Expedited removal

There are basically two ways to reduce the number of asylum applicants in the U.S: speed up official decision making, and reduce the number of persons who can stay around and apply for asylum. One measure for the second option is expedited removal. Trump greatly expanded use of this provision, and Biden did further, in part by adding power to personnel at the border that further cut off access to the courts.

The expedited removal of persons just entering the U.S. and within 100 miles of the border authority, created in 1996, was expanded in application by Trump in 2019 and by Biden several times. It is at the core of efforts to cut off the flow of asylum cases going to immigration courts. Go here for an description of the provision, which in its original language was quite expansive but relatively underused until Trump.

In 2017, one quarter of persons apprehended by Customs and Border Patrol, or about 100,000 were returned (basically to Mexico) by expedited removal.  Given there were about 1.5 apprehensions in FY 2022 (unduplicated count), hundreds of thousands might have been ejected that way.

In July, 2021, the Biden administration sought to expand “expedited removal” processing at the Mexican border. This rule was implemented in May, 2022

In March 2022, the administration proposed a rule (which was stalled due to legal challenges) to assign asylum cases directly to asylum officers, employed by USCIS within the State Department,  to make full decisions on applicants, and to make other removal decisions previously assigned only to immigration courts, within Homeland Security.


What if the 2013 immigration reform bill had passed

What shape would our economy be in had S.774 been enacted in 2013? It was passed by the Senate but killed by then House Speaker John Boehner to prevent it being brought to the floor and thereby fracture the Republican delegation. This was the most recent fully developed immigration reform package and the last one passed by at least one legislative chamber.

If the bill had passed, we would have a population of 345 million vs actual of 335 million. Our Gross Domestic Product would be $23.5T vs. actual of $22.7T.  Our workforce would be at least 5 million persons larger.

Congressional Budget Office forecast in 2013:

Real GDP would be greater by 3.3% in 2023 and by 5.4% in 2033 if the bill was enacted, according to CBO central estimates of the overall economic impact. Under the full range [of alternative provisions in the bill] the bill could boost GDP buy between 5.1% and 5.7% in 2033. Because the population would expand by 3% due to the bill, GNP per capita would rise by much less than the total GNP. According to our estimates, the bill would reduce per capita GNP by 0.7% in 2023 and increase by 0.2% in 2033. [Under the full range of estimates] the bill would lower per capita GNP in 2033 by as much is 0.2% or raise it by as much is .6%.

American Action Forum, March 2023:

Among the projected impacts of S. 744 were more rapid economic growth, increased employment, and reduced federal deficits; if S. 744 were to be enacted as law in 2023, over the next 10 years [2023 – 2033] gross domestic product would be cumulatively $2.9 trillion higher, employment would be 26 million greater, and budget deficits would be reduced by nearly $300 billion. If S. 744 were enacted along with pro-investment incentives, real wages would rise for all workers, in contrast to the mixed impacts projected for S. 744 alone.


Who are the workers without a high school degree?

The percentage of adults in the U.S. without a high school degree has declined by about 67% since 2020 — from 1990 to 2019 an absolute decline in persons 25 years or older by 18 million persons even while the total 25 year of older population grew by 67 million (147 to 209).

The majority of persons working in the U.S. today without a high school degree are foreign born, even though the foreign born make up only 14% of the total population. This dramatically shows how this cohort of workers is concentrated among immigrants.

In 2020, the labor force participation rate of foreign born vs U.S. born of persons 25 or older is higher  among foreign born for all levels of formal education, and sharply so for those without a high school degree and with a high school degree. (Go here.)

Without a high school degree, the participation rate for foreign born is 56% (5 million persons working ) vs 35% for U.S. born (4 million persons working).

In 1990, there were 42 million persons 25 years-plus who did not have a high school degree in the U.S., or 30% of the total population 25 years-plus. By 2000, this number had dropped to 31 million, and by 2010, it had declined further to 24 million. The most recent data available from NCES is from 2019, which shows that there were 20 million persons 25 years-plus who did not have a high school degree in the U.S, or 10%.

These foreign-born workers without a high school degree are concentrated in construction such as painters, drywall installers, and construction laborers; food service and hospitality; agriculture, including picking crops and performing other farm labor; cleaning and maintenance such as janitors, house cleaners, and building cleaners; an labor-intensive manufacturing industries such as textiles, furniture, and plastics. I think that the majority of these workers are unauthorized, and many with limited English proficiency, both of which keep them out of many jobs.