Barely six months ago, the United States seemed closer than ever before to reaching an agreement over immigration reform that would provide a pathway to US citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants. Reform seemed inevitable but the opposition of conservative lawmakers within the House of Representatives has now put the issue on hold.
Edward Alden, a senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank, says that immigration has been the focus of debate in the United States for decades but the difference with the current discussion shows how different the outlook for immigration is today in comparison with the 1990s and even the early years of the new millennium: “If you’re looking at the US and Mexico, we’ve moved into a completely different era,” Alden points out. “There is no net migration from Mexico to the US. Projecting out, there is no reason to believe we are going to see another big surge in illegal immigration even if the US economy gets stronger.”
The reasons why this is the case are that numerous, ranging from the unprecedented strength of the Mexican economy to changes in the Mexican population’s growth rate. This has resulted in lawmakers looking at the economic benefits of US immigration reform, but internal divisions in the Republican Party have still so far paused hopes of change.
All is not lost, however, according to financial advisory group Guggenheim Securities analyst Chris Krueger: “We believe immigration reform is ultimately a question of when, not if,” he claims.