Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Kevin Johnson reported earlier on the effects of the economy on migration. Tyche Hendricks of the San Francisco Chronicle writes on the effect of the economy on the prospects for reform:
The nation's economic crisis could make it tough for President-elect Barack Obama to deliver on his pledge to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, some analysts predict.
With unemployment rising, foreign workers are less welcome, say immigration restrictionists, who have vowed to oppose offering legal status to the nation's estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants.
But as the presidential transition goes into high gear, Democratic political insiders still believe that immigration reform has a good chance. Until a comprehensive bill is introduced in Congress, Obama's pick to head the Department of Homeland Security, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, will play a key role in refocusing the way the government handles immigration.
"Clearly the economy is job No. 1 for the new administration," said Frank Sharry, director of America's Voice, a pro-immigration advocacy group. "But we fully expect that by the end of year one, that they're going to take a hard run at immigration reform."
The weak economy - the unemployment rate reached 6.7 percent in November, its highest level in 15 years - combined with increased immigration enforcement, appears to be discouraging illegal immigrants from entering the country and impelling others to head home. Demographer Jeff Passel of the Pew Hispanic Center recently estimated that 11.9 million illegal immigrants are living in the United States now, down from an estimated 12.4 million a year earlier. The U.S. Border Patrol reported making 700,000 arrests over the past year, down from 1.1 million two years prior. Click here for the rest of the story.