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Experts tried to prove conservative numbers on illegal immigration wrong - and were shocked

A new Yale-affiliated study says that estimates of how many illegal immigrants are in the U.S. has been greatly underestimated, perhaps by as much as 11 million more illegal immigrants. (John Moore/Getty Images)

A new study is casting doubt on the traditional statistic cited by experts about the number of illegal aliens who reside in the U.S., and it says it might be as much as twice as many.

"A sanity check on the existing number"

When most experts debate the issue of illegal immigration and what to do about it, they generally accept the figure of 11.3 million persons present in the U.S. illegally.

But the new Yale-affiliated study says that might be drastically underestimating the number, and it could be as high as 22 million.

The researchers said they were attempting to give a "reality check" on the statistic they considered to be aiding a conservative political agenda.

They were shocked to discover many more illegals than 11.3 million according to their model.

“Instead of a number which was smaller, we got a number that was 50% higher," remarked Edward Kaplan, the William N. and Marie A. Beach Professor of Operations Research at the Yale School of Management. "That caused us to scratch our heads.”

"The number has been higher all along"

The previous 11.3 million estimate is an extrapolation from a Census Bureau survey, and had been used for decades.

But when the researchers tried to replicate the number with a different methodology, they were surprised at the findings.

Their estimation depends on simple logic applied to deportation and death statistics, but they discovered that this mathematical model concluded a mean number of 22 million illegal immigrants.

The researchers made it clear that they weren't concluding there was a recent influx of illegal immigrants, but rather that the estimate has been too low, for decades.

“What we’re saying is the number has been higher all along," said Kaplan.

Here's a video of the researchers discussing their findings:

One last thing…
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