Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Economic Basis for the Decline in Undocumented Activity Along U.S./Mexico Border in Arizona

Julia Preston of the New York Times yesterday penned a story about how the border -- at least in the larger cities along the U.S./Mexico border in Arizona -- has calmed with increasing immigration and drug enforcement.  Readers should not forget that, due to the recesssion and the lack of jobs, the undocumented population had been headed downward for the last several years.  While the increased border enforcement has helped calm matters in cities along the border, the decreased number of apprehensions in no small part has been due to the U.S. economy.   


Moreover, while the high profile border enforcement operations in cities along the border offer the feeling of calm in those cities, migrants have been redirected to more isolated locations through deserts and mountains where they are more likely to die on the journey to the United States.  The Preston story describes the lack of activity along the border in Arizona but fails to acknowledge recent reports are that migrants are dying along the border in Texas.

None of this should be interpreted to suggest that more immigration enforcement is needed.  Some political leaders have argued that the nation needs more enforcement before comprehensive immigration reform can be enacted (or a path to legalization can kick in).  My point is that the economy is a driver of much legal and undocumented immigration and that the collateral damage of increased enforcement -- deaths of Mexican migrants -- continues even if cities along the border in Mexico appear safer and more secure.


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