Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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 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.

San Joaquin Valley

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

California’s San Joaquin Valley, from Stockton in the north to Arvin in the south, is 234 miles long and 130 miles wide. If you drive there from the Bay Area, in less than an hour the temperature will go from 57 to 97 degrees. It will keep rising. The radio stations are predominantly Spanish.

Measured by yearly production, the San Joaquin Valley is one of the highest-value stretches of farmland in the country, and is dominated by large growers who preside over a labor force of migrant workers in a way that has not changed much since Carey McWilliams described it in his 1939 book, Factories in the Fields. The revenue from all the crops harvested here and elsewhere in California is $47 billion a year, more than double that of Iowa, the next-biggest agricultural state.

When Cesar Chavez started organizing farmworkers in the 1950s, his son said, 12 to 14 percent of field hands “were still Okies and Arkies, the Steinbeck people,” and 8 to 10 percent were African-Americans brought in by cotton planters during the boll weevil infestation in the 1920s. About 12 percent were Filipino, and 55 percent were Mexican, “half of them Mexican nationals, the other half first-generation Americans like my father.”

Today, at least 80 percent of farmworkers are undocumented Mexicans, the majority of them Mixteco and Trique, indigenous people from the states of Oaxaca, Sinaloa, and Guerrero—the poorest regions in Mexico—who speak no or very little Spanish, much less English. Most of them have been working the fields for at least a decade, have established families here, and live in terror of la migra, as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is called, and instant deportation or imprisonment that would wrench them from their children.

From “In the Valley of Fear” by Michael Greenberg in the New York Review of Books:

Murder rates in Central American countries are declining

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

More than 7,000 lives were lost to violence in Honduras in 2011, about the same number as in Syria, which had more than twice as many people and was stumbling into civil war. That year Honduras had the highest homicide rate of any country not at war, at 86 per 100,000 people. The number in Mexico, itself extremely violent, was 20.

There are signs that the bloody tide is receding. Homicides are down from their peak in all three countries [Honduras, Guatamala, El Salvador]. This year the murder rate in Honduras will fall to 40 per 100,000 people. El Salvador’s will have fallen by half from 2015, to about 51 per 100,000. And in Guatemala, which has tended to have a lower murder rate than its neighbours, homicides are down by half since 2009, to 26 per 100,000.

In 2016 Honduras, where fewer people trusted the police than anywhere else in Latin America, purged a third of its force. It has built a new training academy and doubled training time for new cops to 12 months.

In 2016 Honduras, where fewer people trusted the police than anywhere else in Latin America, purged a third of its force. It has built a new training academy and doubled training time for new cops to 12 months.

Honduras has also made progress in tackling trans-national drug trafficking. More soldiers have been posted to the Mosquito Coast. A new task force has improved co-ordination between agencies. And a recent willingness to extradite criminals to the United States has put the fear of Uncle Sam into captured goons, who become talkative to avoid American jails. Many big fish have been locked up. The president’s brother, Antonio, was arrested last month in Miami on trafficking charges.

From the Economist Dec 9 2018 issue, ” Calm like a bomb.”