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Aggressive Tactics are Failing: Why ICE is a Bust

"The U.S. needs a practical, fair, and reasonable solution to immigration that includes smart enforcement measures."

Last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced its latest gimmick -- Operation Scheduled Departure, a pilot program of voluntary deportation with no precedent, no incentives, and essentially no sensible basis. Meanwhile, on Wednesday the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a "think tank" that has been referred to as a " thinly disguised anti-immigration organization," published a highly contested study claiming that severe enforcement measures are driving down the U.S.' "likely undocumented" immigrant population. Yet while ICE runs in circles, rounding up undocumented workers as CIS pats them on the back, the government fails to recognize that undocumented immigration is based more on the economics of survival than the politics of immigration enforcement -- a costly misjudgment.

The CIS report is marred with ambiguities and dubious information to begin with. The authors report confidently about a population that is nearly impossible to accurately measure and even admit they didn't include information about any population other than Hispanics. Most significantly, the CIS report tries to discount the significance of the current economic downturn with a flawed economic timeline. CIS claims that a decline in undocumented immigration became present after August 2007, prior to the significant jump in the unemployment rate. Yet, what CIS overlooks is that the economic downturn in many of the industries where undocumented immigrants tend to be employed, began well before August 2007.