How Many Amnestied Illegals Will There Be in Your State?

By David North on May 28, 2013

The proposed legalization of some 10 million illegal aliens has been debated as a national issue, as it should be, but the on-the-ground impact will vary tremendously from place to place within America.

To get estimates of the likely state-by-state distribution of those to be amnestied should S.744 become law I turned to an existing data set that, to my knowledge, has not been used for that purpose.

This is the state-by-state distribution of people applying for the president's regulation-created legalization program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). My sense is that the distribution of this subset of illegal aliens will be approximately the same as the much larger group of illegal aliens that would be legalized under S.744 (the handwork of the Senate's Gang of Eight) should that bill become law.

The DACA program, launched by the White House last year for aliens under the age of 31 who arrived before the age of 16, is now mature enough to have secured nearly half a million applications (497,960 by the end of April), and USCIS is generating monthly reports on where those applications were filed, state by state (with one odd exception I will get to later). The full set of the latest DACA application figures can be seen here.

Now, the roughly 10 million expected S.744 applicant total is about 20 times the size of the current DACA applicant pool, so — my reasoning goes — if there are 158 DACA applicants in South Dakota, as there are, there will be something like 3,160 S.744 applicants in that state, which I round to 3,000.

I decided that since the adverse impact of the legalization program will fall heaviest on unemployed legal residents of the country I would show both the projected number of legalized aliens and the current number of unemployed, state-by-state, as displayed in the table that follows.

Projected Size of Amnesty Population and Current Number of Unemployed
(By states and territories. See text for definitions, sources, and methodology)

States and Territories Projected Amnesty Population
under S.744 (CIS Estimate)
April 2013 Unemployed
(BLS Data)
Alabama 50,000 151,000
Alaska 1,000 22,000
Arizona 352,000 240,000
Arkansas 67,000 95,000
California 2,827,000 1,672,000
Colorado 216,000 95,000
Connecticut 65,000 147,000
Delaware 18,000 32,000
District of Columbia 10,000 32,000
Florida 433,000 680,000
Georgia 324,000 395,000
Hawaii 4,000 32,000
Idaho 40,000 47,000
Illinois 535,000 611,000
Indiana 127,000 268,000
Iowa 36,000 78,000
Kansas 86,000 83,000
Kentucky 39,000 166,000
Louisiana 25,000 135,000
Maine 500 49,000
Maryland 130,000 206,000
Massachusetts 112,000 223,000
Michigan 78,000 391,000
Minnesota 78,000 159,000
Mississippi 19,000 121,000
Missouri 43,000 199,000
Montana 500 28,000
Nebraska 43,000 39,000
Nevada 160,000 133,000
New Hampshire 5,000 41,000
New Jersey 299,000 400,000
New Mexico 67,000 64,000
New York 548,000 749,000
North Carolina 354,000 419,000
North Dakota 500 13,000
Ohio 53,000 400,000
Oklahoma 82,000 89,000
Oregon 142,000 159,000
Pennsylvania 72,000 496,000
Puerto Rico 2,000 162,000
Rhode Island 16,000 49,000
South Carolina 82,000 174,000
South Dakota 3,000 19,000
Tennessee 102,000 250,000
Texas 1,622,000 816,000
Utah 117,000 64,000
Vermont USCIS issues no data on Vermont;
perhaps included with “other”, below; perhaps there are no DACA applicants
Virginia 164,000 220,000
Virgin Islands 1,000 6,000
Washington state 209,000 243,000
West Virginia 1,000 54,000
Wisconsin 90,000 217,000
Wyoming 7,000 15,000
Other (the Marianas, Guam, and Vermont) 1,000 10,000 (excludes the unemployed in Vt.)
Total 9,807,000 11,672,000

Of course, if you have a law degree (the profession of many members of Congress) or a CPA or an MBA, such competition will be of no more than academic interest.

Unfortunately, the potential for newly legalized aliens both shouldering Americans out of jobs and lowering wages for many more, is all too rarely mentioned in the Congress.

Note: The USCIS data on DACA for the period ending April 30 cover 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There is also an "other" category. Missing from the list is the state of Vermont, home of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. That committee recently voted to send S.744 to the floor of the Senate.

Are there so few (or no) applications from the senator's state that it, alone, is left off the list?

The state was also missing from prior tabulations. My sense is that the USCIS "other" category for up-through-April data must include the handfuls of applications filed in Guam, in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and in Vermont, for a cumulative total of 32.

The definition of the unemployed used in the table is the narrowest of the BLS definitions, leading to the smallest estimates of that all-too-large population. It includes people who had no work at all in the survey week, and who were actively looking for work. People with part-time jobs who want full-time work, and discouraged (but not retired) workers are not included in the definition. And there are millions and millions in those two categories. The BLS data can be seen here.

The DACA definition is for applications filed, not necessarily approved, but since more than 99 percent of the applications are approved, the two numbers are virtually identical. I used a 20 to one ratio to estimate the S.744 applications, and since the DACA total is a little less than half a million, the total estimated S.744 amnesty figure in the table is also a little less than 10 million.

(Note: An earlier version of this tabulation left out Mississippi and Rhode Island.)