Thursday, July 31, 2008

They'll never go home on their own

Conventional (liberal) wisdom suggests that illegal aliens will not self-deport. They say that pressure applied through enforcement will not result in a reversal of the influx of illegal aliens.

They just might be wrong.

Here’s a link to the Center for Immigration Studies that suggests enforcement has resulted in a reduction in illegal aliens to the tune of 1.2 million people:

And here is the bullet-point summary:
“*Our best estimate is that the illegal immigrant population has declined by 11 percent through May 2008 after hitting a peak in August 2007.
*The implied decline in the illegal population is 1.3 million since last summer, from 12.5 million to 11.2 million today.
*The estimated decline of the illegal population is at least seven times larger than the number of illegal aliens removed by the government in the last 10 months, so most of the decline is due to illegal immigrants leaving the country on their own.
*One indication that stepped-up enforcement is responsible for the decline is that only the illegal immigrant population seems to be affected; the legal immigrant population continues to grow.
*Another indication enforcement is causing the decline is that the illegal immigrant population began falling before there was a significant rise in their unemployment rate.
*The importance of enforcement is also suggested by the fact that the current decline is already significantly larger than the decline during the last recession, and officially the country has not yet entered a recession.
*While the decline began before unemployment rose, the evidence indicates that unemployment has increased among illegal immigrants, so the economic slow-down is likely to be at least partly responsible for the decline in the number of illegal immigrants.
*There is good evidence that the illegal population grew last summer while Congress was considering legalizing illegal immigrants. When that legislation failed to pass, the illegal population began to fall almost immediately.
*If the decline were sustained, it would reduce the illegal population by one-half in the next five years.”

(end of quote from the CIS report)

I was startled by the item above that said self-deportation was seven times more effective than the combined enforcement efforts of our government. Just imagine what could happen if Washington got serious about E-Verify and worksite raids. It’s really sad that the Bush agenda was so focused on legalization that they let enforcement go by the wayside.

On a perhaps unrelated note, Homeland Security has just announced a new program called "Operation Scheduled Departure" where they are inviting the deportable fugitives to report for deportation with the agreement that they will not put them in jail for being fugitive absconders.

Time will tell whether the program turns out to be nothing more than a free ride home at the end of the growing season but it has merit. I am particularly pleased that Jim Hayes (the ICE executive who has done so well in Southern California) is heading up the effort. If anyone can make it work, he can.

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