After reaching a peak in 2007 of 12.2 million undocumented immigrants, a report from the Pew Research Center is showing that the number of undocumented immigrants is again approaching that height. The current number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. right now is 11.7 million, a sharp jump up from the relatively low number in the years following the 2007 peak.
It’s hard to pin the reason on any one cause, but it’s believed to reflect a stronger U.S. economy that is providing more jobs.
Says Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Research Center: ” Historically, the patterns seem to be strongly related to employment opportunities.”
Tamar Jacoby, who is the president of ImmigrationWorks USA, said that undocumented immigration fell after its 2007 peak because of three main reasons: border enforcement was stricter, the U.S. economy got worse, and the Mexican economy got better. This meant less of a draw for trekking across the border, since employment was more likely to be found in Mexico.
According to Jacoby, things aren’t much different now, except for one key difference. “Two of those things have not changed. Border enforcement is still very tough. And the situation in Mexico has not turned south. So the only conclusion I can come up with is the U.S. economy is improving and attracting more workers.”
It’s good that the U.S. economy is strengthening, and it’s good that it’s drawing in the necessary labor and giving opportunities to those who want them. Now Congress just needs to recognize these hard workers and help them become citizens of the country they spend years building.