People on both sides of the immigration debate in Arizona are skeptical of new research that shows a national decrease in the flow of illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States. But there is one thing they are certain of: undocumented immigrants are steering clear of the border state.
“I think they are just avoiding Arizona,” said Jesse Hernández, a real estate agent who works in the Maryvale neighborhood where the exodus of immigrants, due to the crackdown on illegal immigration and the implosion of the housing market, is especially visible. “They are going to California and other places. No matter how much worse things are in the U.S., they are still coming over here. It’s a human interest to look for a better opportunity.”
The survey, conducted by Douglas S. Massey, co-director of the Mexican Migration Project at Princeton University, showed that interest in migrating to the United States from Mexico has dropped and the net flow has gone to zero for the first time in 60 years. Apprehensions of Mexicans along the border have also fallen by 70 percent in the last 10 years.
Mark Krikorian, director for the Center of Immigration Studies (CIS), a Washington, D.C.-based conservative think-thank that advocates for less immigration, is also skeptical that the trend of migration could be changing.
“I think it’s clearly false. I don’t think there is any likelihood that we should see a significant end to Mexican immigration, without a change in U.S policy,” he said.
But he believes Arizona is a good example of how local state policies could be used to stem the flow of illegal immigration successfully.