Phoenix, AZ – The Pew Hispanic Center estimates the number of Arizonans in this
country illegally last year at about 400,000, virtually unchanged
from 2009. But that compares to 500,000 just three years earlier.
Jeffrey Passel, the organization's senior demographer, said the
study does not say why. But he suggested the twin factors of the
U.S. economy and stricter enforcement of laws against illegal
immigration appear to be taking their toll.
(They see that the opportunities aren't here. And they weigh that
against the cost of hiring somebody to get them across the border
and the risk of crossing the border both from violence on the
Mexican side and exposure to the elements.)
He said the data suggest that many people have simply decided the
costs and risks are not worth it. Passel said he cannot say
whether Arizona's 2007 law making it illegal for companies to
knowingly hire undocumented workers had an effect. But the
numbers show a much sharper decline in Arizona's illegal
immigrant population since than the rest of the country. And the
survey was taken before last year's approval of Senate Bill 1070
to give police more power to detain and arrest illegal
immigrants. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.