The Realities of the U.S. Immigration Problem

Quartz: “The US has long viewed immigrants who enter the country illegally as belonging to two groups. There are Mexicans, and there is everyone else.”

“But these days, the share of ‘Other than Mexicans‘, or OTMs—yes, this is an official classification—is much larger than in the past. And while some of them might have been lured by the promise of a job, like their Mexican counterparts, many of them are women and children fleeing violence and crime in Central America.”

“The trend is clear. Fewer Mexicans are finding reasons to cross the border illegally, and more are coming to the US under temporary work visas… Meanwhile, an exodus of residents of Central America’s Northern Triangle—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—continues to flow towards the US. ”

“OTMs would have likely made up an even bigger share had Mexico itself not launched an aggressive border-enforcement campaign in 2014, with help from the US. Mexican authorities have been deporting more Central American immigrants than the US, sending 150,000 of them home in 2015, according to Mexico’s interior ministry.”

“One thing is clear: These aren’t obviously economic migrants like the millions of Mexicans who came before them. Many of them more closely resemble the Middle Eastern refugees now reaching Europe… Many are not trying to evade border patrol agents, but look for them, so they can turn themselves in. Nearly 24,000 of them requested asylum in the first six months of 2015.”

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