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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Columns & Features > Guest Voz > Guest Voz: Princeton sociologist proves federal government responsible for high undocumented population

Guest Voz: Princeton sociologist proves federal government responsible for high undocumented population

LatinaLista — Dr. Douglas Massey is a professor of Sociology at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and is an adjunct professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. Specializing in the sociology of immigration, Dr. Massey has received numerous recognitions for his work on immigration, especially Mexican migration into the United States.

Dr. Douglas Massey
In 1982, Dr. Massey co-founded the Mexican Migration Project (MMP), which is a binational research effort to gather social as well as economic information on Mexican-US migration. In its 27-year history, the MMP has compiled a comprehensive database of Mexican migrants. Dr. Massey and his colleagues make the data available to the public free of charge for research and educational purposes.
Dr. Massey has also written a number of books on the sociology of immigration and because of his expertise in the subject is often called to speak or be interviewed on the topic.
It was the case this week when Dr. Massey was asked to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship for a hearing entitled “Securing the Borders and America’s Points of Entry, What Remains to Be Done.”
Dr. Massey shares with Latina Lista his testimony before the congressional committee, along with, statistical graphs that illustrate the historic nature of Mexican migration into the United States and how an inflexible US immigration policy aggravated a manageable issue.
(Editor’s note: Dr.Massey provided Latina Lista with ten graphs to illustrate certain points in his testimony. Because of size and space restrictions, it was decided to use only 7 images.)

Testimony of Douglas S. Massey
Before the Senate Judiciary Committee
May 20, 2009

Good morning senators. Thank you for the opportunity to testify. I am a social scientist who has been studying immigration for three decades and co-direct a research project that has been in the field for more than 25 years and generates the largest and most reliable source of data on the behavior of documented and undocumented migrants to the United States.
During the 1970s the United States declared a War on Crime; during the 1980s it declared a War on Drugs; and in the 1990s it declared a War on Immigrants. In my view, these policies had more to do with domestic politics than with the underlying realities of crime, drugs, or immigration, with negative consequences all around.

Figure 1
In the case of immigration, in 1986 the Immigration Reform and Control Act launched what proved to be a two decade-long militarization of the Mexico-US Border; and in 1993 the Border Patrol enacted a new strategy of blocking the border at strategic crossing points.
From 1980 to 2000, the number of Border Patrol Agents increased 3.7 times, linewatch hours rose by a factor of 6.5, the agency’s budget increased by a factor of 12 (see Figure 1).
Paradoxically, this militarization occurred as undocumented migration reached its peak and began moving downward. It also unfolded as we were drawing closer to Mexico economically, agreeing by treaty to lower the barriers to cross-border movements of goods, capital, information, services, and certain classes of people.
' border=
Figure 2
Between 1980 and 2000 total trade increased nine times, business visitors 7.4 times, treaty investors ten times, and intracompany transferees 27 times (see Figure 2).
Somehow it seemed we wished to integrate all factor markets in North America except one, and to build a border that was permeable to all flows except workers.
This fundamental contradiction was not sustainable.

Nonetheless, border enforcement accelerated during the late 1990s despite the fact that the rate of undocumented migration to the United States had been falling for years (see Figure 3).
The 1990s War on Immigrants was followed by the post-911 War on Terror, which was quickly conflated with immigration and identified with the Mexico-U.S. border, despite the fact that none of the 911 hijackers entered from Mexico, that country has no Islamic terrorists cells, has no significant Moslem population, and by that point had a declining rate of undocumented migration.

Figure 3
Border enforcement nonetheless rose exponentially after September 11, with the Border Patrol Budget increasing 95 times its 1980 level and the number of linewatch hours rising 111 times. After 911 deportations also began a marked increase, rising from just 11,000 in 1980 to some 350,000 in 2008, breaking old records last set during the mass deportation era of the 1930s.
As already noted, this massive increase in enforcement came during a time of North American economic integration and falling rates of undocumented migration and did not solve America’s immigration problems.

Figure 4
Although the probability of initial undocumented migration fell after 1990 and the likelihood of taking an additional undocumented trip fell after 2000, even more pronounced was the sharp decline in the rate of return migration. Between 1980 and 2005 the likelihood of returning to Mexico within 12 months of an undocumented entry fell by more than half (see Figure 4).
This shift in behavior occurred because our militarization of the border increased the costs of crossing from $600 to $2,200 in constant dollars while also increasing the risk of death; but it had no effect on the probability of apprehension (see Figure 5).

Figure 5
Given the higher costs and risks of border crossing, fewer migrants left; but those who did leave still got across because the odds of apprehension did not rise. Once inside the US they hunkered down and stayed longer and in larger numbers to avoid experiencing the costs and risks again.
In sum, it was because of a decline in return migration and not an increase in entry from Mexico that the undocumented population ballooned during the 1990s and made Hispanics the nation’s largest minority a decade before demographers had predicted.
If return migration to Mexico had remained at it’s pre 1986 levels, we would have had nearly 2 million fewer undocumented Mexicans settling between 1980 and 2005 (see Figure 6). This is the reason Mexico dwarfs all other countries as a contributor to the unauthorized population (see Figure 7).

Figure 6
In the past three years, estimates suggest the undocumented population has peaked and begun to trend downward. This development is no doubt partly because of the remarkable acceleration in border enforcement in the wake of 911 and the rise of mass internal deportations; but it also reflects the evaporation of labor demand.
Nonetheless rising enforcement and growing joblessness have not prompted a significant return of already settled migrants. Indeed, as we have seen, rates of departure have fallen to record low levels.
At the same time, a quiet but massive increase in the availability of guest worker visas has provided a legal alternative to undocumented entry. According to official data, the number temporary legal workers entering from Mexico rose from 3,300 in 1980 to 361,000 in 2008, rivaling numbers last seen during the Bracero Program of the late 1960s.

Figure 7
These data clearly indicate that Mexican immigration is not and has never been out of control. It rises and falls with labor demand and if legitimate avenues for entry are available, migrants enter legally. The massive militarization of the border and resumption of mass deportations occurred despite the fact that rates of undocumented migration were falling and the perverse consequence was that these actions lowered the rate of return migration among those already here.
To solve our serious immigration problems, we need to undertake a program of legalization for those already resident in the country, and especially for the more than three million people who entered the country as minors and are guilty of no sin except obeying their parents.
We also need to provide for the legal entry of Mexicans by increasing the number of permanent resident visas and guest worker permits to levels consistent with the needs of an integrated North American economy.
Unfortunately the current immigration crisis is very much one of our own making, reflecting bad policy choices in the past; but fortunately this means that with better policy choices we have the power to resolve the dilemma moving forward.
Thank you for your time and attention.

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Comment(6)

  • Avatar
    cookie
    May 22, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Well he lost me when he stated we have declared a war on “immigrants”. His credibility went right out the window.

  • Avatar
    MaryElizabeth
    May 23, 2009 at 12:11 am

    A few weeks ago I was speaking to my friend Alfonzo who owns an Italian Restaurant and he in conversation about the Immigration Crisis he said…What is wrong with our government! First we had the war on crime! Then we had the war on drugs! Then we had the war on Terror and on the Immigrants! the Immigrants! What next! What next? and he was getting really excited with his Italian accent. This was a really great Article here because it really is on. It is all about politics and nothing to do with sensible solutions for the US…anyway Alfonzo isn’t a Princeton Grad but he was right on in conversation. hehe 🙂

  • Avatar
    Woodruf
    May 23, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Patrolling the border by the immigration authorities is now “militarization”? The Mexican government has border patrol agents too, and they’ve been around for quite a while. Is their presence “militarization”. Our laws are pretty clear on what our military consists of. Our Border Patrol has never been called military, as they are a civilian organization, as much as the police and the FBI. I guess that you’ll be calling our local police military because you don’t like the way the enforce the DWI laws that seem to be often violated by illegal immigrant Latinos. This is merely hyperbole, a tactic to be used as a tool to deny the people of the U.S. the right to defend their sovereign borders.
    Mexican illegal immigration not out of control? I guess that’s a matter of perspective. If you’re Latino and your agenda is permit the free entry of Mexicans without authorization, that could possibly be true. Your assertion is ludicrous, as the vast majority of American would disagree with you, including many Latino citizens. This is another rationalization on the part of illegal alien advocacy groups who’ll make anything up to serve their agenda.

  • Avatar
    Woodruff
    May 27, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Dr. Massey,
    The following are stories that representative of the collateral damage to our current failure to protect our borders and failure to deport illegal aliens. Why should our citizens permit this mayhem to continue?
    Convicted felon alleged killer of teen on Mother’s Day
    http://www.latinalista.net/palabrafinal/2009/05/guest_voz_princeton_sociologist_proves_f.html#comments
    A convicted felon is being held in the Mother’s Day shooting death of a Carson City teen on Highway 395.
    Steven Contreras, also known as Victor Rodriguez, 24, is being held in the Washoe County Jail suspicion of felony attempted murder with a deadly weapon for the wounding of a passerby.
    According to a press release with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department, Contreras, 24, of Reno, was northbound on Highway 395 with Rene Angulo, 17, of Carson City in Angulo’s car.
    “The vehicle apparently veered off the roadway onto the shoulder on the east side of the roadway. Sometime during this incident Angulo was shot and killed and then removed from the vehicle by Contreras,” the release states.
    Wayne Nash, 51 of Carson City, observed what he believed to be an accident, stopped to render aid.
    Contreras, while attempting to flee the area, allegedly shot Nash in the leg.
    Contreras then drove on Bellevue road, turning left onto Old US 395 and fled on foot after leaving the vehicle.
    Deputies from Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Carson City Sheriff’s Office, Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers and Department of Public Safety Investigators responded immediately.
    Angulo was pronounced dead at the scene.
    Nash was taken to Renown Medical Center where he is being treated for the gunshot wound to his lower body.
    Contreras was located by Washoe County Sheriff’s Office K-9 units, hiding in dense brush along a creek not far from where deputies found his car. He was taken into custody without incident.
    His bail is currently set at $100,000.
    Rodriguez then allegedly fled in Angulo’s vehicle. He was 90 minutes later hiding naked in the brush off Bellevue Road.
    Contreras is also being held on an immigration hold as it appears he is in the United States illegally, according to the release.
    More charges are expected in this case and more information will be released as the investigation continues.
    In 2005, Contreras was sentenced to probation on a charge of accessory to murder for allegedly helping Maximilliano Cisneros, 23, flee Carson City following the shooting death of Juan Carlos Alegria and injury to Fidel Fuentes on May 25, 2004 in Eighth Street.
    According to Nevada Department of Parole and Probation records, Rodriguez completed his probation in August 2007.
    ———————
    Josie Bluhm, 4, Killed By Illegal Alien Eleazar Rangel-Ochoa
    http://www.diggersrealm.com/mt/archives/003139.html
    By Digger
    Josie Bluhm, a 4-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska, was killed when Eleazar Rangel-Ochoa ran through a red light in his Ford truck and smashed into the side of the Bluhm family mini-van. Little Josie was ejected from the vehicle and trapped under the bumper of the min-van. She later died from her injuries.
    I am really at a loss for words after watching the video below. This happens every single day in this country and the legal system and politicians are doing nothing. They continue to give ilegal aliens driver’s licenses. They continue to allow illegal aliens to remain in our country after being convicted – Rangel-Ochoa had 3 previous drunk driving convictions from 2002. They continue to deport people and then don’t secure our borders so they just come right back in under different names. They continue to come up with excuses.
    This may seem harsh, but I can only hope that one day the politicians and judges who allowed this animal to remain in our country – to kill this innocent child from a hard working and loving family – have their own children brutally killed at the hands of an illegal alien drunk driver, robber, burglar or thug. The gloves are off on nice speech. Anger needs to be expressed that this is being allowed to continue. There is no room for forgiveness when things are being done deliberately to put you – and those you love – knowingly in harm’s way.
    Next it could be you or your child or family member.
    Eleazar Rangel-Ochoa
    WOWT
    Douglas County District Attorney Don Kleine Thursday filed charges against a suspect in the fatal car crash that claimed the life of 4-year-old Josie Bluhm of Elkhorn. Kleine has charged 27-year-old Eleazar Rangel-Ochoa with two counts… Rangel-Ochoa is charged with motor vehicle homicide. He is also charged with driving on a suspended license.
    Since Tuesday morning’s crash, which happened just before 7:30, it has come to light that Rangel-Ochoa is an illegal immigrant who has been in the country for some time.
    A check of court records by Channel 6 News earlier this week found that he had several prior traffic convictions. His license was suspended in 2002 after he was convicted of drunk driving for the third time.
    As of Thursday midday, it was unclear how Rangel-Ochoa could have gone through the courts several times over a ten year period, and obtained a valid drivers license while being in the country illegally.
    Witnesses at the scene of Tuesday’s crash say Rangel-Ochoa blew through a red light and rammed into the side of the Bluhm family van. The van then spun into two cars that were waiting at the red light.
    Those who support illegal aliens always claim “it’s about the children” when illegal aliens are deported. They are right about one thing, it is about the children… the American children killed daily by these scumbags in our country that these groups openly support.
    Four-year-old Josie Bluhm was pronounced brain dead and was eventually removed from life support. Her mother and siblings also sustained injuries during the accident, but it appears they will survive. On top of being here illegally, Rangel-Ochoa was driving with a suspended driver’s license. He had his license revoked for a term of 15 years after being convicted of his third DUI, along with other traffic violations. He will only be charged with misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide.
    ————————–
    Miramar Lake Rapist Receives Prison Sentence
    http://www.10news.com/news/19513663/detail.html
    SAN DIEGO — A 30-year-old Mexican national who sexually assaulted three women in Poway and at Miramar Lake was sentenced Wednesday to more than 21 years in state prison.
    Carlos Ceron Salazar pleaded guilty Feb. 10 to two counts each of assault with intent to commit rape and rape by a foreign object in connection with the attacks on women in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
    A woman who was attacked while hiking along a trail near Community Road on Sept. 27, 2004, said she wanted Salazar to know that the crimes he committed against her were “unjustified and harmful.”
    The woman told Judge Michael Smyth that since the attack she has taken self-defense classes, bought a Taser and carries pepper spray when she’s alone.
    “I am more aware of my surroundings,” the victim told the judge.
    The woman said she can now talk about the sexual assault without crying.
    “I no longer see myself as a victim,” she told the court, noting she is a strong woman filled with determination to live.
    The victim said she was initially able to get away from Salazar, who attacked her again a short time later.
    “That day, it wasn’t just the fear of being raped, it was fear for my life,” the victim said.
    Another victim told the judge she was taking a walk around Lake Poway in December 2005 when Salazar approached.
    “I smiled at him and said hello,” the woman said.
    She said the perpetrator grabbed her by the arms, they struggled, and he threw her to the ground and got on top of her.
    “In the struggle, he scratched me,” the woman said. “All this time, he used his strength to keep me there.”
    The victim said she bit her attacker when he covered her mouth with his hand.
    She said she was terrified that Salazar might kill her with the anger he was displaying.
    The woman said she played on her attacker’s emotion to get him to get up and leave.
    “I told him he would not want this to happen to his family,” the victim said.
    Salazar told the woman he didn’t want to hurt her and only wanted to show her that danger exists, the victim told the judge.
    “I begged him to leave,” the woman said. “After this happened, nothing is the same in my life as it was before.”
    The tearful woman said she thought talking about the sexual assault wouldn’t affect her at sentencing, “but it is still the same.”
    Her wish for Salazar, the woman said, was “that if he believes in God, and I think he does, he should pray for His forgiveness just as I am trying to forgive him too.”
    Deputy District Attorney Patrick Espinoza said the victim of the 2006 attack at Miramar Lake lost two teeth when she bit Salazar in the hand.
    DNA was taken from the teeth — found 1/4 mile away — and a shirt that the defendant bled on, the prosecutor said.
    In August 2007, a woman watching a story about a sexual assault in another part of San Diego County notified authorities that a perpetrator tried to grab her as she was jogging, Espinoza said.
    The woman gave police a partial license plate number that she had written down, which was used to track Salazar to Escondido last December, where he was arrested for being drunk in public.
    After the arrest, immigration officials said Salazar had been deported at least 10 times.
    DNA taken from him was then linked to the 2004 and 2006 assaults, the prosecutor said.
    Defense attorney Mary Knockeart told the judge that all of Salazar’s crimes stemmed from a severe addiction to alcohol.
    But Smyth, citing the randomness and viciousness of the attacks, sentenced Salazar to nearly the maximum 22 years in custody contemplated by the plea agreement.
    The judge applauded the bravery of the victims, especially the woman attacked near Community Road, who cracked her attacker over the head with a rock to escape, before she was chased down and attacked again.
    “I think all of them suffered greatly in this,” the judge said. “There’s no question that this defendant is an extraordinary danger to the community.”
    ——————-
    East Austin motorcycle crash claims third victim
    http://www.keyetv.com/news/local/story/East-Austin-motorcycle-crash-claims-third-victim/EZ5YxJe9OUee5VG397p34A.cspx
    Mario Rodriguez Hernandez is charged with intoxication manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid after police say he hit two motorcycles and a car with his car.
    Mario Rodriguez Hernandez is charged with intoxication manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid after police say he hit two motorcycles and a car with his car.
    A third person has died from an East Austin motorcycle crash earlier this month.
    Elliott Keith Haliburton died Thursday.
    On Apr. 5 a silver Chevrolet pickup truck driving on East Martin Luther King Boulevard between Airport Boulevard and Springdale Road crossed the center line, hit a car then two motorcycles.
    Haliburton was driving one of the motorcycles. Two people on the second, Maurice Britt and Audra Britt, also died.
    Police say the driver of the Chevrolet, Mario Hernandez-Rodriguez, ran from the scene but officers quickly caught him. Hernandez-Rodriguez is charged with intoxication manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid.
    ——————————
    Mobile County grand jury charges illegal alien in death of woman found half-nude in Theodore ditch
    Posted by Gary McElroy, Staff Reporter May 26, 2009 2:40 PM
    http://blog.al.com/live/2009/05/may_grand_jury_report.html
    MOBILE, Ala. — An illegal alien charged with the slaying of a Georgiana, Ala. woman in the spring of 2008 was among those indicted this month by Mobile County’s May grand jury.
    The body of Sharon Nicole Lee, 23, was found lying half-nude in bloody water in a ditch near Interstate 10 in the Theodore area.
    Prosecutors said in a court hearing later in 2008 that Carlos Guillerro Posada, a Mexican citizen in the United States illegally, allegedly cut Lee with a knife before running her over with a vehicle.
    The May grand jury considered nearly 600 cases and handed down more than 400 indictments, while issuing “no bills” in 152 cases.
    The grand jury also said it had found no criminal liability on the part of jail personnel in the hanging death of T. C. Harris earlier this year at the Mobile County Metro Jail.
    Jurors also reported that the jail facility is housing more than 1,100 inmates in a structure designed to accommodate only 861 inmates.
    —————————-
    Illegal wanted in Mexico for two murders deported
    Posted: May 21, 2009 04:51 PM
    http://www.kvia.com/Global/story.asp?S=10405657&nav=AbC0
    EL PASO — An illegal immigrant wanted in Mexico for two murders was deported Thursday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.
    Jesus Buendia-Maltos, a.k.a. Jose Bocanegra-Martinez, was turned over to Mexican authorities Thursday morning at the Stanton Street Bridge.
    According to ICE Spokesperson Leticia Zamarripa, agents found Buendia-Maltos April 30 in the Boulder County Jail in Colorado. He was serving a seven-day sentence for drunken driving, Zamarripa said in a news release.
    Once Buendia-Maltos was transferred to El Paso, he was charged with several immigration violations and was ordered deported.
    According to Mexican authorities, Buendia-Maltos killed two men and injured another at a bar in Paso Nacional, Durango in November 1996. Investigators said he left the bar after paying a bet but later returned with a rifle. He allegedly shot and killed Jose de Jesus Nava Vaquera and Francisco Javier Vaquera Maciel.
    Zamarripa said in a news release Buendia-Maltos has been a fugitive since 1997, when a warrant for his arrest was issued by a Mexican judge in Durango. He is believed to have entered the U.S. illegally in April 2001.

  • Avatar
    TL Winslow
    May 30, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    The age-old pesky U.S.-Mexico border problem has taxed the resources of both countries, led to long lists of injustices, and appears to be heading only for worse troubles in the future. Guess what? The border problem can never be solved. Why? Because the border IS the problem! It’s time for a paradigm change.
    Never fear, a satisfying, comprehensive solution is within reach: the Megamerge Dissolution Solution. Simply dissolve the border along with the failed Mexican government, and megamerge the two countries under U.S. law, with mass free 2-way migration eventually equalizing the development and opportunities permanently, with justice and without racism.
    Please read the details by
    Googling “Megamerge Dissolution Solution”, or click
    http://tlwinslow.weebly.com/megamerge-the-dissolution-solution.html

  • Avatar
    Traci
    May 31, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Mr. Winslow, you suggest that the American people should be forced to accept the massive transfer of wealth and taxation that would be required of them to make up for the cultural failure of Mexico to take care of its people? I don’t think agree. I don’t see anything in this for the American people but an increase in the national debt required to bring the U.S. up to its standards and the horrible expansion of macho culture that represses women.
    Keep your new paradigm, as I suspect that most Americans would sooner defend their country and resort to spending the billions required to mine and establish military outposts there to keep the Mexicans out than risk destroying our legal, social and economic structure. It’s an idiotic idea to adopt millions from a culture that’s shown been shown time and time again, throughout the Latino world to be be poor stewards for social justice. One only has to review the history of the Americas to become frightened by your suggestion. This is a great idea to trans nationalists who believe we should have no borders but it is one that will never get anywhere. Keep promoting it though, as it will serve as a useful tool against advocates of illegal immigration.

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