A new report from the Center for Migration Studies (CMS) shows that immigration fell eight percent between 2010 and 2016, falling to 10.8 million from 11.7 million and hitting its lowest level for 15 years. The conclusion reached by CMS is shared in a similar study by the Pew Research Center, with a minimum of ten percent declines in six of the main states where undocumented immigrants often live, Illinois, California, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, and New York.
According to Robert Warren, a senior visiting fellow at the Center for Migration Studies, one of the reasons for the fall in immigration is that immigrants are returning to their home countries in greater numbers. Around 200,000 immigrants chose to leave the US in 1990, but the most recent data shows that the annual number is now between 500,000 and 600,000.
Warren says the idea that undocumented immigrants never choose to leave the US of their own accord, a long-held belief by some, is false, and that as many as one-in-three choose to work in the country for several years before returning home.
The decline in immigration also appears to have coincided with an increase in the pay-scale for Americans, particularly minorities, who are electing to re-enter the workforce. Employee compensation is at a 30-year high, according to the monthly jobs report by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Both President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama acknowledged the link between decreased competition for low-skilled jobs and higher wages.