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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

CRS Report: Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States

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Ruth Ellen Wasem of Congressional Research Services has released a report entitled: "Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States: Estimates Since 1986."


Here is the summary of the report:


Estimates derived from the March Supplement of the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) indicate that the unauthorized resident alien population (commonly referred to as illegal aliens) rose from 3.2 million in 1986 to 11.2 million in 2010. Jeffrey Passel, a demographer with the Pew Hispanic Research Center, has been involved in making these estimations since he worked at the U.S. Bureau of the Census in the 1980s. The estimated number of unauthorized aliens had dropped to 1.9 million in 1988 following passage of a 1986 law that legalized several million unauthorized aliens. The estimates of unauthorized aliens peaked at an estimated 12.4 million in 2007. About 39% of unauthorized alien residents in 2010 were estimated to have entered the United States in 2000 or later. 


Similarly, the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS) reported an estimated 10.8 million unauthorized alien residents as of January 2010, up from 8.5 million in January 2000. The OIS estimated that 6.6 million of the unauthorized alien residents were from Mexico, an estimate comparable to Passel and D'Vera Cohn's calculation of 6.5 million. The OIS based its estimates on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The OIS estimated that the unauthorized resident alien population in the United States increased by 37% over the period 2000 to 2008, then leveled off in 2009 and 2010.  


Research suggests that various factors have contributed to the ebb and flow of unauthorized resident aliens, and that the increase is often attributed to the "push-pull" of prosperity-fueled job opportunities in the United States in contrast to limited or nonexistent job opportunities in the sending countries. Accordingly, the economic recession that began in December 2007 may have curbed the migration of unauthorized aliens, particularly because sectors that traditionally rely on unauthorized aliens, such as construction, services, and hospitality, have been especially hard hit.  


Some researchers also suggest that the increased size of the unauthorized resident population during the late 1990s and early 2000s is an inadvertent consequence of border enforcement and immigration control policies. They posit that strengthened border security has curbed the fluid movement of seasonal workers. This interpretation, generally referred to as a caging effect, argues that these policies have raised the stakes in crossing the border illegally and created an incentive for those who succeed in entering the United States to stay. 


The current system of legal immigration is cited as another factor contributing to unauthorized alien residents. The statutory ceilings that limit the type and number of immigrant visas issued each year create long waits for visas. According to this interpretation, many foreign nationals who would prefer to come to the United States legally resort to illegal avenues in frustration over the delays. It is difficult, however, to demonstrate a causal link or to guarantee that increased levels of legal migration would absorb the current flow of unauthorized migrants. Furthermore, some researchers speculate that the doubling in deportations since 2001 might also have had a chilling effect on family members weighing unauthorized residence in recent years. 


Some observers point to more elusive factors when assessing the ebb and flow of unauthorized resident aliens--such as shifts in immigration enforcement priorities away from illegal entry to removing suspected terrorists and criminal aliens, or discussions of possible "amnesty" legislation. This report does not track legislation and will be updated as needed.


Click here to read the full report.


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  1. Willy's Avatar
    VATICAN CITY, NOV. 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Both scientists and beeirvles posit that life is a special outcome in a vast and mostly inhospitable universe, and to study this common understanding, the Vatican brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to work on and study astrobiology.The conclusions of the five-day work-study were presented today by a Jesuit priest and leading professors from Italy, France and the United States. (not the Pope) Astrobiology is the study of life's relationship to the rest of the cosmos, one of the professors explained. Its major themes include the origin of life and its precursor materials, the evolution of life on earth, and its future prospects on and off the earth. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Vatican Observatory hosted the study days. (not the Pope) Presenting the conclusions today were Jesuit Father Jose9 Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory; Jonathan Lunine, professor at the department of physics in Rome's Tor Vergata University; Chris Impey, professor at the department of astronomy in the University of Arizona and the Steward Observatory, Tucson; and Athena Coustenis, professor at the Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, in France. (not the Pope)Father Funes explained that the Vatican is involved in astrobiology because, although it is an emerging field and still a developing subject, the questions of life's origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very interesting and deserve serious consideration. These questions offer many philosophical and theological implications. Hub of scholarsLunine said the study days provided a special opportunity since it was interdisciplinary and gave scientists the chance to spend an intensive week understanding how the work in their particular specialty might have an impact on, or be impacted by, that in other areas. Nowhere is this more evident than in the work being done on how life formed on the earth and evolved with the changing environment, he observed. It is becoming clear that Earth's climate has not been particularly stable over time, and major environmental crises have occurred that are documented in the geologic record. How life has responded to this, and what the implications might be for Earth-like planets around other stars with somewhat different histories, cuts across all the disciplines of astrobiology from astronomy, to planetary and geological sciences, to biology. Self-imageImpey spoke of the possibilities of life outside of Earth. In the past 15 years, technological breakthroughs have led to the discovery of over 400 planets beyond the solar system, he explained, noting that the smallest of these is not much more massive than the Earth. Meanwhile, the Arizona-based professor continued, lab experiments have made progress in tracing the processes by which simple chemical ingredients might have evolved into cells about four billion years ago, and scientists have discovered life in surprisingly diverse, inhospitable environments on the Earth. It is plausibly estimated that there are hundreds of millions of habitable locations in the Milky Way, which is just one of billions of galaxies in the universe. We still only know of one planet with life: our own. But there is a palpable expectation that the universe harbors life and there is hope that the first discovery is only a few years away, the scholar suggested. Impey acknowledged that making contact with an intelligent species in space would have profound implications for our self-image. It is appropriate that a meeting on this frontier topic is hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, he stated. The motivations and methodologies might differ, but both science and religion posit life as a special outcome of a vast and mostly inhospitable universe. There is a rich middle ground for dialogue between the practitioners of astrobiology and those who seek to understand the meaning of our existence in a biological universe. THIS WAS A WORKSHOP FOR SCIENTISTS, NOT AN INFALLIBLY DECLARED ENCYCLICAL
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