Those in the reality-based discussion about immigration have pointed out for years that the “crisis” of illegal immigration isn’t a crisis at all and, in fact, that the outflow of people along the southern border has topped the inflow. Pew Research has released a new study confirming exactly this — and demonstrating that the progress in thwarting illegal entries was made under the George W. Bush and Obama administrations (which did not resort to child separations):
The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. fell to its lowest level in more than a decade, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on 2016 government data. The decline is due almost entirely to a sharp decrease in the number of Mexicans entering the country without authorization. . . . The total is the lowest since 2004. It is tied to a decline of 1.5 million people in the number of Mexican unauthorized immigrants from 2007 to 2016.
Illegal immigration from Central America remains an issue (“Central America was the only birth region accounting for more U.S. unauthorized immigrants in 2016 than in 2007”), but the total number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States hasn’t been this low in 14 years.
The biggest deporter was — ready? — President Barack Obama. (“Deportations rose during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations — from 211,000 in 2003 to a record 433,000 in 2013, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics.”)
The composition of the population of illegal immigrants is increasingly made up of longtime residents (i.e., people connected to the workforce and in their communities) and those with children who are American-born U.S. citizens. “Today’s unauthorized immigrant population includes a smaller share of recent arrivals, especially from Mexico, than a decade earlier,” Pew reports. “Increasingly unauthorized immigrants are likely to be long-term U.S. residents: Two-thirds of adult unauthorized immigrants have lived in the country for more than 10 years. . . . As their typical span of U.S. residence has grown, a rising share of unauthorized immigrant adults — 43% in 2016 compared with 32% in 2007 — live in households with U.S.-born children.”