Decrease in illegal immigration between 2007 and 2009

Based on data from the US Census Bureau, a new report from the Pew Hispanic Center says illegal immigration has recently dropped with a 67% decrease for the years 2007 and 2009 (about 300,000 people a year) compared to the years 2000 to 2005 (about 850,000 people a year).

A Washington Post piece explores the reasons for the decline:

Douglas Massey, a Princeton University sociologist who studies migration, said the recession and lack of jobs are major factors in the decline of those entering the country illegally.

The unemployment rate for unauthorized immigrants is 10.4 percent higher than that of either U.S.-born residents or legal immigrants, the Pew report said.

Massey said other likely reasons for the decline include an increase in law enforcement and deportations, and enactment of stricter legislation against illegal immigrants. He also pointed to more guest-worker spots, from 104,000 in 2000 to 302,000 in 2009 — allowing more immigrants to come to the United States legally.

While these results are open to some interpretation (the article includes several perspectives), the economic situation has to play a big role. For all immigrants, a weaker American economy likely has a big impact on decisions about whether to come to the United States. Without plentiful jobs, the “land of opportunity” has less to offer.

One way to help assess the impact of economics on illegal immigration would be to see whether immigration of all kinds is down over this same time period.

0 thoughts on “Decrease in illegal immigration between 2007 and 2009

  1. Another less-discussed reason is the fear factor. As certain cities and communities adopt law-enforcement policies that put illegal aliens in the hands of ICE after being stopped for minor traffic violations, not only do the illegal immigrants begin to feel more threatened by law enforcement, but they perceive the community in general as more hostile. Offenses labeled “hate crimes” have picked up in communities where immigrants (legal and illegal) live in large numbers. And as we’ve seen throughout history, when the economy turns downward, many members of society turn on the “lowest” members. I’m aware of plenty of illegal immigrants who were sufficiently employed, but due to social conditions in the US, they felt the need to leave, rather than face potential harassment from US citizens and increased scrutiny from the police.

    In other words, it’s not just the lack of available jobs for illegal immigrants; it’s the lack of jobs for EVERYONE, which is causing negative policies and actions to be directed at the people who aren’t legally allowed to be here seeking jobs in the first place.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s