- Cullman, Alabama

September 24, 2013

Immigration and the economy

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — Do you have any doubts that the American economy is easing  out of recession?

Just look at the latest report on immigration and you’ll see a new indicator of the direction of the economy. The total number of immigrants living in this country unlawfully edged up from 11.3 million in 2009 to 11.7 million last year, with those from countries other than Mexico at an apparent all-time high, according to a report released Monday by the Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project.

While the figures don’t indicate an explosion in illegal immigration, the trend coincides with brighter spots in the economy. The numbers are up significantly from countries other than Mexico in the Western Hemisphere, where economic troubles have been dreadful in recent years.

States with robust economies, such as Texas, are seeing the largest increase in undocumented visitors. States such as California, where the economy remains stale, have actually seen a small decline.

Based on the condition of the American economy, the trend in illegal immigration fits. Some areas of the country have seen a resurgence in production and jobs, while others continue to struggle against enormous setbacks.

In Washington, Congress and the president remain on opposite ends of just about anything that has meaning. Health care continues to be a source of contention. Immigration is pushed to the end of the backburner, which just opens the door for more people to enter the country illegally and find jobs at the expense of others.

It’s wonderful that some good economic news is emerging. But the reluctance of leaders at the federal level to avoid issues such as immigration only sets up a future of compounded problems when the economy again dips.