Democratizing Data

Democratizing Data

US Undocumented Population Continued to Fall from 2016 to 2017 and Visa Overstays Significantly Exceeded Illegal Crossings for the Seventh Consecutive Year

This paper finds that the US undocumented population from Mexico declined by 1.3 million people from 2010 to 2017, including a decrease of 400,000 from 2016 to 2017. For the first time ever, Mexican nationals constitute less than half of the total US undocumented population. The paper also finds that visa overstays contributed significantly more to the population of newly undocumented residents than illegal border crossers from 2010 to 2017. It recommends that the administration and Congress work together to: 1) provide more resources to the US Department of State for their visa-issuance work and 2) pass legislation to legalize the DREAM-Act eligible population, long-term Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries, and “intending immigrants” with US citizen or lawful permanent resident family members. These findings reveal a disconnect between public discourse on the border wall and empirical data, and argue for more nuanced and evidence-based responses to undocumented migration.

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Proposed Public Charge Rule Would Significantly Reduce Legal Admissions and Adjustment to Lawful Permanent Resident Status of Working Class Persons

On October 10, 2018, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued its long-anticipated proposed rule on inadmissibility on public charge grounds. Under the proposed rule, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers would consider receipt of cash benefits and, in a break from the past, non-cash medical, housing, and food benefits in making public charge determinations. This focuses on the potential effect of the proposed rule on two populations, undocumented immigrants and nonimmigrants that would otherwise be eligible for legal permanent resident (LPR) status based on a legally qualifying relationship to a US citizen or LPR living in their household. This CMS report analyzes how these populations in 2016 would have fared under the proposed rule. After placing the rule in historic context, the paper profiles these two populations and examines the characteristics that would mitigate in favor of and against their inadmissibility. The study offers a snapshot of these two groups based on estimates derived from the 2016 American Community Survey (ACS).

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The US Undocumented Population Fell Sharply During the Obama Era: Estimates for 2016
This report shows estimates of the undocumented population residing in the United States in 2016, by country of origin and state of residence. Previous CMS reports have documented the long-term change from rapid population growth in the 1990s, to single-digit rates of growth in 2000 to 2010. This report shows continued declines in the population from most countries and in most states since 2010.

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DREAM Act-Eligible Poised to Build on the Investments Made in Them

This paper outlines the results of a study on young immigrants, known as the Dreamers, who would be eligible for conditional permanent status under the DREAM Act of 2017. The study paints a portrait of a highly productive, integrated group of young Americans, who are deeply committed to the United States and poised to make — with status and time — even more substantial contributions to the communities that have invested in them. These investments include $150 billion that states and localities have to date spent on the education of Dreamers. The paper highlights potential DREAM Act recipients’ large numbers, prevalence throughout the country, high levels of employment and self-employment, long residence, US families, English language proficiency, and education levels. It argues that with time and, particularly, with a path to citizenship, the Dreamers would be able to contribute significantly more to their communities. Finally, the study finds that a large number of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, who will soon lose this status, would qualify for relief under the DREAM Act.

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DHS Overestimates Visa Overstays for 2016; Overstay Population Growth Near Zero During the Year

This paper compares US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates for visa overstays in fiscal year 2016 with estimates from the Center for Migration Studies (CMS). It finds that DHS has overstated the number of people from roughly 30 counties who have overstayed their temporary visas, half of them participants in the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP). In particular, the DHS estimates for 2016 include significant numbers of temporary visa holders who left the undocumented population, but whose departure could not be verified. Thus, the actual number of visa overstays in 2016 was about half of the number estimated by DHS.  The paper also shows that the population growth of visa overstays was near zero in 2016 after adjusting DHS estimates to account for unrecorded departures. The country-specific figures in this paper should help DHS improve verification of departures of temporary visitors and also to reassess decisions about admission to the VWP.

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Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in Peril
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) faces a November 23, 2017, deadline to determine whether to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haiti, first granted following a devastating earthquake in that country in January 2010. Haiti was extended for six...

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