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Illegal immigration at issue

September 8, 2010
The Daily Mining Gazette

One tried-and-true strategy to avoid facing up to a problem is to claim it doesn't exist. Some opponents of better enforcement of immigration laws are already doing just that.

The number of illegal immigrants living in the United States decreased to about 11.1 million last year, according to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center. That was down from about 12 million in 2009.

Fewer illegal immigrants means government efforts to secure our borders are paying off, a few analysts have said. Even one of the Pew Center's demographers, Jeffrey Passel, claimed that, "While people are arguing the government is not stopping illegal immigration, our data suggests the flow of undocumented immigrants sneaking into the country has dropped dramatically."

Of course it has. Illegal immigrants come to the United States primarily for economic opportunities. The recession has curtailed them dramatically. There are millions fewer jobs - for anyone - than existed just two years ago.

Residents of other countries thinking of coming here illegally have much less incentive to do so - so many don't. Rest assured that once the economy picks up, the flow of illegals will increase.

Put the situation in context: Even if the number of illegal aliens in this country has decreased slightly, it still represents about 4 percent of the population. Eleven million people here illegally remains a big, big problem.

And, again, the number will begin climbing again once the recession ends. The Pew Center's study is no reason for the public to relax its demands that Washington take illegal immigration seriously.



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