Michael Barone notes that, because Hispanic immigration has declined, or even reversed, there are going to be fewer Hispanics in the 2010 census than demographic forecasts would have suggested, leading to intensified charges of an undercount from Hispanic machers who live and die by these numbers, and thus intensified calls for statistical sampling to boost the Hispanic numbers.
He’s basically right, though it’s the number of illegal immigrants that seems to have declined; the legal immigration population continues to grow. In a report we did last last summer, my research director estimated that the illegal population peaked in August 2007, and through May 2008 had declined by 11 percent. This decline began before the increase in unemployment for illegals (unlike past recessions), strongly suggesting enforcement was getting people already here to decide to leave, and those abroad to decide not to come.
But, given that Mexico and Central America (which account for three-quarters of illegal immigration) are going to be hit even harder by the recession than we are, the reduction of enforcement which Obama and Napolitano will order will likely stop the slide in the illegal population and maybe even allow it to start increasing again. And in order to maximize this effect, expect the White House to effectively halt all enforcement in the period immediately leading up to the census count, in order not to scare off any illegal aliens from being counted (and thus ensuring they’re included in the figures for reapportioning House seats among the states and drawing legislative districts at all levels of government).