There are Only About 11 Million Undocumented Immigrants in the U.S., Not Twice as Many

Cyierra Roldan
Date of Publication: 
July, 2019
Source Organization: 
Fiscal Policy Institute

After failing to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, the Trump administration released an executive order requiring federal agencies to collect citizenship data using administrative records. According to the author of this essay, the justification for this order was based on a flawed estimate from three professors at Yale, none of whom are specialists in demography. They claimed that there are between 16 to 29.5 million undocumented persons in the United States -- the only study that gives such an inflated estimate. The Department of Homeland Security arrived at an estimate of 12 million, while the Migration Policy Institute, Pew Research Center and the Center for Migration Studies concluded that there were 11 million in 2017. Demographers have found clear errors in the Yale professors’ methodology, which are discussed in the report. These errors suggest that the White House’s justification for its executive order is unsubstantiated and merits reconsideration based on the evidence available.

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Roldan, C. (2019). There are only about 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., not twice as many. Retrieved from