Poor US economy reduces illegal aliens
An organization opposed to immigration reform says a crackdown on illegal aliens has caused many to return to Mexico.
Increased enforcement of immigration has resulted in numerous arrests across the country, but a report by an organization opposed to immigration reform that says it has caused illegal aliens to return to Mexico is questionable. Whatever movement that has occurred is more likely to have been caused by the weakened U.S. economy.
The Center for Immigration Studies, which supports the crackdown on unauthorized workers and opposes putting illegal aliens on a slow road to citizenship, reports that the number of illegal immigrants in the country has dropped by as much as 1.3 million in the past year, from 12.5 million to 11.2 million. Illegal immigrant advocates and business groups say the report is faulty, drawing broad conclusions about census figures.
The Department of Homeland Security has stepped up enforcement of immigration laws, conducting raids at workplaces across the country. In Hawaii, federal agents arrested 19 suspected illegal immigrant workers at a downtown construction site and a Halawa warehouse in December, 22 at two chain restaurants on Maui in May and 43 Mexican farmworkers at a Waipahu apartment complex last month.
Jeffrey Passel, a demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, said his research shows a decline in immigrants but nowhere near the level estimated by the Center for Immigration Studies. The Pew center reported last month that a recent "spike" in Hispanic unemployment was due mainly to a slump in the construction industry.
As a result of the sour economy in the U.S., money sent home by Mexican migrants fell by 2.2 percent during the first six months of this year, according to numbers released by Mexico's central bank. The owner of a Florida money-transfer business told the St. Petersburg Times that some families that sent up to $1,000 a week to relatives in Mexico now send only about $100 a week. That wasn't caused by any crackdown on illegal aliens.
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