Immigration Statistics: Information Gaps, Quality Issues Limit Utility of Federal Data to Policymakers, Report to Congressional Requesters [open pdf - 480KB]
"Immigration issues are high on the national policy agenda. But there have been repeated indications that statistics that could inform key debates are lacking, misleading, or otherwise inadequate. In response to a request from the House Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology, this report identifies policy-related information needs for immigration statistics, identifies federal statistics (and information gaps) on the full range of demographic concepts relevant to immigration policy decisions and determines what is known about the quality of these statistics, and identifies strategies for improving immigration statistics. Published immigration statistics include information on several demographic concepts, such as immigration flow (i.e., the number of persons who come to reside in the United States each year or the number who transition from one legal status to another). Other immigration statistics indicate the size of the resident foreign-born population, net change in size, and emigration (i.e., the estimated number of foreign-born residents who leave the United States to live in another country). Statistics on the legal status of foreign-born residents have also been published. Most federal statistical information on the foreign-born is provided by two agencies: the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Bureau of the Census. INS provides information relevant to flow. INS and the Census Bureau each provide some information on the size of the resident foreign-born population and on annual change in size. The Census Bureau provides an estimate of emigration."
Government Accountability Office (GAO): http://www.gao.gov/