They said it couldn't be done, but it's being done. The Center for Immigration Studies reports that the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. has declined by 10% over the past year, and that the vast majority of them returned on their own.
Stepped up enforcement, id requirements and employers more reluctant to take a chance on hiring illegal workers have simply made hiding out in the US less attractive.
Many people had suggested that tougher immigration enforcement measures were a waste of time and that there was no way anyone was going to round up 12 million illegal immigrants and send them all home. It appears that isn't necessary. All you have to do is make going home and coming in the right way more comfortable than staying here and hoping you don't get caught. At the current pace, the illegal immigrant population would be insignificant in 10 years.
Here's the article from Newsmax:
Study: Illegal Aliens Are Leaving the U.S.
Amid alarmed cries that the illegal immigration problem is spiraling out of control, the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. has actually declined since last summer — and many who have left have returned home on their own.
A report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), based on Census Bureau data, estimates that the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. has gone down by 11 percent through May after peaking in August 2007.
That means the illegal population has declined 1.3 million since last summer, from 12.5 million to 11.2 million.
“The estimated decline of the illegal population is at least seven times larger than the number of illegal aliens removed by the government in the last 10 months, so most of the decline is due to illegal immigrants leaving the country on their own,” the report asserts.
The CIS maintains that stepped-up enforcement rather than the sluggish economy is leading to the decline in illegal aliens, which began before there was a significant rise in their unemployment rate.
The report points out that the fenced portion of the U.S. border has increased significantly in the past 18 months, the number of Border Patrol agents has more than doubled in recent years, and the number of detention beds used to hold illegals has more than doubled since 2000.
According to the CIS, the evidence “indicates that illegal immigrants respond to changing incentives and that many would return home on their own if they felt enforcement was a real possibility.”
The CIS also notes that when Congress failed to pass legislation last summer that would legalize illegal immigrants, the illegal alien population began to decline almost immediately.
If that decline were to be sustained, the illegal population would drop by one half in the next five years, according to the CIS.
The organization concludes: “It is sometimes argued that illegal immigrants are so permanently attached to their lives in the United States that no amount of enforcement would ever make a large share of them return to their home countries. The findings of this report . . . contradict that.”
The Christian Science Monitor in an editorial attributes the “success story” disclosed by the CIS study to “Washington’s wake-up call last summer to beef up enforcement, from plugged leaks in the border to cracking down on employers who hired illegal workers.”
The Monitor adds, “John McCain only reluctantly came around to the ‘enforcement first’ idea last year while Barack Obama opposes it. Perhaps this study will make them true converts.”