Immigrants commit fewer crimes

June 22nd, 2018

The Cato Institute concludes its study of crime this way: “Legal and illegal immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than natives.” They go on:

“There were an estimated 2,007,502 natives, 122,939 illegal immigrants, and 63,994 legal immigrants incarcerated in 2014. The incarceration rate was 1.53% for natives, 0.85% for illegal immigrants, and 0.47% for legal immigrants. Illegal immigrants are 44% less likely to be incarcerated than natives. Legal immigrants are 69% less likely to be incarcerated than natives…. If native-born Americans were incarcerated at the same rate as illegal immigrants, about 893,000 fewer natives would be incarcerated. If natives were incarcerated at the same rate as legal immigrants, about 1.4 million fewer natives would be incarcerated. The American Community Survey data include illegal immigrants incarcerated for immigration offenses and in ICE detention facilities. Subtracting out the 17,000 convicted for immigration offenses and the 34,000 in ICE detention to focus on non-immigration alien offenders lowers the illegal immigrant incarceration rate to 0.50%, which brings it close to the legal immigrant incarceration rate of 0.47%.”

Two out of 400,000 plus crossing the border illegally

June 21st, 2018

This year, maybe 300,000 plus people will be arrested trying to cross illegally from Mexico. More than 100,000 will likely make it safely to their destination. This is a story of two who got arrested.

The Washington Post tracked a couple trying to return from Mexico to Florida, where they had worked, for jobs promised to them via Facebook. The couple waited two miles south of the border. “For $3,000, the first smuggler would take the couple from a nearby safe house to the Rio Grande. For $4,000 more, the second smuggler would take them from the river to a safe house in McAllen, Tex. For another $3,000, the third smuggler would take them from McAllen to Houston. And for $2,000 on top of that, the fourth smuggler would take them from Houston to Florida. In total, it was a $12,000 investment — equivalent to what they could earn in Florida in six months, at $9.60 per hour.” The smuggler had a package deal for three attempts.

On their second attempt, they crossed the Rio Grande but were caught south of Houston, abandoned by their smuggler.

“There’s an absolute dearth of workers, the likes of which I’ve never seen in my career,” said Craig Regelbrugge, senior vice president of AmericanHort, a lobbying firm that represents the horticulture industry in Washington.

“Thanks to an improving economy, U.S. citizens who might have picked flowers or planted corn now have better options. Farm and nursery owners complain about the red tape and expense of work visa programs.”

ICE inspections of employers at a pace of 219% of last fiscal year

June 20th, 2018

Rural Migration News reports that ICE has increased investigations of employers suspected of hiring unauthorized workers. In the entire 2017 fiscal year there were 1,716 investigations. As of May 4, 2018 there have been 3,510 investigations in FY 2018. Were 5,000 to happen as planned in FY 2018, that is 219% of the FY 2017 figure.

About two-thirds of these workplace investigations involve audits of the I-9 forms completed by newly hired workers and their employers. HSI agents give employers three days to provide their I-9 forms, and sometimes obtain warrants requiring employers to provide copies of the identity and work-authorization documents that were provided by workers when they were hired.

California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450) requires employers to demand warrants from ICE agents before allowing them to inspect I-9 forms, to notify their employees of upcoming ICE audits, and inform employees of the outcomes of ICE audits. Employers can be fined $2,000 to $5,000 for the first violation of AB 450, and $5,000 to $10,000 for each additional violation.

After ICE audits, employers receive Notices of Suspect Documents that inform them which workers appear to be unauthorized. Employers must “take action” on suspect employees within 10 days, firing them if they do not clear up discrepancies flagged by ICE. Most workers quit when informed of discrepancies between the documents they presented to employers when hired and the information in government databases.

Form I-9: Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. (from here)


David Brooks on the Republican Party losing its humanity

June 19th, 2018

David Brooks writes:

Families are ripped apart and children are left weeping by the fences constructed by government officials blindly following a regulation.

This illustrates something crucial about this administration. It is not populated by conservatives. It is populated by anti-liberal trolls. There’s a difference.

People like Stephen Miller are not steeped in conservative thinking and do not operate with a conservative disposition. They were formed by their rebellion against the stifling conformity they found at liberal universities. Their primary orientation is not to conservative governance but to owning the libs. In power they take the worst excesses of statism and flip them for anti-liberal ends.

Here’s how you can detect the anti-liberal trolls in the immigration debate: Watch how they use the word “amnesty.” Immigration is a complex issue. Any serious reform has to grapple with tangled realities, and any real conservative has an appreciation for that complexity. But if you try to account for that complexity before an anti-immigration troll, he or she will shout one word: Amnesty!

Maybe we should find some arrangement for the Dreamers? Amnesty! The so-called moderate House immigration bill? Amnesty! Keeping families together? Amnesty!

This is what George Orwell noticed about the authoritarian brutalists: They don’t use words to illuminate the complexity of reality; they use words to eradicate the complexity of reality.

Look at how the Republican candidates for the G.O.P. Senate nomination in Arizona answered questions about a provision to keep families together at the border. They responded with inhumane abstractions: “I try not to get swayed by what the emotions are or the pressure,” Martha McSally said. “Compromising on the rule of law to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants is the wrong path to take,” Kelli Ward replied.
“Amnesty” has become a club the trolls use in their attempt to stamp a rigid steel boot on the neck of the immigration debate. It’s the sign of a party slowly losing its humanity.

Nigerians in the U.S.

June 18th, 2018

Nigerian immigrants are relatively few but are very highly educated, in contrast to what one hears from the White House.

Today, 29% of Nigerian-Americans over the age of 25 hold a graduate degree, compared to 11% of the overall U.S. population. Among Nigerian-American professionals, 45% work in education services. Nigerians are entering the medical field in the U.S. at an increased rate. A growing number of Nigerian-Americans are becoming entrepreneurs and CEOs.

“There’s something about America and education that we need to celebrate,” [a Nigerian] says. Anyone from the Nigerian diaspora will tell you their parents gave them three career choices: doctor, lawyer or engineer. For a younger generation of Nigerian-Americans, that’s still true, but many are adding a second career, or even a third, to that trajectory…. Now that doctor, lawyer and engineer are no longer the only acceptable career options within the community, the path to professional achievement is rife with more possibilities than ever before. Sports, entertainment, music, the culinary arts — there are few fields Nigerian-Americans aren’t already influencing.

According to the Migration Policy Institute there were in 2011 about 213,000 Nigerian-born persons in the U.S. They had 163,000 American born children. In 1980, there were only about 25,000 Nigerians in the U.S. In 2012, Nigerians in the U.S. sent $6.1 billion in remittances to Nigeria, the largest source of remittances to that country. Total remittances from all sources are equivalent to 7.9% of Nigeria’ GDP.

Fear of immigrants

June 16th, 2018

Tom Edsall writes about how even apparently liberal communities, such as in the Boston suburbs, can react negatively to immigrants.

He cites a study which tested how native-born Americans respond to slight but noticeable increases in immigrants. The study placed teams of two Spanish speakers into Boston area commuter train stations, “stimulating the conditions of demographic change.” The researchers then interviewed Americans (by voluntary online surveys) who were regularly taking these trains. The researchers compared results with a control group of stations where they had not placed the Spanish speaking teams. They found “a significant shift towards exclusionary” attitudes among the Americans. The affected respondents “were far more likely to advocate a reduction in immigration from Mexico and were far less likely to indicate that illegal immigrants should be allowed to remain in this country.” The rightward shift of attitudes was restricted to immigrants – their other political attitudes did not change.

The guest worker proposal in the House

June 14th, 2018

The House is scheduled to vote on two immigration bills next week. At least one of the bills will apparently address a legislative compromise over DACA, border security, employer verification (e-Verify) and a guest worker program.

This guest worker program fits into the legislative package in this way: if employers will be required to verify the legal status of their workers, this will create havoc in some major industries, in particular agriculture. A new guest worker program could normalize the status of these workers.

Bob Goodlatte introduced in the fall of 2017 the Agricultural Guestworker Act. It would replace the current H-2A agricultural guestworker program. The H-2A program today covers about 10% of the American farm workforce today, with numbers of about 150,000. The Goodlatte bill would introduce a replacement visa with a cap of 400,000 workers.

Goodelatte’s replacement visa is a H-2C visa. This visa provides for 36 months plus additional 18 month extensions, for agricultural workers. Workers must periodically leave the U.S, 10% of their wages are to be held in a trust fund, accessible only outside the U.S. Workers are barred from federal public benefits, and employers must provide the workers health insurance “in order to protect taxpayers from footing the bill for expensive medical care.”

The 10% wage hold-back is a copy of an element in the Bracero program of the 1940s through early 1960s.

The Bracero program did, and Goodlatte’s proposed H-2C program would primarily impact farming in California. But the H-2C would also normalize dairy farm workers throughout the country. The Bracero program suppressed farm wages, evidenced in in wage increases won by the United Farm Workers after the Bracero program ended.

New evidence of firm creation by immigrants

June 12th, 2018

The American Community Survey shows that an increasing share of entrepreneurs are immigrants, growing from 17% in 2001 to about 24% by 2015.  immigrant-owned firm accounted for 16% of all U.S. companies in 2007 and 18% in 2012. But if you look at new firm creation, immigrants, who comprise 18% of the workforce are proportionately ahead of natives.

First-generation immigrants account for 23.7% and 26.0% of new firms in 2007 and 2012.   In 2012, in California, 33.4% of all firms were immigrant founded and 41.9% of new firms.  The states in which at least 30% of new firms in 2012 were immigrant-founded are NJ, NY, CA, FL, DC, IL and MA.

Native-owned firms are more likely to have bank loans and credit, while immigrant-owned firms are more likely to rely on home equity loans and family loans. These patterns may signal a lower ability by immigrants to obtain bank credit.

Immigrant-owned firms have somewhat lower wages. They are less likely to provide health insurance and paid leave than non-immigrant firms.  They are more likely than non-immigrant firms to be in accommodations, healthcare, social services, and retail.

From Immigrant Entrepreneurship in America: Evidence from the Survey of Business Owners 2007 & 2012, Sari Pekkala Kerr, William R. Kerr, NBER April 2018



How busy are immigration court judges?

June 10th, 2018

The Dept. of Justice administers the country’s immigration court.

The backlog of cases before the immigration courts surged after the early 2000s. From FY 2003 through FY 2015, the average days pending tripled from slightly over 200 days to over 600 days. In mid 2016 there were 233 judges, handling on average over 1,400 “matters”/year on average at the end of FY 2014—far more than Social Security administrative law judges (544 hearings/year in 2007).

A May 10, 2018 article reports that there are now 334 judges and about 700,000 pending cases. Based on current trends, about 184,000 cases will be completed in FY 2018, or on average 550 per judge, or 10 a week. (Also go here.)

The Department of Justice wants judges to complete 700 cases a year, and introduced a performance system.

If you are detained, your case will be completed on average in about 40 days. The number of cases in which the defendant fails to appear will probably be about 45,000 this fiscal year.

184,000 cases is equivalent to about about 1.4% of the number of unauthorized persons in the U.S.  The DOJ’ performance system assuming 350 judges would amount to 245,000 cases a year.

Undocumented population in U.S.

June 8th, 2018

The undocumented population in the U.S. has been falling, increasing its length of stay and acquiring more American-born children.

According to Pew Research there were 12.2 million unauthorized persons in 2007, before the Recession. By 2015 it declined to 11.3 million. In its April, 2018 analysis it estimated that the 2016 figure was 11.3 million.  The decline entirely accounted for by a drop in Mexicans, down from 6.9 million in 2007 to 5.6 million in 2016.  Other Latin countries and Asian countries added more persons.

in 2014, 4 million unauthorized adults, or 39%, lived with their U.S.-born children, either minors or adults. In 2000, 2.1 million unauthorized-immigrant adults, or 30%, lived with their U.S.-born children.

The 11.3 million population includes the 700,000 persons formally protected by DACA and an additional 1.3 million persons that might be DACA-eligible were DACA to be revived and expanded as some have proposed.