Strieff posted on the new DHS Immigration orders here yet I feel like something is missing in these actions. Don’t get me wrong, this is a really good start but, to me, these are actions disconnected from a visible strategy or clear long-term or measurable goals.
As I see it, there are about 12-15M illegal aliens in this country, of which ~40% are visa overstays, about 5M people. If we set a target for the shrinkage of this 12-15M number over the course of, say, 5 or 10 years we only have to develop a plan to use both physical blockage/return to the country on the other side of the border AT the border and/or inducements to voluntarily or forced return to their countries of origin. Although we likely can’t get down to NO illegal immigrants, on the high end, that’s between 1.2 and 3.0 million returnees per year.
INS doesn’t have the manpower to find and deport 12-15 million people (and would have to expect more resistance the more aggressive its actions are) but between incentivizing people to voluntarily return to the country of origin and the effect that a visible enforcement effort will have on the population of illegals it seems reasonable that many of the illegal aliens that would have to be forcibly removed will, in fact, opt for voluntarily returning home.
Some people, both visa overstays and those that entered the country illegally, leave this country voluntarily and I’ve never seen any numbers on this so I can’t tell if 10%, 20%, or a higher percentage of people are really transient illegals or not. It’s a pretty good assumption that the longer they stay in-country the less likely it is that they will either voluntarily return or be deported.
Visa overstays are likely widely dispersed throughout the country AND, if I’m not mistaken, confronted with a fairly severe 10 year period where they can not re-enter the US if they get caught overstaying their visas. Since visa overstays are at risk for being banned from the US for a period of 10 years they are not likely to go home either directly or via some 3rd country because their entry but not exit can possibly be tracked.
Visa overstays also have known IDs and country of origin with, it can be guessed, some hints of where they might be either working or living. I would expect something like a temporary reduction in the 10 year no re-entry law would incentivize some of the visa overstays to return on their own.
In order for both visa overstays and those that entered illegally to make a living these people must either fake a SS# through e-Verify and, if they fake a SS# or a duplicate # is found, the employer must ignore these individuals, or their employers must hire them under the table. It’s clear that some of these illegal aliens commit crimes (other than the clearly illegal identity theft or overstaying their visas or entering the country illegally) and expose themselves to capture.
We know we can’t trust crime statistics on illegals showing they commit fewer crimes than other groups to inform our decisions. Many of the cities that attract or protect illegal aliens have robust public transit systems but many illegal aliens are self employed and, if in, say, LA drive illegally and without proper insurance so we .
One thing seems clear from studies for both groups though is that we want them to return home voluntarily.
During earlier legal waves of immigration into this country (see above) around 1/3 of the immigrants returned home voluntarily. One recent study of Mexican returnees (see here) showed that:
More than half of Mexican immigrants who moved back home said in a recent survey that they have no intention of returning to the U.S., even though many left family here and most had positive experiences.
So, if we opt for voluntarily returning of illegal aliens we’ll have less problems with them coming back into the country. It also seems reasonable to assume that as the barriers to entry and the fear of discovery are increased that the proportion of returnees wanting to stay home will only increase.
There may be other factors to consider but if we combine all of these plus the other relevant considerations, someone should be able to put together a plan to reduce the 12M number to a much lower number over a 5 or 10 year period so we can measure results of the strategy and plan. Then, at least to me, I’d assume we might actually reduce the population of illegal aliens in this country.
It would be hubris on my part to think I can develop and suggest a plan but given these and other factors it seems reasonable to think that, regardless of the plan developed, an overall plan is possible.
Right now, I see tactics and actions but no overall strategy. Maybe it’s there but, I don’t see it!