This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

There is no Crisis at the Border

There is no one in the world who knows more about migration between Mexico/Central America and the U.S. than Professor Douglas Massey of Princeton University. That is why it is so useful that he has posted a very informative article on The Conversation about the crisis--or lack thereof--at the border. This is not just fact-checking--these are the facts.
The news today is full of dire pronouncements about the “crisis” at the Mexico-U.S. border. In reality, there is no crisis, at least as portrayed in the press and by the Trump administration. Undocumented entries across the border are, in fact, at all-time lows. The mass entry of migrants from Mexico seeking work is over and done with.  The people now arriving at the border are not Mexican workers, but a much smaller number of families from Central America seeking to escape dire circumstances caused in part by U.S. military intervention in the region during the 1980s.

Given President Trump’s demand for the construction of a border wall, many people may no doubt be surprised to learn that net undocumented migration to the U.S. has been zero or negative for a decade. Mexican migration ended not because of U.S. border enforcement, but because of Mexico’s fertility transition. The number of children per woman declined by about 68 percent between 1960 and 2016.  As a result, Mexico has become an aging society. The population’s average age has risen from 16.6 in 1970 to 28.6 today.
And what about all of those stories about rapists and criminals? Professor Rubén Rumbaut of UC, Irvine, who knows more about this than anyone else, has just published a paper showing again that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than are native-born persons. For most undocumented immigrants the only crime they committed was the "crime" of entering the U.S. Thus, they become "crimmigants" as I blogged about last year.

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