Tucker Carlson: So how many illegal aliens are really in the US?

We've been told for 15 years there are 11 million illegal aliens in the country. It's an obvious lie

Have you ever noticed that nobody in Washington can agree on a number? You would think that people with functioning calculators could come to similar math- based conclusions once in a while, but not in D.C. Try getting a consensus on unemployment projections or consumer confidence levels from members of Congress. You can't even get a straight answer on how many troops will be occupying the Capitol three months from now, and that's something they directly control.

With all of that in mind, it's pretty amazing to watch virtually everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat, repeat precisely the same number when discussing one of the most critical problems that we face. That number is 11 million. That number, they tell us, is exactly how many foreign nationals currently live here illegally. 

It's almost like a script now. People have different views on what we ought to do about illegal immigrants, but nobody questions how many there are. There are 11 million, period. 

A month before last year's presidential election, Joe Biden promised: "Within 100 days, I'm going to send to the United States Congress a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people, and all of those so-called Dreamers, those DACA kids, they're going to be immediately certified again to be able to stay in this country and put on a path to citizenship."

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Joe Biden is in the White House now. His party controls everything, so he can make good on that promise and he plans to do so. In fact, it's one of the very first things he's doing. How's it going to affect you? 

First of all, it's kind of a big deal. All but seven U.S. states have fewer than 11 million people living in them. We're not just talking about Wyoming and South Dakota, but states like Virginia, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Massachusetts and so on. What will this cost? It's kind of hard to know the real answer, but if you're trying to put the math together, be sure to factor in the free health care.

It doesn't take an economist to know that giving free "health care" to 11 million new people could easily capsize the U.S. economy. As Milton Friedman once wisely noted, you can have a welfare state or you can have open borders, but you cannot have both. However, we're getting both. We may, in fact, be getting a great deal more than that.

We all assume that 11 million is the real number of illegal aliens in this country, but is it? No, it's not. In fact, it's a totally fake number which people endlessly repeat either because they are badly informed or dishonest. They've been repeating that number for more than 15 years.

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In 2005, the Pew Research Center announced that "the undocumented population has reached nearly 11 million." The weird thing is that 12 years later, Pew had roughly the same estimate. That should have been a tell that the number itself was fraudulent.

In 2018, the Department of Homeland Security, which exists to track numbers like these, played along with it and put the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. at somewhere around 12 million. Yeah, right. In April 2019, then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen admitted on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that "we do not know" exactly how many people are living in this country illegally. 

So what's going on here? Here's what we found: Pretty much everybody who talks about immigration is using the Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey to estimate how many illegal immigrants live in this country. The Census Bureau tallies up the number of foreign-born people they've identified who live in this country, then estimate or subtract the number of foreign-born people known to be in the U.S. legally. Bingo, 11 million.

The problem is this method of calculation is bound to be wrong. Many illegal immigrants don't respond to census takers. Why would they say they're here illegally? Robert Groves, the former director of the Census Bureau, summed up the reality this way: "There is no magic bullet that anyone has discovered to count this population [illegal immigrants]. This is really very difficult to estimate."

Now, many of the studies projecting that only 11 million illegal immigrants live here, have, in fact, acknowledged that the census is not perfect. Yet strangely, they assumed that it was pretty close to perfect. Specifically, they operated on the assumption that only about 10% of illegal immigrants weren't being captured by census takers. Put another way, their models assumed that 90% of the people living in this country illegally were willing to cooperate with census takers.

Now, that seems like a ridiculous assumption, but there's a reason. Ann Coulter explains that reason in her book "Adios America," which even now is one of the few serious explorations of this topic. It turns out that researchers have been relying on a 2001 study funded by the University of California. That survey asked 829 people born in Mexico and living in Los Angeles whether they responded to census interviews. The majority of them said yes.

Here's the amazing thing. Nearly 40% of those households refused to answer the survey at all. In other words, all the assumptions that there are 11 million illegal immigrants in this country are based on a separate assumption: That 90% of illegal immigrants are willing to cooperate with the Census Bureau. That assumption, in turn, is based on a survey showing nearly half of all illegal immigrants refused to fill out the survey. This is bad math at the very least.

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In 2018, researchers at Yale and MIT decided to update the methodology using "operational data" such as deportations, visa overstays, demographic data, death rates, immigration rates, etc. They combined them and used a mathematical model to establish a range of estimates.

How many people live here illegally? Here's what they found: "After running 1,000,000 simulations of the model, the researchers' 95% probability range is 16 million to 29 million, with 22.1 million as the mean."

In other words, the estimates that we've been relying on for decades could possibly -- in fact, may likely -- be off by more than 18 million people. There could easily be 30 million (or more) illegal immigrants living in this country. That's more people than live in the entire state of Texas.

So how would amnesty for that many people affect our "democracy"? In effect, it would end our democracy. People who have lived here all of their lives, paid taxes, followed the rules, been good citizens, would find their votes diluted to the point of irrelevance. (It would mean an instantaneous end to African-American political power, for one thing.) It would also ensure permanent rule by the Democratic Party, which is the point of it.

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By the way, back in 2005, Bear Stearns, one of the most prominent victims of the 2008 financial collapse, estimated the total illegal immigrant population to be as high as 20 million. Here was their top-line finding in that study: 

"Our research has identified significant evidence that the census estimates of undocumented immigrants may be capturing as little as half of the total undocumented population. This gross undercounting is a serious accounting issue which could ultimately lead to government policy errors in the future."

"Government policy errors" like giving amnesty to 11 million who are actually 30 million? Yeah, that could qualify.

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The Bear Stearns study did not rely on census data. Instead, they looked at bank transfers, remittances from the U.S. to Mexico. They wanted to capture the number of payments from illegal aliens living here to their families back home. Here's what they found: 

"The rate of increase in remittances far exceeds the increases in Mexicans residing in the U.S. and their wage growth. Between 1995 and 2003, the official tally of Mexicans has climbed 56% and median weekly wage income has increased by 10%. Yet total remittances jumped 199%" 

There was no obvious explanation for this disparity, apart from a lot more illegal immigration than the authorities were acknowledging.

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The researchers at Bear Stearns looked at other indicators, too For example, they analyzed data on school enrollment and housing permit applications for multiple dwellings. In one instance, they found that some towns in New Jersey reported a 5-6% growth in population size. At the same time, requests for housing permits were increasing by 600%.

"In major immigrant gateway cities," the study found, "the influx of immigrants has led to overcrowded dwellings and a housing boom unexplained by official population growth."

That was all 16 years ago, and in 2021, the party in charge is still assuring us that the number of illegal immigrants in this country has somehow declined by up to 10 million people. How insulting is that to even to float that idea? Consider everything that has happened since 2006: The amnesty for the so-called "Dreamers," the promises of mass amnesty, the endless caravans.

The 11 million number is, above all, a lie; one of the more obvious lies ever told. We're not social scientists, and it took about an hour for us to find this out.

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Joe Biden knows this. In the summer of 2019, he more or less admitted the point of amnesty: To import as many new Democratic voters as possible. 

BIDEN: We could afford to take, in a heartbeat, another two million people. The idea that a country of 330 million people cannot absorb people who are in desperate need and who are justifiably fleeing oppression is absolutely bizarre, absolutely bizarre. I would also move to increase the total number of immigrants able to come to the United States. 

Of course, they won't tell you the total number. They want you to believe it's 11 million, always and forever. By the time you figure out they're lying to you, it'll be too late to do anything about it, obviously.

This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson's opening commentary on the Feb. 24, 2021 edition of "Tucker Carlson Tonight."