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Imre 12022

Imre 12022

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Unauthorized Immigration to the United States: Annual Estimates and Components of Change, by State, 1990 to 2010 
1
Robert Warren
Statistics Division, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service 
 John Robert Warren
Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota 
 We describe a method for producing annual estimates of the unautho-rized immigrant population in the United Sates and components of population change, for each state and DC, for 1990
 – 
2010. We quan-tify a sharp drop in the number of unauthorized immigrants
arriving 
since 2000, and we demonstrate the role of 
departures 
from the popu-lation (emigration, adjustment to legal status, removal by the Depart-ment of Homeland Security [DHS], and deaths) in reducinpopulation growth from one million in 2000 to population
losses 
in2008 and 2009. The number arriving in the U.S. peaked at morethan one million in 1999
 – 
2001 and then declined rapidly through2009. We provide evidence that population growth stopped after2007 primarily because entries declined and not because emigrationincreased during the economic crisis. Our estimates of the total unau-thorized immigrant population in the U.S. and in the top ten statesare comparable to those produced by DHS and the Pew HispanicCenter. However, our data and methods produce estimates with smal-ler ranges of sampling error.Few demographic estimates diverge as widely as do those pertaining tothe size of America’s unauthorized immigrant population. Highly publi-cized estimates of the total number of unauthorized immigrants
residing 
1
This report and the estimates herein would not have been possible without the contribu-tions of Michael Hoefer and his staff in the DHS Office of Immigration Statistics and thestaff of the Immigration Statistics Branch in the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Divi-sion. We are also grateful for assistance from Karl Eschbach, Linda Gage, Hans Johnson,Carolyn Liebler, Joe Salvo, Vicky Virgin, and several anonymous reviewers. All errors andomissions, however, are the responsibility of the authors.
©
2013 by the Center for Migration Studies of New York. All rights reserved.DOI: 10.1111/imre.12022
IMR 
Volume 0 Number 0 (Spring 2013):1–34
1
 
in the U.S. in recent years range from 10.8 million (Hoefer, Rytina, andBaker, 2011) to 13 million (Martin and Ruark, 2011) to 20 million(Justich and Ng, 2005; Elbel, 2007).
2
Likewise, recent estimates of thegross annual number of unauthorized immigrants
entering 
the U.S. rangefrom 300,000 (Passel and Cohn, 2010) to a million (Smith, 2011).
3
Few other demographic estimates diverge as widely or receive so much publicattention.One reason that these diverging demographic estimates generate somuch public attention is that they inform any number of contentiouspublic policy discussions at the national and state levels. Should the U.S.grant amnesty to unauthorized immigrant workers? Should we supportunauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. as small children if they wish to attend college or serve in the U.S. armed forces? Should we domore to enforce immigration laws, particularly along the U.S.-Mexicoborder? Answers to these questions depend in part on the size of theunauthorized immigrant population
– 
at both the national and state levels
 – 
and/or on the number of unauthorized immigrants who enter and leavethe country each year. Disagreement about those numbers fuels disagree-ment on these and other contentious policy matters.Beyond these several policy considerations, estimates of the unautho-rized immigrant population are also relevant for academic and appliedresearch on the changing composition and characteristics of the U.S. pop-ulation. What are the economic costs to native-born workers of unautho-rized immigration? How many children should a public school districtexpect to serve in coming years? How has the racial/ethnic composition of  America changed in recent years, and what are the social and economicimplications of those changes? How can city planning offices effectively forecast demand on local government services? What are the social andeconomic predictors of the size and character of migration streams acrossinternational borders? The answers to these sorts of questions also
2
Passel (1986) and others distinguish between “analytic” estimates
– 
those based on sys-tematic analysis of publicly available data 
– 
and “speculative” estimates based on conjectureand/or the misuse of data. In this article, we are only concerned with analytic estimates. Although speculative estimates
– 
such as those by Justich and Ng (2005) and Elbel (2007)
 – 
often receive as much public attention as analytic estimates, they are not subject to veri-fication or methodological improvement.
3
Less attention is paid to estimates of the number of unauthorized immigrants who
leave 
the U.S. each year (Warren and Peck, 1980; Ahmed and Robinson, 1994; Van Hook andZhang, 2011).2 I
NTERNATIONAL
M
IGRATION
EVIEW 
 
depend on demographic estimates of America’s unauthorized immigrantpopulation. Although one particular estimate
– 
the total number of unauthorizedimmigrants
residing 
in the U.S.
– 
generates the most attention, there areimportant policy and research questions that require more detailed anddisaggregated estimates. For example, we believe that it is just as impor-tant to understand net annual change in the size of that population, aswell as the components of that change. This requires information abouthow many unauthorized immigrants
enter 
the U.S. each year and how many 
depart 
via removal by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), voluntary emigration, or death. It is also important to understandwhere unauthorized immigrants come from, what their destination statesare, and how these patterns have changed over time. In this article, wedescribe a method for producing reliable annual estimates of the unautho-rized immigrant population and of the components of change in thatpopulation, all disaggregated by state. Our methods improve upon otheravailable estimates, provide more useful levels of statistical disaggregation,and can be replicated going forward at the national and state levels.Our estimate of the unauthorized immigrant population in the Uni-ted States
– 
11.7 million as of January 2010
– 
does not differ markedly from other recent estimates using similar data and methods (
e.g.,
Hoefer,Rytina, and Baker, 2011; Passel and Cohn, 2011). However, our esti-mates allow unique assessments of trends over time in the size of thatpopulation and of the component processes generating those trends. Forexample, we demonstrate below that the declining size of the unautho-rized immigrant population in recent years has occurred not just becauseof rapidly declining inflows (
i.e.,
immigrants entering without inspectionor overstaying their visas) but also because the number departing from thepopulation is large and increasing. What is more, we demonstrate impor-tant heterogeneity across states in these patterns. Finally, as we explainbelow, our estimates are subject to less sampling error than other recently published estimates.
REVIEW AND CRITIQUE OF EARLY ESTIMATES 
Early estimates of the number of unauthorized immigrants
residing 
in theU.S. were based on strong assumptions and the creative use of very lim-ited data (Siegel, Passel, and Robinson, 1980; Espenshade, 1995; Donatoand Armenta, 2011). For example, Robinson (1980) began with the
U
NAUTHORIZED
I
MMIGRATION TO THE
U
NITED
S
TATES
3

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