Archive for December, 2020

Brief introduction to US Immigration system

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

The American Immigration Council has a concise overview of our immigration system. I recommend it.

The short document reflects how complicated and un-directed our system is. For instance, it says that there is a legal maximum of 675,000 green cards issued a year, yet for most years some one million or more green cards have been issued.

The overview does not refer to any planning or assessment function of the system, because no such function exists or is mandated by Congress. Nor does the overview discuss legal enforcement, despite the reality that a quarter of foreign born persons in the country are unauthorized to be here.

The melting of race and ethnic boundaries

Saturday, December 26th, 2020


From the U.S. Census Bureau: “In 2000, the racial/ethnic makeup of US residents was: White, 69 percent; Hispanic and Black, 13 percent each ; and Asian and other, six percent. By 2050, these per centages are projected to be: 50, 24,15, and 13.” 

In 1977, The Census Bureau introduced the ethnic category of Hispanic.In the 2000 census four in ten of those who identified as Hispanic or Latino on the ethnicity question rejected all the racial categories or referred to “some other race.” This meant that 6% of the population placed themselves in ethnic or racial limbo.

2010 12% of young people called themselves multiracial. By 2050, 10% of whites and blacks and more than 50% of Latinos, Asians and native American Indians will be married to someone outside the racial group. This suggests that in 2020 25% of households will call itself multiracial.

See Nell Irvin Painter. The History of White People, pages 384-385 and Jennifer L. Hochschild. Racial Trends in the United States, Daedalus, Winter, 2005.


The unauthorized population in America

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020

There are about 10.5 million unauthorized persons in the U.S, making up 23% of all foreign born persons.  Though their share of all unauthorized immigrants is shrinking, given economic and demographic changes in Mexico and strengthened U.S. border enforcement, Mexicans still accounted for 51% of all unauthorized immigrants. Mexico and Central America represented 68 percent of the total, with Asia at 14%, South America at 7% and Europe/Canada/Oceania combined at 6%.

Fifteen percent, or 1.7 million people, held a temporary status or deferral of deportation with work authorization, including DACA beneficiaries (about 900,000), Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and asylum applicants granted employment authorization.

About 1.6 million unauthorized immigrants were married to U.S. citizens and another 675,000 were married to lawful permanent residents (LPRs). At the same time, 4.4 million U.S.-citizen children, or 6% of all children under 18 had at least one unauthorized immigrant parent.

Go here and here.

Effect of COVID on international movement

Sunday, December 20th, 2020

By late April, for the first time in history, every single country had imposed entry restrictions, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Many of those restrictions lasted for weeks or months; dozens were still in place in December. Movement to countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development plunged by 46% over the first six months of the year. International tourism declined by nearly two-thirds over the same period.

The pandemic brought about restrictions at borders that had previously existed mostly on paper, such as within Europe’s Schengen Zone, and between close allies such as the United States and Canada.

Several governments seized on the pandemic to advance longstanding priorities to limit immigration and bolster nationalist agendas. For leaders of countries including the United States, Italy, Hungary, Greece, and Lebanon, the public-health crisis drove the implementation of historic limits on refugee resettlement, pushbacks of asylum seekers at the border, curfews in refugee camps, and the advance of broader anti-migrant rhetoric. Houthi rebels in Yemen allegedly expelled thousands of Ethiopian migrants and sent them to the Saudi border, where they were fired upon. Malaysian authorities raided migrant camps and arrested hundreds. Even while not official policy, the coronavirus outbreak bolstered anti-immigrant narratives in places such as China, while racism against East Asian migrants and their children has been on the rise in the United Kingdom, the United States, and elsewhere.

Go here.

Asian-American votes for President in 2020

Friday, December 18th, 2020

The number of Asian eligible voters rose from 4.6 million in 2000 to 11.1 million in 2020, and from 2.4% to 4.7% of the electorate. This is how they voted for President in November.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund reported that Asian Americans favored Joe Biden over Donald Trump by a margin of 68% to 29%. There was no gender gap between Asian American men and women, with 67% of women and 66% of men voting for Biden and both groups supporting Trump at 31%. Only 35% of Asian-Americans had a favorable view toward Trump.

27% were first-time voters; 73% were not first-time voters. 54% were registered Democrats; 16% were registered Republicans; 27% were not enrolled in a party; and 3% were enrolled in another party. 27% were native-born U.S. citizens; 73% were foreign-born naturalized citizens.

Generally speaking, Asian-Americans who are U.S. born and are English-proficient were more likely to vote for Biden.

Some Asian-American groups were heavily pro-Biden, others voted more for Trump. Almost all Arab voters voted for Biden. Given their high concentration in Michigan, they likely explained the 85% pro Biden vote by Asian-Americans in that state.

Asian Indians voted for Biden by 72% to 26%.

Vietnamese and Cambodians voted Trump over Biden. These voting patterns were not explained; perhaps they are due to a high level of anti-Communist sentiment compared to other Asian-American populations. (Also, Koreans in Georgia voted for Trump over Biden.)

In Georgia, Asian Americans chose Biden by 62% to 36%. In the U.S. Senate races, Asian Americans voted for Democratic candidates over Republicans by a margin of 61% to 34%.

Revisiting crime rates among unauthorized immigrants

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

Scientific American writes, “When Donald Trump announced that he was running for president, one of the first issues he raised in his speech was immigration—specifically, the idea that undocumented immigrants are dangerous. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” he said.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA that draws from a detailed and well-sourced data set reports that between 2012 and 2018, compared with their U.S.-born neighbors, undocumented immigrants in Texas were less than half as likely to be arrested for violent crimes or drug offenses and less than a quarter as likely to be arrested for property crimes.

Until now studies have not been able to link a specific immigration status to the rates for specific types of crimes. The new paper is among the first to do so. The researchers were able to delve into the details after learning that the Texas Department of Public Safety had begun cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security to check and record the immigration status of everyone arrested in the state.


Trump’s latest step to reduce immigration: the asylum system

Sunday, December 13th, 2020

Vox reports that “The Trump administration has pursued a vast regulatory agenda aimed at curbing asylum and other humanitarian protections for migrants arriving on the southern border. As part of a last-minute push, it issued a death blow to the system on December 11 with a sweeping final regulation that would bar huge swaths of asylum seekers from obtaining protection, including those who face persecution on the basis of gender and resistance to gang recruitment, and as victims of criminal coercion. Those targeted by international criminal gangs like MS-13 will therefore likely face a much narrower path to asylum under the rule.”



The Biden administration would have to issue new regulations to rescind any of the regulations Trump has finalized, including likely going through the burdensome process of giving the public notice and the opportunity to comment. It could also try to revise any regulations subject to ongoing litigation through a court settlement.

The Biden administration could also invoke the Congressional Review Act, which allows lawmakers to reverse regulations that were enacted in the last 60 working days of Congress, which extends back to March. However, using the act requires passing a joint resolution in both chambers of Congress, which could be difficult if Democrats don’t have control of the Senate.



If the regulations have yet to go into effect, the Biden administration could also delay their effective date by 60 days and then work to rescind them in the meantime.

Homeland Security defines refugee and asylee as follows: A refugee is a person outside his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. An asylee is a person who meets the definition of refugee and is already present in the United States or is seeking admission at a port of entry. Refugees are required to apply for Lawful Permanent Resident (“green card”) status one year after being admitted, and asylees may apply for green card status one year after their grant of asylum. This definition of refugee is the formal international definition (here).

Labor participation rates and the pandemic

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

The Migration Policy Institute reports on employment rates and the effect of the pandemic. Here are the employment rates of men and women, showing immigrant and U.S. born workers. Note that the decline in employment among immigrant women is much steeper than among U.S. born women, but there is not such a discrepancy among men.


Comments on the lower employment rate of immigrant women (Migration Policy Institute).

In part, the lower employment rate is due to their nature of employment. They are concentrated in several leisure and hospitality occupations (such as waitstaff, maids, and housekeepers) that saw the largest job losses in leisure and hospitality. As a result, immigrant women working in that industry had a higher unemployment rate in September than did other workers: 28 percent versus under 20 percent.

In part it is due to children. Immigrant women were less likely to be in the labor force than U.S.-born women in part because they were more likely to have children under age 18 at home and to have competing demands on their time. In January, before the pandemic, 44 percent of working-age immigrant women (ages 25 to 64) had a child at home, compared to 31 percent of U.S.-born women. And immigrant women with children at home historically are less likely to be in the labor force than U.S.-born women with children. In January, 61 percent of immigrant mothers with children participated in the labor force, versus 77 percent of U.S.-born mothers.

As of fall 2020, women with school-age children (ages 5 to 17) had seen the largest declines in labor force participation. Between January and September, the labor force participation rate fell 4.2 percentage points for immigrant women with school-age children, compared with a drop of 1.7 percentage points for those without school-aged children in the home. Among native-born women, participation fell 3.0 percentage points for those with school-age children and 1.6 percentage points for those without. Immigrant women were also more likely to have school-age children than U.S.-born women (26 percent versus 17 percent).

For the report, go here.


Federal Appeals court rules against Trump public charge rule

Saturday, December 5th, 2020

CNN reports that on December 2, in a 2-1 ruling, the Ninth Circuit continued the decision of other courts to place an injunction of implementation of the Trump public charge rule. I have posted (such as here) on the changes to the public charge rule, which raised the barrier to persons from obtaining permanent legal status. The changes in effect said that public assistance (such as subsidized housing and food vouchers) which close to half American households use over any period of five or so years are off limits to immigrants who seek green cards – either if they used them or if U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services decided there was a high likelihood of their use after a green card was issued.

Per CNN the court concluded that the rule causes financial harm to states and doesn’t promote self-sufficiency as the administration has suggested. The panel also argued that the administration failed to explain the abrupt change in policy. “Addressing DHS’s contention that the statute’s overall purpose is to promote self-sufficiency, the panel concluded that providing access to better health care, nutrition, and supplemental housing benefits is consistent with precisely that purpose,” wrote Judge Mary M. Schroeder for the majority.

The court cited a prior decision to hold up the implementation of the rule: “The Plaintiffs do not argue, and we do not hold, that the receipt of various kinds of public benefits is irrelevant to the determination of whether a non-citizen is likely to become a public charge. But defining public charge to mean the receipt, even for a limited period, of any of a wide range of public benefits – particularly . . . ones that are designed to supplement an individual’s or family’s efforts to support themselves, rather than to deal with their likely permanent inability to do so – is inconsistent with the traditional understanding.”

The court also faulted the administration for its “abrupt” reversal of policy without careful analysis of reasons.” The plaintiffs argue that DHS failed the test in three principal respects: It failed to take into account the costs the Rule would impose on state and local governments; it did not consider the adverse effects on health, including both the health of immigrants who might withdraw from programs and the overall health of the community; and it did not adequately explain why it was changing the policy that was thoroughly explained in the 1999 Guidance.”

The court decision is here.

 

 

 

The growing gap between Dems and Reps re: immigration

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

The Gallup Organization reported on July 1, 2020 that “Americans Want More, Not Less, Immigration for First Time.” However, the details show that this is entirely due to more favorable views among Democrats. The graph below show that in 2010 Dems (22%) favored greater immigration more than did Reps (13%). In 2020 Dems surged to 50% while Reps stayed at 13%.