With thousands of immigrants trying to illegally enter the United States from Mexico — all eyes are focused on Tijuana right now, but the crossings continue along the normal stretches, too — a recent Yale study is actually making a powerful case for building the wall.
It wasn’t supposed to. But kudos to honest researchers.
The study by two Yale professors and an instructor at MIT Sloan School of Management found that the number of undocumented immigrants (illegal aliens in legal, non-PC terms) living in the United States is double what has been estimated and used continually in the media.
Double, as in 22.1 million illegals living here. The number widely used in the media, in studies and in conversations is generally around 11 million. This has implications for the entire debate, because it means that everything from the numbers coming in during good economic times (now) to the costs to American taxpayers are much, much higher than what has been estimated.
Researchers Edward Kaplan, Jonathan Feinstein and Mohammad Fazel‐Zarandi used a more full method to determine that the common estimate of 11 million immigrants is likely way off base.
“Our original idea was just to do a sanity check on the existing number,” said Kaplan, a professor of operations research at Yale School of Management. “Instead of a number which was smaller, we got a number that was…higher. That caused us to scratch our heads.”
So obviously, these researchers were actually wondering if the 11 million number was too high. They were expecting to get a smaller number.
Fellow Yale researcher Feinstein expanded on that point. “There’s a number that everybody quotes, but when you actually dig down and say, “What is it based on?” you find it’s based on one very specific survey and possibly an approach that has some difficulties. So we went in and just took a very different approach.”
When researchers say an approach has “some difficulties,” they mean it is flawed, poorly done and so probably yielding wrong results. Difficulties.
Yale Insights wrote about the research:
“The 11.3 million number is extrapolated from the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey. “It’s been the only method used for the last three decades,” says Mohammad Fazel‐Zarandi, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and formerly a postdoctoral associate and lecturer in operations at the Yale School of Management. That made the researchers curious—could they reproduce the number using a different methodology?”
The three researchers used data from deportations and visa overstays, as well as demographic data like death rates and immigration rates, to get a better number. Their approach benefits from being logical.
“’The population today is equal to the initial population plus everyone who came in minus everyone who went out. It’s that simple,” Kaplan said. There don’t appear to be any “difficulties” with that broad concept. He went on: “The analysis we’ve done can be thought of as estimating the size of a hidden population. People who are undocumented immigrants are not walking around with labels on their foreheads.”
The study reported that the greatest growth of illegal immigrants was in the 1990s and early 2000s and that the population has remained fairly steady since 2008.
That simply coincides with economic activity in the United States. A strong economy in the 1990s and up to 2007 (with one short exception) caused an ongoing influx that has only partially been captured. Then eight years of economic stagnation under President Obama made the risk and travails of illegally coming here less worth it and the population stabilized.
These trend lines aligning with the economy suggest that the number is climbing again as the economy is booming. This increasing number would be in addition to the thousands that are part of the migrant caravan, and ultimately would swamp those numbers.
The trends in the new study are the same as the earlier one, but the totals are vastly greater, Fazel‐Zarandi said. “They are capturing part of this population, but not the whole population.” Something like half of it, apparently.
The researchers went to great lengths to say the study has no political agenda, because they know of course such data is ultimately a political weapon. And remember, they originally expected the 11 million number to be lower — not double.
“Our purpose is just to provide better information,” Feinstein said. “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.”
Being that he is on a liberal Ivy League campus where students are empowered to bully professors into submission or out of a job, he’s smart to really reinforce the point — if he wants to keep his job and live peaceably.
He added: ‘We wouldn’t want people to walk away from this research thinking that suddenly there’s a large influx happening now. It’s really something that happened in the past and maybe was not properly counted or documented.”
Right. They have been here all along, and Americans have been supporting them and some have been materially hurt by them, all along.
What you can walk away from this paper with is illegal aliens are likely costing taxpayers twice as much money as was previously suggested — and that number may one day be found to have “difficulties.”
You can also walk away from this study with the reality that we desperately need to secure our border with Mexico, with a wall in many places and enhanced terrain in others. But the barrier needs to be complete.
It turns out that when you make America great again, the world agrees that it’s great, and wants to come along for the ride!
Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.