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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?

What the Dems in the House need to do on immigration

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

The dividing partisan issue today is immigration. Dem and Rep voters both want protection of pre-existing conditions. But they think very differently on immigration, in part due to Trump’s skillful exploitation of the issue to frame it as a law and order issue. The issue is very attractive to Trump because he can do much with executive discretion. Dems play into his hands with calls for elimination of ICE. The Dems have no coherent vision for immigration.

Note ABC’s exit polling: “On the issues, health care prevailed, cited as the country’s top challenge by 41%, vs. 23% for immigration, 22% for the economy and 10% for gun policy. It sharply split the vote: Health care voters went Democratic by 75-23 percent; immigration voters were precisely the opposite; economy voters voted Republican by almost 2-to-1, 63-34 percent.” The sharp party division obscures a messier reality: when law and order is removed from the immigration debate, then a moderate center emerges.

It seems foolhardy to sit back and allow the Reps to characterize the Dems without a fight. The House Dems can use hearings to engage the country in discussion that brings immigration as a topic back from being a law and order issue to one of economic prosperity and cultural assimilation. These are the two key themes for a Dem vision for immigration. They haven’t had a platform to articulate this until now.

They need to directly address cultural assimilation because that is an underlying cause of malaise in the U.S (even more in Europe) over immigration. On the whole, assimilation is working well with a key major exception: poorly educated Hispanics.

Riehan Salam’s book, “Melting Pot of Civil War,” focuses on failure of economic assimilation, the creation of a multi-generational underclass. I think he overdoes it but he still has a valid point. The Dems need to acknowledge that cultural and economic assimilation is a matter of concern, and that the American economy and way of life have a means to bring it about.

Hispanic voters in Florida growing fast

Monday, November 5th, 2018

The number of Hispanics eligible to vote in Florida has reached a high of nearly 3 million this year, up from 2.9 million from 2016. As of August 31, there are about 837,000 registered Democrats, 775,000 unaffiliated voters, 527,000 Republicans for a total of 2,139,000 or about 70% of eligible Hispanic voters.

Nationwide, eligible Hispanic voters register to vote much less (57%) than the national average (70%).

Since 2010, all registered voters have increased every two years by an average of 3.9%. Hispanic registered voters have increased by an average of 11.8%. Today they account for 16.4% of all registered voters.

Some of the Hispanic voter growth may be due to Puerto Ricans. Puerto Ricans have been the state’s fastest-growing Hispanic-origin group over the past decade. The state’s Puerto Rican population now rivals that of New York, the main destination of the mid-20th century’s migration from the island. They make up a third (31%) of Florida’s Hispanic adult citizens, a similar share to that of Cubans (31%),

Since the 2016 election, the number of Hispanics registered as Democrats has increased by 5%, approximately twice the 2% growth rate for Hispanics registered as Republicans. The number of Hispanic registered voters with no party affiliation has grown the fastest (14%).

From Pew Research

Why Trump focuses on immigration so much – survey data

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

Devoted Conservatives comprise 6% of the public; Traditional Conservatives 19%; and Moderates, 15%. These blocks make up the vast majority of those who vote Republican. Except for Devoted Conservatives, these blocks tend to agree with value-based immigration policy, such as that America should bear some of the burden. of taking in refugees fleeing from war or persecution. A majority of them support DACA children gaining citizenship. (Even Devoted Conservatives agree by 48%.)

Where opinion breaks hard against immigration is when law and order and national security come in. 88% percent of Devoted Conservatives and 64% of Traditional Conservatives support a Muslim travel ban, which they view as an exercise of sovereignty that is consistent with prioritizing America’s national security. By contrast, it is supported by just 29% of Moderates

The Conservative segments are more sensitive to immigration issues than other groups. 74% of Devoted Conservatives say they think about issues related to immigration at least once a week, more than twice the national average (36%) and significantly more than Traditional Conservatives (44%). 60% of Devoted Conservatives say that issues of immigration “make me very frustrated,” nearly three times as much as the national average (22%).

From Hidden Tribes report.

Examples of sanctuary city programs

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

Chicago’s July 2012 Welcoming City Ordinance, per a press release from the city, “builds on an existing ordinance and longtime City policy that prohibits agencies from inquiring about the immigration status of people seeking City services, and provides that the Chicago Police Department will not question crime victims, witnesses and other law-abiding
residents about their legal status.

Santa Clara County, in which San Jose is located, has a Rapid Response Network, to alert people about ICE raids. “Training is led by Pangea Legal Services, Sacred Heart Community Service and PACT: People Acting in Community Together. The Rapid Response Network aims to expand the community’s capacity to monitor and document ICE operations in real time.”

New York City enacted in December, 2017 a law (2017/228) “That would prohibit City agencies from partnering with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to enforce federal immigration law, including through 287(g) agreements. Additionally, this bill would prohibit the use of City resources, property, and information obtained on behalf of the City in furtherance of federal immigration enforcement.”

San Francisco passed in 1989 the “City and County of Refuge” Ordinance (also known as the Sanctuary Ordinance). The Sanctuary Ordinance generally prohibits City employees from using City funds or resources to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the enforcement of Federal immigration law unless such assistance is required by federal or state law. In 2013, San Francisco passed the “Due Process for All” Ordinance. This ordinance limits when City law enforcement officers may give ICE advance notice of a person’s release from local jail. It also prohibits cooperation with ICE detainer requests, sometimes referred to as “ICE holds.”

(Source: here.)

Farm labor shortages in California

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

From a 2017 member survey by the California Farm Bureau Federation:

Fifty-five percent of survey respondents said they were experiencing employee shortages to various degrees. A majority of farmers who reported shortages said they were unable to recruit up to 50 percent of their seasonal workforce needs, with 15% unable to recruit more than 50% of employees. Of the farmers who reported shortages, the majority employ 15 or fewer people on a permanent basis and hire 50 employees or fewer during peak season.

When asked what actions they have taken in response to employee shortages, one third of respondents said they used mechanization if available; another 29% attempted or investigated mechanization. One-third of respondents elected not to engage in labor-intensive cultivation activities such as pruning and grapevine canopy management. About 9.5% planted fewer acres and 9% did not harvest some of their crop. The most frequent action, taken by 49% of respondents, was to offer increased wages, benefits and additional incentives to prevent employees accepting work with other growers or leaving agriculture altogether.

Fewer than 3% of those responding use the existing H-2A agricultural immigration program. Farmers in California have for many years said they find the H-2A program inadequate to meet their employment needs, given the program’s high cost, bureaucratic difficulties and the diversity of seasons, workforce needs and timing of those needs, which often conflict and overlap. In spite of increases in the number of people being employed in California through the H-2A program, it still represents a small fraction of the overall agricultural labor force in the state.

Rising number immigrants who are college grads and/or speak English

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Today, immigrants account for 17% of all college educated adults in the U.S. compared with 10% in 1990. The rise in college education and English proficiency began about ten years ago – when Asian immigration overtook Latin American immigration.

When you take into account all foreigners in the U.S., 48% of foreigners 25 years or older came to the United States between 2011 and 2015 with college graduates compared to 31% of US born adults and 2015. Half of the college educated immigrants are from Asia. There are more recent college educated foreigners who arrived from Latin American than from Europe.

This high rate exists because of temporary visa holders, who (in the 2011-105 period) were 84% college educated compared with 33% among those awarded green cards in this period. The college education rate of recent naturalizations was 31%.

The percentage of recent immigrants with college degrees is 10% to 20% higher in most states than the college educated percentage of native born persons. The college education rate of recently arriving foreigners 25 years or older ranges from the low 80s in Vermont and District of Columbia to 25% in Arkansas (and lower in MT and SD).

Still, most immigrants arrive with limited English proficiency – 57%, through that percentage has declined from 66%. As of 2015, 34% of immigrants were bilingual, meaning they spoke English well and another language at home. Another 16% spoke only English at home.

The following is the percentage of all immigrants 18 or older who spoke only English at home or who were bilingual (spoke English “very well”), by date of arrival:

1986 – 1990: 35%

1996- 2000: 34%

2006 – 2010: 36%

2011- 2015: 43%

From here.


The last attempt at comprehensive immigration reform, in 2013

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

The last attempt at comprehensive immigration reform took place in 2013, led by the Senate but ignored by the House. Below are portions of the American Immigration Council’s review of the Senate bill, written before failure in the House:

Senate Bill 744 (S.744) was introduced in the Senate on April 16, 2013, by Senator Schumer of New York and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. 92 amendments were incorporated into the bill by voice vote. On May 21st, S. 744 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a vote of 13-5. One major amendment was passed by the Senate. S. 744 as amended passed the Senate on June 27, 2013 by a vote of 68-32. The House never considered the bill.

The bill addressed all aspects of the immigration process from border and enforcement issues to legal immigration reforms. It makes changes to the family and employment-based visa categories for immigrants, provides critical due-process protections, increases the availability of nonimmigrant workers to supplement all sectors of the workforce, and provides legal status to 11 million undocumented immigrants within the United States. The Senators intended this legislation to address these issues “…by finally committing the resources needed to secure the border, modernize and streamline our current legal immigration system, while creating a tough but fair legalization program for individuals who are currently here.”

….although undocumented immigrants will be allowed to register for the new Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) program almost immediately, before those in RPI status can apply to become lawful permanent residents the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must certify that the Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy is deployed and operational, 700 miles of fencing is complete, 38,405 border patrol agents are deployed, and the E-Verify employment verification system is in place, among other requirements.

One of the primary purposes of the bill is to provide a path to Lawful Permanent Residence (a “green card”) for the existing undocumented population via the new Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) program. Before Registered Provisional Immigrants can apply for Lawful Permanent Resident status, several security goals, or “triggers,” must be met. For example, the Department of Homeland Security had to certify that a Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy is deployed and operational, 700 miles of fencing is complete, 38,405 border patrol agents were deployed, and the E-Verify employment verification system was in place, among other requirements.

Undocumented residents would gain Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status if they had been in the U.S. since December 31, 2011 and met other criteria. This provision covered DREAM act and a proposed law for farm workers. With some exceptions, Registered Provisional Immigrants will be able to apply for Lawful Permanent Residence (a “green card”), but they must go to the “back of the line” and have been in RPI status for at least 10 years. RPIs must earn their green cards through employment, learning English, paying taxes, and other contributions to the country.

A merit-based point system would allow foreign nationals to obtain Lawful Permanent Residence in the United States by accumulating points mainly based on their skills, employment history, and educational credentials. At the same time, the current immigrant visa categories for siblings and adult married children of U.S. citizens, as well as the diversity visa program, are eliminated and replaced by this system. Between 120,000 and 250,000 visas would be allocated each year based on the point system. The visa cap would fluctuate using a formula that takes into account the number of visas requested the previous year and the unemployment rate. . Certain highly skilled and exceptionally talented immigrants are also exempted from the worldwide cap, such as those who have extraordinary ability or advanced degrees in STEM fields from U.S. universities.

Compared to reform proposals from 2006 and 2007, S. 744 contains stronger devices designed to facilitate immigrants’ language acquisition, civic engagement, financial self-sufficiency, and upward economic mobility.

According to the CBO’s final score, enacting S. 744 would lead to a net savings of about $135 billion over the 2014-2023 period. This figure results from subtracting the costs of implementing the legislation ($23 billion) from the expected reduction in the federal budget deficit ($158 billion).

The net fiscal gains ($1 trillion over the 20-year period analyzed) would result from the fact that federal revenues would exceed spending. The boost in revenues is mostly attributable to the expansion of the size of the labor force and secondarily to the legalization of current undocumented workers. These changes would lead to additional collection of income and payroll taxes