A new report by the Pew Hispanic Center concludes that the number of immigrants entering the United States illegally dropped by nearly two-thirds in the last decade.
The Pew report notes that between 2000 and 2005, an average of 850,000 people a year entered the United States without documents, but as the nation’s economy worsened the number dropped to 300,000. Federal authorities also have stepped up their efforts to control the nation’s borders, at times even searching trains.
The report comes during a time of heated debate over federal immigration policy and over a controversial Arizona law that would allow police to identify and deport people not legally in the United States. Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other Republicans have defended the law.
The Pew study follows a Minneapolis Foundation study that shows immigration in Minnesota grew more quickly than the national average over the last two decades, but the state is only now beginning to catch up with the opportunities and the challenges of having a diverse international population.