(Washington, D.C  February 1, 2012)  Arizona has effectively reversed the flow of illegal immigration by instituting state policies designed to discourage illegal aliens from settling or remaining in the state. A new study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Recent Demographic Change in Arizona: Anatomy of Effective Immigration Reform Legislation, finds that after steep increases in Arizona's illegal alien population in the 1990s and early 2000s, the number of illegal aliens in the state has declined dramatically since voters approved Proposition 200 in 2004. Since 2004, the state legislature has adopted additional enforcement measures, including the Arizona Legal Workers Act in 2007 and culminating in passage of SB 1070 in 2010. Along with the decline in the illegal alien population, Arizona realized significant savings in state costs, a drop in the number of families living in poverty, and a decline in the violent crime rate.

The data analyzed in Recent Demographic Change in Arizona provides strong evidence that illegal immigration is a highly controllable phenomenon. These conclusions are bolstered by more recent anecdotal evidence that illegal aliens are leaving other states which have followed Arizona's lead and are implementing their own immigration enforcement policies. "While some political leaders have derided the concept of attrition through enforcement as 'fantasy,' Arizona provides hard evidence that illegal aliens are deterred by meaningful enforcement policies," stated Dan Stein, president of FAIR.

Among the key findings of Recent Demographic Change in Arizona include:

Arizona's illegal alien population declined by about 100,000 between 2008 and 2009, or about 18 percent. During that same time span, the rest of the country saw an 8 percent decline in the illegal alien population.

After a sharp increase in households with annual incomes below $35,000 between 2000 and 2005, the number of such households decreased 5.5 percent by 2009, even as the recession set-in.

36,700 fewer Limited English Proficient students were enrolled in Arizona schools in 2010, compared with 2005 — a decline of 24.4 percent. As a result, the state saved about $97 million.

Arizona saw a 14.4 percent decline in violent crime and a 21.4 reduction in property crime between 2005 and 2010 — significantly greater reductions than the nation as a whole.

"It is ironic that the federal government, which has primary responsibility for enforcing U.S. immigration laws, is aggressively fighting to prevent Arizona and other states from protecting the interests of their citizens rather than emulating their successful policies," Stein noted. "As the 2012 campaign heats up, candidates for federal and state office should embrace policies, like Arizona's, which protect American jobs, reduce fiscal costs, and improve public safety. Voters all across the country support meaningful immigration enforcement policies by both federal and state government for good reason: They work."

Read the full report, Recent Demographic Change in Arizona.

Media Contacts:
Kristen Williamson at 202-328-7004 or kwilliamson@fairus.org