Economic Recovery Leads To Rise In Undocumented Immigrants To The U.S.

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The number of undocumented immigrants coming to the U.S. increased to 11.7 million in 2012 from 11.3 million in 2009, according to numbers provided by the Pew Research Center.

The number had dropped from the 12.2 million undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. in 2007.

The recent growth is from immigrants coming in to the country from places other than Mexico.

“As a whole, with the recession ending, the decrease in illegal immigration has stopped,” said Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at Pew.

According to Pew:

“In terms of country of origin, the post-2007 population dip was even sharper among Mexicans (who made up 52 percent of 2012 unauthorized immigrants) than the overall population decrease, although the Mexican decline appears to have stopped after 2010. In 2012, 6.05 million Mexican unauthorized immigrants were in the U.S., a decline of about 900,000 from 2007.”

Long-term shifts in Mexico’s economy are leading to more people deciding to stay put, the BBC reported.

“Labor demand in the U.S. is still slack and wages are eroding, whereas there are jobs in Mexico and wages are slowly rising as labor force growth there decelerates,” said Douglas Massey, a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. Many members of the Mexican work force are also older and therefore less inclined to make the tough trek across the U.S. border.

Pew estimated that immigrants from Mexico now make up 52 percent of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., down from 57 percent in 2007.

Sources: BBC, Pew Research