Thursday, July 14, 2011

Slowing population growth in Mexico is one factor reducing illegal immigration

At least there's some good news out there. Birth rates in Mexico have been going down and that is one of many factors reducing illegal immigration. Diane Rehms, on NPR Radio, did an interesting show about recent immigration trends.

While decline in population growth wasn't the only factor, I find it interesting that it was mentioned.

Other factors include the worsening job market in USA creating less incentive to head north. Also improving economy in Mexico so more people feel they can stay put. Increased border enforcement has played a role also.

Picture of containment fences along streets within USA, not at, but just near Mexican border south of San Diego, CA. Taken on my 2003 bicycle tour.

Looking at the demographics is a useful perspective. Immigration, both legal and illegal, has provided both good and bad effects to the US economy.

USA has been getting more crowded, but one of the good effects of immigration has been adding to the the supply of young people paying into our Social Security system. This helps offset the retiring bulge of our post war baby boom that is now reaching retirement age.

Come to think about it, the post war baby boom is a demographic issue also. A bulge in the population which, when retired, can use another bulge of young people to pay the Social Security taxes.

This brings up the topic of 12 million, or so, people already here in the US illegally. Many of these people have been paying into Social Security, but will not be able to legally get the retirement benefits when they reach old age, if they are still in USA. What will happen to this segment of the population? 12 million people without a livelihood can be a volatile situation. Something to worry about.

Here's where discussion of a path to citizenship for the millions already in this country illegally comes up. In the past, it has been a political no no. One of the worries against a path to citizenship has always been, "it will just open the floodgates so more folks will come in." Well, now that the flow of illegal immigration has slowed down, maybe that worry can subside thus allowing the political climate for a path to citizenship to improve.

Population growth has a lot to do with these issues. When population growth slows down, things begin to seem less overwhelming.

Below picture, 2006 May Day immigration reform rally in Bellingham.

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