New research by the Pew Hispanic Center finds that for the first time in four decades, net immigration to the United States from Mexico is effectively zero. See more at http://ow.ly/auI7G
Although some will argue that this proves the effectiveness of attrition-oriented policies such as Arizona’s infamous SB1070, the evidence suggests that economic factors are the main driving force.
Some eight states across the country have adopted harsh, anti-immigrant legislation that criminalizes lack of valid immigration status and requires local police to investigate the immigration status of suspected non-citizens. Criticism of this type of legislation includes its unconstitutional interference with federal immigration policy and the charge that it promotes racial profiling.
There is little evidence that harsh laws like these do anything other than make life difficult for their targets. Immigrants feeling pressured in a state like Arizona are more likely to move to another state in the country than to return to their country of origin. Moreover, even if these laws were having an effect, it would not have been measurable in the window examined by the Pew Hispanic Center (2005 to 2010) because Arizona’s law did not take effect until 2010.
Clearly, the economic downturn has affected all corners of the country and the recovery has been slower than anticipated. The fact that many millions of undocumented families have remained in the U.S. despite these conditions shows just how attached they are to their lives here. Hopefully we can find the political and space and human empathy required to pass comprehensive immigration reform soon to provide solutions.