The New York times reports that the flow of immigrants to the United States has resumed, after falling to the lowest level in decades during the recession, a new study finds. The number of immigrants in the United States was estimated to have risen by about half a million in the year that ended in 2009, a jump from the previous year, when immigration stopped almost completely during the recession, according the study, which was conducted by the Brookings Institution and is being released on Thursday. The rise pointed to an increase in demand for immigrant labor in the economy, said Audrey Singer, a demographer and co-author of the report. However, the number is still far below the increases of more than a million a year that took place earlier in the decade. The flow reached a peak in 2006, with a 1.8 million increase in the foreign born population. “It’s an uptick in opportunity,” Ms. Singer said. “Immigrants are very mobile in responding to economic changes.” In 1980, the foreign-born population in the United States was about 4.5 million. By 2000, it had reached 11.3 million, bringing the foreign-born population to about 13 percent of the total. In the early 20th century, after the last big wave of immigration to the United States, immigrants had reached 15 percent of the population.
The Washington Post reported that despite vows by the Obama administration to focus its immigration enforcement efforts on criminals, a quarter of those who have been deported through a program called Secure Communities had not been convicted of committing any crime, government statistics show. And that percentage was vastly higher in some jurisdictions, including Prince George’s County, where two-thirds of the 86 undocumented immigrants were not criminals. The Prince George’s rate of noncriminal deportation was the second-highest in the country among counties or cities with at least 50 removals, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement figures through the end of July, the latest numbers made available. By comparison, 15 percent of the 105 immigrants removed from Prince William County, which has taken a much tougher stance toward illegal immigrants than Prince George’s, were not criminals. Even Maricopa County in Arizona – home to Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America” – deported noncriminals at a rate of less than half that of Prince George’s. The disparities have left local authorities puzzled and immigrant rights activists outraged. Immigration officials declined to explain the disparities but defended Secure Communities, which is becoming the nation’s central immigration enforcement mechanism.
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