PHOENIX, Arizona — When things got tough in Arizona, many families decided to leave to avoid being caught in the local illegal immigration crackdown. But Maria Garcia’s family wouldn’t move. When her husband was fired for not having legal documents, they stayed and weathered the storm. After 23 years, the Garcias say they’re here to stay.
“My father passed away, he was sick for many years and I couldn’t see him. Now my mother is sick. But I know that if I leave it would be very dangerous for me to come back,” said the migrant from Colima, Mexico.
Two recent national studies present contradicting data about whether the current recession and anti-immigrant climate are pushing undocumented immigrants to leave the U.S. and return to their home countries.
A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies – a group that advocates lower immigration levels – shows that the illegal immigrant population has fallen by one-third over the past two years. According to the study based on Census Data, Arizona is the state with the highest drop. About 180,000 of the 530,000 undocumented living in Arizona left, according to research conducted by Steven Camarota.
Yet another study released earlier by the Pew Hispanic Center said while that the number of people entering the country illegally is dropping, undocumented migrants who are already here are not returning.
So are immigrants leaving or staying?