Number of illegal migrants to the U.S. is dropping despite reports to the contrary

Feb 27, 2020

By Stephen Dinan

Despite the surge of illegal migrants from Central America, the actual unauthorized population in the U.S. has dropped over the last decade, according to a new analysis Wednesday that found hundreds of thousands of Mexicans have surrendered their foothold and self-deported back home.

Latin American men stand at a border fence in California.

The border is also no longer the key to illegal immigration, with the Center for Migration Studies of New York calculating that two-thirds of the new unauthorized migrants between 2010 and 2018 came on legal visas but never returned home. Only one-third jump the border.

Over that period, the total illegal immigrant population fell from 11.8 million to 10.6 million, CMS says.

And the decline was consistent. More people left each year than arrived save for 2014 and 2015.

“There’s a widespread assumption that everyone wants to come to the United States and no one ever leaves, but that’s never been true,” said Robert Warren, the demographer who did the study for CMS. “There has always been a return flow, but until recently we weren’t able to measure it well in the undocumented population.”

In 2010, there were 6.6 million illegal immigrants from Mexico living in the U.S. By 2018 that had dropped to 5.1 million.

Within those numbers, there were massive shifts. CMS says 4 million illegal immigrants here in 2018 came during that decade — but a total of 5.3 million people left the unauthorized population, or an annual average of 665,000.
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Credit: The Washington Times, www.washingtontimes.com

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