General Question

crazyguy's avatar

How many undocumented immigrants live in the US?

Asked by crazyguy (2676points) 1 month ago

For years now, the estimated number of undocumented immigrants living in the US has been 10–12 million. For instance, according to https://cis.org/sites/cis.org/files/articles/2005/back1405.pdf

the number of “undocumented immigrants” (I believe that is the woke terminology for illegal aliens) was 10.5 million.

Since it is not woke to ask a question about a person’s immigration status on the census forms, we have to depend upon indirect methods to estimate the numbers. This has led to a wide range of estimates. However, Biden and others are basing their thinking on an estimate of 10–12 million which has not changed much since 2005.

I am not an expert in the field, and I would welcome your thoughts on what the number may be and why.

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59 Answers

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy: “the number of “undocumented immigrants” (I believe that is the woke terminology for illegal aliens)”

Why would anyone entertain this “question” after this ^ horseshit?

crazyguy's avatar

@hello321 Only those who may have some interest in estimating the size of the problem.

hello321's avatar

^ It’s not a problem – other than the fact that they are vulnerable and without protection and should have the same rights as every other citizen.

How about we stop criminalizing people, so their numbers are no longer unknown?

Also, what’s the opposite of “woke”, and why is this something to brag about?

crazyguy's avatar

@hello321 Biden and the Democrats would like nothing better than seeing the roll of Democrats voters swollen by upwards of 11 million. If it is even more, so much the better.

Also, what kind of message would decriminalizing send to the hordes of people wanting access to the US? I am not thinking of the ones desperate enough to undertake the journey, but all the others who are waiting for a signal.

Demosthenes's avatar

I don’t know, but I find the fact that we keep illegal immigrants in the country refusing to make them legal but also refusing to deport them to be a ridiculous situation. We can’t have our cake and eat it too. I’d like the government to make up their mind as to what status these people should have instead of this unstable “limbo” status where they live and work here but are occasionally deported if they get caught.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Demosthenes you can’t “deport” them. “Just because” is not a legal reason.

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy: “Biden and the Democrats would like nothing better than seeing the roll of Democrats voters swollen by upwards of 11 million. If it is even more, so much the better.”

Who gives a fuck? Are you a Republican or a human? Choose one.

@crazyguy: “Also, what kind of message would decriminalizing send to the hordes of people wanting access to the US? I am not thinking of the ones desperate enough to undertake the journey, but all the others who are waiting for a signal.”

What kind of message does this send to the victims of US foreign policy? Ummm…again – who gives a fuck? If the US wants to reduce immigration, maybe it should stop acting in the interest of global capital as it destroys other countries. Most of the people who you’ve decided are “illegal” have a greater moral right to be a citizen than me or you.

hello321's avatar

And for the thousandth time, Republicans do not want to stop immigration. They want to keep a terrified, obedient underclass of people who are vital to the economy but unable to obtain the rights of everyone else.

crazyguy's avatar

@Demosthenes I agree. We have been absolutely ambivalent towards the entire situation. We seem to alternate between two actions:

1. Make them legal.
2. Kick them out.

One reason I like the US is that we can make long-range plans. I would hate to be in limbo. The biggest problem in accepting (making legal) the existing illegals in the country is that it encourages more illegals to cross the border. The approach I support has two steps:

1. Secure the border COMPLETELY thus ensuring the problem cannot grow.
2. Only then can we start addressing the existing illegals.
3. The existing illegals can be rather easily separated into two batches – ones you don’t mind keeping, and one that you do NOT want to keep.

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy: “The existing illegals can be rather easily separated into two batches – ones you don’t mind keeping, and one that you do NOT want to keep.”

Yeah. Maybe we could mark some with a yellow badge.

crazyguy's avatar

@hello321 I have tried in vain to continue discussions with you. All discussion requires a basic agreement on principles. I cannot accept your principles. Therefore, any further discussion would be futile, and I will not engage in futile messaging.

hello321's avatar

^ Translation: “I’m not used to being challenged, so I don’t know how to respond.”

mazingerz88's avatar

Underlying hateful principles do not help legit questions. As to how many, hopefully not as many as trump minions who hate undocumenteds.

crazyguy's avatar

@mazingerz88 The total number of ballots cast in the 2020 Presidential election were of the order of 155 million. If the number approaches or exceeds 10% of the total ballots cast, would that cause you some concern?

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s pointless to guess. What must be understood is that there will be no stable and effective deterrence of the undocumented minus the incentive to reduce manual labor to the realm of slave wages. Our is a system whereby the lowliest of businesses as well as households are required by necessity to adhere to the corporate model.

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy – Name one country in which your proposed ideas have actually worked,

stanleybmanly's avatar

There is no way in hell that illegal votes by immigrants and citizens combined approach 10% of totals.

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JLeslie's avatar

No idea, but certainly the US purposefully looked the other way for many years, basically using the immigrant population, and then to years later be hostile towards them and threaten deportation is insane to me.

We need to fix the system, give more work visas.

Immigrants don’t suddenly become citizens. They get work visas, and then green cards, and then eventually can become citizens. We can make immigrants legal and not citizens. Only citizens can vote for President. Their children would be citizens if they were born here.

Not all immigrants are Democrats. Venezuelans and Cubans are mostly Republican. I don’t remember if you were born here or immigrated here, if it’s the latter, obviously you are aligned with the Republicans. Most of my ex-boyfriend’s family are Republicans, they came here many years ago from Ecuador.

elbanditoroso's avatar

There are only two undocumented immigrants.

The rest of your 10 million are made up scare-stories by the republican party, to get their political points across.

The actual problem is miniscule.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie You say, and I am paraphrasing, that if anybody immigrated here, “obviously you are aligned with the Republicans.” That, my dear, is a provably false statement. Most of my friends who were in the same boat as me have become Democrats. Most of the illegal immigrants vote Democratic. So please provide a citation for your statement.

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy I’m not arguing that. Most are Democrats, but it’s not 90%. I think it’s around 55–60%. A lot of new citizens don’t vote also. Especially, if language is an issue. A lot of immigrants don’t become citizens or wait years past when eligible.

What are the Republicans doing wrong that a lot of immigrants don’t want to vote for them? Most immigrants come here legally.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie Hooray. Perhaps you did misspeak! Actually you missed the mark by a lot.

“Nationally, Biden appears to have gotten support from roughly twice as many Latino voters as President Trump”. This is from
https://www.npr.org/2020/11/05/931378189/what-we-know-about-the-latino-vote-in-some-key-states

So it looks like 65–70%. And that is among all Latino voters. I am certain the ones that depend on Democrats to be allowed to stay in this country vote Democratic in larger numbers.

Why can’t you see that illegal immigration hurts most Americans? It helps the Democratic politicians stay in power. And that is the reason they are all for it.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@crazyguy

“Why can’t you see that illegal immigration hurts most Americans” show me how that happens.

Real sources, not op-ed’s from NewsMax !

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy I’m arguing for legal immigration. I want more work visas given out and we should give asylum to people who are truly in danger. We maybe should also have a better path for people who get educated here.

Most immigrants are not in favor of wide open borders. They understand countries have borders and if they came here legally they resent when other immigrants get a much easier ticket to being legal in America.

Voting for Biden is not necessarily a true barometer, because Biden followed Trump. A lot of Republicans voted for Biden.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie I am 100% for following all the laws of this great country. If any law is considered unnecessary it should be taken off the books.

If you are arguing for legal immigration, you have to stop illegal immigration. You say: “we should give asylum to people who are truly in danger.” Now you are opening up the slippery path of:
1. Who defines “truly in danger”?
2. Where does the applicant stay while his/her application for asylum is adjudicated?
3. How do you ensure that the applicant shows up for his/her asylum hearing?
4. If an applicant commits an illegal act (like crossing our SACROSANCT border), what happens to him/her?

Biden has answered these questions as follows:

1. Danger includes economic peril.
2. Un the US.
3. Honor system.
4. Nothing. Nada.

hello321's avatar

Here is a good illustration why people want to criminalize people. Capitalists can still make a profit from their labor, but can underpay them and stop them from organizing under threat of deportation. ICE acts as a union-busting terrorist organization for capital.

JLeslie's avatar

Yeah, gotta wonder how many Republican voting businessmen are using undocumented workers. I think a lot. They like the system as it is, because they can abuse the labor force. Democrats use illegal immigrants too, I am not saying they don’t, but they actually vote to help change the laws so the people can have working papers.

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crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie You, along with tens of millions of other Democrats, have been brainwashed into thinking that any attempt to restrict illegal immigration is an attempt to abuse the labor force. On the one hand, you guys want a minimum wage; on the other hand you want to increase the competition at the lowest wage levels. GEEZ!

JLeslie's avatar

What? I think we should strengthen our borders, improve the application system for working visas, and be realistic about the labor force that is needed, and what America is meant to be, a place for liberty and opportunity.

Who should we let in, just people with money? What about people in war torn countries where their life is in danger every day like Syria? What about countries that have been torn up by Americans fighting a war like Vietnam? What about a poor person who wants to come to America for an education? What about someone who has spoken out against their communist country and their life is in danger? Do we not let anyone come? What about people starving in their countries because of drought?

How does a poor person in Guatemala figure out the application process ot come to work in America? They have people telling them lies about crossing the border, getting asylum, etc. Put yourself in their place, they don’t necessarily know any better, and are not trying to harm anyone.

The Democrats were naive about the border in my opinion, and now Biden is being criticized for also holding immigrants at the border, but the reality is before Trump there were immigrants being held in detention centers too. Trump’s BIG mistake was systematically separating children from their parents. That was insane.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie You said: I think we should strengthen our borders, improve the application system for working visas, and be realistic about the labor force that is needed, and what America is meant to be, a place for liberty and opportunity. Those words I agree with 100%.

Then you wander off into different areas. I agree with most of them. The only one that causes me concern is: What about people starving in their countries because of drought? I am not sure why that is any different from poor.

As far as helping poor people in Guatemala figure out the application process, I have nothing to add except to say: I feel bad for them but it is not America’s problem or fault.

Biden, in my opinion, will make sure that the 2022 elections will see an even larger-than-normal backlash to the Democrats.

JLeslie's avatar

We’ll see about 2022. I have no predictions yet.

stanleybmanly's avatar

“It is not America’s problem or fault”. It’s not our problem? Then why all the fuss? It’s not our fault? What do YOU think you know about OUR history in Guatemala?

stanleybmanly's avatar

This fight over how to defend our borders is pointless as long as you ignore the inescapable truth that it does not matter how well you barricade this country. Destitution will drive the desperate here, even were we to threaten them with death. You don’t have to think very hard to understand the implications in the fact that people abandon hope to the extent that they will sacrifice their children to the risks of sending them here unaccompanied. That is the sort of desperation against which there is no practical defense.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The whole immigration thing can’t bs assigned as “my fault” or “your fault”. It goes back 200+ years to the Monroe Doctrine (1823) when then-president Monroe said (basically), that the Western hemisphere was our hemisphere and more-or-less ours to control.

So if you want to blame someone, it’s the policy of our founding fathers.

The US created an atmosphere were Central and South America looked to the US as their guide and protector. The immigration stuff of the last 50 years (not just the Trump wall) are all manifestations of the dependencies that the US created.

So for someone to say “It isn’t our problem” is ridiculous. It is a problem we created for ourselves 198 years ago and simply have to live with.

crazyguy's avatar

@elbanditoroso You have a point – we do have to lie in the bed we made. Is that any different from following the Constitution?

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy I get the feeling you think people who come here poor, stay poor, and so do their children and grandchildren. Don’t make the mistake a lot of Republicans make, which is over-focusing on the immigrant generation. People get upset they don’t speak English. All children born in America speak English, so this is just the people who actually immigrated here who sometimes struggle with learning English. Many of them are poor, but they are working in jobs that still are very important to our economy, and they are poor, because they are underpaid. Most immigrants want to work.

Here is information on income class and immigrants, 1st generation, and 2nd.

Let’s not forget some of our greatest scientists and businessmen have been immigrants! Imagine if America had let more Jews into America when Europe was trying to kill us. Great medical science and computer science happens in Israel, some of them might have been here instead. I only mention the Jews, because I know something about it, but there are many examples.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@crazyguy I think you’re trying to oversimplify things. The Monroe Doctrine kicked off a series of historical events that have evolved over the last 200 years. Various revolutions (Panama, Nicaragua, and so on), various decolonizations (Belize, for example, and Honduras, etc.) The Doctrine was a starting point, but because of the vicissitudes of history, has changed and adapted. Not always to our liking (see: Venezuela). But the US has always been considered the guarantor of the Americas.

Same with the US Constitution. We started with a document in 1789. Closely after that (like: weeks) we started adding amendments. And we continue to add Amendments even today – the 27th was added in 1992. And the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution every week.

So the parallel I would make is that the Constitution evolves with time and experience, just as the Monroe Doctrine did.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie I think you hit the nail on the head. The Jews could not enter the US without papers, so they did not. The illegals have land links to us, so they can and do.

Keep in mind the Jews did enter Palestine because they could.

@elbanditoroso Agreed. I am trying to simplify things, not necessarily for you but for others who may be following the thread.

I looked up the history of the Monroe Doctrine. The intent of the doctrine was to keep European colonial powers out of America, not to guarantee economic prosperity for all Americans.

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy Jews DIED because of America’s antisemitism. WTH?! And, missed out on the greatness my group brought to other countries.

Plenty of people here today are descendants of people who came here illegally. Or, overstayed illegally.

You’re right, it is different when there is a land border, more people can more easily cross over. So? That’s true in every part of the world. When the 3rd world borders an industrialized nation this is a common occurrence.

Republicans were just fine giving Cubans asylum when they floated over, because they believed it helped them get the state of Florida, but you accuse Democrats of that. Pot calling the kettle black.

WHY are you so hell bent on keeping people out? I’m serious that I want to know specifically why? How exactly do you think immigrants are hurting the country? Economically? Crime? Culture? What is it?

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie I have clarified my position several times; but let me put it all together.

1. I believe that immigration is the big divider between countries like the US and countries like China. We shall continue to dominate because we’ll continually be replenishing our workforce.

2. However, since labor requirements change from time to time (I know this well because engineers were not welcome when I was immigrating), it is of great importance that any potential immigrant be screened before entry.

3. I would be in favor of eliminating numerical annual quotas. Any potential immigrant who satisfies our requirements should be admitted immediately.

4. Illegal entry should be denied to all. Visa overstays should be deported as soon as they can be identified and found.

5. I think your statement Jews DIED because of America’s antisemitism. is nothing more than emotion.

6. Countries with land borders need extra protections against smuggling of people and goods. If England had land borders, they would have had a wall decades, if not centuries, ago.

7. Throughout history, Walls have been employed to keep people out, for in. They do work; I suspect that is the reason for opposing them.

8. As a Democrat, who is all for the little guy, I do not understand why you are so hell bent on creating competition for them by letting in untrained individuals who will work for one-tenth the minimum wage.

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy Again, I am for revamping immigration so they are here legally. More work visas.

Emotion. Ok. What about Adolfo Kaminsky who forged thousands of passports to help Jews escape the Nazis? Mostly children. Those Jews migrated across country lines illegally.

What about the ship full of Jews Roosevelt refused? Luckily, England took them.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie You are proving yourself the master of deflection. This thread is about illegal immigrants, not the legal ones. We agree on the possibility of increasing the number of legal immigrants allowed every year, or possibly eliminating the quotas.

However, I think, we are miles apart on the issue of illegal immigration. I am strongly opposed to any and all illegal immigration. You have in the past been favorable inclined to letting in people who show up at our borders. For instance, on this thread, you stated:

Who should we let in, just people with money? What about people in war torn countries where their life is in danger every day like Syria? What about countries that have been torn up by Americans fighting a war like Vietnam? What about a poor person who wants to come to America for an education? What about someone who has spoken out against their communist country and their life is in danger? Do we not let anyone come? What about people starving in their countries because of drought?

While I empathize with the desperate people in other countries, I do not think the US can help them all. And therefore should stick to its principles.

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy: “And therefore should stick to its principles.”

principles like overthrowing governments, extracting resources and exploiting labor, and criminalizing people in order to keep an obedient class of people who have no power. The US is a shit country with shit principles.

Strauss's avatar

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” This country’s greatness and true genius lies in its diversity.

Emma Lazarus

stanleybmanly's avatar

It always troubles me when immigrants who themselves manage to buy their way here or have the good fortune to get in through the efforts of relatives or influential friends, turn around and insist that we slam the door on those unable to avail themselves of such advantages.

mazingerz88's avatar

^^Some Asians here in our county mostly from China went on the streets to protest against border crossers who were now part of the community. They complained that they came in here legally and waited for years to be citizens. Selfish ingrates. Like they wouldn’t cross the border if China instead of Mexico was down south. It’s a natural yet contemptible human behavior, once you’re in the boat safe from the sharks, your first instinct is to keep others from climbing in.

JLeslie's avatar

@mazingerz88 Plenty of Latin Americans feel the same as the Chinese people you describe.

mazingerz88's avatar

^^I have no doubt. Human nature. I also have no doubt that there is a sensible, workable and humane solution to this immigration issue. American political leaders are playing silly games imo.

crazyguy's avatar

@Strauss Those lines are awesome. However, you know as well as I, that we cannot lay out the welcome mat for the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. because, if we do, we shall be inundated even worse than the current situation on the southern border.

crazyguy's avatar

@mazingerz88 I am also certain that there is a solution to the this immigration issue. However, the issue keeps getting larger and larger, with the full encouragement of Biden and his fellow Democrats, who do not want a solution to the existing problem. For fairly obvious reasons.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie @mazingerz88 Mazinger, you said: It’s a natural yet contemptible human behavior, once you’re in the boat safe from the sharks, your first instinct is to keep others from climbing in. I am not sure I see the behavior as contemptible. You yourself describe the behavior as ‘natural’. If you are a legal pr illegal immigrant, struggling to make ends meet, I do not understand why you want additional competition.

mazingerz88's avatar

^^And therein lies your true nature. Biden and the Democrats are solving the problem. You just don’t see the problem for what it truly is.

crazyguy's avatar

@mazingerz88 Like they say, you can lead a horse to the trough, but you cannot make him drink…

stanleybmanly's avatar

Particularly when the trough is filled with poisoned kool aid.

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