Border Fact Check

Separating Rhetoric from Reality

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Ignoring the numbers on Mexico-U.S. migration


  “We need to have somebody intercede on our behalf. We’ve spent over three decades now requesting the federal government step up and secure the border and control the illegal immigrants flowing into the state. We haven’t seen any meaningful change in the immigration flow.”


—Texas State Representative Lyle Larson’s comments on his letter to Secretary Clinton urging the federal government to address immigration, April 18, 2012

In April, Texas State Representative Lyle Larson sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking for increased commitment at the federal level to reducing immigration and securing the border. Border hawks regularly criticize the federal government’s supposed inability to secure the border, but Larson’s claim that there has been no meaningful change in immigration flow is patently false.

The facts:

Official Border Patrol statistics (see above) show that in 2011, migrant apprehensions reached their lowest level in forty years, indicating that fewer migrants are trying to cross the border.

What’s more, the Pew Hispanic Center’s most recent report notes a “sharp downward trend in net migration from Mexico” and states that:

“Looking at arrivals of Mexican immigrants since 1990, U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by the Pew Hispanic Center indicate that more than 700,000 a year came to the U.S. in 1999-2000, during a time when the U.S. economy was thriving… Immigration from Mexico dropped after the U.S. housing market (and construction employment) collapsed in 2006. By 2007, gross inflows from Mexico dipped to 280,000; they continued to fall to 150,000 in 2009 and were even lower in 2010.”

Whether or not Larson agrees with the federal government’s border security strategy, the fact that migration from Mexico to the United States has slowed considerably is undeniable.

By Ana Goerdt

Ignoring the numbers on Mexico-U.S. migration

“We need to have somebody intercede on our behalf. We’ve spent over three decades now requesting the federal government step up and secure the border and control the illegal immigrants flowing into the state. We haven’t seen any meaningful change in the immigration flow.”

—Texas State Representative Lyle Larson’s comments on his letter to Secretary Clinton urging the federal government to address immigration, April 18, 2012

In April, Texas State Representative Lyle Larson sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking for increased commitment at the federal level to reducing immigration and securing the border. Border hawks regularly criticize the federal government’s supposed inability to secure the border, but Larson’s claim that there has been no meaningful change in immigration flow is patently false.

The facts:

Official Border Patrol statistics (see above) show that in 2011, migrant apprehensions reached their lowest level in forty years, indicating that fewer migrants are trying to cross the border.

What’s more, the Pew Hispanic Center’s most recent report notes a “sharp downward trend in net migration from Mexico” and states that:

“Looking at arrivals of Mexican immigrants since 1990, U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by the Pew Hispanic Center indicate that more than 700,000 a year came to the U.S. in 1999-2000, during a time when the U.S. economy was thriving… Immigration from Mexico dropped after the U.S. housing market (and construction employment) collapsed in 2006. By 2007, gross inflows from Mexico dipped to 280,000; they continued to fall to 150,000 in 2009 and were even lower in 2010.”

Whether or not Larson agrees with the federal government’s border security strategy, the fact that migration from Mexico to the United States has slowed considerably is undeniable.

By Ana Goerdt

Filed under border security Migration