Archive for February, 2019

Texas’ fantasy about non-citizens voting

Friday, February 8th, 2019

Voter fraud is vanishingly  rare. One strategy used by anti-immigration advocates is to count the apparent number of persons who (1) declare themselves non-citizens on their driving licenses and who (2) are listed on voter rolls. I discussed this attempt in Virginia.

The Texas Secretary of State says that some 58,000 matches have voted at least once. That is almost certainly a large over-count of the actual matches. The vast majority of the remaining accurate matches is almost certainly due to non-controversial lags in updating of records.

There are 1.8 million naturalized citizens and 3 million non-citizens in Texas. Driver’s licenses in Texas are issued for five years. Over the course of five years, hundreds of thousands of non-citizens in Texas were likely naturalized. They are not required to update their citizen status except on renewal.

In Virginia, with an adult population of 6.4 million, at most 2,145 persons who were non-citizens voted. That estimate is before you take into account lags in updating records.

Attempts in Florida and Colorado to purge non-citizens turned out to be inconsequential.

So here is the situation in Texas, where there are 3 million non-citizen foreign-born persons and 1.8 million naturalized immigrants. Exact data is not available, but it appears that over the course of a year, some 50-75,000 non-citizens in Texas become naturalized, or perhaps 250,000 or more over five years.

The Texas Secretary of State issued on January 25 an advisory to local election boards about mis-matches between the citizenship status on a person’s driving license and voter registration. The Secretary of State found many voter registrations with identifying information consistent with the person being listed on driver license records as being a non-citizen.

The Secretary of State said in a press release that “95,000 individuals identified by DPS as non-U.S. citizens have a matching voter registration record in Texas, approximately 58,000 of whom have voted in one or more Texas elections.”

Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty wrote that:” In El Paso County election administrator Lisa Wise saw one of her own staff members named on the list of 4,152 names she received. “We had a naturalization party for her” when the staffer became a citizen in 2017, Wise told the Texas Tribune. “She had gone and gotten her driver’s license, I think, four years ago.”

The 95,000 matches found by the Secretary of State likely includes some records for which there is in fact no match. For the accurate matches, the overwhelming explanation is that, was non-citizens became naturalized, they failed to change their citizenship status on their driver’s license, which they could have obtain a decade or longer ago.

There are 18.5 million people living in Texas 18 years or older. Using Virginia as a benchmark, there may be 10,000 on-citizens in Texas who have voted, and that estimate is likely highly inflated due to reporting lags.

The Government Accountability Office analyzes physical border security

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Homeland Security, as of last summer, had not performed an analysis of the effectiveness of border fencing and infrastructure, according to a GAO report issued in July, 2018:

“Customs and Border Protection spent approximately $2.3 billion between fiscal years 2007 and 2015 to deploy physical barriers along the nearly 2,000-mile southwest border and, as of March 2018, maintained 654 miles of primary pedestrian and vehicular barriers.

In September 2009, we found that CBP had not assessed the impact of tactical infrastructure—fencing, gates, roads, bridges, lighting, and drainage infrastructure—on border security operations or mission goals. Specifically, we found that CBP had not accounted for the impact of its investment in border fencing and infrastructure on border security. We recommended that CBP conduct an evaluation of the impact of tactical infrastructure on effective control of the border. In February 2017, we found that CBP had not developed metrics that systematically used the data it collected to assess the contributions of border fencing to its mission.”

The GAO report details a succession of Congressional mandates for border security, going back to 1996 (Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996, REAL ID Act of 2005, the Secure Fence Act of 2006, The DHS Appropriations Act of 2008.

“To address these requirements, from fiscal year 2005 through fiscal year 2015, CBP increased the total miles of primary barriers on the southwest border from 119 miles to 654 miles—including 354 miles of primary pedestrian barriers and 300 miles of primary vehicle barriers. CBP used various designs to construct the existing 654 miles of primary fencing. “

Immigrant dairy workers have higher rates of work injuries

Monday, February 4th, 2019

Researchers interviewed immigrant dairy workers in Colorado. 29% had sustained at least one work injury in the past year (official government average for diary workers is 6%). About 60% were caused by cows. A third did not tell their supervisor. Only 20% received medical care. One third had not received any safety training. Half had not told their doctor that they worked at a dairy farm.

Background: Studies of work injuries worldwide show a consistent pattern of higher occupational morbidity and mortality among immigrant workers.

A study of occupational fatalities of Hispanic construction workers in the U.S. from 1992 to 2000 found that Hispanics constituted 15% of construction workers in 2000 but suffered 23.5% of fatal construction injuries.

Global data on immigration and occupational injury are limited but tend to confirm the findings from U.S. studies. An Australian study of occupational fatalities found increased rates among foreign-born workers within 5 years of immigration.

Many investigators have speculated on the causes of increased occupational fatalities among immigrant workers. Common explanations include the assignment of more hazardous tasks to immigrant workers, failure of employers to invest in safety training and equipment, greater
risk-taking by immigrant workers, and failure to complain about unsafe conditions by workers who may have precarious job status.

(Dairy information from Lauren Mengre-Ogle et al, Occupational safety and health of foreign born Latinx dairy workers in Colorado. American Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine January 2019. Background information from Marc Shenker, A global perspective of migration and occupational Health. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 2010)

U.S. remittances to countries heavily influenced by income of immigrants in U.S.

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

When you look at which countries are receiving the largest sums of remittances from the U.S., it becomes clear that the flows are heavily influenced by not only the size of the immigrant population in the U.S. but also by their income level. Let’s examine this by using the number of first generation immigrants.

For example, in 2017 U.S. remittances to Mexico were about $30B. there are about 18 million first generation Hispanics in the U.S, roughly two thirds of whom are Mexican, or 12 million. This comes to the equivalent of about $2,500 per immigrant. Virtually all of remittances to Mexico come from the U.S. ($30B is equivalent to 3% of the country’s GDP.)

In 2017 about $6.1B was remitted to Nigeria, about 28% of all remittance income in that country. There are not more than 250,000 first generation Nigerians in the U.S. That comes to an equivalent of $24,000 per first generation immigrant – ten times that of Mexicans. ($6.1B is equivalent to 1.5% of the country’s GDP.)