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September 20, 2017

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Looking at immigrant populations and immigration enforcement laws by state

Does ‘self-deportation’ work? How much does it cost to deport someone?


Source: Migration Policy Institute

Nevada had the fifth highest rate of increase in the country among the foreign-born population from 1990 to 2010.

As immigration issues keep getting peppered into presidential debates and the back and forth between the GOP and Democrats in the lead up to the general election, a lot of interesting and informative reports are being released on immigration, many of which are making good use of the 2010 census data.

The March/April issue of Mother Jones has an analysis of the immigration laws passed across the country since 2010.

Nevada does not factor into the analysis much, but it is an interesting analysis of the various laws passed throughout the US and which states have crafted the most legislation regarding immigrants.

The article is accompanied by a database that list all of the laws passed since 2010 in each state.

The Mother Jones article also maps Pew Hispanic Center data showing changes in state populations of unauthorized immigrants.

Nevada has the highest percentage of unauthorized immigrants as a share of the total state population, 7 percent, in the country. Nevada also ranks number one in the share of the labor force made up of unauthorized immigrants, 10 percent. However, while other states have shown dramatic increases in the number of unauthorized immigrants in recent years, from 2007 to 2010 Nevada’s unauthorized immigrant population dropped an estimated 20 percent.

From 1990 to 2010 Nevada ranked fifth in the nation in the rate of growth of the state’s immigrant population, according to a Migration Policy Institute analysis of census data.

The analysis of 2010 census data also includes state-by-state fact sheets detailing interesting factoids about each state’s immigrant population.

Between 2000 and 2009, the foreign-born population in Nevada changed from 316,593 to 506,505, a 60 percent change. From 1990 to 2000m Nevada’s foreign-born population changed from 104,828 to 316,593, a difference of 202.0 percent.

Look at the Nevada fact sheet.

After sifting through all this data and clicking on the color-coded maps included with each analysis, check out this February report from the Center for American Progress, a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization, that shed some light on whether those 164 immigration laws passed by various state governments will lead to "self-deportation."

From the report’s summary:

"Immigrants’ reaction to anti-immigrant laws

1. Most unauthorized immigrants make the decision to stay in the country despite attempts to drive them out. The proliferation of state-level antiimmigrant laws has not changed the calculus for immigrants when it comes to choosing to stay here or return home.

2. At best, anti-immigrant laws simply drive immigrants from one area to another—say from one county to the next, or from one state to the next—rather than from the country. At worst, they further isolate immigrants from the communities they live in and from local law enforcement, while driving families deeper into the shadows.

The reasons behind their decision to stay

1. Most undocumented immigrants have been in the country for 10 years or more, and the majority live in family units with children, meaning that they are well settled into American life, making it less likely that they would want to leave.

2. The costs of a return trip also are too steep for most people.

3. Finally, the stark lack of opportunities in the migrants’ home countries—which pushed them to enter the United States outside of legal status in the first place—have not gone away, leaving them with little reason to believe that life would be better there than in the United States."

So, if "self-deportation" isn't occurring, what would it actually cost to forcibly deport all of the unauthorized immigrants in the country?

This January Business Insider article estimates the cost of deporting all of the U.S. immigrants without a legal status.

The article cites a 2010 report from the Center for American Progress: "If US were to undertake a mass deportation campaign its cost over five years would be $285 billion, which 'would mean new taxes of $922 for every man, woman, and child in our country.'"

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