Archive for November, 2018

Legal grounds for denying entry to US.

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

This section of immigration law is fascinating. This section may be Trump’s best tool to radically restrict immigration flows without having to consult Congress. His just announced decision to refuse to hear certain asylum petitions, and his impending changes to public charge criteria, arise from this section.

The law is found in Title 8, Chapter 12, Subchapter II, Part II, § 1182.

1.Health issues (communicative disease, insanity, drug abuser)

2. Crime (including criminal convictions, drug trafficking, prostitution, money laundering)

3. Security and related grounds (including overthrow of government, terrorist activity, member of terrorist organization, “proposed activities…potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States”, member of totalitarian organization, current member of Communist party, affiliation with Nazism.

4. Public Charge (“Any alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.”)

5. Labor certification (“(i) In general, Any alien who seeks to enter the United States for the purpose of performing skilled or unskilled labor is inadmissible, unless the Secretary of Labor has determined and certified to the Secretary of State and the Attorney General that— (I) there are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, qualified (or equally qualified in the case of an alien described in clause (ii)) and available at the time of application for a visa and admission to the United States and at the place where the alien is to perform such skilled or unskilled labor, (II) the employment of such alien will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the United States similarly employed.

6. Illegal entrants and immigration violators (including “Any alien who, by fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact, seeks to procure (or has sought to procure or has procured) a visa, other documentation, or admission into the United States or other benefit provided under this chapter is inadmissible.”)

7. Without documentation

8. Ineligible for citizenship (“Any immigrant who is permanently ineligible to citizenship is inadmissible.”)

9. Those previously removed.

10. Miscellaneous (including polygamists)

One employer’s hiring of foreign born workers

Monday, November 19th, 2018

At Cummins Inc., headquartered in Columbus, Indiana, 6% of its total U.S. workforce are H-1B (temporary) visa holders, mostly engineers. It also employs 20-40 DACA beneficiaries. Half of near-by Purdue University’s graduate degrees are awarded to foreign students.

From Marya Rose, chief administrative officer of Cummins, says “We need more flexibility in our visa and green card programs so that we can hire and retain the most talented employees where ever we find them.”

From the National Immigration Forum.

Mid terms: pro-diversity voters

Sunday, November 18th, 2018

On Election Day, a stunning 54 percent of those who voted said immigrants “strengthen our country.” Mr. Trump’s party lost the national popular vote by seven points, but he lost the debate over whether immigrants are a strength or a burden by 20 points. Mr. Trump got more than half of Republicans to believe immigrants were a burden, but three quarters of Democrats and a large majority of independents concluded that America gains from immigration.

For their part, the Democrats embraced their diversity. They supported comprehensive immigration reform and the Dreamers, opposed Mr. Trump’s border wall and opposed the separation of children from their families. They nominated African-American candidates for governor in Georgia and Florida and fought the suppression of minority voters. When it was over, the Democrats got more votes and created a new House majority that is nearly half women, and a third people of color. It also has more LBGTQ members than ever before.

In short, the Republicans lost badly in the House by running as an anti-immigrant party, while the Democrats made major gains as a self-confident multicultural party.’

NY Times column by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg

Why one Syrian refugee wanted to come to the U.S.

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

An American poet living in Athens, Greece, was helping Syrian refugees as they arrived by boat, on their way to other countries. She met a 26 year old Syrian man who told her he wanted to settle in the United States. “If I go to Germany, I will never be a German. If I go to France, I will never be French. But if I go to America, I will become an American.”

(A.E. Stallings writing in the Hudson Review)

Visa denial rate is up under Trump

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

In 2018, the D.H.S. turned away 10% of applicants for employment authorization documents compared with 6% in 2016, and it rejected applications for advanced parole — which gives temporary residents the authorization to travel internationally and return — at a clip of 18%, more than doubling the rate in 2016. Even skilled workers are being rejected at higher rates. The denial rate for petitions for temporary foreign workers shot to 23% from 17%. The application for permanent workers saw denials rise to 9% from 6%.

The largest increase in the denial rate for family-sponsored applications, for petitions for fiancés, rose to 21% from 14%.

A new analysis for the Cato Institute has found that the Department of Homeland Security rejected 11.3% of requests, including for work permits, travel documents and status applications, based on family reunification, employment and other grounds, in the first nine months of 2018. This is the highest rate of denial on record and means that by the end of the year, the United States government will have rejected around 620,000 people — about 155,000 more than in 2016.

This increase in denials cannot be credited to an overall rise in applications. In fact, the total number of applications so far this year is 2% lower than in 2016. It could be that the higher denial rate is also discouraging some people from applying at all.

From the NY Times

Migrant Justice Suit against ICE

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

Federal immigration authorities used a civilian informant to infiltrate meetings of Migrant Justice, which advocates for Vermont’s immigrant farmworkers, the group contended as it filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Wednesday November 14, 2018.

Migrant Justice alleges that group members were targeted and detained as part of a national effort against immigrant rights advocates.

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles has been helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security to engage in an “unlawful, multi-year operation to surveil, harass, arrest and detain” farm worker activists, Migrant Justice said in a statement. Its suit names ICE, DHS and the DMV as defendants.

Documents obtained through public records requests show that the DMV forwarded the plaintiffs’ personal information to ICE when they applied for the state’s driver privilege card, the group asserts. Immigration enforcement officers also engaged in the electronic surveillance of one Migrant Justice member, the suit alleges.

About 40 Migrant Justice members have been arrested in the last two years, and the majority of them have been deported, said Will Lambek, the group’s spokesman. At least 10 of those arrested are believed to have been targeted because of their activism, Lambek said.

The plaintiffs seek a federal injunction to stop the defendants from “targeting, surveilling, infiltrating, spreading misinformation, arresting and detaining Migrant Justice members,” as well as prohibiting DMV employees from sharing information with federal immigration enforcement agencies, according to a statement from Migrant Justice.

From Seven Days

 

Where non-citizens can vote

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

My city of Montpelier Vermont voted this week to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections.

Early permissiveness. From 1776 to 1926, 40 states and federal territories permitted non-citizens to vote in local, state, and even federal elections. Non-citizens also held public office. In practice, immigrant voting promoted civic education and citizenship.

Retrenchment in late 19th – early 20th C. Noncitizen voting was abolished at the same time that other restrictive measures were also enacted by elites, including literacy tests, poll taxes, felony disenfranchisement laws, and restrictive residency and voter registration requirements—all of which combined to disenfranchise millions of voters. Efforts to “clean up” what were allegedly rampant “corrupt” practices in local government and electoral politics by big city “party machines” associated with immigrants culminated in a series of reform measures that were passed by state legislatures at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century.

A come back. Since 1988, Chicago permits non-citizens to vote in school board elections (as did New York City from 1969 until 2003 when school boards were eliminated for unrelated reasons), and non-citizens currently vote in six municipalities in Maryland. These jurisdictions make no distinction between documented and undocumented immigrants—all non-citizens are permitted to vote in these local elections (as was true in New York City). Since the 1990s, Cambridge, Amherst, Newton, and Brookline, Massachusetts, have extended the right for documented non-citizens in local elections.

In 2010, voters in San Francisco narrowly defeated a ballot proposal (Proposition D) that would have granted all parents and guardians of children in the public school system voting rights in school board elections, regardless of their immigrant status. In 2016, voters passed a similar proposal (Proposition N).

Republican attack.  The House passed on September 26, 2018 a resolution to rebuke cities that allow non-citizens to cast votes in certain local elections.

Content from here.

 

 

 

Time line of the citizen census question

Sunday, November 11th, 2018

 

The Census Bureau’s current plan

The Census Bureau plans to use the same wording as what is already used in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which asks respondents to check one of five categories to describe their citizenship status. Three categories apply to people who are U.S. citizens at birth: born in the U.S., born in a U.S. territory, or born abroad with at least one U.S. citizen parent. People who say they are a naturalized U.S. citizen are asked for their naturalization year. The fifth category is “not a U.S. citizen.” The survey does not ask whether noncitizens are legally in the country.

1880 – 1950 Census includes question about citizenship. Question then was dropped.

January 20, 2017.  Trump Administration begins.

May 2017. Commerce Secretary Ross expresses frustration that his plans to introduce a citizenship question are not being supported (reported by NY Times). “I am mystified that nothing has been done in response to my months-old request that we include the citizenship question,” he groused in a May 2017 email to an aide tapped out on his iPhone. “Why not?”

July – November 2017. Ross conversed with Stephen Bannon and Kris Kobach. Koback recommends that the Census use the same question as that used in the American Community Survey. Sept. 17, Justice Dept responded to Ross that “the AG is eager to assist.” On Nov. 23, Ross joined Mr. Trump for Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago, Upon his return, he fired off another message to his general counsel. “We are out of time,” it read. “Please set up a call for me tomorrow with whoever is the responsible person at Justice. We must have this resolved.” (per NY Times)

September 20, 2017. Internal Census Bureau memo discusses respondent confidentiality concerns.

November 2, 2017. Internal Census report warned of adverse impact of citizenship questions.” CSM researchers have noticed a recent increase in respondents spontaneously expressing concerns about confidentiality in some of our pretesting studies conducted in 2017. We recommend systematically collecting data on this phenomenon, and development and pretesting of new messages to avoid increases in nonresponse among hard-to-count populations for the 2020 Census as well as other surveys like the American Community Survey (ACS).”

December 12, 2017. Justice Department wrote the Census asking that a citizenship question be re-instated in the 2020 census.

December 29 2017 Pro Publica reported that The Justice Department is pushing for a question on citizenship to be added to the 2020 census, a move that observers say could depress participation by immigrants who fear that the government could use the information against them.

March 20, 2018 Ross told the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee that the insertion of the question had been initiated “solely” by officials at the Justice Department, with no involvement from officials in the White House. “Has the president or anyone in the White House discussed with you or anyone on your team about adding the citizenship question?” asked Representative Grace Meng, Democrat of New York. “I am not aware of any such,” Mr. Ross testified.

March 26, 2018 Department of Commerce announced that a question on citizenship status will be reinstated to the 2020 decennial census questionnaire to help enforce the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Press release said that “Secretary Ross’s decision follows a request by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to add a question on citizenship status to the 2020 decennial census.”

March 26, 2018 The state of California sued the Trump administration Monday night, arguing that the decision to add a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census violates the U.S. Constitution. The state’s attorney general acted just after the Commerce Department announced the change in a late-night release. The lawsuit is here.

April 3, 2018 The District, Virginia, Maryland and 15 states filed a lawsuit Tuesday to block the Trump administration from adding a last-minute citizenship question to the 2020 decennial Census. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, also includes six cities and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors and comes a week after California sued the administration over the same issue.

July 3, 2018 Judge Jesse Furman of Manhattan’s Southern District allowed a multistate lawsuit to move forward amid “strong” evidence that the Trump administration acted in bad faith in its push for a controversial citizenship question to be added to the 2020 Census, plaintiffs in the case said. Furman also granted a request for discovery, according to New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, whose office filed the case on behalf of 18 states, the District of Columbia, nine cities, four counties and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

July 17, 2018 Furman allowed a lawsuit to move forward against the Trump administration over its controversial decision to add a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census.

Furman ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross did in fact have the authority to add a citizenship question on the census. But the way in which he carried out that authority, the judge said, may have violated the plaintiffs’ rights to equal protection under the law. Ross’s decision to add the citizenship question, the judge said, “was motivated at least in part by discriminatory animus” and by President Trump himself.

Furman said the plaintiffs gave plausible evidence that U.S. officials intended to discriminate against immigrant communities, driven by President Trump’s incendiary statements about immigrants of color.

September 21, 2018 A federal judge ordered Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to sit for a deposition in a lawsuit challenging Ross’s addition of a question about citizenship to the U.S. census.

November 2, 2018 The Supreme Court refused to delay a trial in which a number of states and civil rights organizations allege there was an improper political motive in Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

November 5, 2018 Trial began.

Hispanic vote in mid-term elections

Saturday, November 10th, 2018

A record 29 million Latinos were eligible to vote – 12.8% of all eligible voters, a new high. In actual voting, Latinos appeared to be 11% of voters. An estimated 69% of Latinos voted for the Democratic candidate and 29% backed the Republican candidate.

27% of Latino voters said they were voting for the first time, compared with 18% of black voters and 12% of white voters.

Texas: in the Senate race, 64% of Latinos voted for Democrat Beto O’Rourke while 35% voted for Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.

Florida: In the Senate race, 54% of Hispanics voted for Democrat Bill Nelson and 45% backed Republican Rick Scott. Latinos voted similarly in the race for governor, with 54% of Hispanics voting for Democrat Andrew Gillum and 44% voting for Republican Ron DeSantis. Latino registrations were 8.4% higher than in 2016.

From Pew Research

Persian Gulf guest worker programs

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Most advanced counties allow for immigrants to settle down, have families, and become citizens. This creates the gains and stresses of assimilation. No so with some Persian Gulf countries.

Qatar is extremely open to and dependent on migrant workers, who are roughly 94% of the workforce and 70% of its population. But these workers are severely restricted from settling.

In Qatar, restrictive employment contracts severely limit the ability of migrant workers to even visit their families back home. Well paid employees are allowed to sponsor dependents to join them. But there was almost no path for migrant workers or their offspring to become naturalized citizens. It’s only recently that the children of Qatari women with non-Qatari fathers were granted permanent residency status. Migrants are either for bidden from bringing spouses and children with them or discouraged from doing so.

From Reihan Salam, Melting Pot or Civil War?