Undocumented migrant population of U.S. jumps from 11 million to 19 million due to Coronavirus

For about 20 years, our official media tells us that there are 11 million undocumented residents of the U.S. But last week I was listening to NPR (temporarily bored by a lecture on 11th century Japanese history so tuned into the Channel of the Righteous as a last resort) and they casually used the number “19 million” in the context of how many people should get amnesty for violating U.S. immigration laws so that they would be encouraged to seek treatment for coronavirus and not kill all American natives. The 19 million number isn’t that different from the 22 million that Yale estimated in 2018, so it is not the number that is interesting but the radical jump from 11 million (when telling Americans not to believe Trump) to 19 million (when telling Americans about the risk of Trump policies designed to discourage the undocumented from getting on health care welfare).

Separately, as there is no treatment for coronavirus and hospitals at the time of the interview couldn’t order tests, it is unclear why anyone would want 19 million undocumented Americans to go to their nearest hospital.

(Is a constant number of undocumented plausible? To some extent, it might be. Most migrants arrive and have children in the U.S. Thus, 18 years later, the parents are entitled to a green card via chain migration (each legal immigrant will bring in an average of 3.45 additional migrants). On the other hand, with the recent migrant surge, the constant number over decades seems less plausible.)


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Immigrants are not on welfare…

… but there will be a epidemic of coronavirus in the U.S. if the millions of immigrants who can’t afford health care at U.S. rates are denied health insurance welfare (Medicaid).

“Washington’s Ferguson, 17 other state AGs protest immigrant ‘public charge’ changes during coronavirus outbreak” (Seattle Times):

Ferguson and the others asked the administration Friday to stop implementing the new version of a rule that allows some immigrants to be denied green cards if they’re deemed likely to be dependent on the government, based on life circumstances such as having received public benefits, including Medicaid in certain cases.

The Washington attorney general sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Citizenship and Immigrant Services officials, arguing the new “public charge” rule is undermining efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 by deterring immigrants from using medical benefits or applying for them, according to the attorney general’s office.

The same folks and the same media regularly inform us that immigrants are the hard-working engine of the U.S. economy and an insignificant number are collecting welfare benefits, such as Medicaid.

“17 attorneys general ask administration to delay public charge rule during coronavirus outbreak” (CNN):

“DHS received warnings of the potentially devastating effects of the Rule if its implementation were to coincide with the outbreak of a highly communicable disease — a scenario exactly like the one confronting our communities with the COVID-19 public health emergency,” the letter says. “Your agency completely failed to consider such legitimate concerns.”

“DHS openly concedes the Rule could lead to ‘increased prevalence of communicable diseases,’ disenrollment from public programs, and increased use of emergency rooms as a primary method of health care,” it says. “Washington State has already had ten deaths attributable to COVID-19. The State is doing everything in its power to limit the spread of the disease and prevent additional fatalities.”

Ferguson says states, cities, and counties are “undertaking similarly dramatic efforts to limit the spread of the disease and mitigate its harmful effects” and deterring immigrants from using medical benefits “undermines and frustrates our public health professionals’ efforts, putting our communities and residents at unnecessary risk.”

From CNN in 2018, “Stephen Miller’s detestable assault on citizenship”:

The most troubling aspect about Miller’s proposal is that it plays into biases about immigrants — that they are all on welfare, that they are gaming the system, that they are a burden on the country. In fact, a 2013 Cato Institute study noted that poor immigrants use public benefits at a lower rate than poor native-born citizens.

So… an insignificant number of immigrants marching toward citizenship are on welfare, but if this insignificant number does not get Medicaid, native-born Americans will be felled like pine trees in a Georgia paper forest.

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Medieval Scholar explains why elites fear a shrinking population

One staple of American elite media is the scary headline regarding a potential fall in population. Without open borders and a warm welcome for migrants, the story will read, U.S. population will actually drop. The same papers sing the praises of middle class wage growth from 1950-1970, when the population was about half what is it today, so it is unclear why a return to that level is an emergency for the elite.

“The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague” by Dorsey Armstrong, a professor at Purdue, explains exactly why! The fall in population from the Black Death in Florence led to a dramatic reduction in the economic power of the elite. Skilled and unskilled laborers experienced at least a 3X boost in wages. She attributes the Ciompi Revolt (1378) and similar uprisings elsewhere in Europe (e.g., one in England) to the loss in elite power that occurred due to the population reduction.

The Florentine elites knew that a shrinking population was going to be bad for them. The miracle of valorizing single motherhood was in the future, so they came up with the idea of giving young single women dowries to ensure that they would get married as quickly as possible and then start to produce children. (See “When and why did it become necessary to pay Americans to have children?”)

It is interesting to see how little has changed in 650+ years!

Examples of headline hysteria:


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Do all of the Democrats support effectively unlimited immigration?

Voters are choosing today among the remaining Democrats running for President. What is the choice on what many would consider to be the biggest issue and one with the most long-term impact: low-skill immigration ? (transfers $500 billion/year right now from the working class to the rich, for example, and chips away at every American’s infrastructure endowment)

Let’s look at Mike Bloomberg’s immigration policy page:

Mike’s plan will protect Dreamers and TPS holders and create an earned pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented.

Mike will rescind President Trump’s disgraceful travel ban, end family separations at the border, establish rigorous safeguards for children, and promote alternatives to detention for individuals and families who pose no threat to public safety.

A “dreamer” is someone who shows up prior to turning 16 (but since none show up with documents, it is necessary only to say “I am 15”?). There will be no family separation at the border if an adult shows up with someone who is, or says he/she/ze/they is under 18.

Isn’t the effect of these policies essentially unlimited immigration? A would-be adult immigrant shows up with a “child” and neither can be detained (one is a blameless child; detaining the adult would be “family separation at the border”). Once in, the child cannot be deported because he/she/ze/they is now a “dreamer”. Once the “child” turns 18, he/she/ze/they is entitled to obtain green cards for two parents (“chain migration”).

There are roughly 2 billion children worldwide, age 0-14. Add their parents and that’s at least half the world population that would be eligible for legal immigration to the U.S. under Bloomberg’s plan(s).

Do any of the other Democrats propose a substantially different immigration policy?

[Separately, how does Bloomberg know that there are 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S.? There is no citizenship question on the 2020 Census (rumor FAQ) and there wasn’t one on a previous census. The eggheads at Yale say that the likely number is closer to 22 million.]

Exterior of my hotel last week in Los Angeles:

Americans are supposed to call up Mike, charge boldly up to the edge of the coronavirus, and let Swedish vodka merchants tell them how to have sex (but we still want to let the Russians tell us how to vote?).

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Knives Out movie: Migrants are better than Native-born Americans

When at Universal Orlando… see a movie! My Irish friend and I saw Knives Out, in which Daniel Craig speaks in a Southern accent that no Southerner since the 19th century (or ever?) has used.

Despite the anachronistic accent, this is perhaps the most modern Hollywood film. It concerns an extended multi-generational family of native-born Americans. They are mendacious and lazy. One even might be a Trump supporter and Wall advocate! All seek to live off the money earned by the patriarch. Their fertility is low, with a one-child maximum.

On the other side of the scale is a hard-working migrant from Latin America. Her mother is undocumented, but somehow she and a sister are citizens. So that the mom can be a completely heroic “single mom,” no father is mentioned nor appears.

It’s a mystery so I don’t want to spoil the rest!

It is worth seeing just to see how thick Hollywood is willing to lay on the “immigrants are better than natives and the U.S. will be better off once the natives have been replaced” message.

[There is a technical inaccuracy. The citizen migrant is supposedly concerned that her undocumented mother will be deported. But the citizen is over age 18 and therefore has an automatic right to bring in her parents (including a father, if one can be identified) via chain migration.]

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NYT: all of the good Mexicans migrated to the U.S….

… leaving behind the bad Mexicans to run their own government in Mexico.

“Trump Got His Wish. Mexico Is Now the Wall.” (New York Times, February 7):

Dozens of Mexican National Guard troops equipped with helmets, batons and transparent shields coalesced on the highway connecting the Mexican cities of Ciudad Hidalgo and Tapachula to stop a caravan of migrants heading to the United States from Central America.

Mexico has effectively turned into an extension of Mr. Trump’s immigration police beyond American territory. And this is the case on multiple fronts: On the southern border with Guatemala, they prevent Central American migrants from coming into Mexico

That’s why I am surprised by the indifference shown by so many Mexicans over the abuses of the National Guard and the vicious attacks on social media aimed at Central Americans. Those xenophobic comments remind me of those I have been hearing for decades here in the United States

Ordinarily, the NYT likes to portray “brown people” as virtuous, especially if they’re living in U.S. taxpayer-funded public housing, soaking up the Medicaid dollars, and voting for the favored candidates of the coastal elite. But when the “brown people” vote and run their own government to suit themselves, the NYT is ready to scold. (But this cannot be whitesplaining?)

[Separately, let’s look at how much the two countries spend to control the border. Mexico spends roughly $6 billion per year on its entire military (Trading Economics), including jet airplanes, Navy ships, etc. The U.S. spends $21 billion per year, more than triple, to run Customs and Border Protection.]

If the NYT informs us that Mexicans in the U.S. are good while Mexicans collectively in Mexico are bad, isn’t the only logical explanation that most or all of the righteous Mexicans migrated to the U.S. prior to the Dark Age of Trump (TM)?

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Orlando, Florida: epicenter of chain migration?

During a recent visit to Orlando, except for one former Moroccan, all of our Uber drivers were former Venezuelans aged 50+. Via communication in a pidgin of English and Spanish, I learned that all of the former Venezuelans were chain migrants. Each had 4-5 children, at least one of whom lived in the U.S. and was therefore entitled to bring in both mom and dad. The guy who spoke the best English was a retired military officer. His pension was $2 per month.

It does not seem as though these folks are going to be net taxpayers, since all whom I met had earnings that would entitle them to subsidies for housing, health care, food, etc. American taxpayers will fund all of their medical expenses (about $11,000 per Medicare beneficiary per year plus these folks should be on Medicaid or subsidized Obamacare prior to age 65, so figure $500,000 total for health care?).

From “Immigration Multipliers, Trends in Chain Migration” (Jessica Vaughan, September 2017):

Over the last 35 years, chain migration has greatly exceeded new immigration. Out of 33 million immigrants admitted to the United States from 1981 to 2016, about 20 million were chain migration immigrants (61 percent).

According to the most complete contemporary academic studies on chain migration, in recent years each new immigrant sponsored an average of 3.45 additional immigrants. In the early 1980s, the chain migration multiplier was 2.59, or more than 30 percent lower.

I wonder if U.S. chain migration policy means that we can estimate the cost to U.S. taxpayers of a country experiencing an economic downturn. Let’s suppose that the meltdown in Venezuela has added 2 million chain migrant parents to the U.S. welfare state at roughly $1 million each (housing subsidies plus the $500,000 in medical expenses described above). Thus, it would be fair to say that Venezuela’s ongoing woes (can’t say “crisis” if it lasts for years, right?) will cost Americans at least $2 trillion?

(This does not account for the costs of congestion due to the fact that U.S. infrastructure is more or less fixed while the population grows. We experienced a traffic jam on a Saturday in Orlando and our driver said that was typical.)

Could we go around the world, figure out how many migrants from each country are already U.S. citizens, figure out how many parents, spouses, children, cousins, etc. have been left behind in the old country, and then estimate the cost to Americans if the economy in that country fails? We could then use these data to inform our foreign policy (usually starts from an isolationist premise, but due to our chain migration policy, it seems that our welfare is intimately intertwined with the welfare of any country that has previously sent us immigrants).

KMCO (thanks, Signature!), SeaWorld and Magic Kingdom from 2,000′ (thanks, Orlando Approach, for the 270 heading):


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Californians support migration…

…. as long as it isn’t into their own towns.

“California, Mired in a Housing Crisis, Rejects an Effort to Ease It” (NYT):

Mr. Wiener’s measure, Senate Bill 50, would have overridden local zoning rules to allow high-density housing near transit lines, high-performing school districts and other amenity-laden areas. Supporters portrayed it as a big but necessary step toward reducing the state’s housing deficit — and helping to curb carbon emissions from long-distance driving — by fostering development in dense urban corridors.

Well, you can guess what happened next!

Separately, how do America’s vulnerable fare when parked amidst millions of rich people who say that their #1 priority is helping the vulnerable?

Housing costs are the primary reason that California’s poverty rate, 18.2 percent, is the highest of any state when adjusted for its cost of living, despite a thriving economy that has led to strong income growth and record-low unemployment.

With no new infrastructure and not too much new housing, what will American cities look like in 30 years?

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Housing shortfall roughly equal to U.S. population growth.

“The conundrum affordable housing poses for the nation” (Washington Post, January 2, 2020):

A severe shortage of homes for working-class and low-income families is pushing up house prices and rents across the country, putting homeownership increasingly out of reach for many Americans and making rents so high that it is all but impossible for renters to save. With the presidential election fast-approaching, the candidates should explain what they plan to do about it.

I.e., only government can save us!

Half of families who rent and nearly one-fourth of home owners pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income toward their housing costs, a level widely considered unsustainable.

After purchasing essentials, including food, clothing and utilities, the families have little left to cover the cost of health care, bridge the gap during a change in jobs or bear an unforeseen bill of any amount. And forget about saving for retirement or a child’s education.

Fueling the rapid rise in rent and house prices is a severe lack of housing supply.

What’s the shortfall ?

Nationwide, the percent of houses that are vacant has fallen to a more than 35-year low, translating into a shortfall of an estimated 1.6 million new houses.

This gap is increasing by about 300,000 units each year, as builders are putting up close to 1.4 million new dwellings yearly, including single-family houses, apartments and manufactured housing. But the yearly demand for new housing, largely from new households and dwellings needed to replace those lost in natural disasters and to old age, is consistently near 1.7 million units.

Trump is to blame, it seems…

The Trump administration’s immigration policies aren’t helping, as builders can’t find the immigrant workers they need, 

But Pew says that it is immigrants and children of immigrants that are responsible for all US population growth:

Foreign-born Americans and their descendants have been the main driver of U.S. population growth, as well as of national racial and ethnic change, since passage of the 1965 law that rewrote national immigration policy. They also will be the central force in U.S. population growth and change over the next 50 years.

Regardless of the source of the growth, what is the size? The Google says our population grows at 0.7 percent per year, so that’s roughly 2.3 million additional Americans annually (more than triple the population of Boston proper!). If we have some big families, 7 people per household, the 300,000-unit shortfall in housing is roughly equal to the population growth.

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