“The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill. After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants—more than half of whom came illegally—the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped—and may have reversed, according to a new analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center of multiple government data sets from both countries.
“The standstill appears to be the result of many factors, including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates and changing economic conditions in Mexico.”
“In a typical year, the young men in this agricultural region of western Mexico would have made the journey north to America. But not this year or for this generation: a better future across the border is a promise they no longer trust.
“‘For years, we dreamed of America, but now that dream is no good,’ says 18-year-old Pedro Morales, sitting in the elegant Spanish colonial square of Comala under the shadow of the spectacular Volcan de Fuego. ‘There are no jobs and too many problems. We don’t want to go.’…
“‘The reason they’re coming home is because they have no options, no papers, and the laws are more aggressive,’ says Fernando Morett, a shopkeeper in the coastal town of Chiutlan. ‘It’s complicated, and people are debating it. If they don’t have friends in the US and they have to pay to cross the line, it’s not worth it.'”
“First of all, there’s no reason to think that pressure for illegal immigration from Mexico won’t increase again; in fact, the total illegal population has already stopped declining and may have begun to grow again. The U.S. economy is bound to pick up at some point and the newfound middle-class status of so many Mexicans, often cited as a reason for the drop in departures northward, is tenuous. As the Washington Post put it, the country’s new middle class is ‘fearful that recent gains could be lost in a financial crisis or social upheaval.’
“What’s more, the decline in Mexico’s birth rate, which is also cited as a mark of the permanence of the drop-off in emigration, isn’t necessarily connected. The change is real enough; as recently as 1970, the average Mexican woman had nearly seven children, whereas today the number is barely over two. But emigration isn’t just a matter of excess people overflowing into another country. South Korea, for instance, has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, not to mention a First World level of development, and yet emigration to the U.S. (mostly legal) continues apace. Immigration from Japan and China seems to have actually increased as fertility declined. And immigration from Russia isn’t stopping even though Russia’s total population is actually declining. Sure, if fertility is low enough for long enough, eventually you’ll just run out of people. But in the meantime, immigration is driven by networks of friends and relatives and employers rather than by population math.
“And finally, some part of the decline in new illegal immigrants, and the departure of those already here, was caused by the very enforcement measures the anti-borders crowd wants to dismantle in light of the new numbers.”
“Pearce is not a Romney adviser, but he is the embodiment of the law that Romney embraced — and the baggage Romney now carries for seeking far-right support in the primary. On Tuesday, Pearce sat at the witness table, shaking his head in disagreement as others spoke about how the law encourages racial profiling and hurts legal Latino residents…
“Does he support Arizona authorities using ‘dress’ as a way to identify illegal immigrants? ‘You have to respond to reasonable suspicion to do your job,’ he said.
“Why didn’t the law simply require that everybody stopped by the police would be checked for immigration status, to avoid racial profiling? ‘I don’t want a police state,’ he said.
“No, he only wants that for people who don’t look like him.”
“‘I think we have in Arizona an overreach where the Republicans have really overplayed their hand,’ said Luis Heredia, executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party, citing the immigration bill and Arpaio’s antics…
“One recent Saturday, Democratic state senate candidate Raquel Teran paced the streets of her strongly Hispanic Phoenix district, armed with a map, a list of registered Democratic voters and a sheaf of voter registration papers. She signed up one new voter at the first house she called at.
“Sitting out in the shady yard of her in-laws’ home, young mother Yvette Sierra, 22, shared an experience about her husband being pulled over by Arpaio’s deputies, who she said let him go only after he produced their young son’s U.S. birth certificate.
“‘He’s stopping people and I just don’t think it’s right,’ she says, filling out a voter registration form. ‘I never (voted), never thought about it . . . but I’m glad.'”
“‘He’s already said that immigration reform is something that he’s committed to,’ McCain told reporters, in response to a question about whether Romney should make the issue a bigger focus of his campaign…
“The Arizona senator became agitated when asked about Romney having said he supports a self-deportation policy, whereby illegal immigrants would voluntarily go back to their country of origin and then apply for U.S. citizenship.
“No he hasn’t. He’s said that’s one of the options he’s looked at,’ McCain said. ‘So don’t put words in his mouth.’
“Romney has explicitly said he supports such a policy, however.”
“Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), an informal adviser to the Romney campaign who co-wrote Arizona’s controversial immigration law, predicted Romney would stick with his previous positions on border control.
“‘Governor Romney and the Romney team remain firmly opposed to amnesty,’ he told The Hill earlier this week. ‘I’m not getting any sense he’s changing his positions. He’s staked them out in the [presidential] debates with considerable specificity. He said the Arizona bill should be a model. He said the concept of self-deportation should be one that’s used. I hadn’t heard at all he’s moving and I doubt he will.’…
“Tancredo expressed hope that Kobach could convince Romney to hold his position on the DREAM Act and keep up the rhetoric he used during the primary, but doubted he would.”
“In other words, attrition works. But if illegal immigrants are going home on their own, why do we need an amnesty? The argument for it is that the illegal immigrants are firmly rooted here and aren’t going anywhere. While that’s probably true for some illegals, it’s obviously not true for lots of them. So why not wait and see how much more the illegal population can be reduced through attrition before we surrender and declare an amnesty?”