Time line for Stay in Mexico Policy Jan 2019 – Dec 2021

January 2019 Trump Administration introduces the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). Usually referred to as the “Remain in Mexico” program. Under MPP, individuals who arrived at the southern border and asked for asylum (either at a port of entry or after crossing the border between ports of entry) were given notices to appear in immigration court and sent back to Mexico.

March 2020 The Supreme Court, reversing an appellate court order, allows the Trump administration to maintain the Remain in Mexico Program. The Justice Department told the court that without a stay from the Supreme Court the appeals court’s ruling was “virtually guaranteed to impose irreparable harm by prompting a rush on the border and potentially requiring the government to allow into the United States and detain thousands of aliens who lack any entitlement to enter this country, or else to release them into the interior where many will simply disappear.”

March 2020 Candidate Biden tweets “Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy is dangerous, inhumane, and goes against everything we stand for as a nation of immigrants. My administration will end it.”

January 2021 Biden’s DHS on the first day of his administration suspends all new enrollments in MPP, ending people being sent back to Mexico. It undertakes to terminare the program.

August 2021 As part of a lawsuit brought by the states of Texas and Missouri, a federal judge orders the Biden administration to “enforce and implement MPP in good faith until such a time as it has been lawfully rescinded in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act” and until such a time as the federal government has sufficient detention capacity to detain asylum seekers. The Supreme Court agrees with the ruling.

September 2021 the Biden administration discloses that it had begun internal deliberations about reinstating a “lite” version of MPP and was engaged in diplomatic negotiations with the government of Mexico, and that no person could be sent back to Mexico without that country’s cooperation. However, DHS Secretary Mayorkas writes in October that MPP should be terminated.

October 2021 DHA issues another termination of the program designed to overcome the objections to its initial termination (Texas law suit),

December 2021 The Biden Administration introduces a revised version of MPP. Per the administration, changes to the Trump program include better access to legal representation, resolution of applications within six months, safer shelters in Mexico, work permits in Mexico, and health care.

Go here, here, here, here and here.

More on the status of our recent Afghan refugees

Continued disgraceful response by the United States to Afghan refugees, including those to whom we have a special obligation due to their affiliation with the U.S.

Great reporting by the Washington Post: Many Afghans rushed out of the country and largely now in military bases in the U.S. (such as Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico) came as “paroles,” with two year status and no assurance of a green card, little practical access to applying for asylum given as Homeland Security’ asylum processing is tied up on the Mexican border.

They have a legal right of limited assistance for up to 90 days, including a one-time $1,250 stipend. They do not have the full range of medical, counseling and resettlement services available to immigrants who arrive through the U.S. refugee program.

Many of those who arrived are separated from nuclear family members still in Afghanistan or other countries such as Turkey, thanks to the chaotic departure of Americans.

A resettlement expert says that “The refugee resettlement system has been decimated [by the Trump administration], so our local offices are unable to accept parolees right now without an assurance of our ability to cover costs like medical expenses immediately.”

Biden administration drafted the Afghan Adjustment Act, to allow those paroled into the country to apply for green cards after a year, making it easier for them to become permanent residents and bring relatives left behind.

43,000 Afghan evacuees are waiting at transit sites in Europe and the Middle East.

Special Immigration Visa holders and applicants: it’s not clear how many of the roughly 80,000 Afghans admitted since the Summer either hold this visa are eligible for it. The U.S. military advertised this visas as a means to attract translators and other assistance. The screwed up nature of the SIV program was reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Here are maps of where Afghan immigrants concentrate in the U.S.

Washington Post articles here and here.




More low-income immigrant workers will lower nursing home admission rates

Private nursing home care costs about $100,000 a year. 

The National Domestic Workers Alliance estimated in 2015 that among domestic workers, 46% were foreign born: 46%, and of these 47% were unauthorized.

45% of persons over 80 experience some kind of physical or mental impairment which can (or must) be mitigated by personal care, either at home or in an institution. For those 65 or older there is a 5% probability of institutional care and for those 80 or older a 15% probability

Researchers estimate that a 10% increase in the less-educated foreign-born labor force share in a local area reduces the risk of institutionalization among the elderly by 26-29%.

From here: Immigrant Labor and the Institutionalization of the U.S.-born Elderly, by Kristin F. Butcher, Kelsey Moran & Tara Watson

Climate migrating in the US today: the problem with Dallas


People are migrating due to climate change. A Politico article makes it out to be a massive migration. But it is easy to over-estimate the climate related migration trend because there are other factors which may influence migration more. Sorting out the multiple factors is a matter now of guessing. Here is an example of the problem, the large migration wave into the Dallas area from states such as California.

The NY Times tried to pinpoint why Americans migrate internally, be examining migration among over 1,000 localities:

By scoring cities and towns, we let you filter and rank locations according to affordability, the vibrancy of local job markets, exposure to climate hazards, political and racial diversity, reproductive and transgender rights, how long you can expect to spend commuting and whether a place has lots of mountains or trees.

The suburbs around Dallas — places like Plano, McKinney, Garland, Euless and Allen — came up a lot. It’s clear why these are some of the fastest-growing areas in the country. They have relatively little crime and are teeming with jobs, housing, highly rated schools, good restaurants, clean air and racial and political diversity — all at a steep discount compared to the cost of living in America’s coastal metropolises. (by By Farhad Manjoo With Gus Wezerek and Yaryna Serkez)

But Dallas is hot and getting hotter relative to the rest of the country. Among cities with a population greater than 1 million, excluding Phoenix, Dallas is heating up faster than every other city in the country.

The average temperature in Dallas-Fort Worth rose from the 1970s from 65 degrees by 2.5 degrees. With an average annual temperature of 69.8 degrees, 2017 was North Texas’ warmest year on record. By contrast, the average annual temperature in Denver is 50 degrees. Dallas has experienced over 30 consecutive days over 100 degrees; Denver rarely more than 2 consecutive days. (Go here , here and here).

The immigration court backlog


The pending immigration court case inventory on the Mexican border rose massively during the Trump Administration, and continues to rise.

From The Economist:

The new president’s apparently softer stance on immigration, as well as the pressures of the pandemic, have encouraged ever more people to try to cross the border illegally. Their number is now the highest in 21 years. In the past seven weeks alone, border agents have sent nearly 50,000 cases to the courts. That is increasing pressure on the country’s already overstretched courts. According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data research centre founded at Syracuse University, immigration courts have nearly 1.5m pending cases in their dockets—the most on record and nearly triple the number in 2016.

The job of deciding whether or not a migrant can stay in America, either as an asylum seeker or on other grounds, falls to 535 judges across 68 immigration courts—on average almost 2,800 cases per judge. Were the judges to rule on three to four cases every business day, it would take at least two-and-a-half years to clear the docket. Scheduling interruptions caused by the pandemic, and the multiple hearings and appeals for each case exacerbate the problem.

Intensified advanced country demand for immigrant workers

The NY Times surveys how countries have recognized labor shortages and are doing something about it.

Canada expects to receive 1.2 million immigrants in a three-year span. That is equivalent to an annual green card inflow of 3.7 million a year in the U.S, over three times our trend in the past 20 years. (In 2021 it probably closer to 600,000).

Australia expects to double immigration to 200,000 a year, equivalent to the U.S. receiving 2.6 million.

Both Canada and Australia have point-system immigration policies enabling them to target immigration towards productive work. I’ve analyzed a point system for the U.S. here. The Republican immigration reform bill (RAISE) submitted in 2017 had a point system.

The Times article says, “Many countries, including Belgium, Finland and Greece, granted work rights to foreigners who had arrived on student or other visas. Some countries, such as New Zealand, also extended temporary work visas indefinitely, while Germany, with its new Immigration Act, accelerated the recognition process for foreign professional qualifications. In Japan, a swiftly graying country that has traditionally resisted immigration, the government allowed temporary workers to change employers and maintain their status.”

Conflict within the Biden Administration, with Haiti migrants as example

The Wall Street Journal reported Nov 18 on internal dissension and policy zigzagging. Also see the Center for Immigration Studies’ analysis of the article, here. The internal dissension is most acute on responses to record high Mexican border crossings and arrests.

On one side are officials who helped shape Mr. Biden’s campaign message and now occupy several top immigration-policy jobs at the White House, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department. Those officials say policies aimed at deterring migrants from crossing the border don’t work and support overhauling the immigration system to resolve requests for asylum faster, give asylum seekers the ability to apply from their home countries and create more legal immigration pathways.

They are backed by members of the Democrats’ progressive wing in Congress and immigration advocacy groups influential in the administration and the party.

On the other side are some senior advisers to the president and career border-enforcement officials who in an effort to manage record border apprehensions favor deterrence strategies, including ramping up deportations and putting pressure on Mexico to step up enforcement, saying the administration needs to reduce arrests before tackling long-term changes. They include White House chief of staff Ron Klain, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, senior adviser Cedric Richmond and Susan Rice, domestic policy adviser.

Example: Haitian migrants

Internal intelligence reports early in the year showed that Haitians, who had been living for years in South America, were on the move toward the U.S. border. Some advisers as early as the spring argued in favor of deportations to Haiti, saying that even a few flights to the Caribbean nation would prevent larger numbers of Haitians from attempting to cross the border.

Others countered that the country was too unstable to receive migrants and pushed instead for all Haitians present in the U.S. illegally to be shielded from deportation through a mechanism known as Temporary Protected Status, as Mr. Biden had said he would provide for Haitians during the campaign.

Ultimately, officials decided to follow two tracks: Haitians in the U.S. illegally before July 29 were allowed to stay, but new arrivals could be deported.

In August, as intelligence reports showed large groups of Haitian migrants in southern Mexico preparing to move north, ICE planned to deport about 600 Haitians who had recently crossed the border.

Alejandro Mayorkas, the Homeland Security secretary, signed off on the deportations, people familiar with the matter said. But he reversed the decision and ordered them released after immigration advocates flagged that the migrants were eligible for deportation protection.

News of their release spread on Haitian social media. A month later, about 30,000 Haitians crossed the border near Del Rio, Texas, with thousands crowded under a bridge. Those later arrivals didn’t qualify for the temporary deportation relief. The U.S. sent 58 deportation flights to Haiti in September, up from two the previous month.

The deportations have helped dissuade Haitian migrants. Border Patrol agents made 1,083 arrests of Haitians in October, down from nearly 18,000 in September. But it irked members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who opposed the deportations and raised concerns about the treatment of Haitian migrants by border patrol agents.

Refugees created by American post 9 /11 wars — aren’t we meant to fix it?

The U.S, has admitted less than 5% of the internationally displaced persons due to post 9/11 wars, all waged by the U.S. as anti-terrorism wars,

The U.S. has admitted 2000 – 2020 about 1.7 million persons as refugees/ asylees (refugees apply outside the U.S., asylees within the U.S.) (See here and here.)

The US post 9/11 wars have forcibly displaced at least 38 million people in and from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya, and Somalia. This exceeds those displaced by every war since 1900 except World War II. This is a conservative estimate., The number may be closer to 49-60 million.

From these 8 countries, 7.9 million have sought residence in other countries.

2 million Afghans have been displaced outside their country since 9/11. Between 9/11 and 2019, the U.S. admitted about 90,000 Afghans, or less than 5% of those internationally displaced. It may admit 100,000 – 150,000 since complete withdrawal.

2.3 million Iraqis were displaced outside their country since 9/11. (Here and here.) Since then, perhaps 100,000 or less have immigrated. (The mayor of Dearborn MI is an Iraqi-American,). At 100,000 this is less than 5% of those international displaced.

Count of internationally displaced persons in post 9/11 wars:
Afghanistan – 2 million, Pakistan 400,000, Yeman – 70,000, Somalia – 800,000, Iraq – 2.3 million, Libya – 200,000, Syria – 2.1 million


The immigrant sections in the November 19 reconciliation bill

Bloomberg reports:

Parole: the bill contains temporary work permit and deportation protection program, known as parole, that Democrats believe has stronger prospects in the Senate.

Around 6.5 million people who’ve been in the U.S. at least a decade would receive parole under the plan, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate. That is 60% of unauthorized persons. Of those, 2 million immigrants who wouldn’t otherwise be eligible could eventually obtain permanent status as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.

Parole would be available to eligible applicants who entered the U.S. with or without inspection by U.S. border officials before 2011, as well as for immigrants who already have separate humanitarian parole status. Work permits and deportation protections would last for five years and could be renewed until the program expires in 2031.

Visa recapture: The bill would recapture unused family and employment-based visas back to 1992, and allow some foreigners to fast-track applications to adjust to legal permanent resident status and sidestep some numerical limits on visas, including per-country caps that have left hundreds of thousands of Indians in limbo.

The bill would also allow diversity visa lottery winners who couldn’t finalize their status or enter the U.S. due to Covid-19 or Trump-era immigration restrictions to reapply. It would provide $2.8 billion to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to process parole and green card applications.

Proposed new pathways for non-farm Latin American workers

Mexico, Central America and the U.S. share a transnational labor market for low-skilled workers, but there has never been a comprehensive U.S. policy about managing this labor market. One approach is to introduce large numbers of multi-year visas.

The Migration Policy Institute recommends a long- term solution for temporary non-farm low skilled immigrant workers in the U.S., by revising the H-2B visa program, which is for non-farm labor, and has a cap of only 66,000 visas. Farm labor is covered by H-2A. (Here and here are analyses of H-2B):

The United States and its regional partners have short, medium, and long-term opportunities to leverage the US employment-based immigration system to assist in managing migration from Central America.

Legislatures could create a 1 to 3 year year-round temporary visa for the central Americans to work in specific industries. Lawmakers can also create a broader 1 to 3 year temporary visa for agricultural and non-agricultural workers that could create additional openings for prospective migrants.

The US can create pathways for temporary workers to access permanent residency. Individuals with H1B high skilled temporary visas they have the opportunity to receive sponsorship for a green card but this option does not exist for individuals on H-2B visas. Creating a new temporary to permanent visa or a pathway to green card for individuals with H-2B visas would empower workers to access more jobs.

A third option would be for the US to amend immigration law to allow workers on temporary visas to switch employers after a specific period of time, allowing workers to leave problematic employment relationships without jeopardizing the legal state.

Here is an analysis of the farm worker provisions in proposed 2021 legislation, which has the backing of the farm industry,