The “Real” Illegal Immigrant U.S. Population

Reports from immigration experts and population studies have for years pegged the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. somewhere between 10 and 13 million. No one has ever really identified the sources used to validate those numbers. Americans have been forced to simply take them at face value — until the last few years.

Illegal immigration has become if not THE #1 topic of discussion in political debates, at least 1 of the top 3 most discussed political hot-button items — and justifiably so. By any legitimate calculations, the economic strain on the U.S. government (and therefore American taxpayers) is astronomical.  The toll on the American infrastructure and government resources drawn upon by these 10-12 million illegals is at least significant if not astronomical. Illegal immigrants — who in large part are known to be (in comparison with legal Americans) poorer, less educated — are more dependent on government direct and indirect financial support than legal immigrants and Americans.

Yes, there are reports published by immigration pundits who make claims of vast economic value of these immigrants who take blue-collar jobs shunned by Americans. That is true, at least in part. It IS factual that illegals in large slip into the U.S. primarily for employment. And because of their minimal job skills and education are forced into these industries for manual labor jobs.

Immigration pundits claim — and rightfully so — many American employers relish the ability to draw workers from this pool of illegals, but not because of the unavailability of legals to fill those jobs. Some employers use illegals to take advantage of their availability to work, their willingness to work for much lower wages with fewer or without any normal employee benefits. In those circumstances, illegal employees are not enrolled in federal and state employment programs, which enables employers to reduce their operating costs: unemployment insurance, matching employer payroll tax, Social Security and Medicare employer payments, paid leave, employee health insurance programs, etc.) which rewards employers, but at the expense of these immigrant workers.

Many illegal immigration advocates also take advantage of these unknowns in creating and marketing their illegal immigration policies. In doing so, they appeal to the emotions of good Americans, demeaning all those who cry for stronger border security, a wall at the U.S. southern border, and a strict adherence to illegal immigration law enforcement. The lack of verifiable illegal immigration data acts as fuel for their arguments. How? Without the truth of illegal immigrant numbers and its true costs to Americans, many have for decades maintained that illegals in America do far more good for our country than bad.

But that narrative is changing — and it is startling.

How Many Illegals Are There in the U.S.: the REAL Number?

The population of illegal migrants is roughly 22 million, or twice the establishment estimate of 11 million, say three professors from Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The shocking estimate will force establishment politicians and pro-migration advocates to recalculate the estimated impact of the huge illegal population on wages and salaries, on crime rates, welfare consumption, rental and real-estate prices, productivity rates, and the distribution of job-creating investment funds to coastal vs. heartland states. The higher illegal population estimate helps explain why Americans’ wages and salaries have risen so little amid apparently record-low unemployment rates, and it also undercuts companies’ loud demands for yet more immigration of foreign workers, consumers, and renters.

The population estimate also raises the political and economic stakes of any amnesty legislation. In 2014, public opposition blocked the bipartisan, establishment, media-boosted Gang of Eight Bill, which claimed to offer an amnesty to just 11 million migrants. Currently, advocates for a ‘Dream Act’ amnesty claim it will provide green cards to roughly 3 million sons and daughters of illegal immigrants.

The new estimate also bolsters President Donald Trump’s demand that reluctant GOP and hostile Democratic legislators fund a border wall.

“Our purpose is to provide better information,” said Jonathan Feinstein, an economics professor at Yale. In a video statement, he defended the estimate from likely critics, saying it is an expert analysis, not a political project.

“This report from Yale 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, and we are really trying to keep away from making any statements about how that could or should be used. It is just a report to help the debate be organized around some better information, which in my opinion is a good thing to do. I think the debate should always be centered around the best information we can develop.”

The academics expected their techniques to show the population is smaller than the consensus estimate of 11.3 million. “Our original idea was just to do a sanity check on the existing number,” said Edward Kaplan, operations research professor at Yale. “Instead of a number which was smaller, we got a number that was 50 percent higher. That caused us to scratch our heads.”

Operations research is a skill that extracts accurate estimates from scraps of data. It began in World War II when academics were enlisted to help track Nazi U-boats and weapons-production. For example, the academics used scraps of information to conclude that the Nazis produced 270 Panther tanks in February 1944. After the war, captured factory data showed the production of 276 Panthers in that month.

“We have a conservative estimate that the number is at least 16.7 million,” said Edward Kaplan, an operations research professor at Yale. The study used “over 1 million scenarios accounting for all of the variability in the various parameters that we need for this model [and] on average, we’re estimating something like 22 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.”

The study says:

The figure [below] also shows our conservative estimate of 16.7 million in Red, and the most widely accepted estimate heretofore of 11.3 million in Blue on the far left. We note that this last estimate is for 2015, but should be comparable since both the estimates based on the survey approach and our modeling approach indicate that the number of undocumented immigrants has remained relatively constant in recent years. Finally, the mean estimate of 22.1 million is shown in black in the center of the distribution.

The new estimate uses new sources of data, such as the fingerprints of migrants caught at the Mexican border, said Mohammad Fazel‐Zarandi, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In contrast, the current estimate of 11.3 million is based on the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey. “It’s been the only method used for the last three decades,” says Fazel‐Zarandi.

“The illegal population is higher than expected because more migrants crowded into the United States during the cheap-labor policies of Presidents’ George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush,” the researchers said. “The inflow leveled off in 2008 once the economy crashed when millions of new migrants and poor Americans were unable to pay their rising mortgage costs.”

The existing population of illegals tends to decline as many die of natural causes, or return home, or get “Adjustment of Status” to become legal residents. But the population is being kept level because new migrants — especially foreigners who overstay their visas or who migrate from Central America — offset the natural decline.

The Yale study goes up to 2016, and so does not offer 2017 and 2018 numbers. Many new migrants are overstaying their visas and sneaking across the borders, but President Donald Trump has tightened border defenses against overstays and border-crossers.

The Yale study complements the Census Bureau’s new estimate of the nation’s population and workforce. The bureau concluded the nation has been enlarged by 44.5 million legal or illegal immigrants, plus 17 million children of legal immigrants. Together, the new estimates conclude that the nation’s has a record-breaking foreign-born population of 55 million migrants. That number is roughly 16.9 percent of the population, or roughly one person six living in the United States.


There certainly is no absolute answer to the question “What should the United States do regarding illegal immigration and those who break immigration laws in doing so?” The issue has become a hotly debated political one. And it has been one of the top “hot potato” political issues for decades.

Here’s the only solution that in my mind makes sense: remove the issue from the political forum, and call it what it really is: an American economic issue.

No, I’m not in doing so turning a cold shoulder to the many woes of foreigners who fight hard to escape often unbearable circumstances in their own countries, fleeing to the Shangri-La of America. In making that statement, I recognize that economic issues drive the machine that runs the United States of America.

Think about that: if the U.S. and its people do not prosper, its people cannot pay taxes. If Americans cannot pay sufficient taxes, the U.S. government has insufficient funds to operate. Those operations include a system that for decades has facilitated the LEGAL immigration into the U.S. of 1 million aliens each year. How does that compare? Here’s one immigration number you can rely on: 1 million immigrants allowed legal status in the U.S. each year equals MORE than the combined number of legal immigrants allowed into every other country on Earth each year COMBINED!

Let’s Fix It

The illegal immigration system in the U.S. will be fixed ONLY using the following process:

  1. Stop ALL illegal immigration…PERIOD!
  2. Close the southern U.S. border
  3. Immediately revise the legal immigration process internally AND the process for aliens to quickly enter the U.S. LEGAL immigration system from within their OWN country
  4. Congress: get off your rears and create and pass legitimate legal immigration laws that address these and other immigration policies that will be best FIRST for Americans!

Let’s be blunt: the United States does not “owe” immigration status to anyone on Earth. As the most powerful and most blessed country on the planet, Americans certainly “should” pay-it-forward by blessing others with assistance and economic and social opportunities as we can. In large part, we already do that for millions around the world.

Americans are simply tired of the political immigration merry-go-round; Americans are tired of party politics and party agendas that use immigrants, American minorities and less fortunate people as pawns in stupid political wars. Americans are better than that!

President Trump — though you may not like him personally, his policies, or his choice of messaging — as a businessman has a career in which he successfully developed a basic understanding of problem-solving. The problem-solving process should always be based on reason, consideration of all facts inherent to the problem and its possible solutions, then choosing a course of action, drawing on any and all resources necessary for a chosen solution, implementing the solution, and managing it to a successful conclusion.

The President has given the American people and Congress a template that includes pieces to a solution for this illegal immigration problem. It’s time for Congress to put aside the petty political partisanship, stop worrying about any political costs of the implementation of this or any other proposed solution, and implement the chosen solution. Any chosen problem solution (like illegal immigration) should be used for one reason and one reason only: IT’S THE BEST SOLUTION FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

American voters: it’s YOUR job to make sure your Congressional representatives in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are on board in their support for a specific plan to fix illegal immigration problems. And if they are not on board and simply want to maintain the existing immigration circus or put another such ridiculous plan in place, MAKE CHANGES IN WHO REPRESENTS YOU!

See: that wasn’t so hard. Sometimes the right solution to an issue is the simplest one.

In this case, it’s simply “Get R’ Done!”



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