Opinion: US government quietly increases illegal immigration projections by 175%

Bad news for entry-level workers and poor working wages, but good news for corporate profits, inflation and Social Security: The feds just dramatically increased the number of illegal immigrants it plans to let enter America within the next 10 years. years.

Net immigration of “foreign-born people without legal status” to the United States is expected to average 220,000 a year over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office has just revealed.

That’s a remarkable 175% increase from the average of just 80,000 per year that the CBO predicted just 6 months ago.

The figure is not announced in any press release, but instead appears in the third sentence of the fourth paragraph on page five of the CBO’s latest report on “U.S. Population Prospects: 2023 to 2053.”

The CBO press office confirmed the rise in an email to MarketWatch. “That’s right,” wrote a spokesperson. They added: “According to the CBO’s assessment, the easing of pandemic-related travel restrictions and improved visa processing capacities increased net immigration by 600,000 people in 2022 compared to the expected amount. from last year.mainly due to increased net immigration of foreign-born people without legal status.” (Emphasis added.)

The Congressional Budget Office is the independent department that conducts research, analysis, and long-term forecasting on behalf of both branches of Congress. “Foreign-born without legal status” is their term for what the Social Security Administration calls “other than legal” immigration, the media and academy call “undocumented” immigration, and some others call again “illegal” immigration.

How that number jumped nearly 200% as a result of changes to federal law and the federal government’s processing capabilities remains unclear.

Julia Gelatt, senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, an independent think tank, says the numbers represent a big step up from the recent past. “To put this in a bit of context, according to the estimates we use at the Migration Policy Institute, the net growth in the population of unauthorized immigrants was less than 100,000 per year between 2011 and 2019,” she says, adding that 2019 “is our most recent estimate, at this time, given data limitations. Other organizations that track the numbers, she says, believe that “the unauthorized immigrant population has actually declined over the past this same period.

Meanwhile, an analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank critical of illegal immigration, says the actual numbers are likely to be even higher. “It doesn’t really surprise me,” SIC senior partner Art Arthur says of the latest forecast. “If anything, I think the numbers are probably quite low (compared to reality), but they reflect the scale of illegal immigration to the United States under the Biden administration and into the foreseeable future. “

Debates on illegal immigration are politically charged. But higher figures are likely to be negative for the wages of low-skilled and entry-level workers, due to the economic laws of supply and demand. This increases the supply of those willing, able, or even desperate to work at almost any cost. On the other hand, and for the same reason, the unprecedented rise in the number of “non-status” immigrants is likely to be a net positive for consumer prices, corporate profits and stock prices. in the United States for the same reason. This will lower labor costs.

American consumers and investors have benefited since the 1980s from the dual strategy of sending American jobs to emerging markets (via offshoring) and bringing emerging markets to American jobs (via illegal immigration).

The rise in illegal immigration should also be mildly positive for the beleaguered Social Security Trust Fund, as immigrants without legal status often contribute to Social Security but cannot claim benefits when they retire.

Increasing immigration – legal and illegal – is a public policy tool to help America deal with the so-called demographic time bomb. People are living much longer, dramatically increasing the expected number of older people in the coming decades. Meanwhile, fertility has plummeted, reducing the number of expected native-born workers. Americans have too few children to sustain the population since 2008.

“Over the next decade, immigration will account for about three-quarters of the overall increase in population size,” the CBO said. “After 2033, population growth is increasingly driven by net immigration, which accounts for all population growth from 2042 onwards.”

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