According to an article on wsj.com: “llegal immigration to the U.S. has slowed sharply since 2007, as the bleak U.S. job market has discouraged potential migrants from heading north.”
More evidence that the majority of undocumented come here to work. They do not come to commit crimes or to abuse our benefits. When there are fewer employers to hire them, they are less likely to come. There is a misconception among many anti-immigrants that all the undocumented have to do is “make themselves legal”, as though this is a viable option. Rest assured, for most undocumented aliens, there is no avenue to legalize and truth be told, there is often no legal means for many of these individuals to enter the US. Many of the people who entered through Mexico paid human traffickers as much as a lawyer would charge to assist them. If there were legal means for these individuals to enter the country, why would they pay so much and risk their lives to do it unlawfully?
Add to that the 3 and 10 year bars to reentry for those who leave the US after having been in the country out of status for more than six months, and one can see that there is a built-in disincentive in the law for undocumented aliens who overstay their status to leave because then they would be unable to return for several years, if ever.
Our immigration system is broken. As the years pass, I become less hopeful that our elected officials will do what needs to get done to fix the system. Political games usually trump effective government.