according to research conducted by Cato. Using government-supplied data from the Texas Department of Safety, the libertarian think tank concluded that in Texas the murder arrest rate for native-born Americans was "about 46 percent higher than the illegal immigrant homicide rate," according to a June 2018 research note. Another study, performed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, found that "increased concentrations of undocumented immigrants are associated with statistically significant decreases in violent crime."

Are undocumented immigrants eligible for government-sponsored welfare programs?

Fact: Undocumented immigrated are ineligible for government welfare benefits and legal immigrants only qualify for federal benefits once they've resided in the U.S. for five years.
Source: National Immigration Law Center

Undocumented immigrants are barred from most public benefits, like food stamps, regular Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), according to the National Immigration Law Center. However, some exceptions are granted in order to "protect life or guarantee safety in dire situations," the National Immigration Forum wrote in August 2018.

Legal immigrants — including green card holders, people granted asylum and refugees — qualify for federal benefits, but only after they have resided in the U.S. as a legal resident for five years, according to the NILC.

First published on February 4, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Crypto company out $137 million after passwords die with owner

The founder's widow said "repeated and diligent searches" for a password have failed

updated 1M ago

Judge lets church shooting victims sue gun retailer

Families of those killed in the 2017 massacre in Sutherland Springs argue Academy Sport & Outdoors is liable

updated 7M ago

7 immigration facts: What you need to know

There's little doubt that immigration will be on the agenda at President Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday night

updated 6M ago

Witnesses describe aftermath of deadly California plane crash

The main cabin and an engine wound up in a backyard and plane parts were scattered for several blocks

updated 8M ago

Former supporters call on Virginia gov to resign over racist photo

Gov. Ralph Northam has been under fire since a racist photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook page emerged

updated 3M ago

7 immigration facts: What you need to know

There's little doubt that immigration will be on the agenda at President Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday night

updated 6M ago

Former supporters call on Virginia gov to resign over racist photo

Gov. Ralph Northam has been under fire since a racist photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook page emerged

updated 3M ago

IRS was 1.2M refunds behind the day tax season opened

Back in November, the IRS came up with an internal schedule for processing tax refunds — then the shutdown happened

updated 48M ago

Here's who's coming to the State of the Union address

Guests for this year's State of the Union include former Trump National Golf Club employees and formerly furloughed workers

2H ago

Cuomo: N.Y. losing $2.3B to federal tax law so far

"This is worse than we anticipated," governor warns, with state's income tax receipts already off by more than $2 billion

2H ago

Liam Neeson under fire for comments on race and revenge

Liam Neeson admits in an interview he once had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning that someone close to him had been raped

2H ago

Jury begins deliberations over fate of infamous drug lord El Chapo

The jury has heard months of testimony about Joaquin Guzman's rise to power as the head of the Sinaloa cartel

updated 39M ago

Pentagon: ISIS likely to "resurge" without "sustained pressure"

A DOD report says that ISIS is "regenerating key functions and capabilities more quickly in Iraq than Syria"

6H ago

Al-Shabab claims new carnage despite relentless U.S. air war

Bomb blast in Mogadishu comes weeks after brazen attack in Kenya, where U.S. warns of more attacks despite regular U.S. strikes targeting terrorists

9H ago

Body visible in undersea wreckage of soccer star's plane

Private search crew found small aircraft that was carrying Argentine striker Emiliano Sala and his pilot 2 weeks after it vanished

11H ago

Liam Neeson under fire for comments on race and revenge

Liam Neeson admits in an interview he once had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning that someone close to him had been raped

2H ago

Grammy nominee H.E.R. on seeing her "vision come to life"

At 21 years old, the R&B singer-songwriter is up for five Grammy Awards including best new artist and album of the year

4H ago

Parkland dad who slammed Louis C.K. to attend State of the Union

A grieving father who responded to Louis C.K.'s jokes about the Parkland shooting with a standup routine of his own has been invited to Tuesday's State of the Union address

4H ago

Bettors debate length of Gladys Knight’s national anthem

Debate around length of Gladys Knight's rendition of national anthem dominated sports-betting sites after big game

1H ago

Adam Levine responds to critics after Super Bowl show

"We thank our fans for making our dreams possible. And we thank our critics for always pushing us to do better," Levine wrote on Instagram

updated 21M ago

Tech investor says Facebook is "terrible for America"

"Zucked" author Roger McNamee says Facebook is a threat to democracy, public health and privacy, and makes everyone vulnerable to bad actors

7H ago

Meteorite appears to hit Cuba

In a tweet, the National Weather Service said its radar "may have detected the meteor" at 1:21 p.m. near Viñales, Cuba

Feb 1

"Lies spread faster than truth" on social media, journalist says

The CEO of Rappler alleged the online news website has been targeted by social media disinformation campaigns after its tough reporting on the government

Feb 1

Possum was living in unused, $1M taxpayer-funded bus

The zero-emission bus was never put into service

Feb 1

Steaming lakes and thundersnow: Weird winter weather explained

Extreme cold weather can produce some unusual phenomena, from sea smoke to slushy ocean waves

Feb 1

Pot for pets? Cannabis products marketed for animals

Some animal lovers are giving the supplements a try, but experts caution they aren't necessarily a good fit for every pet

3H ago

3rd poultry firm recalls chicken on fears of tainted goods

Pilgrim's Pride recall follows Tyson and Perdue moves to stop sales of food possibly tainted with extraneous material

4H ago

Obesity-linked cancers rising for young Americans

Cancers tied to extra weight keep climbing among those aged 25 to 49, a new study finds

7H ago

Bill would eventually make Hawaii first state to ban cigarette sales

Measure would gradually raise minimum age of people allowed to buy them to 100

13H ago

An end to food allergies?

26 million people, including 6 million kids, are allergic to one food or another, with peanuts producing one of the most severe reactions; might a reversal of medical advice slow or even eliminate the problem?

Feb 3

Google earnings beat, but shares slip from higher spending

Even as some big problems stalked the search giant last year, its fourth-quarter results outran expectations

updated 36M ago

IRS was 1.2M refunds behind the day tax season opened

Back in November, the IRS came up with an internal schedule for processing tax refunds — then the shutdown happened

updated 48M ago

Charlotte Russe in bankruptcy, will close stores

Failed merchandising efforts and declining sales force fashionistas at Charlotte Russe to seek bankruptcy protection

2H ago

Cuomo: N.Y. losing $2.3B to federal tax law so far

"This is worse than we anticipated," governor warns, with state's income tax receipts already off by more than $2 billion

2H ago

Bernie Sanders wants to know why once-free drug now costs $375K

He's questioning Catalyst Pharmaceuticals' price hike for a drug that treats a rare autoimmune disease

1H ago

Judge lets church shooting victims sue gun retailer

Families of those killed in the 2017 massacre in Sutherland Springs argue Academy Sport & Outdoors is liable

updated 7M ago

Jury begins deliberations over fate of infamous drug lord El Chapo

The jury has heard months of testimony about Joaquin Guzman's rise to power as the head of the Sinaloa cartel

updated 39M ago

Pregnant woman stabbed to death in NYC apartment lobby

Candle burned outside the apartment building where 35-year-old real estate agent Jennifer Irigoyen was savagely stabbed to death.

4H ago

Ex-MMA fighter facing murder charges is captured

Authorities spent hours searching for Cedric Joseph Marks after he fled a prisoner transport van at a McDonald's in Texas

16H ago

White officer demoted for Snapchat video taunting black woman

The officer had just impounded the woman's car and posted video of himself making derogatory comments as she walked away

Feb 1