What's the Latest Development?

University of Chicago economics professor Gary Becker says high unemployment in the U.S. and falling fertility rates in Mexico account for the sharp drop off in illegal immigration from Mexico to the U.S. since the beginning of the financial crisis. "Illegal immigration is especially sensitive to recessions and other causes of weak job markets in richer destination countries. Illegal immigrants are usually the first to be laid off partly because they tend to be unskilled, and unskilled employees are let go in much larger numbers than are skilled employees."

What's the Big Idea?

Despite stubbornly high unemployment rates in the U.S., Becker sees growth in the Mexican economy, concurrent with falling fertility rates, as a positive development. Mexicans still wishing to emigrate will, in the future, have the necessary resources to survive while the official immigration process takes place. Becker insists that encouraging immigration remain a priority for the U.S. "Expansion of legal immigration would be good for America, and it would also further cut down the number of illegal immigrants by enabling more of them to come legally and gain the many advantages of legal status."