The number of unauthorized immigrants coming to the United States has slowed in the past decade, according to a new report by the International Migration Review, a publication of the Center for Migration Studies that was edited by Ellen Percy Kraly, Colgate’s William R. Kenan Jr. professor of geography.
“The study represents the most comprehensive analysis of the U.S. unauthorized population to date,” said Kraly. “It highlights the dynamic nature of the unauthorized population, particularly the role of departures, and uniquely provides trends — annual estimates over two decades — for each state. This research also anticipates the critical contribution of demographic analysis to U.S. immigration policy evaluation and development.”
Kraly examines immigration policy as it is being discussed in the press. She emphasized close attention to detail and a skeptical eye when it comes to rhetoric used by pundits.
“We should be using evidence rationally, scientifically, and objectively,” Kraly said. “We will be hearing a lot about the size of the unauthorized population in the United States. When you hear the number of one million immigrants being admitted to the United States, that’s very much a legal reference. It has less to do with demography and arrivals.”
Kraly said about half of that 1 million figure are immigrants already in the United States who are changing their legal status, which is then reflected in the numbers. She also said she sees a major immigration overhaul forthcoming.
“I do see those voices emerging on both sides of the aisle … I think if we gain some traction for immigration policy, the future could bode well for other domains of national policy making,” she said.