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More Undocumented Immigrants Entering US, Study Shows

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In what's certain to fuel debate again about the immigration reform bill, the Pew Research Center Hispanic Trends Project says there may have been a slight uptick in undocumented immigrants now living in the U.S.

Using larger census figures than in year past, Pew estimates that there are 11.7 million people in the country illegally.

While the numbers haven't changed all that much from 2009-2012, U.S. Border Patrol reports from last year suggest more people tried to sneak into the United States at southwest border crossings.

This comes as the Obama administration has touted efforts to return undocumented immigrants back to their countries of origin at a rate of 400,000 annually.

Last summer, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill with wide bipartisan support, which would help make it easier to put those living illegally in the U.S. on a path to citizenship.  However, the bill hasn't been taken up in the GOP-controlled House nor is it expected to in the near future.

If anything, the new Pew survey might spur conservatives to call for even more stringent efforts at the border to block people from entering the U.S. before assisting the millions of undocumented aliens now living here.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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