Thursday, January 10, 2019

Illegal Immigration is Declining Despite Trump's 'Humanitarian Crisis' Hysteria

Sources: Department of Homeland Security: Office of Immigration Statistics, Pew Research Center, Border Patrol: Total Illegal Alien Apprehensions By Fiscal Year, Employer Fined $96 million for hiring illegal aliens



What Trump was missing in this 8 minute rant was context. Illegal immigration has been declining over the past decade and is at a historic low, but you'd never know that listening to Trump's propaganda about it being a 'national emergency' and his millions of mindless followers. According to DHS, there are around 12 million illegal aliens residing in the U.S., which might seem like a lot and enough to declare a national emergency, but the vast majority of illegal aliens are not new arrivals. 80% of illegal aliens (about 9.6 million) have been here since at least the W. Bush admin when illegal immigration peaked at 470,000 people per year before rapidly dropping off during and after the recession. Not surprisingly, the Bush administration also had the highest number of illegal alien apprehensions in this millennium and was topped only by the Clinton administration in the 90's. There were 3.38 million illegal alien apprehensions between 2004 and 2006 alone. In 2001, the first year of the Bush admin, there were over 1.2 million illegal alien apprehensions. However, this pales in comparison to illegal alien apprehensions in the 1990's, under the Bush Sr. and Clinton administrations, when there were over a million apprehensions every year except 1994 when apprehensions briefly dipped to 979,000 before rising back to 1.27 million in 1995. Illegal alien apprehensions dropped under 500,000 during the Obama administration and has not come close to the 1990's and early 2000's numbers since then. In 2017, Trump's first year, there were about 300,000 illegal alien apprehensions. The number of illegal aliens in the labor force has similarly declined from a peak of 8.2 million or 5.4% of the labor force in 2007 to 7.8 million or 4.8% of the labor force since the end of the Obama Admin in 2016.

If Trump is so concerned about illegal immigration, why not remove the incentive to illegally immigrant here? If you'll notice, illegal immigration follows economic trends, rising during boom periods and falling during downturns. Illegal immigration is inextricably linked to the economy, so why not penalize employers who hire illegal aliens and make e-verify, or some other system for checking work authorization, mandatory for all employers? Illegal aliens are less than 5% of the work force, but constitute 24% of agricultural workers, 24% of maids or house cleaning workers and 15% of construction workers and contractors; that should give you a rough idea of where to look first. I'm sure landscaping and lawn care also have a disproportionate percentage of illegal aliens compared to the national average; any industry where people can work under the table is going to be ripe with illegal aliens. This approach would be far more effective than any border barriers. Businesses are much more receptive to laws than illegal aliens. The story of a tree-trimming company, Asplundh, being fined $96 million for hiring illegal aliens and having one their mid-level executives sentenced to prison illustrates the possible disincentives that could be introduced to ensure U.S. companies only hire U.S. citizens, lawful residents, or foreign nationals with work visas.