Controversial Report of Decline in Unauthorized Immigrants

This morning, as I do on most mornings, I grabbed the free daily paper before getting on the bus to come to work. Front and center was a small blurb about a study that shows that there is a "significant decline" in the number of "illegal" immigrants in our country. The federal government's ramped up enforcement efforts (read RAIDS) are cited as the cause for the decline. When I got to work, I quickly found the NY Times article stating that the study and report were done by the restrictionist group called the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).  

The report, by Steven A. Camarota and Karen Jensenius of the Center for Immigration Studies, found “strong indications” that stepped-up enforcement by immigration authorities had played a major role in the decline.

The Center for Immigration Studies is composed of known restrictionist advocates with a blantantly anti-mmigrant agenda. And - surprise! - they have released a study that supports their point that the raids are working.

I am glad, however, that the NY Times did a good job balancing the story.

The study’s methods and conclusions were questioned by other demographers and economists, who said the decline might be less than the center reported and was more likely the result of the weak economy, especially in low-wage construction and manufacturing where illegal immigrants are generally employed.

“The decline can easily be explained by changes in the economy,” said Steve Levy, senior economist at the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto. He said California had lost 134,000 construction jobs since the summer of 2006.

Followed by:

The Center for Immigration Studies is a policy advocacy group that favors reduced immigration and opposes legislation to give legal status to illegal immigrants. The study supports the center’s contention that border enforcement and a crackdown on unauthorized workers and their employers would lead many illegal immigrants to leave the United States without being deported.

So, restrictionists want us to believe that ICE's dehumanizing intimidation tactics are causing a decline in unauthorized migrants - not the fact that our economy is in the pits.

Unauthorized migration is largely job driven, so it follows that if the economy is lagging, there are fewer jobs and therefore fewer unauthorized migrants. 

I hardly think this is a reason to continue violating due process and civil rights ala ICE raids across the country.