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As Tide of Illegal Immigrants Goes Home, Will US Economy Suffer?
Christian Science Monitor | April 09, 2012 | 01:06 PM EDT

The steady stream of immigrant workers who used to line up at Tim Dunn's Arizona farm, ready to pick vegetable seed crops like black-eyed peas and garbanzo beans, has mostly dried up.

"We just don't see people walking up, looking for jobs like they used to," he says. Now he has to pay a labor contractor to find enough people to tend his 2,200 furrowed acres under the harsh Sonoran sun near Yuma, in the southwestern corner of Arizona.

The dwindling supply of labor available to Mr. Dunn illustrates a significant shift in migration from Mexico, which has caused illegal immigration to drop to its lowest levels.

Even as states loudly debate new immigration restrictions — including Arizona's proposed armed, all-volunteer state militia to keep Mexicans from sneaking across the US-Mexican border — research suggests the illegal immigration has slowed.

The migration explosion that since the 1970s had pushed millions of men, women, and children into the United States has fizzled, says Douglas Massey, a sociologist at Princeton University and codirector of the long-term, binational Mexican Migration Project. "We're at a turning point, and what unfolds in the future remains to be seen. But I think the boom is over."

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