Mexican immigration to the United States has been decreasing for years, to the point its growth is now zero. This means the number of Mexicans entering the United States roughly equals the number leaving it.
This data revealed by a recent Pew Hispanic Institute report should come as no surprise. For a while, numerous Mexican analysts have projected that the cycle of high immigration would decrease as the Mexican population aged. Added to these demographic changes is the fact that Mexico’s economy has seen some improvement. Meanwhile, on the U.S. side of the border, the economic crisis decreased the demand for workers, and the drastic increase in deportations had an impact by both decreasing the number of undocumented immigrants in the country and discouraging them from entering.
Interestingly, this immigration reality contradicts the argument the state of Arizona used to enact SB 1070, a law that sends police out on the street to request papers and in fact allows them to use stereotyping and racial profiling to find suspects. SB 1070, debated yesterday before the U.S. Supreme Court, is an overblown reaction to a non-existent problem. If the problem ever existed, it has been disappearing for years.
Immigration is a phenomenon that shifts continuously, fed by a combination of external factors. On the other hand, for politicians who propose anti-immigrant laws, whether as a strategy or a result of ignorance, immigration is an enemy as stable and real as the windmills were to Don Quixote.
It’s time to see immigration for what it is: a response to the demand for workers, and a cyclical movement that throughout history has helped the U.S. grow. People need political maturity in order to see reality.