Archive for April, 2018

Pervasive slowing of legal immigration

Friday, April 6th, 2018

The Migration Policy Institute, Pew Research and others note ways that legal immigration is declining.

Suspending and Reducing Refugee Admissions.

The U.S. admitted 84,995 refugees in fiscal 2016. A 110,000 ceiling was set by Obama. Trump almost immediately lowered the ceiling to 50,000, and then to 45,000. Since June 2017 monthly refugee admissions have most been under 2,000. This implies an annual volume of under 2,5000.

Slowing Family Immigration

In fiscal 2016, 804,793 people received family-based U.S. lawful permanent residence. Per the MPI, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services processed 54% of immediate relative petitions in FY 2017, compared to about 67% in FY 2016. Non-immediate relative immigration processing was already low in FY 2016, with roughly 22% of applications adjudicated, but fell even further to 9% in FY 2017. Backlogs for non-immediate relatives increased. It seems likely that USCIS is delaying adjudication of non-immediate relative petitions because of lengthy visa availability backlogs in these categories.

Excluding Public Charges

Per the MPI, the administration has yet to officially unveil an expected policy designed to keep people at risk of becoming public charges out of the country. However, changes seem imminent. Two leaked draft documents—an executive order and a proposed regulation—outline substantive revisions. The policy could effectively reduce green-card grants for low-income individuals and make permanent residents more vulnerable to deportation.

Extreme vetting

The administration has taken steps to increase the screening of applicants for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, which could have the effect of slowing down admissions. In June 2017, a supplemental questionnaire was rolled out, in which some visa applicants must detail their travel history, residential addresses, and employment information for the past 15 years. In February 2018, the President signed a national security memorandum establishing the National Vetting Enterprise to coordinate and manage the government’s vetting efforts, combining the work of the Departments of Homeland Security, State, and Justice, and the Director of National Intelligence.

Temporary Protected Status

More than 320,000 immigrants from 10 nations have permission to live and work in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), because war, hurricanes or other disasters in their home countries could make it dangerous for them to return. Many are expected to lose their benefits in 2018 and 2019. The Trump administration has said it will not renew the program for people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan, who together account for about 76% of enrolled immigrants.

H-1B (skilled worker) visas

Under the Trump administration, the number of H-1B applications challenged by the federal government has increased. In addition, the administration has considered restricting the number of years foreign workers can hold H-1B visas.

Student visas

The State Department reports a total of 393,573 F-1 visas issued for the fiscal year ending 30 September 2017. This represents a 17% decline from the 471,000 F-1s issued in 2016, and a nearly 39% drop in F-1 visa issuance from the recent-year high in 2015.

As Hispanic population rises, Spanish language use falls

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

In the 1990s, the U.S. Hispanic population grew annual by 5.8%. that annual rate slipped top 4.4% between 2000 and 2007, and to 2.4% between 2007 and 2014. (Go here).

About 40 million persons speak Spanish at home. (This is the large majority of persons speaking other than English at home.) Among immigrant parents, 97% speak Spanish to their children. Among second generation parents, 71% do. Among 3rd or later generations, 49% do. (Go here).

88% say it is important to them that future generations of Hispanics living in the U.S. be able to speak Spanish, with vast majorities holding this view across generations.

What language is dominant?

While 61% of Hispanic immigrants in the U.S. are Spanish dominant (and another 32% are bilingual), the share who are Spanish dominant drops to 6% among second-generation Hispanics and to less than 1% among third or higher generation Hispanics. Meanwhile, the share of Hispanics who are English dominant rises across generations: Just 7% of immigrant Hispanics are English dominant, a share that rises to 75% among third-generation Hispanics.

The U.N. origins for the Temporary Protected Status program

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

On February 22, a class action suit was filed arguing that the federal government could not without permanent residence to certain persons here covered by Temporary Protected Status (TPS). In September 2017, the federal government had withdrawn TPS from 65,000 nationals of Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan.

The United States currently provides TPS to approximately 437,000 foreign nationals from 10 countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. TPS for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone expired in May 2017, but certain Liberians maintain relief under an administrative mechanism.

Per the Congressional Research Service, the United States enacted the TPS program Immigration Act of 1990. An obligation to enact such a program arose from 1967 United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. The protocol specifies that a refugee is a person who is unwilling or unable to return to his/her country of nationality or habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The legal definition of a refugee in the immigration law is consistent with the U.N. Protocol.

TPS protection is available to foreign nationals within the United States who may not meet the legal definition of refugee or asylee but are nonetheless fleeing—or reluctant to return to—potentially dangerous situations.

Census experts argue against inclusion of citizenship question

Sunday, April 1st, 2018

Members of the Census Scientific Advisory Committee said in a statement that the decision to include a question about citizenship was based on “flawed logic,” could threaten the accuracy and confidentiality of the head count and likely would make it more expensive to conduct.

The committee also said it worried about the “implications for attitudes about the Census Bureau,” an allusion to fears that the latest move jeopardized the bureau’s nonpartisan reputation.

The Census Project reports that all living former Census Bureau directors objected to adding a citizenship question. In a recent letter, six former directors — who served under both Republican and Democratic presidents — called adding the question “highly risky.”

Four of these same former Census directors also wrote to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 that asking about citizenship status in the decennial census “would likely exacerbate privacy concerns and lead to inaccurate responses from non-citizens worried about a government record of their immigration status.

The American Statistical Association wrote to Ross in January to “strongly caution” against adding the question.

Trump-Pence reelection campaign is pushing for the addition of question on the 2020 Census that would ask respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

“The President wants the 2020 United States Census to ask people whether or not they are citizens,” states the new fundraising email. “In another era, this would be COMMON SENSE.”