Has the Illegal Immigration Issue Peaked?

by James A. Bacon

Has the wave of illegal immigration into the United States crested? Is the flood of undocumented workers one of those problems that, if you wait long enough, just fades away? Michael Barone with the Washington Examiner makes a fascinating case that maybe, just maybe, this contentious matter has run its course.

Consider… The great American job machine is sputtering, which lessens demand for unskilled labor from across the border. Even if it picks back up, spreading use of the federal e-Verify system is cutting down on the hiring of undocumented workers. Meanwhile, the birth rate in Mexico has fallen from seven children per woman on average in 1971 to two in 2010, and living standards in Mexico are rapidly improving. Both trends tend to dry up supply.

Another factor, not noted in Barone’s article, is the increasing cost associated with crossing the Mexico-U.S. border. As violent criminal syndicates take over the business of smuggling workers across the border, Mexicans and Central Americans passing through Mexico run increasing risk of being robbed, kidnapped, extorted or even killed. The criminals create a fear factor that the U.S. Border Patrol never could.

It is entirely possible that more illegals are leaving the U.S. than entering it. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates the 2010 illegal population at 11.2 million, down from 12 million at the peak in 2007.

Legal Hispanic migration to the U.S. undoubtedly will continue, and that’s just fine. Hopefully, the declining number of illegals will ease the financial strain on schools, health care facilities and social services. Even better, a shifting supply-and-demand nexus for labor will open up more job opportunities, and perhaps even higher wages, for unskilled Americans.

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10 responses to “Has the Illegal Immigration Issue Peaked?”

  1. Spoke to an illegal who said he came across with a group of sixty. Took six days walking in the , and two died. Said it cost Mucho dinero, around $3000.

  2. Six days walking in the desert. Hard to imagine.

  3. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Once again, is this news? The media has reported for weeks now that many potential immigrants are staying home thanks to the bad economy and racist laws in Arizona, Alabama and our own, dear Prince William County.

    Who’s the loser? We are, of course. Look at a recent NY Times story noting that in Alabama, where they passed highly retrograde anti- Latino laws, tornadoes have destroyed much of Tuscaloosa. Now, there aren’t any construction workers to help them rebuild.

    Be careful what you wish for WHITE BOYS. . .

    Peter Galuszka

  4. We won’t get the economy going until we see some improvement in wages for all but the select few at the top. Reducing the competition from illegals will help. It will also slow the costs of local and state governments providing social services.

  5. Groveton Avatar

    TMT is right. The unregulated immigration of people with limited education serves to keep America’s poor economically challenged.

    Many other countries have well organized guest worker programs which allow foreign workers to enter the country for a set time and work when needed. There are standards of housing, support, education and other things that are mandated of those who employ guest workers. In my observation, these programs work well.

    Of course, a well run guest worker program does not allow businesses to pay slave labor wages with no benefits. Nor do guest worker programs allow a political party to extend amnesty after amnesty in order to swell their political ranks.

  6. Providing social services? Maybe, but when I asked a Pakistani storekeeper how he came to speak Spanish with a British accent he said he grew up in south Africa, where his parents were guest workers, then moved to the UK.

    He learned Spanish he said, because it was good for business.

  7. […] that wrong. From 1980 to 2008, …What will it take to end illegal immigration?Tucson CitizenHas the Illegal Immigration Issue Peaked?Bacon’s RebellionIllegal immigration: Where did all the Mexicans go?Deseret News (blog)Arizona […]

  8. I agree with Groveton. We could develop a guest worker program that protects legal US residents and the guest workers. But some would prefer to pay workers virtually others (with some Republicans kowtowing to them) and the Democrats are looking to increase dependency to keep their machine running. And American unions have sold out their membership yet again. My maternal grandfather would be turning in his grave if he knew what the labor unions had done.

  9. We have a temporary agricultural visa, which acts as much the same thing, but try to get one. We have tools to get legal immigrants in, on a temporary basis, if we choose to use them.

    It is the agency, the system, and the politics that control them that are the prooblem, not the regulations as written.

  10. I don’t think this issue has peaked. It will peak when we have a brow, conservative, Catholic, family Oriented majority.

    One that never forgets what the Republicans did to them.

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