Archive for the ‘Immigration Reform legislation’ Category

Frederick Douglass — a “composite” America

Sunday, March 10th, 2019

Jill Lepore writes in Foreign Affairs how Frederick Douglass was the most articulate advocate after the Civil War to defend the identity of America as a nation of immigrants. She wrote:

The most significant statement in this debate [about American identity] was made by a man born into slavery who had sought his own freedom and fought for decades for emancipation, citizenship, and equal rights. In 1869, in front of audiences across the country, Frederick Douglass delivered one of the most important and least read speeches in American political history, urging the ratification of the 14th and 15th Amendments in the spirit of establishing a “composite nation.” He spoke, he said, “to the question of whether we are the better or the worse for being composed of different races of men.” If nations, which are essential for progress, form from similarity, what of nations like the United States, which are formed out of difference, Native American, African, European, Asian, and every possible mixture, “the most conspicuous example of composite nationality in the world”? (March / April 2019 issue)

In a prior posting here, I wrote:

In a speech in Boston in 1869, Frederick Douglass argued that Chinese should be allowed to immigrate and become citizens. He presented his vision composite nationality under conditions of “perfect human equality.”

Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882mprohibited Chinese labor migration to the United States and barred Chinese residents from obtaining U.S. citizenship. The law was repealed in 1943. (see here.)

Douglass: I want a home here not only for the negro, the mulatto and the Latin races; but I want the Asiatic to find a home here in the United States, and feel at home here, both for his sake and for ours. Right wrongs no man. If respect is had to majorities, the fact that only one fifth of the population of the globe is white, the other four fifths are colored, ought to have some weight and influence in disposing of this and similar questions. It would be a sad reflection upon the laws of nature and upon the idea of justice, to say nothing of a common Creator, if four fifths of mankind were deprived of the rights of migration to make room for the one fifth.

The voice of civilization speaks an unmistakable language against the isolation of families, nations and races, and pleads for composite nationality as essential to her triumphs.

Our Republic is itself a strong argument in favor of composite nationality. It is no disparagement to Americans of English descent, to affirm that much of the wealth, leisure, culture, refinement and civilization of the country are due to the arm of the negro and the muscle of the Irishman. Without these and the wealth created by their sturdy toil, English civilization had still lingered this side of the Alleghanies, and the wolf still be howling on their summits.

The grand right of migration and the great wisdom of incorporating foreign elements into our body politic, are founded not upon any genealogical or archeological theory, however learned, but upon the broad fact of a common human nature.

Man is man, the world over. This fact is affirmed and admitted in any effort to deny it. The sentiments we exhibit, whether love or hate, confidence or fear, respect or contempt, will always imply a like humanity.

If our action shall be in accordance with the principles of justice, liberty, and perfect human equality, no eloquence can adequately portray the greatness and grandeur of the future of the Republic.


The standoff

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

Trump’s base hates DACA. The polls give a confused picture with much Republican ambivalence until one gets to Ann Coulter and Stephen Miller. Trump wants to keep the DACA people hostage, and the Dems in Congress will not agree to a wall unless the entire DACA community gets permanent protection. The entire DACA eligible community is about 2 million, far more than the roughly 700,000 already enrolled, and permanent protection downstream entails tricky situations where the normalized DACA people seek legal status for their unauthorized parents.

If this sound like an explosion in the making it is. But Trump does not want a comprehensive solution to immigration and certainly not a national commission to come up with solutions, because it removes the issue from his control.

A national commission would take into account security, e-Verify, legal immigrant targets, temporary visas, etc. and last beyond 2020, and would probably involve suspension of the Trump Administration’s administrative changes such as “public charge” criteria for awarding green cards.

The key is if a bipartisan solution can be found in the Senate.


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


A Comprehensive Immigration Policy: internal immigration law enforcement

Friday, December 14th, 2018

A New Center policy on internal immigration law enforcement:

Implement and require a universal E-Verify system that would assist employers in ensuring that they only employ individuals who are authorized to work in the United States. Potential employers have an essential role to play in enforcement. If undocumented immigrants can’t work, many will return home. E-Verify should continuously be improved in order to limit false negatives and false positives. This system should be implemented only after a registration period, during which unauthorized individuals living in the U.S. can apply to become Registered Provisional Immigrants.

Get serious about visa overstays.  A robust and fully funded biometric entry and exit system—which would include regular text and email communications to visa holders from the DHS about departure deadlines—should be implemented immediately. In addition, foreign countries should be incentivized to educate their citizens about U.S. visa requirements.

End the practice of separating children from their families on the border, and stop subjecting families to lengthy detention under any circumstances. Establish a legal mechanism for enforcing higher civil detention standards in ICE detention centers, and allow for more frequent inspections that increase both accountability and transparency. Discontinue the use of private prisons and county jails for immigrant detention, thus reducing the financial corner cutting

that causes deaths, suicides, sexual abuse, and lack of access to medical care. End mandatory detention. Ensure that individuals are not placed in detention centers unless they are deemed a threat to the public or a flight risk.


A Comprehensive Immigration Policy: The Mexican border

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

A New Center policy on the Mexican border:

Both sides of the immigration debate should be able to agree that it is essential to have a fortified border that allows for the U.S. to reliably and consistently prevent unauthorized entry. On some parts of the border, a wall or fence may make the most sense; on others, private property, mountain ranges, national parks, and reservations make a physical border impractical. Here, emphasis should be placed on electronic surveillance as a better tracking method. This should be coupled with revised legal measures that quicken deportation proceedings in order to deter crossings.

Build physical barriers along the border where they are effective and economical.

Shift towards a focus on technological improvements along the border, such as the implementation of the Integrated Fixed Towers System, which relies on sophisticated cameras, sensors, and radar to detect border crossings.

Renovate infrastructure at land ports of entry and ensure that they are adequately staffed by officers and agents.

A Comprehensive Immigration Policy: Legal Immigration

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

A New Center policy on legal immigration:

The U.S. currently admits almost five times as many immigrants for family-based reasons as employment related ones. We should shift our targets closer to those from countries like Canada, which currently has an almost equal split—letting in 27% of refugees for family based

reasons and 32% for employment-based ones. Like Canada, the U.S. could use multiple criteria to determine which immigrants qualify for merit-based entry, including: a. Education.

  1. English language ability. c. Work experience. d. Age. e. Arranged employment (those who already have job offers), and f. Adaptability, which includes previous experience living legally in the United States, or personal connections that would make assimilation easier.

Temporary visas should become portable after an initial period so individuals aren’t forced to stick with one employer to maintain legal status and can change jobs to maximize their contributions to the economy. The government should create a new system for provisional visas.

The diversity immigrant lottery should be eliminated in favor of immigrants who possess functional English language skills, have achieved superior education or employment experience, or have American family members.

Family-related immigration should be limited to nuclear families. Specifically to spouses, minor children, and parents of U.S. citizens and the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents (LPRs).

The U.S. should consider fear of persecution from organized gang violence as a legitimate claim to asylum.

There should be toughened language requirements for naturalization.

A Comprehensive Immigration Policy: Oversight

Monday, December 10th, 2018

A New Center, a part of Brookings, offers a comprehensive plan for immigration reform. I will describe over six brief postings.

A New Center policy on immigration oversight:

Congress should establish two new federal commissions that inform the executive branch on immigration related policymaking: A Standing Commission on Immigration and an Office for New Americans. The U.S. immigration system was last seriously revised 53 years ago, and the world is changing too fast for Americans to go decades without adapting to changing circumstances. The Standing Commission should be an independent commission that advises

Congress and the president on immigration in addition to producing an annual report, while the Office for New Americans should oversee state-wide efforts to integrate immigrants into American society.


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)

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