Census data is now showing lower overall numbers of illegal immigration in this country, effectively ending sustained increases over a period of more than a decade. The peak numbers came in 2007, with 12 million undocumented immigrants entering. Last year, the immigration numbers showed only 11.1 million. California, one of the larger states to host immigrants, also posted either a decline or no change in their numbers.
Experts do not believe the numbers will approach the peak again, partly due to the poor economy and stronger immigration enforcement. However, an aging Mexican population could also be partly responsible. The largest surge of immigration ever recorded in this country came during the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, and many of those have been settled in this country for at least a decade.
The numbers are encouraging enough to warrant a debate on the number of undocumented immigrants in this country. Many want to stay in the country and become citizens instead of facing a daily fear of deportation or feeling like they are treated below others living legally in the country. The election numbers showed strong Latin and Asian-American support for President Obama, suggesting public support for the current immigration laws to undergo an overhaul.
California does not appear to have had an increase in its immigration numbers. Other states hit hard by the economy also showed declines or at least no gains in their numbers. Surprisingly, foreign-born Asians are reported to make up a larger source of the population in California than Hispanics. Overall, the numbers show support for a revamp of the immigration system and the possibility of allowing undocumented immigrants living in this country for several years the opportunity to become permanent citizens.
Source: Chron.com, “Illegal immigration drops after decade-long rise,” Hope Yen & Francisco Vara-Orta, Dec. 5, 2012