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Why Delaying Immigration Reform Fails

IMMIGRATION INSIGHTS: President Obama has put off his proposed fix of the U.S. immigration system. A very revealing chart in this week’s Economist shows why deferring reform fails. The only significant updates to immigration law in recent years have focused on tightening our southern border and penalizing re-entries, but this has had the unintended consequence of preventing the undocumented from the normal pattern of what migration demographers call “circular migration.” The result is that once an undocumented migrant gets into the U.S. they are afraid to leave. The chart shows how this skews the dynamic, over half of the undocumented in the U.S. have been here for over ten years, have U.S. born children and have built ties to their new communities. This further entrenches them in the U.S., presumably the opposite of what was intended by the crackdown.