Leading US experts have flatly rejected a new estimate of 22 million illegal immigrants residing in the US.
On Friday, a team from the Yale School of Management released a report which estimated the illegal immigration population in the US at 22 million, nearly double the accepted value of 11.3 million.
Condemnation from all sides was swift.
The Pew Research Center discounted the results as "completely inconsistent with basic demographic data sources in the US and Mexico." Pew's estimates of the illegal immigrant population constitute the gold standard in the business and are widely accepted by both pro and anti-immigration advocates.
While we consider Pew as generally sympathetic to migrants, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) is not. The CIS has historically supported restrictions on immigration. Nevertheless, CIS Director of Research Steven Camarota was swift to reject the Yale teams' findings as 'unsupportable'. In a Saturday note, Camarota writes that a 22 million estimate "requires accepting that every Census Bureau survey missed huge numbers of people and that most administrative data from the federal government is woefully incomplete. There is no body of research that corroborates such a claim."
Nor did the Yale study find any help from a team at the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute. They note: "[P]eople leave footprints that are seen in statistical records—namely in birth, death, school enrollment, housing, and other records...We believe these new numbers [from Yale] represent at most an interesting academic exercise, but are ultimately greatly off-base and thus counterproductive to the public’s very real need to understand the true scope of illegal immigration and how best to address it."
These three think tanks -- Pew, CIS and MPI -- materially comprise US expertise in illegal immigrant demographics. That they universally and rapidly rejected the claims of the Yale team suggest that the 22 million estimate is unlikely to gain traction in policy circles.