Every day perceptions when immigrants arrive in large numbers

April 20th, 2018

Author Tomas Jimenez conducted 179 interviews in the racially diverse of three Silicon Valley cities. One used to be largely African-American and now is largely Hispanic. The others have had big influxes of South and East Asian immigrants. The author studied the longtime “established” residents’ response to newcomers.

Over time, immigrant-driven diversity “becomes more kaleidoscopic as newcomers assimilate, leading established individuals to recognize diversity within racial groups and to define belonging in nonracial terms.”
There are two markers to closer interpersonal relations: speaking English well and lengthy residence in the neighborhood. Legal status of the immigrant population was also a key factor in the established residents’ perception of immigrants overall.

“There was a resounding chorus across the interview sample that the English language was the cultural nucleus of American identity. While no respondent believed that immigrants should shed their mother tongue, all described speaking English as the behavioral essence of Americanness. And yet they also had difficulty pointing to American cultural displays, aside from speaking English. As a White, male college student from Berryessa reported:

‘Our [American] culture is the absence of culture. They have a distinct culture and every other country has a very distinct culture except us, because we’re a blend of all the cultures…. It definitely helps if [immigrants] speak fluent English with as little accent as possible.’ “

Jiménez concludes: “But if the comments of those interviewed in Silicon Valley are any indication, they also feel a sense of appreciation for the new opportunities and vibrant cultural admixture that emerge from these changes. Over time, and across generations, these shifts will give way to a sense of normal that, in hindsight, will have changed dramatically.”

The source is here.


Snapshot of Dominicans in the United States

April 18th, 2018

The Dominican population in the U.S. was a bare 12,000 in 1960, then grew. It doubled during the 1980s and again in the 1990s. Since then it has grown about 25% decade and now stands at about one million, out of a total 44 million foreign persons. First, second and later generations who cite Dominican roots are about 2.2 million, or about a 2 to 1 ratio with foreign born Dominicans.

Half live in New York, and another 25% in New Jersey or Florida, but Boston is also a big attraction and Dominicans are the largest Hispanic group in the Boston area (larger than Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and other Hispanics). About 6 out of 10 have speak English less than well, compared to about half of all immigrants. About 35% of Dominican adults do not have a high school degree, compared to 29% of all immigrant adults, and 8% of native born Americans.

About one quarter live in poverty. About 112,100 are undocumented – that is, about 10% of all Dominicans and 1% of all undocumented persons. (That compares to about 5.6 million undocumented Mexicans out of about 12 million Mexicans in the U.S.)

Dominicans remit back about $6 billion, which is 8% of the country’s gross domestic product.

This from the Migration Policy Institute.

32% of U.S. Nobel prizes won by immigrants

April 12th, 2018

The Chicago Council says that over the past 50 years, one-quarter of US-based Nobel laureates were foreign born. Immigrants were behind 2% of new high-tech companies founded between 2006 and 2012. And Immigrants with advanced degrees are three times more likely to file patents than their native-born peers.

Another study reports that 32% were foreign born. Per Jon Bruner, of the 314 laureates who won their Nobel prize while working in the U.S., 102 (or 32%) were foreign born, including 15 Germans, 12 Canadians, 10 British, six Russians and six Chinese (twice as many as have received the award while working in China). Compare that to Germany, where just 11 out of 65 Nobel laureates (or 17%) were born outside of Germany (or, while it still existed, Prussia). Or to Japan, which counts no foreigners at all among its nine Nobel laureates. Bruner wrote his analysis in 2011.

Half of H-1B workers in five metro areas

April 9th, 2018


The U.S. government approved more than 859,600 H-1B applications in fiscal 2010-2016, for an average of 122,000 a year. The H-1B visa program is the nation’s largest temporary employment visa program. About 247,900 H-1B visa approvals – 29% of the nation’s total – went to employers in the New York City metro area from fiscal 2010 to 2016. Dallas (74,000 9%), Washington (64,800 8%), Boston (38,300 5%) and San Jose (22,200 3%) were among the top metro areas by this measure. They accounted for 54% of all H-1Bs in 2010-2016.

About half (49%) of H-1B approvals in recent years have gone to foreign workers with an advanced degree (master’s, professional or doctorate) earned either in the U.S. or internationally. In some metro areas, a relatively high share of H-1B workers earned an advanced degree from a U.S. institution. In San Diego, 28% of H-1B approvals went to foreign workers with advanced degrees from a U.S. university or college

Putting these figures into context, there are about 600,000 new STEM college graduates per year in the U.S.

There are about 15 million residents between 25 and 44 years old with at least a college degree.

Project to translate immigration documents into Spanish

April 7th, 2018

An American translator is making available Spanish translations of key immigration documents. Go here for the documents. (The formal submissions must be in English.)

Although hundreds of thousands of Spanish-speaking migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers apply for residence in the United States every year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers virtually none of its required paperwork in Spanish. The goal of the Free Translation of Migration Paperwork (FTrMP) Project is to provide free Spanish translations of as many of these documents as possible. All of the translations have been approved by at least two professional translators (one native English speaker and one native Spanish speaker).

Kevin Gerry Donn is a Spanish / English translator and activist based in Texas. He often collaborates with non-profit organizations, translating documents, and saw that USCIS documents (which are quite important for refugees) are not available in Spanish.

Pervasive slowing of legal immigration

April 6th, 2018

The Migration Policy Institute, Pew Research and others note ways that legal immigration is declining.

Suspending and Reducing Refugee Admissions.

The U.S. admitted 84,995 refugees in fiscal 2016. A 110,000 ceiling was set by Obama. Trump almost immediately lowered the ceiling to 50,000, and then to 45,000. Since June 2017 monthly refugee admissions have most been under 2,000. This implies an annual volume of under 2,5000.

Slowing Family Immigration

In fiscal 2016, 804,793 people received family-based U.S. lawful permanent residence. Per the MPI, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services processed 54% of immediate relative petitions in FY 2017, compared to about 67% in FY 2016. Non-immediate relative immigration processing was already low in FY 2016, with roughly 22% of applications adjudicated, but fell even further to 9% in FY 2017. Backlogs for non-immediate relatives increased. It seems likely that USCIS is delaying adjudication of non-immediate relative petitions because of lengthy visa availability backlogs in these categories.

Excluding Public Charges

Per the MPI, the administration has yet to officially unveil an expected policy designed to keep people at risk of becoming public charges out of the country. However, changes seem imminent. Two leaked draft documents—an executive order and a proposed regulation—outline substantive revisions. The policy could effectively reduce green-card grants for low-income individuals and make permanent residents more vulnerable to deportation.

Extreme vetting

The administration has taken steps to increase the screening of applicants for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, which could have the effect of slowing down admissions. In June 2017, a supplemental questionnaire was rolled out, in which some visa applicants must detail their travel history, residential addresses, and employment information for the past 15 years. In February 2018, the President signed a national security memorandum establishing the National Vetting Enterprise to coordinate and manage the government’s vetting efforts, combining the work of the Departments of Homeland Security, State, and Justice, and the Director of National Intelligence.

Temporary Protected Status

More than 320,000 immigrants from 10 nations have permission to live and work in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), because war, hurricanes or other disasters in their home countries could make it dangerous for them to return. Many are expected to lose their benefits in 2018 and 2019. The Trump administration has said it will not renew the program for people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan, who together account for about 76% of enrolled immigrants.

H-1B (skilled worker) visas

Under the Trump administration, the number of H-1B applications challenged by the federal government has increased. In addition, the administration has considered restricting the number of years foreign workers can hold H-1B visas.

Student visas

The State Department reports a total of 393,573 F-1 visas issued for the fiscal year ending 30 September 2017. This represents a 17% decline from the 471,000 F-1s issued in 2016, and a nearly 39% drop in F-1 visa issuance from the recent-year high in 2015.

As Hispanic population rises, Spanish language use falls

April 4th, 2018

In the 1990s, the U.S. Hispanic population grew annual by 5.8%. that annual rate slipped top 4.4% between 2000 and 2007, and to 2.4% between 2007 and 2014. (Go here).

About 40 million persons speak Spanish at home. (This is the large majority of persons speaking other than English at home.) Among immigrant parents, 97% speak Spanish to their children. Among second generation parents, 71% do. Among 3rd or later generations, 49% do. (Go here).

88% say it is important to them that future generations of Hispanics living in the U.S. be able to speak Spanish, with vast majorities holding this view across generations.

What language is dominant?

While 61% of Hispanic immigrants in the U.S. are Spanish dominant (and another 32% are bilingual), the share who are Spanish dominant drops to 6% among second-generation Hispanics and to less than 1% among third or higher generation Hispanics. Meanwhile, the share of Hispanics who are English dominant rises across generations: Just 7% of immigrant Hispanics are English dominant, a share that rises to 75% among third-generation Hispanics.

The U.N. origins for the Temporary Protected Status program

April 2nd, 2018

On February 22, a class action suit was filed arguing that the federal government could not without permanent residence to certain persons here covered by Temporary Protected Status (TPS). In September 2017, the federal government had withdrawn TPS from 65,000 nationals of Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan.

The United States currently provides TPS to approximately 437,000 foreign nationals from 10 countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. TPS for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone expired in May 2017, but certain Liberians maintain relief under an administrative mechanism.

Per the Congressional Research Service, the United States enacted the TPS program Immigration Act of 1990. An obligation to enact such a program arose from 1967 United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. The protocol specifies that a refugee is a person who is unwilling or unable to return to his/her country of nationality or habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The legal definition of a refugee in the immigration law is consistent with the U.N. Protocol.

TPS protection is available to foreign nationals within the United States who may not meet the legal definition of refugee or asylee but are nonetheless fleeing—or reluctant to return to—potentially dangerous situations.

Census experts argue against inclusion of citizenship question

April 1st, 2018

Members of the Census Scientific Advisory Committee said in a statement that the decision to include a question about citizenship was based on “flawed logic,” could threaten the accuracy and confidentiality of the head count and likely would make it more expensive to conduct.

The committee also said it worried about the “implications for attitudes about the Census Bureau,” an allusion to fears that the latest move jeopardized the bureau’s nonpartisan reputation.

The Census Project reports that all living former Census Bureau directors objected to adding a citizenship question. In a recent letter, six former directors — who served under both Republican and Democratic presidents — called adding the question “highly risky.”

Four of these same former Census directors also wrote to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 that asking about citizenship status in the decennial census “would likely exacerbate privacy concerns and lead to inaccurate responses from non-citizens worried about a government record of their immigration status.

The American Statistical Association wrote to Ross in January to “strongly caution” against adding the question.

Trump-Pence reelection campaign is pushing for the addition of question on the 2020 Census that would ask respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

“The President wants the 2020 United States Census to ask people whether or not they are citizens,” states the new fundraising email. “In another era, this would be COMMON SENSE.”

The Census crisis

March 28th, 2018

One March 26, Commerce Secretary Ross stated his decision to include a question on citizenship status in the 2020 census. The only reason he cited for the inclusion as a Department of Justice request for data at the census track level to determine if there have been voting violations, of non-citizens voting. “I have determined that reinstatement of a citizenship question on the 2020 decennial census is necessary to provide complete and accurate data in response to the DOJ request. To minimize any impact on decennial census response rates, I am directing the Census Bureau to place the citizenship question last on the decennial census form.” And, “while there is widespread belief among many parties that adding a citizenship question could reduce response rates, the Census Bureau’s analysis did not provide definitive, empirical support for that belief.”

The prior week, the attorney general and secretary of state of California wrote that “The Constitution requires the government to conduct an “actual enumeration” of the total population, regardless of citizenship status. And since 1790, the census has counted citizens and noncitizens alike…California, with its large immigrant communities, would be disproportionately harmed by depressed participation in the 2020 census. An undercount would threaten at least one of California’s seats in the House of Representatives (and, by extension, an elector in the electoral college.) It would deprive California and its cities and counties of their fair share of billions of dollars in federal funds.”

The New York Times today reported, “critics of Mr. Ross’s decision made available a letter sent to Mr. Ross in January from six former directors of the Census Bureau who served under both Republican and Democratic administrations. The letter stated that they were “deeply concerned” that adding the citizenship question would “considerably increase the risks to the 2020 enumeration.”

“There is a great deal of evidence that even small changes in survey question order, wording and instructions can have significant, and often unexpected, consequences for the rate, quality and truthfulness of response,” said the former directors..,“The effect of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census on data quality and census accuracy, therefore, is completely unknown.”