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Decline In Unauthorized Immigration Explained

WASHINGTON - Recent estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center indicate that the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has declined by roughly one million since 2007-bringing the total size of the unauthorized population to approximately 11.1 million. Coming after the release of similar estimates by the Department of Homeland Security in January, these figures have provoked considerable speculation as to how much of the decline is attributable to the current recession, and how much is the result of heightened immigration enforcement.

Ultimately, it is impossible to disentangle the impact of the recession from that of enforcement with any degree of certainty. Nevertheless, the available research indicates that the recession is likely playing a major role in discouraging new unauthorized immigrants from entering the country due to the lack of jobs. After all, federal spending on immigration enforcement has been rising steadily since the early 1990s, while the size of the unauthorized population continued to increase until the current recession hit. Research also suggests that when the economy begins to improve again, unauthorized immigration is likely to increase as well - unless the broken immigration system which spurs unauthorized migration has been fixed by then.

To read IPC's Fact Check see:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), established in 2003, is the policy arm of the American Immigration Council. IPC's mission is to shape a rational national conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers and the media. IPC is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office.

 



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