According to a new Pew Hispanic Center survey, the trend for those states continued from March 2009 through March 2010, a period which saw only a slight uptick in the number of illegal immigrants nationwide. The pattern strengthens the notion that job opportunity – or lack of it – still is the main motivation for unauthorized migrants plying America's underground job market.
The Obama administration's priorities have been shifting on the enforcement of immigration laws, ending dramatic work place raids and having immigration officers focus deportation proceedings primarily against those who have broken other laws. But enforcement actions, for their part, have more of a chessboard effect as mostly young Hispanic workers make risk-reward settlement decisions for themselves and their young families.
After falling from its 2007 peak, the number of illegal immigrants in the US rose from 11.1 million to 11.2 million between March 2009 and March 2010, according to the new Pew study. Because of a wide margin of error in counting illegals, Pew did not overtly call the count an increase over he previous year.
The Pew survey, based on Labor Bureau and Census records, shows an immigrant population in flux – highly mobile and opportunistic, but susceptible to the demands of both the US economy and society, says Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies.