New Studies Suggest Different Narratives Concerning Undocumented Immigrants

   Recent studies regarding undocumented immigrants have had varying estimates but seem to tell somewhat similar narratives in terms of trends in migration into the United States.

   A Pew Center study released Nov. 30, 2018 estimates the number of undocumented immigrants at 10.7 million, a sharp decrease from the 12.2 million documented over ten years ago.

   In September a similar study conducted by Mohammad M. Fazel-Zarandi, Yale and MIT professor, estimated the number to be 22.1 million.

   According to Zarandi’s report, the estimates could be as low as 16.2 million or as high as 29.1 million. A number that is below President Trump’s estimate of nearly 34 million, a fact that he claimed multiple times throughout his bid for presidency and term as president.

   A similar study provided annually and conducted by the ACS (The American Community Survey) in which 3.5 million people were interviewed, annually puts the number at 11 million, a statistic that would lean towards the Pew Study’s estimate.

   Fazel-Zarandi said of his report in The Hill, “The trajectory is the same. We see the same patterns happening, but they’re just understating the actual number of people who have made it here.”

   Jonathan Feinstein, co-author of the Yale report told Yale Insights, “We wouldn’t want people to walk away from this research thinking that suddenly there’s a large influx happening now. It’s really something that happened in the past and maybe was not properly counted or documented.”

   In other words, though many of the reports carry different estimates on the number of undocumented immigrants within the United States, they all seem to suggest that there is no major recent influx, but instead that these are genuinely hard things to get accurate readings on.

   The Yale study points to another narrative on the criminality among undocumented immigrants.

   “You have the same number of crimes but now spread over twice as many people as was believed before,” Edward Kaplan, another co-author of the report, as taken from the aforementioned article in The Hill, stated.

   He continued: “Which right away means that the crime rate among undocumented immigrants is essentially half whatever was previously believed.”

   The Yale study found similar narratives to that of the ACS’s study throughout the ’90s and early ’00s as well, finding a similar upward trajectory in the ’90s and a leveling out in the late ’00s.

   Further doubt has been given to the Yale Institute’s finding, as Robert Warren, a demographer at the Center for Migration Studies, a New York based think tank, brought into question the migratory nature of Mexican workers who enter the country to work for a season and then leave, to return for a future season.

   “The policy implications are so important that he should have done that,” says Warren, as taken from a Washington Times article on the studies.

   Steven A. Camarota, a demographer at the D.C. based Center for Immigration Studies added in the same Washington Times article, “When they came up with this number they should have stepped back and said we’ve got a problem, it doesn’t pass the kind of prima facie approach of what seems possible.”

Richard Foltz

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