How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Illegal immigration from Mexico is down, but legal immigration isn't

Photo by Nathan Gibbs/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A family looks north into the United States from Playas de Tijuana, January 2009

Photo by Nathan Gibbs/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A family looks north into the United States from Playas de Tijuana, January 2009


In a short piece in The Atlantic today, Council on Foreign Relations fellow Shannon K. O'Neill points out that as net migration to the U.S. from Mexico has dropped sharply in recent years, there's an interesting wrinkle to the northbound migration that continues.

While illegal immigration from Mexico to the U.S. has decreased, legal immigration from Mexico is holding steady. And compared with the level of unauthorized vs. authorized migration from Mexico a decade ago, the percentage of those coming legally is way up. O'Neill writes:

Another migratory change has also occurred: of the Mexicans that still come to the United States, many more do so legally. At the start of the twenty-first century, less than 10 percent came with papers. A decade later, it is 50 percent.

What the piece links to is a lengthy U.S. State Department

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