Hispanic purchasing and voting power

In some states, Hispanics account for a large percentage of spending power and tax revenues overall. In both Texas and California, Hispanic households had more than $125 billion in after-tax income in 2015, accounting for more than one of every five dollars available to spend in each state that year. In Nevada, a state with a rapidly growing Hispanic population, their earnings after taxes accounted for more than one-sixth of the spending power in the state. In Arizona and Florida, Hispanics contributed almost one out of every six dollars in total tax revenues in 2015.

Hispanic Americans who only recently gained eligibility to vote could be a big factor in the 2020 election. Between 2015 and 2020, a projected 5.7 million Hispanics will gain eligibility to vote for the first time, most by turning 18 and aging into the electorate. In six states carried by Republicans in 2016, including Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, the estimated population of newly eligible Hispanic voters will exceed Donald Trump’s 2016 margin of victory. In Michigan, a state Trump carried by 10,704 votes, almost 46,300 Hispanic Americans will gain eligibility by 2020.

From here.


Labor law violations and low wage immigrant workers

A groundbreaking study of low-wage occupations in three metropolitan cities found that almost 26% of workers failed to receive the legally required minimum wage…and of those eligible for overtime, a whopping 75% did not receive the pay they were entitled to. Many of the industries most prone to violations such as wage theft and unpaid overtime are also industries that are most heavily populated by immigrant workers. Indeed, as of eight years ago, over half of all workers born in Mexico and Central America were employed in seven notoriously low-wage, high-violation industries: construction, restaurants, retail, landscaping, agriculture, food manufacturing, and building services…

A 2013 study found that 41% of Latino immigrants working in the agriculture, construction, hospitality, and poultry processing industries in Nashville, Charlotte, New Orleans, southern Georgia and several towns and cities in northern Alabama had experienced wage theft.

Expanding the scope of immigration reform to include labor standards enforcement is fundamental to ensuring that the rights of immigrants are upheld and all workers, immigrants or otherwise, stand on equal footing not just with each other, but with their employers as well.

From Janice Fine and Gregory Lyon, Segmentation and the Role of Labor Standards Enforcement in Immigration Reform, Journal on Migration and Human Security, 2017

A much higher estimate of undocumented persons in U.S.

A team of Yale researchers say that the number of undocumented persons in the U.S. is probably about 22 million for 2015, close to double the conventional estimate of 11.3 million.  They offer a conservative estimate of 16.2 million, an average estimate of 22.1 million, and a high estimate of 29.5 million.

The conventional estimate draws from annual surveys of the American public, to find an estimate of total foreign born. It then subtracts the formal number of foreign born persons here legally, to get to a residual number of 11.3 million. In contrast, the Yale researchers built a model of illegal immigration flows, from visa over stays and from Mexican border crossings, and then subtracted estimates of voluntary outflows and deaths.  They suggest that the conventional method is flawed because of the annual population survey: “It is plausible that undocumented immigrants are more difficult to locate (and survey) than other foreign-born residents of the United States, and if contacted, undocumented immigrants might misreport their country of origin, citizenship, and/or number of household residents fearing the possible consequences of revealing their true status.”

Where are these additional people? What do they do? The Yale study implied that there roughly 7 million more undocumented workers in the U.S. than is conventionally estimated (about 8 million).

Some details

They arrive at this higher estimate by, first, agreeing to start with the conventional estimate of 3.5 million persons in 1990.

They then estimate visa over stayers, benchmarking from the first official estimate of visa over stayers, done in 2016. Next, they estimate that from 1990 through 2004, the Mexican border apprehension rate was first very low, about 20%, then came to 39% — in other words, in 2004 61% of attempted illegal crossings were successful. They agree that apprehension rates have since increased

They estimate that 40% of visa over stayers leave within one year, and that further voluntary emigration in later years drops eventually to 1%. Their estimates for border crosser returnees is about the same.   They use a mortality rate of 0.7% for undocumented persons in the U.S.

They ran one million simulations of these kinds of estimates to arrive at their conclusions.

Immigrants in the military

Since Sept. 11, 2001, over 109,250 members of the Armed Forces have attained their citizenship by serving in the military. Today, about 5,000 legal permanent resident aliens (green card holders) enlist each year, eligible for citizenship after a year in the military.   The recent uproar has been about enrollees in a special program started in 2008 to recruit medical and language specialists.

As reported by National Immigrant Forum: “Earlier this summer the U.S. Army forcibly discharged over one hundred immigrant enlistees. The Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program (MAVNI) promised highly-skilled immigrants an expedient path to citizenship in exchange for their service in the army. As of this week, over 30 recruits have been reinstated into the program, signaling an improving situation. However, more information recently came to light about why immigrant recruits were targeted for removal – recruits were reportedly red-flagged as a security risk for a variety of mundane activities, such as placing calls to their parents abroad and playing video games with noncitizens.”


Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) began in 2008 as a pilot program. 10,000 troops have signed up to serve through MAVNI since 2008. New entrants have been suspended since 2016, leaving about 1,000 persons in still under review.

The program is restricted to healthcare professionals or experts in certain key languages with associated cultural backgrounds. Around 30% of MAVNI recruits were assigned to Special Operations units due to their language abilities, (go here).

MAVNI program applicants must be in a legal immigration status, with a valid temporary visa. The applicant must have been in valid status for at least two years prior to the enlistment date.

For a Defense Dept. fact sheet go here. It says that non-citizens have served in the military since the Revolutionary War. The Lodge Act of 1950 permitted non-citizen Eastern Europeans to enlist between 1950 and 1959. The United States officially began recruiting Filipino nationals into the Navy in the late 1940s.


Trump interior enforcement summarized

The fortunes of an unauthorized immigrant are quite different in Texas, Tennessee and Georgia with the mere act of driving can result in an arrest and deportation, then in California, Chicago and New York where immigrants can be arrested for a variety of crimes and still not be taken into ICE custody.

This from a Migration Policy report, including the following:

The machinery of interior enforcement that had been dialed down during the final Obama years has been revved up by the Trump administration. ICE officers say that widening enforcement and ending prosecution discretion requirements have given ICE the leeway necessary to properly do which job.

The vast majority of arrests and removals (over 70%) arise from arresting persons who are already in local custody, under the 287(g) program. These actions are increasing significantly in cooperating jurisdictions, while the share of deportations due to criminal convictions is declining.

The most important constraint on increasing arrests lies in the limits of ICE cooperation imposed by growing numbers of states and localities that have large foreign-born populations. Transfer of arrested persons to ICE are below historic peaks due to lack of cooperation, for instance by law enforcement in California.

The character and unpredictability of ICE enforcement have generated an overarching climate of fear which is itself serving as an enforcement tool.

Networks of community based actors are responding and successfully providing legal services, know-your-rights, counselling, monitoring, rapid response assistance, and political advocacy in the opposition to iCE enforcement

The New American Workforce Project

New American Workforce seeks to work with businesses to assist their eligible immigrant employees with the citizenship process so they become more valuable workers and full participants in the workplace, community, and economy.

Los Angeles, CA: nearly 1.5 million; NYC area, NY: nearly 1.5 million; San Jose area, CA: 536,000; Miami area, FL: 483,000; D.C. metro area: 286,000; Houston, TX: 262,000; San Diego, CA: 204,000; Detroit, MI: 98,000

New American Workforce facilitates citizenship assistance through a two-step process. This is offered on the worksite and often during employee breaks or before/after work hours. Information Workshops – Experienced immigration professionals provide an introduction to the citizenship process; including eligibility requirements, benefits of citizenship and group Q&A.

Application Workshops – Employees receive one-on-one assistance to further determine eligibility and complete the application. Civics Instruction – In order to pass the naturalization test, immigrants must possess a basic knowledge of U.S. history and proficiency in English. Group and one-on-one tutorials are provided as an optional follow up.

New American Workforce is funded by many generous foundations, corporations and individuals. The National Immigration Forum is the organizer and manager – acting as the go-between with local and national businesses and regional community agencies that provide citizenship facilitation. The Forum identifies regional service providers equipped to offer citizenship training and works with businesses to coordinate the training with the service providers. The Forum ensures the quality and effectiveness of training.

The National Immigration Forum is the leading non-profit organization advocating for the value of immigrants and immigration in our country.

Young Latinos in the US today

With a median age of 28, Latinos are also the nation’s youngest major racial or ethnic group.

Rapid growth of youth: The population of the youngest Latinos, those under 18 years old, grew by 22% from 2006 to 2016, a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data finds. This growth helped keep the nation’s youth population steady at about 73 million over the past decade. During this time, the under-18 population of whites and blacks declined by 11% and 7%, respectively.

Intermarriage up: Among young adults, more than half (58%) of third generation or higher Hispanics are married to someone who is not Hispanic, compared with 36% of the second generation and just 5% of immigrants.

English language assimilation: Similar shares of young Hispanic adults are either English dominant (41%) or bilingual (40%), while 19% are Spanish dominant. By contrast, among Hispanics ages 36 and older, a lower share is English dominant (24%), with higher shares rating themselves bilingual (32%) and Spanish dominant (44%).

From Pew Research

Rich countries need to improve immigration policies

The Economist says, “Migrants can make the world more prosperous, but voters need convincing…. The influx should be orderly and legal as well as humanely handled. Migrants should be encouraged to work. They should be helped to fit in. And they should be seen to pay their way.

America’s flexible labour market makes it easy for migrants to find entry-level jobs, and its meagre welfare state means they have to. The unemployment rate for immigrants is 4% compared with 16% in Sweden, where benefits are fatter and unions have negotiated industry-wide pay scales that price unskilled migrants out of jobs (see chart 2). The National Academies of Sciences found that even immigrants who drop out of high school are net contributors to the public purse if they arrive in America before the age of 25

Cultural assimilation is startlingly quick in America. Fully 60% of foreign-born Latinos speak mostly Spanish, but by the next generation this has fallen to 6%, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Some 15% of newlywed foreign-born Hispanics in 2015 were hitched to non-Hispanics; among US-born Hispanics it was a whopping 39%. For Asians the figures were 24% and 46%.

And elsewhere…..

Nearly every rich country has an ageing population and a shortage of workers to care for them. Yet surprisingly little effort has been made to train foreign workers to meet this demand. The German government, anticipating a huge shortfall of geriatric nurses, is training young Vietnamese in Hanoi in both nursing and the German language. But such examples are rare.

Raffy Fermin moved from the Philippines to the United Arab Emirates to fix cars. Locals love flashy vehicles, but would not be seen dead under one. So Porsche, a German firm, sponsors a school in Manila that teaches young Filipinos how to service its machines. When they qualify, Porsche offers them jobs in the Gulf.

The Economist August 25 2018

What the New Testament says about the undocumented

Letter to James:

1 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism…. 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor….

8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[ Lev. 19:18] you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

From here


A vision for immigration: think multigenerational.

Reihan Salam, born in Brooklyn of a Bangladeshi mother, says in the Wall Street Journal that “…we need to recognize that the immigration debate isn’t really about immigrants. In truth, it’s about the children of immigrants.

Think about it. If the United States were to open its borders to willing workers from around the world who could guarantee that they’d never raise children on American soil, their long-term political and cultural impact on American society would fade away after a single generation. Without children, immigrant-headed households wouldn’t be in a position to transform our public schools, and their ability, or inability, to provide for their youngest and most vulnerable members wouldn’t have a lasting impact on America’s productive potential. Under these circumstances, it’s a safe bet that the debate around immigrants and immigration would mostly fade away.

The key to averting a civil war over immigration is for the U.S. to do everything in its power to make sure that the children of natives and the children of immigrants alike are incorporated into a common national identity and, just as importantly, that they’re in a position to lead healthy and productive lives as adults. We need, in short, to make America a middle-class melting pot.

The melting pot ideal fell from favor decades ago, mostly because the melting pot of old was, if we’re being honest, a whites-only affair. That is why we need a more expansive melting pot ideal, one that includes the descendants of slaves and of newcomers from around the world. As the author Michael Lind, who has championed this ideal for decades, has argued, the melting pot stands for “the voluntary blending of previously distinct groups into a new community”—a “great American mix” that draws on dozens of ethnicities and religious traditions.”