Friday, May 15, 2009

Illegal immigration drops proving anti-immigration crowd wrong.

The New York Times reports that that census data from Mexico “indicate an extraordinary decline in the number of Mexican immigrants going to the United States. They report:
Mexican and American researchers say that the current decline, which has also been manifested in a decrease in arrests along the border, is largely a result of Mexicans’ deciding to delay illegal crossings because of the lack of jobs in the ailing American economy.
The trend emerged clearly with the onset of the recession and, demographers say, provides new evidence that illegal immigrants from Mexico, by far the biggest source of unauthorized migration to the United States, are drawn by jobs and respond to a sinking labor market by staying away. “If jobs are available, people come,” said Jeffrey S. Passel, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research group in Washington. “If jobs are not available, people don’t come.”

Doesn’t the anti-immigration lobby find this curious? Under their theory of immigration these people should still be coming to the United States at the same pace as before. The anti-immigration crowd argues that immigrants are only coming to America to “get on welfare” and “live off the taxpayer.” Did someone abolish the American welfare state when I wasn’t looking?

Nope, it’s still there. What has changed is that lots of jobs have disappeared. With fewer and fewer jobs the immigrants are not coming in. Since welfare remains, since the “free” health care remains, since the public schools remain, then the this sharp downturn in immigration is a very, very strong indication that most immigrants come to America to work, not to live off welfare. I fear that the tendency to sponge off the state is a habit that is indulged in more by the native born than by migrants.