From 1970 to 2010, more than 10 million Mexicans migrated to the US. Now, after decades of rising numbers immigrating to the US, a new demographic trend is playing out: illegal immigration is waning. The Department of Homeland Security said in a 2010 report that the number of immigrants residing unauthorized in the US, 62 percent of whom come from Mexico, has declined from a peak of 11.8 million in January of 2007 to 10.8 million in January of 2010. US Customs and Border Protection also released data showing that the number of those arrested trying to cross the border illegally is is down sharply – by 58 percent since fiscal year 2006. The Pew Hispanic Center, using Mexican government data, estimates that the number of Mexicans annually leaving Mexico for the US declined by 60 percent from 2006 to 2010. Many dispute the reason why. Here are four factors that play a role.
The push to keep Latino students on track for college seems to be paying off. The college enrollment rate for Hispanics is up 20 percent since 2000, narrowing the 'education gap.'
Congress is considering comprehensive immigration reform, including amnesty, work visas, and guest worker programs. What this path to citizenship could mean for 11 million illegal immigrants can be seen in the 1986 amnesty of 3 million legalized in the last major immigration overhaul.
Mexico has a lot at stake, but its government says it does not want to interfere in the domestic decisions of the US.
Advocates for immigration reform should seek support from an unlikely source – evangelical Christians. Their political agenda is broadening as Hispanic congregants – documented and undocumented – increase and pastors speak of immigration as a religious concern.
The Corner Project assists families with relatives in the US, ensuring, for example, that children of migrant workers born in the US are able to register for school or other services in Mexico.
Romney doesn’t grasp that playfully wishing he were Mexican-American is offensive to many Hispanics. His view of the Hispanic electorate seems simplistic and out of touch with the Latino experience. Hispanics do not vote based on ethnicity; we vote on policy.