Note: As always, numbers, assumptions and conclusion debatable. We
are seeing in past few weeks more and larger groups coming across.
From AZ to TX.
Fewer Mexican illegal immigrants in US now
By Hope Yen The Associated Press |
Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012 11:49 am |
WASHINGTON — The number of Mexican immigrants living illegally in the
U.S. has dropped significantly for the first time in decades, a
dramatic shift as many illegal workers, already in the U.S. and
seeing few job opportunities, return to Mexico.
An analysis of census data from the U.S. and Mexican governments
details the movement to and from Mexico, a nation accounting for
nearly 60 percent of the illegal immigrants in the U.S. It comes amid
renewed debate over U.S. immigration policy as the Supreme Court
hears arguments this week on Arizona's tough immigration law.
Roughly 6.1 million unauthorized Mexican immigrants were living in
the U.S. last year, down from a peak of nearly 7 million in 2007,
according to the Pew Hispanic Center study released Monday. It was
the biggest sustained drop in modern history, believed to be
surpassed in scale only by losses in the Mexican-born U.S. population
during the Great Depression.
Much of the drop in illegal immigrants is due to the persistently
weak U.S. economy, which has shrunk construction and service-sector
jobs attractive to Mexican workers following the housing bust. But
increased deportations, heightened U.S. patrols and violence along
the border also have played a role, as well as demographic changes,
such as Mexico's declining birth rate.
In all, the Mexican-born population in the U.S. last year — legal and
illegal — fell to 12 million, marking an end to an immigration boom
dating back to the 1970s, when foreign-born residents from Mexico
stood at 760,000. The 2007 peak was 12.6 million.
Christian Ballesteros, who has been at a shelter for immigrants in
Matamoros, Mexico, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, pointed
to stiffer U.S. penalties for repeat offenders as well as brutal
criminal groups that control the Mexican side of the border as
reasons for the immigration decline. Ballesteros, who has been
deported four times, was recently caught after hopping the border
fence near Nogales, Arizona.
"The Mexican cartels are taking over, are actually being like the
border patrols on this side," Ballesteros said. "They threaten them,
'if you don't pay, what we're going to do is we're going to cut your
head off.' That's the worst, the worst, the worst part," Ballesteros
After his last apprehension by U.S. authorities, Ballesteros was sent
to a detention facility in Las Vegas for two months. He fears it
could be six months if he's caught again. "You can lose money, but if
you lose time there's no way you can recover that time," Ballesteros
said, noting that many immigrants have families to support.
Mexican immigration may never return to its height during the mid-
decade housing and construction boom, even with the U.S. economy
recovering, Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at Pew who co-wrote
the analysis, said. He cited longer-term factors such as a shrinking
Mexican work force.
Passel noted that government data now show a clear shift among
Mexican workers already in the U.S. who are returning home. He said
that data is a sign that many immigrants are giving up on life in the
U.S., feeling squeezed by increasing enforcement and limited
opportunities that they don't see improving anytime soon.
About 1.4 million Mexicans left the U.S. between 2005 and 2010,
double the number who did so a decade earlier. In the meantime, the
number of Mexicans who entered the U.S. sharply fell to about 1.4
million, putting net migration from Mexico at a standstill. More
recent data suggest that most of the movement is now heading back to
Mexico, accounting for the drop in the illegal immigrant population.
During the same period, the population of authorized Mexican
immigrants edged higher, from 5.6 million to 5.8 million.
Among the Mexican immigrants who leave the U.S., an estimated 5 to 35
percent are deported while the rest opt to go back voluntarily, often
taking U.S.-born children with them. Those who were in the U.S.
illegally and returned to Mexico also are increasingly saying they
will not try to come back — about 20 percent, compared to 7 percent
The Pew estimates come amid heightened attention on immigration in an
election year where the fast-growing Hispanic population, now making
up roughly 16 percent of the U.S. population, could play a key role.
Arizona's law, being challenged by the Obama administration in the
Supreme Court, seeks to expand the authority of state police to ask
about the immigration status of anybody they stop on the rationale
that federal enforcement has largely failed.
Since Arizona's law passed in 2010, five other states — Alabama,
Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah — have passed similar
Steve A. Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration
Studies, a Washington group that advocates tighter immigration
policies, said the latest numbers show that immigration policies do
make a difference.
"The bottom line is that immigration is not the weather. It is
something that ... can be changed," he said. "The economy is worse
but enforcement is also higher, making it more difficult for
immigrants to get jobs in states like Arizona. They are now making
new calculations and changing their views."
—Illegal Mexican immigrants who have stayed in the U.S. for longer
periods of time are now more likely to be sent back by authorities
than before. About 27 percent of immigrants sent back had resided in
the U.S. for a year or more, up from 6 percent in 2005.
—Despite an increase in Border Patrol agents, apprehensions of
illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border have dropped sharply —
from 1 million in 2005 to 286,000 in 2011, a sign that fewer illegal
immigrants are trying to enter.
—Some 29 percent of all current U.S. immigrants are Mexican born, by
far the most from any single country; that's down from its peak of 32
percent in 2004-2009. The next largest share comes from India,
accounting for 4.5 percent of the nation's 40 million foreign-born
—A typical Mexican woman is projected to have an average of 2.4
children in her lifetime, compared with 7.3 children in 1960.
—By region, Mexican-born immigrants in the U.S. are mostly likely
found in the West (51 percent) and South (33 percent). About 58
percent now live in California and Texas, down from 63 percent in
2000 as immigrants spread out over the past decade in search of jobs
in other states.
Associated Press writer Christopher Sherman in McAllen, Texas,
contributed to this report.
Read more: http://azstarnet.com/news/national/fewer-mexican-illegal-
Driver sought after wreck hospitalizes 12 immigrants
April 22, 2012 10:19 PM
PROGRESO — Border Patrol agents are searching for a driver involved
in a car wreck that sent 12 illegal immigrants to the hospital
Border Patrol agents spotted the vehicle and immigrants about 9:30
a.m. Saturday off a dirt road near Farm-to-Market Road 1015 and Rio
Rico Road. Agents called emergency medical services and the Progreso
Police Department, according to a statement sent out by Border
Patrol. Twelve people went to the hospital for precautionary measures
and one refused treatment. The 12 immigrants have been released from
Saturday's crash came less than two weeks after two fatal wrecks with
On April 10, nine of the 17 illegal immigrants aboard a Chevy Astro
Van were killed — and the rest injured — when it rolled over along
Expressway 83 in Palmview. The 15-year-old driver fled the scene, but
was arrested two days later. He was charged with nine counts of
murder, 17 counts of human smuggling causing serious bodily injury or
death and one count of evading arrest with a vehicle.
The day before that deadly wreck, a man died in a similar accident.
Eighteen illegal immigrants were packed in a Ford Aerostar minivan
when it rolled over on U.S. 83 just west of the La Joya city limits.
One man died and 17 others were sent to the hospital. The driver,
Juan Carlos Rodriguez Sanchez, 19, ran away from the scene but state
troopers arrested him later that day.
He was charged with one count of criminally negligent homicide and 18
counts of failure to stop and render aid.
Border Patrol agents still are investigating Saturday's crash in
Progreso, said Rosalinda Huey, Border Patrol spokeswoman. She did not
have a physical description of the driver or vehicle Sunday evening.