By now most of us are familiar with the 11 or 12 million figure representing the number of people living illegally in the U.S. (See HERE)
This number has gone up fairly steadily from 540,000 in 1969 to 11.7 million today, as well as in terms of percentage of the total population-- 0.3% of the people in the U.S. lived illegally in 1969 as compared with the high of 3.9% in 2007, more than a ten-fold increase. (ibid, and HERE)
However, since 2007, the percentage dropped shortly to 3.5% in 2009, but rose once again to 3.7% in 2011 and 3.74% in 2012. (ibid. and HERE and HERE)
Evidently, the bad economy produced the Leftist LUNC of deterring illegal immigration/residency for awhile (see HERE), but because of Obama's relative inaction on immigration, the Leftist LUNC of expanding immigration problems has returned.
Let's see how this happened by looking year-to-year and determining how many illegals crossed the borders, how many were apprehended, why and how many went back home, and how many remained in the U.S. illegally.
According to my estimates using Homeland Security and Census data HERE, below is a graph of the number of people who illegally crossed our borders each year, form 2001 to 2012::
In some years, the number of illegal border crossings was staggering, and tended to track both economic and public policy fluctuations. Clearly, the borders haven't been secured.
The good news is that not all who illegally enter the country remain in the U.S. each year. In fact, many of them return to their homes on their own account. For example, n 1970 there were about 303,348 who returned by choice, whereas in 2000, at the peak, there were 1,675,876.
During the eight years of Bush administration, the number of returns dropped somewhat to 811,263 in 2008, but declined dramatically during Obama's first term--returns were down to only 229,968, which is about where they were at in 1969. (See HERE, Table 39)
However, many illegals haven't returned by choice, but were removed by force of law-i.e. deported. In 1960, there were little over 7 thousand forced removals and about 52 thousand chosen returns, as compared with in 2012 where there were 419 thousand forced removals and 229 thousand chosen returns. (ibid)
Interestingly enough, since 1931, the number of forced removals each year were outnumbered by chosen returns, often on orders of magnitude. For example, in 2006 there were about 281 thousand removals and over 1 million returns, a ratio of almost 1 to 4. Yet, as indicated above, in 2012, the end of Obama's first term, the number of forced removals was almost double the number of chosen returns (419,384 vs. 229,968). (ibid.)
What explains this alarming inversion during Obama's administration? Why have so many more people in recent times need to be forced to leave this country than were previously willing to leave on their own? Could this be a Leftist LUNC?
Who knows for certain? Perhaps it has something to do with the steady decline over the last six years in the total number of illegals who have left the country and returned back home (see red bars in graph below)
Then, there is also the matter of apprehending illegals. Apprehension of illegals went up from 70,684 in 1970 to the peak in 2000 at 1,814,729. (See HERE, table 33) Thereafter it remained fairly level during the Bush years, from 2000 to 2008, but began to drop sharply once Obama took office, going from 1,043,774 in 2008 to 643,474 in 2012, or down to about the same level as in 1973. (ibid. see also the green bars in the graph below)
This means that about 2/3rds of the illegal entries were apprehended in 2012 (643,474 out of 849,342). (ibid.)
Naturally, about half of the apprehensions occur at the boarder--364,768 out of 643,474 in 2012, with the rest coming from Homeland Security and law enforcement investigations. (ibid) And, as may be expected, the number of border apprehensions declined significantly from 1,189,395 in 2005 to 364,768 in 2012, the last year of Obama's first term. (ibid)
So, even though more people were crossing the borders, less illegals were being apprehended under the Obama administration.
In addition to the decline in apprehensions (border or otherwise), there are two other points of interest. First, only a portion of the apprehended illegals were deported--419,384 out of 643,474 in 2012. (ibid.) In other words, the Obama administration has been letting about a third of the apprehended illegals, or 65% of the illegal entries, stay or leave as they choose. Why, then, would they leave if even when they are caught they aren't deported?
Again, even though more people are crossing the borders, and less illegals are being apprehended, a good chuck of those being apprehended aren't sent back home.
Could this explain the sharp drop in illegals returning on their own in proportion to those who are forced to leave? I believe it is a factor.
Second, of the 850,000 or so illegals who entered the country in 2012, and the 650,000 who left the country (either by force or choice), almost 200,000 were criminals--199,445. (See HERE, table 41)
This means that between a quarter to a third of illegals who entered the country in 2012, had committed crimes, and this doesn't even account for the illegals in prison (they represent 11% of the prison population). (See HERE)
To me, this is huge, particularly in terms of national security, if not government costs (which I will address in future posts).
Be that as it may, here is a graph that depicts what I have indicated above,
Note also, in purple bars, the annual net results of illegal migration (entries - returns). Five out of the last twelve years have experienced a net drop in illegal immigration--i.e. more illegals left the country than entered during those years.
Yet, when you subtract the amount of negative immigration in those five years (-2,190,00) from the amount of positive immigration during the other seven years (+5,430,000), we ended up adding about 3,240,000 more illegals to our population.
More pertinent to this post, during the Bush years the illegal population in the U.S. increased on average about 392,500 per year, whereas under Obama it increased on average about 780,000 per year..
The Leftist LUNC here, then, is that because of Obama's liberal immigration policy, the number of illegals who have come into and remained in this country each year, is about double that under Bush. The borders have become less secure and the apprehensions have been in decline.
Now that we know the size of the problem, and can reasonably figure that it will grow larger rather than smaller during the remainder of Obama's second term, lets look now )see the next posts in the series) what it may end up costing the U.S. and how it will impact votes in the future--i.e. whether the same kinds of people that helped break the immigration system and/or failed to fix it will continue to be reelected.