Pew: illegal immigration has bottomed out, might be on rebound

One of the more ludicrous talking points around is that net migration from Mexico has fallen to zero, and thus it's safe to pass comprehensive immigration reform without encouraging more illegal immigration. The answer to that argument is to point out that when the U.S. economy improves, illegal immigration will almost assuredly pick up.

In fact, that appears to be the case. From Pew Hispanic ( ):

The sharp decline in the U.S. population of unauthorized immigrants that accompanied the 2007-2009 recession has bottomed out, and the number may be rising again...

The estimated number of unauthorized immigrants peaked at 12.2 million in 2007 and fell to 11.3 million in 2009, breaking a rising trend that had held for decades. Although there are indications the number of unauthorized immigrants may be rising, the 2012 population estimate [of 11.7 million in March 2012] is the midpoint of a wide range of possible values and in a statistical sense is no different from the 2009 estimate.

Different trends appear among the six states in which 60% of unauthorized immigrants live - California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas. Of these, only Texas had increases but no decrease in its unauthorized immigrant population over the 2007-2011 period. The other five states (and the balance of the country) all experienced peak numbers of unauthorized immigrants in 2007 followed by declines over the next year or two.

In terms of country of origin, the post-2007 population dip was even sharper among Mexicans (who made up 52% of 2012 unauthorized immigrants) than the overall population decrease, although the Mexican decline appears to have stopped after 2010. In 2012, 6.05 million Mexican unauthorized immigrants were in the U.S., a decline of about 900,000 from 2007...

That should quash the talking point discussed above but, since amnesty supporters never miss a trick, expect the new talking point to be that it's more important than ever to pass amnesty (example at [1]). The answer to that is to point out that a better economy will increase the number of potential illegal aliens, and that given everything amnesty supporters have done for the past few decades, there's no evidence that they'd follow through on their promises of increased enforcement.

[1] From David Nakamura in the Washington Post ( ):

The report could lend new urgency to the debate in Congress about comprehensive immigration reform, as lawmakers wrestle with how to address the fate of the undocumented population.