Patterico's Pontifications

7/30/2008

Study: Illegal Immigration Declines Due to Enforcement and Other Incentives

Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 3:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Washington Post reports on a study that concludes illegal immigration into the US is down 10% over the past year, especially among less educated 18 to 40-year-old Hispanic immigrants, and it’s apparently due in part to stepped-up government enforcement and other incentives:

“The evidence is consistent with the idea that at least initially more robust enforcement caused the number of illegal immigrants to decline significantly,” said Steven A. Camarota, one of the study’s authors. “Some people seem to think illegals are so permanently anchored in the United States that there is no possibility of them leaving. . . . This suggests they’re not correct. Some significant share might respond to changing incentives and leave.

There is general agreement among demographers that illegal immigration is declining but the experts do not agree on why this has occurred. The study indicates the decline in less educated Hispanic immigrants began after Congress abandoned immigration reform while the number of educated non-Hispanic immigrants continued to rise. The study concludes immigrants changed their behavior in response to the failure of legalization legislation:

“Even more contentious is the question of what, if anything, the study’s findings indicate about the impact that recent national and local immigration policies may have had on the size of the illegal immigrant population. Since December, the unemployment rate of less-educated working-age Hispanics has risen from 4.93 percent to 7.06 percent, making it that much more difficult to determine whether the continued decline in their population during this period was the result of anything beyond basic economics.

But [study authors] Camarota and Jensenius suggest that the six-month decline that occurred after the failure of the legalization legislation and before the rise of these workers’ unemployment rate is one of several examples of a link between immigration policy and immigrant choices. They note, for instance, that starting in May 2007, when Congress’s consideration of the legalization plan began receiving widespread media attention, the number of less-educated, working-aged Hispanics began to rise.

“I call it the amnesty hump,” said Camarota. Though he noted that the population increase during this period may not have been statistically significant, “it seems that what was happening was that fewer illegal immigrants left than might otherwise have done so because they were hoping to qualify for legalization.”

Experts also debate whether there are fewer illegal immigrants in the US because not as many have immigrated or because more have left. The study’s authors acknowledge that the answer to that question is unclear based solely on Census data, but they believe “if less-educated Hispanic adults were not leaving in greater numbers than before, their total population would merely grow more slowly, not decline steeply.”

Finally, most of the immigrants who left did so voluntarily since “only 285,000 immigrants were removed from within the United States in 2007 — and many of those were formerly legal immigrants who lost their status after committing a crime.

Which reminds me: Deport the Criminals First.

— DRJ

23 Responses to “Study: Illegal Immigration Declines Due to Enforcement and Other Incentives”

  1. “I call it the amnesty hump,”

    I won’t go into all the various puns that can result from that phrase, but I worry that, depending on our economy, our two beloved candidates will usher in a return to larger illegal entry due to their need to pander to a single demographic group.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  2. It is interesting that in NE Iowa, where ICE conducted a highly publicized raid at a meat-packer, the mostly Mexican and Central-American workforce of illegals has been supplanted by a work-force of legal Somalian immigrants – now, that must be causing a little culture-shock in the community.

    Also, the new laws in AZ that can crush an employer for hiring (particularly, repeat hiring) of illegals has seemed to initiate a re-patriation movement of illegals back to Mexico.

    Local laws are more-and-more being seen as an effective weapon against illegal immigration absent the presence of the Federal Government in the field of battle. Even the Federal Judiciary is starting to notice, and not automatically taking the side of the ACLU on this matter.

    One small step at a time – Confucius was right!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  3. “Deport the criminals first” Amen to that.

    Is it possible immigrants aren’t coming out here as much because of employment and economic conditions currently in the U.S.?

    Oiram (983921)

  4. Oiram,

    My non-expert opinion is that it’s “All of the above.”

    DRJ (e4b6ac)

  5. This is the most vile racist screed I have seen in some time. There is no end to the depth of your hatred. All you want to do is kill, oppress, or jail brown people.

    Is that about it, phil?

    JD (5f0e11)

  6. Mash the dirty red scum! Kick ’em in the teeth where it hurts! Kill! Kill! Kill! Filthy bastards! Commies! I hate ’em, I hate ’em! Aaaah! Aaaah!

    Icy Truth (b6bc11)

  7. Count me among the doubters. Prior to the so-called crackdown, the worst thing an otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrant had to fear was deportation and thus the loss of the job that paid more than they would make in their home country. With the crackdown, the worst thing that happens to them is, uh, deportation. They face no more of a penalty now than before, so why would they voluntarily self-deport and give up the job they had before they absolutely positively had to?

    And while there have been some publicized raids on employers of illegals, these raids have pretty much taken place against big business employers. But most hiring are at smaller sized companies (because there are so many more of them) and I doubt that the local landscaper or builder is really sweating having ICE show up at their job site.

    Thus, my vote is that the economy is largely responsible for whatever drop there’s been in the number of illegals in the country. Or the study authors screwed up with their methodology. But giving credit to the so-called crackdown? Nah.

    stevesturm (8f0fbc)

  8. #2 – Another Drew

    the new laws in AZ that can crush an employer for hiring [illegals]

    — That law is being fought tooth & nail by businessmen, Hispanic activists, and immigrant rights groups; it is the hot topic of discussion on local radio here in the Phoenix area every day. Maricopa County (which includes Phoenix) Sheriff Joe Arpaio faces daily resistance to his crackdown efforts from many of the same protesters and from Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon; a man who, if he thought he could get away with it in this mostly red state, would like to make Phoenix a ‘sanctuary city’. Just today he is out with a list of ‘requests’ on how the Sheriff, who does not have to answer to the Mayor at all, should do his job.

    And while the overall numbers are down, locally we are having a rash of drop-house discoveries — 4 and 5 bedroom houses packed with anywhere from 25 to 75 illegals apiece. In the last two days alone 73 illegals were rounded up at two drop-houses.

    Icy Truth (b6bc11)

  9. Collapse of the illegal construction worker market may have had a big impact as well.

    Wesson (f6c982)

  10. Wesson: Collapse of the illegal construction worker market may have had a big impact as well.

    That sounds right. A lot of the grunt work here in NYC goes to Central and South American immigrants who make much less than the craftsmen or union guys. If that slows down and the prime construction jobs drop off, it pushes everyone down the ladder. And the ones on the last rung are SOL.

    Peter (e70d1c)

  11. Icy…
    What you tell us just illustrates how constant pressure from the grass-roots makes the “establishment” very uncomfortable.
    They will kick and scream and resist until, through economic sanctions, or the political process, they will acceed to the wishes of the American People.
    If it wasn’t for the principled stance of a Sheriff most of us would like to have in our county, AZ would just be another semi-sanctuary state.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  12. Does this mean that the number of illegal immigrants in America is 10% less than it was last year? Or just that the problem is only growing at 90% of it’s normal rate?

    Kevin (834f0d)

  13. Kevin,

    I think the article touches on that but never addresses it because no one knows how many illegal immigrants are actually in the US. All they can talk about is poorly defined numbers relative to other poorly defined numbers.

    DRJ (e4b6ac)

  14. I always found it hilarious when illegal immigration apologists claimed that talk of amnesty did not attract more illegal immigration. A fatuous position.

    The idea that humans would not respond to incentives would of course undermine the foundations of several disciplines like economics…

    I’m still wondering what it is going to take for the Democratic party’s main constituents to figure out that the leftist elites of their party pandering to illegal immigration is hurting them directly.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  15. SPQR #14- I’m still wondering what it is going to take for the Democratic party’s main constituents to figure out that the leftist elites of their party pandering to illegal immigration is hurting them directly.

    The fact is that the main constituents work for the leftist elites, which makes it difficult for them to rebel, or even discuss the problem.

    What it would take is a realization that they are being played, and that there is no ‘daddy’ to run to for safety and protection. That’s why the elites busy themselves creating straw-men and taking up all the oxygen with their vociferous crises.

    People are getting there – showing the relationship of illegal immigration to ‘slave labor’, highlighting the lack of control over criminals operating within the unenforced ‘sanctuaries’, and revealing the inherently nationalistic nature of the ‘illegal immigration’ debate. Nobody’s worried about Bangladeshis or Jakartans. This is an issue with a single country and a common border, and the corruption in Mexico city that depends on the porosity of that border.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  16. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, following months of online, worldwide voting, has emerged as the “Best Mayor in North America” and is one of only 11 finalists in contention to be named “Best Mayor in the World.”

    Every two years the world’s most outstanding mayor is presented with the World Mayor Award by City Mayors. City Mayors is an international network of professionals working to promote strong and prosperous cities, and is headquartered in London.

    Gordon emerged as the only mayor in North America to make the final grouping. To do that, he out-polled the mayors of Los Angeles, Miami, Albuquerque, Columbus, Honolulu, Memphis, Minneapolis, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

    When voting ended, only the following 11 mayors remained as finalists:

    Helen Zille, Mayor of Cape Town, South Africa
    Leopoldo Eduardo Lopez, Mayor of Chacao, Venezuela
    Goran Johansson, Mayor of Gothenburg, Sweden
    Jaime Nebot, Mayor of Guayaquil, Ecuador
    Marides Fernando, Mayor of Marikina City, Philippines
    Ulrich Maly, Mayor of Nuremburg, Germany
    Phil Gordon, Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, USA
    Jose Fogaca, Mayor of Porto Alegre, Brazil
    Mohammad Baquer Ghalibaf, Mayor of Tehran, Iran
    Salvador Gandara, Mayor of Villa Nueva, Guatemala
    Elmar Ledergerber, Mayor of Zurich

    From these 11 finalists, the “Best Mayor in the World” will be announced on October 14.

    — From a government report on crime in Cape Town, published April 2007: Cape Town’s reputation as one of the world’s ‘murder capitals’, if not brought under control, could have a devastating impact on tourism and the city’s economy. Cape Town’s homicide mortality (murder) rate is approximately five times the global average. You can guess why I highlighted the Venezuelan and Iranian cities.

    Icy Truth (b6bc11)

  17. absent the presence of the Federal Government in the field of battle

    Except for that not being true. The walls are going up and Operation Streamline has moved from my local area to other places like Laredo and Arizona. It makes a big difference in how many people try to cross and also in how illegals behave here.

    And speaking of deporting the criminals, check out the last line of this:

    Nearly 300 of those prosecutions were felony cases against individuals who have criminal histories, have a previous order of removal or are involved in smuggling humans or contraband.

    MamaAJ (788539)

  18. Icy #16 – Interesting notes from the site:

    Lopez is the best mayor in Venezuela. The only place in Caracas where you can walk and live without been assaulted, or killed, is Chacao.

    and

    Leopoldo López, the mayor of Chacao, is so successful and popular that the President of Venezuela fears him. President Chavez. President Hugo Chávez is now trying to prevent the mayor from taking part in the November elections.

    A Columbian friend of mine recently worked in Caracas, and I can confirm that his narrative of events matches at least the first comment.

    If these comments are true, I hope he takes the Presidency.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  19. Hey Icy…
    How can we vote?
    Certainly don’t want Gordon to win.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  20. As for Phoenix’s Phil Gordon, the site received enough negative comments about Gordon that they felt it was necessary to include them. Only two other cities had negatives published. One was Memphis, and the other Porto Alegre Brazil. Every negative took him to task for his stance on illegal immigration. One mentioned a current recall effort. May it prevail.

    As for their criteria:
    a great mayor must possess these qualities: good administrative abilities, able to provide safety and security and protect the environment, as well as having the ability to foster good relations between communities from different cultural, racial and social backgrounds.

    Would seem to eliminate Cape Town, at least.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  21. I have read elsewhere that another contributor to the short time of fewer going home was they were waiting to see if they would get stuck back home and unable to return to work here if border security was stepped up with rapid fence construction and guard forces increases.

    So in other words they were not taking their normal every year or two vacation home to see the family.

    daytrader (ea6549)

  22. “deportamos todos, si si puede!”

    redc1c4 (ae7a64)

  23. Count me among the doubters. Prior to the so-called crackdown, the worst thing an otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrant had to fear was deportation and thus the loss of the job that paid more than they would make in their home country. With the crackdown, the worst thing that happens to them is, uh, deportation. They face no more of a penalty now than before, so why would they voluntarily self-deport and give up the job they had before they absolutely positively had to?

    The employer crackdown reduces the number of work opportunities for illegal aliens, which reduces the reason to come in the first place. Ditto any economic slowdown. In other words, a lot of illegal aliens have lost the (relatively) high-paying job they had and were having trouble getting another. And they perceive the risks of being caught and deported as going up.

    LarryD (feb78b)


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