Legal Immigration Has Soared as Illegal Entries Have Dwindled

Here's the paradox of immigration in America right now: The economy is roaring, and wages are rising, yet 2017 was another year of virtually no illegal border crossings. On average, each Border Patrol agent apprehended just 16 people all year — one every three weeks, tied for the lowest rate since World War II. This is down from when Border Patrol agents apprehended an average of 261 crossers per agent in 1996.Where have the illegal crossers gone? Newly released statistics from the Department of State give a plausible answer: They haven't disappeared; they've become legal. The 16 apprehensions per agent in the entire year was significantly fewer than the 21 apprehensions that each agent was making in a month throughout the 1990s. This figure actually overstates the agency's current workload because so many of today's "apprehensions" are, in fact, asylum seekers, families and unaccompanied children who turn themselves in to the agents. Of course, many factors affect the number of border crossers. Changes in Mexico's economy, border security and demographics all played a role in the steady reduction in illegal immigration. But one factor deserves far more attention than it has received so far: Legal entries are becoming the norm.   Continue reading...

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