The Census crisis

One March 26, Commerce Secretary Ross stated his decision to include a question on citizenship status in the 2020 census. The only reason he cited for the inclusion as a Department of Justice request for data at the census track level to determine if there have been voting violations, of non-citizens voting. “I have determined that reinstatement of a citizenship question on the 2020 decennial census is necessary to provide complete and accurate data in response to the DOJ request. To minimize any impact on decennial census response rates, I am directing the Census Bureau to place the citizenship question last on the decennial census form.” And, “while there is widespread belief among many parties that adding a citizenship question could reduce response rates, the Census Bureau’s analysis did not provide definitive, empirical support for that belief.”

The prior week, the attorney general and secretary of state of California wrote that “The Constitution requires the government to conduct an “actual enumeration” of the total population, regardless of citizenship status. And since 1790, the census has counted citizens and noncitizens alike…California, with its large immigrant communities, would be disproportionately harmed by depressed participation in the 2020 census. An undercount would threaten at least one of California’s seats in the House of Representatives (and, by extension, an elector in the electoral college.) It would deprive California and its cities and counties of their fair share of billions of dollars in federal funds.”

The New York Times today reported, “critics of Mr. Ross’s decision made available a letter sent to Mr. Ross in January from six former directors of the Census Bureau who served under both Republican and Democratic administrations. The letter stated that they were “deeply concerned” that adding the citizenship question would “considerably increase the risks to the 2020 enumeration.”

“There is a great deal of evidence that even small changes in survey question order, wording and instructions can have significant, and often unexpected, consequences for the rate, quality and truthfulness of response,” said the former directors..,“The effect of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census on data quality and census accuracy, therefore, is completely unknown.”

The end of discretion in ICE enforcement

The American Immigration Council comments on how the Trump administration has toughened ICE removal of unauthorized persons in two ways. One is to expand the scope to include all persons:

“the Trump administration expanded “enforcement priorities” so broadly as to render the term meaningless. As U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stated in a year-end report, ICE no longer exempts groups of removable [noncitizens] from enforcement. In other words, all undocumented immigrants have become targets—even if they have lived in the United States for many years, have U.S.-born children, and have never had a run-in with law enforcement.

The second way is to tighten discretion:  On February 20, 2017 “Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memorandum implementing A Trump executive order severely curtailed the ability of immigration-enforcement personnel to assess an individual’s equities when making case decisions. In the words of the memo: “prosecutorial discretion shall not be exercised in a manner that exempts or excludes a specified class or category of [noncitizens] from enforcement of the immigration laws.” Put differently, all DHS personnel “shall faithfully execute the immigration laws of the United States against all removable [individuals].”

The Council notes, “One of the crucial mechanisms in the enforcement of U.S. immigration law and criminal law is the exercise of discretion—and not just prosecutorial discretion. At the broadest level, discretion refers to the decision by a law-enforcement officer, prosecutor, or some other government official to pursue (or not pursue) the enforcement of certain laws against a person, or group of people, who may have violated those laws.

Also go here.


Foreign students in US from boom to decline

Overall, foreign student enrollment at U.S. colleges jumped 10% in 2014-15 to a record 974,927. China supplied nearly one-third of last year’s tally, but build its own education infrastructure to keep students at home.

New-student enrollments by foreign students at U.S. colleges and universities fell 3.3% in 2015 – 2016, the first decline in a decade. Overall international-student enrollments rose by 3.4%, to 1.08 million, a record high but the smallest year-over-year gain since 2009. Many institutions have grown reliant on a steady stream of students from other countries to counter tight state funding and high tuition discounts that are now the norm for local students.

In the year 2016- 2017 ending Sept. the State Department issued 393,573 student visas, known as F-1s. That was down 17% from the previous fiscal year and nearly 40% below the 2015 peak. The drop-off was particularly dramatic among Indian students this year, with a 28% decline in visas from the second-biggest feeder of foreign students at U.S. colleges.

There was also a big drop from China—down 24% last year and the No. 1 source of foreign students in the U.S. China has invested heavily in its local institutions in recent years, pushing to keep intellectual talent close to home.


Idaho dairies dependent on undocumented workers

The director of Idaho’s Department of Agriculture has called for immigration reform noting the need to normalize the lives of undocumented workers in farming.

The dairy industry in Idaho accounts for one third of farm employment in the state. and 85 – 90% of hired dairy labor are immigrants. Many are undocumented. The 8,100 jobs on Idaho dairies statewide generate 3,700 jobs in dairy processing and 27,600 jobs in other businesses, according to research done by University of Idaho agricultural economists.

Immigrants make up all 48% of farm workers and 29% of cooks in Idaho.


Who are the Mexicans being deported?

The Migrant Border Crossing Study found out who were the deportees in their 2010 – 2012 interviews. Three quarters had previously lived or worked in the United States. Among those who had lived or worked in the United States, the median time spent in the U.S. was seven years. Half have at least one family member who is a U.S. citizen, and about one in four have at least one child under the age of 18 who have U.S. citizenship. Almost half of those interviewed expressed that they intended to permanently emigrate during their last crossing, and 28% stated that their current home is located in the United States.

The average person was 31 years old, with eight years of formal education and earning a median household income of $280 per month before attempting to cross into the United States. About half spoke at least some English, and one in ten spoke an indigenous language in addition to Spanish. More than half were employed before deciding to leave Mexico, and 42% were the sole income provider for their families.

The majority (56%) reported that they would return to the United States sometime in the future with the rate being substantially higher for people who considered their current home to be located in the United States.

Crossing the Mexican border illegally

The Migrant Border Crossing Study (MBCS), in 2010-2012 interviewed 1,113 recent deportees about their experiences crossing the border, being apprehended by U.S. authorities, and being repatriated to Mexico. The interviews took place in six cities in Mexico to which about 66% of the roughly 400,000 annual deportations were deported.

Typically, male respondents (80% of those interviewed) had made 5.3 lifetime crossing attempts and about 3 previous apprehensions. About two thirds had been apprehended by the Border Patrol while attempting to cross and the remaining 30% had managed to make it to their destination, but were picked up later by police or other authorities. Only 9% had crossed a port of entry, thus 91% has crossed away from ports of entry, such as the desert. 12% had been abandoned while crossing.

Three quarters relied on a “coyote” or human smuggler to get into the United States, agreeing to pay a median of $2,500 USD for their services. They walked for more than two days through the harsh conditions along the border. Thirty-nine percent ran out of water during their trip and 31% ran out of food. The extreme heat and harsh terrain where people cross has killed thousands of people.

12% had been robbed by bandits during the last crossing. 7% were kidnapped.17% were victims of “cyber kidnappings,” where people call with false claims about having kidnapped a family member to extort a ransom.

77% had lived in the U.S. for an average of 8.9 years. 70% of people who perceived their current home to be in the United States planned on crossing again in the future, compared to just 49% of those who said their home is not in the United States. 37% of people who perceived their current home to be in the United States indicated they would attempt another crossing within the next week.

Immigrants and meat packing in rural Texas

A meat packing plant in Cactus, Texas, a tiny town in the state’s panhandle, has been staffed for some 40 years by a revolving stream of immigrants while native Americans take higher paying jobs in a refinery. This is an example of how immigrant labor complements, but does not compete with, native born Americans.

An ICE round up, Operation Wagon Train, on December 12, 2006 took 300 persons in the custody, 10% of the town’s population. Many were working in the Swift meat packing plant. Today the workers at the plant are almost entirely legal immigrants – not native-born Americans, according to the Washington Post. The plant, now owned by JBS USA, depends on refugees and Latinos. Moore County, where Cactus in located, voted 75% for Trump.

The jobs go for $17 an hour. Native Americans work for $30 an hour at a nearby oil refinery, where the jobs require more skills and fluent English.

“We don’t really see American people in these jobs,” said Lian Sian Piang, 34, a meat quality inspector and ethnic Chin who ran away from conscription in the Burmese army as a teenager, living for years in a Malaysian refugee camp. During his 10 years at the Cactus plant, he said, he has seen only “two or three white guys” cutting meat.

Immigrants have been butchering American meat since the 19th century, when Germans, Irish and Eastern Europeans crammed the Chicago stockyards. Wages in the packing industry increased with unionization and remained high relative to other manufacturing jobs between the 1930s and 1970s, a period of relatively low levels of immigration. But wages fell as companies began moving their plants out of urban areas and closer to feedlots, driving down union membership.

Vietnamese and Laotian refugees worked at the plant, then in the 1980s Mexicans, many undocumented. Then Guatemalans in the 1990s. More recently Somali refugees in such numbers that Moore County at one point had the fifth-highest per capita Muslim population in the United States. Now, a lot of Burmese refugees.

Past versions of Trump’s “crime and rapists” speech

June 16, 2015 Donald Trump, about unoocumented Mexicans: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

An echo from the past—

1893 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Chae Chan Ping v. United States, upholding the denial of re-entry of a legal resident from China at a time a great hostility to Chinese immigrants: “To preserve its independence, and give security against foreign aggression and encroachment, is the highest duty of every nation, and to attain these ends nearly all other considerations are to be subordinated.”

1920s Henry Laughlin, leading eugenicist, provided reports on the “degeneracy” and “social inadequacy” of the racially inferioroty and unassimiability of southern and eastern Europeans, supporting passage of racist quotas in the Immigration Act of 1924.

Early 1950s Senator Pat McCarran, chairman of a Senate subcommittee on immigration, and leading force behind the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which continued racist quotas. He defended the Act “to preserve this nation, the last hope of western civilization,” to prevent it from being “overrun, perverted, contaminated, or destroyed.”  The Act, he asserted, kept communists out of the United States.

Deportations leaving American children behind

Since 2010 well over one million child citizens have had at least one parent deported since 2010.

About 5 million U.S. citizen children under the age of 18 live with an undocumented family member. This is 30% of all children with at least one immigrant parent and 7% of all children.4.1 million are born in the U.S. (Source: Migration Policy Institute)

ICE issued more than 200,000 deportations for parents with citizen children between 2010 and 2012, according to the most recent government data available. While the government does not track whether U.S. citizen children stay in the United States or leave with a deported parent, both scenarios occur and pose challenges. Go here). That this rate, some 500,000 parents of American citizens have been deported since 2010.

Alternatively, this implies that since 2010 well over one million child citizens have had at least one parent deported since 2010.