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Study: Illegal Immigration to US Slowing

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on September 02, 2010 12:28 PM

For the first time in nearly two decades, the number of illegal immigrants coming into the United States is dropping. In a study based on analysis of 2009 census data, the Pew Hispanic Center Report notes that there has been an 8% drop in the number of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. the past year, according to Business Week.

The study credits much of the decline to a sizeable drop in the number of immigrants coming from the Caribbean, South America, and Central America. Although the cause of the decline is the likely combination of a slow economy and an increase in federal immigration enforcement, the data does not lend itself to an easy read as far as how heavily each factor plays in the decline. Illegal immigrants represented 5% of the U.S. labor force last year with California, Nevada, Texas, and Arizona housing the bulk of the illegal immigrant population.

Jeffrey Passel, co-author of the report is quoted regarding the findings: "While people are arguing that the government is not stopping illegal immigration, our data suggests the flow of undocumented immigrants sneaking into the country has dropped dramatically." The data is likely to stir the controversial melting pot on illegal immigration. And in a twist of dramatic irony, Arizona (perhaps the state with the most controversial stand on illegal immigration these days) also saw a slight decline in the number of illegal immigrants crossing its border. Of course, the decline came with a major increase in border security.

The land of opportunity has seen a decline in opportunities for both their citizens and for the illegal immigrants that come to the U.S. to live the American dream. The Pew study also found unemployment rates for illegal immigrants to be 10.4% higher than legal immigrants. On a final note, the study looked only at the decline in arrivals, not whether illegal immigrants already in the U.S. were departing at a similar rate.

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