Even Before Tough Law, AZ Illegal Immigrant Population Dropped


Arizona’s illegal-immigrant population is shrinking, reports the Arizona Republic. A new demographic study by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center puts Arizona’s undocumented population at 375,000 in March 2009, down 100,000, or 21 percent, in one year. Researchers cautioned that those statistics are merely suggestive of a decline because the study data were so limited there was a broad margin of error. Because the study was conducted last year, before a recent national furor over illegal immigration and Mexican cartel violence, and before Arizona adopted a tough immigration-enforcement law, it does not support or rebut widespread claims of an exodus of illegal immigrants or a reduced inflow.

Overall, though, the Pew study says the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States plummeted by two-thirds from 2007 to 2009, compared with the first five years of the decade, resulting in an 8 percent decrease in the number of undocumented immigrants living in the country. At the end of the study period, there were an estimated 11.1 million illegal immigrants in the United States, down from a peak of 12 million two years ago. A Pew researcher said the number reflect a reversal of the long-term growth in the unauthorized-immigrant population.

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