Now, a crackdown on undocumented workers will accelerate that flow out of the United States, leaving some industries and employers scrambling to fill jobs in an already tight U.S. labor market.
While some undocumented workers have moved from blue-collar jobs to higher-paid white-collar positions, the majority are concentrated in low-skilled, low-wage employment, according to researchers at the Pew Research Center.
Those include jobs in the hospitality, manufacturing and construction industries, according to the Pew study.
That concentration of unauthorized workers in a relatively few industries and occupations means those employers will be hit hard by a rapid boost in deportations.
Among landscapers, private households, clothing makers and farmers, more than one in five workers is undocumented, the Pew researches estimated.