More Proof That We Can Get Rid Of Illegals Using Enforcement By Attrition

One of the canards that the open borders and amnesty crowd has pushed the hardest is that the only way to get rid of the illegal immigrants in the US is to hunt all 12 million of them down individually and deport them. Since this is impossible, they argue that we might as well not even bother to try.

However, as those of us who are serious about dealing with illegal immigration have been pointing out for years, if we cut off the supply of jobs for illegals and make life here tougher on illegals, most illegals will self-deport. In other words, you don’t have to catch them one by one because if the environment here is inhospitable enough, they’ll just go home on their own.

Well, guess what? The Center for Immigration studies has put out a report showing that enforcement by attrition is already occurring in the United States, which is rather notable given the Bush Administration’s half-hearted approach to enforcing our nation’s immigration laws,

The report by the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based think tank, says that the number of illegal immigrants fell about 11% between last August and May, from 12.5 million to 11.2 million.

The study was based on an analysis of census data and concludes that if that rate of decline is sustained, the number of illegal immigrants will be halved in five years.

Steve A. Camarota, the center’s research director, acknowledged that the economy played a role in the decline but said that several factors pointed to enforcement as key. For instance, the legal immigrant population continues to grow, while the fall-off in illegal immigrants began even before unemployment began rising.

“It seems that increased enforcement has played a significant role,” Camarota said.

Camarota also said the data suggested that many illegal immigrants were leaving of their own accord. The decline in their number is much larger than the tally of those removed by the government, the report says.

“It challenges the idea that there is no way to deal with the problem but for creating some kind of legal status [for illegal immigrants],” Camarota said. “And it seems you don’t have to deport everyone.”

Independent demographers said they also had seen a drop in the illegal immigrant population. But some questioned the study’s methodology, decline figures and underlying assumptions.

“Our data aren’t inconsistent with the idea that people are leaving,” said Jeffrey S. Passel, a senior demographer with the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan Washington think tank.

But he added: “I don’t see in my numbers anywhere near the decline he’s talking about.”

Now we can quibble about how big the numbers really are, but everyone seems to be acknowledging the number of illegals is dropping. Furthermore, if the CIS is right and “the number of illegal immigrants will be halved in five years,” that would be an enormous step in the right direction.

Whatever the case may ultimately be, what we are finding out here is that enforcement by attrition does work in the real world and that we don’t have to simply acquiesce to allowing illegals to stay in this country because it would be too difficult to do otherwise.

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