Mexican Border apprehensions high

The Trump Administration is frustrated that illegal border crossing attempts, while much lower than in the 1990 – 2008 period, appear to be higher in 2018 than they have since 2012.

Apprehensions along the Mexican border are thought to reflect the total numbers of persons trying to cross the border illegally. There have been estimates that apprehensions are roughly half of the number of people attempt to cross illegally. Between 2012 and 2015, Border Patrol apprehensions along the Mexican border in October were around 30,000. In 2016, they rose to 40,000, apparently due to attempting to cross before the Trump Administration came to power. They dropped back to the 30,000 level in 2017, but now in October 2018 were about 51,000, the highest since 2012.

Pew Research estimates that There was an average of 386,000 annual arrivals of unauthorized persons for the 2011-16 period, compared with 715,000 for the 2002-07 period. That amounts to a 46% decline. (Source here).

The percentage of apprehensions involving families rather than single adults rose from 3.6% in 2013 to 24.9? in 2017. (Source here).

Another category are inadmissables – persons presenting themselves at legal ports of entry but being denied entry. The October 2018 number was about 7,500, which is consistent with past years.

From here and here.


Surge of foreign students going into employment

The Wall Street Journal reports that Department of Homeland Security records show 433,556 foreign graduates were cleared for temporary jobs in their academic field after finishing school in 2017—the equivalent of roughly half the total population of international students seeking U.S. degrees. Participation in the federal Optional Practical Training program, or OPT as it is known in higher education, allows new graduates to stay and work in the U.S. for one year, and the number of trainees has doubled in the past three years as American businesses struggle to fill more jobs requiring technical expertise.

The program is widely viewed as a steppingstone to coveted H-1B visas, which the government caps at 85,000 for private employers each year. Through OPT, graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics can extend their stays by an additional 24 months, further bolstering its appeal to students and employers. New York University hosted 6,199 OPT students last year, more than any other school tracked over the 2017 calendar year.

Semiconductor giant Intel Corp.hires 1,400 to 1,700 foreign graduates from U.S. masters and doctoral programs every year, according to spokeswoman Stephanie Matthew, virtually all of whom are authorized to work under the OPT program.

Immigration officials earlier this year revised the eligibility requirements for the kinds of jobs student-workers could legally perform, and in August moved to limit how much time students can remain in the country when they aren’t actively taking classes. Ms. Canty declined to comment on the new policy guidance, citing a lawsuit filed by several schools this fall to prevent them from taking effect. “Any changes to our student-visa process would have to go through the federal rule-making process,” she said.
Companies say they are feeling the effects of the heightened scrutiny. A July report from the nonpartisan National Foundation for American Policy found immigration authorities tripled the number of requests for further evidence justifying employers’ petitions for H-1B hires between the third and fourth quarters of fiscal 2017.

Trudeau on Canada’s superior immigration policy


“Canadians are positively inclined toward immigration,” Trudeau said, mentioning the attitudes of Canada’s citizens that allow the country to issue visas to top talent within two weeks and admit 1% of its total population in immigrants each year. It’s an advantage that he says places Canada ahead in the business world despite the United States’ recent lowering of corporate tax rates.

The U.S.’s current annual immigration rate is about 1/3 of one percent – one million a year receive green cards.

From here.

Home Care Workers and Immigration

Over one-quarter of home care workers [interviewed] were born outside the United States. Thirty-two percent report speaking English “not well” or “not at all.” Eighty-six percent are U.S. citizens.

Background: Home care ranks among the top 10 fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. Furthermore, from 2016 to 2026, home care workers are projected to add more jobs than any other single occupation, with over 1 million new jobs anticipated.

Today, over 2.1 million home care workers provide personal assistance and health care support to older adults and people with disabilities in their homes and in community-based settings across the United States. In the past 10 years, the provision of long-term services and support has increasingly shifted from institutional settings, such as nursing homes, to private homes and communities. To meet this changing need, the home care workforce more than doubled in size between 2007 and 2017.

In the years ahead, the rapidly growing population of older adults will drive demand for home care workers even higher. As evidenced by the growing workforce shortage in home care, employers are struggling to recruit and retain sufficient numbers of workers to meet demand. Their struggle is exacerbated by the poor quality of home care jobs. With a median hourly wage of $11.03 and inconsistent work hours, home care workers typically earn $15,100 annually. One in five home care workers lives below the federal poverty line and more than half rely on some form of public assistance.

The jobs are Personal Care Aides, Home Health Aides, and Nursing Assistants.

From U.S. Home Care Workers: Key Facts

Legal grounds for denying entry to US.

This section of immigration law is fascinating. This section may be Trump’s best tool to radically restrict immigration flows without having to consult Congress. His just announced decision to refuse to hear certain asylum petitions, and his impending changes to public charge criteria, arise from this section.

The law is found in Title 8, Chapter 12, Subchapter II, Part II, § 1182.

1.Health issues (communicative disease, insanity, drug abuser)

2. Crime (including criminal convictions, drug trafficking, prostitution, money laundering)

3. Security and related grounds (including overthrow of government, terrorist activity, member of terrorist organization, “proposed activities…potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States”, member of totalitarian organization, current member of Communist party, affiliation with Nazism.

4. Public Charge (“Any alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.”)

5. Labor certification (“(i) In general, Any alien who seeks to enter the United States for the purpose of performing skilled or unskilled labor is inadmissible, unless the Secretary of Labor has determined and certified to the Secretary of State and the Attorney General that— (I) there are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, qualified (or equally qualified in the case of an alien described in clause (ii)) and available at the time of application for a visa and admission to the United States and at the place where the alien is to perform such skilled or unskilled labor, (II) the employment of such alien will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the United States similarly employed.

6. Illegal entrants and immigration violators (including “Any alien who, by fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact, seeks to procure (or has sought to procure or has procured) a visa, other documentation, or admission into the United States or other benefit provided under this chapter is inadmissible.”)

7. Without documentation

8. Ineligible for citizenship (“Any immigrant who is permanently ineligible to citizenship is inadmissible.”)

9. Those previously removed.

10. Miscellaneous (including polygamists)

One employer’s hiring of foreign born workers

At Cummins Inc., headquartered in Columbus, Indiana, 6% of its total U.S. workforce are H-1B (temporary) visa holders, mostly engineers. It also employs 20-40 DACA beneficiaries. Half of near-by Purdue University’s graduate degrees are awarded to foreign students.

From Marya Rose, chief administrative officer of Cummins, says “We need more flexibility in our visa and green card programs so that we can hire and retain the most talented employees where ever we find them.”

From the National Immigration Forum.

Mid terms: pro-diversity voters

On Election Day, a stunning 54 percent of those who voted said immigrants “strengthen our country.” Mr. Trump’s party lost the national popular vote by seven points, but he lost the debate over whether immigrants are a strength or a burden by 20 points. Mr. Trump got more than half of Republicans to believe immigrants were a burden, but three quarters of Democrats and a large majority of independents concluded that America gains from immigration.

For their part, the Democrats embraced their diversity. They supported comprehensive immigration reform and the Dreamers, opposed Mr. Trump’s border wall and opposed the separation of children from their families. They nominated African-American candidates for governor in Georgia and Florida and fought the suppression of minority voters. When it was over, the Democrats got more votes and created a new House majority that is nearly half women, and a third people of color. It also has more LBGTQ members than ever before.

In short, the Republicans lost badly in the House by running as an anti-immigrant party, while the Democrats made major gains as a self-confident multicultural party.’

NY Times column by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg

Why one Syrian refugee wanted to come to the U.S.

An American poet living in Athens, Greece, was helping Syrian refugees as they arrived by boat, on their way to other countries. She met a 26 year old Syrian man who told her he wanted to settle in the United States. “If I go to Germany, I will never be a German. If I go to France, I will never be French. But if I go to America, I will become an American.”

(A.E. Stallings writing in the Hudson Review)

Visa denial rate is up under Trump

In 2018, the D.H.S. turned away 10% of applicants for employment authorization documents compared with 6% in 2016, and it rejected applications for advanced parole — which gives temporary residents the authorization to travel internationally and return — at a clip of 18%, more than doubling the rate in 2016. Even skilled workers are being rejected at higher rates. The denial rate for petitions for temporary foreign workers shot to 23% from 17%. The application for permanent workers saw denials rise to 9% from 6%.

The largest increase in the denial rate for family-sponsored applications, for petitions for fiancés, rose to 21% from 14%.

A new analysis for the Cato Institute has found that the Department of Homeland Security rejected 11.3% of requests, including for work permits, travel documents and status applications, based on family reunification, employment and other grounds, in the first nine months of 2018. This is the highest rate of denial on record and means that by the end of the year, the United States government will have rejected around 620,000 people — about 155,000 more than in 2016.

This increase in denials cannot be credited to an overall rise in applications. In fact, the total number of applications so far this year is 2% lower than in 2016. It could be that the higher denial rate is also discouraging some people from applying at all.

From the NY Times

Migrant Justice Suit against ICE

Federal immigration authorities used a civilian informant to infiltrate meetings of Migrant Justice, which advocates for Vermont’s immigrant farmworkers, the group contended as it filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Wednesday November 14, 2018.

Migrant Justice alleges that group members were targeted and detained as part of a national effort against immigrant rights advocates.

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles has been helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security to engage in an “unlawful, multi-year operation to surveil, harass, arrest and detain” farm worker activists, Migrant Justice said in a statement. Its suit names ICE, DHS and the DMV as defendants.

Documents obtained through public records requests show that the DMV forwarded the plaintiffs’ personal information to ICE when they applied for the state’s driver privilege card, the group asserts. Immigration enforcement officers also engaged in the electronic surveillance of one Migrant Justice member, the suit alleges.

About 40 Migrant Justice members have been arrested in the last two years, and the majority of them have been deported, said Will Lambek, the group’s spokesman. At least 10 of those arrested are believed to have been targeted because of their activism, Lambek said.

The plaintiffs seek a federal injunction to stop the defendants from “targeting, surveilling, infiltrating, spreading misinformation, arresting and detaining Migrant Justice members,” as well as prohibiting DMV employees from sharing information with federal immigration enforcement agencies, according to a statement from Migrant Justice.

From Seven Days