Illegal immigration subsided after the economic downturn beginning in 2007. With fewer jobs available in the United States, fewer foreigners were trying to enter illegally. At the same time, an increasing number of illegal aliens already living here chose to go home. In 2007, a record total of 12.2 million illegal aliens were estimated to reside in the U.S. By the following year, the total had gone down to 11 million and remained at that approximate level for several more years.
This decline prompted some commentators to claim that illegal immigration was ceasing to be a national problem. Aiding this perception was a study published in 2012 showing that illegal migration from Mexico, a major contributor of illegal immigration to the U.S., had significantly declined.
If illegal immigration were subsiding, the commentators reasoned, why bother to take any more steps to stop it? Indeed, they continued, why not relax, and just give amnesty to the illegal aliens? It was a line of reasoning which the amnesty-supporting Obama Administration found most congenial.
Throughout his time in office, President Obama has curtailed immigration law enforcement (despite the bogus claim that “record deportations” have occurred during his terms), while going so far as to grant, by edict, a provisional amnesty to illegal aliens in the Dream Act category. One might have guessed that such policies would encourage a new surge of illegal immigration. And indeed, such a guess would have been right.
Starting around 2011, illegal immigration, slowly but surely, began to move up again. By 2013, the total of unlawful residents in the U.S. rose to 11.7 million, as illegal migrants from Central America began to take up the slack left by Mexico.
This could only be the beginning. As USA Today recently reported, “another massive wave of illegal immigration is forming and [is] rapidly headed toward our shores.” The reporter observed that a “growing consensus” among economic analysts is that the economies of Latin America face problems which are “creating the perfect climate for another wave of undocumented [i.e., illegal] immigrants fleeing North.”
A report by the Inter-American Development Bank sees danger that an economic slowdown in China may harm Latin American countries by reducing Chinese demand for their exports. Significantly worrisome is a study done by two officers of the Bank of Mexico. It found that conditions in that country could, as summarized by USA Today, “start [Mexicans] heading north at pre-recession levels.”
One strange thing about the USA Today article is that it seems to suggest that the immigration “reform” bill passed by the Senate would be a solution to more illegal immigration. Nothing could be further from the truth. Granting amnesty to the nearly 12 million illegal aliens in this country would virtually send out an invitation for a new illegal surge of foreigners. Come one, come all, and you too might win the legalization lottery.
Yes, the bill has provisions to tighten immigration law enforcement. But we really have no assurance that these promises will be kept – any more than the previous legislative promises not kept to enforce immigration law.
With a new surge of illegal immigration building up, the appropriate response is to pass real immigration reform to tighten enforcement of our laws and to disavow amnesty ever again. If not, we will get exactly what we condone and reward.