Archive for September, 2019

What are DACA recipients thinking these days?

Monday, September 30th, 2019

1,105 DACA recipients were surveyed in August/September this year.

First announced on June 15, 2012, 825,000 individuals have obtained official protection under the executive order which the Trump Administration has sought to reverse. Depending on possible revisions and on what criteria one uses, the total number of protected persons could be significantly higher than one million. The Supreme Court will hear arguments about DACA termination on November 12.

The survey results include:

After receiving DACA, 58 percent of respondents moved to a job with better pay. Among respondents 25 years and older, 20% have obtained professional licenses after receiving DACA.

Among respondents 25 years and older, median annual earnings total $44,583. (this compares with median for Hispanics 25 and over, of $726 weekly x 52 = $38,272). (From here.)

46 percent of respondents reported already having a bachelor’s degree or higher. 93 percent said that because of DACA, “[They] pursued educational opportunities that [they] previously could not.

The survey reveals DACA recipients’ deep fears of return and the potential harms that they could face if they lost their protection and were deported. 80 percent reported, “In my country of birth, I would be concerned about the physical safety of myself and my family.”

The average age of arrival to the United States among respondents is just 6.1 years old, and 69 percent reported not having any immediate family members who still live in their respective countries of birth.

Among those with children, 75 percent reported that they think about “being separated from [their] children because of deportation” at least once a day, while 72 percent reported thinking about “not being able to see [their] children grow up because of deportation” at least once a day.

69 percent reported that they think about a family member being detained or deported at least once a day.

Where Brazilians emigrate to

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

Relatively few Brazilians are living in other Latin American countries. The largest population is in Paraguay at 76,000. There are far more Brazilians in Europe than in all other Latin American countries combined. (Date source here.)

64% of Brazilians in the U.S. reside in Florida (80,000), Massachusetts (65,000), California (39,000). New Jersey (29,000) and New York (25,000). (Source here)

In 2017, 42 percent of Brazilian immigrants (ages 25 and older) had at least a four-year college degree, compared to 31 percent of all immigrants and 32 percent of U.S.-born adults. Just 11 percent of Brazilian immigrants had less than a high school diploma, compared to 28 percent of all foreign-born adults and 9 percent of native-born adults.

 

Europe’s future population and migration

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Europe is population-wise flat. By about 2060 it will rise by about 3% before falling back. In the U.S. the population in 2060 will be 25% larger than now. Very few major first world countries have positive growth in both native-born population and in net migration. The U.S. is one of them,

Eurostat projections of population trends in Europe 2015 – 2080 see a scant total increase. Pretty much every country has a major in or out migration trend.

Total population starts in 2015 at 510 million, declining by a negative 57 million for natural means (births – deaths) alone. That is a decline by more than 10%. Net migration is a positive 65 million, resulting in a 2080 total projection of 519 million – basically flat.

Italy is due to decline naturally by 30% and is saved only by a very large in-migration; on net it still declines by 12%.

Germany’s native population is due to decline by 23%. It also expects a very large in-migration ending with a 6% total decline.

The United Kingdom is projected to grow by 26%, and France by 15%, due to positive natural growth and strong in-migration.

Romania and Bulgaria are clobbered by negative natural trends plus significant out-migration.

Compare this with U.S. population projections 2015 – 2060: 20% increase in native born, 60% increase in foreign born, resulting in a 25% increase while over that period Europe grows by less than 3%.

America’s refugee program in danger of total collapse

Friday, September 20th, 2019

Patricia Hatch writes in the Baltimore Sun that “The U.S. refugee resettlement program will live or die depending on the president’s decision on the refugee admissions ceiling for 2020. Reportedly he may set the ceiling at zero, terminating nearly 40 years of this humanitarian program, which has been a lifeline for the persecuted and our nation’s most compelling remaining claim to any moral leadership in the world.

Refugee resettlement, like all human services, happens at the local level. Every local organization has a bottom line below which it cannot support staff and operate effectively. The FY 2019 national ceiling of 30,000 refugees (by far the lowest in the program’s history), when distributed to resettlement organizations around the country, was so far below sustainability that dozens of local resettlement organizations had to close.

Scores of other local resettlement offices are barely surviving, praying for a restoration of the program to more traditional levels starting Oct. 1st, so they can continue to assist newly arrived refugees to become self-sufficient, productive members of their new communities. If the ceiling is set at last year’s level or lower, the infrastructure for serving refugees (and SIVs) is very likely to collapse.

In July, many leading evangelicals wrote to the president asking him to reinvigorate the U.S. refugee resettlement program to historic levels. In August, another group of more than 500 faith leaders urged an admissions ceiling of no less than 95,000. A few weeks ago, 172 national, state and local government officials recommended the same. Several dozen businesses in Michigan wrote Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with a similar plea. Last week, many of our most respected retired military generals and admirals wrote the president urging him to resettle 95,000 refugees in the year starting Oct. 1st.”

…….

Author Patricia Hatch retired as program manager of the Maryland Office for Refugees and Asylees. She is the founder of FIRN, a nonprofit that helps foreign-born individuals access community resources and opportunities.

Guatemala, asylum applications, and the safe third country concept

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

What happened?

On July 15, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security issued an interim final rule denying asylum to certain aliens who seek asylum on the southern border of the United States without having sought protection in a third country through which they traveled and where such protection was available. The U.S. District Court for Northern California issued an injunction. On September 11, the Supreme Court lifted the injunction.

What countries have agreed to process asylum applications?

On July 26, President Trump, in the presence of Guatemala’s Interior Minister, announced that Guatemala has agreed to cooperate. Trump also announced by a Twitter post “that took Guatemalan politicians and leaders at immigration advocacy groups by surprise.” Persons attempting to transit Guatemala from El Salvador or Honduras would be affected. The Guatemalan Congress must approve the agreement, which it has yet to. The agreement is here.

Mexico as so far refused to cooperate.

“Safe third country” concept

An article published on August 23, generally challenging the legality of the final rule, interprets the rule as attempting to apply a “little-noticed provision of U.S. law allowing for the transfer of asylum seekers to a third country – 8 U.S.C. § 1158(a)(2)(A).” A Trump tweet on June 17 said that Guatemala was about to sign a safe third country agreement.

The article goes on: The “safe third country” concept, which first found multilateral expression among European States in the 1990 Convention Applying the Schengen Agreement and subsequent 1990 Dublin Convention, is contested in international law. The concept is said to apply when a person travels through a country where they could have applied for international protection, but either did not apply or sought protection and a determination was not made. The essential premise is that the country in question is capable of providing international protection and is willing to do so (or “is able and willing to provide international protection”).

The author asserts that the administration’s action are not in accordance with the safe country rule, but rather emulated what Australia has done with using Nauru as a holding pen.

The case of Turkey

This is likely the biggest use of the safe third party concept. The European Union pledged more than $6 billion to Turkey. In return, Turkey tightened up its border restrictions, and take back from Greece every migrant who travelled through Turkey and reached Greece. Turkey did cut migration flows to Europe drastically, but only a small proportion of migrants who continued to land in Greece have been sent back.Migrants still have the opportunity to apply for asylum in Greece, or for relocation to other European countries, and many do so successfully. From here.

How anti-immigrant rumors work for Trump

Monday, September 16th, 2019

From the first minutes of his campaign through today Donald Trump and his supporters have started or fanned rumors and conspiracy theories about immigrants – murderers and rapists….M 13…. caravans funded by Soros…. taking our jobs. What does Trump know about how these work? A lot, if you apply Pascal Boyer’s analysis of collective behavior.

Evolutionary anthropologist Pascal Boyer (author of Minds Make Society) presents a model of collective behavior which helps to explain this unending stream of provocations.  Boyer draws upon evidence found in small tribal cultures and advanced states.

Trump understood long ago that a politician can mobilize followers by constantly arousing the deeply embedded human desire for tight, reciprocating ties.  The designating of others as outsiders is part of recruitment and boundary making. Stereotyping and constant threat detection become standard.  To a coalition member, creating or passing along rumors and conspiracy theories does not require you to actually believe in them. We do a lot of things together in earnest without deep belief in their overt explanation.  The member basically wants to experience a fierce re-confirmation of the coalition, not to win a debate.

Trump constantly makes up moral transgressors and their victims.  Moralizing is a form of group enforcement.

Boyer cites two general habits of thinking. One involves what we retain in memory. Most people typically retain in memory receiving and passing on threats (“The lettuce may be carrying a botulism”), even if very improbable, more than receiving and passing on simply negative information (“Often the produce there is not very fresh”).

The second involves popular perceptions about economics: (1) The economy is zero-sum game. (2) The world is full of people who want a free ride. And, (3) bargaining prowess provides a huge advantage.  Trump has been suggesting that free loaders include pretty much the entire immigrant community. The Democratic party encourages free loading. Only he can fix immigration, using his bargaining skills. See him drive hard bargains with Central American countries! Any minute how, another lightning-like tweet will remind us how he is on the job.

This political style of his makes it difficult for Trump to act like a compromiser, or to show compassion,  such as letting Dorian survivors stay for a while. That would confuse his followers. He has no interest in general reform of immigration law, as that will require compromise.

EB-5 program to be drastically revised

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

The Trump administration is revamping the Green Card program for wealthy foreign investors that benefited developers such as Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. A new final rule, effective Nov. 21 will nearly double the minimum amount of cash required to secure an EB-5 investor visa from $500,000 to $900,000 for projects in needy areas. It will also revise the standards for what is considered a blighted or high-unemployment neighborhood, to prevent developers from “gerrymandering” their own boundaries to attract investments for projects located in affluent communities.

The standard investment threshold for projects in non-needy areas will increase from $1 million to $1.8 million. The amount will automatically adjust for inflation every five years. From here.

The EB-5 program was created in 1990 to encourage investment in economically distressed areas. Foreigners only really started using it in 2008, when turmoil in American capital markets caused real estate developers to scramble for other ways to raise money. It now generates more than $5 billion a year, in exchange for nearly 10,000 green cards — a number that is capped by statute. Chinese applicants take up almost all of the 10,000 spots. From here.

 

Immigrant representation in Congress

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

There are 52 immigrants and children of immigrants serving in the House of Representatives and 16 serving in the Senate. Counting both chambers, 57 of the 68 lawmakers who are immigrants or children of immigrants are Democrats. Ten others are Republicans, and one – Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – is an independent.

The following table shows the region of origin. Note the drastic shift from presentation from European countries. (Data from here.)

 

Ukraine’s remittance economy

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Ukraine is Europe’s biggest recipient of remittances in proportion to the size of its economy. More than 11 per cent of Ukraine’s gross domestic product comes from remittances and its 5m-strong workforce abroad last year sent home a record $14.4bn through wire transfers and cash carried across the border.

Between 1m and 2m Ukrainians work in Poland, drawn by a combination of linguistic ties, geographical convenience, higher wages and better economic prospects. Salaries are three times higher than back home, and gaps left by young Poles heading to western Europe have caused labour shortages.

The lion’s share of these workers are from Ukraine’s western regions around Lviv, the 1m-strong provincial capital an hour’s drive from Poland where there is a two-decade-long tradition of working both seasonal and long-term jobs across the border, from construction to vegetable picking.

A widespread distrust of local banks means that workers abroad are pouring their cash into other assets, particularly real estate. As a result high-rise apartment complexes are sprouting up around Lviv and property developers say migrant labourers are some of their biggest customers.

From the Financial Times