Archive for March, 2020

Why do refugees take such a long time to gain employment?

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

The U.S. and Canada are successes compared with failure in Europe.

Refugees have—with the United States being an exception—substantially lower employment rates than other immigrants for at least the first decade after arrival. Those refugees who do find work also experience much lower wages than other immigrants. This cannot be explained by demographic and educational differences between refugees and other immigrants. It may be explained in part by language deficiencies or physical and mental health problems due to experiences in regions of origin or during migrations.

Dispersal of refugees in the country, to even out the burden, may be harmful. That deprives refugees of access to networks of individuals of similar origin, which are often critical to job finding and social learning.

Why do Canada and the U.S. have better outcomes? For the U.S. possibly because refugees must find work within a few months of arrival. “Keeping the asylum process short, providing early support to address health issues, and facilitating refugees to join the labor market
at the earliest possible stage are of key importance. Such policies reduce skill loss, help to reduce uncertainty about future residence, and improve the effectiveness of human capital investment, thus enhancing incentives to invest.”

Found here.


Germany’s persistent dependence on foreign workers

Sunday, March 8th, 2020

“Among the [German] companies we consulted, 60% currently view the shortage of skilled works as a danger to the development of their businesses. In 2010, only 16% said so,” says a 2019 report on the shortage of workers in Germany.

As the graph shows, the country has been very dependent on foreign workers for the growth in the workforce for some 50 years.

In recent years, about 250,000 workers from other EU countries have been arriving each year. (Not included are workers from outside the EU.) With total employment at 42 million, that is equivalent to the U.S. receiving over 800,000 new workers a year. New workers from immigration in the U.S. today probably are about 600,000 or less. And Germany needs more than a quarter million from outside each year.

The German parliament passed the law on the immigration of skilled workers on 7 June 2019. It enters into force on March 1st 2020 that will bring in only 25,000 skilled workers each year.

From here.

Coronavirus and non-citizen immigrants

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

In 2017, there were 22 million noncitizens residing in the United States, accounting for about 7% of the total U.S. population. Noncitizens include lawfully present and undocumented immigrants.

Their healthcare coverage:

Noncitizens are significantly more likely than citizens to be uninsured. Among the nonelderly population, 23% of lawfully present immigrants and more than four in ten (45%) undocumented immigrants are uninsured compared to less than one in ten (8%) citizens. (go here.)

The stricter public charge rule, which went into effect on February, well cause many of these people to withdraw from Medicaid and other financial and health assistance program. (go here).

Paid sick leave coverage:

There is no survey on which non-citizen immigrants enjoy paid sick leave. However, many of these persons (including in all likelihood most undocumented workers – 8 million) are low wage earners, and 47% of the lowest quarter of workers in wage earnings have paid sick leave compared to 90% of the top quarter (private sector).  More info on paid sick leave issues is here.

Sanders’ ambivalence on immigration

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

Bernie Sander’s position on immigration reflects a deep skepticism about globalization. He has taken positions to support the legal and economic protections of low wage immigrants, is squarely in favor of granting unauthorized workers citizenship status “within five years,” and supporting family reunification-related immigration But (per his website) he takes no position on immigration of skilled workers and guest worker programs. And he opposed NAFTA, which led to more integration of the Mexican and American economies including their workforces.

If president, I expect that he will attempt to reverse all of Trump’s executive orders but also take the position that immigrants take jobs from Americans.

His historical record on immigration reflects the ambiguous position of Democrats on immigration. Unions until the 2000s often were opposed to immigration that appeared to compete with Americans for jobs. Democrats became increasingly more supportive of immigration. After 2010, Democrat turned. much more positive than Republicans about immigration (prior post here).

He voted against 2007 immigration bill, even though it promised legal status for unauthorized immigrants. The failure of passage resulted in the almost complete breakdown in bipartisan approach to immigration and to the extensive use of executive orders by Obama and then Trump to make immigration reform without Congressional approval. His vote supports the notion that Sander is not one to work toward compromise on difficult issues.

The bill was the last serious effort for some kind of comprehensive immigration reform, and compromise between the goal of normalization of status and enforcement. Supporters included Senator Kennedy and the senate Dem and Rep leadership. (An analysis of the bill is here.)

Vox writes that “Sanders broke with prominent Democrats to oppose a key comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2007 that would have provided a path to citizenship for millions of unauthorized immigrants living in the US. He opposed measures to increase the number of guest workers and offer green cards to citizens of countries with low levels of immigration. And he once voted for an amendment supporting a group of vigilantes that sought to take immigration enforcement into their own hands along the border (though he has since disavowed the group.)”

Update on severe restrictions on asylum processing at Mexican border

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

The Trump administration has severely restricted asylum entries through the Mexican border. There are many initiatives. I’ve identified five of them here with their current legal status as of February 28.

The broader context: For El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala., total asylum cases averaged around 2,500 a year for many years until the shot up starting in the mid 2010s and reached around 30,000 in 2019. (This is counting by fiscal year of the decision of an immigration court, likely in Houston or San Diego). Very few had come from Mexico but even those surged up. These four countries over the past 20 years have accounted for about 25% of total asylum decisions, compared to about 19% from China. But China’s volume has been pretty stable.

This started before Trump. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reported that more individuals from the Northern Triangle region sought affirmative asylum in the United States between 2013 to 2015 than in the previous 15 years combined, and the volume has since gone up much more. (from here.)

The Wall Street Journal summarizes the administration’s action in four prongs listed below (I added a fifth):

Third-Country Ban (“Asylum Ban 2.0”): Migrants who cross through another country en route to the U.S. without applying for asylum in that nation aren’t eligible for U.S. asylum, essentially making all border crossers other than Mexican nationals ineligible.  This policy was implemented in July, 2019.  Status: in September, 2019, the Supreme Court upheld this policy.

Remain in Mexico: In 2019, the administration sent more than 61,000 migrants back across the border, where they are required to live in dangerous Mexican border cities as they await U.S. court dates. Status:  on February 28 a federal appeals court temporarily blocked this provision, which the administration began to implement in November, 2019.

Safe Third-Country Agreements: About 1,000 asylum seekers from Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the U.S. border have been flown to Guatemala, where they were told to apply for asylum. The administration signed “safe third-country” agreements with these three nations to accept asylum seekers from elsewhere. Status: The first arrangement was made in July 2019 (Guatemala) and began transporting persons in November, 2019.

Prompt Asylum Claim Review: The administration funnels other asylum seekers into this program, under which they are held and given just days to make their claim, a time frame that lawyers say makes it hard to mount a successful case. Status: this policy, called PACR, was initiated in October, 2019.

Crossing illegally bars asylum status: the administration began to implement this in 2019. Status: In August a federal court ruled this to be illegal.

Extensive details on these and other Mexican border measures are here