Children of immigrants in science talent competitions

Sixty percent (24 of 40) of the finalists of the 2004 Intel Science Talent Search had at least one immigrant parent. In 2011, that proportion rose to 70 percent (28 of 40) who had at least one immigrant parent. And in 2016, the number rose again to 83 percent (33 of 40) of the finalists of the Intel Science Talent Search who had at least one immigrant parent. (Go here.)


What counts in immigration success is local


James Fallows has written a book about the vibrancy of local communities in America. He says this vibrancy, when undistracted by national politics, is ushering in the future. He cites three ways in which local communities can express their vibrancy: by connecting with other communities to confirm they are working on the same issues; by active engagement in community life, and by correcting the perception of what is actually happening – correcting the misperception created by the national media.

Nowhere is this vibrancy more noticeable, and essential, than in how communities accept, adapt to, and come together over immigrants. What happens locally, neighbor to neighbor, church to church, business to customer, business to employee, is what counts for making a success of our very long term and vast investment in immigration as a country, since liberalization of immigrant laws in the 1960s. This applies to Cupertino, California, which is the heart of Silicon Valley’s immigrant millionaires, and to towns in Tennessee or Iowa whose main businesses exist because of low wage immigrant workers.

Federal judge defends DACA

John Bates, judge in the federal district court of the District of Columbia, and a Republican appointee, struck down on April 24 the administration’s rescission of the DACA program. He gave the administration 90 days to come up with a better justification for ending DACA. If it fails to do so, Bates will order the government to open up DACA for any new applicant as well as protect those already awarded DACA status.

As noted by the Washington Post, The program has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of immigrants, allowing them to get driver’s licenses, qualify for in-state tuition, buy homes and attend college and graduate school. They must meet educational and residency requirements and cannot have serious criminal records.

From the conclusion of Bates’ opinion:

the Department’s decision to rescind DACA was predicated primarily on its legal judgment that the program was unlawful. That legal judgment was virtually unexplained, however, and so it cannot support the agency’s decision. And although the government suggests that DACA’s rescission was also predicated on the Department’s assessment of litigation risk, this consideration is insufficiently distinct from the agency’s legal judgment to alter the reviewability analysis. It was also arbitrary and capricious in its own right, and thus likewise cannot support the agency’s action. For these reasons, DACA’s rescission was unlawful and must be set aside.

For the reasons given above, then, the Court will vacate the Department’s September 5, 2017 decision to rescind the DACA program. The Court will stay its order of vacatur for 90 days, however, to afford DHS an opportunity to better explain its view that DACA is unlawful.

Also, in the body of his opinion, Bates wrote:

The Rescission Memo made no mention of the fact that DACA had been in place for five years and had engendered the reliance of hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries, many of whom had structured their education, employment, and other life activities on the assumption that they would be able to renew their DACA benefits. 24 The Supreme Court has set aside changes in agency policy for failure to consider reliance interests that pale in comparison to the ones at stake here. See, e.g., Encino Motorcars, 136 S. Ct. at 2126 (setting aside the Department of Labor’s interpretation of a statutory exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime-pay requirements, in part because the agency had failed to address “decades of industry reliance” on its prior view that the exemption applied to a particular class of employees). Because DHS failed to even acknowledge how heavily DACA beneficiaries had come to rely on the expectation that they would be able to renew their DACA benefits, its barebones legal interpretation was doubly insufficient and cannot support DACA’s rescission.


Bean Station TN raid of April 5 and aftermath

On April 5, 97 people were arrested and detained in a family-run meatpacking plant in Bean Station, TN. The company is called Southeastern Provision. It was the country’s largest immigration workplace raid since the Postville IA raid in 2008. Ninety-seven persons were arrested and are now facing deportation, and as of April 12, 54 of them were currently detained. Thirty-two were released from custody but remain in removal proceedings. Eleven are being held on state and federal charges. (From the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition)

As of April 12, it was known that 500 to 600 children were absent from school in Morristown, a 30,000 population city, on the Friday that followed the raid. 160 children had parents who were arrested and now possibly face deportation. 108 TN children had parents who are now detained in Louisiana

According to a Washington Post story on April 6, in a federal affidavit, IRS Special Agent Nicholas R. Worsham said the family-run plant is under criminal investigation for allegedly evading taxes, filing false tax returns and hiring immigrants in the country illegally.

He alleged the facility failed to report $8.4 million in wages and to pay at least $2.5 million in payroll taxes for dozens of undocumented workers.

Federal agents began investigating the company months ago after Citizens Bank employees noticed that Southeastern Provision was withdrawing large sums of cash every week — more than $25 million since 2008. Worsham said the plant hired undocumented workers who were paid in cash and subject to harsh conditions, including long hours without overtime and exposure to bleach and other chemicals without protective eyewear.

Also see New Yorker article: “In Morristown, a larger town of thirty thousand people, the raid was catastrophic news. Families’ worst fear had come true: husbands, fathers, wives, mothers—gone. The following day, more than five hundred students were reported absent from area schools, kept home out of a combination of fear, anxiety, and confusion. The raid also set off a whirl of activity, as relatives of those arrested gathered each day at a church in the center of town to meet with advocacy groups and discuss their legal options.”

Southeastern Provision was the third largest employer in Grainger County.

Past large raid in 2018: On January 9, ICE did a sweep of 7-11 stores. ICE said its agents showed up at 98 stores and made 21 arrests, describing the operation as a warning to other companies that may have unauthorized workers on their payroll.

Largest raid since 2000: On May 12, 2008 ICE raided the Agriproccessors plant in Postville, IA, said to be with its 1,000 odd employees the largest kosher meat processing facility in the world. ICE arrested 389 workers for illegal status. This was heralded as the largest ICE raid ever.

How the heart of Silicon Valley compares

The City of Cupertino, California, epitomizes the demographic culture of the Silicon Valley economy. Here how this 59,000 population community compares to the rest of the U.S.

Percent Asian: 64% vs. 5%

Percent foreign-born: 50% vs. 13%

Median household income (2013: $130,000 vs $53,000.

With at least a bachelors degree: 75% vs 29%

Those working in managerial or professional job: 77% vs. 36%

Median house value (2013): over $1 million vs $176,000

Speaking other than English at home: 63% vs. 44% in California and 20% in U.S.

Population 18 to 64: 59% vs 60%

Percentage who moved in one year 15% vs. 11%

Percentage moved from abroad: 3% vs. 0.8% in California and 0.6% in U.S.

Unless otherwise noted, data is from here.

Every day perceptions when immigrants arrive in large numbers

Author Tomas Jimenez conducted 179 interviews in the racially diverse of three Silicon Valley cities. One used to be largely African-American and now is largely Hispanic. The others have had big influxes of South and East Asian immigrants. The author studied the longtime “established” residents’ response to newcomers.

Over time, immigrant-driven diversity “becomes more kaleidoscopic as newcomers assimilate, leading established individuals to recognize diversity within racial groups and to define belonging in nonracial terms.”
There are two markers to closer interpersonal relations: speaking English well and lengthy residence in the neighborhood. Legal status of the immigrant population was also a key factor in the established residents’ perception of immigrants overall.

“There was a resounding chorus across the interview sample that the English language was the cultural nucleus of American identity. While no respondent believed that immigrants should shed their mother tongue, all described speaking English as the behavioral essence of Americanness. And yet they also had difficulty pointing to American cultural displays, aside from speaking English. As a White, male college student from Berryessa reported:

‘Our [American] culture is the absence of culture. They have a distinct culture and every other country has a very distinct culture except us, because we’re a blend of all the cultures…. It definitely helps if [immigrants] speak fluent English with as little accent as possible.’ “

Jiménez concludes: “But if the comments of those interviewed in Silicon Valley are any indication, they also feel a sense of appreciation for the new opportunities and vibrant cultural admixture that emerge from these changes. Over time, and across generations, these shifts will give way to a sense of normal that, in hindsight, will have changed dramatically.”

The source is here.


Snapshot of Dominicans in the United States

The Dominican population in the U.S. was a bare 12,000 in 1960, then grew. It doubled during the 1980s and again in the 1990s. Since then it has grown about 25% decade and now stands at about one million, out of a total 44 million foreign persons. First, second and later generations who cite Dominican roots are about 2.2 million, or about a 2 to 1 ratio with foreign born Dominicans.

Half live in New York, and another 25% in New Jersey or Florida, but Boston is also a big attraction and Dominicans are the largest Hispanic group in the Boston area (larger than Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and other Hispanics). About 6 out of 10 have speak English less than well, compared to about half of all immigrants. About 35% of Dominican adults do not have a high school degree, compared to 29% of all immigrant adults, and 8% of native born Americans.

About one quarter live in poverty. About 112,100 are undocumented – that is, about 10% of all Dominicans and 1% of all undocumented persons. (That compares to about 5.6 million undocumented Mexicans out of about 12 million Mexicans in the U.S.)

Dominicans remit back about $6 billion, which is 8% of the country’s gross domestic product.

This from the Migration Policy Institute.

32% of U.S. Nobel prizes won by immigrants

The Chicago Council says that over the past 50 years, one-quarter of US-based Nobel laureates were foreign born. Immigrants were behind 2% of new high-tech companies founded between 2006 and 2012. And Immigrants with advanced degrees are three times more likely to file patents than their native-born peers.

Another study reports that 32% were foreign born. Per Jon Bruner, of the 314 laureates who won their Nobel prize while working in the U.S., 102 (or 32%) were foreign born, including 15 Germans, 12 Canadians, 10 British, six Russians and six Chinese (twice as many as have received the award while working in China). Compare that to Germany, where just 11 out of 65 Nobel laureates (or 17%) were born outside of Germany (or, while it still existed, Prussia). Or to Japan, which counts no foreigners at all among its nine Nobel laureates. Bruner wrote his analysis in 2011.

Half of H-1B workers in five metro areas


The U.S. government approved more than 859,600 H-1B applications in fiscal 2010-2016, for an average of 122,000 a year. The H-1B visa program is the nation’s largest temporary employment visa program. About 247,900 H-1B visa approvals – 29% of the nation’s total – went to employers in the New York City metro area from fiscal 2010 to 2016. Dallas (74,000 9%), Washington (64,800 8%), Boston (38,300 5%) and San Jose (22,200 3%) were among the top metro areas by this measure. They accounted for 54% of all H-1Bs in 2010-2016.

About half (49%) of H-1B approvals in recent years have gone to foreign workers with an advanced degree (master’s, professional or doctorate) earned either in the U.S. or internationally. In some metro areas, a relatively high share of H-1B workers earned an advanced degree from a U.S. institution. In San Diego, 28% of H-1B approvals went to foreign workers with advanced degrees from a U.S. university or college

Putting these figures into context, there are about 600,000 new STEM college graduates per year in the U.S.

There are about 15 million residents between 25 and 44 years old with at least a college degree.

Project to translate immigration documents into Spanish

An American translator is making available Spanish translations of key immigration documents. Go here for the documents. (The formal submissions must be in English.)

Although hundreds of thousands of Spanish-speaking migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers apply for residence in the United States every year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers virtually none of its required paperwork in Spanish. The goal of the Free Translation of Migration Paperwork (FTrMP) Project is to provide free Spanish translations of as many of these documents as possible. All of the translations have been approved by at least two professional translators (one native English speaker and one native Spanish speaker).

Kevin Gerry Donn is a Spanish / English translator and activist based in Texas. He often collaborates with non-profit organizations, translating documents, and saw that USCIS documents (which are quite important for refugees) are not available in Spanish.