Trump’s evolving deportation plans

It’s a near certainty now that Trump will start his administration with a much more aggressive program to deport unauthorized immigrants, starting with those with a criminal record. Here are some Q and As.

What is the target population?

The Migration Policy Institute estimates there are 820,000 target criminal persons out of 11 million unauthorized persons (a rate of 7%) and 1.1 million out of 31 million (a rate of 3.5%).

The rate of criminals to population appears high among immigrants. Is that right?

Yes. This can largely be explained by comparing formal education rates, since these rates correlate closely to criminal rates.  About 2.5% of the general population is either incarcerated or paroled or under other supervision. However this is comparing apples to oranges,

Homeland Security uses a definition of criminal that matches its guidelines for whom to prioritize for deportation. The definition includes felons and persons with more serious misdemeanor convictions. Homeland Security focuses not on immigration violations but rather on crimes any citizen might commit.

Criminal behavior is highly adversely correlated with formal education. The non-high school graduation rate in 2008 was 8% for natives 25 – 64, 22% for legal immigrants, and 47% for unauthorized immigrants. Overall, unauthorized immigrants are 2.4 times more likely than native-born to be in prison or under supervision,if you just applied education factors.  Another way to put it, if the 11 million unauthorized persons were instead native-born, Homeland Security’s 820,000 number shrinks to 350,000.

What are Trump’s challenges?

He will likely try to remove more persons on Homeland Security’ priority list. It is very hard to see how he can do this when California, New York City, Cook County and Miami-Dade County are sanctuary areas. The problem posed by these jurisdictions is not just political opposition but concerns of police and prosecutors about the adverse impact of aggressive deportation upon other areas of law enforcement. Plus, the Catholic church and other religious groups will prove formidable opponents.

Will Trump go farther?

He may try accelerate the deportation of close to one million persons ordered deported but not yet deported, delayed presumably due to enforcement discretion or court injunctions. This estimate is from Jessica Vaughn at the Center for Immigration Studies. If he goes deeper into the unauthorized community he will encounter millions of households in the United States for decades, mixing legal and illegal members in the households: a cat’s cradle. Since the slowdown in illegal in-migration the median duration of residence of unauthorized persons has lengthened to 13.4 years.

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