NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Illegals Leaving the Country Voluntarily

June 11, 2003

Quietly, all across America, illegal immigrants are doing an extraordinary thing -- deporting themselves, says Rich Lowry. In response to stepped-up immigration enforcement, thousands of Arab and Muslim illegals are leaving for home on their own.

It is a dynamic, Lowry explains, that offers the first hopeful sign for solving an illegal-immigration crisis that has an estimated 700,000 illegals coming to the United States a year and joining an illegal population of roughly 9 million.

  • Earlier this year, 82,000 Arab and Muslim men registered with immigration authorities in a post-Sept. 11 security program, and more than 13,000 proved to be illegal.
  • Those 13,000 are slated for deportation, but authorities might not have to force them out, because many of them -- and many others -- will leave on their own.

But as deportations of Pakistanis, Jordanians, Lebanese and Moroccans have doubled during the past two years, the new signal has begun to register.

  • The Immigration and Naturalization Service estimated that there were 26,000 Pakistani illegals in the United States as of 2000.
  • The Pakistani Embassy now says that more than 15,000 Pakistani illegals have left the country since Sept. 11.
  • Even if the original INS estimate was low, this represents a sizable proportion of the illegal Pakistani community engaging in do-it-yourself deportation.

The New York Times recently reported that roughly half of a sizable Pakistani community in Brooklyn has left, either for Canada or home, as a result of the stricter enforcement.

Source: Rich Lowry, "Do-it-yourself deportation,", June 10, 2003.


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