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The Changing Face of Illegal Immigration in the U.S

Illegal immigration was a major issue in the presidential election of 2012, and in 2013, it seems that’s it is going to remain on the forefront and in the minds of the public.

But is illegal immigration really as big of an issue as it seems?

In the Past


Over the last four decades, more than twelve-million citizens of Mexico migrated to the United States to find a better life.

Many did so legally, but illegal immigration, particularly in states near the border like California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada, did have an effect.

That twelve-million is a record number, marking the largest influx of one single ethnic group into a nearby country.

While many people that moved to the United States did so legally and through the proper channels, a staggering 51% of people who immigrated to the United States did so illegally and remain undocumented in the United States.

Many of the illegal immigrants who moved to the United States were forced to work low-paying jobs, however â€" jobs many Americans simply were not willing to do.

Slow Economy

employment and pay

With the United States economy in such trouble, many people are choosing not to cross the border because they fear that there will be a lack of work on the other side.

This applies to both legally immigrating Mexican citizens and those that would be coming to the country illegally.

Not only are low-paying jobs like factory work down in the United States, but jobs for highly-skilled potential immigrants are down as well.

For many people looking to move to the United States, the dream of owning their own business is one that simply doesn’t seem possible anymore, especially in fields like construction and building, which have basically crawled to a stand-still in the United States since late 2005.

This is particularly important to many people looking to move to the United States illegally, since most know that it might be hard to work if they don’t work for themselves.

Heightened Border Enforcement

Despite economic problems, the United States has spent a good deal of money in recent years on heightened border enforcement in border towns.

While many people disagree with paying for heightened border enforcement during times of economic trouble, it is one of the factors in the slowing of illegal immigration to the United States.

Immigration at an All Time Low

mexicans entering the US

The record numbers of Mexican immigrants moving to the United States seems to be a thing of the past.

In fact, it looks like immigration has pretty much fallen to below zero with many people going back to Mexico despite the drug war.

Estimates of illegal immigrants from Mexico moving to the United States in 2011 was about 6 million â€" a major reduction over the amount of illegal immigrants moving to the United States in 2010.

That number is even lower in 2012, and most believe that it will continue to decline as long as the economy is down and struggling.

Immigration Numbers Will Continue to Fall

The economy is showing signs of recovery in the United States, and the housing market is doing better than it was just a few years ago however, many expect that the number of both illegal and legal immigrants moving to the United States will continue to decline until the economy makes a full recovery, and only if it does in fact make a full recovery.

Many Immigrants Can’t Leave

One of the main problems with U.S. immigration according to some is the fact that immigrants can’t leave the United States without fearing permanent deportation or criminal prosecution.

That means that even if an illegal immigrant wants to return to Mexico, they may not do so.

For many this is a major concern, and it is being taken into account in many initiatives and programs designed to help illegal immigrants obtain legal status or leave the country without prosecution.

The Changing Face of Immigration

The United States is still home to the largest Mexican population outside of Mexico, and nearly one-in-ten Mexican-born citizens live in the United States, either legally or illegally according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The amount of Mexican citizens moving into the United States has declined, but many people from other countries are still moving here.

In 2011, nearly 40 million people immigrated to the United States from all over the world â€" the vast majority of them from countries other than Mexico.

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