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February 24, 2009

Dept of Homeland Security: illegal count is down

A USA Today article reports that the Department of Homeland Security confirms that the number of illegal immigrants is down – very slightly, from 11.8 million in January 2007 from 11.6 million in January 2008. Of course that is more than year ago, and what a year it’s been. I have posted on estimates by others organizations recently. The article says that Nevada has the highest population percentage which is illegal: 11%.

The article in full:

Illegal immigrant population declines
By Thomas Frank USA Today, February 24, 2009

Washington, DC -- The number of illegal immigrants in the USA fell for the first time in at least four years, as the nation's tough economy discourages people from sneaking into the USA, the Homeland Security Department said Monday.

The decline still left the country with 11.6 million illegal residents in January 2008, down from a record 11.8 million a year earlier, according to a Homeland Security report. There were about 4 million illegal residents in 1990, according to federal agencies and researchers.

Homeland Security spokesman Mike Keegan said rising unemployment led to fewer people trying to sneak across the border. Keegan also said the department is doing a better job stopping people from entering the country illegally and apprehending illegal residents in the USA.

The Center for Immigration Studies said the latest figures show that tough enforcement is working. 'We should keep it up because nothing has been solved when there are still 11 million illegal aliens,' said the center's executive director, Mark Krikorian. The group supports enforcing immigration laws to reduce the number of illegal residents.

The department estimates the number of illegal residents by subtracting the number of foreign-born people who are in the USA legally from the Census estimate of the total foreign-born population.

Homeland Security figures go back to 2000, when there were 8.5 million illegal immigrants. It did not keep figures for the years 2001 through 2004; in 2005, the number rose to 10.5 million. The numbers increased in 2006 and 2007 before declining last year, the report says.

Jeffrey Passel, a demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, said economic factors have historically caused surges and drops in illegal immigration. 'Enforcement plays some role,' Passel said, but added that the number of illegal immigrants roughly doubled in the 1990s 'in the fact of steadily ramped up enforcement over that period.'

Growth in illegal immigration since 2000 has been driven largely by Mexicans, who now account for 61% of illegal residents, the Homeland Security report says.

Nevada's 280,000 illegal immigrants account for 11% of its population, the highest proportion of any state, according to Census figures and the report. In Arizona, 9% of residents are ill

February 12, 2009

Federal tax payments by illegal workers

Amelia’s Translation and Tax Services in Greeley CO was raided by local law enforcement people in search of illegal workers. They expected, correctly, that many of them dutifully files tax returns using fake social security numbers. (The dollar value of unallocable payments due to wrong social security numbers has been said to be $8 billion a year.)

Texas, Oregon and Iowa studies, compiled by the Immigration Policy Center, have estimated the amount of tax paying by illegal workers, and compared those amounts to the estimated costs of delivering public benefits to them and their households. I have previously posted on a study for New Jersey, and on the Texas study cited below.

from the The Immigration Policy Center

As the debate over illegal immigration continues to rage, some pundits and policymakers are claiming that unauthorized immigrants do not pay taxes and rely heavily on government benefits. Neither of these claims is borne out by the facts. Undocumented men have work force participation rates that are higher than other workers, and all undocumented immigrants are ineligible for most government services, but pay taxes as workers, consumers, and residents. (November 2007)

A 2006 study by the Texas State Comptroller found that “the absence of the estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas in fiscal 2005 would have been a loss to our gross state product of $17.7 billion. Undocumented immigrants produced $1.58 billion in state revenues, which exceeded the $1.16 billion in state services they received.”

Similarly, a 2007 study by the Oregon Center for Public Policy estimated that undocumented immigrants in Oregon pay state income, excise, and property taxes, as well as federal Social Security and Medicare taxes, which “total about $134 million to $187 million annually.”

In addition, “taxes paid by Oregon employers on behalf of undocumented workers total about $97 million to $136 million annually.” As the report goes on to note, undocumented workers are ineligible for the Oregon Health Plan, food stamps, and temporary cash assistance.

Likewise, a 2007 report from the Iowa Policy Project concluded that “undocumented immigrants pay an estimated aggregate amount of $40 million to $62 million in state taxes each year.” Moreover, “undocumented immigrants working on the books in Iowa and their employers also contribute annually an estimated $50 million to $77.8 million in federal Social Security and Medicare taxes from which they will never benefit. Rather than draining state resources, undocumented immigrants are in some cases subsidizing services that only documented residents can access.”

Unemployment Rises Sharply Among Latino Immigrants in 2008

The Pew Hispanic Center compared employment data for the last quarter of 2007 and 2008 and did not like what it found. Here is its summary:

The current recession is having an especially severe impact on employment prospects for immigrant Hispanics, according to an analysis of the latest Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. The unemployment rate for foreign-born Hispanics increased from 5.1% to 8.0%, or by 2.9 percentage points, from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the fourth quarter of 2008. During this same time period, the unemployment rate for all persons in the labor market increased from 4.6% to 6.6%, or by 2.0 percentage points.

Among immigrant Latinos, the share of the working-age population (16 and older) that is employed fell by 2.8 percentage points, from 67.5% in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 64.7% in the fourth quarter of 2008.1 Among all persons of working age, the employment rate decreased by 1.6 percentage points, from 63.2% to 61.6%, in the first year of the recession.

The recession has also had a strong negative effect on blacks and native-born Hispanics in the labor market. Blacks are currently the only major racial and ethnic group whose unemployment rate is in double digits, 11.5% in the fourth quarter of 2008. Native-born Hispanics had the second highest rate of unemployment (9.5%) in the fourth quarter of 2008. However, changes in the employment rate and other indicators of labor market activity during the recession have been less severe for them than for foreign-born Hispanics.

February 3, 2009

Surge in Hispanic vote, November 2008

The Immigration Policy Center issued a report late in 2008 documenting the growth of the Hispanic vote in presidential elections (from 8% in 2004 to 9% in 2008) and the huge swings in the Hispanic vote from Republican (Bush) in 2004 to Democrat (Obama) in 2008. Obama also pulled a lot more of the Asian vote.

Some of the report:

Latinos Are a Rapidly Growing Share of the Electorate.

Roughly 11 million Latinos voted in this election, up from 7.6 million in 2004. According to CNN exit polls, Latinos accounted for about 9% of all voters (up from 8% in 2004) and Asians 2% (roughly the same as in 2004). The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that roughly 50,000 Latinos turn 18 each month and hence are eligible to vote for the first time. A post-election survey by the NALEO Educational Fund, impreMedia, and the Latino Decisions polling firm found that 92% of Latino registered voters cast ballots (up from 81.5% in 2004). 39% of Latino voters were foreign-born.
15% of Latino voters were voting in a Presidential election for the first time.

CNN exit polls indicate that Obama defeated McCain by 67% to 31% among Latino voters, and 62% to 35% among Asian voters. This represents a pronounced decline in support for the Republican Party since 2004, when George W. Bush won 44% of the Latino vote and 44% of the Asian vote.

According to exit polling in Los Angeles by Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Obama won the Asian American vote by 68% to 30%. Moreover, 24% of Asian American Republicans crossed party lines to support Obama, and 62% of unaffiliated Asian Americans voted for Obama. From 2004 to 2008, Republicans Lost Ground with Latinos in Key States.

“An anti-Hispanic attitude is suicidal. As the party of Lincoln, Republicans have a moral obligation to make our case to Hispanics, blacks and Asian-Americans who share our values. Whether we see gains in 2010 depends on it.” -- Karl Rove, former Senior Adviser to George W. Bush, in Newsweek, Nov. 24, 2008.

In Texas, where 20% of the electorate was Latino, Obama defeated McCain among Latino voters by 63% to 35%. In 2004, Bush won 49% of the Latino vote—only one percentage point less than Kerry. In California, where 18% of the electorate was Latino, Obama defeated McCain among Latino voters by 74% to 23%. In 2004, Bush won 32% of the Latino vote. In Florida, where 14% of the electorate was Latino, Obama defeated McCain among Latino voters by 57% to 42%. In 2004, Bush won 56% of the Latino vote.

In New Mexico, where 41% of the electorate was Latino, Obama defeated McCain among Latino voters by 69% to 30%. In 2004, Bush won 44% of the Latino vote.
In Nevada, where 15% of the electorate was Latino, Obama defeated McCain among Latino voters by 76% to 22%. In 2004, Bush won 39% of the Latino vote.