Immigration Enforcement Grows Weaker; 2 Million Illegal Aliens Enter U.S. since 2000

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 24, 2004 | Go to article overview

Immigration Enforcement Grows Weaker; 2 Million Illegal Aliens Enter U.S. since 2000


Byline: Jerry Seper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Immigration enforcement efforts actually have become more lax since the September 11 attacks and have had "no meaningful impact" on the growing number of immigrants now in the United States - which has reached a record high of 34 million, according to a report released yesterday.

A 13 percent increase of U.S. immigrants, more than 4 million, since 2000 included more than 2 million illegal aliens, who now total about 10 million or 30 percent of the immigrant population, the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), said in its report, based on as-yet-unpublished U.S. Census Bureau data.

The report said that while visa applicants from some parts of the world may have to wait longer for approval and a "tiny number of illegal aliens from selected countries" may have been detained, enforcement efforts did not constitute any major change in U.S. immigration policy.

The fact that immigration has remained so high, the report said, also showed that immigration totals are not tied to the nation's economy, as some immigration proponents and others have suggested.

"The idea that immigration is a self-regulating process that rises and falls in close step with the economy is simply wrong," said Steven Camarota, CIS director of research and the report's author. "Today, the primary sending countries are so much poorer than the United States, even being unemployed in America is still sometimes better than staying in one's home country."

Mr. Camarota said the countries primarily represented among the nation's immigrant population are much poorer than the primary sending countries in the past. The United States' much higher standard of living, he said, exists even during recessions, noting that people come to the United States to join family, to avoid social or legal obligations, to take advantage of the United States' social services, and to enjoy greater personal and political freedom.

"Even a prolonged economic downturn is unlikely to have a large impact on immigration levels. If we want lower immigration levels it would require enforcement of immigration laws and changes to the legal immigration system," he said.

Maryland was among the eight states with the largest increases in immigrant population, along with Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Washington, Arizona and Pennsylvania.

The report comes just two days after President Bush assured Mexico he would expend "political capital" earned in his re-election to push hard to grant temporary guest-worker status to millions of illegal immigrants now in the United States. …

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Immigration Enforcement Grows Weaker; 2 Million Illegal Aliens Enter U.S. since 2000
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