A stable workforce

The number of undocumented immigrants in the United States has remained relatively stable since the Great Recession, with some fluctuations depending on the health of the economy.

The lack of jobs in our country led to a natural decrease in the influx of these immigrants, and more recently, to a small increase because of an improving economy.

These are the results shown by the Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project, an analysis of census data. Specifically, in 2007 there were 12.2 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., while in 2012 that number equaled 11.7 million. At the same time, the percentage of Mexican immigrants within the undocumented population decreased.

The data is particularly significant at a time the country is considering immigration reform that would make millions of people who already have built their lives on this side of the border part of our society.

The analysis refutes perceptions of a continuous, overwhelming wave of immigrants crossing the Southern border. These perceptions have been used both to justify an exaggerated, costly border reinforcement effort and to scare people with malicious interpretations.

In reality, the numbers, considering their margin of error, reflect a healthy flow of young blood into a developed economy—like in the case of Germany—with an aging population. This is to to ensure a stable workforce in coming years.

To make the most of this demographic trend, advancing comprehensive immigration reform is essential. It is all a matter of looking at these numbers pragmatically, with a level-headed, forward-looking vision.