Immigration Enforcement, In Context.

Supporters of Arizona's draconian immigration law argue that the state was justified in doing "something" to deal with the problem of illegal immigration since it was increasing, bringing crime along with it, and the federal government wasn't doing anything about it.

We know in the case of Arizona that this isn't true: The undocumented population of Arizona has shrunk, crime has not spilled over from the other side of the border, and recent immigrants are less likely than the native born to commit crimes anyway. But on a national level, Dara Lind has a chart that helps put the question of federal enforcement in context:

Immigration chart.JPG

The continued upswing in deportations during the Obama administration comes at a time when the undocumented population is decreasing, not increasing. This might explain why during Michelle Obama's appearance at an elementary school yesterday, a little girl, whose mother is apparently undocumented, told the first lady that "my mom ... she says that Barack Obama is taking everybody away that doesn't have papers."

Statistically speaking, she has a more accurate perspective on the matter than lawmakers in Arizona.

-- A. Serwer

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