The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) – apologists for illegal aliens – today released a report intended to counter the growing evidence that attrition through enforcement works. The report by Alexandra Filindra, a professor of behavioral economics, argues that the illegal aliens have too much at stake here to be willing to pull up stakes and go home. They would prefer to take the chance on the unknown of detention and deportation over the known undesirable choice of going home voluntarily where they face privation.
The argument appears reasonable until it is remembered that there is also an attraction to return home that results from the family and friends and culture left behind. That pull is increased when there are improved prospects of finding gainful employment, as currently is the case in Mexico. Furthermore, just as the tide of illegal immigration to the United States surged from a steady stream to a flood tide, the steady stream of illegal aliens now self deporting is also likely to surge if other states follow the model of states like Arizona and Alabama to deny job opportunities and other accommodation of illegal aliens.
The prospect of more states taking steps to discourage illegal immigration will be influenced by the decision of the Supreme Court on Arizona’s SB 1070. Counterbalancing that trend are the continued efforts of the Obama administration to reassure illegal aliens that they will not be deported and policies adopted by others states which protect and reward illegal aliens. Another important factor is job creation in the United States. If our economy turns around, more illegal aliens are likely to remain, absent meaningful enforcement, and more would be enticed to come.
The new study being released by the IPC is not going to influence the decisions of the illegal aliens. The IPC’s objective, rather, is to try to shore up the resolve of policymakers to enact an amnesty. In order to achieve this objective they must convince lawmakers that the current stream of illegal aliens returning home is unlikely to become a flood.