By Karen Ridder | Tuesday, 15 Sep 2015 12:02 AM

Indiana lawmakers are taking a strong stance on illegal immigration, and it may be working. The total population of unauthorized immigrants fell by about 15 percent in recent years, according to the Pew Research Center.

While the rate of illegal immigration in this country has increased about 250 percent in the past 25 years, according to the Pew Research Center, Indiana is one of 14 states where illegal immigration is starting to decrease. Indiana’s illegal immigrant population fell by about 15,000 from 100,000 in 2009 to 85,000 in 2012.

The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University published a report on Indiana’s Latino Population in 2007. The report estimated somewhere between 55,000 and 85,000 illegal immigrants living in Indiana in 2005.

The Migration Policy Institute estimated Indiana’s number of unauthorized immigrants slightly higher, at about 93,000. In total there are about 315,000 foreign-born residents of Indiana, including legal immigrants and people who have become naturalized citizens as well as those who are undocumented.

In a demographic breakdown of illegal immigration in the state, the vast majority of those living in the state illegally come from Mexico (64,000). About 12,000 — or 13 percent of the illegal population — come from Asia.

About 77 percent of the unauthorized immigrants in Indiana are believed to have lived in the United States for at least five years. Among the 83,000 illegal immigrants in Indiana, 10,000 are school-aged children enrolled in Indiana public schools.

Indiana lawmakers passed an immigration bill that imposed stiffer penalties on business owners who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. The immigration reform bill SEO590 requires business owners to use an E-Verify program to confirm legal status before hiring workers.

People in Indiana have shown some compassion for the problems of illegal immigration. The Indy Star reported that about 200 children who showed up unaccompanied at the U.S. border were placed with Indiana families in 2014. That number is relatively small considering an estimated 57,000 children sent across the U.S. border without an adult from October of 2013 to July of 2014.