The Immigration Numbers Game
By Lynn Woolley
This column was written on August 24, 2013
If you ask how important it is for supporters of Comprehensive Immigration Reform to downplay the numbers of illegals in the United States – the answer is: VERY important. In a country of 317,000,000 people, it’s likely we could absorb 11,000,000 undocumented people with no ill effects to our culture or our economy. And so that is how many we have.
And if you believe that, I’d like to sell you the deed to Texas Stadium.
The fact is that there are many more, but if we began using a more reasonable figure – say, 25,000,000 illegals, amnesty might be a tougher sale. So for a generation, we’ve been told that the figure is roughly 8,000,000 to 11,000,000 – exactly what we’re being told now.
This was a point of conflict at a Town Hall in Salado, Texas a few days ago. To his credit, Congressman John Carter, a Republican from Round Rock, sat through a two-hour screening of a movie entitled “They Come to America II” and then took questions from a crowd that was largely Tea Party, but with scattered LULAC members and out-of-district amnesty supporters who somehow got an invitation.
Rep. Carter is a dependable conservative vote on virtually all issues, but for a while has been working behind the scenes with other members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. He recently went on a media tour with the ultra liberal Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Chicago, a move that rankled some of his supporters. So when he accepted the invitation to appear at this event, he knew exactly what he was stepping into.
It was a tough night. People got loud. Tempers flared. The Congressman was gracious, but unchanging. A former judge, he explained that the reforms do not amount to amnesty, but rather to a form of “deferred adjudication.” He did not explain how that would work since deferred adjudication requires a person not to commit a crime any more – and illegals aliens are committing a crime simply by being here. There was disagreement over the Fourteenth Amendment – birthright citizenship – which was a Reconstruction amendment aimed at protecting former slaves but has been transformed by the courts.
Then came the debate over numbers. Rep. Carter used the 11,000,000 figure – but my producer yelled out that it’s more like 40,000,000. That’s probably high. But the 11,000,000 number is ridiculous on its face.
Look at honest state-by-state counts, and if you start with California, Texas, and New York, you can get up to 17,000,000 in about five selected states. If you go to government estimates, or liberal websites like SLATE, you’ll get lower numbers largely attributed to President Obama’s aggressive deportation policy.
This same argument was being made in the mid-2000’s. We looked at a fully referenced report from TheAmericanResistance.com from that era that attempted to discern how many illegals we have. They quoted a letter from the pro-amnesty Senator John McCain saying that 4,000,000 came into this country in 2002. If one out of four was apprehended, that leaves three million. At that rate we’d have more than the stated figure in less than 4 years.
In 2003, Georgia state senator and MALDEF board member Sam Zamarripa told the Georgia Senate that 20,000,000 illegals were in the U.S. A January 3, 2005 report from the late Wall Street firm Bear Stearns concluded that 20,000,000 illegals were in our country – more than twice the official estimate at the time.
Yes, we’ve had a recession, and we’ve deported some illegals. But the President has deferred deportation under his own personal DREAM Act that he installed after Congress voted it down. And we’ve talked about amnesty for years, and the Chamber of Commerce has left the “welcome” sign up at the border. Parkland Hospital continues to be a magnet for Hispanic women who, though in the U.S. illegally, come to have their babies under Rep. Carter’s interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
And so, 65 years after Woody Guthrie sang “All they will call me will be – deportee,” not much has changed.
Our borders are still breached every single day and the laws we have on the books are not enforced, and the government still tells us we have 11,000,000 illegal aliens. It’s still not true.