Mexican Border Crossings Lowest in Decades, Study Finds

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A new study by researchers at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs upends a lot of the conventional thinking about the effects of U.S. immigration policy -- most notably the contention that harsher security measures along the U.S.-Mexico border have kept immigrants out of southwestern American states.

As California Watch reports, the study by Douglas Massey and Karen Pren reveals that fewer illegal border-crossers were caught last year than at any other time in decades. Legal entries into the country across the southern border have also declined, going from 219,000 in 2002 to 139,000 in 2010.

But the impregnability of the border appears to have had another effect that anti-immigration activists wouldn't be too happy about. The study's authors found that the dismantling of a guest-worker program, as part of national immigration-law reforms in 1965, has led to fewer of the immigrants who come to the U.S. ever returning to Mexico.

The result: Our country's Latino population has risen from 10 million in 1965 to more than 50 million today, at least 10 million of whom are estimated to lack official immigration documents.

The policy debates dogging immigration reform -- which will disproportionately affect western states such as California, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico -- are far from simple. But the new study provides compelling evidence that a quasi-militarized southern border isn't producing the outcomes anybody wants.

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13 comments
Matthew W. Hall
Matthew W. Hall

Having people in the country illegally  is a bad thing.

Randolph Fleming
Randolph Fleming

 I heard that they're paying 'coyotes' to sneak them back across the border , at Nogales..

big riggs
big riggs

This is a good thing.

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

 How do you figure that?

Bigriggs
Bigriggs

Lower border crossings is a bad thing?

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

Have you been paying attention to what's happened in Arizona? Let's not let that happen to the rest of the country.

"Arf!" Lemming
"Arf!" Lemming

 You don't work for a living and thereforedon't have to compete with undocumentedaliens to make rent..You wouldn't under-stand..

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

"Just because  you have a degree doesn't mean that you won't have to compete with immigrants. All the jobs that are being outsource.. ????"What does outsourcing have to do with immigration?  You make no sense.

Gloria Dean
Gloria Dean

woooo that's not cool. Not everyone has a college degree and/or had the opportunity to get one. What a snobby comment.. Just because  you have a degree doesn't mean that you won't have to compete with immigrants. All the jobs that are being outsource.. ???? Just hope you don't become ill because that degree won't help a  you if you're chronically and/or terminally ill.

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

Your argument is self-defeating, as undocumented workers are not eligible for disability.

Randolph Fleming
Randolph Fleming

 You're on SSI disability and live with your mother..andI'm certain you didn't fund your supposed education us-ing the G.I. Bill , either..Oh ! and you're 'adopted'..

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

I have something called a "college education" and therefore don't have to do manual labor for a living and compete with undocumented workers.

Just because you didn't have the foresight to get your degree doesn't make it someone else's problem that you can't get a job at a meat packing plant or doing farm work like most undocumented workers.

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