Looks like we won’t be needing that electric fence, Herman Cain, because the immigrants aren’t coming. A variety of data indicate that fewer Mexicans are coming to the US and many already here are returning, the LA Times reports. Mexican census figures peg net migration at around zero, while US Border Patrol arrests, which are often used to gauge illegal immigration, have plummeted to 304,755 over the past 11 months—down from 1.6 million at their 2000 peak.
“We are at a new point in the history of migration between Mexico and the United States,” one Princeton immigration scholar said recently, noting that in the migrant towns he’s studied, almost no one is making their first trip north. The reason for the decline: increased US border enforcement and decreased economic opportunity. “What stimulates migration is the need for workers,” another scholar explains. “The migrant networks are functioning to say, ‘Don’t come—there’s no work.’” (Read more immigration stories.)