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  • A logo patch is shown on the uniform of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

    A logo patch is shown on the uniform of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 December 2014

Central Americans now represent the biggest population to emigrate to the United States, a position previously held for decades by Mexicans.

For the first time on record, in 2014 U.S. Border Patrol arrested more non-Mexicans than Mexicans, according to a Pew Research Center study released on Tuesday.

The number of Mexicans apprehended at the border for this year has fallen to a historic low of 230,000 people, a similar number to that recorded in 1970 and far below the 809,000 in 2007.

However, non-Mexican migrants, which accounted for only 68,000 seven years ago, have been increasing in numbers over the past three years.

In total, the amount of undocumented Mexicans and non-Mexicans detained in Border Patrol facilities this year increased by 16 percent compared with the previous year.

Researchers say the surge is partially due to the unaccompanied children from the post-conflict countries of Central America – over 52,000 children in 2014, twice more than the previous year. A previous study released in July demonstrated that violence and poverty were the two main factors driving children to flee Central America.

However, the results would “reflect a broader ongoing shift” in the U.S. migration pattern: while this population used to be “shaped by a migration wave from Mexico that lasted from the 1980s until the Great Recession,” a growing proportion of migrants is coming from other parts of the world, like Central America, Asia, the Caribbean.

The researchers also emphasize that “although investments by the U.S. federal government on border security have increased and migration has slowed, the U.S. public has put a greater emphasis on border security, with a third of the U.S. population thinking the issue should be a priority.”

See more: Immigration Reform in the Age of Obama

​US: Concentration Camps for Latino Minors

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