National Academies Press: OpenBook

Immigration Statistics: A Story of Neglect (1985)

Chapter: Appendix E: A Summary of Panel Activities

« Previous: Appendix D: A Review of Statistical Aspects Contained Within Pending Immigration Legislation: A Letter Report to the INS, May 1983
Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: A Summary of Panel Activities." National Research Council. 1985. Immigration Statistics: A Story of Neglect. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/593.
Page 301
Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: A Summary of Panel Activities." National Research Council. 1985. Immigration Statistics: A Story of Neglect. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/593.
Page 302
Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: A Summary of Panel Activities." National Research Council. 1985. Immigration Statistics: A Story of Neglect. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/593.
Page 303

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Appendix A SUMMARY OF PANEL ACTIVITIES In addition to the regular panel meetings, members and staff participated in a variety of activities structured to permit a more intensive examination of specific issues. These activities are described in more detail below. WORKSHOP ON ESTIMATING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION A workshop was organized to review methodological approaches to estimating the growth and characteristics of the illegal alien population in the United States and explore suggestions for new research. Participants included representatives from the Census Bureau, the Department of Labor, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Social Security Administration, the National Research Council, the United Nations, and other researchers. Major topics included: o Methods of estimating the number of illegal aliens included in censuses and surveys; o Analysis of data from INS form I-213, Record of Deportable Alien Located; o Estimating emigration from Mexico by collecting data in Mexico on the place of residence of close relatives; o Matching administrative records, such as records from the Social Security Administration and the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey; 0 A survey of recently admitted immigrants to determine the extent of previous illegal residence; o Ethnographic studies of the social processes related to legal and illegal migration; o Analysis of regional trends in age-specific death rates and comparison of alternative measures of aggregate income; and o Demographic analysis of Mexican census data. Participants did not believe it likely that major advances could be made in the accuracy or detail of the estimates, regardless of the effort devoted to the task. The most promising techniques appeared to be those that have already been used with varying degrees of success. 301

302 Periodically updating the empirical estimates, even if the range of plausible estimates were to be fairly broad, was considered to be important for developing immigration policy. SOCIAL SECURITY AND RELATED DATA: RESEARCH RESOURCES ON IMMIGRATION The technical workshop was sponsored jointly by the Panel on Immigration Statistics and the Center for Population Research, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and attended by persons engaged in research on immigration. The objective of the workshop was to bring together providers and users of social security data for a discussion of the application of social security data to immigration research. A major theme involved the need to improve accessibility of these data to the research community. The group proposed that strategies for increasing the availability of social security data be the subject of a future meeting to be convened by the Center for Population Research. A SYMPOSIUM ON IMMIGRATION STATISTICS: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Members of the panel and staff organized and participated in a session on immigration statistics at the annual meeting of the Population Association- of America in May 1984. Papers were presented on: (13 INS Data Sources: Their Strengths and Shortcomings; (2) The Data Collection and Research Program of the Office of Refugee Resettlement; (3) Integration of Multiple Data Sources in Immigrant Studies; and (4) Assessing Stocks and Flows of Migrants. OTHER ACTIVITIES Numerous visits were made to selected field offices of the INS in order to observe the collection and use of statistics in INS activities. These included visits to the Burlington Regional Office and district offices in New York, Buffalo, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Other activities included visits to Border Patrol sectors, ports of entry and detention centers, a briefing on INS automation activities, and a tour of the facilities of the contractor processing immigrant visas and adjustment of status forms. Within the central office in Washington meetings were held with INS officials in the following sections: adjudications, inspections, field inspections, refugee and parolee, enforcement, Border Patrol, detention and - deportation, investigations, intelligence, legal counsel, information systems, plans and analysis, statistics, policy directives, project inform, and evaluation. Meetings were held with officials of the Department of Labor; the visa office of the State Department; the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Department of Health and Human Services; the Center for Population Research in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the U.N. Statistical Office and Population Division; the Transportation Service Center in the Department of Transportation; the Congressional Research Service in the Library of Congress; the U.S. Consulate in

303 Toronto, Ontario; and with the staffs of the judiciary committees of both the House and Senate. Members of the staff provided public information about the panel's work in a variety of forums. These included the presentation of a paper at the 1984 Conference on Asia-Pacific Immigration to the United States, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii; and presentations to the Association of Federal Economists, the Washington Area Group of Immigration Researchers, the Population Reference Bureau, and the Southern Regional Demographic Group.

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This book examines the needs for and availability of statistics concerning immigrants and immigration. It concentrates on the needs for statistics on immigrants, refugees, and illegal aliens for policy and program purposes, on the adequacy of the statistics that are produced and of the statistical systems that generate them, and on recommendations for improving these systems. Also, the history of immigration legislation and the estimates of the size of the illegal alien population are briefly reviewed.

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