Archive for 2019

A mosque in Nebraska

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

In 1990, Lexington Nebraska, population about 10,000, had less than 100 residents that were foreign-born. Today close to half of its adult population is foreign-born. In 2018, Edvin Ortiz, son of Guatemalan immigrants, and Vanessa Lo, daughter of Cambodian immigrants, were selected by their classmates—a student body of 880 that speaks 30 languages and hails from 40 countries—to represent them as homecoming king. Mexicans and Guatemalans account for about a large share of the population today.

About half of the foreign-born population speaks English “less than well.” Half speak Spanish at home. About half of the foreign-born population are naturalized citizens. Over 60% did not complete high school.

Many Muslims live in there, drawn there by a meat-processing plant owned by Tyson Fresh Meats which employs 2,700 people

The Islamic Center had been hosting prayers for eight years in two small storefronts on the edge of downtown Lexington until 2016. Then purchased a closed laundromat next door and expanded into the new space.

The city and several townspeople objected when the center sought a conditional-use permit to allow the worship center in a district zoned for commerce. City officials said the expanded mosque could deter commercial development. Concerns were raised about a lack of parking spaces owned by the mosque, even though it sits next to at least two public parking lots.

The city ultimately sued the Islamic Center for ignoring the denial of its conditional-use permit.

The ACLU of Nebraska intervened on behalf of the Islamic Center, and the Justice Department began investigating whether the city was discriminating against the center’s right to worship.

Then the city and the Islamic Center began talking about a compromise. They reached agreement on the wording of a conditional-use permit. The agreement limited the occupancy of the expanded mosque to 200 people.

The mosque also agreed to not oppose any special liquor licenses in the area, such as those issued for an annual town festival held on a public parking lot next to the mosque. The Islamic Center also agreed to adhere to all city building ordinances. The agreement protects the interests of a nearby bar and grill with an existing liquor license. The Islamic Center agreed not to oppose or contest future liquor license applications.

Source here, and thanks to reporter Paul Hammel.

Utah: a model for domestic and global migration

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Close to half of the growth of Utah’s workforce growth comes from domestic migration. It is the fasted growing state.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Utah’s labor force—the number of people ages 16 and over holding or seeking a job—has grown an average of 1.9% a year from 2010 through January 2018, more than triple the nation’s 0.6% pace, according to Labor Department data. Its workforce is more educated than the country’s, on average, making it more productive and thus appealing to many employers.

The state’s economy has expanded an average of 2.8% a year since 2010, the year after the recession ended, outperforming the U.S. rate of 2.2%, according to the Commerce Department.

More troubling from a long-term perspective, the nation’s labor force and economy have both grown much more sluggishly over the past two decades than over the previous five.

The U.S. workforce has increased just 0.7% a year since 2000, less than half the 1.7% pace of the previous 50 years. U.S. economic growth followed suit, slowing to an annual rate of just 2% since 2000, well below the 3.7% pace of the prior five decades….For the U.S. economy to expand faster, it is going to need more people working.

Utah has clocked the fastest-growing population of any U.S. state from 2010 through June 2018. The state is reaping the benefits of perennially high birthrates, in part reflecting the influence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is based in Salt Lake City and encourages large families. This gives the state a large supply of young workers with strong local ties. Utah logged the highest birthrate among states again last year.

Utah also has strong rates of migration from other states and countries. In 2017, almost half its population growth came from people moving in, a stark turnaround from a net outflow right after the recession.

Dreamer wins Rhodes Scholarship

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Jin Park flew with his parents from Korea to the U.S. in 1997. We settled in a Korean enclave in Flushing, Queens. The language, people, smells and flavors reminded us of home, and that helped ease our transition into our new life. My mother found work in a beauty salon, providing manicures and facials. My father was hired as a line cook in a Korean restaurant, working 12-hour shifts six days a week. I started going to a school in a nearby Korean church. I slowly began adapting to my new life. I found comfort in learning how to speak English.” A graduate of Harvard, Park begins his Rhodes Scholarship in the Fall.

The formal title of the Dreamer executive order is DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, signed June 15, 2012.

Selected findings from a 2017 survey of Dreamers:

Has an American citizen as spouse, child or sibling: 73%.
Employed: 91%
Got driver’s license for first time: 80%
Impact of DACA on employment: about 60% say that it led improved job prospects, more income, get a credit card, etc.
Bilingual is an asset to employer: 80%
Pursued education blocked in the past: 65%
In school now: 44%, of which half are in college bachelor’s program
Residence: about 25% in CA, 15% in Texas.
Hispanic: 93%
Median age: 25 (youngest is 16, oldest is 35)
Age when came to U.S.: median 6 years old.

Some popular conceptions on illegals, crime and the wall

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Around a third of U.S. adults (35%) incorrectly said that most immigrants are in the country illegally, while 6% said about half of all immigrants are here illegally and half legally. (Right answer: one quarter.)

A majority of non-college grads of both Republican and Democratic leanings said in June 2018 that most immigrants are here illegally. The lowest number of the majority-are-here-illegally opinion were Democratic college grads, and even that was 20%.

About half of conservative Republicans (47%) believe that unauthorized immigrants commit more crimes. Of all Americans, 26% believe they commit more crimes, and only 6% of liberal Democrats believe they do.

In a mid 2018 survey, Nearly three-quarters of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (74%) support expanding the wall, while an even larger share of Democrats and Democratic leaners (83%) oppose it.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%), including 89% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans, said in June 2018 that they favor such permanent legal status.

From Pew Research


U.S. stands out for positive views on immigration

Sunday, January 13th, 2019

The U.S, Japan and Spain stand out among 27 countries in terms of positive regard for immigration.

Worldwide, a record 258 million people lived outside their country of birth in 2017, up from 153 million in 1990. Their share of the global population is also up, reaching 3.4% in 2017, compared with 2.9% in 1990.

In a survey of 27 countries, 45% of the median country’s population wanted less immigration, 36% wanted no change, and 14% wanted more immigration.

The countries with the lowest percentage wanting less immigration were Japan (13%), U.S.(27%), Spain (30%), and Canada (29%).

The countries with the highest percentage wanting more immigration were the U.S (24%), Japan (28%, and Spain (23%).

From Pew Research

Worldwide migration: those actively planning to migrate

Friday, January 11th, 2019

Gallup analyzed in 2012 how many people who wanted to migrate were in fact actively planning to migrate. It found that among those who say that they want to migrate permanently, 8% plan to do so in the next 12 months and of those 39% were actually preparing to move.

Gallup’s published figures are worldwide, but let’s assume that they apply to specific countries. Take Honduras, where one fifth of the GDP comes from remittances from outside the country, and where per Gallup 47% of adults want to out migrate. (See Gallup here.)

Honduras has about 9 million residents. Thus, about 4.5 million residents (in total families) would be candidates for migration.  Of these 39% of 8% of the 4.5 million, 140,000 would be actively arranging to move.

Take the U.S. with a population of 320 million, of which 16% of adults want to migrate.  About 10 million would be actively arranging to move.

Worldwide in-migration: the most desired countries

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019


According to Gallup, although the image of U.S. leadership took a beating between 2016 and 2017, the U.S. continues to be the most desired destination country for potential migrants, as it has since Gallup started tracking these patterns a decade ago.

One in five potential migrants (21%) — or about 158 million adults worldwide — name the U.S. as their desired future residence. Canada (6%), Germany (6%), France (5%), Australia (5%) and the United Kingdom (4%) each appeal to more than 30 million adults.

Among large countries, China, Russia and Brazil are at 1%.

Worldwide out-migration: the hardest impacted areas

Monday, January 7th, 2019

Gallup’s surveys throughout 2015- 2017 found 15% of the world’s adults — or more than 750 million people — saying they would like to move to another country if they had the opportunity. This is up from 14% between 2013 and 2016 and 13% between 2010 and 2012, but still lower than the 16% between 2007 and 2009.

Desire to migrate:

Sub-Saharan Africa 33%
Latin America and Caribbean 27% (was 18% in 2010)
Non-EU Europe 26%
Middle East and North Africa 24%
European Union 21%
North America 14% (was 10% in 2010)

In all areas, the desire to migrate rose in the past ten years. The rise was largest in the two areas noted above. The one in six Americans (16%) in 2017 who said they would like to move to another country is the highest measure to date.

At least half of adults want to leave in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Haiti, Albania, El Salvador and Democratic Republic of Congo. The largest country with a very high migration desire is Nigeria, with 49%. Next to El Salvador, the next highest rates in Latin America is the Dominican Republic (49%) and Honduras (47%).

A migration researcher on the proposal for The Wall

Friday, January 4th, 2019

Wayne Cornelius, a researcher on Mexican migration weighed in on the Wall idea in early 2017:

Construction of the wall will inevitably be plagued by a swarm of daunting engineering, environmental and legal obstacles. And even if Trump succeeds somehow in pouring concrete from sea to shining sea, such a physical barrier would not prevent undocumented migrants from entering the United States, as decades of fieldwork-based research have demonstrated.

A formidable obstacle course of pedestrian and vehicle barriers covering about 700 miles of the border has already been built during the last 24 years. Ten surveys conducted by me and my field research team in Mexico and California from 2005 to 2015 found that these existing fortifications prevent fewer than one in 10 would-be unauthorized migrants from gaining entry into the U.S.

Inevitably, people-smugglers would take clients over, around or under Trump’s new wall, or guide them through legal ports-of-entry using false documents or concealed in vehicles, charging higher fees for their trouble.

Independent estimates from MIT researchers and others of initial construction costs run from US$25 billion to $40 billion – a far cry from the $12 billion to $15 billion claimed by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell – plus $500 million to $750 million per year to keep the barrier repaired.

Most of these estimates, however, also exclude the costs of land acquisition (nearly all of the affected land is in private or state hands), technological upgrades like seismic sensors to detect tunneling, temporary housing for a construction crew of 1,000 workers (if the project is to be completed in Trump’s first term) and litigation to resolve suits brought by landowners, environmental groups, Indian tribes and others affected by the project.

Immigration pressures on Europe vs U.S.

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Europe is under much greater immigration pressure from Africa than is the U.S. from Latin America. The pressure will increase:

The European immigration context today looks much like the United States did three decades ago. In Europe, which long ago made its demographic transition to low birth rates, declines in fertility in the 1970s and 1980s set the stage for a situation in which the number of working-age residents is in absolute decline.

Countries in the North Africa and Middle East region, in contrast, have had continued high fertility, creating bulging populations of young people looking for gainful employment in labor markets plagued by low wages and the scarcity of steady work. Further to the south, population growth rates in sub-Saharan Africa, a region with still lower relative earnings, remain among the highest in the world…

As an example, we predict the number of African-born first-generation migrants aged 15 to 64 outside of sub-Saharan Africa to grow from 4.6 million to 13.4 million between 2010 and 2050. During this same period, the number of working-age adults born in the region will expand from under half a billion to more than 1.3 billion, meaning that international migration would only absorb 1 percent of the overall population growth. … The coming half century will see absolute population growth in sub-Saharan Africa five times as large as Latin America’s growth over the past half century.

If Americans want to imagine the political tensions over immigration in the European Union, imagine try to imagine the current US political climate if instead of having the total number of unauthorized immigrants falling during the last 10 years, the total had instead been increasing strongly over the last 10 years–and was predicted to keep doing so into the future.

Drawn from Gordon Hanson and Craig McIntosh, Is the Mediterranean the New Rio Grande? US and EU Immigration Pressures in the Long Run.  Fall 2016 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives.