Are immigrants really flooding our borders?

“People are pouring across the southern border,” the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said in a debate in December. That image has helped to make immigration reform all but impossible in the current Congress, and it has reinforced the idea that we have lost control of migration into the United States.

In fact, the total number of undocumented migrants in the United States fell to 10.9 million in 2014, its lowest level since 2003. According to a report in January by the Center for Migration Studies, the size of the undocumented population has fallen each year since 2008; the number of Mexican-born undocumented migrants has dropped by more than 600,000 since 2010. Similarly, the Pew Research Center reported in November that “more Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here since the end of the Great Recession.”

Advertisement

Tighter border security, along with the Obama administration’s surprisingly aggressive deportation policies, may be having a deterrent effect, but the C.M.S. researcher Randy Capps told The Atlantic, “The long-term trends in Mexico are driving a lot of this story.” That is, more jobs and a rising standard of living in Mexico are reducing the incentives to head north. So it is in the best interest of the United States to work with the Mexican government to improve economic conditions and reduce drug violence there—as opposed to building literal or figurative walls between the two nations. It is also time for a more civil discussion of legal status for the great majority of undocumented migrants who contribute to our economy and social life. The myth of people “pouring” across our borders in ever-increasing numbers should not go unchallenged in this election year.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Leonard Villa
2 years 8 months ago
Are all the undocumented coming across the border readily available to be counted for stats so that you can say with such confidence immigrants are not pouring across the border? Obama with aggressive deportation policy? U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are being told to release illegal immigrants and no longer order them to appear at deportation hearings, essentially a license to stay in the United States, a key agent testified recently. What's more, the stand down order includes a requirement that the whereabouts of illegals released are not to be tracked. The border/immigration issue also involves a security issue with respect to terrorists entering the country. They are already among the "migrants" pouring into Europe.
David Cahill
2 years 8 months ago
This article reminded me of a poignant video I just saw about the about the refugee crisis that I felt was worth sharing. It’s been in my head all day. What a beautiful song! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMWSSc87sk4
Henry George
2 years 8 months ago
The question is not how much of a change there has been in the number of people crossing the borders but what becomes of them after they arrive. Are they exploited by employers - go visit your local slaughter house. Do they put undue burdens on public facilities - go visit your public school/hospital. Do they "take" jobs from American Citizens - well hire a contractor to do work on your house/yard and check every worker's papers. The vast majority of readers of "America" do not fear losing their jobs to "undocumented migrants" and do not and cannot receive a raise above "minimum wages" because an "undocumented worker" might take their job. I don't know what the just solution to the problem is but 10,900,000 "Undocumented Migrants" is not a small number and if you are unemployed, it may be 10,900,000 "non-citizens" too many,

Advertisement

The latest from america

Father Michael Nixon and parishioner work a volunteer table at St. Dominic Catholic Church in Panama City, Fla. Photo by Atena Sherry.
Much like New Orleans’ Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina, the low-income neighborhoods east of Panama City, where St. Dominic is located, were especially hard-hit by the storm. Now residents here are desperate for help.
Atena SherryOctober 18, 2018
“I believe there are adequate, alternative options for true women’s health care out there, and Planned Parenthood is not needed,” said Alisha Fox, a health and wellness coach at a Catholic fertility center in Chicago.
Colleen ZeweOctober 18, 2018
 Ethiopian Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel of Addis Ababa checks out the name badge of Nathanael Lamataki, a youth delegate from the French territory of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, as they leave a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Cardinal Souraphiel highlighted the role globalization plays in connecting young people in unjust ways.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 18, 2018
The pope said he would visit North Korea “if an official invitation arrives.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 18, 2018