by Neil Munro
The population of illegal migrants is roughly 22 million, or twice the establishment estimate of 11 million, say three professors from Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The shocking estimate will force establishment politicians and pro-migration advocates to recalculate the estimated impact of the huge illegal population on wages and salaries, on crime rates, welfare consumption, rental and real-estate prices, productivity rates, and the distribution of job-creating investment funds to coastal vs. heartland states.
The higher illegal population estimate helps explain why Americans’ wages and salaries have risen so little amid apparently record-low unemployment rates, and it also undercuts companies’ loud demands for yet more immigration of foreign workers, consumers, and renters.
The population estimate also raises the political and economic stakes of any amnesty legislation. In 2014, public opposition blocked the bipartisan, establishment, media-boosted Gang of Eight bill, which claimed to offer an amnesty to just 11 million migrants. Currently, advocates for a ‘Dream Act’ amnesty claim it will provide green cards to roughly 3 million sons and daughters of illegal immigrants.
The new estimate also bolsters President Donald Trump’s demand that reluctant GOP and hostile Democratic legislators fund a border wall.
“Our purpose is to provide better information,” said Jonathan Feinstein, an economics professor at Yale. In a video statement, he defended the estimate from likely critics, saying it is an expert analysis, not a political project:
This paper is not oriented towards politics or policy. I want to be very clear. This paper is about coming up with a better estimate of an important number, and we are really trying in this paper to keep away from making any statements about how that could or should be used. It is just a paper to help the debate be organized around some better information, which in my opinion is a good thing to do. I think the debate should always be centered around the best information we can develop.
The academics expected their techniques to show the population is smaller than the consensus estimate of 11.3 million. “Our original idea was just to do a sanity check on the existing number,” said Edward Kaplan, operations research professor at Yale. “Instead of a number which was smaller, we got a number that was 50 percent higher. That caused us to scratch our heads.”
Operations research is a skill that extracts accurate estimates from scraps of data. It began in World War II when academics were enlisted to help track Nazi U-boats and weapons-production. For example, the academics used scraps of information to conclude that the Nazis produced 270 Panther tanks in February 1944. After the war, captured factory data showed the production of 276 Panthers in that month.
“We have a conservative estimate that the number is at least 16.7 million,” said Edward Kaplan, an operations research professor at Yale. The study used “over 1 million scenarios accounting for all of the variability in the various parameters that we need for this model [and] on average, we’re estimating something like 22 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.”
The study says:
The figure [below] also shows our conservative estimate of 16.7 million in Red, and the most widely accepted estimate heretofore of 11.3 million in Blue on the far left. We note that this last estimate is for 2015, but should be comparable since both the estimates based on the survey approach and our modeling approach indicate that the number of undocumented immigrants has remained relatively constant in recent years. Finally, the mean estimate of 22.1 million is shown in black in the center of the distribution.
The new estimate uses new sources of data, such as the fingerprints of migrants caught at the Mexican border, said Mohammad Fazel‐Zarandi, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In contrast, the current estimate of 11.3 million is based on the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey.
“It’s been the only method used for the last three decades,” says Fazel‐Zarandi.
The illegal population is higher than expected because more migrants crowded into the United States during the cheap-labor policies of Presidents’ George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, the researchers said.
The inflow leveled off in 2008 once the economy crashed when millions of new migrants and poor Americans were unable to pay their rising mortgage costs.
The existing population of illegals tends to decline as many die of natural causes, or return home, or get “Adjustment of Status” to become legal residents. But the population is being kept level because new migrants — especially foreigners who overstay their visas or who migrate from Central America — offset the natural decline.
The Yale study goes up to 2016, and so does not offer 2017 and 2018 numbers. Many new migrants are overstaying their visas and sneaking across the borders, but President Donald Trump has tightened border defenses against overstays and border-crossers.
The Yale study complements the Census Bureau’s new estimate of the nation’s population and workforce.
The bureau concluded the nation has been enlarged by 44.5 million legal or illegal immigrants, plus 17 million children of legal immigrants. Together, the new estimates conclude that the nation’s has a record-breaking foreign-born population of 55 million migrants.
That number is roughly 16.9 percent of the population, or roughly one person in six living in the United States.
The study does not examine the number of illegal white-collar workers. That calculation is difficult because academics have not even counted the number of resident white-collar visa-workers, such as L-1 and H-1B visa holders. Breitbart News estimates that U.S. companies employ roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers in jobs that are sought by U.S. college graduates.
Four million young Americans will join the workforce this year, but the federal government will also import 1.1 million legal immigrants, and allows an army of at least 2 million blue-collar and white-collar visa-workers to work U.S. jobs, alongside asylum-claiming migrants and illegal aliens.
Overall, the Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via immigration shifts wealth from young people towards older people by flooding the market with cheap white-collar and blue-collar foreign labor.
That flood of outside labor spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. The policy also drives up real estate prices, widens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.
Immigration also pulls investment and wealth away from heartland states because investment flows towards the large immigrant populations living in the coastal states.