From 1980 to 2008, more than 5 million Mexicans legally entered the United States. And Mexicans account for about 60 percent of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. today.
Immigration policymakers have assumed that the flow of Mexican immigrants would continue indefinitely at this high level. But now evidence is accumulating that this vast surge of migration is ending.
The Pew Hispanic Center, analyzing Census statistics, has estimated that illegal Mexican entrants have been reduced from 525,000 annually in the 2000-04 years to 100,000 in 2010.
Mexican immigrants have tended to be less educated and lower-skill than immigrants from other Latin or Asian countries. Lower Mexican immigration means lower low-skill immigration. Employers of such immigrants may have to adjust their business models.
Barack Obama has been calling for immigration legislation similar to what George W. Bush sought, legislation geared to a status quo that no longer exists and seems unlikely to return. That’s going nowhere. But sooner or later we should adjust the law to address the new emerging reality.