There is no illegal immigration crisis along the Southwest U.S. border

By Kent R. Kroeger (January 23, 2019)

Source: U.S. GAO

Southwest Border Apprehensions are a Proxy for Illegal Immigration

No single statistic can capture the myriad and complexity of issues underlying illegal immigration into the U.S. For one, most illegal immigrants do not travel across our Southwest border.

An Historical Perspective

As he signed the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the country’s most impactful immigration legislation in the last 50 years, President Lyndon Johnson remarked:

Graph by Kent R. Kroeger (Data Sources: Federal Reserve of St. Louis, U.S. Customs & Border Protection)
Source: Customs and Border Protection
Graph by Kent R. Kroeger (Data sources: Federal Reserve of St. Louis, U.S. Customs & Border Protection)

Explaining Southwest Border Apprehensions

Economics, immigration policy, and enforcement are the primary drivers of border apprehensions. But, relatively speaking, is one factor more important than the others or are they similar in their influence?

The Variables

Dependent variable: Number of annual SW border apprehensions (relative to the size of the U.S. population) (Variable name: SWB_APPS_AS_PCT_POP).

  • Step intervention variables for the 1986 IRCA, the 1965 INA and the 9/11 terrorist attacks where the years prior to the intervention are coded ‘0’ and ‘1’ for the year during and years after the intervention (Variable names: Reform1986, INA and Nine11).
  • Temporary intervention variable for the three years (1986–88) during which U.S. businesses transitioned to the new immigrant hiring rules established by the 1986 IRCA (Variable name: Reform1986_TRANSITION).
  • Time counter where ‘0’ equals 1960, ‘1’ equals 1961, etc. (Variable name: TIME).
  • Indicator variables for the Reagan and Clinton administrations where ‘0’ equals ‘No’ and ‘1’ equals‘Yes’ (Variable names: REAGAN, CLINTON).
  • Interaction variables for GAP and INA, GAP and Reform1986, and Nine11 and TIME (Variable names: GAP_INA, GAP_Reform1986 and Nine11_TIME).

The Results

A more thorough interpretation of the linear model estimation results (AR1 corrected using the Cochrane-Orcutt procedure) is available upon request (send email to: kroeger98@yahoo.com).

Analysis by Kent R. Kroeger (Data Sources: Federal Reserve of St. Louis, U.S. Customs & Border Protection)
Source: Federal Reserve of St. Louis
Source: Federal Reserve of St. Louis

I am a survey and statistical consultant with over 30 -years experience measuring and analyzing public opinion (You can contact me at: kroeger98@yahoo.com)

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