The decrease can be attributed to both the recession and tougher enforcement of immigration laws, but DHS warned about reading too much into the numbers.
"Our OIS report indicates a drop of approximately 200,000 in the illegal-immigrant population in the U.S. The department's increased border security and interior-enforcement efforts, along with the state of the economy, may contribute to this," said Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for DHS, in a Washington Times article.
According to the report, California leads the nation with 2.9 illegal aliens. And despite the nationwide decrease, Georgia saw its population of illegal aliens more than double between 2000 and 2008.
More on this story can be found at the >Washington Times and in a report published by the Department of Homeland Security.