Archive for July, 2009

The Cosmic Race

The National Council of La Raza has just wrapped up its annual conference in Chicago. While I think Tom Tancredo was engaging in hyperbole when he described La Raza as “a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses” (that describes instead MEChA and the Brown Berets), there’s more to the comparison than people might realize.

La Raza’s attempt to explain away their name as meaning “the people” or “the community” instead of “the race” notes correctly, and approvingly, that the phrase was coined by former Mexican secretary of education Jose Vasconcelos in the 1920s as “La Raza Cosmica.” But maybe they didn’t look closely enough at the theoretical underpinnings of the concept. Here’s what Guillermo Lux and Maurilio Vigil wrote about it in Aztlan: Essays on the Chicano Homeland:

The concept of La Raza can be traced to the ideas and writings of Jose Vasconcelos, the Mexican theorist who developed the theory of la raza cosmica (the cosmic or super race) at least partially as a minority reaction to the Nordic notions of racial superiority. Vasconelos developed a systematic theory which argued that climatic and geographic conditions and mixture of Spanish and Indian races created a superior race. The concept of La Raza connotes that the mestizo is a distinct race and not Caucasian, as is technically the case.

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He’s Just Not That Into You

Schadenfreude alert: “Obama loses immigration allies; Activists picket, feel betrayed by administration policies.” Actually, though, I’m sure Rahm Emanuel chuckles appreciatively anytime the lefties accuse the White House of being too tough on immigration
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Illegal-Immigrant Population Declines: Numbers Down Significantly Since 2007

Contact: Steven Camarota
(202) 466-8185, sac@cis.org

WASHINGTON (July 30, 2009) – An analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies of monthly data collected by the Census Bureau shows that fewer illegal immigrants are coming and more are returning home. The findings also show that the legal immigrant population has not declined. As a result, the overall foreign-born population has held relatively steady. The report examines the extent to which stepped-up enforcement and the downturn in the economy account for this trend.

The report, “A Shifting Tide: Recent Trends in the Illegal Immigrant Population,” is written by Steven Camarota, the Center’s Director of Research, and Karen Jensenius, the Center’s Demographer.

Among the findings:

  • Our best estimate is that the illegal population declined 13.7 percent (1.7 million) from a peak of 12.5 million in the summer of 2007 to 10.8 million in the first quarter of 2009.

  • If we compare the first quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2009, the implied decline is 1.3 million (10.9 percent). In just the last year the decline was 5.7 percent.

  • By design, these estimates produce results similar to those from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS estimates of the illegal population show a 1.5 percent decline between January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2008. Our estimates show a 1.6 percent decline over the same time period. DHS has not yet estimated the illegal population for January 2009.

  • There is evidence that the number of new illegal immigrants arriving has fallen by about one-third in the last two years compared to earlier in this decade.

  • There is also evidence that the number of illegal immigrants returning home has more than doubled in the last two years compared to earlier in this decade.

  • While migration patterns have fundamentally changed, it must be remembered that the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants have not left the country, and tens of thousands of new illegal immigrants continue to settle in the country each year.

  • Our analysis shows that only the illegal immigrant population has declined. The legal immigrant population does not show the same decline. This is true overall and for Mexico specifically, the top illegal-immigrant-sending country.

  • The fact that the legal immigrant population does not show the same decline is an indication that stepped-up enforcement has played a role.

  • Another indication that enforcement has contributed to the decline is that the illegal immigrant population began falling before there was a significant rise in the unemployment rate for illegal immigrants.

  • While the decline began before unemployment among illegal immigrants rose, since then unemployment among illegal immigrants has increased dramatically and must now be playing a significant role in reducing their numbers.

  • There is evidence that the illegal population rose in the summer of 2007, while Congress was considering legalizing illegal immigrants. When that legislation failed to pass, the illegal population quickly began a dramatic fall.

  • There is no way to know if the current trend will continue. Given President Obama’s stated desire to legalize illegal immigrants and his backing away from enforcement efforts, it seems likely that when the economy recovers, the illegal population will resume its growth.

Discussion: These findings are consistent with anecdotal evidence. They are also consistent with data showing a decline in remittances sent home by immigrants. Additionally, they are in line with a drop in border apprehensions. The decline in the illegal population, whatever the cause, challenges the argument that illegal aliens are so firmly attached to their lives in this country that it is not possible to induce many of them to return home. The evidence indicates that this is not the case. If the current trend were to continue for another five years, it could cut the illegal population in half from its peak in the summary of 2007.

Methodology: This study uses monthly data from the Current Population Survey collected by the Census Bureau. The Department of Homeland Security, the former INS, and other outside research organizations have used Census Bureau data to estimate the illegal immigrant population. We examine trends in the number of foreign-born, less-educated, young, Hispanic immigrants. Prior research indicates that 80 percent of these individuals are in the country illegally. Please see the report itself for more detail.

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‘The Basic Goal Is to Promote the Free Flow of Labor into the USA’

Jim Robb of Numbers USA has some fun with the notes (taken by a participant who grew a conscience) of a closed-door meeting of open-borders lobbyists. It was organized by amnesty czarina Tamar Jacoby, who’s the source of the title of this post.
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PASS ID Act: A Boon for Criminals

In November 2008, an illegal immigrant facing deportation and running for political office in Rhode Island was prosecuted and found guilty of using her position as a Rhode Island DMV clerk to sell driver’s licenses to “out of state” drug dealers with stolen identities. The scam included 11 others. The beauty of the scam was that the DMV clerk, Dolores Rodriguez LaFlamme, was able to pursue her illegal activity because Rhode Island does not verify an applicant’s license information from another state.

But no other state does either, which is why the 2005 federal secure driver’s license law, REAL ID, imposed a “one driver/one license” rule on states, requiring them to ensure that applicants be vetted for other licenses in other states before being issued a license. That rule exists because 18 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were able to get a total of 30 driver’s licenses and non-driver IDs from multiple states.
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Illegal-Immigrant Population Declines: Numbers Down Significantly Since 2007

WASHINGTON (July 27, 2009) – An upcoming analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies of monthly data collected by the Census Bureau will show that fewer illegal immigrants are coming and more are returning home. The findings also show that the legal immigrant population has not declined. As a result, the overall foreign born population has held relatively steady. The report examines the extent to which stepped-up enforcement and the downturn in the economy account for this trend.

The report, entitled, “A Shifting Tide: Recent Trends in the Illegal Immigrant Population,” is embargoed until Wednesday, July 29, at midnight. Advance copies are available to the media. The study will be available online at http://www.CIS.org.

For more information, contact Steven Camarota at (202) 466-8185 or sac@cis.org.

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‘If Mexico had had an avalanche of foreigners so large’

Sergio Sarmiento, a renowned Mexican journalist whose column is syndicated throughout that country, has some interesting observations about the immigration controversy north of the border.

“The resistance in the United States to the Mexican invasion shouldn’t surprise us,” Sarmiento writes (the translation is mine), in a column noting that 11 percent of these born in Mexico are living in the United States. “The growth has been dizzying. In 1960, Mexico was barely seventh among the countries of origin of foreigners in the United States. Now it is first, by far. In 1970, only 760,000 persons born in Mexico lived in the American Union, (representing) 8 percent of the foreigners. By 2008 the number had grown 17-fold, to 12.7 million. In 2009, Mexicans were 21 percent of legal immigrants and 59 percent of the undocumented.”
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