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September 28, 2008

Assessment of economic benefits of migration to Australia

From the Australian Ministry of immigration and Citizenship, a report that the skills shortage in the country is being filled in part by immigration, with a positive economic result:

Friday 22 August 2008

A report by respected economic analyst Access Economics shows that new migrants to Australia deliver hundreds of millions of dollars to the Commonwealth budget and the broader economy every year.

In a speech to the Australian Mines and Metals Association in Perth August 22 of this year, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said that the overall fiscal impact of migration is substantially positive and grows over time in real terms.

In its Migrant Fiscal Impact Model: 2008 Update, Access looked at the costs that migrants impose on health, education, welfare, employment and settlement services compared to the fiscal benefits from taxation and visa charges.

For the 2006-07 migration program, Access estimated a total benefit of $536 million in the first year, then another $856 million in year two, growing steadily over time to reach $1.34 billion by year 20.

‘Applying the same modelling to the 2007-08 migration program, the net fiscal benefit is $610 million in year one, $965 million in year two then growing to $1.5 billion by year 20,’ Senator Evans said.

‘The forecast for the 2008-09 migration program is for an $829 million benefit in the first year, $1.16 billion in the second year, then $1.8 billion by year 20.’

Senator Evans said the Access modelling dispelled the myth that new migrants imposed a huge impost on the taxpayer.

‘The positive fiscal impact is particularly pronounced for skilled migrants, which reflects their high rate of labour market participation and higher incomes which in turn leads to a high level of direct tax receipts,’ Senator Evans said.

‘Migrants also contribute to the broader economy through spending on goods and services.

‘As well as the economic benefits, skilled migrants help Australian employers fill critical labour gaps at a time many businesses are facing capacity constraints.

‘The bottom line is that our migration program is vital to keep the economy growing as well as helping Australian businesses overcome skills and labour shortages.

‘Australia is facing a demographic shift that will see more people retire than join the workforce so the permanent skilled migration program provides a stable, effective and targeted source of skilled workers.’

Australia’s migration program increased annually over the last decade under the previous government to the point where the 2007-08 migration program was the biggest provided by Australia since the 1960s.

The 2007-08 migration program comprised 108 540 places (68 per cent) in the skilled migration stream and 49 870 places (31 per cent) in the family migration stream. Another 13 000 refugee and humanitarian visas were granted in 2007-08.

Last year’s intake represents a seven per cent increase on the 2006-07 migration program which totalled 158 960 places, of which two thirds (97 920) were skilled migrants.
The 2008-09 migration and humanitarian program is expected to total 203 000 visa grants, with 133 500 allocated for skilled migrants, 13 500 places for refugee and humanitarian entrants and a further 56 500 places in the family stream.

September 24, 2008

Homeland Security estimates of illegal population 2007

The Department of Homeland Security released a study in September 2008 which estimated the size of the illegal population in the U.S. “In summary, an estimated 11.8 million unauthorized immigrants were living in the United States in January 2007 compared to 8.5 million in 2000. Between 2000 and 2007, the unauthorized population increased 3.3 million; the annual average increase during this period was 470,000. Nearly 4.2 million (35 percent) of the total 11.8 million unauthorized residents in 2007 had entered in 2000 or later. An estimated 7.0 million (59 percent) were from Mexico.” This study is consistent with Pew Hispanic Center studies from prior years, which I have posted on.

How the estimate was made:

Two populations are estimated in order to derive the unauthorized population estimates: 1) the total-foreign born population living in the United States on January 1, 2007, and 2) the legally resident population on the same date. The unauthorized population is equal to 1) minus 2). It was assumed that foreign-born residents who had entered the United States prior to 1980 were legally resident since most were eligible for legal permanent resident status.1 Therefore, the starting point for the estimates was January 1, 1980.

Overall trend:

DHS estimates that the unauthorized immigrant population in the United States increased from 8.5 million in January 2000 to 10.5 million in January 2005, 11.3 million in January 20062, and 11.8 million in January 2007 (see Figure 1). The annual average net increase in the unauthorized population during this 7-year period was 470,000

Nearly 4.2 million (35 percent) unauthorized immigrants in 2007 had entered the United States since January 1, 2000 (see Table 1). An estimated 890,000 (8 percent) came to the United States in 2005 or 2006 while 3.3 million (28 percent) came during 2000 to 2004. Forty-five percent came to live in the United States during the 1990s, and 19 percent entered during the 1980s.

The estimated number of unauthorized immigrants as of January 2007 is consistent with other unauthorized population estimates. The Pew Hispanic Center estimated the unauthorized population at 11.1 million in March 2005 and projected it would be 11.5 to
12 million by March 2006 (Passel, 2006).

Geographic source:

An estimated 8.9 million of the total 11.8 million unauthorized
immigrants living in the United States in 2007 were from the North America region, including Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America (see Figure 2). The next leading regions of origin were Asia (1.4 million) and South America (850,000).
The 2000 unauthorized immigrant population was similar in region of origin composition.
Mexico continued to be the leading source of unauthorized immigration to the United States (see Table 3). The estimated unauthorized immigrant population from Mexico increased from 4.7 million in 2000 to 7.0 million in January 2007. The annual
average increase in Mexican unauthorized immigration to the United States was 330,000 during the 2000-2007 period. The next leading source countries for unauthorized immigrants in 2007 were El Salvador (540,000), Guatemala (500,000), the
Philippines (290,000) and China (290,000). The top ten countries of origin represented 82 percent of the unauthorized immigrant population in 2007. Although immigration from Mexico continues to dominate unauthorized population growth, the greatest percentage increases during 2000-2007 were among immigrants from Brazil (89 percent), India
(81 percent), Guatemala (74 percent), and Honduras (70 percent).

Distributions among states, 2007 vs 2000:

State: 2007 illiegal pop, 2000 illegal pop, % of total 2007, % of total 2000, % annual change, ave annual increase

California: 2,840,000, 2,510,000, 24, 30, 13 50,000
Texas 1,710,000, 1,090,000, 14, 13, 57, 90,000
Florida 960,000, 800,000, 8, 9, 20, 20,000
New York 640,000, 540,000, 5, 6, 19, 10,000
Illinois 560,000, 440,000, 5, 5, 29, 20,000
Arizona 530,000, 330,000, 5, 4, 62, 30,000
Georgia 490,000, 220,000, 4, 3, 120, 40,000
New Jersey 470,000, 350,000, 4, 4, 32, 20,000
North Carolina 380,000, 260,000, 3, 3, 45, 20,000
Washington 260,000, 170,000, 2, 2, 53, 10,000
Other states 2,940,000, 1,750,000, 25, 21, 68, 170,000

September 23, 2008

E-Verify is working better

That’s according to the Center for Immigration Studies. CIS asserts that the accuracy of the system has improved in a new report. I have posted in the past on its error rates.

From CIS:

Moving Forward with E-Verify - Program to Check Legal Status Already 99.5% Accurate

WASHINGTON (September 18, 2008) – The E-Verify program, which allows employers to check the immigration status of new employees, has been steadily improving and is now 99.5 percent accurate, according to a new paper by the Center for Immigration Studies. This voluntary program is already screening more than one in ten new hires nationwide, and as of September 13, 2008, has processed 6.21 million queries.

E-Verify is set to expire on November 30, 2008, unless it is re-authorized by Congress. The House of Representatives has already passed a reauthorization bill by a vote of 407-2, while the Senate has not yet taken action.

To help inform debate over E-Verify, the Center for Immigration Studies has produced a thorough evaluation. The Backgrounder, entitled “If It’s Fixed, Don’t Break It: Moving Forward with E-Verify,” is authored by Janice Kephart, Director of National Security Studies at the Center and a former counsel to the 9/11 Commission. The report covers the many facets of the E-Verify debate: statistics regarding usage, cost, and effectiveness; legislative history; executive orders affecting the program; the relationship of E-Verify to worksite enforcement; and past improvements to the program as well as future goals.

The report is available online at www.cis.org. Among the findings:

# As of the first half of FY 2007, only one-half of one percent of eligible employees screened had to take additional steps to obtain work authorization; overall, the system is 99.5% accurate.

# More than 93 percent of employees are verified within five seconds; another 1.2 percent are verified within 24 hours. A new Photo Screening Tool and a streamlined procedure for naturalized citizens to receive authorization are increasing accuracy and efficiency for employers and employees; naturalized citizens no longer need to take remedial action at Social Security.

# About 5 percent of new employees are not confirmed as work authorized, mirroring the same percentage of illegal aliens estimated to be in the labor force.

# When E-Verify became web-based later in 2004, 1,533 employers had signed up. As of September 13, 2008, there are 85,816 employers representing over 446,000 sites and over 6.21 million queries processed. Currently, about 1,000 new employers join per week.

# Eleven states require use of E-Verify in certain circumstances (AZ, CO, GA, ID, MN, MO, MS, NC, OK, RI, and UT).

September 17, 2008

Occupational risks of Seattle day laborers are very high

A study published this summer in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine reported on interviews of day laborers in Seattle. The authors estimated that the annual rate of work injuries was 31%,or 31 per 100 workers an extraordinarily high rate comparable to roughly 10% for relatively high risk conventional employment such as construction.

The abstract of the article:

Occupational health and safety experience of day laborers in Seattle, WA
Noah S. Seixas, PhD, CIH *, Hillary Blecker, MPH, Janice Camp, MS, MN, Rick Neitzel, MS
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
email: Noah S. Seixas (nseixas@u.washington.edu)

American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 51:399-406, 2008

*Correspondence to Noah S. Seixas, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, 4225 Roosevelt Way, NE, Seattle, WA 98105-6099.

Background: Day Labor is a growing part of the informal economy in the US, and in Seattle, and may entail a high risk of injury and illness at work.

Methods: We surveyed 180-day laborers, at two worker centers and an unregulated Street location concerning their job-specific exposures and injury experience.

Results: Exposures to both health and safety hazards were common at all three sites. After controlling for type of work, immigrant workers were 1.5-2 times more likely than non-immigrant day laborers to report exposure to hazardous conditions. Among the 180 participants 34 reported injuries were classified as recordable. We estimated an injury rate of 31 recordable injuries per 100 full time employees. The three hiring locations had differing job experiences and exposures. Those hired through worker centers had a lower risk of exposures, while the Street workers were more likely to refuse hazardous work.

Conclusions: Day laborers are exposed to numerous hazards at work, resulting in high injury rates. Multiple approaches including community based organizations which may provide some employment stability and social support for protection at work are needed to reduce occupational injury and illness risk among these vulnerable populations. Am. J. Ind. Med. 51:399-406, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

September 16, 2008

An important work safety program for Brazilian workers in Massachusetts

As reported by C. Eduardo Siqueira MD, ScDm on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, governmental and non-profit forces have come together to improve work safety for immigrants from Brazil. I have posted often on Brazilian workers, and once posted on a leading Brazilian worker center in Boston. I have pasted below a summary of the worker death problem among Brazilians and of the coalition mobilized to do change things for the better.

Siqueria’s contact information is: Assistant Professor, Department of Community Health and Sustainability, UMass Lowell, 3 Solomont Way Suite 3, Lowell, MA 01854-5127 Ph: (978) 934-3147 carlos_siqueira@uml.edu

The report:

Fatal Work- related Injuries among Brazilians in Massachusetts


This fact sheet summarizes information from Massachusetts on fatal work-related injuries among Brazilian-born workers.i Little information has been publicly available about fatal injuries among this group of workers to date. In Massachusetts, as in the U.S. as a whole, Hispanic workers have been found to have high rates of fatal work-related injuries compared to non-Hispanic white workers.1,2 However, deaths of Brazilian born-workers may or may not be included in the Hispanic fatality count and are not generally reported separately.ii

Brazilians are the most populous newcomer group in Massachusetts post - 1990.3 According to data from Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies, from 2000 through 2003 Brazilians accounted for 19% of all new immigrants to the Commonwealth.4 Brazilians come to Massachusetts seeking work, but like many other immigrants, are more likely than native-born workers to be employed in dangerous jobs where hazards are inadequately controlled. Other factors are also believed to contribute to immigrants’ risk of being hurt at work. These include inadequate safety training and supervision of workers, often compounded by language and literacy barriers, as well as immigrant workers’ lack of information about safety and health standards and legal rights. Long work hours, job insecurity, and racial and ethnic discrimination in the workplace may also contribute to elevated risks of on-the job injuries, and the combination of several of these factors may make immigrant workers hesitant
to speak up. 5,6,7,8

Fatal Injury Cases

From 1991, when the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Occupational Health
Surveillance Program (OHSP) first began tracking fatal work-related injuries, through 1998, no deaths of Brazilian-born workers were recorded. In contrast, from 1999 through 2007, 15 Brazilian-born workers were fatally injured at work in Massachusetts.iii

i Brazilian-born workers in this report are defined on the basis of country of birth as reported on death certificates.
ii Deaths of Brazilian-born workers may or may not be included in Hispanic worker fatality counts depending on how the ethnicity of these workers is reported. Brazilians are Portuguese speakers who do not usually identify as Hispanic but are sometimes classified as such and included in Hispanic worker counts. Of the 15 deaths among Brazilian-born workers in Massachusetts described in this report, two were classified as Hispanic based on the ethnicity recorded on the death
iii Summary statistics are from the Massachusetts Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries conducted by the Occupational Health Surveillance Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The fatality case reports are provided by the Massachusetts Fatality
Assessment and Control Evaluation Project, also conducted by the Occupational Health Surveillance Program, with support from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Cooperative Agreement: U60/OH00840). Massachusetts FACE
Occupational Fatality Facts

Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Occupational Health Surveillance Program
Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Project


• A 38-year-old male construction laborer employed by a construction company fell
approximately 40 feet from the roof of a four-story residential building when he slipped
while throwing a door from the roof into a dumpster below.
• A 41-year-old male laborer employed by a construction company was crushed between
a backhoe and a dump truck while repairing a roadway manhole.
• A 42-year-old male carpenter employed by a building company fell 19 feet to the ground below from the second story of a new residential building.
• A 24-year-old male roofer employed by a residential construction company fell
approximately 16 feet from scaffolding while re-shingling the roof of a house.
• A 57-year-old male carpenter employed by a finish carpentry company fell
approximately 12 feet to the ground below from a second story porch on a new
residential building. He was re-installing the porch’s railings which were originally
installed improperly.
• A 30-year-old male bricklayer was working inside scaffolding enclosed by a tarp on a
residential construction site. While crouching down to exit underneath the scaffold’s
tarp, he was struck by a passing skid steer loader.
• A 27-year-old male construction worker employed by a masonry company fell
approximately 130 feet from the scaffold platform he and a co-worker were dismantling.
The scaffold collapsed when the last metal support affixing the scaffold to the new
residential building was removed.
• A 40-year-old male roofer employed by a roofing company was electrocuted when the
32-foot aluminum extension ladder he was unloading from a pickup truck came in
contact with an overhead power line at a residential work site.

Other Industries

• A 37-year-old male laborer employed by an earth recycling company was sweeping the
ground next to a rock crushing machine when his arm became caught between the
machine’s conveyor belt and an idler pulley.
• A 36-year-old male landscaper employed by a landscaping company for the day
climbed a tree and was cutting some of the upper branches when the base of the tree
gave way causing the tree and the victim to fall approximately 30 feet to a paved
• A 48-year-old male shipper employed by a bakery fell from a step ladder he was using
to access an upper shelf inside a walk-in freezer.
• A 41-year-old male laborer employed by a ventilation, heating and air conditioning
company fell 20 feet from an extension ladder while drilling a fresh air vent in the roof of
a new residential building.
• A 38-year-old male stone cutter employed by a granite product manufacturer was trying
to retrieve a granite slab from a holding rack when five granite slabs weighing
approximately 5,000 pounds fell over crushing him against a cement table.
• A 35-year-old male cleaner employed by a restaurant arrived at work during a robbery
and was fatally stabbed in the chest by the robber.
• A 33-year-old male laborer employed by a sewage and drainage company, was fatally
injured when the tractor he was operating at the residential site overturned, pinning him
against the ground.
In addition to the above Brazilian-born workers killed on the job, an 18-year-old male retail worker employed by a drugstore was fatally stabbed in the neck while pursing a shoplifter. The victim’s parents were Brazilian and he had lived in Brazil, but had been born in the U.S.

All of these victims were male, between 18 and 59 years of age, and over half (56%) of these men worked in construction. Falls to lower levels accounted for 50% of the deaths. Three of the construction workers were killed by moving vehicles. Two of the deaths were the result of violence in the workplace. The majority of the victims were from Minas Gerais, the state of Brazil that sends the largest number of people to the U.S.

Taking Action to Prevent Fatal Injuries at Work

Importantly, beyond the demographics and the exposures that led to these incidents, many of these deaths could have been prevented if proper safeguards were in place, such as training in safety and work procedures, communication warning systems, and the use of personal protective equipment. In Massachusetts, OHSP, researchers, community organizations and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are collaborating to reduce the risk of fatal injuries faced by Brazilian workers. Some of these activities are described below.

• OHSP, the Brazilian Immigrant Center (BIC) and the Collaboration for a Better Work
Environment for Brazilians (COBWEB) Project are working together to improve the data
collected about work-related fatalities; this is an effort to better identify the antecedents
and causes of fatal injury, and in particular, identify factors that may be amenable to

• The Brazilian Immigrant Center has entered into an Alliance with OSHA Region I to train Portuguese-speaking construction workers on workplace health and safety. To date,
this initiative has resulted in the training of more than 180 workers in OSHA’s 10-hour

• Activists and journalists in the Brazilian community have aggressively publicized the
deaths of Brazilian workers, collaborating successfully with community-based media
sources (radio, newspaper, and television) to make workplace safety an issue that is
discussed in the community.

• OHSP, in collaboration with BIC and COBWEB, produces bilingual Portuguese/English
Safety Alerts describing and discussing cases of work-related deaths among Brazilians.
These materials have been used to educate the Brazilian community about workplace
hazards and prevention strategies. Additional health and safety materials in Portuguese
developed by OHSP include:

Sistema de Compensacion Laboral en Massachusetts (Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts)

Quedas: A Maior Causa de Acidentes Mortais em Locais de Construção (Falls: The Leading Killer on Construction Sites)

Medidas de Segurança a Tomar com Escadas (Ladder Safety for Residential Contractors)
Medidas de Segurança a Tomar com Andaimes Scaffold Safety for Residential Construction Contractors)

Fatos do FACE: Trabalhador morreu ao ser esmagado por placas de granite –
Massachusetts (FACE FACTS: Worker killed when crushed by multiple granite slabs –

Fatos do FACE: Instalador de telhado é electrocutado quando uma escada de
extensão de alumino tocou uma linha de force energizada que estaba acima de
sua cabeça – Massachusetts (FACE Facts: Roofer electrocuted when aluminum extension ladder contacts overhead power line – Massachusetts)

Cartaz: Primeros Socorros a Queimaduras em Restaurantes
(Poster: First Aid for Burns in Restaurants)

Health and Safety Resources for Workers and Employers in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety
Offers free consultation services to help employers to improve their safety and health programs and train employees. (617) 969-7177 www.mass.gov/dos/consult

Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents
Has grants available for providing workplace health and safety training to employers/employees in companies covered by the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Insurance Law. (617) 727-4900 www.mass.gov/dia/Safety

Occupational Health Surveillance Program, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Has data on work-related deaths and educational materials for residential contractors and other workers on workplace safety and health, including a number of educational materials in Portuguese. (See above.) (617) 624-5632 www.mass.gov/dph/ohsp

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regional Offices
North Boston Area Office (617) 565-8110 South Boston Area Office
(617) 565-6924 Springfield Area Office (413) 785-0123

Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH)
Offers training and technical assistance to workers and advocates for health and safety
legislation and policy to improve protections for workers. MassCOSH's worker center
provides health and safety training and assistance to immigrant workers seeking to address unsafe conditions, injuries and worker rights.
(617) 825-7233 www.masscosh.org

This fact sheet was prepared by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Occupational Health Surveillance Program with funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Cooperative Agreement #U60 OH008490.
Brazilian Immigrant Center Works to organize and strengthen the Brazilian community in Massachusetts and supports the development of community leaders.
(617) 783-8001 www.braziliancenter.org

Collaboration for a Better Work Environment for Brazilians (COBWEB) Project
This research project carried out by U Mass Lowell in partnership with the Brazilian
Immigrant Center, MassCOSH and OSHA, compiled information about the health and safety of Brazilian immigrant workers in Massachusetts. To access this information go to the COBWEB website. www.cobwebproject.org

National Resources:

Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health (eLCOSH)

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)


1 Cierpich H, Styles L, Harrison R, Davis L, Chester D, Lefkowitz D, Valiante D, Richardson S, Castillo D, Romano N, Baron S (2008): Work-Related Injury Deaths Among Hispanics United States, 1992--2006. Mor Mortal Wkly Rep CDC 57(22):597-600.
2 Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Fatal Occupational Injuries in Massachusetts, 1991-1999, September 2002.
3 Siqueira, Carlos E. and de Lourenço, Cileine. Brazilians in Massachusetts: Migration, Identity, and Work. Latinos in New England. Edited by Andres Torres, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, pp. 187-201, 2006.
4 Sum, Andrew et al. The Changing Face of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth / Center for Labor Market Studies of Northeastern University. June 2005.
5 Friedmand-Gimenez, George. Achieving Environmental Justice: The Role of Occupational Health. Fordham Urban Law Journal. Vol XXI, pp. 605-631. 1993-1994.
6 Levy, Barry & Wegman, David. Occupational Health: An overview. In: Occupational Health: Recognizing and Preventing Work-Related Disease and Injury. Lippincott Willians & Wilkins. Pp. 3- 25, 2000.
7 de Castro AB, Fujishiro K, Sweitzer E, Oliva J. “How immigrant workers experience workplace problems: a qualitative study.” Arch Environ Occup Health. 2006 Nov-Dec;61(6):249-58.
8 Seixas NS, Blecker H, Camp J, Neitzel R. “Occupational health and safety experience of day laborers in Seattle, WA.” Am J Ind Med. 2008 Jun;51(6):399-406.

September 4, 2008

Our broken immigration system

Reason Magazine has published a devastating critique of barriers for legal immigrants to the United States – replete with a chart which shows the complicated ways and huge time delays in getting permission to stay here and become a citizen.

Two paragraphs –

What's the best-case immigration scenario? Five or six years: If you are the spouse or a minor child of a U.S. citizen, you should be able to enter the country and get a green card. Then, after three to five years, you can apply to become a citizen.

The worst case scenario? You are an unskilled worker hoping to make a better life for yourself in America. "Unlike previous periods in our history, there is virtually no process for unskilled immigrants without family relations in the U.S. to apply for permanent legal residence," the chart by Reason Foundation and the National Foundation for American Policy states.

Its press release is below. You will find at the bottom links to the chart.

News Release

Can You Navigate the Immigration Maze to U.S. Citizenship?
Chart shows how complicated becoming an American is for even the most skilled workers

Los Angeles (August 21, 2008) - The immigration debate is often reduced to - why don't immigrants just get in line and come into this country legally? If only it were that simple.

A new chart details how complicated the immigration maze is, demonstrating the countless requirements that must be met, and the red tape that must be navigated, by everyone from English soccer star David Beckham to an Indian engineer.

What's the best-case immigration scenario? Five or six years: If you are the spouse or a minor child of a U.S. citizen, you should be able to enter the country and get a green card. Then, after three to five years, you can apply to become a citizen.

The worst case scenario? You are an unskilled worker hoping to make a better life for yourself in America. "Unlike previous periods in our history, there is virtually no process for unskilled immigrants without family relations in the U.S. to apply for permanent legal residence," the chart by Reason Foundation and the National Foundation for American Policy states.

Unskilled workers just have to hope they get lucky. That's because only 10,000 green cards are given to these workers each year and "the wait time approaches infinity." Skilled workers may have better chances, but still face strict caps, thousands of dollars in fees, and an 11 to 16 year wait to obtain a green card and gain U.S. citizenship.

"Our country's immigration system is broken," says Shikha Dalmia, a senior policy analyst at Reason Foundation and one of the chart's authors. "Workers with family already here or college degrees face a convoluted, cruel and uncertain process. And they are the lucky ones. For poor laborers, who pick our crops and build our homes, there is virtually no legal process and no 'line' to wait in if they hope to permanently work and live in this country."

"Our high-tech companies are starving for qualified engineers and skilled workers," declares Mike Flynn co-author of the report and director of government affairs at Reason Foundation. "These are American companies trying to find the best workers so that they can compete globally. Instead our system handicaps American companies and denies them the skills and talents of thousands of potential workers. It is economic suicide."

"The American Civil Liberties Union commends Reason Magazine for graphically capturing how burdensome the federal government has made the citizenship process for people hoping to become Americans," says Timothy Sparapani, ACLU senior legislative counsel. "But this process not only affects those hoping for a chance to contribute to our society - it has also created problems for innocent American citizens.

"There have been far too many stories of innocent Americans being arrested and detained for hours, and even deported, on the suspicion of being here illegally. The government engages in rampant ethnic profiling, targeting Americans solely on the basis of their names or ethnicities. Similarly, the voluntary employment verification system the government hopes to make mandatory for all new hires is plagued with errors, and expansions have been forced on the Social Security Administration - an agency already facing substantial service backlogs for its central mission of assisting the elderly and disabled. Innocent Americans cannot earn a living because the federal government thinks added layers of bureaucracy will solve our border issues.

"As Reason makes clear, we have got to go in a different direction and dramatically overhaul our immigration 'system.' It is illogical, burdensome and long past time those in Washington chose to address these issues in ways that will continue to allow our nation to grow and prosper."

Helen E. Krieble, President of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation, says, "Reason Foundation's flow-chart graphically demonstrates how badly broken our system is. It will help show the desperate need for a program to handle workers who wish to come to the US legally. Quite simply, these people cannot wait in line because there is no line. We hope this effort will help prod Congress to create a workable program for non-citizen workers."

"The flowchart published by the Reason Foundation clearly demonstrates that the current U.S. visa and immigration system is broken. The Golden Door Foundation shares the belief that without a functioning legal work visa process, the illegal immigrant population will continue to grow. An aging population exiting the workforce and companies moving operations outside the U.S. are issues that need to be addressed to deal effectively with the immigration crisis and current labor shortages facing the United States. The Golden Door Foundation applauds the work of the Reason Foundation to show that there is a need to fix the overly bureaucratic and unfair visa program," states Jason LeVecke, founder of Golden Door Foundation.

Full Chart Online

The full chart, "Our Nation's Broken Immigration and Naturalization System," produced by Reason Foundation and the National Foundation for American Policy, is online at: http://reason.org/immigrationchart.pdf

A cartoon version of the chart that will appear in the October 2008 issue of Reason magazine is here: http://reason.org/immigrationchart2.pdf

About Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation is a nonprofit think tank dedicated to advancing free minds and free markets. Reason Foundation produces respected public policy research on a variety of issues and publishes the critically acclaimed Reason magazine and its website www.reason.com. For more information, please visit www.reason.org.


Chris Mitchell, Director of Communications, Reason Foundation, (310) 367-6109

September 2, 2008

Follow up on the Mississippi ICE raid

The ICE raid on August 25 netted 595 workers at the plant of Howard Industries, Inc., which produces electrical transformers. This was the largest raid in history. Workers came from Germany, Peru, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras and Brazil. It appears that ICE will not pursue its highly objectionable practice of railroaded illegal workers through a mass criminal conviction, but rather deport them, as ICE did in the Postville IA raid in May of this year.

The particularly noxious aspect of the Postville strategy is that of railroading the workers into confessing, with scant legal advice, to plead guilty to Social Security fraud in misusing social security numbers. Many of the worker were not aware they were misusing numbers, rather just using numbers given to them by management. Only eight were charged criminally with identity theft.

The Des Moines Register ran an article late last week about the apparent change in strategy by ICE. Most likely the uproar over the strategy influenced ICE.

The article in full:

Critics tie scant new charges to wariness after Iowa raid. Raid in Postville: Comparison to Mississippi Arrests
By Leys Tony
The Des Moines Register, 1August 28, 2008

Critics of the way suspected illegal immigrant workers were handled after last May's raid in Iowa noticed a change in government tactics after this week's raid in Mississippi.

Federal officials detained 595 workers at a Mississippi electric-transformer factory Monday but filed criminal charges against just eight of them.

That's in marked contrast to what happened after the raid at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, where prosecutors filed criminal identity-theft charges within days against 305 of the 389 workers who were arrested. Most of those people quickly pleaded guilty during mass hearings held at the National Cattle Congress grounds in Waterloo and now are serving five-month prison sentences.

Most of the workers arrested in Mississippi are being held on civil immigration charges, which generally lead to deportation.

A spokeswoman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency would not specify why so few of the Mississippi workers had been charged with crimes. She said more charges could still be added.

But one of the most prominent critics of the legal process used in Iowa said Wednesday that the government appears to be backing away from those tactics.

'I think Postville was a huge embarrassment because of the criminalization of workers,' said Erik Camayd-Freixas, a veteran federal courts interpreter who participated in the Cattle Congress hearings.

Camayd-Freixas, who is a Spanish language professor at Florida International University, made national waves this summer by publicly complaining that the legal process used in Iowa was unfair to the defendants.

He said uneducated Guatemalans and Mexicans were pressured into pleading guilty to identity-theft charges, even though they didn't realize the Social Security cards they'd bought contained someone else's numbers. The vast majority had never been charged with other crimes, he said, and they had no intent to commit identity theft.

Camayd-Freixas said Wednesday that in his 20 years of working with the federal courts, he'd never seen mass, rushed hearings such as those held in Iowa. He noted that news reports from Mississippi indicated that the eight people who were charged with crimes after the raid there had been taken to a regular federal courthouse for standard hearings.

ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said more criminal charges could be filed against people seized in the Mississippi raid.

She said that too often, Americans believe raids indicate the end of investigations.

'They don't,' Gonzalez said. 'In fact, the investigation continues.'

Federal prosecutors did not respond to requests for comment.

The Mississippi raid surpassed the size of the one in Postville, which had been described as the biggest single-site immigration raid in U.S. history.

A national group calling for tougher immigration enforcement declined to speculate Wednesday on why the Mississippi raid hadn't brought more criminal charges.

The facts of individual cases could be much different, said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Among the Agriprocessors workers, he said, 'there were a lot of things besides just working in the country illegally.'

Drake University law professor Bob Rigg said the process being used in Mississippi looks familiar. 'That used to be the norm until Postville,' said Rigg, who has criticized the prosecution methods used in Iowa.

He said it's hard to tell why the government hasn't filed mass charges in the latest case. But lawyers around the country are aware of the Iowa controversy, Rigg said. Among other things, it led to a critical New York Times editorial titled 'The Shame of Postville.'

'It could be the U.S. attorney in Mississippi decided, 'I'm not going to go through that,' ' Rigg said.

Differences between raids


Federal immigration agents swept into the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant at Postville on May 12, arresting 389 workers who allegedly were in the country illegally.

Charges: Criminal identity-theft charges were quickly filed against more than 300 workers, most of whom were from Guatemala or Mexico. Mass court hearings were held in temporary facilities set up at the Cattle Congress fairgrounds in Waterloo. Within 10 days, 297 former Agriprocessors workers pleaded guilty. Most were sentenced to five months in prison, then deportation.

Criticism: Critics said prosecutors unfairly rushed defendants through the process and pressured them to plead guilty of crimes they didn't intend to commit. They said there was little evidence the workers used their false identification cards to do anything but work. Critics also noted that after past immigration raids, most such workers were deported without being charged with crimes, but were told they could face criminal charges if they re-entered the United States illegally.

No reason for charges: Prosecutors defended the process as fair, but declined to explain why they decided to file criminal charges against most of the workers. Supporters said the charges demonstrated that people could face tough consequences for breaking the law.

Laurel, Miss.

Immigration agents raided Howard Industries on Monday, arresting 595 suspected illegal immigrant workers. The event surpassed the Postville mark as the largest single-site immigration raid in U.S. history.

Charges: Authorities charged eight of the Mississippi workers with identity theft, which can lead to prison time. In a press release, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said the rest of the workers would face civil immigration charges, which often lead to deportation. An ICE spokeswoman said more criminal charges could be added, but she would not comment on why the process has been different so far.

The Mississippi workers came from Germany, Peru, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras and Brazil

Community health centers and occupational injury response

The federal government funds community health centers. These health centers are charged with providing occupation health services to migratory and seasonal agricultural workers, but in practices this mandate is extended to include immigrant and other uninsured, poor urban workers. Thus community health centers can be an important source of medical care work immigrant workers throughout the United States.

I once visited such a center in Boston. A drawback of this, and other centers, is that they do not bill workers compensation insurers for work injury treatment, thus closing as loop iof accountability for these injuries.

I have included below a definition of a Federally qualified health centers, and the actual language from federal legal that mandates their use for occupational health.

FQHCs must provide primary care services for all age groups. FQHCs must provide preventive health services on site or by arrangement with another provider. Other requirements that must be provided directly by an FQHC or by arrangement with another provider include: dental services, mental health and substance abuse services, transportation services necessary for adequate patient care, hospital and specialty care.

Go here for a Frequently Asked Questions page on these centers.

TITLE 42 CHAPTER 6A SUBCHAPTER II Part D subpart i § 254b

§ 254b. Health centers

(D) in the case of health centers receiving grants under subsection (g) of this section, special occupation-related health services for migratory and seasonal agricultural workers, including—
(i) screening for and control of infectious diseases, including parasitic diseases; and
(ii) injury prevention programs, including prevention of exposure to unsafe levels of agricultural chemicals including pesticides