Before any problem can be solved, it has to be understood.
A doctor can’t treat a sick patient without having a pretty good idea of what is wrong, and how bad the situation is.
An engineer can’t repair a broken machine without knowing what went wrong in the first place, and understanding what needs to be changed.
Countless politicians on both sides of the political aisle have tossed around ideas for how to deal with America’s illegal immigration problem. The left wants to shrug off the negatives and give aliens driver’s licenses — and then let them vote, of course.
The right wants to keep immigration controlled, and welcome good people who are honest while limiting the number of lawbreakers pouring across the border.
All of the different proposals are based on rough estimates of how many immigrants are already in America … but what if those past estimates were very, very wrong?
That’s the question that researchers at Yale University are now asking.
On Friday, a detailed study about U.S. immigration was released, and its conclusions are challenging past assumptions about immigration numbers.
Shockingly, researchers found that the accepted number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. — 11.3 million — may be extremely low. The actual number of aliens in America could be twice that amount.
“At the center (of the debate) lies a fairly stable and largely unquestioned number: 11.3 million undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S.,” explained Yale Insights.
“But a paper by three Yale-affiliated researchers suggests … the actual population of undocumented immigrants residing in the country is much larger than that, perhaps twice as high, and has been underestimated for decades,” the Yale publication continued.
Researchers poured over the available data like deportations and visa overstays, and used mathematical modeling to consider how many illegal immigrants have actually entered the country. This has historically been hard to pin down, since those migrants are, well, undocumented.
“(R)esearchers estimate there are 22.1 million undocumented immigrants in the United States,” Yale Insights reported.
That’s the mean number, meaning it could be a bit less or even more than that level. But even when they made their models very strict, the estimated number of aliens was several million higher than previously thought.
“Even using parameters intentionally aimed at producing an extremely conservative estimate, they found a population of 16.7 million undocumented immigrants,” stated the report.
It’s interesting to note that the researchers went into the study expecting to discover that the oft-cited 11.3 million number was actually high. They found the opposite.
“Our original idea was just to do a sanity check on the existing number,” said Professor Edward Kaplan of the Yale School of Management. “Instead of a number which was smaller, we got a number that was 50% higher. That caused us to scratch our heads.”
The researchers were quick to point out that they do not believe there was a sudden surge of border crossers which boosted the number. Instead, they think that the real number of illegal immigrants has been under-reported for a very long time.
“It’s really something that happened in the past and maybe was not properly counted or documented,” explained Professor Jonathan Feinstein.
The Yale researchers were careful to deal with statistics and not politics, but it’s worth asking whether the real number of illegal immigrants was purposely kept under wraps for so many years because it flies in the face of past liberal promises.
After all, it was Democrat “hero” Ted Kennedy who pledged in 1965: “Our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same.”
Instead, immigration surged, and that’s without even factoring in the illegal aliens who may have been dramatically under-counted for decades.
It’s time to take a long, hard look at the real immigration issues facing America. Before anything can be fixed, we need to tell the truth about the problem … and that starts with actually having honest numbers about how many people have crossed the border and never left.
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