The Corner

Re: attrition

Mark, there’s also this from the Economist:

The smugglers may feel increasingly bad-tempered, too. For years a flow of migrants has waxed when the American economy is in rude health, waning only slightly during recessions; it flows north in the spring when agricultural and construction jobs need filling and goes south for Christmas. Where illicit traffic has been heaviest, the migrants’ many footfalls have worn narrow, winding paths into the rocks. But now a big change is visible: the flow of migrants from Latin America to the United States appears to be slumping.

For the third successive year, America’s Border Patrol reports a sharp drop in arrests on and near the frontier. In 2006 the figure dropped 8% to around 1m. Last year it dropped by a full fifth. The six months to March showed a year-on-year drop of 17%. In short (and by the imperfect measure of border arrests) the migrant flow today is roughly half the torrent seen in 2000, when 1.64m arrests were made.

Such figures miss those who cross successfully and recount those detained several times, but they show a clear trend. So does evidence from remittances. Mexico’s central bank reports that, after years of eye-popping growth, the amount of cash sent home by migrants inside America is falling. Last year such flows were worth $24 billion—more valuable than tourism. But in the first quarter of this year the year-on-year figure was down 2.9%, according to a new report by Goldman Sachs.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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