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So Much For The Illegal Immigration “Crisis”

As John Adams once said, facts are stubborn things, and in the illegal immigration debate the facts are proving to be very stubborn:

The number of illegal immigrants entering the United States has plunged by almost two-thirds in the past decade, a dramatic shift after years of growth in the population, according to a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center.

Between 2000 and 2005, an average of 850,000 people a year entered the United States without authorization, according to the report released Wednesday. As the economy plunged into recession between 2007 and 2009, that number fell to 300,000.

The sharp drop-off has contributed to an 8 percent decrease in the estimated number of illegal immigrants living in the United States, from a peak of 12 million in 2007 to 11.1 million in 2009, the report said. Of the 11.1 million, 8.9 million came from Mexico and other parts of Latin America. Virginia, Florida and Nevada were among the states with steepest declines in their populations of illegal immigrants.

(…)

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.

“Life’s gotten pretty miserable for immigrants in the United States,” he said, noting that even for legal immigrants, many of whom have relatives who are unauthorized, the increased scrutiny has been stressful.

Economics has also played a role, especially in the past three years:

Large declines in illegal immigrants in Florida and Nevada are likely because of the mortgage and foreclosure crises and the loss of thousands of construction jobs, which immigrants often fill, Passel and Massey said. Florida’s illegal immigrant population fell by 375,000, to an estimated 675,000, between 2008 and 2009, and Nevada’s decreased by 50,000, to an estimated 180,000 during that period.

The number in Virginia fell by 65,000, to 240,000, which Passel attributed to the economy as well as stricter legislation passed in Prince William County in 2007 and 2008.

The nationwide trajectory will likely depend on the strength of the country’s economic recovery and the level of enforcement of immigration laws, Passel said.

This is yet another piece of information which seemingly debunks many of the centrally held beliefs of the political movement that is currently asserting that we are in the middle of an immigration “crisis.” Steven Taylor has posted here several times debunking other such myths, such as the idea that crime along the Mexico/Arizona border is at an all-time high, that Arizona itself is suffering through an illegal immigration fueled crime wave, and that the Obama Administration is not taking border enforcement seriously.

Before we start engaging in a wholesale immigration debate, it would be nice to get the facts right.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Davebo says:

    <blockquote>Before we start engaging in a wholesale immigration debate, it would be nice to get the facts right.</blockquote>

    When exactly did you become this naive Doug?

    Seriously?

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  2. mantis says:

    But Jan Brewer told me that Messicans are beheading every Arizonan they see, and Riddle and Gohmert tell me that all immigrants come here to drop their terror babies, and since we all know that Obama is a secret Muslin Messican, he’s doing everything to help them behead us now and terror baby us later!  We’re doomed!!!!11!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. Davebo says:

    So much for html formatting.
     
    What I really meant to say was, has there ever been an honest debate on this subject in the last decade?
     
    Frankly, I’d like to see an illegal alien Mexican mosque open in VA.  That would be truly hilarious.  OK, it would be sad, but still funny.

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  4. mantis says:

    Yeah Doug.  Only naive people rely on facts.  If you were savvy, you’d only need your gut, and your gut should be telling you a terror baby is about to behead you.  Look out!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. floyd says:

    Apparrently bold faced prevarications are stubborn things as well.
    Two can play at that game….
     There’s 11.1 million of them living in the house down the street from me!
    Credible huh?

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  6. JKB says:

    Well, let’s be fair.  If GW Bush caused this recession, then GW Bush should be credited with the reduction in the illegal immigration problem caused by illegals no longer finding construction jobs or liberals wanting cheap yard work in this reduced wealth environment.
     
    But now is the time to act.  I had some mice in my crawl space when I bought the house.  I think the cat is a liberal since she’d only occasionally bring one to show off and want to let it live inside where she could control it and I guess make it better.  I worked to plug all the holes save one.  Then one night after the mice had gone out, I plugged that hole as well.  The only thing better would have been to put in one of those sonic pest devices (if they worked) to drive the mice out, then plug the hole.

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  7. Lol.  Well, I do declare, an instance of right-wing fear-mongering not supported by facts. Unthinkable!

    Look, this is the norm.  Conservative politicians long ago discovered that raving like lunatics was a vote getter.  And they have been hewing to that strategy as much as possible since.  Hard to do, of course, when you controll all three branches of government.  But the moment people vote them out, the crazy conspiracy theories, the lies, and the hysterics begin again.  And then reasonable people like you act all surprised.

    But this has nothing do with facts.  It had to do with winning elections by scaring the living daylights out of the public.  And people are scared.  Which is why the GOP is going to absolutely rout the Dems in November.  Fear is contagious and overwhelms rational thought.

    Its depressing and I have no clue how one reverses this cycle.

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  8. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Of the 11.1 million, 8.9 million came from Mexico and other parts of Latin America.

    Which leaves 2.2 million from other parts of the world, including Middle East countries hostile to the US. And you don’t see this as a crisis?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Brummagem Joe says:

    “And you don’t see this as a crisis?”

    Well it would have to be a crisis. After all everything in America is a crisis. Contaminated eggs, beheaded Arizonans, zillions of gallons of oil washing ashore, Islamofascists under the doormat. What’s today’s crisis?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    Facts are not so stubborn as well-told lies.  The percentage of the American population that is prepared to change an opinion based on mere facts is minuscule.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. sam says:

    So what, Doug? They’re off illegals and onto Mooslims, now. Try and keep, OK?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. mantis says:

    Which leaves 2.2 million from other parts of the world, including Middle East countries hostile to the US. And you don’t see this as a crisis?


    No.  The question is, why do you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Brummagem Joe says:

    “They’re off illegals and onto Mooslims, now”

    These could be ice cream flavors. Whaddya want. A vanilla Mooslim with pistachios and coffee sauce or our Mexican supreme…eleven million scoops, smothered in chocolate flakes (and we throw in a DIY beheading tool). 

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Brummagem Joe says:

    ” that is prepared to change an opinion based on mere facts is minuscule.”

    Facts only confuse them, better to keep it simple.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. davod says:

    The mutual admiration society is at work to-day. 

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. John425 says:

    If you don’t think  11 million illegals isn’t at crisis stage then I have a bridge I’d like to sell you. Illegals are stealing all the entry-level jobs that our “high-school dropouts” could have. Basic construction, roofing, landscaping, warehousing, packing plants, truck driving, shipping, simple factory assembly lines, fast food and other restaurant work. Tha’s for starters.

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  17. Brummagem Joe says:

    “If you don’t think  11 million illegals isn’t at crisis stage then I have a bridge I’d like to sell you. Illegals are stealing all the entry-level jobs that our “high-school dropouts” could have.”

    Sure, the “high school dropouts” are lining up in LA to mow grass, cut hedges, paint houses, clean hotel bedrooms, take care of kids. I’ve seen them myself. 

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  18. Brummagem Joe says:

    ‘The mutual admiration society is at work to-day.”

    Mutual humor society actually 

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  19. James M. says:

    Boots on the ground suggests other wise.
    I’m so sick of weak white men.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. tom p says:

    If you don’t think  11 million illegals isn’t at crisis stage then I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

    If you DO think it is a crises that less than 4 percent of the US population is illegal… Than have I got a bridge to sell to you!

    Wait a minute… DAMN! Those greedy Republicans beat me to it! They take all the best scams.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Wayne says:

    Bush did a much better job than his predecessors at border enforcement including raiding and fining explorers, building fences in high traffic area, etc. Much of it was done under the MSM radar. However just because there has been an improvement doesn’t mean it is solved. Also as with many large group criminal activity, when enforcement become somewhat effective the criminals will have a sharp increase violence.
     
    The so call “crisis” part that the left mischaracterize, is the tendency to not fallow though.  There have already been attempts to take funding from the fence and enforcement. There are those that want to believe the problem is solved and we don’t need to pay attention to it anymore. They ignore the 12 million that is already here. They ignore the burden those already here place on our society. They ignore the borders are better but are still plenty porous.
     
    They ignore the Obama administration is reversing much of what has been improved on including telling
    INS in a memo not to enforce the law by allowing those they capture to be set free if they don’t have a criminal record.

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  22. Wayne says:

    It cut my last sentence off.

    Nothing to worry about unless you are concern with enforcing our laws and having control over our borders.

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  23. tom p says:

    >>>INS in a memo not to enforce the law by allowing those they capture to be set free if they don’t have a criminal record.<<<

    Wayne, I have not heard that. You got a link?

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  24. Brummagem Joe says:

    James M. says:

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 18:09

    “I’m so sick of weak white men.”

    Go do 200 press ups and kick a dog. Your masculinity will be magically restored. 

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Brummagem Joe says:

    Wayne says:

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 19:08

    “Much of it was done under the MSM radar.”

    So how do you know about it? Telepathy? Seances to reach the beheaded?  Messages from outer space?  

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. davod says:

    “Sure, the “high school dropouts” are lining up in LA to mow grass, cut hedges, paint houses, clean hotel bedrooms, take care of kids. I’ve seen them myself. ”

    I know several people who make a living working in some of these occupations. All say the illegal population or the contractors who employ them makes it difficult for them to make a living.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Pug says:

     <i>…liberals wanting cheap yard work…</i>

    Actually, I think conservatives also like cheap yard work.  I don’t think all my neighbors in Texas are liberals but Pedro does a lot of lawn mowing around here.  Damn good job for $30, too.

    Love that guy. 

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  28. Pug says:

    Basic construction, roofing, landscaping, warehousing, packing plants, truck driving, shipping, simple factory assembly lines, fast food and other restaurant work. Tha’s for starters.

    Republicans hire illegals, not liberals.  California farmers, Texas construction companies and McDonalds franchisees are generally not either liberals or Democrats.

    Admit it.  These folks are here because we want them here.  Big money Republicans, especially, want them here.

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  29. superdestroyer says:

    You have to hand it to the La Raza Republicans.  No matter how bad the economy is, how many people are out of work, how bad the conditions are in majority Hispanic neighborhoods, the cheap labor, lets-make-the U.S.-a-third-world country Republicans can always find an excuse to support open borders and unlimited immigration.
    I love the logic that since unemployment is sky high for entry level workers, the U.S. must import more illiterates from the third world because it will help the entry level Americans get by on welfare.
    Why not implement 100% employment verificaiton now that it will be easier.  Why not coordinate between DHS, IRS, HHS, and SSA to ensure to decrease identify theft and make it impossible for illegal aliens to work.  Why not pass laws to punish employers now that they are not hiring as many illegal aliens.
    Of course, what the La Raza, short-sighted Republicans really want is more illegal aliens and fewer Americans because it is cheaper.
     

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  30. tom p says:

    PUG.  You said it all.

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  31. Wayne says:

     
    Tom P here you go. It basically for illegals that have been here for more than 2 years without and serious rap sheet.
    http://www.rightsidenews.com/2010083111496/us/homeland-security/us-legislative-immigration-update-august-30-2010.html

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  32. Wayne says:

    Brum
    There are many sources of information besides the MSM. The Internet which even has many newspapers published on line, agencies publication and web sites, newspapers, Fox news channel, those I come into contact with or I know who work in various agency, those who have been raided, personal experience, etc.  
    Some of those sources the MSM are aware of but choose to not listen to or ignore. Many of the sources they don’t want to listen to are the sources are smart enough not to tell the MSM because they will lie about it.
     
    If you count on the MSM for all your information, you will be misinformed and quite ignorant.  They get some stuff right while getting other stuff wrong and will always leave a shit load of information out.
     
     

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  33. mannning says:

    For me, the starting point is the 11 million or so illegal immigrants now in the nation. They are human beings that were driven to breaking our laws simply to feed, clothe, and house their families back home. While we could organize a mass deportation over a few years, the human suffering and the dislocation of the Mexican economy–and our own economy–by such an act needs to be taken fully into account.

    There are few answers that satisfy all comers to this issue. It seems to me that we need itenerant workers, and we need skilled workers, yet the quotas for them are not sufficiently high to allow for sufficient numbers of itenerants. Creating an effective itenerant worker program should be very high on the to-do list. Despite a number of difficulties, I believe that the US can solve this IW problem.
     
    Good fences make good neighbors. We should complete the border fences and any other necessary additions to shut down illegal entry insofar as possible, while at the same time allowing legal entry to many more migrant workers under suitable controls. Employer sponsorship should be made more stringent and costly, and the migrants themselves should be monitored far more closely. The basic premise is that a migrant is not a candidate for citizenship here; he is expected to return home once his job is ended. Illegal hiring of migrants by employers should be penalized heavily. 

    Amnesty is another “third rail” issue. I believe it is not fair to those who have tried for years to emigrate legally to wipe the slate clean for the illegals that have managed to survive here—and to prosper in many cases. If we gave amnesty to all 11 million illegals today, we would in effect saying that the doors are open for all to come, and wait out the next round of amnesty here, instead of waiting for legal emigration at home.

    This brings our current emigration policy into play. We have gone from Y’all come, to a strict quota system, and then to a looser system now in vogue that I cannot describe. I suppose the question is, how many emigrees per year in total should we allow in the US from now on? a million? Ten million? What? Should we require that emigrees be able to earn a living by way of their skills, or by sponsorship? Recognize too that by allowing many unskilled people into the nation during boom times, inevitably results in having them here without jobs during downtimes, when they may leave on their own, or may not.

    I have not seen much cogent analysis of these issues by commenters here, but a lot of posturing for effect or beating of sour drums, when these and more issues cry for intelligent responses.

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  34. Christopher says:

    Only 11.1 million illegals in this country??  omg that is so good!  A mere 300,00 is all that are getting across the border?  What happy news! 

    Doug, u r one big stupid idiot liberal!

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  35. anjin-san says:

    > There are many sources of information besides the MSM.
    Cool. Why don’t you hook us up with one that offers proof of the claims Republicans are making about beheadings in the southwest? Thanks in advance.

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  36. SteveCan says:

    Just tabulate the cost of ‘illegal immigrants’ in the California Budget if you want a real idea about the size of the problem…….

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  37. Tim says:

    Yeah, I live in Phoenix and just learned that there was a drophouse three blocks from my house. We found out because someone was murdered there. This is an otherwise quiet, working class neighborhood. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Dougy. Do you want to live three blocks from a drophouse?

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  38. davod says:

    “Cool. Why don’t you hook us up with one that offers proof of the claims Republicans are making about beheadings in the southwest? Thanks in advance.”

    C’mon.  I thought the claimants were discredited some time ago.

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  39. mantis says:

    C’mon.  I thought the claimants were discredited some time ago.

    Like Jan Brewer?  She’s still governor of Arizona, and won’t answer questions about her claims.  She just runs away.  I suppose that discredits her.
    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/02/brewer-takes-heat-for-not-addressing-beheading-claim/

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  40. Wayne says:

    Tim
    Don’t you know? If the MSM didn’t report the existence of that drop house then it doesn’t exist and you don’t know what you are talking about at least in to a liberal’s mind unless it fits their agenda.

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  41. Wayne says:

    Obama won’t answer questions about his claim of being a citizen. He just runs away. I suppose that discredits him.

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