The US government collects reams of data about immigration. Both DHS and USCIS publish data sets and analyses for the general public, so I thought I'd poke around and see if I could tease out some interesting stories. Sure enough, I found some interesting relationships that sum up immigration in 2016 on the eve of the Trump inauguration. All data can be found here.
So I made up this term, but I thought it would be interesting to test how much immigrants tend to congregate around others from their same home country. Which countries are most likely to foster immigrants who want to live near one another as "ex-pats" in the United States? Sure enough, clumping is a real phenomenon.
Here are the top ten countries by percent of total lawful permanent residents from a given country residing in the same state. So, in other words, if Mali has 600 immigrants, and all 600 live in Texas, the ratio would be 100%. As you can see, there is a somewhat surprising insight here: all of these countries are small, island nations. It follows, then, that individuals from a small nation where everyone knows everyone would band together in a new country, forming in effect an "island" within the United States.
.On the other side of the list, you have countries with no clumping of lawful permanent residents. Instead, residents tend to disperse throughout the US. In looking at the list, it appears these countries have experience either civil strife or all out civil war in recent years, perhaps explaining why their former residents who left the country aren't keen on living with their countrymen.
Voluntary vs. Forced Deportation
It's reasonable to assume a 1:1 relationship between apprehension (i.e., getting caught by USCIS/ICE) and forced deportation, but that's not the case. In fact, the opposite is mostly true. The vast majority of undocumented immigrants are not subject to an "order of removal"--they either find a way to stay in the country or they leave voluntarily. The advantage of leaving voluntary is that you do not have a strike against any future attempt to receive a visa. You'll note that while apprehensions rose steadily during the Regan, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations, the number of immigrants who received a court ordered dismissal stayed flat until the mid-1990s during the tough-on-immigration Clinton presidency.
We've all heard that immigrants are coming for our jobs, but are they? USCIS tracks the job family of naturalized citizens, and here's what we can infer. The data set is messy, and the titles seem ambiguous at best and change year to year. How precision production differs from fabricator baffles me. Similarly, the I'm not sure if the difference between unemployed and not working has to do with labor force participation. But I was able to simply the descriptions into a neat graph that shows, for the most part, immigrants are taking low-skilled jobs or no jobs at all. If you remove unknown as a job category, then retirees, students, homemakers, unemployed, and not-employed make up a whopping 47% of all naturalizations in 2015. I checked with 2014 and 2013 and the rough story is accurate. For the most part, our newest citizens are fighting our wars, serving our restaurants, and playing on our golf courses. Managerial / professional--the best jobs--account for 19% of new naturalizations. Once again, there is a large unknown quantity here, so we can't draw too many conclusions, but early indications suggest fear may be misplaced.