More on the Texas voter fraud folly

March 4th, 2019

The Texas Secretary of State’s and Attorney General’s suggestion in late January that 95,000 non-citizens were on the voter lists has turned predictably into a giant mess.

The state relied on a match of driver license and voter list databases. That is despite the chronic problems of large database matching and the high probability that many persons recorded over the past years as non-citizens on the driver license database later become citizens The state has since been walking back its claims.

The Brennan Center was skeptical from the start. Within days of the state’s first announcement it wrote:

Texas has a history of using faulty claims of fraud to justify onerous voter ID laws. In 2011, Texas passed the country’s strictest voter ID law, suggesting it was necessary to prevent supposedly rampant voter fraud. After the Brennan Center and others sued to prevent the implementation of that law (and won), it became clear that the state had virtually no evidence of voter impersonation at the polls. In ruling on the case, the court noted that in the ten years preceding the law’s passage, though there were 20 million votes cast in the state, only two instances of in-person voter impersonation were prosecuted to conviction.

In 2012, Florida officials conducted a similar weak match with driver’s license records that indicated that as many as 180,000 non-citizens were on the state’s rolls. As in Texas, that number made for some splashy headlines, but after accounting for the fact that people may have become citizens after renewing their licenses, the number was whittled down to 2,600 cases. Even that turned out to be a drastic overstatement, as in the end just 85 voters were identified as non-citizens and removed from the rolls.

That same year, the then-director of South Carolina’s DMV used a similar “weak-match” method to claim ineligible individuals voted in previous elections. He claimed that 950 dead people had voted since they died. After a review of the records in question by South Carolina officials, it was determined that no one had cast a ballot from the grave – or had used a dead person’s identity to vote.

After the 2016 election, a weak-match system identified 94,610 New Hampshire voters that were supposedly registered in another state. President Trump claimed he lost the state because “thousands” of people came into the state by bus to vote against him. A follow-up review by the New Hampshire secretary of state ruled out all but 142 of those matches as possibly legitimate cases of double-voting, and only referred 51 of those cases to the state’s attorney general for further investigation

Picking strawberries by machine instead of immigrant worker

March 2nd, 2019

Mechanization of produce farming is moving ahead, notably with strawberries, which are easy to crush. Half of hired farmworkers today are unauthorized workers.

The Washington Post reports that the future of agricultural work has arrived here in Florida, promising to ease labor shortages and reduce the cost of food, or so says the team behind Harv, a nickname for the latest model from automation company Harvest CROO Robotics.

Harv is on the leading edge of a national push to automate the way we gather goods that bruise and squish, a challenge that has long flummoxed engineers. Designing a robot with a gentle touch is among the biggest technical obstacles to automating the American farm.

“The labor force keeps shrinking,” said Gary Wishnatzki, a third-generation strawberry farmer. “If we don’t solve this with automation, fresh fruits and veggies won’t be affordable or even available to the average person.”

Who are the workers today? These figures are from the National Agricultural Workers Survey for 2015- 2016:

Sixty-nine percent of hired farmworkers interviewed in FYs 2015-2016 were born in Mexico. 49% are unauthorized. On average, foreign-born farmworkers interviewed in 2015-2016 first came to the United States 18 years before being interviewed. Most respondents had been in the United States at least 10 years (78%),

In 2015-2016, 77 percent of farmworkers said that Spanish was the language in which they are
most comfortable conversing. 30 percent of farmworkers reported that they could not speak English “at all”. 41 percent of workers reported they could not read English “at all”.

The average level of formal education completed by farmworkers was eighth grade. Four percent of workers reported that they had no formal schooling and 37 percent reported that they completed the sixth grade or lower.

Undocumented immigrants and violent crime

February 28th, 2019

Looking at the years 1990 to 2014, our finding suggest that undocumented immigration is generally associated with decreasing violent crime. The negative association between unauthorized immigration and violence is evidenced in both police reports and victimization data. None of our 57 observations show a positive association between undocumented immigration and violent crime.

From Michael Light et al, Does undocumented immigration increase violent crime? Criminology, 2018

Faith based organizations for refugees and immigrants worldwide

February 26th, 2019

Faith-based organizations have long served as key partners to UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) in providing services and protection to refugees and migrants. They include Lutheran World Federation, Islamic Relief Worldwide, and Caritas, a federation of 165 Catholic organizations.

For example, after the 2011 Côte d’Ivoire presidential elections, over half a million people were displaced. Local faith institutions and FBOs including parishes of the Roman Catholic Church, Caritas, Muslim mosques and communities, and Charismatic groups, stepped up to provide immediate emergency shelters and humanitarian assistance

An April 2018 study by Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA) and Boston College’s Center for Social Innovation highlighted dozens of pioneering faith-based programs providing protection for refugees and migrants (FADICA 2018, 1). These programs address root causes of migration, provide protection in transit, and facilitate successful resettlement through the provision of shelter, skills training, and trauma-healing.

Small-scale faith-based programs can have a huge impact for individuals to whom they serve as a lifeline in the midst of a treacherous journey. The Home for Migrants Shelter “Bethlehem” in Tapachula, Mexico at the Guatemalan border is one such program (SIMN 2014). Under the leadership of Scalabrinian priest Father Florenzo Rigoni, c.s., the shelter provides respite and vital services for migrants regardless of their identities and complexities. Pregnant girls, individuals with HIV and other infectious diseases, victims of sex trafficking, former prostitutes, and transgender individuals, are all welcomed and served through the on-site provision of wrap-around medical, financial, educational, and spiritual support at the shelter.

From here.


Unauthorized immigrant population by state

February 24th, 2019

Pew Research has this site at which you can find by state the estimated unauthorized population and unauthorized labor force.

Childbirths by immigrant mothers

February 22nd, 2019

In 2014, one in five births (791,000) in the United States was to an immigrant mother, contrasted with 13% of the total population being foreign-born. Immigrant mothers accounted for half or nearly half of births in Miami, San Francisco, and San Jose, CA.

in 2012-2016, legal immigrants accounted for 12.4% of all births, and unauthorized immigrants accounted for 7.5% of all births and close to 40% of immigrant mother births.

Medicaid paid for 30% of non-immigrant mother births, 29% of legal immigrant mother births, and 14% of unauthorized mother births. Uninsured births: for 12% of non-immigrant mother births, 18% of legal immigrant mother births, and 53% of unauthorized mother births.

From Center for Immigration Studies

50 years of ethnic workforce change in NYC.

February 20th, 2019

For entry-level positions in New York City: Circa 1940, the workforce was 66 percent black native workers, 6 percent Hispanic foreign-born, and 2 percent Asian foreign-born. But by 1990, those numbers had significantly shifted, with the black native-born population comprising only 30 percent of the workforce, compared with Hispanic foreign-born at 20 percent and Asian foreign-born at 15 percent.

Cited by Amy Wax, Low skilled immigration: the case for restriction, American Affairs, Winter 2017.

National workforce growth and tight labor markets

February 18th, 2019

I shared the other day 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. Let’s put this in larger context.

Annualized working age population growth for 2000 through 2020 and 2020 through 2040 for areas of the world is estimated in the U.S. (+0.85%, +0.2%), Eurozone (+0.1%, -0.5%) and Japan (-0.6%, -0.8%).

The ratio of the number job openings to the number of unemployed workers at the end of 2018 was 1.7 in Japan, and slightly over 1 in the U.S.

Immigrant-related students account for 100% of student pop growth

February 16th, 2019

Using data that ended in 2008 (but the basic pattern has continued), children of immigrant parents were above 30% of all children in some states.

Young children of immigrants account for more than 30% of children in seven states and 20–30% of children in 12 states. Children of immigrants accounted for between 10 and 20% of children in 18 states. Their share is lower in the remaining 14 states (less than 10%). The seven states with over 30% in 2008 were CA, TX, NV, AZ, FL, NJ and NY.

The number of young children of immigrants doubled between 1990 and 2008; this increase accounts for the entire growth in the U.S. population of young children since 1990. Currently, 8.7 million U.S. children age 0 to 8 have at least one foreign-born parent, a doubling from 4.3 million in 1990. By contrast, the number of children with native-born parents has declined slightly from 27.8 million in 1990 to 27.3 million in 2008. Thus, children of immigrants accounted for the entire growth in the number of young children in the United States between 1990 and 2008.

In 2008, 43% of the immigrant parents of children were from Mexico. This percentage has probably declined somewhat since 2008 because of the flattening out of migration from Mexico compared with the growth of Asian and Central American immigrants.

From here.




Spotlight on Australia

February 14th, 2019

Sentiment moves against immigration

For the first time ever, the long-running Lowy Poll reported in 2018 A majority (54%) say ‘the total number of migrants coming to Australia each year is too high’ up from 40% in 2017. 30% say it is ‘about right’; and 14% say it is ‘too low’. The same-sized majority said that ‘Australia’s openness to people from all over the world is essential to who we are as a nation’. However, 41% said ‘if Australia is too open to people from all over the world, we risk losing our identity as a nation’.

The country is absorbing major changes in immigration since the mid 1990s.

The Guardian reported in 2018 on immigration trends since 1996:

  • A massive increase in Australia’s annual permanent migration intake – from 85,000 in 1996 to 208,000 last year.
  • The emergence of India and China as the largest sources – by far – of migrants.
  • The movement away from family migration to skilled migration targeting national workforce needs. In 1996, family migration was about two-thirds of the program, and skilled one-third. Those ratios are now reversed.
  • A huge increase in temporary migration to Australia – through short-term work visas and international students
  • The rise of “two-step migration”, where those on short-term visas (gain permanent residency.
  • The emergence of migration, rather than natural increase (i.e. births) as the primary driver of population increase.