Undocumented Population from Mexico Declines, Report Says

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U.S.-Mexican border. Photo by longIslandwinds via Flickr

While President Trump has focused the nation’s attention on his proposed border wall, the number of undocumented residents from Mexico decreased by nearly 400,000 from 2016 to 2017, reports the Center for Migration Studies. From 2010 to 2017, the undocumented population from Mexico fell by what the center calls a remarkable 1.3 million.

For the past decade, the primary way the undocumented population has increased has been people overstaying temporary visas. Visa overstays have significantly exceeded illegal border crossings during each of the last seven years, the center says. Mexico was the leading country for overstays in 2017, with about twice as many as India or China.

The center based its estimates on information collected in the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey (ACS).

The total undocumented population in the U.S. declined by about one million from 2010 to 2017. For the first time, Mexicans constituted less than one half of the total undocumented population in 2017.

The undocumented population from Mexico fell faster than the total population, dropping by 1.3 million during the period, spurred by more departures from this population than visa overstays or illegal entries.

The center concluded that the sustained drop in the undocumented population from Mexico, an upsurge from Venezuela after 2013 and a continuing increase from India even as the populations from other Asian sending countries declined “indicate that the United States needs a more nuanced and evidence-based response to undocumented migration.”

Ted Gest is president of Criminal Justice Journalists and Washington bureau chief of The Crime Report.

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