Global explosion in refugees

Axios shines a light on the growth of the refugee population since the 1970s. It writes: Since the 1990s, the sources of the greatest number of refugees are Syria (internal conflict and ISIS); Afghanistan (one of the largest, longest-lasting refugee crises); South Sudan (millions of South Sudanese fled elsewhere as a civil war rages); Myanmar (the Rohingya minority); and Somalia (natural disasters and 25 years of conflict).

The article does not mention persons who have fled El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Axois’ data from UNCHR – the UN’s refugee agency.


Farmers desperate for guest workers


“For us, there is no non-H-2A labor,” said Dennis Brawdy, partner with Amos Zittel and Sons in Erie County, New York, which employs 72 workers this year. “Three to five years ago, we were 100% non-H-2A because there was an adequate amount of workers around,” Mr. Brawdy said of the vegetable-growing and greenhouse operation.

As the U.S. has tightened border security in recent years, many agricultural companies that had relied on illegal immigrant laborers are turning to H-2A visas. More than 196,000 H-2A visas were granted in 2018, compared to about 89,200 in 2014, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

But getting H-2A workers is expensive. Farmers incur additional costs such as transportation, food and legal aid to bring them into the country, as well as guaranteeing them at least 75% of their pay. And once those workers arrive, the farmers also must provide housing and other amenities, unlike non-H-2A labor.

In addition, H-2A workers in New York are paid $13.25 per hour, more than the current minimum wage rates for areas outside of New York City, according to the Labor Department.

It costs farmers an average of about $1,000 per H-2A worker—just to get them to the farm, said Dulce Demay, of Demay Labor, which helps match potential workers with farmers, including apple farms. She has helped 40-plus New York farms switch to the H-2A program over the last couple of years, mostly hiring workers from Mexico, she said.

From the Wall Street Journal

Data from the WSJ and the Economic Policy Institute

More Hispanic and Asian men work

Hispanic men have for decades had a higher labor force participation rate (percentage employed or looking for work) than have white men. Asian men used to have a lower rate in the 1990s but now have a higher participation rate than white men. Since the 1990s, the spread between these rates for Hispanic men and those of white men have increased, from roughly 4% to 8%. The Federal government projects that the gap will increase into the 2020s.(Go here).

The Wall Street Journal says that Labor participation among Hispanic immigrants with a high-school degree (72.2%) is nearly 20 points higher than similarly educated native whites (53.8%) and about equal to those with bachelor’s degrees (72.7%).


E Verify: a few facts 2006 -2018

E-Verify is a federally designed and managed system which employers use to check if a job applicant is authorized to work in the U.S. It checks for whether the social security number is valid and does a few other checks (thus it can be fooled by a borrowed SS number).

Starting around 2007, federal contractors and, later, employers in several states were required to use the system. Otherwise, employers such as Trump properties use it voluntarily. The ACLU and other oppose its use. Criticisms are made that it is mis-designed and ineffective. Here I present some basic facts about its use.

The first graph shows, 2006 – 2018, the number of e-Verify checks in each year, the estimated number of unauthorized workers in the country, and the number of times when e-Verify made a final confirmation that the person was not authorized to work – was rejected –and presumably was not hired.

The second graph shows rejections as a percentage of the estimated size of the unauthorized workforce. This percentage is very small – just over 4% in 2018.

Data from here.


Mixed feelings in Canada about immigration

76% of Canadians say that immigration is good for their economy, but other than that they have mixed feeling. (The survey results below do not include no opinion/did not answer.) As many agree as disagree that admitted refugees are not really refugees. Many think that Canadian values are not being adopted. And more say that immigrants are straining the welfare system as say they do not.





The survey is here.


Who voted in 2018?

The mid-term 2018 voter population was more educated and racially diverse than those of earlier midterms. See the tables below.

Census Bureau’s estimates show that the 2018 turnout—at 53.4 percent—was the highest in midterm elections since it started collecting voter turnout numbers (voters per 100 citizens) in 1978; and for the first time since 1982, it rose above 50 percent.

All major racial/ethnic groups turned up at the polls in higher numbers, but the biggest gains accrued to Democratic-leaning Hispanics and Asian Americans—up 13 percent since 2014.

the CPS turnout data reveal that 18 to 29-year-olds of each major racial group showed substantially higher turnout in 2018 than four years prior—more than doubling for young Hispanics and Asian Americans and nearly doubling for young white citizens.

It was also younger. Turnout rates among groups are becoming more equal (see table).

Due to the higher turnout of 18 to 29-year-olds and 30 to 44-year-olds, the under-age 45 population rose to 35.4 percent of voters in 2018, up from just 30.3 percent in 2014. Most notably, those ages 65 and above made up a slightly smaller share of voters, 27.1 percent in 2018, despite the continued entry of the large baby boom generation into this age group.

From here.

Compare Canada’s plans for immigration vs the U.S.

Canada will take in 40,000 more immigrants in 2021 than it planned for 2018. immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen (a lawyer with (Somali origin) said in December, 2018. The target for new arrivals in Canada will rise to 350,000, which is nearly 1% of the country’s population. The equivalent for the U.S. would be about three million new immigrants a year, three times current levels.

The vast majority of Canadian immigrants come under economic programs designed to address skills shortages and gaps in the labor market.

Canada also plans to increase the number of refugees it will accept from 43,000 in 2018 to reach 51,700 by 2021. The equivalent for the U.S. would be about 500,000 refugees. Trump is seeking to cap refugee settlement at 50,000 a year.

From here.

Massive increases in global remittance flows

Remittances to low- and middle-income countries reached a record high in 2018 of $529 billion, up 9.6% from 2017, according to the World Bank. They are expected to reach $550 billion in 2019, making them higher than all foreign aid. Remittances can be equal to one fifth of country’s gross domestic product.

The global average cost of sending $200 is around 7%. New internet money transfer systems could greatly reduce these costs.

About 80% of the remittances from the United States (total outflow $68B) goes to Mexico and Central America. Total inflow of remittances (from all countries) to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador rose 70% between 2010 and 2018 ($55.4B).

For analysis go here and for data for here.

What the U.S. – Mexico agreement says

I am posting the language of the agreement between Mexico and the United States. This is a vindication to Trump of his confrontational tactics. It is particularly noteworthy because it involved an emerging country over which the U.S. has wielded power for 150 years. There are precedents that took place before World War 1, when Germany shoved its military into disputes in north and northwest Africa.

The joint statement by the United States and Mexico released by the State Department on Friday night:

“The United States and Mexico met this week to address the shared challenges of irregular migration, to include the entry of migrants into the United States in violation of U.S. law. Given the dramatic increase in migrants moving from Central America through Mexico to the United States, both countries recognize the vital importance of rapidly resolving the humanitarian emergency and security situation. The Governments of the United States and Mexico will work together to immediately implement a durable solution.

“As a result of these discussions, the United States and Mexico commit to:

Mexican Enforcement Surge

“Mexico will take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border. Mexico is also taking decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks. Additionally, the United States and Mexico commit to strengthen bilateral cooperation, including information sharing and coordinated actions to better protect and secure our common border.

Migrant Protection Protocols

“The United States will immediately expand the implementation of the existing Migrant Protection Protocols across its entire Southern Border. This means that those crossing the U.S. Southern Border to seek asylum will be rapidly returned to Mexico where they may await the adjudication of their asylum claims.

“In response, Mexico will authorize the entrance of all of those individuals for humanitarian reasons, in compliance with its international obligations, while they await the adjudication of their asylum claims. Mexico will also offer jobs, health care and education according to its principles.

“The United States commits to work to accelerate the adjudication of asylum claims and to conclude removal proceedings as expeditiously as possible.

Further Actions

“Both parties also agree that, in the event the measures adopted do not have the expected results, they will take further actions. Therefore, the United States and Mexico will continue their discussions on the terms of additional understandings to address irregular migrant flows and asylum issues, to be completed and announced within 90 days, if necessary.”

poorly educated workers sort into different jobs by origin

If  you are concerned about demographic isolation and low mobility of low wage immigrants, look here. Among those in the American workforce with low formal education, you find that immigrant and native-born workers are sorted into different jobs. On the whole, immigrants without a high school degree fill jobs that are relatively (1) not customer facing, hence do not demand high English proficiency and American cultural know-how, and (2) more dangerous. I suspect also lower mobility potential.

I looked at 20 jobs that do not require a high school degree, totalling 31 million jobs (2014 data). Five were jobs requiring a lot of communication and imposed little or no injury risk, such bar tending, waitress and cashier. 15% of these jobs were filled by immigrants. Compare that with 15 jobs requiring limited communication and generally higher injury risk, such as construction laborers, cooks, and inventory workers. Immigrants filled 30% of these jobs. Nationwide, 17% of jobs are filled by immigrants.

One job does not fit in: personal aide jobs have high communication demands, but 24% are filled by immigrants. A large percentage of immigrant direct care workers emigrate from two English speaking areas: the Philippines and Jamaica (go here).

A poorly educated immigrant worker tends to take a job which has double the injury risk of that of poorly educated native born worker.