Despite President Trump’s fear-mongering rhetoric, the population of undocumented immigrants in the United States fell between 2016 and 2017, according to a new report from the Center for Migration Studies. “While the president has focused the nation’s attention on the border wall, half a million US undocumented residents from Mexico left the undocumented population in 2016 alone,” the report said, noting that the population of undocumented immigrants from Mexico decreased by approximately 400,000 between 2016 and 2017. The total number of undocumented immigrants also decreased.
The report also noted that since 2010, the primary mode of becoming an undocumented immigrant has not been crossing the border illegally—it’s been overstaying legal visas. In 2016, for example, an estimated 320,000 undocumented immigrants overstayed their visas, while only an estimated 190,000 crossed the border illegally. “The disparity between current public discourse and the empirical data presented here obscures the fact that tremendous progress has been made in reducing undocumented immigration since 2000,” the report concludes. “It is time to build on that success by constructing an immigration reform package that upholds the rule of law while embracing the values that have truly made America great.”