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.”


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.

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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!
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,


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