Illegal migrant total down nearly 1 million in U.S., Pew report says. US economic woes are driving illegals back to whence they came. Who says the Obama administration isn’t doing anything about the immigration issue.
The unlawful flow of Mexican immigrants into the U.S. continues to slow, and the nation’s overall illegal immigrant population fell by nearly a million to 11.1 million between 2007 and 2009, the Pew Hispanic Center said in a report released Wednesday.
But Texas didn’t show a decline, according to the report, based on estimates derived from census data. Instead, the state’s illegal immigrant population stood at 1.6 million in 2009, an increase of 200,000 from a year earlier, although the report’s authors cautioned that the change wasn’t statistically significant and roughly fell within earlier ranges.
The authors at the nonpartisan Pew center avoided giving causes for the national contraction. But they noted that the recession and tougher immigration enforcement paralleled “the first significant reversal in the growth of this population over the past two decades.”
The report comes as the national debate over illegal immigration grows more polarized. While some press for a legalization program for those who are here illegally, others demand an end to birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants. And rancor continues over Arizona’s tough new immigration law and challenges to it in federal courts.
Mexico remained the largest source of illegal immigrants, with an estimated 60 percent of the total number – or 7 million people, the report says. The percentage was unchanged from 2007 to 2009.
“In the case of Mexico, we have seen a very large drop in the inflows” of “unauthorized immigrants,” said Jeffrey Passel, the report’s co-author and a prominent demographer, and the number of illegal Mexican immigrants in the U.S. has leveled off.