Saturday, October 27, 2012

Immigration and the Economy

Remember all the talk about zero migration, the worth of hardcore enforcement efforts, how Mexico was getting so wealthy that would-be migrants chose to stay?

Now meet the growing U.S. economy, which is making all those conclusions even more obviously problematic.

Want a sign that the economy is on the rebound? Illegal immigration from Mexico is starting to rise again, according to a new report.

Immigration from Mexico fell to historic lows during the worst years of the recession. After four decades that brought 12 million people from Mexico to the U.S., people started heading back home and continued doing so from 2007 to 2011.

It's impossible to pinpoint the exact number of people crossing the southwest border with Mexico, but the study by U.S. and Mexican researchers estimates that immigrants headed north in the first half of 2012 outnumbered those heading back for the first time since 2007.

The numbers are much lower than before, which is what we would expect. The U.S. economy needed young workers, and they came in droves. Now there is more of an equilibrium, both economically and demographically.

This is bad news in the sense that it reminds us how immigration reform remains a broken promise by both parties. But it is indisputably good news because it means the economy is growing, which is good for all of us.


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