Number of Illegal Immigrants in U.S. Fell Study Says

Julie Preston of the New York Times has written a piece on the drop in the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S.

The report entitled Number of Illegal Immigrants in the U.S. Drops, Study Says, cites a recent Pew Hispanic Report  U.S. Unauthorized Immigration Flows Are Down Sharply Since Mid-Decade:

The number of illegal immigrants in the United States, after peaking at 12 million in 2007, fell to about 11.1 million in 2009, the first clear decline in two decades....

The reduction came primarily from decreases among illegal immigrants from Latin American countries other than Mexico, the report found. The number of Mexicans living in the United States without legal immigration status did not change significantly from 2007 to 2009. Some seven million Mexicans make up about 60 percent of all illegal immigrants, still by far the largest national group, the Pew Center said.

However Preston notes that there is an even more important number cited in the report, the 11.1 million immigrants still in the country.

But the figure that may be most sobering to all sides in the increasingly contentious immigration debate is the estimate that more than 11 million illegal immigrants remain here. The Pew report shows that despite myriad pressures, there was no mass exodus of those immigrants to their home countries, especially not to Mexico.

This statistic indicates that despite all of the border security legislation, and all of the press coverage surrounding immigration, immigrants are not leaving.

As important as politicians think drafting legislation solely designed to secure borders, it is also equally important to figure out a way to bring those 11.1 million currently living out of the shadows.