Average illegal has lived here 15 years: Pew

In a piece intended to highlight that the average illegal alien is now non-Mexican, a Pew Research Center study inadvertently revealed that the average illegal alien in the U.S. has been here for 15 years.  Pew argues that that signals a trend toward illegal immigration ebbing.

The decline in unauthorized immigrants [sic] over the decade is largely due to decreases in new arrivals to the U.S., especially by Mexicans (although some unauthorized immigrants [sic] also have left, died or were deported). As a result, the unauthorized immigrant [sic] population in the U.S. increasingly is made up of longer-term residents.

In 2017, the typical unauthorized immigrant [sic] adult had lived in the U.S. for 15 years. That is the longest median duration of residence since 1995, when Pew Research Center estimates began.

Maybe so — but the data do not include the border surge of the past two years, with the U.S. on track to take in 2 million apprehended illegal aliens and an unknown number of unapprehended border-crossers and visa-overstayers.  It would be interesting to see updated numbers.

But actually, the data tell a lot more about the dysfunctional U.S. immigration system than immigration trends.

Fifteen years of living in the U.S. illegally, with absolutely no law enforcement to stop it?

Living — and working, and sending remittances back home, getting that new roof on the house in Zacatecas — and nobody has stopped them?

And even more significant, marrying, having children, getting a whole wall of citizens around one so that any move toward deportation involves "separation of families"?

This isn't an immigration law we've got here — this is squatter's law, the law of squatters, who, the longer the stay, the greater their rights, and the greater the difficulty of evicting them.

That's a sorry comment on the last four presidencies that predated President Trump.  Allowing a large class of people to live here illegally without consequences, doing nothing to make U.S. rule of law mean anything, increases the odds that nothing is ever going to be done.  The illegals are happy, of course — most are economic migrants who've weighed their options and asked themselves, "Why wait 20 years in line to immigrate legally when you can go to the States right now illegally and make the money over the course of 15 years instead?"  Legal immigration is for suckers.  Better to just immigrate illegally and take the wages now.  Like all humans, they respond to incentives. 

That anyone can get away with 15 years of breaking the law is incredible.  Can you imagine what U.S. finances would be like if taxpayers were permitted 15 years of non-payment of taxes without any bother to enforce tax laws?

Now imagine a whole class of people, living without fear of any obligation to obey U.S. law, getting away with it for well more than a decade, all because they know that no one is enforcing.  It's a de facto amnesty whether we like it or not, because these people will be difficult to get rid of.  Squatters law is pretty powerful — and illegals, who come from countries full of squatters with no property rights — know this well.

Image credit: Christine Geovanis via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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