Winston Churchill’s racism

To the 1937 Royal Commission on Palestine.

“I do not admit….that a great wrong has been done to the red Indians of America or the Black people of Australia. I do not admit a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, a more worldly wide race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place. I do not admit it.”

The unauthorized population is smaller and longer tenured

As I’ve noted before, the immigrant population (45 million) in the U.S. has gradually become more similar in socio-economic profile to that of the 283 million natural born citizens. The gradual melding includes a decline in the unauthorized population, notwithstanding the Mexican border crisis.

The following is from the Center for Migration Studies: An estimated 10.35 million undocumented [I use unauthorized] immigrants resided in the United States in 2019 compared to 11.73 million in 2010. Thus, between 2010 and 2019, the undocumented population in the United States declined by 1.4 million, or 12%. This trend is primarily driven by Mexican nationals voluntarily leaving the United States.

The percentage of undocumented immigrants that has lived in the United States for 15 years or more increased from 25% to 43% between 2010 and 2019.

CMS estimates that:

38% of undocumented immigrants are parents of US citizens,
16% are married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR), and 96% of those in the labor force are employed.
20% of the US undocumented population lives at or below the poverty threshold, and
50% does not have health insurance.

From the Center for Migration Studies here and here.

Lots of data on the Asian population in the U.S.

Go here.

“The number of people who identify as Asian in the United States nearly tripled in the past three decades, and Asians are now the fastest-growing of the nation’s four largest racial and ethnic groups, according to recently released census numbers. But in addition to the uptick, the Asian population has become geographically diverse with wide variations in income, citizenship status and political preference, according to a New York Times analysis of census data.”

The last time Washington spoke coherently about immigration

The last time Washington talked coherently about immigration was during the 1990s, when the Commission on Immigration Reform (known as the Jordan Commission, for its chairwoman, Barbara Jordan 1936 – 1996, a then former Democratic congresswoman from Texas) issued a series of reports drawing upon its research and made a concerted and largely successful attempt by commission members to speak with one voice.

The commission examined and made recommendations on virtually every aspect of the immigration system: family reunification, employment-based immigration, enforcement measures to stem unauthorized immigration, and numerical limits on all classes of immigrants, non-immigrants, and asylees.

Between 1994 and 1997, it issued four reports. In the last report, “Becoming An American: Immigration and Immigrant Policy,” the commission defined a vision in 90 words:

“Properly-regulated immigration and immigrant policy serves the national interest by ensuring the entry of those who will contribute most to our society and helping lawful newcomers adjust to life in the United States. It must give due consideration to shifting economic realities. A well-regulated system sets priorities for admission; facilitates nuclear family reunification; gives employers access to a global labor market while protecting U.S. workers; helps to generate jobs and economic growth; and fulfills our commitment to resettle refugees as one of several elements of humanitarian protection of the persecuted.”

The commission recommended that permanent residency (“green card”) numbers go down by about a third from the prevailing annual level of about 600,000 then. Today, about one million green cards are issued annually.

The Biden immigration plan (The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021) would increase green cards by 28% from about 1,180,000 to 1,510,000. Family-related visas (immediate and relatives) are to remain basically flat, while employment-related visas are expected to grow by 285%. Family-related visas will decline from, 69% to 52% of all visas awarded; employment related from 12% to 34%. Refugee, asylee, and lottery visas will remain at about 18% of visas. (In chart below RAD = refugee, asylee, and diversity visas.) See my posting here.

How is the U.S. different today from 1995? In 1995, our population was 267 million, the birth rate was 1.5 per 100 population, and foreign born comprised 24.2 million, or 9% of total population. Today, our population is 328 million, the birth rate is 1.2 per 100 population, and foreign-born comprise 45 million, or 13.7% of total population.

For birthrates, go here.

Will Afghan refugees affect the U.S. job market? No. 

I have estimated that some 100,000 Afghans will come to the U.S. in a post-war wave.  About perhaps half of them will join the workforce, the remaining being too young or old for the workforce, or at school, or mothers at home.

The United States has experienced waves of immigration, from Russian mathematicians to Vietnamese fishermen, as have other advanced countries. The many, many studies of the effect of these waves on employment, including native-born American employment, can be summed up as follows:  sometimes a small temporary adverse effect on wages, but usually these new workers flow into the economy without a dramatic impact.

Noah Smith has excellently addressed this issue here, citing a large sample of the research studies. “Overall, immigration — even of the lowest skilled variety — has very little or no impact on native-born wages. And sometimes even a positive impact. The most probably reason is that, as explained above, immigration boosts labor demand, not just labor supply!”

Some governors have come forward to welcome this wave, citing the need for more workers.

And an important finding: although there is an arduous language and cultural transition for refugee workers, the United States has a far better track record than does Europe in getting new refugees into the workforce. Go here.




Biden’s new asylum rule

Biden has proposed a major change in managing persons seeking asylum. It strikes at a problem I’ve noted several times: a dysfunctional legal system which generates a huge backlog and thus incents people to game the system. Per the Migration Policy Institute:

The immigration court’s caseload stands at an all-time high of more than 1.3 million cases. Nearly half (619,837) are asylum claims. Asylum applicants typically face court dates that are years away.

(The idea behind asylum is that a person has a “credible fear” of persecution or torture if returned to their home country. the backlog is caused in large measure by immigration courts, rather than asylum officers, making the determination over credible fear.)

Under the new policy, asylum seekers found to merit protection will not be kept in limbo for years at a time while awaiting a final status determination. At the same time, those who may not have a strong asylum claim will have less incentive to apply for protection as a means of gaining U.S. entry, as often happens now, since the cases take so long to be decided.

The proposed rule would shift asylum decisions from being made by immigration judges in courtrooms to being adjudicated in interviews with asylum officers specially trained to decide protection claims.

At present, asylum officers decide asylum cases when they arise within the United States, not at the border. The border has been treated differently because asylum applicants are already in removal proceedings for having crossed the border without authorization, and so they enter a separate and much slower “defensive asylum” process before the immigration courts. The proposed rule would assign these cases to asylum officers.

The core idea is based on research and recommendations the Migration Policy Institute made in a 2018 report as a policy solution to make border case management more effective and timely.

Go here

Refugees who helped us in our wars

If you broke it, you own it.

Afghans we bring in due to their having aided the U.S. will be the fourth time this has happened in large numbers since the 1960s. Based on the figures in prior waves, and the size of the countries of origin, some 100,000 Afghanis (workers and their families) might be expected. The Biden administration could easily have foreseen this well before it announced in mid-April that it will close down its military presence in the country in September.

I summarize here the flow of Hmong, Vietnamese, and Vietnamese persons and their families admitted to the U.S. on the basis of their helping the U.S. during the Vietnam and Iraq Wars. The populations of these nationalities/ethnicities in the U.S. now comprise families and descendants of those who helped the U.S. during the wars; subsequent political refugees; and persons who who arrived not as refugees.


Most Hmong Americans consist of those that fled to the United States as refugees in the late 1970s due to their cooperation with the CIA in Laos during the Vietnam War, and their descendants. Initially, only 1,000 Hmong people were evacuated to the US. In May 1976, another 11,000 Hmong were allowed to enter the United States. By 1978 some 30,000 Hmong had immigrated to the US. The Refugee Act of 1980 led to a second wave of Hmong refugees.

Current Hmong-American population: about 300,000, including second and third generation. Hardly any had arrived before the Vietnam War. See here


The week before Saigon fell, 15,000 people left on scheduled flights followed by an additional 80,000 also evacuated by air. The last group was carried on U.S. Navy ships. They were largely the educated elite. One estimate of the number of persons who worked for the U.S. and their families who were brought to the U.S. immediately after the war is 138,000.

A second wave of Vietnamese refugees, not associated with persons who helped the U.S. arrived from 1978 to the mid-1980s. Many South Vietnamese fled on fishing boats. From 1978 to 1982, 280,500 Vietnamese refugees were admitted. Between 1981 and 2000, the country accepted 531,310 Vietnamese political refugees.

Current Vietnamese-American population: 1.3 million, including second and third generation. Few had arrived before the Vietnam War. See here, here and here. 


As of 2019, An estimated 110,000 Iraqis were waiting to be approved as refugees based on their wartime assistance. Prior to then, the United States admitted annually 500 – 5,000 a year.

Current Iraqi-American population: about 150.000, including second generation. Many had arrived before the Iraq War. See here and here

Between the mid 1990s and the Trump Administration roughly 75,000 refugees were admitted annually. Trump sought to close down the entire program. The Biden administration restored the prior level only after a public campaign. Biden’s initial refugee plan, 15,000 a year, would have been filled within the first few weeks after the collapse of Kabul.

Biden Administration’s indifference to Afghan lives

The imperative to save thousands of Afghan friends has been overlooked by the Biden administration for months. George Packer in the Atlantic today (8/15/21) details the tragedy about to befall Afghanis he knows personally; perhaps they will get out thanks to heroic efforts of individual Americans. 

Nothing characterizes a political leader and his team more reliably than indifference to the plight of the vulnerable, when their plight is in plain sight and on the watch of the political leader.


Foreignness/strangeness perceptions about non-whites is high in U.S.

Persons classified by race/ethnicity were surveyed if they experienced three encounters with others that indicate sense of foreignness, strangeness, and danger. Bottom line: non-whites are often put into a foreignness/strangeness state of limbo.

Examples of how to read the table: 41% of Asians experienced an incident in which another person thought they did not speak English. Among whites, 7% experienced being thought of as foreign, compared to 57% of Hispanics.

  1. People asked where you are from, assuming you’re not from the U.S.
  2. People acted as if you don’t speak English
  3. People acted as if they are afraid of you

Methodology: SurveyMonkey conducted the poll online from March 18-26, 2021 with 16,336 adult U.S. residents. Survey conducted in English, suggesting that the results would be worse if persons who could respond in other languages were used.

From here.

The Census reports a sharp rise in multiracial self-identity

The Census just released shows that Hispanic/Latino persons who identified themselves as “two or more races” rose from 3 million in 2010 to 20.3 million in 2020. Non-Hispanic/Latino persons (such as white, Black, Asian) who identified themselves as two or more races rose from 6 million to 13.5 million.

These self-identified multiracial persons were 3% of the total population in 2010. In 2020 they were 10% of the population.

Thanks to Robert Gebeloff @gebeloffnyt