Don't know if the Pew Hispanic Center intentionally released its fascinating, statistics-based report on the in-flux state of illegal immigration just prior to tomorrow's U.S. Supreme Court arguments on controversial Arizona SB 1070, but the timing has provided the respected non-profit with maximum exposure in terms of national publicity.
The extremely detailed and easy-to-comprehend report starts off with a bang, claiming, "The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill.
"After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants--more than half of whom came illegally--the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped--and may have reversed."
The reasons given are myriad, and include the lousy job and construction markets here in Arizona and across the nation, heightened and more sophisticated border enforcement, a rise in deportations, and the legitimate fear that many would-be illegal migrants have of the Mexican cartels that these days run the border crossings with an iron fist (and sometimes worse).
We were taken by several findings in the report, including this one:
"Although most unauthorized Mexican immigrants sent home by U.S. authorities say they plan to try to return, a growing share say they will not try to come back to the U.S. According to a survey by Mexican authorities of repatriated immigrants, 20% of labor migrants in 2010 said they would not return, compared with just 7% in 2005."
That runs totally counter to the fear-mongering spewed forth on a daily basis by the pro-SB 1070 crowd, some of whom--such as Arizona governor Jan Brewer--will be in the nation's capital tomorrow for the high court arguments.
That's surely not to say illegal immigration has come to a halt, not even close. But the decreasing numbers, at least at the moment, are compelling.
By the way, we have a cover story coming out on the Net tomorrow (and in print on Thursday morning) about one of those pro-SB 1070 folks, longtime Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever.
Though we have our serious differences with the border sheriff on some issues, including the 1070 thing, Dever is a stand-up guy who comes by his beliefs honestly, not because of potential fame and glory, a la his onetime comrade-in-arms, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and the all-time publicity hog, Joe Arpaio.