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New Center for Immigration Studies Report: There They Go Again

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Frank Sharry: It’s the Economy, Stupid

The new report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), “Homeward Bound: Recent Immigration Enforcement and the Decline in the Illegal Alien Population,” asserts that the undocumented immigrant population has declined significantly in the past year due to stepped-up enforcement efforts. Yet the report downplays the most significant fact-any decline in the undocumented population is more a result of changing economic conditions than enforcement tactics. The report’s shoddy methodology also shows that CIS is a predictable advocacy group rather than a legitimate research institution.

Below is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, on the report:

“As is their habit, the Center for Immigration Studies starts with a conclusion and then shamelessly tortures data to conform to their conclusion. The truth is immigration enforcement has increased dramatically over the last twenty years, yet the population of undocumented immigrants has also increased dramatically during that time. Immigration ebbs and flows according to economic push and pull factors, and every credible researcher who has evaluated the issue has come to this same conclusion.

“This latest report from CIS is just the next chapter of their campaign to convince policy-makers that ‘attrition through enforcement’-or tightening the screws on undocumented workers and hoping they will self-deport-is a ‘humane’ alternative to the mass deportation of 12 million people. But there is nothing humane nor practical about creating a state of terror in immigrant communities aimed at driving millions of humble, hardworking people from our midst.

“Moreover, CIS ‘research’ methods wouldn’t pass muster in a freshman year Statistics 101 course. For example, they use Census data on less-educated, foreign-born Hispanics as a proxy for the overall undocumented population, drawing conclusions about illegal immigration based on a sample that includes large numbers of legal residents and U.S. citizens, and excludes large numbers of undocumented workers. Work this sloppy and amateurish should come with a warning label that reads: ‘Enclosed: faux research in service of a hard-line anti-immigrant agenda.’

“Mass deportation – ‘voluntary’ or not – is no solution to our dysfunctional immigration system. The solution is comprehensive immigration reform: smart enforcement at our borders and the workplace, combined with legal immigration reforms and earned citizenship for hard-working immigrants without legal status. This approach, which is supported by the majority of the American people, will replace the illegal status quo with a legal system that works. CIS’s approach will only serve to perpetuate two decades of imbalanced and heavy-handed policies that have failed to reduce illegal immigration.”