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Economists criticize Trump's plan to deport long-term immigrant workers

Economists criticize Trump's plan to deport long-term immigrant workers


Former US President Donald Trump attends a rally at Waco Regional Airport on March 25… [+] 2023. He announced plans for a mass expulsion of illegal immigrants. Economists say deporting millions of illegal immigrants would harm American workers and the U.S. economy. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

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New data shows that nearly 80% of illegal immigrants have lived in the United States for a decade or more, raising questions about deporting a group so deeply entrenched in the country. The estimates are included in a new report from the Department of Homeland Security. The data sheds light on Donald Trump's plan to attempt to deport the entire illegal immigrant population. Beyond disrupting the lives of immigrants and their U.S. citizen children and spouses, economists concluded that deporting millions would disrupt the economy and cost many U.S.-born workers their jobs.

DHS Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population

A new DHS report estimates that 11 million illegal immigrants lived in the United States as of January 1, 2022. That's about 1 million fewer than the estimate of 12 million illegal immigrants in 2015. The total for 2022 is higher than in 2020 but lower. than the 11.6 million illegal immigrants estimated to be living in the United States in 2018.

This report estimates two populations to obtain the estimate of the illegal immigrant population: 1) the total foreign-born population living in the United States as of January 1 of each year in the series, and 2) the population born in the foreigner in a legal situation. same dates, according to DHS. The illegal immigrant population estimate is the residual when the second population is subtracted from the first population.

Among the main conclusions:

– About 80%, or 8.7 million of the 11 million illegal immigrants arrived in the United States before 2010. This means that the vast majority of illegal immigrants have lived in the United States for more than a decade.

– The population of illegal immigrants from Mexico continued to decline, from 5.5 million in 2018 to 4.8 million in 2022, or about 180,000 per year.

– After Mexico, the largest populations of illegal immigrants came from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The number of illegal immigrants from Guatemala (750,000) and Honduras (560,000) increased by 21% and 24%, respectively, compared to 2018, mainly between January 2019 and January 2020, according to the DHS report.

– The population of illegal immigrants from India decreased by 54% and from China by 47% between 2018 and 2022.

– California (2.6 million) and Texas (2.1 million) were the top states of residence for the unauthorized population in 2022, followed by Florida (590,000), New Jersey (490,000), l Illinois (420,000) and New York (410,000).

Donald Trump's deportation plan

Former President Donald J. Trump plans an extreme expansion of his crackdown on immigration in his first term if he returns to power in 2025, including preparing to round up large-scale undocumented people already in the states -United and detaining them in sprawling camps in the meantime. be deported, reports the New York Times.

According to Charlie Savage, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Swan, he plans to scour the country for illegal immigrants and deport millions of people each year. The idea is to use local police and the National Guard from states with Republican governors.

To ease the pressure on ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] In detention centers, Mr. Trump wants to build huge camps to hold people while their cases are processed and they await deportation flights, the New York Times reports. And to circumvent any refusal by Congress to appropriate the necessary funds, Mr. Trump would redirect money from the military budget, as he did in his first term, to spend more on a border wall than Congress had authorized.

A policy that focuses law enforcement resources on deporting every illegal person would not prioritize the removal of dangerous individuals from the United States. Using local police to enforce immigration laws on a large scale would, by definition, reduce the time police spend on crime prevention in their cities and towns.

What economists think about Trump's deportation plan

The Congressional Research Service reports that about 45 percent of illegal immigrant adults ages 15 and older are married, with about 41 percent married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse. According to 2018 estimates, 5.2 million children aged 17 or younger (7% of the total U.S. child population) lived with at least one unauthorized immigrant parent. Eighty-five percent of these children were American citizens.

Economists reject the idea that mass deportations would free up jobs for American workers. They point out that this belief is based on the labor fallacy, which assumes that there is a fixed number of jobs in an economy. Analysts note that immigrants increase the number of jobs through consumer spending, entrepreneurship and other means.

Michael Clemens, professor of economics at George Mason University, reviewed research by Professor Chloe East of the University of Colorado, who explored the impact of enforcement measures under the state enforcement program. Immigration Secure Communities. Mass evictions under gated communities have significantly harmed American workers county by county, reducing both their employment and their wages, Clemens writes. The worst harm has been inflicted on the least educated and most vulnerable American workers.

According to Clemens, the findings imply that for every million illegal immigrant workers captured and deported from the United States, 88,000 Native American workers were forced out of their jobs. Clemens calculates that if the U.S. government deported three million illegal immigrant workers a year, that would mean 263,000 fewer jobs filled by Native American workers, a figure that gets worse with each additional year that mass deportations continue. He notes that this does not include temporary layoffs. They represent a persistent decline in the number of jobs available to American workers.

Why do deportations of illegal immigrants hurt American workers? The answer is that the U.S. labor market is more complex than the cartoon economy in the minds of some politicians, who think business owners faced with a loss of immigrant workers will simply hire local workers. [U.S.-born] workers to replace them, Clemens writes in an analysis for the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

In the real economy, employers respond in several other ways, Clemens notes. Business owners hit by sudden reductions in labor supply invest less in new business creation. They invest their capital in other sectors and technologies that make less intensive use of less-skilled labor, which also reduces demand for American workers. . . . And at the same time, the disappearance of migrant workers also dries up local demand in grocery stores, rental offices and other non-market services. According to Clemens, the demand for all workers exceeds the reduction in the supply of foreign workers and most American workers will be worse off.

Use legal channels to control illegal immigration

There are policy options to control illegal immigration using incentives. According to a study by the National Foundation for American Policy, expanding legal avenues reduces illegal entry more effectively than traditional approaches focused solely on law enforcement. Border Patrol data shows that the Biden administration's work visa and humanitarian parole programs have been far more effective against illegal immigration than the Trump administration's enforcement-only policies.

The reduced supply of foreign-born workers starting in 2017 contributed to inflation and led to slower economic growth in 2022. The latest estimate of the illegal immigrant population provides an opportunity to examine the assumptions behind the expulsion of millions of immigrant workers.




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