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Immigration to U.S. slows dramatically

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Immigration to the United States was down significantly in 2007, with just 511,000 people coming to America, the U.S. Census Bureau reports.

Citing Census data scheduled to be released Tuesday, The Washington Post said the number of immigrants in 2007 was down from about 1 million a year since 2000. The population of foreign-born people fell in 14 states -- including New Jersey and Illinois, which have historically served as immigration gateways.

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William H. Frey, a researcher with the Brookings Institution, told the Post the decline is a result of the economic downturn.

"I think this shows that immigrants are keeping an eye on the economy when they make their decision on whether to come or where to live in the United States," he said. "When the economy appears to be in decline -- particularly for the kind of construction, retail and service jobs that immigrants are inclined to take -- they are less attracted to us."

Frey said immigration from Asia and Africa declined by more than 60 percent, while Hispanic immigration slowed by 36 percent.

Despite the lower number of immigrants, there were 38.7 million foreign-born people in the United States last year -- a record. Immigrants comprised 12.6 percent of the population, the Post said.

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