What It Is Ain't Exactly Clear

Sunday, April 02, 2006
From the INS Annual Enforcement Report

Southwest Border Apprehensions.

Apprehensions along the southwest border increased 26 percent to 1,139,282 in 2004 from 905,065 in 2003 (see Figure 1). This was the first annual increase follow-ing the record level of 1,643,679 set in 2000 and subsequent decline (to 1,235,718 in 2001, 929,809 in 2002, and 905,065 in 2003). In 2004, southwest border apprehensions accounted for 98 percent of all Border Patrol apprehensions.
In 2004, as in every year since 1997, the Tucson, AZ sector had the largest number of apprehensions. Tucson accounted for 491,771 or 43 percent of all southwest border apprehensions in 2004. The next leading sectors were San Diego, CA (138,608), El Paso, TX (104,399), Yuma, AZ (98,060), and McAllen, TX (92,947). These five sectors accounted for 81 percent of all southwest border apprehensions.

The decline in apprehensions in 1986 is undestandable - the regularization measures passed that year. The '74 and '79-'80 downticks align with economic downturns - as does the '00 beginning to the slide that ended in '02-'03. The sharp angle of descent from '00-'02 may be the result of stiffer enforcement subsequent to 9/11 and the upturn in '03-04 may indicate a return to the steep ascent of the late '90's. It is totally unremarkable to assert that apprehensions appear to be a lagging indicator of the state of the economy.

What is rather curious is the relationship between the INS estimate of a total undocumented population of 7 million in 2000 and the media reported number of 12 million in 2006.

The last cited INS report has this to say about the press reports:

Comparison with recent estimates

Although the estimates presented here are higher than INS’ previous estimates, they are lower than other estimates that were reported last year after the release of total U.S. population figures from the 2000 Census. A Washington Post article on March 18, 2001 reported a “growing consensus that the number could…range from 9 million to 11 million or higher.”19
The estimates presented here provide strong evidence that even the 9 million figure probably was 2 million too high. The basis for that assertion can be summarized as follows:
• About 13.5 million foreign-born persons moved to the United States in the 1990 to 1999 period (2000 Census count + INS estimate of undercount);
• Based on INS data, 8.0 million of the 13.5 million were lawful residents;
• That leaves about 5.5 million unauthorized residents who entered in the 1990s;
• An estimated 1.5 million who lived here illegally in 1990 were still living here illegally in 2000;

The INS reports that the average yearly number of those avoiding apprehension for the '90's was about 350,000 with a corresponding annual number of 1,450,000 apprehensions (and deportations) for a "successful evasion" ratio of 19.5%. Applying that ratio to the average deportations from '01-'05 yields a probable increase of 1.1 million for a 2006 total count of 8.1 million. Which means that the press is exagerating the problem by 50% - another totally unremarkable assertion.

Another interesting fact cited by the INS report is that 33% of those staying in the US illegally in 2000 were 'overstays' - people who entered the US on a legal visa and didn't go home when it expired.

If there is another source of reliable numbers concerning the scope of the immigration "crisis", I have been unable to find it. There is no doubt that a problem exists in certain areas - particularly the border states and most particularly Southern California and Tucson wrt high costs and negative impact but one must remember that it is official policy in many locales to actively thwart the INS in the performance of their duties.

How else are ya gonna refill the moats around the Blue Castles?


David Thomson said...

“...but one must remember that it is official policy in many locales to actively thwart the INS in the performance of their duties.”

It is of secondary importance whether it is official policy to “thwart the INS.” An estimated 10-12 million illegals makes all the difference in the world. Local authorities simply lack the wherewithal to deal with the challenge. They have enough trouble going after real criminals.

Try imagining a Peter Sellers comedy regarding a country trying to return millions of people to the country of their birth---especially when you throw in the awkward fact that many of their children are full citizens! It could be hysterically funny. As I have repeatedly pointed out, it is obvious that some folks lack the ability to handle 4th grade math. I am not a respected screen writer like Roger L. Simon. However, I can fake it out. I can imagine a police officer saying the following:

“God help me, I haven’t had a day off in six years since the “Great Illegal Immigration Eviction” began in 2006. My boss tells me that I might get a few hours sleep in the next few weeks. Sigh, I so badly need to use the bathroom, but there is simply not enough time. Will I ever again see my family? Oh well, we somehow already kicked out 2 million illegals. We just got another 8-10 million to go. Who knows? Maybe we can accomplish the original goal by 2050.”

Rick Ballard said...


This is a pretty simple math problem - determine the assets required to annually block 200K illegal entrants and remove and additional 400K per year and in five years people will be wondering where their gardeners went.

Flooding LA with Border Patrol and INS agents for a month would probably net 500K in one sweep.

If the LA City Council would allow it to happen.

As I said on another post - it's the silly season where the pols get to posture and pretend while doing damn near nothing. Perhaps it's better that way.

Five thousand additional Border Patrol agents would do the trick.

chuck said...

I can't help thinking that the 11-12 million figure for the number of illegals was just pulled out of someone's ass. I certainly have no idea what the true number is, but I have seen little to support the large figures being tossed about. The INS estimates are probably as good as we have.

David Thomson said...

“Flooding LA with Border Patrol and INS agents for a month would probably net 500K in one sweep.”

Yup, and their voting age American citizen children will not be pleased. There will be a severe price to be paid.

The bottom line is this:

An estimated 10-12 million illegals are already in the United States and many of their children can vote in the next election!

On top of this harsh reality, have you truly thought about the logistical problems of dealing with 500,000 illegals? No, flippant remarks aren’t sufficient. Have you really given this some thought? How much barbed wire and machine gun carrying guards will be required? Should we shoot these illegals if they try to escape? How far are you willing to go?

David Thomson said...

"I certainly have no idea what the true number is, but I have seen little to support the large figures being tossed about."

What numbers do you feel comfortable with? Are they in the thousands---or in the millions? Please do not dodge this question. Those of us who live in the real world require an answer. A vague response is of little value.

Rick Ballard said...

170 miles due south ought to do it. About 240 busloads a day for thirty days.

Read the INS report DT. The number of illegals with entire families along for the ride is really rather low. 95% of those taken by the Border Patrol volunteer for immediate expulsion.

This is a political fantasy cooked up by the lefties and promoted through the usual suspect foundations, as Clarice noted. You were hollering about the Mexican flags and asking who bought them. The answer is in LA where MECHA and the Atzlan nutters call home. Sweep out the debris - then offer temporary visas.

It's really won't be any different than it is today. Read the report and check out the number of voluntary returns after the last "amnesty". It seems that the vast majority of the illegal entrants just want to pick up some dough and head back south.

David Thomson said...

“Five thousand additional Border Patrol agents would do the trick.”

Yup, you may be right. 5,000 additional border patrol agents may indeed prevent more illegals from entering the United States. But what about those who already reside in the the country---and whose children may have the full right to vote in the next election?

David Thomson said...

“This is a political fantasy cooked up by the lefties and promoted through the usual suspect foundations, as Clarice noted.”

This, if indeed accurate, cannot remain our little secret. It must become the conventional wisdom. How do we alert the rest of the blogosphere? Is the evidence a slam dunk? Is it solid enough to convince any fair minded person?

chuck said...

A vague response is of little value.

Ok, fifty million, absolutely and without any doubt. Print it.

Rick makes a rather good case for 8 million, but it is hard to know for sure. These folks aren't lining up to be counted.

chuck said...

One statistic that would be interesting to know is how many of the illegals are just here for the money, and how many want to stay and raise families. The former would be candidates for a guest worker program while the latter should follow the normal immigration procedures. No doubt part of the problem is simply that no one in Mexico thinks of taking the legal route: too much hassle. On the other hand, I don't think the coyotes offer their services for free, we ought to be able to compete with those guys.

I realize that guest workers tend to settle down and stay. So another interesting statistic would be what percentage of people actually do end up staying.

Rick, any idea why the graph starts its steep upward trend in the late 60's? Something happen in Mexico? Immigration policy in the US? Or did it all just get easier. Hmmm... Maybe this is it:

1968 Act Eliminated US immigration discrimination based on race, place of birth, sex and residence. It also officially abolished restrictions on Oriental US immigration.

I seem to recall a great lessening of immigration controls in my lifetime. No doubt the number of illegals coming in from Mexico is a rational response to objective conditions.

David Thomson said...

"Rick makes a rather good case for 8 million, but it is hard to know for sure. These folks aren't lining up to be counted."

OK, let's go with 8 million. Isn't that figure daunting? How do we kick that many people out of the United States?

Rick Ballard said...


One of the other things which happened in the beknighted sixties was that the bracero program ended. A perfectly good guest worker program that functioned well and allowed seasonal agricultural workers the same opportunity to do legally what a great many of them do illegally today. There were certainly abuses of some workers during the time the program was operative but it functioned. I've read that what finally killed it was pressure from the nascent civil rights movement which objected to its existence because the jobs could theoretically be done by blacks. I don't know if that's true but it's certainly a stupid enough idea for it to be so.

DT, Eight million of anything isn't daunting in an eleven trillion (or is it twelve now) dollar economy. It doesn't have to be accomplished overnight and we don't have to reward illegal entry with citizenship. The more that I look at this the more that I believe that a link exists between the illegal entrants and voter fraud in Southern California and Arizona - perhaps New Mexico. I believe that it is tied to absentee ballots and phony worker documentation but I want to do a bit more research before making an assertion.