Earlier this year, the lead article on the New York Times op-ed page started this way:
The immigration crisis that has roiled American politics for decades has faded into history. Illegal immigration is shrinking to a trickle, if that, and will likely never return to the peak levels of 2000.
Uh, not so much:
The number of migrants crossing illegally into the United States from Mexico appears to have risen some in the first half of 2012, while the number of migrants returning to Mexico decreased, a report by U.S. and Mexican researchers said Tuesday.
On top of that, illegal immigration is up from Central America, a place that makes Mexico look prosperous.
People will debate whether this latest increase in illegal immigration is the result of an improved economy or of Obama’s cessation of ordinary immigration enforcement and promotion of amnesty — I suspect it’s some of both, just as the earlier drop was started by Bush’s reluctant increase in enforcement followed by the recession.
But whatever the cause, the conclusion of my piece in the National Interest this past summer still stands:
Thus, there is no reason to conclude this big national crisis, or the intense political emotions it generates, will fade from the scene anytime soon. Those who think otherwise are engaging in wishful thinking, likely born of their own favorable view toward the immigration wave of recent decades. The problem is ongoing, as is the civic and political imperative that it be confronted.