Trump admin stopped short of rescinding Dreamers executive order

A leaked copy of the draft executive order rescinding the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order of June 2012) is here.

Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies says that Trump broke a campaign promise to “immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants,” one of which is DACA, the other DAPA (deferred action for parents of Americans).

The National Conference of Mayors supports the continuation of protection of DREAMERS  and implies resistance to Trump Administration’s expansion of deportation efforts (January 19)

The CEO of Starbucks endorses DREAMERS (January 19); “As I wrote to Senators Graham and Durbin this week, we are enthusiastically behind their work to support “Dreamers” across our country – including those young men and women who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. There are nearly three quarters of a million hardworking people contributing to our communities and our economy because of this program. At Starbucks, we are proud to call them partners and to help them realize their own American Dream.”

DACA is covered here and here.

Muslims in America: why terrorism risk is low compared to Europe

Richard Alba and Nancy Foner, authors of the 2015 book Strangers No More, offer four reasons why there is so little terrorist risk among Muslims in the United States. 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.

Also, unlike in Europe, the Muslim population here is well-educated and middle class, 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 accepted and common here than in Europe. Muslim immigrants match Christians in America in about 70% saying that religion is very important. And fourth, the right to express one’s faith without encumbrance from government is a fundamental part of the Constitution.

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” (23:55)…it is.”like a cancer.”

We know a fair amount about Muslims in America in part thanks to studies by the Pew Research Center.  Since 1992, Muslims as a percentage of new legal immigrants rose of 5% to 10%.   Muslims make up one percent of the general population. Among the 85,000 refugees admitted in 2015, 46% were Muslim.

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 they 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 moderately less than does the general public.

Muslim immigrants practice their religion at a far higher rate (68%) than do Christian immigrants (27%) (page 319 here).

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 of Muslim women always wear a head cover or hijab when out in public.

Asked if terrorism is ever justified to defend Islam, 1% of both native and foreign born Muslims said “often;” about 80% said “never.” Among Muslim immigrants, 75% had a very negative view of Al-Quiada while 3% were favorable. 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.

Trump Administration greatly expands scope of unauthorized persons to be targeted.

With so many initiatives by the Trump Administration since January 25, one has to be selective about which to focus on. Here I describe an order which in effect increases the number of unauthorized persons in a priority status for deportation from about 820,000 to at least 4 million, and probably several million more out of a total of 11 million.

The NY Times addressed it. David A. Martin principal deputy general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security from January 2009 to December 2010 analyzes the Order here.

The order is Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.

The January 25 order greatly expanded the criteria to include:

(b) Have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved [thus not yet brought to trial]

(c) Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense [thus not even indicted]

(d) Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency [thus using borrowed or stolen social security number. About half of the 8 million unauthorized workers in regular employment. Almost by definition these 4 million meet this criterion.]

(e) Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits [very broad, may include school lunch and other food aid programs]

(f) Are subject to a final order of removal, but who have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States [this suggests that cases under appeal will be included]

(g) In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.

Re-activation of Section 287(g)

The order brings back this section which “authorize[s] State and local law enforcement officials to perform the functions of immigration officers in relation to the investigation, apprehension, or detention of aliens in the United States under the direction and the supervision of the Secretary.”

The world trade in human capital

An interesting aspect of world migration is how migration can be viewed as world trade in human capital, influenced by public policy. Some of the darkest passage in history involve forced migration (such at the Atlantic slave trade). Let’s look at three countries today.

The Philippines: leading exporter of human capital

The Philippines is a purposeful exporter of human capital. An government agency is tasked to look over and influence where its expatriates go. It looks after their welfare.  It exceeds all other studied countries in its “returns through remittances” (RTR) from emigration, meaning the impact of remittances is high compared to GDP and the emigrants form a relatively low share of the population. Three percent of the population is currently living in other countries, and remittances are equivalent to about 9% of GDP. This high RTR is due in part to the fact that a very high percentage of emigrants who are skilled (this is, at least, some college): 55%.

For closer looks at the Philippines go here and here.

For great many developing countries, at least a third of emigrants are skilled compared to those who stay – usually under 10%of the population. Bulgaria, among 34 developing countries, is the closest to the Philippines in the importance of remittances relative to the size of emigration.

In contrast, 10% of the Mexican population is outside the country but remittances are relatively low, equivalent to 3% of GDP. That’s because only 15% of emigrants are skilled, not much higher than the skilled share of the resident population (11%).

For great many developing countries, at least a third of emigrants are skilled compared to those who stay, which is usually below 10% of the population. Bulgaria, among 34 developing countries, is the closest to the Philippines in the importance of remittances relative to the size of emigration.

Australia: human capital importer

If the Philippines is a model human capital exporter, Australia is a model human capital importer. Among the resident population, 29% is skilled, but 42% of immigrants are skilled. The comparable figures for the United States are 52% and 42% — that is, immigration here lowers the average skill level. For Australia, 24% of the population is foreign born compared to 13% in the U.S.

Ireland: all mixed up

Some of the OECD countries have large gross stocks of both immigrants and emigrants. As a result, if migration had never taken place their population would be roughly the same. Ireland is the clearest example: its share of immigrants is 13%, but the share of emigrants is 16%. In a world without migration, its population would only be 3% higher.

Country by country analysis from “A Global View of Cross-Border Migration,” by Julian di Giovanni, Andrei A. Levchenko, Francesc Ortega. 2015

Video of Trump signing immigration orders and responses to them

Here is a surprising video of Trump signing the immigration-related executive orders (thanks to Rilla Murray):



Attorney Bernard Wolfsdorf checked off the orders as follows

These executive actions cover the following topics, which are intended to protect U.S. citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the U.S.:

Wall Along U.S.-Mexico Border

Refugee Admissions – a 120-day pause in refugee admissions to the U.S., with exceptions permitted for those fleeing religious persecution, if their religion is a minority in their country of nationality. Goal to reduce refugee admissions for FY 2017 to 50,000 from President Obama’s goal of 110,000.

Ban Entry to U.S. from Certain Muslim-Majority Countries. Applies to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Screening of people coming in legally – Screenings and procedures for all immigration benefits to identify fraud and detect applicants’ intent to do harm…. “extreme vetting.” Expedite the completion of entries into the biometric entry-exit data system. All visa applicants to attend a visa interview, unless otherwise exempt by statute.

Detention for Illegal Entry – Termination of the practice commonly known as “catch and release,” whereby aliens are routinely released in the United States shortly after their apprehension for violations of immigration law

Curb Funding to Sanctuary Cities – Curb funding of “sanctuary cities” that do not arrest or detain immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

Excerpts from a Wall Street Journal editorial:

….Over the border [illegal entry] is falling every year amid rising illegal entries from Asia, Central America and sub-Saharan Africa. Most of these aliens arrive legally but overstay their visas.

….More wall will prevent some illegal crossings at the margins, but at high cost. The Government Accountability Office figures border fencing runs $16 million per mile, with a price tag of $15 billion to $25 billion for the full project.

Mr. Trump…..vows to deny federal funds to these “sanctuary cities,” which include New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and nearly every Democratic urban locale. The Constitution bars the federal government from commandeering or coercing states or cities, so the practical effect will depend on whether Mr. Trump follows through in denying funds. This is essentially a political fight, and Mr. Trump’s voters don’t like the spectacle of mayors or police departments who refuse to enforce the law.

One encouraging note is that Mr. Trump seems to have stepped back from his promise to revoke President Obama’s 2012 order that shielded the “dreamers” from deportation..

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela (Democrat, Brownsville area) wrote an open letter, “Mr. Trump, you’re a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass.”…[he said on MSNBC], “Well, I would have liked to have spoken in a much more diplomatic fashion, but I felt like I had to speak to Donald Trump in language he understands.”

From the restrictionist American Mirror:

In order to better inform Americans about the impact illegal aliens are having on crime rates in sanctuary cities, President Donald Trump today ordered the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by illegals. [Executive order titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States”]

“To better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions, the Secretary shall utilize the Declined Detainer Outcome Report or its equivalent and, on a weekly basis, make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens,” the order reads.

Dreamers, other unauthorized persons, and their economic contribution today and tomorrow


741,546 unauthorized young people have received DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Three pro-immigration groups carried out a survey of DACA enrollees. The survey was done online thus is vulnerable to response bias. The respondents reported significant gain in employment by virtue of DACA.

An earlier Ford Foundation-funded study looked at undocumented higher education students. Among its findings:

Participants emigrated from 55 different countries of origin, On average, participants had resided 14.8 years in the U.S.; in most cases, the majority of their lives have been spent in the U.S. 61.3% had an annual household income below $30,000, 29.0% had an annual household income of $30,000 to $50,000, and 9.7% had an annual household income above $50,000. 72.4% were working while attending college. 64.1% reported having at least one member of their household who was citizen or lawful resident. Deportation is a constant concern. Over ¾ of participants reported worries about being detained or deported. 55.9% reported personally knowing someone who had been deported including a parent (5.7%) or a sibling (3.2%) A vast majority (90.4%) said they would become citizens if they could.

The Center for American Progress estimated the economic impact of legal status for the estimated 5.2 million DACA and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) persons. (DAPA is described here.)

The Center for American Progress estimates a significant gain in the American economy by granted permanent legal status to all 8 million undocumented workers.

Profile of an illegal immigrant, now a citizen

When Ana Ramos Martinez ended her shift in Whole Foods’ regional bakery in Everett, Massachusetts, in January, 2016, she sat down to tell me how she twice entered the country as an illegal immigrant. She left her financially distressed family in a coffee- and corn-growing farm community in El Salvador to jump the border in 1988.

Ana Martinez
Ana Martinez

After trimming clothes in Los Angeles for eight years, she returned to El Salvador to bring back the two young girls she had left behind. It was 1994. She paid off over seven years the charges of the coyote who led her and her girls through the desert back into the United States. Ana became an American citizen in 2014. She owns a house in near Boston and one in El Salvador. Her two grown girls work, one at Whole Foods.

World immigration key numbers

From the World Bank:

Number, 2013: 247.2 million or 3.4% of world population
Top 10 emigration countries, 2013: India, Mexico, the Russian Federation, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Ukraine, the United Kingdom
Top 10 immigration countries, 2013: the United States, Saudi Arabia, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Spain, Australia
Destinations, 2013: high-income OECD countries 49.4%, high-income non-OECD countries 21%, developing countries 29.3%
Top 10 migration corridors excluding the former Soviet Union, 2013: Mexico-the United States; Bangladesh-India; China-the United States; Afghanistan-Pakistan; Afghanistan- Iran; Hong Kong-China; India-the United Arab Emirates; the West Bank and Gaza-Jordan; India-the United States; India-Saudi Arabia.
Tertiary-educated as a percentage of total migrants in OECD countries, 2011: 27.6%
Number of refugees, 2014: 19.5 million

Cuban immigration in a nutshell: dramatic changes


Here is a quick overview of Cuban immigration from the 1960s through this past week, when policy changed without advance notice. This radically changes the immigrant equation for the first time since the 1960s. Much of this history is taken from a Migration Policy Institute report issued today.

There were about one million Cuban-born immigrants in the U.S. in 2013, up from 636,000 in 1980, virtually all of whom emigrated illegally from Cuba and arrived in the U.S. in unauthorized status. The children of these immigrants number about 800,000. About half remain Spanish-dominant in language; 68% live in Florida; and in education, house ownership and income are above other Hispanic immigrants but lower than the general population.

On January 12, the Obama Administration announced “Cuban nationals who attempt to enter the United States illegally and do not qualify for humanitarian relief will be subject to removal, consistent with U.S. law and enforcement priorities. By taking this step, we are treating Cuban migrants the same way we treat migrants from other countries.”

This announcement came without warning, to avoid a last minute rush of Cubans seeking to enter the U.S.

Since 1966, the Cuban Adjustment Act treats all Cubans as refugees. Cubans who arrive in the United States are eligible for legal permanent residence one year after arrival. Under a1980 law, certain Cubans are also eligible for welfare benefits similar to refugees. No other nationality group has such preferential or immediate access to green cards and welfare benefits. Cuba has refused to take back its nationals who have been ordered deported.

The most dramatic event in this history was the Mariel Boatlift, between April and October, 1980, and named after a port in Cuba. Castro allowed people to emigrate, and 125,000 arrived in 1,700 boats before the U.S. and Cuba came to terms, with Castro no longer permitting emigration. This event added to political pressure to pass an immigration bill, eventually passed in 1986.

A wet foot, dry foot policy is the name given to a consequence of the 1995 revision of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 that essentially says that anyone who fled Cuba and entered the United States would be allowed to pursue residency a year later. The Clinton administration came to an agreement with Cuba that it would stop admitting people intercepted in U.S. waters. A Cuban caught on the waters between the two nations (with “wet feet”) would summarily be sent home or to a third country. One who makes it to shore (“dry feet”) gets a chance to remain in the United States, and later would qualify for expedited “legal permanent resident” status and eventually U.S. citizenship.

Re-establishing U.S. – Cuban relations in 2014 spurred a huge increase in Cuban emigration to the U.S. due to fear that preferential treatment of Cuban émigrés will end. Tens of thousands got previously unobtainable exit permits from the Cuban government and traveled by land routes through South and Central America to reach the U.S.-Mexico border. Total Cuban arrivals in the U.S. went from well under 20,000 before FY 2014 to 48,520 in FT 2016. In FY 2016, there were 5,213 “wet foot” cases and 48,520 “dry foot” arrivals. The number of green cards granted to Cubans has steadily increased in recent years, from 32,219 in FY 2013 to 54,396 in FY 2015.

Cubans who reach U.S. soil are now to be treated the same as all other migrants who arrive without prior authorization. Fuller details on how the new regime will work in actual practice have not yet been detailed.

Cuba has also agreed to consider on a case-by-case basis the return of Cuban nationals who were found removable before January 12, 2017. Media reports suggest that as many as 34,000 Cubans with final orders of removal remain in the United States.

Application for citizenship denied for having a “big mouth”

Marginal Revolution reports on why Nancy Holten, 42, had her application for Swiss citizenship rejected – twice.

In Switzerland citizenship applications are decided primarily by the cantons and communes where the applicant lives, rather than federal authorities.

Holten was born in the Netherlands but grew up in Switzerland from the age of eight, speaks fluent Swiss German and has children with Swiss citizenship. A vegan and supporter of animal rights, she gained a reputation in her community of Gipf-Oberfrick, in the canton of Aargau, after campaigning against cowbells, claiming they were damaging to cows’ health.

She has also objected to hunting and piglet racing, and complained about the noise of church bells in the village, campaigns that have seen her regularly interviewed in the Swiss press over the past few years.

In Holten’s case it seems her campaigning has not won her many friends in the village, with the president of the local branch of the Swiss People’s Party, Tanja Suter, telling the media that Holten has a “big mouth”.

The commune did not want to give Holten the “present” of Swiss citizenship “if she annoys us and doesn’t respect our traditions”, said Suter.

Wikipedia  that as of June 2009, 10.6% of Gipf-Oberfrick’s population are foreign nationals. Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German (93.9%), with Albanian being second most common (1.1%) and Italian being third ( 0.9%).