The number of undocumented immigrants in the United States dropped by 500,000 last year, and for the first time in years, the inflow of undocumented immigrants fell below the inflow of legal, permanent residents, according to a report issued Oct. 1 by the Pew Hispanic Center:
“The Pew Hispanic Center also estimates that inflows of unauthorized immigrants averaged 800,000 a year from 2000 to 2004, but fell to 500,000 a year from 2005 to 2008 with a decreasing year-to-year trend. By contrast, the inflow of legal permanent residents has been relatively steady this decade.
“Although the growth of the unauthorized population has slackened, its size has increased by more than 40 percent since 2000, when it was 8.4 million. In 2005, the Pew Hispanic Center estimated there were 11.1 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The most recent estimate, 11.9 million, indicates that unauthorized immigrants make up 4 percent of the U.S. population.”
Analysts speculated that increased enforcement is responsible for the decreases, along with a decline in the economy. An article in the Oregonian pointed out that housing construction has virtually slammed to a halt, while nurseries have been laying off some workers due to the down economy.