Ira Mehlman

If Americans have the impression that there is an alternate reality that exists within the confines of the Washington Beltway, the latest figures on illegal immigration will do nothing to change their minds.

New data from the Pew Research Center reveal that the number of illegal aliens living in the U.S. has increased by about 400,000 since President Obama came to office. According to Pew, the illegal alien population of the U.S. stood at 11.7 million in 2012, up from 11.3 million in 2009. What’s so strange is that this increase – roughly the equivalent of the population of Oakland, California – occurred during a period when supposedly there was “net zero” illegal immigration, and while to Obama administration was allegedly deporting illegal aliens at a record pace.

“The net illegal immigration into the United States in the last four years has been zero: Net zero at the border,” declared Doug Massey, a Princeton sociologist, whose 2012 study was heralded as an obituary for the phenomenon of illegal immigration by the media and advocates for granting amnesty to illegal aliens. At the same time, the Obama administration has been taking credit for record levels of deportations of illegal aliens, even if the president himself conceded that the “statistics are a little deceptive.”

Even in Washington, where fuzzy math is the norm, it is a little hard to explain how four years of zero net illegal immigration, plus 1.4 million (claimed) deportations, could result in a 400,000 increase in the illegal alien population. Moreover, there is strong reason to believe that when the 2013 figures are tallied they will show an even sharper increase in illegal immigration. Through the first six months of the current fiscal year, border apprehensions – a good barometer of the illegal immigration flow – were up 13 percent over the previous year.

Ira Mehlman

Ira Mehlman is the Media Director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.