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January 23, 2009

White House website posting of immigration policy

Here is the statement in full. It's the first statement since 1/20 on immigration reform.


"The time to fix our broken immigration system is now… We need stronger enforcement on the border and at the workplace… But for reform to work, we also must respond to what pulls people to America… Where we can reunite families, we should. Where we can bring in more foreign-born workers with the skills our economy needs, we should."

-- Barack Obama, Statement on U.S. Senate Floor
May 23, 2007

For too long, politicians in Washington have exploited the immigration issue to divide the nation rather than find real solutions. Our broken immigration system can only be fixed by putting politics aside and offering a complete solution that secures our border, enforces our laws, and reaffirms our heritage as a nation of immigrants.

Create Secure Borders: Protect the integrity of our borders. Support additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry.

Improve Our Immigration System: Fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill.

Remove Incentives to Enter Illegally: Remove incentives to enter the country illegally by cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants.

Bring People Out of the Shadows: Support a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.

Work with Mexico: Promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration.

Immigrant labor in the economic crisis

The Migration Policy Institute this month (January 2009) issued a study of immigrants and the U.S. economic crisis: how will immigrants fare? This study attempts to answer that question. In the executive summery, the authors opine that:

1. immigrant population growth has slowed, in large measure to no growth in the illegal population since 2006
2. There may be more Mexicans returning to their home country, but the evidence os only anecdotal.
3. Return migration flows appear to track more closely with the employment trends in the country of origin rather than in the host country. Example: Polish workers left Ireland due primarily to better work opportunities in Poland.
4. Legal immigration (roughly one million a year) is weakly tied to economic conditions because most of this flow is based on family ties, with applications often going back for years.
5. Most immigrant labor is vulnerable to employment downturns in the U.S. due to relative youth, low education status, and short tenure as workers.
6. “Deeply felt family obligations” such as commitments to remit earnings back home and lack or partial lack of access to the American safety net may cause many immigrants to do everything needed to keep their jobs.

January 8, 2009

Immigrant workers figure in the fastest growing industries

Chris Boggs, a professional friend, prepared a list of the top seven high-growth industries. It is striking how many of them depend heavily on immigrant labor. The 8th one, he told me, is computer and software designers, about 40% of which I have reported before are foreign born.

Chris’s list:

Following are the seven fastest growing industries according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

NAICS base codes are provided along with brief descriptions of each industry as defined by the NAICS (http://www.naics.com). Base codes may include several specific classifications.

1. Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services (5416): moderate foreign-born representation.

This industry and its employees provide professional advice and assistance to businesses, municipal entities and governments seeking/needing help and direction in all areas of business or entity management. Scientific and technical consultants provide more specialized expertise. Specialized knowledge, experience and/or training are required of these consultants.

2. Individual and Family Services (6241): moderate foreign born representation.

This industry and its employees are primarily engaged in providing nonresidential individual and family social assistance services specifically directed toward children, the elderly, persons diagnosed with mental retardation or persons with disabilities. Services include counseling, day care, advocacy and recovery help.

3. Home Health Care Service (621610): in some sub-categories, high foreign born representation.

This industry is primarily engaged in providing skilled nursing services in the individual patient's home offering a range of services including: personal care services; homemaker and companion services; physical therapy; medical social services; medication administration; medical equipment and supplies training; counseling; 24-hour home care; occupation and vocational therapy; dietary and nutritional services; speech therapy; audiology; and high-tech care, such as intravenous therapy.

4. Securities, commodity contracts and other financial investments and related activities (523): Low foreign born representation.

This classification engages a plethora (a whole bunch) of financial service professionals from investment bankers through to commodities brokers and trust officers and portfolio managers. The economic downturn is not permanent, so this will likely be a growth profession again soon. Special insurance coverages that should be explored include:
5. Facilities Support Services (561210): high foreign born representation

This industry is primarily engaged in providing a combination of support services within a client's facilities such as janitorial; maintenance; trash disposal; guard and security; mail routing; reception; laundry; and other related services that support the operations of the client's facilities. Establishments that operate correctional facilities (i.e., jails) on a contract or fee basis are included in this industry class.

6. Residential Care Facilities (6232, 6233, 6239): high foreign born representation.

A wide range of operations is anticipated by this particular classification. Establishments and employees engaged in this industry primarily provide residential care and personal care services to facility-housed patients who suffer from mental retardation; require on-going medical care; suffer from a mental health issue; or provide group living for the elderly that do not require continuous medical treatment (retirement home). Also included in this broad classification are employees of children's homes, "boot camp" facilities, half-way homes and orphanages.

7. Independent Artists, Writers and Performers (711510): Probably average foreign born representation.

This industry comprises independent (i.e., freelance) individuals primarily engaged in performing in artistic productions, creating artistic and cultural works or productions or in providing technical expertise necessary for these productions. This industry also includes athletes and other celebrities exclusively engaged in endorsing products and making speeches or public appearances for which they receive a fee.

Pew Hispanic Center: Latinos under economic stress

The Pew Hispanic Center summarized the results of a survey of how Latinos are experiencing the downturn. Latino economic concerns are greater than for the general population, and concerns among foreign-born Latinos are the worst.

The summary:

Like the U.S. population as a whole, Latinos are feeling the sting of the economic downturn. Almost one-in-ten (9%) Latino homeowners say they missed a mortgage payment or were unable to make a full payment and 3% say they received a foreclosure notice in the past year, according to a new national survey of 1,540 Latino adults conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. Moreover, more than six-in-ten (62%) Latino homeowners say there have been foreclosures in their neighborhood over the past year, and 36% say they are worried that their own home may go into foreclosure. This figure rises to 53% among foreign-born Latino homeowners.

The survey also finds that the economic downturn has had an impact on the amount of money that Latinos sent to relatives or others in their country of origin in the past year. Among Hispanic immigrants who sent remittances in the last two years, more than seven-in-ten (71%) say they sent less in 2008 than in the prior year.

Latinos hold a more negative view of their own current personal financial situation than does the general U.S. population. More than three-in-four (76%) Latinos, and 84% of foreign-born Latinos, say their current personal finances are in either fair or poor shape, while 63% of the general U.S. population says the same.

As a result of current economic conditions, many Latinos are adjusting their economic behaviors. More than seven-in-ten (71%) report that they cut back spending on eating out. More than two-thirds (67%) planned to curtail holiday spending. Over one-fourth (28%) report that they helped a family member or friend with a loan.

January 5, 2009

remittances to Mexico fell sharply towards end of 2008

Reuters reports that remittances to Mexico declined by 2.6& November year to date from the prior year, and in November sank by 10.7% from the prior November. This reflects of course the weak American economy. Mexico itself is experiencing a recessionary downturn.

The article:

Mexico migrant remittances fall in Nov

Reuters, January 2, 2009

Mexico City (Reuters) -- Mexicans living abroad sent less money home in November compared with the same month a year ago, the central bank said on Friday.

Remittances, one of Mexico's biggest sources of foreign currency, fell 10.68 percent in November to $1.607 billion, the bank said.

Migrant cash flows, which are a lifeline for millions of poor Mexican families, are expected to weaken more in the coming months as the U.S. economic slowdown hits Mexican workers living there.

A weakening in the U.S. construction and manufacturing sectors is weighing particularly heavily on migrants, whose jobless rate jumped higher than that of the general U.S. population during 2008.

Annual accumulated remittances by November 2008 were $21.577 billion, down 2.63 percent from the same period in 2007,

The drop in money sent back home is seen squeezing the slowing Mexican economy as migrants' families spend less.

A drop in domestic demand this year is expected to add to pressure from falling exports due to the recession in the United States, Mexico's top trading partner.

Mexico's economy will likely shrink by 0.1 percent this year, according to the most recent monthly poll by the central bank, following a projected 2 percent growth rate for 2008.