Twice as many illegal immigrants in U.S. than previously reported, study suggests

The number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. could be twice as high as government estimates according to a recent study.

The research was published by an MIT researcher along with two Yale professors.  It estimates that there are about 22.1 million undocumented immigrants in the country.  A widely cited estimate from the Pew Research Center has previously put the number at 11.3 million.

The MIT analysis covered the years 1990 to 2016.  The study authors said that current estimates tend to underestimate undocumented immigrant inflows and overstate outflows.

Their conservative estimate is 16.7 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. during 2016, nearly fifty percent higher than the Pew estimate.

The mean estimate based on the new simulation analysis was 22.1 million, essentially double the current widely accepted estimate.

The study includes estimates on unlawful border crossings derived from using statistics on apprehensions by border patrol agents.

The authors say that the higher numbers don't indicate a recent surge in illegal immigration in the country but that previous populations were undercounted.