Marco Rubio on Meet the Press
Marco Rubio on Meet the Press Screengrab from NBC's Meet the Press

In a recent appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Senator Marco Rubio was asked if he supported Donald Trump's plan of building migrant detention camps and deploying the U.S. military to deport the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. Before going on to state his support of the plan, Rubio first rebutted host Kristen Walker's stats by offering his own:

"Eleven million? That's an outdated — that was the number 10 years ago," Rubio said. "We're talking upwards of 20, 25, maybe 30 million. There's been almost 10 million people that have entered this country in the last three years."

Rubio offered no official sources to back up this statement. But fact-checking platform PolitiFact, in a partnership with South Florida's WLRN, has gone ahead and verified the Senator's words, taking into account a myriad of sources, including Migration Policy Institute, Pew Research Center and Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Here are immigration groups' recent estimates of the number of people illegally in the U.S. They issued their estimates from November 2023 to March 2024:

PolitiFact is quick to point out that, even though immigration officials have encountered over 9.5 million attempts to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally under the Biden administration, these encounters do not equate to new residents as repeated attempts by the same individuals inflate the numbers. Additionally, many encounters result in deportations or expulsions, with around 3.9 million such outcomes by January 2024.

The study goes on to conclude that,:

"Most immigration groups that estimate this population agree the number ranges around 11 million to 12 million people, despite differences in methodologies. The highest estimate is 16.8 million."

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