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Border patrol forecasts economy

Thousands of cars line up to enter the US at the San Ysidro Port of Entry January 27, 2006 in San Ysidro, Calif.

TEXT OF STORY

BOB MOON: A hearing is being held on Capitol Hill today to examine how proposed changes in immigration policy might affect small businesses. Several recent studies have addressed the opposite question: How do changes in business conditions affect the flow of illegal immigrants? From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Dan Grech has more.


DAN GRECH: Dawn McLaren at Arizona State University studied 16 years of Border Patrol data, and found a startling trend: A full year before an economic downturn, the number of migrants apprehended at the Mexican border began to drop.
DAWN MCLAREN: About a year ago, I looked at it, and I said, "Hmm, we've gotten to a turning point, because apprehensions are starting to slow down."

Apprehensions have now fallen 12 months in a row — a total drop of 27 percent.

MCLAREN: And sure enough, a year later, instead of 5.6 percent growth, we've got 1.3 percent growth in our economy.

Economist Pia Orrenius is with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

PIA ORRENIUS: It's very closely correlated with how sectors are doing that employ a lot of immigrants, like construction, like agriculture and like manufacturing.

With the housing bubble burst, economists expect the slowdown in illegal immigration to continue.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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