Illegal Immigration Slowing Quickly


The Pew Hispanic Center, a non-partisan research organization, says that the number of illegal immigrants living in the United States is down about 900,000 from 12 million to 11.1 million, though the population is hard to estimate. This two-year trend marks the first statistically significant decline in the undocumented population in the last twenty years. The annual inflow is down more sharply: from a peak of 850,00 per year at the beginning of the decade to around 200,000 per year for the period of the study -- March 2007 to March 2009. The decline in illegal immigration was most notable from Central and South American countries other than Mexico.

The New York Times notes that the Mexican census confirms the trends noted by Pew (Mexicans account for about 60% of the illegal immigrants in the United States). While Mexico has seen a 67% decline in the outflow of immigrants to the United States from 2006 to 2009 it showed no notable increase in inflow. One researcher notes that most Mexican immigrants are settled in the United States unlikely to move due to a recession, and that the increasing level of enforcement of recent years has been focused on patrolling the border rather than on immigrants already living in the United States.

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