The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michael Earls (202) 261-2388

New Report Underscores Folly & Costs of Mass-Deportation Approach to Immigration

Pew Hispanic Center Report Reveals Limits of Enforcement-Only Agenda: Costs to Taxpayers Will Surge as Undocumented Will Burrow Further Underground


A new report
from the Pew Hispanic Center on the undocumented population in the
United States finds that, despite ramped-up enforcement efforts and the
continued effects of the economic recession, the undocumented population
remains "virtually unchanged" from a year ago, at an estimated 11.2
million persons nationwide. The durable and settled nature of the
undocumented population reveals the limits and costs of an
enforcement-only approach to immigration policy and underscores the
faulty reasoning behind such efforts.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, "The
mass-deportation, ugly fantasies of anti-immigrant lawmakers are just
that - ugly fantasies. Despite unprecedented spending and energy on
immigration enforcement efforts, the undocumented population remains
durable and inextricably part of the fabric of American communities. We
have tried to enforce our way to a better immigration system for years
and it is crystal clear that it isn't working and that the only solution
is comprehensive immigration reform."

Through the lens of the report findings, attempts by Republican
lawmakers in the House of Representatives to propose additional
enforcement-only crackdowns will only serve to drive the undocumented
population further underground - at great cost to American taxpayers and
honest employers. Additionally, despite the Arizona "papers, please"
immigration law and similar copycat laws spreading in a number of state
legislatures, the report shows that the "attrition through enforcement"
theory behind such laws is fatally flawed. Washington Post editorial writer Lee Hockstader captured these dynamics well today, writing,
"In the gusher of new data, one thing that struck me was how deeply
entrenched undocumented migrants are, not just in communities across the
land but in the American economy. Dislodging them in any meaningful
way isn't just nativist fantasy; it's economic folly."

The American people know that comprehensive immigration reform is the only workable solution. According to November 2010 polling by Lake Research Partners,
voters nationwide believe mass deportation is impractical, with 76%
saying "deporting all 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the
United States is unrealistic," including 62% who "strongly" agreed with
the characterization. The same poll found that, after describing what
comprehensive immigration reform legislation would look like, 81% of
voters supported that approach, including 68% who voiced strong support.

America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America's Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.