Presented by Celtic Creek Immigration Resources Center
The New Reality of US Immigration
Posted by Forbes
First Published December 30, 2014
The $1.1 trillion spending bill the Senate passed this month will fund most of the federal government through September 2015—with the notable exception of the Department of Homeland Security, whose funding expires in February. This sets up a fight with President Obama over his recent executive order on immigration—an order that itself was met, unsurprisingly, with Democratic rallying and Republican outrage. This battle largely feels like a rehashing of the same old culture-wars story we’ve heard for the past two decades. But this time, it really is different. The broader context of the debate has changed. In recent years, immigration trends have reversed direction—and the composition of immigrants is shifting in ways that most voters aren’t aware of.
Obama’s executive order is expected to affect 5.0 of the 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States. It will apply to 4 million undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, provided that the parents have lived here for at least five years. This rollout also expands the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to children who were brought to the United States by their parents before January 2010. The policy also expands visas for those who pursue STEM degrees, modifies federal immigrant detention procedures, and strengthens border security.
The response has been swift and predictable. Supporters have hailed this move as a step in the right direction, saying that legalizing the undocumented upholds the American ideal of upward mobility. Others believe that these measures will promote economic growth and expand tax revenue. (According to one study, Obama’s reforms could result in $45 billion in additional payroll tax revenue over the next five years.) Detractors, meanwhile, are furious, arguing that this order amounts to amnesty and is an insult to legal immigrants. Seventeen states have already filed a lawsuit against the President for violating the Constitution’s Take Care Clause. (See article below).Both sides in this heated debate are arguing as if immigration to the United States is steeply rising. Yet in fact, since the Great Recession, immigration has been declining. The number of persons obtaining legal permanent resident status peaked in 2006 at 1.3 million—which has since fallen to just under 1.0 million in 2013.
As for net unauthorized immigration, which typically averaged a million persons a year in the two decades prior to the Great Recession, this too has fallen dramatically—all the way to near-zero in 2010 and 2011. Indeed, the number of unauthorized immigrants residing in the United States actually declined from 2007 to 2013 (from 12.2 million to 11.3 million). This shrinkage was primarily the result of large net outflows back to Mexico. In response to "reverse" Mexican migration, Pew senior demographer Jeffrey Passel remarked: "We really haven’t seen anything like this in the last 30 or 40 years."
The drop-off was also exacerbated by increased deportations. Many assumed heightened penalties deterred potential border crossers. Under the Obama administration, U.S. officials deported a record 400,000 immigrants each year from 2009 to 2012.
But now the economy has improved, and we’re still seeing this decline. So what’s going on? Some are now pointing to long-term drivers—like falling fertility rates in Mexico and Latin America. In the early ‘60s, the average Mexican and Latin American woman was expected to have 6.8 and 6.0 children, respectively. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, this number dropped to approximately 3.5 children. And today, this number is closer to 2.3.
This steady decline illustrates a broader narrative: Since there were fewer people born in the ‘80s and ‘90s, there are simply fewer people of migratory age (15 to 39 years old) today. Not only is it easier for parents to provide for these smaller families, but their children are also less inclined to relocate to another country to make a living. The most telling sign of this development is the 2012 Census projections. The adjustments from the 2008 report reflect assumptions of lower fertility and decreased levels of net immigration.
The reality of today’s immigrant population may serve to change the politics of migration. Thus far, Millennials already have a smaller immigrant population than Generation X. If this trend continues, we can expect Homelanders to have an even smaller immigrant population. These generations may also witness a shift in the political landscape as immigration debates subside in the Southwest and intensify along the East Coast. And further down the road, immigration may even become a less politically contentious issue—cooling the flames under America’s melting pot.
Posted by NBC News, Carrie Dann
First Published December 3, 2014
Texas Leads 17 States Suing Obama Administration Over Immigration Action
Seventeen states, led by Texas Attorney General and Governor-elect Greg Abbott, are suing the Obama administration over the president's recent executive actions on immigration. In a statement, Abbott said the president's unilateral action to offer deportation relief to millions of undocumented immigrants "tramples the U.S. Constitution's Take Care Clause and federal law." Abbott, the Republican elected to succeed outgoing Gov. Rick Perry next year, has promised to bring the lawsuit since Obama announced his executive actions last month. The coalition of states involved in the suit includes: Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The case was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas.
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