One million Indians waiting for Green Cards

When Sumier Phalake left India at age 21 to attend Georgia Tech, his parents gave their blessings. When he landed a good job out of college, and stayed in the United States, they were supportive. None of them anticipated the heartbreak, 18 years later, when Phalake’s father was diagnosed with cancer and died within months, his son unable to be with him as he breathed his last because he was trapped in U.S. immigration limbo waiting more than a decade in this country’s interminable green card queue.

Phalake, who works as a product designer for a big tech firm, is one of almost 1 million Indians in the U.S. who are stuck in a precarious legal status despite decades in the country. This limbo has long been a source of despair, but this year there was a rare glimmer of hope for a big jump forward.

Phalake has been waiting over a decade for his green card, which would allow him to travel the world freely, change jobs without bureaucratic red tape, and most importantly, start the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.

The problem is caused by a little-known part of U.S. immigration law that limits the number of immigrants from any one country who can get a green card each year. The country-cap rule has created an ever-growing wait time primarily for Indian and Chinese immigrants working and living in the U.S. because they are by far the biggest groups arriving as high-skilled foreign workers.

From the San Francisco Chronicle.

Say Hispanic or Latino, but not Latinx

From Gallup: American language and terminology evolve, as do the terms certain groups use to refer to themselves.

Most Hispanic adults (57%) say it does not matter to them whether Hispanic or Latino is used, though nearly one in four (23%) prefer “Hispanic” and 15% prefer “Latino.” Few expressed a preference for “Latinx” (4%). If they had to chose, 57% would chose Hispanic and 37% Latino.

A Pew poll in 2020 showed that only a quarter of Hispanics knew the term “latinx.”

When the U.S. thought of others on October 5, 1947

On October 5, 1947, President Harry S. Truman delivered the first-ever televised presidential address from the White House. On that there were only some 44,000 TV sets in U.S. homes.

In his speech, Truman called on Americans to conserve food to help hard-pressed Europeans, still recovering from the devastation caused by World War II and threatened with a massive winter famine. He asked the agricultural industry and distillers to reduce their grain use. And he asked all Americans to forgo eating meat on Tuesdays and eggs and poultry on Thursdays and to consume one fewer slice of bread every day. Truman went on to say that overeating and wastefulness would contribute to domestic inflation and scarcities abroad so that Europe’s battle and ours were one and the same.

From Politico here.

Declining popular support for Biden immigration initiative

The Morning Consult reports:

As of last week [9/19/-9/21], a majority of voters (55 percent) disapproved of Biden’s handling of immigration, up 16 percentage points from his opening weeks in office and his worst marks on a list of 14 issues regularly tracked in Morning Consult/Politico polling.

In the latest poll, Republicans in Congress are narrowly favored over their Democratic counterparts, 44 percent to 39 percent, on trust to handle immigration, a sizable swing from January, when Democrats in Congress had a 10-point edge in trust on the question.

65% of Republican voters strongly oppose raising the refugee cap, twice the size of strong Democratic support.


Does skin pigmentation of migrants affect their health?

Researchers propose than when persons with darker skin migrate to places with less intense sunlight, they suffer health effects and have higher mortality.

The abstract:

We argue that migration during the last 500 years induced differences in contemporary health outcomes. The theory behind our analysis builds on three physiological facts. First, vitamin D deficiency is directly associated with higher risk of all-cause mortality. Second, the ability of humans to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight (UV-R) declines with skin pigmentation. Third, skin pigmentation is the result of an evolutionary compromise between higher risk of vitamin D deficiency and lower risk of skin cancer. When individuals from high UV-R regions migrate to low UV-R regions, the risk of vitamin D deficiency rises markedly. We develop a measure that allows us to empirically explore the aggregate health consequences of such migration in a long historical perspective. We find that the potential risk of vitamin D deficiency induced by migration during the last half millennium is a robust predictor of present-day aggregate health indicators.

Historical migration and contemporary health, by Thomas Barnebeck Andersen, Carl-Johan Dalgaard, Christian Volmer Skovsgaard, Pablo Selaya. Oxford Economic Papers, Volume 73, Issue 3, July 2021.

Go here and here.

How the Del Rio camp of Haitians evaporated

Reporting by Todd Bensman on 9/29/21:

DEL RIO, Texas — The migrant encampment under the international bridge here has been liquidated and the 15,000 mostly Haitian illegal migrants who had pooled under it have moved on to different futures (most paroled into the United States, but others flown to their home country of Haiti). Bulldozers have erased all evidence that anything of note ever happened here.

The important takeaway is that, even in this one, limited use, repatriation flights [to Haiti] proved highly impactful as a deterrent that reduced the camp’s population almost immediately. Air repatriation was the single most effective tool the administration brought to bear in liquidating the camp.

If such flights were ever applied border-wide and to a greater number of nationalities, the broader border crisis might be very significantly attenuated.

Many of those who fled the Del Rio camp said they planned to disappear into Mexico City or Monterrey or Tapachula to get their Mexican asylum, work, and bide their time until one thing happens and one thing only: The Biden administration stops the repatriation flights.

Then, they will return to cross the U.S. border.

From the Center for Immigration Studies