(WASHINGTON) — A report by the Pew Hispanic Center reveals that the influx of Mexicans into the U.S. that began during the 1970s has slowed down to a trickle over the past five years for various reasons, including the American economic downturn and tougher enforcement of the border.
There are currently 11.2 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S., the majority of them Mexican. In 2007, it was estimated that seven million Mexicans were undocumented aliens. Last year, that number fell to 6.1 million.
Mexicans living in the U.S. legally has only climbed slightly from 5.6 million in 2007 to 5.8 million last year.
According to the report, “The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill.”
It’s estimated that 1.4 million Mexicans went back to their home country from 2005 through 2010 — twice as many as a decade earlier — while around the same number came to the U.S during that time span — half as many as the previous decade.
Other reasons for the drop in Mexicans coming to the U.S. are declining birthrates and the Obama administration’s stepped up deportation policies, which have come under attack by immigration advocates but might convince Republicans to work on a broad immigration overhaul plan.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire