Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Big suprise! Immigration declines when the economy tanks

For years I have argued that illegal immigration is the result of quotas that were too low, that the U.S. economy could support all those illegals and it was fruitless to try to stop them with stricter enforcement, walls and other such nonsense. One corollary of the argument was that the only effective way to reduce illegal immigration would be for the U.S. economy to go in the tank.

I never wanted to see a real-life test of the argument, but we have one now. And sure enough, as this NYT article explains, "Census data from the Mexican government indicate an extraoedinary decline in the number of Mexican immigrants going to the United States." Specifically, about 226,000 fewer people left Mexico for other countries (almost all to the U.S.) in the year that ended last August, a 25 percent decline. Since the most dramatic economic decline began after August, I'm betting the decline will be even greater in the year ending this August.

Any takers?

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