Archive for 2018

40 years in U,S, Michigan doctor faces deportation

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018


A Kalamazoo, MI, a 47-year-old doctor who entered the U.S. legally 38 years ago is now in jail facing deportation for two misdemeanors committed when he was a teenager, according to the Chicago Tribune.

He arrived in 1979 at age 5 with his family from Poland. Lukasz Niec received a temporary green card and, in 1989, became a lawful permanent resident. He grew up in Michigan, went to medical school, became a doctor, and raised a daughter and stepdaughter. He doesn’t speak Polish. He is a permanent legal resident and never got around to taking out citizenship.

On January 16, immigration authorities arrested Niec at his home, just after he had sent his 12-year-old stepdaughter off to school. According to his “notice to appear” from the Department of Homeland Security,

Niec’s detention stems from two misdemeanor convictions from 26 years ago. In January 1992, at age 18, Niec was convicted of malicious destruction of property under $100. In April of that year, he was convicted of receiving and concealing stolen property over $100 and a financial transaction device.

Because Niec was convicted of two crimes involving “moral turpitude,” stemming from two separate incidents, he is subject to removal, immigration authorities wrote in the notice to appear, citing the Immigration and Nationality Act.

A memo from the Obama administration in 2011 directed immigration officials to look at a number of factors, such as familial relationships with U.S. citizens, criminal history, education and contributions to the community, in deciding whether arrests and prosecution are warranted.

But the Trump administration has issued sweeping new guidelines expanding the range of immigrants that count as high priority for deportation, including low-level offenders, and those with no criminal record – regardless of how long they have lived in the country.

“He can’t be deported,” his wife said. “He can’t speak Polish. He wouldn’t know where to go. He would be lost.”

White voters and immigration

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

The present confrontation in Congress involving immigration highlights how Americans perceive changes in the ethnic and racial makeup of the country.

Two researchers carried out some experiments by interviewing white Americans about ethnic-racial diversity. They selectively brought up demographic trends in which non-white population will continue to grow relatively to white. They found “compelling evidence” that raising the shifting U.S. racial demographics, even well in the future, leads white Americans to perceive greater threat to their racial group’s status, which motivates them to increase their support of a variety of conservative policy positions.

They also wrote that making this demographic shift salient for black Americans may result in group-status threat and shifts in endorsement of conservative ideology similar to those found among white respondents.

Pew Research says that by 2055, the U.S. will not have a single racial or ethnic majority. Much of this change has been (and will be) driven by immigration. Over the next five decades, the majority of U.S. population growth is projected to be linked to new Asian and Hispanic immigration.

From On the Precipice of a ”Majority-Minority” America: Perceived Status Threat From the Racial Demographic Shift Affects White Americans’ Political Ideology, by Psychological Science published April 2014

30 years of Republican migration towards immigration restriction

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

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1960s through mid 1990s – bipartisan

Over generations, popular sentiment has been vaguely inclined to not to increase immigration, but also not to cut it back. Party lines were not clearly drawn because both parties were internally conflicted.

A 1965 Gallup survey showed that….Republicans and Democrats were divided internally, with similar shares of respondents in both parties favoring a decrease. In 1977, a survey continued to show that partisan differences were negligible. In 1986, as the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was passing with a bipartisan congressional majority, a CBS News/New York Times poll recorded no statistically significant partisan differences in opinion toward overall immigration levels.

2000s: tension while bipartisan reform fails

The 9/11 attack sharply heightened concerns about illegal immigration. After a while, Rep concern about mass immigration stayed high but most Dems and, by even more, Independents stopped expressing concern.

President George W. Bush expressed support for immigration reform. In his 2007 State of the Union address, he said, “We need to uphold the great tradition of the melting pot that welcomes and assimilates new arrivals.”

In 2007, there was a concerted bipartisan effort in the Senate to pass comprehensive legislation, such as The Strive Act, proposed by Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

Reps have conflated the issue of immigration with the issue of law and order. Pew Research polls suggest that Reps and Dem come down very differently on the unfairness question. The 2016 Republican Convention platform’s section on immigration demands that legal immigration be cut back, “in light of the alarming levels of unemployment and underemployment in this country.”

2010s: increasing split along party lines

According to Pew Research polling in 2015, about half of Republicans (53%) say immigrants coming to the U.S. make society worse in the long run, compared with just 24% of Democrats. Among Republicans, 71% say immigrants in the U.S. are making crime worse, compared with just 34% of Democrats. 71% of Republicans say immigrants are making the economy worse, compared with 34% of Democrats who say the same.

2018: full blown restrictionist proposal

On January 10, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and other Republicans introduced the Securing America’s Future Act (H.R. 4760). The bill would give Dreamers a three year visa with no right to permanent stay or citizenship, restrict family reunification to spouses and minor children (thus removing adult children and parents), shift the visa lottery to economic visas, and boost border security.

According to The Hill, “Addressing these four issues — border security, the visa lottery, chain migration, and then something for DACA recipients — is a great first step,” Goodlatte told reporters as he returned to the Capitol. “I think there are a lot of other things that need to be done on immigration.”


More immigrants are becoming citizens

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Many immigrants who are here on permanent visas (green cards) don’t take out citizenship, but most do, and the rate has gone up. According to Pew Research, naturalization rates rose from 62% in 2005 to 67% in 2015.

Eligible immigrants from Vietnam, 86%, and Iran, 85%, had the highest naturalization rates of any group in 2015. Above 80% rates are seen for India, South Korea and a few other countries. The rate among Chinese is 76%.

Mexican immigrants have long had among the lowest U.S. naturalization rates (42%) of any origin group. I bet the higher rate of naturalization is due to more eligible persons being from Asia than from Mexico.

There are about 45 million foreign-born persons in the U.S. 44% of them, or close to 20 million, are naturalized citizens. An estimated. 9.3 million are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship (that doesn’t mean they will pass the tests). That leaves about 2.6 million legally here but not yet eligible for citizenship. The 11 million illegal immigrants are of course not eligible.

To be eligible for U.S. citizenship, immigrants must be age 18 or older, have resided in the U.S. for at least five years as lawful permanent residents (or three years for those married to a U.S. citizen), and be in good standing with the law, among other requirements. The process to begins with submitting an application and paying a $725 fee. It culminates with an oath of allegiance. Current processing times range from seven months to a year.

The U.S. government denied naturalization applications from 2005 to 2015 to 11% of the 8.5 million applications filed during this time. The standards are here. Ability to speak English is one of them but there are exemptions based on age and length of time in the U.S.


Four questions about chain migration

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

What is it?

A single example: Barket Farah, who entered the U.S. in 2016 as a Somali refugee, reunited with his father in Portland, Maine. He has been trying to bring over his wife and three children, who have been living in the sprawling Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.

Over the past 150 years, the great majority of immigrants have come to the U.S. through connection with family and friends of prior immigrants. This is called chain migration, although usually the term is used only to apply to immediate family members. The term started to be used in the 1980s. The official record before the last few decades is spotty. But anecdotes and personal family history indicate that, in the last major wave of immigration, in the 1890s – 1910s, chain migration was the norm.

Who is concerned about chain migration?

Who would consider it a problem for an individual who has immigrated to the U.S. to bring in her or his parents and children? Don’t we believe in the family unit?

Immigration restrictionists focus on chain migration by families (family reunification) in the past 30 years. For example, “Over the last 35 years, chain migration has greatly exceeded new immigration.” Their concern is based on (1) too many immigrants, and (2) immigration policy that does not weigh economic merit scoring enough. The large majority of immigrants since the 1965 reform act has been family based.

However the dominance of family based immigration has been a bipartisan concern for decades. In the 1990s, the Jordan Commission on Immigration called for a shift to merit based immigration.

A proposed immigration reform act in 2013 would have eliminated access to visas for siblings and children over the age of 30. This bill was the last instance of a bipartisan effort for comprehensive immigration reform.

The best, really the only way to deal with chain migration is through a bipartisan consensus.

Why is immigration so family based?

Congressional conservative objected to merit based immigration during debate for the 1965 immigration, expecting that would favor Asians. They thought that family-based immigration would favor European immigration due to the fact that current immigrants were overwhelmingly Europeans.

How extensive is chain migration?

One report says that out of 33 million immigrants admitted to the United States from 1981 to 2016, about 20 million were chain migration immigrants (61 percent). The largest categories of chain migration are spouses and parents of naturalized U.S. citizens because admissions in these categories are unlimited by law. Each new immigrant sponsored an average of 3.45 additional immigrants.

Mexico has the highest rate of chain migration. In the most recent five-year cohort of immigrants studied (1996-2000), each new Mexican immigrant sponsored 6.38 additional legal immigrants.

Immigration top problem for Reps, not for Dems

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

The Gallup Poll reports: 16% of Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP vs. just 4% of Democrats and Democratic leaners mention immigration as the most important problem of the country. Only 7% of Republicans cite the federal budget deficit at the top problem.


Illegal workers pay into Social Security, rarely benefit

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

From the Social Security Administration:

While unauthorized immigrants worked and contributed as much as $13 billion in payroll taxes to the OASDI [Social Security and Disability Insurance] program in 2010, only about $1 billion in benefit payments during 2010 are attributable to unauthorized work. Thus, we estimate that earnings by unauthorized immigrants result in a net positive effect on Social Security financial status generally, and that this effect contributed roughly $12 billion to the cash flow of the program for 2010. We estimate that future years will experience a continuation of this positive impact on the trust funds.


Recent events show that comprehensive reform will not happen

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Two events of the past few days show that it will be practically impossible for comprehensive reform of immigration in this administration. The chief reasons are that (1) President Trump can inspire his base by executive branch action (such as the recent publicized raid on 7-11s) without Congressional involvement and (2) Congressional involvement will always require compromise with pro-immigration forces.

The Washington Posts’ article “Inside the tense, profane White House meeting on immigration” captures the practical impossibility of compromise.

According to the Post, Trump talked by phone with Democratic Senator Durbin, and assured in the call that Durbin and Republican Senator Graham were in agreement over a comprise for the DREAMERS, and invited them to the White House. This is what they experienced:

“But when they arrived at the Oval Office, the two senators were surprised to find that Trump was far from ready to finalize the agreement. He was “fired up” and surrounded by hard-line conservatives such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who seemed confident that the president was now aligned with them, according to one person with knowledge of the meeting.

“Trump told the group he wasn’t interested in the terms of the bipartisan deal that Durbin and Graham had been putting together. And as he shrugged off suggestions from Durbin and others, the president called nations from Africa “shithole countries,” denigrated Haiti and grew angry. The meeting was short, tense and often dominated by loud cross-talk and swearing, according to Republicans and Democrats familiar with the meeting.

“Trump’s ping-ponging from dealmaking to feuding, from elation to fury, has come to define the contentious immigration talks between the White House and Congress, perplexing members of both parties as they navigate the president’s vulgarities, his combativeness and his willingness to suddenly change his position. The blowup has derailed those negotiations yet again and increased the possibility of a government shutdown over the fate of hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants known as “dreamers.””


Where American immigrants came from, a dynamic display

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

Go here for a great display of the evolution of immigration over the past 200 years. It shows how immigration changed from decade to decade, especially the expansion of sources of immigration after the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act.


Africa Is Sending Us Its Best and Brightest

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

From Tyler Cowen’s column in Bloomberg: One of the most striking facts about immigration to the U.S., unbeknownst even to many immigration advocates, is the superior education of Africans coming to this country. If we consider adults age 25 or older, born in Africa and living in the U.S., 41.7 of them have a bachelor’s degree or more, according to 2009 data. For contrast, the native-born population has a bachelor’s degree or more at the much lower rate of only 28.1 percent in these estimates, and foreign-born adults as a whole have a college degree at the rate of 26.8 percent, both well below the African rate.

In addition, about three-quarters of African migrants speak English, and they have higher than average rates of labor force participation. They are also much less likely to commit violent crimes than individuals born in the U.S.

Economist Edward Lazear suggests a simple experiment. Consider immigrants to the U.S. from Algeria, Israel and Japan, and rank them in order of most educated to least educated. The correct answer is Algeria, Israel then Japan. Although that’s counterintuitive at first glance, it’s easy enough to see how it works. If you are Algerian and educated, or aspire to be educated, your prospects in Algeria are relatively poor and you may seek to leave. A talented, educated person in Japan or Israel can do just fine by staying at home. These kinds of considerations explain about 73 percent of the variation in the educational outcomes of migrants.

In other words, Trump is not only being offensive, he is also quite wrong