The Trump Adminstration’s enforcement changes

July 22nd, 2017

A summary of the administration’s enforcement changes:

Enforcement targets have expanded, enforcement tools have been sharpened, and enforcement locations have been widened, triggering pervasive fear of deportation and separation among immigrant families.

The single biggest change is the unwinding of enforcement priorities from the Obama administration, with ICE now instructed to arrest any individual they encounter who does not have lawful immigration status.

While ICE alleges that they are only targeting those with a criminal history or deportation order, they have also made clear that they will ask the immigration status of anyone in the course of an enforcement action and arrest nearly all those without proper documentation. This shift ensnares all sorts of people who have lived quietly in the U.S. for many years without incident while they work to support their families and integrate into society.

Immigration arrests are up by nearly 40%. ICE has increased its issuance of detainers by 75 percent, requesting that local law enforcement hold individuals in their custody so ICE can pick them up. And ICE has increased the number of people it places in removal proceedings by 47 percent.

ICE now has agreements with 59 law enforcement agencies (known as “287(g) agreements”) in 18 states, with plans to consider expansion to additional partnerships both near the border and deep within the interior of the country. Other localities—often called “sanctuary jurisdictions”—that opt out of full cooperation with ICE have been threatened with cuts to their federal funding.

The Department of Homeland Security may seek to add more tools to its toolbox. The “expedited removal” process, which currently applies to a 100-mile border zone and only to those noncitizens who have been in the U.S. up to 14 days, could be expanded to the entire United States as well and to those who have been here up to two years. To accommodate this shift, the administration is seeking to increase the hiring of Border Patrol and ICE agents and dramatically increase the number of detention beds, from a funding level of 34,000 beds in recent history, to as many as 51,379 beds.

The abandonment of enforcement priorities will also reap havoc on cases long-closed, as people who have been meeting their obligations to check in with ICE are taken into custody or who have had their court cases administratively closed seek to be re-calendared by ICE attorneys.

At risk now is the possible termination of the deferred action program (DACA) benefiting 800,000 young people raised in the U.S. and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for over 300,000 people allowed to live and work in the U.S. while their countries experienced armed conflicts and disasters.

Skilled immigrant workers and our economic future

July 18th, 2017

A lot of Trump’s economic revival ideas are “fighting the past war. What really matters is how we are faring globally in the industries of the future like: aviation, aerospace, biotechnology, semiconductors, software and the internet.” This from an interview with Robert Atkinson, an immigrant from Canada and proponent of innovation as our only real hope to prevail in the future

These industries depend on STEM workers (science, technology, engineering, and math). The core list of 46 STEM occupations are in computer and mathematics; engineering and surveying; physical and life science; and managerial. There are eight million of these STEM workers, about 5% of the entire workforce.

Nationally, about one-quarter of the nation’s STEM workforce is foreign-born, according to the report, “Foreign-born STEM Workers in the United States.” It has doubled from 11.9% in 1990 to 24.3% in 2015. They account for 47% of STEM workers with advanced degrees

In New Jersey 43% of STEM workers are foreign-born. In California, 42%.In New york, 29%. In 16 other states, foreign-born workers make up 20 percent or more of all STEM workers.

Labor shortages driving up demand for temp foreign workers

July 10th, 2017

Employers across occupations are increasingly relying on all available temporary worker channels to respond to labor shortages. This is according to the Migration Policy Institute.

H-2A (primarily for farm workers)

This has seen a more than twelve-fold increase over two decades—from 11,000 visas issued in 1996 to more than 134,000 in 2016.

At least half of farm workers today are unauthorized. In 2015, the flows of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico to the United States reached a net negative, with more people returning to Mexico than coming to the United States. The Mexican farmworker population has been aging out of the job. In California, crop production wages increased 13% between 2010 and 2015.

H-2B (generally, seasonal hospitality and other workers)

From 2013 to 2016, the number of H-2B visas issued increased 47%, from 58,000 to 85,000, and the program is already showing evidence of extraordinary growth in 2017. By the midway point of fiscal year (FY) 2017, employers had sought approval for 121,000 H-2B workers. Maine relies on H-2B visas for 10% of its 100,000 hospitality workers annually.

H-1B (skilled workers)

Demand has been increasing in a tightening labor market. In 2016, 180,000 H-1B visas were issued, a 53 percent increase from 2010 and the largest number in more than two decades. More and more American vs. Indian companies are using these workers. the American share grew from 40% in 2012 to 61% in 2016.

The unemployment rate for computer and mathematical occupations in the United States was 1.9% in May 2017. These are precisely the occupations most commonly filled by H-1B workers: in FY 2015, 66.5% of H-1B workers were employed in computer-related occupations.

One quarter of second gen children at risk of losing parents by deportation

July 8th, 2017

The American Immigration Council reports:

“Since fiscal year 2010, over a quarter million parents of minors who are American citizens have been deported. These numbers…. likely do not reflect all of families that have been torn apart. ICE’s reports only include those who volunteer information about their children; many may not disclose this fact, fearing for the safety and future of their children.”

An estimated six million U.S. citizen children live with at least one family member who is undocumented. This is  8% of all children in the U.S. Using Pew Research figures, this means that one quarter of the current second generation immigrant population under 18 (27 million) has at least one unauthorized parent.

(For second generation figures see appendix 1 here)

 

Multiracial and multiethnic babies: 14% of all infants

July 7th, 2017

One-in-seven U.S. infants (14%) were multiracial or multiethnic in 2015, nearly triple the share in 1980, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.

This analysis is limited to infants living with two parents because census data on the race and ethnicity of parents is only available for those living in the same home.

In 1980, 7% of all newlyweds were in an intermarriage, and by 2015, that share had more than doubled to 17%, according to a recently released Pew Research Center report. Both trends are likely spurred in part by the growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S.

The general public seems mostly accepting of the trend toward more children having parents of different races. In a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, 22% of U.S. adults said more children with parents of different races was a good thing for society, while half as many (11%) thought it was a bad thing. The majority (65%) thought that this trend didn’t make much of a difference.

Among all multiracial and multiethnic infants living with two parents, by far the largest portion have one parent who is Hispanic and one who is non-Hispanic white (42%). Asian.

44% of infants in Hawaii are multiracial or multiethnic. Shares are also high in Oklahoma and Alaska (28%). At the same time, just 4% of children younger than 1 in Vermont are multiracial or multiethnic, as are 6% of those in North Dakota, Maine, Mississippi and West Virginia.

Do non-citizens vote in American elections? Recent evidence says no.

July 4th, 2017

The evidence available, drawing from extremely little legal enforcement action (mostly tied to local scandal) and from a recent study (by voting fraud allegers) of Virginia, is that the number of non-citizens voting is infinitesimally small, under one tenth of one percent of actual voters, and probably that is a gross over-estimate. In contrast, the allegers of voting fraud are saying that somewhere around 10% of non-citizens voted and that somewhere around 2% of all voters were non-citizens.

For my state of Vermont, which is subject as all other states to Kobach’s demand for voter data, a high estimate of non-citizens registered (per the analysis below) is a total of 39.

Background: Kobach

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who co-chairs the Trump Administration’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (VP Pence is chair) announced on November 30, 2016 that it was a “reasonable estimate” that 3.2 million people could have voted illegally based off a survey of the 2008 presidential election.

The Kansas secretary of state said data showed that 11.3% of non-citizens in the United States said they had voted in that year’s election. He pulled this figure from the heavens. There are 43 million immigrants of which 95% are 18 and older . About half are naturalized. Kobach is in effect alleging that of about 20 million non-citizens 18 or old, 11.3% or 2.3 million voted illegally. (If all of Kobach’s 3.2 million voted illegally and were non-citizens 18 or over, that implies that 16% of non-citizens voted.

On the face of it, this allegation implies national. massive, orchestrated campaigns of voter fraud. Actual systemic voting fraud cases of late involve at most dozens of voters and are local in nature.

A disputed 2014 research article

Kobach and allies have leaned on a 2014 article authored by Old Dominion University researchers that “6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010.”

The article was based on no original inspection of records or surveying but rather on a study by the Cooperative Congressional Election Study of surveys done in 2008 and 2012. The CCES researchers disparaged the Old Dominion article asserting that is drew unwarranted inferences from a very small sample size (such as under 200 positive results from a total survey population of 19,000). The title of the CCES December 2015 refutation: “The perils of cherry picking low frequency events in large sample surveys.”

The Virginia allegations

In May of this year a Public Interest Legal Foundation – sponsored report, “Alien Invasion,” produced figures of what it called non-citizens with Virginia driver licenses who voted. If you examine its figures, and compare them with Virginia population and voting numbers, these non-citizen estimates come to one third of one percent of adult non-citizens, and an infinitesimally small percentage of total voting in Virginia.

The Virginia report compared motor vehicle registration data (which has a field for citizen status), registration rolls, and actual voter counts. I have grossed up the figures, which covered most but not all voter districts, in order to show complete statewide estimates. The adjusted figures indicate that over a six year recent period 2,415 non-citizens were registered to vote and that they voted 9,745 times. These are definitely not the figures that Kobach and allies want to hear about. The reason is that the 2,415 is an extremely tiny share of the approximately 400,000 non citizen adults living in Virginia at the time.

The reasonable explanation is that many or most of the 2,415 persons either became citizens later or mistakenly listed themselves as citizens (consistent with survey errors found by CCES). Also, the 9,745 votes over a six year period is a vanishingly small share of the roughly 18 million times people voted in Virginia over the six year period.

Australia: immigrant nation

June 30th, 2017

Australian residents have double the foreign born population than the U.S. in terms of percentage of total population and their foreign-born population is growing much faster than ours.

The Australian population, per its government report issued on June 27, grew 8.8% between 2011 and 2016 to 23.7 million. Compare that to the 3.8% U.S. population growth in the same period. Had U.S. grown as fast as Australia since 2011, we would have today 15 million more people and 10 million more workers.

1.3 million new migrants arrived in Australia since 2011, with China (191,000) and India (163,000) being the most common countries of birth. That is equivalent to about 75% of growth in population. Compare that with the growth of the foreign-born population in the U.S. of about one million a year, equivalent to 40% of the growth of the total U.S. population since 2011.

A quarter of Australian residents are foreign born, compared to 13% of the U.S. population. For the first time in its history, the majority of foreign-born persons Australia are from Asia, not Europe. Today, Mexican and other Latin American born immigration are probably half of our immigrant population while Asians comprise about 28%. But recent Asian immigrants outnumber Latin American immigrants.

New Brain Gain for the U.S.

June 24th, 2017

The world is better educated, education is more international, and we are receiving the results without any change in official immigration policy. The politics of immigration today is largely unaware of these trends.

In New Brain Gain from the Migration Policy Institute, facts are presented.

The share of recent immigrants who have college degrees has been higher than the share of native-born Americans with college degrees since at least 1990, is not before. Since 2010, close to half of recent immigrants had graduated from college before arriving – 86% of Indians, one quarter of Latin Americans, and about 65% of Europeans. In contrast, about 30% of native-born Americans have college degrees.

The rise in college education among immigrants is mostly attributable to the increase in Asian immigration and the rise in the educational level of Latin American immigrants.

In about half the American states, recent immigrants are over 50% college educated and in six states (NH, MI, DE, DC, IA and VT) over 60% college educated. California, the most populous immigrant state, shows 50% of recent immigrants as college educated. A large state with a political leadership that tends to be restrictive in preferred policy is Texas. Its native-born population is 30% college educated; the total immigrant population is about 23% college educated, and about 45% of recent immigrants are college educated.

Still, most recent arrivals are not proficient in English. The share of recent immigrants who were English proficient was 34% in 2000 and in 2015 43%.  Between these years, unauthorized immigration from Mexico largely dried up and Asian immigration rose; also international student enrollment rose steeply.

The Migration Policy Institute includes all foreign person visas, including temporary work and student visas. Education is rising around the world, most notably re: American immigration among Latin Americans. Student visa volume has risen by a lot, and college enrollment has turned into an important immigrant channel for college-educated foreigners. This has happened even while the total share of global international students has declined from 23% in 2000 to 19% in 2013.

In sum, the world is better educated, education is more international and we are receiving the results.

“If John Cunningham is not safe, no one is safe.”

June 21st, 2017

“If they’ll go after John Cunningham, they’ll go after anybody,” said Ronnie Millar, the executive director of the Irish International Immigrant Center in Boston. “John is so well-known and so well-liked. If John Cunningham is not safe, no one is safe.”

So reported Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe about a man who overstayed his tourist visa 18 years ago. The story goes on.:

John Cunningham has an electrical contracting business and is chairman of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Boston. They came for John Cunningham on a sunny evening last week, showing up at his house in Brighton like early dinner guests. They were federal immigration agents, and they were there to throw John Cunningham out of the country he has called home for 18 years.

John Cunningham, 38, has an electrical contracting business. He has paid taxes. He has done much to improve the lives of those around him. But what he does not have is a green card, and so the federal agents brought him to the jail in South Bay and put him in a cell with the rest of the common criminals.

Chris Lavery, Cunningham’s lawyer, told the Globe reporter there is no underlying criminal charge. Cunningham was grabbed for overstaying the 90-day visa he received 18 years ago.

Cunningham is widely known in Boston’s Irish ex-pat community. He was a fixture at the Gaelic Athletic Association fields at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton. He was especially proud of getting more kids from all backgrounds playing the traditional Irish games of hurling and Gaelic football.

It is because of Cunningham’s prominence in that community that his arrest has sent shivers through it.

Trump extends, withdraws protections of unauthorized persons

June 19th, 2017

Last week, Homeland Security assured protection of about 1.1 million unauthorized persons but withdrew Obama’s proposed protection of another 3.6 million persons. There are about 11 million unauthorized persons in the country.

The media reported widely that the Secretary of Homeland Security extended the Obama Administration’s protection of unauthorized persons who arrived in the United States as children in recent years. This protection, DACA, was issued on June 15, 2012.

Pew Research reported that more than 750,000 persons have received formal protections under DACA and that about 1.1 million are eligible. This total figure accounts for about 10% of unauthorized persons in the U.S.

However, at the same time the Secretary removed another provision that protected parents of children who were American citizens – DAPA. That provision was created by Homeland Security on November 20, 2014. It was challenged in the courts, which put a hold on the order. The Trump administration cancelled the order.

DAPA applied to an unauthorized person with the children who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, who has been in the country since before 2010, and who is not subject to other priority removal policies, such as relating to persons with criminal records.

The Migration Policy Institute and Urban Institute estimated in early 2016 that DAPA would have covered 3.6 million unauthorized persons – that is, persons with at least one child who is legally able to stay in the country. The report said that “Providing work authorization for these unauthorized immigrant parents could raise the average DAPA family’s income by 10 percent. Despite very high male labor force participation, the poverty rate for DAPA families is 36 percent, compared with 22 percent for all immigrant families, and 14 percent for families with U.S.-born parents.”

DACA and DAPA were cases of “deferred action.” Homeland Security described this type of action in the November, 2014 memorandum as follows:

“Deferred action is a form of prosecutorial discretion by which the Secretary deprioritizes an individual’s case for humanitarian reasons, administrative convenience, or in the interest of the Department’s overall enforcement mission. As an act of prosecutorial discretion, deferred action is legally available so long as it is granted on a
case – by-  case basis, and it may be terminated at any time at the agency’s discretion. Deferred action does not confer any form of legal status in this country, much less citizenship; it simply means that, for a specified period of time, an individual is permitted to be lawfully present in the United States. Nor can deferred action itself lead to a green card.”