The study cites the trouble with identifying illegals because of their fear of retribution they may not always provide truthful answers. Either way, this new number is eye-opening.
The true number of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. — long a subject of intense debate — could be twice as high as commonly accepted figures, according to a study by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher.
The study published Friday by Mohammad Fazel-Zarandi, a senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, estimates there are about 22.1 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. today. Most frequently cited estimates put the number between 11 and 12 million.
Even the lower bound of the MIT study’s range, 16.7 million, is nearly 50 percent higher than the 11.3 million estimated by the Pew Research Center for 2016.
Such a wide discrepancy is explained by deficiencies in the methods researchers have used to arrive at previous estimates, according to Fazel-Zarandi and his co-authors, Edward Kaplan and Jonathan Feinstein of Yale University. In the past, researchers typically extrapolated the total number of illegal immigrants from population surveys and legal immigration records.