Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pew - What's that smell?

I’ve used Pew Hispanic Center data for quite some time now. They tend to understate the problem of illegal aliens, but the trends at least have been honest. Actually, Jeff Passel tends to stick to the census numbers which he helped to interpret years ago when he was at the census bureau and the Urban Institute. GIGO.

But at least the garbage couldn’t be labeled as extreme, which saves all sorts of time when you are debating the illegal alien issue.

You’ve probably heard the recent projections in the news this week about the immigrant population in 2050. Great headlines. It ought to wake people up, especially if you think Hispanics ought to do a better job when it comes to assimilation.

But there is a problem with the data, and it does not bode well for those of us who quote Pew data. It appears the fix is in. Someone got to the folks at Pew and told them to stop embarrassing illegal aliens with their numbers.

The problem manifests itself in “Figure 4” of the new report called “U.S. Population Projections: 2005-2050” (the one in the news this week). The chart would lead you to believe that the rate of illegal alien influx dropped significantly from the ‘95-’00 time period to the ‘00-’05. The footnote says “Unauthorized migration is net; legal immigration is arrivals only.” Figure 3 gives the same distortion.

Jeff is cooking the books here and he contradicts himself in the process. Passel himself reports in the “Unauthorized Migrant Population Study” of 2006 that the 1995- 1999 time frame netted an average of 575,000 unauthorized per year while the 2000-2005 time frame came in at 850,000 unauthorized per year.

He also declared that the influx of immigrants was outpaced by illegal aliens since 1995.

Suddenly, the illegal picture looks lower on the charts.

In the same 2006 report, Passel declares in Figure 2, “Unauthorized Clearly at New High –Trend Uncertain.”

In this new report, he also proclaims that total immigration (legal and illegal) has declined sharply since the year 2000, to pre-1990 levels.

Perhaps that decline is to prepare us for the huge non sequitur, that immigration is going to drop down to under 5% for the next 45 years!

This screwy report only shows me that Pew is no longer going to publish data that shows illegal aliens in a negative light, even if it means faking the numbers.

Imagine how bad the report would be if it showed a continued flow of illegal aliens?

They call themselves a “fact tank”, but I think Pew needs to find a new adjective.

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