How Many Amnestied Illegals Will There Be in Your State?

Article author: 
David North
Article publisher: 
Center for Immigration Studies
Article date: 
28 May 2013
Article category: 
Colorado News
Article Body: 

The proposed legalization of some 10 million [to 40 million] illegal aliens has been debated as a national issue, as it should be, but the on-the-ground impact will vary tremendously from place to place within America.

To get estimates of the likely state-by-state distribution of those to be amnestied should S.744 become law I turned to an existing data set that, to my knowledge, has not been used for that purpose.

This is the state-by-state distribution of people applying for the president's regulation-created legalization program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). My sense is that the distribution of this subset of illegal aliens will be approximately the same as the much larger group of illegal aliens that would be legalized under S.744 (the handwork of the Senate's Gang of Eight) should that bill become law.

The DACA program, launched by the White House last year for aliens under the age of 31 who arrived before the age of 16, is now mature enough to have secured nearly half a million applications (497,960 by the end of April), and USCIS is generating monthly reports on where those applications were filed, state by state (with one odd exception I will get to later). The full set of the latest DACA application figures can be seen here.

Now, the roughly 10 million expected S.744 applicant total is about 20 times the size of the current DACA applicant pool, so — my reasoning goes — if there are 158 DACA applicants in South Dakota, as there are, there will be something like 3,160 S.744 applicants in that state, which I round to 3,000.

I decided that since the adverse impact of the legalization program will fall heaviest on unemployed legal residents of the country I would show both the projected number of legalized aliens and the current number of unemployed, state-by-state, as displayed in the table that follows.

Projected Size of Amnesty Population and Current Number of Unemployed

Colorado: Projected Amnesty Population: under S.744 (CIS Estimate): 216,000. Total for all states: 9,772,000.   

Colorado: April 2013 Unemployed (BLS Data): 95,000. Total for all states: 11,502,000.

[See the full article for other states]

...Note: The USCIS data on DACA for the period ending April 30 cover 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There is also an "other" category. Missing from the list is the state of Vermont, home of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. That committee recently voted to send S.744 to the floor of the Senate.

Are there so few (or no) applications from the senator's state that it, alone, is left off the list?

The state was also missing from prior tabulations. My sense is that the USCIS "other" category for up-through-April data must include the handfuls of applications filed in Guam, in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and in Vermont, for a cumulative total of 32.

The definition of the unemployed used in the table is the narrowest of the BLS definitions, leading to the smallest estimates of that all-too-large population. It includes people who had no work at all in the survey week, and who were actively looking for work. People with part-time jobs who want full-time work, and discouraged (but not retired) workers are not included in the definition. And there are millions and millions in those two categories. The BLS data can be seen here.

The DACA definition is for applications filed, not necessarily approved, but since more than 99 percent of the applications are approved, the two numbers are virtually identical. I used a 20 to one ratio to estimate the S.744 applications, and since the DACA total is a little less than half a million, the total estimated S.744 amnesty figure in the table is also a little less than 10 million.


CAIRCO Research

The following research has been provided to CAIRCO:

Unemployment in Colorado

Current unemployment in Colorado  (U3 rate) according to latest BLS report = 95,000

Additional Colorado unemployed not counted in official U3 unemployment number (April 2013 CRS report) = 108,000

Actual total unemployed in Colorado = 95,000 + 108,000 = 203,000 

USIS estimate of number of illegal aliens in Colorado eligible for amnesty under S.744

Colorado total is 1.9% of US total = 216,000
(Colorado has 1.9% of all illegal aliens according to official USCIS data, so that figure is used to calculate some of the other numbers. Some numbers are rounded.)


Estimated Number of Visa Overstays in Colorado

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement union estimate of total visa overstays in the US = 4.5 million
Colorado share of visa overstays = 1.9% of 4.5 million = 85,500

H1-B workers in the USA ("high-tech") (3-year terms but renewable)

USCIS estimate of cumulative total of current H1-B Visa workers in US = 750,000
Estimate total in Colorado = 2% of 750,000 = 15,000

Data on eligible population for Deferred Action - Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DHS data for total DACA applications accepted to date = 497,960
Applications remaining under review = 206,101
Total approved after review = 291,859
Percentage rejected after review =  0.8 % (less than one percent)
Percentage approved after review =    99.2%
Pew Center estimate of total eligible DACA population in US = 1.8 million
Colorado share of 1.8 million eligible DACA applicants = 1.9% of 1.8 million = 34,200