Recently, Mark challenged Spartans to write an article about how to deport the 11 million illegals in the US. Since the challenge has not been taken up, it is time once again for me to step in and to explain the challenges associated with deporting 11 million illegals.
The Scope of the Problem
Before considering whether it is feasible to deport every illegal in the US, we must consider the scope of the problem.
First, no one really knows how many illegals are really in the US. Some believe there are 11 million, others say 20 million, and some suggest 40 million illegals.
Illegals exist in every ethnic group of persons living all across the US (except American Indians) and are fully integrated into US life and society. Over 50% have been in the US for at least 13 years, and 66% at least 10 years. Only 15% have been present under 2 years.
One third of the illegals today are homeowners. Most “illegal” families have “mixed status” where legals and illegals exist in the same “nuclear family”. The wife may be legal and husband not….two kids legal, and two kids not, etc. Illegals may even be your neighbor, and you would not know it.
Illegals work in different fields across the country. They run their own businesses or they are employed by businesses. It is estimated that 8 million illegals work in the US. (Contrary to popular perception, large corporations do not hire the most illegals. It is small businesses that hire the most, 62% by some estimates.)
Illegals may have either entered the country illegally (the vast majority) or are the product of visa overstays. This imposes significant issues for tracking them.
Illegals Entering the US
There are two ways that illegals enter the US.
Illegal Border Entry – Illegal border entry means that people cross the border through other than border entry control points. This is the method typically employed, people just cross where they can, and then “disappear” into the populace, with no record of their arrival. Often, they are never “seen” again and do not show up in existing government immigration databases.
Many do eventually “show up” in government records at some point, usually through some type of employment, admission to school, through the criminal justice system or state or federal aid programs.
The US has literally no idea how many illegals have entered the country this way, nor where or who they are.
Visa Overstays – Overstays are a significant percentage of the illegals in the US. About 40 percent of illegal immigrants in the United States have overstayed their tourist, education, or work visas, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The government estimates that there are around four-to-five million so-called over stayers out of the more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. today. (This is easier to track because all come through government entry points.)
Tracking and Finding Illegal Immigrants
Now that we have a general idea of the scope of the problem, it is appropriate to look at tracking and finding of illegal immigrants.
It is not just a manner of waiving a magic wand or looking at a government database and finding all illegals in the country. Illegals take active steps to avoid being found, or else they simply ignore activities where they could be discovered.
Overstay Tracking – When a person enters the US by Visa, he must provide details of reasons for entering the country, job position and company, residence where he will stay, etc. (Same applies for other entries like for school.) This allows for ICE and DHS to keep track of the person for future contact.
Those who decide to overstay their Visa’s, or else decide that they do not want to return to their home country are easily able to get around this restriction…….they change jobs and move, so ICE can no longer keep track of them. Now they are “lost” and untrackable, until a workforce or school reentry occurs, or some other action brings them back into government accountability.
Illegal Border Entry – Illegal Border Entries cause a similar but distinctly different problem for ICE. This problem is even more insurmountable than Overstay tracking.
These people do not enter through valid entry control ports. Instead, they sneak across the border where security is lax, often through the assistance of “mules”. Once across the border, they are transported to their source destination, or else to transportation hubs where they can scatter across the country.
The government has no idea how many people have flooded across the border, nor their identities, unlike those who enter through the Visa process. They have no ability to track these people at all, until they “surface” into the “system”. Hence, no one knows how many illegals have entered the country, nor where they are.
The problem that arises from a lack of tracking ability is how to find the illegal within the US if they do not surface into government databases.
Methods of Identifying Illegals
There are numerous methods that might be employed to track down illegals, but none are fool proof, or even able to identify more than a portion. Some methods include:
- E-Verify is considered by many to be the solution for getting a grip on illegals in country. The idea is that if an illegal tries to gain employment, the prospective employer checks E-Verify to determine if the name and social security number are correct. If not, they don’t hire the person and notify the government and ICE.
E-Verify is not fool proof. There is an industry built up for supplying names, social security numbers and id’s to illegals. Illegals apply for the job using the purchased names and numbers, and when the website states that it is a valid matching name and number, all is good. Only months or years later, it may be discovered that the person is not who they say they are. When confronted, the illegal leaves and drops back into the underground economy, until the next time.
- State and Federal Government Services and databases are another way that the illegal can be identified. If a person goes for any type of government assistance, enrolls in schools or colleges, or goes for health care, it is possible to access this information for illegal identification, provided the information provided to the agency is correct.
- Driver’s Licenses are issued to illegals in at least 12 states. This could be another method for identifying the illegal since the license is required to have on it a mark indicating that the person is illegal.
- The legal system offers another way to identify illegals in the country. When apprehended for a crime, the police can check the person’s legal record, birth etc., through various other agencies. This allows them to identify the person and the legal status to be in country.
There are other ways to identify illegals in country, but these are the most common ways.
The Problems with Identification through these methods
The methods above all offer different ways to identify illegal aliens in the US. But the methods all have their drawbacks that restrict effectiveness.
First, and foremost, none of these systems individually or combined will “catch” all illegals. They will only capture a portion in their data bases.
Second, in many cases, use of one system may require the use of another system to flag the individual. For example, E-Verify would be run through the IRS, who would then have to notify ICE of any illegal attempting to obtain employment.
Third, many of the ways to identify illegals are state systems. States like California are refusing to cooperate with ICE and the federal government, so these people go “undetected” and allowed to remain in the US.
Fourth, the information in the databases is often incorrect. So even if reported to ICE, it means nothing because ICE will not be able to find them.
Fifth, large numbers are not in the databases, so they remain unknown to the government. That is why no one knows how many illegals are in the US.
Sixth, without effective border controls, many more are coming into the US daily. So you deport some, and more find their way in or return.
Finally, since we do not know how many are actually in country, how do we know when all have been deported?
Now that we have have an idea of the scope of the problem, in Part 2, we will look at the resources necessary to finding and deporting illegals in the US.