How immigration looks better in San Jose, CA than in Green Bay. WI

A resident in an inland city can be far less enamored with immigration than would a resident in a traditional coastal gateway region, based on what she sees and hears.

Recent immigrants are well educated – 40% have college degrees. They prefer the coasts to inland cities.

When people with higher ed degrees migrate from state to state, they like to move to coastal cities and states and away from rust belt and other inland states. Those entering from abroad with higher ed degrees show an even stronger propensity to go to gateway cities and states. They avoid rust belt and other middle America states such as Pennsylvania, West Virginia, the Great Plains, and the Mississippi valley states.

San Jose is drenched with advanced degree migrants, a huge share of which come from abroad, bringing their entrepreneurial talents and English skills. In the mid 2000s, for every 10 new arrivals in San Jose from another state, there were 12 new arrivals coming directly from outside the country. In the Greater New York area, for every 10 advanced degree arrivals from another state, six more come from abroad.

Wisconsin, however, sees fewer foreign college grads move in. Only about one in ten comes from abroad. The signs of a bounce that highly educated immigrants deliver by adding jobs can be much harder to find.

Second, low skilled immigrants can appear in a more negative light, inland.

Everywhere, half of them speak English poorly or not at all, half are Mexicans, and half are unauthorized. In the Bay Area, the low skilled support the life styles of the professional class and tourism, in restaurants and lodging, in cleaning and maintenance. They blend in with their large second and third generations, who speak English well and have acquired more work skills.

But in Wisconsin, where the foreign population is much more recent, and there are fewer second and third generation households there to blend in with. Their poor or non-existent English is more noticeable. The local public costs of educating the young of these workers are more noticeable. To the jaundiced eye of a native-born America, low skilled immigrants can display unacceptable signs of little or no English proficiency, dependency on government programs, and being illegal.


Brigitte Waldorf of Purdue University tracked advanced degree migration between 2004 and 2007, during when state-to-state (domestic migration) ran to 6.4 million persons, and migration directly from outside the country was about 1.6 million. This means that for every 100 domestic advanced degree migrants there were 27 foreign advanced degree migrants. For San Jose, California, there were 116 foreign migrants for every 100 domestic migrant; for Los Angeles, 61 foreigners for every 100 domestic. In West Virginia, 7, and in Arkansas, 15.

How will police departments respond to more aggressive deportation?

Charlotte, North Carolina, provides an example of the issues facing police departments, which may conflict with local sheriffs and corrections departments.

According to the Charlotte Observer, “In the summer of 2015, then-Charlotte police chief Rodney Monroe told City Council that enforcing federal immigration law was not part of CMPD’s [Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept.] mission.”

It goes on:

Monroe was discussing a civil rights resolution, which stated that CMPD officers would not ask about a suspect’s immigration status during routine police work. The resolution went further: During the course of an investigation, an officer might be told or learn a person is in the country illegally. CMPD’s position was to refrain from reporting them to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, except in cases of a gang or terrorism.

The department’s policy – which was approved by the City Council – led some to designate Charlotte a “sanctuary city,” a moniker the city disputed.

At the time, Monroe said it was important for people to feel comfortable talking with police as witnesses or people with information. Kerr Putney, the current chief, also agreed with that approach. Monroe said it wasn’t CMPD’s job to enforce federal tax laws, and he said it wasn’t the department’s job to enforce immigration laws either.

CMPD’s more lenient position differs from that of the Mecklenburg Sheriff’s Office, which administers the county’s jail. Ten years ago, the sheriff’s office became the first law enforcement agency east of Phoenix to participate in the Department of Homeland Security’s 287(g) program, in which all non-U.S. born arrestees are checked for being a “potentially removable alien.” Four other N.C. counties have similar agreements with ICE – Wake, Cabarrus, Gaston and Henderson counties. “We have no reason to believe there will be any changes to the 287(g) program in the short term,” said Mecklenburg Sheriff Irwin Carmichael in a statement last week. “We will have to wait and see how the Trump administration impacts 287(g).”

Thanks to David for pointing this out.


Internal migration in China

from “Migrant workers and their children,” by the China Labour Bulletin.

As the economic reforms of the 1980s gained pace, what the cities needed most was cheap labour. And so began what is often described as one of the greatest human migrations of all time, as hundreds of millions of young men and women from the countryside poured into the factories and construction sites of China’s coastal boom towns.

There are an estimated 277 million rural migrant workers in China, making up more than one third of the entire working population. 59.4 percent of China’s migrant workers were located in the eastern provinces, 21.5 percent were in the central regions, and 18.8 percent in the west. Of the 169 million long-distance migrants, 78 million were trans-province migrants while 91 million stayed within their province.

The gender balance of migrant workers in 2015 was almost exactly two thirds male to one third female, a clear trend towards an older population. The proportion of workers aged 16 to 30-years-old was 33 percent in 2015, while the proportion of workers over 40-years-old was 45 percent. The aging population may also explain why the gender balance is shifting towards male workers.

While the majority of migrant workers still only have a middle school education, about 25 percent do now have some form of higher education, including 8.3 percent who went to college. By contrast, only six percent of rural migrants under 30-years-of-age have received any kind of agricultural training.

The vast majority of rural migrant workers are still employed in low-paid jobs in manufacturing, construction and services. Manufacturing jobs in 2015 were 31.1 percent in 2015, down from the past reflecting both the decline in China’s manufacturing industry, the relocation of low cost, labour intensive factories to smaller Southeast Asian countries, and more opportunities for migrant workers in other sectors. Construction jobs were 22.3.

[The main iPhone facility in Zhengzhou now employs 110,000 workers, with other factories employing hundreds of thousands more. Last summer, Apple contractors reportedly hired 100,000 workers to ramp up production of the iPhone 6s in advance of its fall release.]

Wage levels for migrant workers have increased steadily over the last five years with the average monthly wage exceeding 3,000 yuan for the first time in 2015 to stand at 3,072 yuan. The vast majority (85 percent) worked in excess of 44 hours per week. In 2015, seven years after the implementation of the Labour Contract Law, only 36 percent of migrant workers had signed a formal employment contract with their employer, as required by law

There were about 61 million children under 18-years-of-age who were left behind in the countryside in 2010, accounting for about 22 percent of all children in China, and 38 percent of all rural children.

Muslim immigrants: welcome to Thanksgiving

In some respects, immigrant Muslims are more American than Americans. Yet Michael Flynn, the future director of the National Security Council, says that “Islam is a political ideology that hides behind the notion of it being a religion” (at 23:55)…it is ”like a cancer.” Even though only a fifth of Muslims in Americans say that most Muslims coming to the U.S. want to be distinct from the larger American society, Half of the Americans public thinks that Muslim immigrants mostly want to remain distinct from the larger culture. Half of Americans think the being Christian is an important factor in being American.

Muslim immigrants are more likely (74%) to say that hard work gets you ahead than does the general public (62%). Although less inclined to show the American flag, they watch sports and recycle about the often as the general public. Foreign-born Muslims in America are highly likely to become citizens when they are eligible to do so. They get involved in solving community problems just moderately less than does the general public.

Muslim immigrants practice their religion at a far higher rate (68%) than do Christian immigrants (27%). But they match Christians in America in about 70% saying that religion is very important, for native born Americans are much more involved in religion than are western Europeans. According to a Pew survey, religion remains important past the first generation. About three out of five first and second generation perform the daily prayer (Salah). Thirty percent Muslim women always wear a head cover or hijab when out in public.

They are opposed to terrorism. Asked if terrorism is ever justified to defend Islam,1% of both native and foreign born Muslims said “often;” about 80% said “never.” All Muslims have the same level of concern about extremism in American as does the general public. Muslims with high school or less education are the only segment that perceives “great deal” of support for extremism in the Muslim community. It’s noteworthy that the only widely known coterie here of extremist-thinking Muslims, among young Somalis in Minnesota, focuses on returning to Africa or the Middle East.

Richard Alba and Nancy Foner, authors of the 2015 book Strangers No More, came across four reasons why there is so little terrorist risk in this population. First, they note that the foreign-born are Muslim in the United States is tiny compared to Europe. They are 1% of the American population, compared to 11% in France.

Second, the Muslim population here is well-educated and middle class. Muslim foreign-born also are highly educated, with over 30% completing college, a higher rate than native-born Americans. Their household incomes on average match the general public.

Third, even as deToqueville noted in the early 19th Century, public expression of belief in God and religious practices are much more common here, And fourth, the right to express one’s faith without encumbrance from government is elevated in the Constitution.

(Survey data from Pew study of Muslims in America.)

Trump’s evolving deportation plans

It’s a near certainty now that Trump will start his administration with a much more aggressive program to deport unauthorized immigrants, starting with those with a criminal record. Here are some Q and As.

What is the target population?

The Migration Policy Institute estimates there are 820,000 target criminal persons out of 11 million unauthorized persons (a rate of 7%) and 1.1 million out of 31 million (a rate of 3.5%).

The rate of criminals to population appears high among immigrants. Is that right?

Yes. This can largely be explained by comparing formal education rates, since these rates correlate closely to criminal rates.  About 2.5% of the general population is either incarcerated or paroled or under other supervision. However this is comparing apples to oranges,

Homeland Security uses a definition of criminal that matches its guidelines for whom to prioritize for deportation. The definition includes felons and persons with more serious misdemeanor convictions. Homeland Security focuses not on immigration violations but rather on crimes any citizen might commit.

Criminal behavior is highly adversely correlated with formal education. The non-high school graduation rate in 2008 was 8% for natives 25 – 64, 22% for legal immigrants, and 47% for unauthorized immigrants. Overall, unauthorized immigrants are 2.4 times more likely than native-born to be in prison or under supervision,if you just applied education factors.  Another way to put it, if the 11 million unauthorized persons were instead native-born, Homeland Security’s 820,000 number shrinks to 350,000.

What are Trump’s challenges?

He will likely try to remove more persons on Homeland Security’ priority list. It is very hard to see how he can do this when California, New York City, Cook County and Miami-Dade County are sanctuary areas. The problem posed by these jurisdictions is not just political opposition but concerns of police and prosecutors about the adverse impact of aggressive deportation upon other areas of law enforcement. Plus, the Catholic church and other religious groups will prove formidable opponents.

Will Trump go farther?

He may try accelerate the deportation of close to one million persons ordered deported but not yet deported, delayed presumably due to enforcement discretion or court injunctions. This estimate is from Jessica Vaughn at the Center for Immigration Studies. If he goes deeper into the unauthorized community he will encounter millions of households in the United States for decades, mixing legal and illegal members in the households: a cat’s cradle. Since the slowdown in illegal in-migration the median duration of residence of unauthorized persons has lengthened to 13.4 years.

Muslims in America: why so little terrorism?

President-Elect Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has said that it’s appropriate to consider restrictions on immigration by people identified as Muslims. The Muslim population in Western Europe is the source of acts of terror. In the United States, there are very few domestic acts of terror committed by Muslims. Terrorist movements might be called an extreme and the most violent expression of ethnic animosity; it’s a failure to integrate.

Self-identified Muslim immigrants practice their religion at a far higher rate (68%) than do Christian immigrants (27%). According to a Pew survey, religion remains important past the first generation. About three out of five first and second generation perform the daily prayer (Salah). Thirty percent Muslim women always wear a head cover or hijab when out in public. This might suggest a high level of cultural isolation.

But foreign-born Muslims in America are highly likely to become citizens — some 80% — when they are eligible to do so. Among eligible Mexican immigrants, the rate is about one third.

Richard Alba and Nancy Foner, authors of the 2015 book Strangers No More, came across four reasons why there is so little terrorist risk in this population. First, they note that the Muslim population in the United States is tiny compared to Europe. They are 1% of the American population, compared to 11% in France (these include foreign-born and native-born.)

Also, unlike in Europe, the Muslim population here is well educated and middle class. The Muslim foreign-born also are highly educated, with over 30% completing college, a higher rate than native-born Americans. Their household incomes on average match the general public.

Third, even as deToqueville noted in the early 19th Century, American culture is much less secular than is European culture. Public expression of belief in God and religious practices are much more common here. And fourth, the right to express one’s faith without encumbrance from government is a fundamental part of the Constitution.

These observations found in The Integration of Immigrants into American Society, By National Academies Press, pp 323-324 , available here

820,000 illegal criminals instead of Trump’s 2 million

Trump has pledged a greater focus on removal of unauthorized immigrants with criminal records. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that there are 820,000 illegal residents [out of 11 million] that are deportable for criminal convictions. There are another million of legal non-citizen residents [out of about 33 million] subject to deportation for criminal convictions. Trump tends to group these together as all illegals.

Large-scale enforcement requires close coordination between local police enforcement and DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Much higher rates of deportation will require substantially greater federal funding, including more courts, but the biggest constraint is local law enforcement (not political) ambivalence about demands on police and corrections resources and an inherent conflict with community policing goals. This does mean that it can’t be done.


Drawing upon MPI’s analysis of the 3.7 million deportations that occurred between fiscal years (FY) 2003 and 2013, which looked at the most serious criminal conviction for deportees, we further estimated who among the 820,000 unauthorized immigrants convicted of a crime would be priorities for removal under current DHS policy. We determined that 300,000 of these likely have a felony conviction and another 390,000 are serious misdemeanants.

[Generally speaking, felonies involve incarceration for more than one year. Typical misdemeanors include petty theft, prostitution, public intoxication, simple assault, disorderly conduct, trespass, vandalism, reckless driving, discharging a firearm within city limits, possession of cannabis.]

These 820,000 unauthorized immigrants are a subset of the 1.9 million noncitizens identified by DHS [in 2012] as removable criminal aliens, in other words noncitizens identified for deportation from the United States based on a criminal conviction.
A very substantial portion of these 1.9 million noncitizens are people lawfully present in the United States who have become deportable as the result of a disqualifying crime.


The immigration enforcement system has already been recalibrated in recent years to focus on criminals. Convicted criminals accounted for 59% of 235,000 removals in FY 2015. [Deportations have been about 370,000 on average under the Obama administration. Most were criminals.]

Secure Communities, launched in 2008, used fingerprint data to check the immigration status of all arrestees and issue detainers to local law enforcement agencies to hold individuals for ICE to take into custody.

In response to a significant backlash from communities across the United States, the Obama administration in July 2015 replaced Secure Communities with the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), intended to be tailored to the priorities of local jurisdictions. PEP limits ICE issuance of detainers to local law enforcement agencies only for noncitizens who have been convicted of a crime or represent a public-safety risk, consistent with the priorities of the local jurisdiction.

DHS is funded to identify, detain, and deport about 400,000 unauthorized immigrants annually. The current administration largely met that number in FY 2009-12 before tailoring its prosecutorial discretion guidelines to focus more fully on criminals and other public-safety threats, recent border crossers, and people with outstanding deportation orders.

The Trump campaign has said that it will restore Secure Communities, which allowed ICE to ask all local law enforcement agencies to hold for removal any noncitizens who were deportable, whether convicted or not.

State restrictions on immigration: a surprising finding

A study published on November 3 assesses whether state-level laws enacted between 2005 and 2010 that seek to crack down on illegal immigration have deterred immigrants, both unauthorized and authorized, from residing in those states.

(By Bárbara Gómez-Aguiñaga,Stepping into the Vacuum: State and Cities Act on Immigration, But Do Restrictions Work? published by the Migration Policy Institute.)

from the study:

Slightly more than 3,000 immigration-related laws and resolutions were enacted by states between 2005 and 2015. Of the 868 policies between 2005 and 2010, 441 were classified as restrictive with an additional 423 as immigrant-friendly, and four as neutral.

….Restrictive state immigration laws do not have a statistically significant correlation with the percentage change of the unauthorized immigrant population or the overall immigrant population. However, the economic variable measured—median household income—had a positive and significant correlation with the percentage change of both the overall immigrant population and the unauthorized immigrant population alone.

The results indicate that an increase of 1 percentage point in the median household income of a state is correlated with a 0.739 percent increase in the overall immigrant population of a given state and a 1.699 percent increase in the unauthorized immigrant population. On a larger scale, the results suggest that a 10 percentage point increase in the median household income of a state would correspond to a 7.39 percent increase in the overall immigrant population and a 16. 99 percent increase in the unauthorized immigrant population.

Economic conditions themselves, rather than the restrictive immigration-related legislation that arose during this period, are the main predictor for changes in the immigrant population of individual states, even after the end of the recession.

Trump on 60 Minutes about deportation

The NY Times on Trump’s interview on 60 Minutes today:

“On immigration, he said the wall that he has been promising to build on the nation’s southern border might end up being a fence in places. But he said his priority was to deport two million to three million immigrants he characterized as dangerous or as having criminal records, a change from his original position that he would deport all of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. President Obama has deported more than two million undocumented immigrants during his time in office.”

I reported on September 19 that “enforcement is so high that there is a backlog of a half million cases at immigration courts.”

On September I wrote that Trump is overestimating by ten times the number of criminal unauthorized foreign residents.

ICE reported on for Fiscal Year 2015:

“In FY 2015, ICE removed or returned 235,413 individuals. Of this total, 165,935 were apprehended while, or shortly after, attempting to illegally enter the United States. The remaining 69,478 were apprehended in the interior of the United States and the vast majority were convicted criminals who fell within ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities.”

ICE cannot expand deportation, especially for criminals, without partnering with local law enforcement. The report goes on to describe lack of total success in partnering:

“A significant factor impacting removal operations has been the number of state and local law enforcement jurisdictions limiting or declining cooperation with ICE. When law enforcement agencies decline to transfer custody of removable convicted criminals and public safety threats to ICE, the agency must expend additional resources to locate and arrest these individuals at-large…..

To address this problem, on November 20, 2014, Secretary Johnson announced the creation of the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) as part of the President’s immigration accountability executive action…. PEP improves the process of transferring those most dangerous from state and local custody by enabling ICE to take custody of priority individuals without damaging trust with local communities….

The agency’s Field Office Directors have briefed the program to over 2,000 law enforcement jurisdictions. Of note, 16 of the top 25 jurisdictions with the largest number of previously declined detainers are now participating in PEP, representing 47 percent of previously declined detainers. Most law enforcement agencies are now cooperating via PEP.”

The Hispanic vote on November 8

Pew Research estimates an increase since 2012 of 4 million Hispanics eligible to vote, or 17%, rising to 27.3 million. Between 2008 and 2012 Hispanic voters increased by15%. Among some top contested states, Hispanics comprise 18.1% of eligible voters in Florida; 172.% in Nevada; and 14.5% in Colorado.  (Also, go here.)

The electoral impact of the Hispanic community in America, about 57 million or 18% of the total population, is less per person because of demographics of eligibility and a lower voter turnout rates. The relative youthfulness (fewer voters) of recently newly eligible Hispanic voters suggests this lagging pattern will continue on November 8.

Were the Hispanic population to match the white population in eligibility and voting behavior, there would be 29 million Hispanic voters on November instead of a projected 13.1 million, a more than doubling. Thus, one could say that one Hispanic resident equals about 45% of a non-Hispanic white resident at the polling booth.

Demographically, due to a higher portion of children and the non-citizen status, the Hispanic population has less engagement with voting. Pew says, “Latinos tend to “punch below their weight” in elections because more than half (52%) of the national Latino population is either too young to vote or does not hold U.S. citizenship. By comparison, just 20% of the nation’s white population is not eligible to vote for the same reasons, as is 28% of the black population and 44% of the Asian population.”

Eligible Hispanics voters are younger than other eligible voters – 44% or millennials (born since the early 1980s) compared with 27% of white eligibles. In addition to these 3.2 million newly eligible millennials are 1.2 million older Hispanics immigrants who took out citizenship since 2012 and 130,000 Porto Ricans who since 2012 have migrated to Florida.

An estimated 11.2 million Hispanics voted in 2012, a voting rate of 48%. With the same voting rate, 13.1 million will vote on November 8.

The voting rate among Latinos is lowest among millennials and those primarily speaking Spanish. For all eligible American voters, the voting rate was 61.8% in 2012; for Hispanics, 48%; and among Hispanic millennials, 37.8%.