News Flash: Ann Coulter Lies About Mexican Immigration

In the least shocking development you’re likely to hear of in the next few centuries, PolitiFact has rated a claim by Ann Coulter that there are 30 million Mexican immigrants in the U.S. illegally, or one-fourth of the entire population of Mexico, as a pants on fire lie.

Ramos opened the segment of his show America with Jorge Ramos by telling Coulter that her facts on the number of undocumented immigrants were wrong. In her book, she claimed there are 30 million. The consensus figure is about 11 million. Coulter was unfased.

“You’re wrong,” Coulter told Ramos. “The number we keep hearing is 11 million, 11 million, 11 million. That’s so weird. It’s been 11 million for a decade. But as I explain in the book, they are all using the Census figures. If the Census figures are wrong, then everybody’s numbers are wrong.”

Coulter said there is “absolutely no question” that the number is at least 30 million. She said the work of two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists and a 2006 analysis by two Bear Stearns financial analysts supported her belief. We’ll touch on those items in a bit.

But arguably Coulter’s biggest numerical claim was that “America has already taken in one-fourth of Mexico’s entire population.” She said it during her interview with Ramos and included it as a bullet point on her website.

And here’s where the lie comes from:

In a sub-section titled “Doesn’t Mexico want any Mexicans?” Coulter grounds her statement about America taking in one-quarter of Mexico’s population on a Pew Research Center analysis of census data. The top line number in that study finds that about 33.5 million people of Mexican origin lived in the United States in 2011.

Coulter argues that since Mexico has about 120 million people, and one-quarter of that is 30 million, therefore, America has “taken in” one-quarter of the total.

In reality, the immigration data from Pew is not nearly as neat and tidy as Coulter concludes. The Pew report attempted to count the number of people who trace their roots back to Mexico, not people who came directly from that country.

Why does that make such a difference?

Well, about two-thirds of Americans with Mexican ancestry were born in the United States. By definition, they were never part of Mexico’s population.

If they weren’t Mexican, they could not be “taken in.”

The Pew definition is important, and if the numbers about Mexico don’t make it clear, let’s look at another country. We picked Ireland. In 2014, the Census Bureau said there were 34.1 million Americans with Irish roots. That’s nearly seven times Ireland’s current population.

And thus ends today’s lessons in how to lie with statistics. She’s also just wrong about the claim of 30 million immigrants:

“For illegals, we estimate 11 to 12 million with 50 to 60 percent from Mexico,” said Steven Camarota, the center’s director of research.

Jennifer Van Hook, who directs the Population Research Institute at Pennsylvania State University, said she believes the number of unauthorized Mexican immigrants living in the United States is 6.3 million-8.3 million. No matter how you slice it, Coulter’s claim doesn’t get any closer to true, she said.

“There is no way it is as high as 30 million,” Van Hook said.

The Migration Policy Institute estimates the total unauthorized population at 11 million. Director of research for American programs Randy Capps said figures produced by the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey are just the starting point in determining that figure (the Census Bureau itself doesn’t create a count). The final estimate reflects a hike of “20 to 25 percent to address the undercount of unauthorized immigrants in the ACS.”

Capps emphasized that his group, the Department of Homeland Security, the Pew Research Center and the Center for Immigration Studies generally reach the same results because they all tweak the census data.

“All four of these sources incorporate an undercount of unauthorized immigrants ranging from 10 to 25 percent,” Capps said.

So the 11 million figure actually assumes an undercount and adjusts accordingly. The lesson, as always: Ann Coulter is a liar. PolitiFact tried to contact her but got no response, which is hardly surprising. She doesn’t care that she’s lying. She does it professionally. Her job is to fire up the rubes, not to tell the truth.

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  • coragyps

    A kid (under 25 – that’s a kid to me) that works for me pointed out just yesterday that whole brigades of bigots down here in Texas complain: “Them damn wetbacks are lazy! And they’re taking away jobs from Real Americans!”

    One of these things is not like the other……

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/877772142309051/ Daniel Borchers

    Coulter continues to spout nonsense – using manipulation of data and false reasoning.

    See “Adios, Ann: Fear Mexicans, Not Jihadists” at http://wp.me/p4jHFp-6A.

  • http://healthvsmedicine.blogspot.com cervantes

    People are starting to argue that she’s actually a performance artist, who is satirizing wingnuts. But the thing is, you can’t tell the difference, so why even bother?

  • D. C. Sessions

    cervantes, that is the essence of Poe’s Law after all.

  • Larry

    So that’s why the line has been so long at the taqueria lately.

  • cptdoom

    The lesson, as always: Ann Coulter is a liar. PolitiFact tried to contact her but got no response, which is hardly surprising. She doesn’t care that she’s lying. She does it professionally. Her job is to fire up the rubes, not to tell the truth.

    Of course Coulter’s lying. It’s not as if anything Coulter has ever written in any of the books she’s published that added a scintilla of novel thought to our political discourse. Her entire schtick is lies, urban myths and false outrage, with a healthy dose of bleach in her hair and silicone in her chest to gain the sales of the fat frat boys who can’t get dates and are too scared to look at porn.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Coulter was unfased.

    Certain alien life-forms are immune to phasers at any setting.

    And, contrary to various earlier assertions, there exist some aliens that even James T. Kirk won’t screw.

  • eric

    Well, about two-thirds of Americans with Mexican ancestry were born in the United States. By definition, they were never part of Mexico’s population.

    In some sense she’s giving her readers the information they really care about. I bet a lot of them care about the number of brown people in the U.S. and could give two sh*ts whether you’re talking people who are illegal immigrants, naturalized 1st gen immigrants, or 2nd-Nth gen immigrants. 30 million of our population is Hispanic in race, culture, or origin. That alarms conservative right-wing whites, and it alarms them regardless of the citizenship status of those 30 mil. She’s just using “illegal” as a dog whistle for “darker skinned Catholic.”

  • blf

    The 20 or so million Mexicans she’s imagining is really the daesh paramilitary force Mr Obama is stashing in the National Parks. So she’s right, in a sense, they did transit through Mexico. (A recent example was the disappearing training camp near the border, now safely moved into one of the National Parks.)

  • howardhershey

    She is simply assuming that the Republicans will be successful at re-defining our (in her view) unfortunate birthright citizenship requirements in the U.S. so as to exclude all those whose parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents came from any country south of our border or were born to persons who were property prior to 1865. They will use model legislation based on the Nuremberg Laws that re-defined German citizenship in the 1930’s.

  • http://composer99.blogspot.ca composer99

    Ann Coulter? Lying?! I’m shocked, I tell you, simply shocked! Excuse me while I go lie on my fainting couch and clutch pearls.

  • colnago80

    I wonder what ole Ann has to say about Caitlyn Jenner.

  • colnago80

    Re #12

    Apparently, Coulter is claiming that Caitlyn is still a man because she has an X and a Y chromosome. How about Ann submitting to a DNA test.

  • moarscienceplz

    Coulter is also conveniently forgetting that virtually the entire southwest of the USA used to be part of Mexico. So a whole lot of those Mexicans found themselves residents of the USA without moving a inch.

  • laurentweppe

    She doesn’t care that she’s lying.

    Nor does her audience. The “rubes” aren’t stupid, they’re lying as much as their lords and masters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hmoulding Helge

    Coulter, herself, of course has roots in Merrie Olde Englande. Since between 50 and 60 million Americans have roots in England, and England’s population is just 53 million, we have to conclude that England wants Englanders even less than Mexico wants Mexicans. Clearly Coulter and her ilk are a worse problem than the Mexicans who find themselves north of the border.

  • rietpluim

    “Ann Coulter Lies” is no news.

  • felidae

    maybe we could have a cage match between Annie and Peggy Noonan to settle who is the most delusional and throw in Judith Miller for a three way match

  • whheydt

    Even if Coulter’s numbers were correct, her math would still be wrong. If 30M Mexicans are in the US, and Mexico has a population of 120M, then the total number of Mexicans is 150M, and the 30M only represents 20% of them, not the 25% she claims.

  • StevoR

    @3. cervantes :

    People are starting to argue that she’s actually a performance artist, who is satirizing wingnuts. But the thing is, you can’t tell the difference, so why even bother?

    I thought the main theory was that Ann Coulter was a Deep Cover Liberal – going so hyperbolic in metaphorical trajectory as to light up just how ridiculous the Republicans Neptunian rightwingers as opposed to Coulter’s Sednan rightwingers really are, no?

    See : http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Deep_cover_liberal

    Newsflash? Old news I’d have thought.

  • StevoR

    @15. laurentweppe :

    “She doesn’t care that she’s lying.”

    Nor does her audience. The “rubes” aren’t stupid, they’re lying as much as their lords and masters.

    Well both stupid and lying are possible and probably present in various unknown ratios. It seems a slightly interesting question to ponder – just who is Anne Coulter’s audience and how much do they really believe her? (How much is wilful ignorance, how much is ideological agreement purely because X said so, how much is Ha! Ha! What did she say comedy-seeking?)

  • birgerjohansson

    Consider the concept of 1984 “doublethink”. You may be aware of things not really adding up in your thinking, while still believing you are right.

  • StevoR

    @ ^ birgerjohansson : Yay! They’ve just doubled the weekly chocolate ration to half what it used to be! Praise Big Brother! Praise him! (And hope if you’re really good and you’ve done everything they tell you to do on TV you’ll avoid going to room 101!)

  • Pieter B, FCD

    To the xenophobes who comprise Coulter’s and Fox’s core audience, anything south of Texas is “Mexico.” Even penguins are Mexican.

  • zippythepinhead

    Ed wrote, “News Flash: Ann Coulter Lies About Mexican Immigration” …

    … but she looks so good doing it.

  • zippythepinhead

    Coulter told Ramos. “The number we keep hearing is 11 million, 11 million, 11 million. ”

    11 + 11 + 11 = 33. Check and mate!