Arrivals Down, Panic Up

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A new report (pdf) from the Immigration Policy Center reminds us that immigrant arrivals are actually down since well before our current wave of nativist sentiment:

The annual flow of new immigrants to the United States appears to have peaked around 2000, and projections by the census Bureau and Social Security Administration foresee continued decline through 2015 or longer. In contrast, proponents of the negative story of the immigrant future have ignored this recent leveling and decline. Instead, they have averaged data from the last 12 to 14 years and concluded that immigration is continuing at record levels.

As Demographer Dowell Myers explains, the flow to gateway states like California is way down–so much so that total arrivals are in decline. Immigrants are instead heading straight to places like Missouri and South Carolina, where they're finding jobs, forming small communities, and generally terrifying Buddy Witherspoon supporters.

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  1. This means that either state and federal efforts to secure borders are working, or that our economic climate is no longer as attractive to immigrants as it once was.

  2. So if they’re heading straight to “white” states, isn’t it a little hypocritical to criticize “white” states for passing immigration laws when to call them “white” states suggests that they don’t have any immigrants?

  3. i understand I’ll be called a xenophobe or whatever for wondering this, but has anybody else ever consider if the people immigrating here have any traditions of the freedom that has allowed them to prosper here. When there is a mexican labor march, i see thousands of communist stars and portraits of Che and think, ‘welp, there is our next dominant voting block. I should probably enjoy the remaining freedoms I have.

    even cross anybody else’s mind???

  4. This means that either state and federal efforts to secure borders are working, or that our economic climate is no longer as attractive to immigrants as it once was.

    I’d go with the latter. Demand for labor is down, supply goes down. People who are trying to come here usually have relatives already here, and you can be sure they let them know whether theres a job waiting for them or not.

  5. Javier-

    The signs you see at those marches come curtousey of the ASNWER Krewe who does the same thing at anti-war marches. Its not the immigrants that bring them.

  6. ASNWER

    In case javier wants to look it up, this is a misspelling of ANSWER.

    Or maybe you were making a subtle reference to the politics of Edward ASNER.

  7. even cross anybody else’s mind???

    I take it you have never Clicked ‘n’ Learned.

  8. I didn’t bother reading the link; it might be accurate or it might not be. However, oddly enough, Howley forgot to inform you that the IPC is part of a group closely associated with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, a far-left group; here’s more on the latter. She also forgot to inform you that in addition to finding jobs they’re also serving as a power base for both homegrown racial demagogues (a victim here) as well as foreign governments.

    Maybe Howley could do a public service by asking people like WillWilkinson, DouglasMassey, and DanielGriswold to let us know how much they’d need to renounce their citizenships and move out of the country. That’s a libertarian idea I’d strongly support.

  9. Also, Javier, I’d look at who Mexicans actually elect at home (it is a fairly stable democracy).

    The last two times, they elected what would be a moderate Republican in the United States. Not very scary stuff.

  10. I don’t get it.

    Why is having a phenomenon peak or flatten out at an unacceptably high level a sign that everything is working out? If I have a broken pipe whose water flow starts at zero but then quickly flattens out a 5 gallons a minute, I still have a problem. Stabilizing at an unacceptable high level is still a bad thing.

    Independent of the issue of immigration, this is a clearly a badly done advocacy study.

  11. Why is having a phenomenon peak or flatten out at an unacceptably high level a sign that everything is working out?

    What makes you say immigration is unacceptably high?

  12. Cesar — Interesting point…I hadn’t thought about Fox and Calderon that way…. Fox was recently in my neck of the woods; I would like to have heard him speak.

    Nonetheless, I think the fear about a tradition of freedom is a legitimate one — and, truth be told, I think that cultural fear has far more to do with the current panic than the economic fear. I think the biggest problem is that we have no traditions of freedom, among the ordinary people, here in the U.S. with which to acculturate people. It may be that immigrants will one day be the bearers of that tradition. Perhaps it is true now? They are certainly the bearers of other positive values.

  13. It took me a while to understand what those figures were saying. I gather that what they are showing is percent above baseline, where baseline is 1980. There are better ways to do that.

    That said, the graph may be showing a simple artifact of the 2001 economic slowdown.

    From an LA Times article

    The fall in arrests also fits a familiar pattern, one that traditionally has more to do with the strength of the U.S. job market than with walls or guards.

    “It’s the economy, stupid,” Cornelius said.

    Demographer Jeffrey Passel said the U.S. unemployment rate was the strongest correlating factor he had found in tracking migratory flows. Last month, the jobless rate for Latinos was 5.7%, up from 5% in November 2006.

    “When it’s easy to get a job, they come. When it’s hard to get a job, they don’t,” said Passel, senior research associate at the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center.

    Border authorities apprehended a record 1.7 million would-be migrants in 2000, the height of the technology boom. That number tumbled over the next three years as the U.S. was rocked by recession, the Sept. 11 attacks and the loss of more than 2 million jobs. About 932,000 illegal crossers were apprehended in 2003, a 44% drop from 2000, according to Customs and Border Protection.

    At the time, some credited the decline to tightened border security in the wake of Sept. 11. But arrests rebounded strongly in 2004 and 2005 as foreign-born workers flocked to the United States to fill jobs in the building trades.

    Nonetheless, even with an increase in immigration from 2004-2006 over that of 2001-2003, the burgeoning economic slowdown is centered on the construction industry — an arena of high immigrant employment. I would bet that the downward trend will also show up in the 2010 numbers.

  14. Shannon,

    Who said “everything is working out?” Myers argues that arrivals are flattening and we’re seeing a redistribution in immigrant settlement patterns. It’s a useful demographic analysis of current immigration flows that also explains why the bulk of nativist sentiment stems from states with very small immigrant populations.

  15. Nonetheless, I think the fear about a tradition of freedom is a legitimate one — and, truth be told, I think that cultural fear has far more to do with the current panic than the economic fear.

    Yeah, I think the fear is much more cultural than economic I agree.

    But really, what democratic traditions did Irish peseants carry with them here in the 1840s? What about poor Jews from Imperial Russia? Mexicans in 2008, thanks to technology and the media, probably have more democratic traditions than the last two categories of people did in the 1800s.

    If there was mass immigration from a place like Saudi Arabia I’d be much more sympathetic to the cultural argument. But the cultural gap between Anglo and Latin America isn’t nearly that wide.

  16. “When it’s easy to get a job, they come. When it’s hard to get a job, they don’t,” said Passel, senior research associate at the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center.

    I like that. Illegal immigration is a barometer of economic health, and should be cause to celebrate. I really like that.

  17. To be fair, no one is moving to California. Liberals have made it way too expensive for any working people to move there.

  18. I didn’t bother reading the link

    This is a regular thing with you isn’t it?

  19. Is it just me, or does Buddy Witherspoon look like some sort or rubbery inflatable human device?

  20. Illegal immigration is a barometer of economic health, and should be cause to celebrate.

    Even better, it is effectively a shock absorber for native employment. The unemployment levels seen since the early 1980’s — levels many thought unsustainable — may well be attributable to illegal immigration.

    As the employees most on the fringe, illegal immigrants are last to be hired and the first to be laid off. Because they are not eligible for unemployment, and because they have the option to go back to their home countries or not to come in the first place, they provide robustness in the workforce that effectively insulates native laborers from economic downturns.

  21. anon, I agree. I’ve looked into moving to CA for a little while just so it would be possible to see all the state has to offer. The wife and I like to move around to see different places. It’s way too expensive to consider. The sale of Upstate NY home wouldn’t scratch the surface we would need to get a one bedroom in CA. It’s brutal.

  22. Javier, I am an anarcho capitalist immigrant from Africa. I think that you pose a valid question.

  23. Also, Javier, I’d look at who Mexicans actually elect at home (it is a fairly stable democracy).

    The last two times, they elected what would be a moderate Republican in the United States. Not very scary stuff.

    Yeah, but the last time they came this close to electing a Chavez clone.

    Course, surveying the top-runners for our presidency, I’d say we’ve got remarkably similar political cultures.

  24. Keep in mind that the report isn’t specifically about illegal immigration.

    MikeP makes a great point about illegal immigration, though. For several years, I’ve argued the best thing to do about illegal immigration is… nothing at all. The whole phenomenon is largely self regulating and not a significant drain on public resources. There’s no denying the US wants the labor, and any government program to deal with illegal immigrant and labor, even a “good” one (none of the proposals of the last several years even remotely qualify), would be a step backward in prosperity and economic freedom. And most likely, personal freedom, too.

  25. Is it just me, or does Buddy Witherspoon look like some sort or rubbery inflatable human device?

    I liked how he was nodding on the phone. I guess he knew whoever he was talking to would eventually see the commercial and realize he was in agreement with whatever was being said.

  26. has anybody else ever consider if the people immigrating here have any traditions of the freedom that has allowed them to prosper here

    Has it occurred to you that most immigrants come here (a) to make money and/or (b) to escape the lack of freedom at home? I don’t see any signs that immigrant groups are any less interested in freedom than the rest of us. The fact that immigrant groups are indeed targeted by existing lefty organizations may make it SEEM otherwise, but the vast majority aren’t interested; they are just here to work hard and enjoy freedom.

  27. Serious question here, not trying to troll.

    Say a people have an aesthetic appreciation for people with North European features. Is there anything immoral about basing immigration policy on that?

    This isn’t directed to people who think all immigration policy is immoral. Its more directed towards those who understand that we can’t let everybody and need to make choices.

  28. I don’t see any signs that immigrant groups are any less interested in freedom than the rest of us.

    That’s because you haven’t looked at the data. Pretty much all immigrant groups favor bigger government as seen in voting patterns. And before anybody says “Well, Italians and Jews and this has always happened, blah, blah, blah” the difference here is that Hispanics show no improvement in accepting small government or being better off financially well into the third generation.

  29. Serious question here, not trying to troll.

    Say a people have an aesthetic appreciation for people with North European features. Is there anything immoral about basing immigration policy on that?

    Serious answer here. Yes, you dimwitted fool. You do not judge a persons worth by facial features. How could you even have doubts about that? Oh, that’s right, you’re Chalupa, the dimwitted fool.

  30. I cannot understand why the individuals who run this site have such contempt for the laws of the United States. What these people are doing is illegal; objecting to their behavior does not make one an ignorant rube, nor does it make someone a nativist modern day equivalent of a Know-Nothing bigot.
    And for all the huge benefits immigration is supposed to bring, you people never discuss the damage they do, such as the absolute bankrupting of public services in high illegal-immigrant areas. You are too busy labeling people who object to illegal behavior as hysterics who have fallen prey to a non-existent “brown menace”. Your commentary is so unserious, that pretty much no one pays attention to what you say. Hell, even this site has posted surveys showing upwards of 80% of the country is opposed to the high levels of illegals in this country. Instead of trying to understand their concerns, you act like a bunch of arrogant fucking elitists, and dismiss them as a bunch of rednecks who hate brown people.
    Incidentally, how a pampered 23 year old Georgetown grad thinks she can comment authoritatively on a field so outside her area of expertise is a mystery that will forever go unexplained, I imagine.

  31. You only say that because you’re ugly. Looks are probably the most important single factor of a human’s worth. Good looking people are happier and contribute to the happiness of others.

  32. Looks are probably the most important single factor of a human’s worth.

    It’s ironic that you make such a claim in this discussion. Empirically, taking wage as a proxy for worth, the country where someone was born is the most important single factor of a human’s worth.

  33. What these people are doing is illegal; objecting to their behavior does not make one an ignorant rube, nor does it make someone a nativist modern day equivalent of a Know-Nothing bigot.

    Yet somehow those who argue that they are only against illegal immigration so rarely recommend a way to increase legal immigration.

    If you in your second paragraph replace the words ‘illegal’ and ‘illegal immigrant’ with ‘immigrant’, does it still ring true to you?

  34. On behalf of my fellow masturbators, here’s to good looking people!

  35. I’m very much in favor of more legal immigration. I’m against illegal immigration.
    Don’t think I’m the only one.

  36. You only say that because you’re ugly. Looks are probably the most important single factor of a human’s worth. Good looking people are happier and contribute to the happiness of others.

    Oh, I’m ugly. But I do get laid alot. Sometime even by [gasp!] Mexican girls. Go figger.

  37. That’s because you haven’t looked at the data. Pretty much all immigrant groups favor bigger government as seen in voting patterns.

    Meh, voting patterns. Given that there are only two viable choices in any election, I don’t think you can put too much stock in voting patterns as an indication of a group’s beliefs. Democrats pander more to city dwellers, which is where most immigrants live. I suspect that is the real reason they tend to vote Democrat, not out of some longing for the old country’s socialism. The same voters vote Republican when they move to the suburbs, just like the natives.

    Hispanics show no improvement in accepting small government or being better off financially well into the third generation.

    Proof? I try to steer clear of gross generalizations myself, but it should be noted that immigrants better themselves merely by moving here and getting a job. If they’re not moving up the ladder to your satisfaction, well, that’s their business, isn’t it?

  38. Proof

    http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/blogs/gems/culturalagency1/SamuelHuntingtonTheHispanicC.pdf

    If they’re not moving up the ladder to your satisfaction, well, that’s their business, isn’t it?

    Because of affirmative action, the welfare state, their crime rates and voting patterns.

    How great it would be if underclasses simply accepted their lack of advancement and didn’t blame others and vote for policies of “redistribution”!

  39. That’s odd. When I look at your “proof”, I don’t see a single word about voting patterns or how accepting Hispanic immigrants are of small government.

    Maybe I can’t see it because I’m using Firefox… Should I try IE?

    The document I see there is a long-winded rant that focuses from beginning to end on the most vacuous arguments against Hispanic immigration, only occasionally interrupted by humor such as the following…

    In 1960, the foreign-born population in the United
    States (from the five principal countries of origin)
    was relatively diverse:

    Italy 1,257,000
    Germany 990,000
    Canada 953,000
    U.K. 833,000
    Poland 748,000

    In 2000, the foreign-born population
    from the top five countries was
    distributed very differently:

    Mexico 7,841,000
    China 1,391,000
    Philippines 1,222,000
    India 1,007,000
    Cuba 952,000

    “Diverse…” Hee hee.

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