According to Pew Research figures, there are 11.1 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. This is the group for whom proposed legislation would provide a path to citizenship for most.
If the cutoff date for being in this country is Dec. 31, 2011, then based on their latest published estimates for March 2011, all 11 million would be eligible to apply. Pew does not know how many will apply and certainly not all will qualify because there are other requirements beyond just having been in the country.
Pew Hispanic Center estimates about 4.5 to 5 million U.S.-citizen children of undocumented immigrants are in the country. They found that the undocumented have roughly 750,000 family members with legal status, either spouses or adult children.
Therefore, calculating these totals and adding to the 11 million undocumented, it means there are approximately 17 million people who will be directly affected if Congress passes an immigration reform bill with a path to citizenship.