The Pew Hispanic Center found that the nation’s overall illegal immigrant population fell by nearly 1.1 million between 2007 & 2009, unscientifically attributing a mix of a slumping economy with stepped up enforcement in the decline. This news comes amid the backdrop of continuing hand-wringing about immigration policy in the U.S., from the controversial law aimed at illegal immigrants in Arizona to talk of reviving comprehensive immigration reform in Congress. The common theme in most immigration debates in the U.S. is that illegal migration is out of control, unchecked and extremely damaging to the country—yet, here we have some evidence that, while the overall number of undocumented people in the country remains high, it is being at least somewhat controlled. Plus the Obama Administration has actually been more aggressive in detaining and deporting illegal immigrants. What exactly is the perception versus the reality of illegal immigration in the U.S.?
Randy Capps, demographer & senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute