Gallup polls on partisan divide 2003, 2013 and 2023

The Gallup Poll brought into one report summary data on many issues, showing 20 year trends. This allows us to place immigration topics in the context of many others.  There is no instance of a reduction in partisan gap from 2003 to 2023. The gaps on immigration, climate change, healthcare and guns are the largest.

Republicans’ views that immigration is good for the country have dropped slightly (55% to 52%), while Democrats’ views have risen a lot (55% to 83%), resulting in 30% partisan gap, a relatively large one. Republicans becoming more likely (55% to 58%) and Democrats (45% to 18%) less likely to say that immigration should be decreased.

Refugees and economic migrants to Europe

I have regrettably not posted anywhere nearly as I should have on refugee and poor migrant economic migration to Europe, primarily from Syria and Africa. The Washington Post summarizes the situation with these migrations, which differ from migration within the EU.

The Post writes, For nearly a decade, almost 50 migrants have died or disappeared on average each week trying to reach European shores aboard rickety boats in the Mediterranean. This year, the weekly toll has spiked to about 70, mostly asylum seekers fleeing African and Middle Eastern nations where post-pandemic poverty and desperation are exacerbated by despotism and chaos, the war in Ukraine and climate change. On June 14, more than 600 drowned when a single ship (a fishing trawler!) capsized off the coast of Greece (go here.) The American press buried this story below news of the loss of a handful of people in the deep diving Titan.

As migrant numbers have surged, so have steps in London, Brussels and other European capitals to impede their unauthorized entry and accelerate the rate at which they are processed and expelled.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party, in power since 2010, faces steep odds in the general election likely to be held next year. His agenda includes a promise to slash the number of migrants arriving on small boats, which generally depart from Calais, across the English Channel in France.

More than 100,000 have arrived on British shores using that route over the past five years. [Compare that figure with the increase in legal EU immigrants in the U.K. from 1.5 million in 2004 to 3.7 million in 2017, an average annual increase of 170,000.(go here).]


An example of private sponsorship to bring in immigrants

In this case, to fill empty job positions, with Ukrainians here on humanitarian parole, which is valid for only two years. This case study show how parole admissions will almost certainly turn into permanent residency. From the Wall Street Journal:

Two years ago, Veselka, a Ukrainian diner in Manhattan’s East Village renowned for its pierogi, was so short on cooks and wait staff that owner Jason Birchard was ready to cut the restaurant’s hours and end table service.

Veselka’s owner has sponsored 10 Ukrainians, mostly extended family members of his existing employees, and eight now work at the restaurant.

Veselka owner Jason Birchard, in black shirt, is a third-generation Ukrainian American.

Then last year, the war in Ukraine broke out. The Biden administration launched a program to sponsor Ukrainian refugees to live and work temporarily in the U.S. Birchard, who is third-generation Ukrainian American, immediately looked into the new program. He said he thought it was the right thing to do to bring Ukrainians to safety, but also hoped he could find some new cooks.

Since then, Birchard has sponsored 10 Ukrainians, mostly extended family members of his existing employees, and eight now work at his restaurant. “One of my biggest challenges postpandemic was hiring. Not so anymore,” he said. “It’s been a win-win for me.”

Cosmopolitan cities (vs. Tokyo)

This table shows the size of the foreign born population, that population’s share of the entire metropolitan area population and share of the country’s entire foreign born population. Note how the % of metrpolitan population hovers around 20-30% except of course for Tokyo, and that central metropolises contain 1/4 of the nation’s foreign born.


Venezuelan refugees and New York City’s workforce

The asylum system is in crisis (such as noted here), and New York City has become an epicenter of it, particularly with respect to asylum applicants from Venezuela.  Here look through some numbers and come with an estimate of the impact of Venezuelan migration on the New York City workforce.

According to an organization focusing of Venezuelan refugees, as of August 2023 host governments have recorded 7.7 million persons who have left Venezuela.  (Here is my first posting on Venezuelan refugees, in 2019. This is up from five million at the start of 2021. As of late 2022, the number of Venezuelan refugees in the U.S. was estimated that 545,000.

Since then, Venezuelans have streamed into the country, mainly across the Mexican border. In order to control the surge at this border, the Biden administration introduced a special “parole” program which allows Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, Cubans and Haitians enter legally.

The New York Times has covered the situation in New York City well. Writing about all migrants, it reports that “As of Sept. 10, more than 113,300 migrants had arrived in New York City since the spring of 2022. Officials have struggled to respond as people from all over the world have arrived, sometimes by the hundreds each week. Many have sought shelter with the city, which has a legal obligation to give beds to anyone who asks.”

“By June [2023], the city had counted more than 80,000 newcomers. Roughly half moved into public shelters, and the city’s shelter system reached 100,000 that month. City officials added up the costs of housing them: an estimated $4.3 billion by next summer. Mayor Eric Adams begged for federal help, disparaged President Biden and warned that the city was being “destroyed.”

There are now hundreds of thousands of recent immigrants in the city, residing under the color of either asylum applicants or parole beneficiaries.   About half are estimated to be from Venezuela.  In 2020, there were probably about 130,000 Venezuelans living in New York City. It is fair to guess that this number has more than doubled in the past two years.

On September 20, the Biden administration authorized 500,000 Venezuelans to obtain work permits. This permission covers the entire U.S.  To comply with law, the administration is granting Venezuelans “Temporary Protected Status” for 18 months; by this step work authorization is available.  According to this report, this new authorization is for 472,000 who have been in the U.S. on or before July 31.  In 2021, a TPS decision authorized 243,000 Venezuelans for 18 months, and this has been renewed.

Effect on the American and New York City workforce

There are about 50 million workers in the U.S. who earn under $35,000 a year. I expect that virtually all of these Venezuelans who work will earn under that amount. Assuming that 65% of the roughly 750,000 protect Venezuelans will work, that adds 1% to this under $35,000 workforce.

There are about five million workers in New York City.  Let’s guess that 1/3, or about 1.5 million, earn under $35,000. Let’s guess that in the past two years, the number of working age Venezuelans in the City has increased by 100,000. This implies that the workforce able to earn no more than $35,000 has grown by 100K / 1500K  = 7%.

Economists have debated for decades the impact of the “Mariel boatlift” on the workforce of Miami. What is happening today in New York City will also provoke a debate about the impact of a surge of immigrant workers.










tiny shoots of immigration reform

This is way premature say that immigration reform will return as a front burner issue (last time was in 2017) but one should notice that Senate Republicans are proposing to match in increase in the Federal minimum wage with mandatory use of e-Verfiy.  (Go here).  The mandatory use of e-Verify is an essential element in immigration reform. Lobbies for both parties have resisted it – business and progressives


Global move to population non-replacement rates

Over half of the current population of the world lives in countries which have below the 2.1 replacement rate (especially the U.S., Europe, China and India). The U.S. fertility rate of 1.64 was last at replacement rate in 2007, and today we are dependent on recent immigrants, who currently do not likely have a higher fertility rate of native born persons but who are more of child bearing age. Asian countries have negligible immigration.

The biggest exception to this trend is Sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria is slated to be the third most populous country in 2100.

I have posted here on efforts of countries to increase their low fertility rate, especially Hungary. Here is a passage from a 2020 WSJ article which cites South Korea, Russia, Singapore and Sweden:

South Korea spent billions of dollars on low-interest home loans and cash grants to parents to encourage couples to marry and procreate, but its fertility rate has sunk to record lows. In the mid 2000s, Russian fertility rose from post-Soviet lows on the back of grants and tax breaks for parents, but it has fallen again in recent years.

In a recent email to The Wall Street Journal, Singapore’s government cited increases in Denmark and Sweden in the 1980s and early 2000s as evidence that government intervention can help. It linked the uptick to state support for child care and family-friendly workplace policies. But both nations have seen their fertility rates slip. In 2018, Swedish-born mothers had fewer babies than any year since 2002 and immigrants—who tend to have more children—are contributing a rising share of births.

Update on DACA

A long dispute about the constitutionality of DACA (Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals) reached another milestone with a federal judge in Texas has once more ruling that the Obama-era program protecting young immigrants known as Dreamers is illegal. (Go here). In the end, I expect that the Supreme Court will rule that DACA is an unconstitutional overreach of Executive Branch powers to make sweeping immigration law policy affecting large numbers of persons.  The Biden Administration’s use of humanitarian parole to enable hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers into the U.S. temporary is also under fire by some state attorneys general.

DACA beneficiaries are part of some two million persons of working age who are able to work legally only due to temporary programs created or expanded by the Obama and Biden administrations. This number will increase a lot if and when the surrent surge of parole beneficiaries are permitted to work.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, a George W. Bush appointee, previously invalidated the program in 2021, saying Congress never gave the executive branch the power to grant mass reprieves to an entire class of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.

The case now will likely go back to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which also has previously ruled against DACA. If it does so again, the administration could seek review by the Supreme Court.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, will remain in effect while the decision is appealed, and existing beneficiaries can continue to renew their participation in the program, which provides work permits and protections against deportation. As was the case before Wednesday’s decision, new applicants can’t be admitted to the program.

What is DACA?

DACA, created by executive order in 2012, protects to immigrants without legal authorization who were 30 years old or younger when the program was announced. DACA recipients must have arrived in the U.S. before they turned 16 and satisfied a range of conditions, including being a student or graduate and having no significant criminal record. The program has been shut to new applicants since September 5, 2017. As of then about 800,000 were eligible about 600,000 are formally enrolled in the program.  Whenever the prospects for a permanent resolution rise, advocates think of including more persons up to as much as two million.

Human development and the drive to emigrate: Costa Rica vs. Honduras

Costa Rica has the lowest rate of emigration of any Central American country, almost one quarter that of Honduras. Here are some socio-economic comparisons of the two countries.

Emigration: Costa Rica: 150,000 Costa Ricans, or 2.8% of its 5.3 million population, have emigrated (2/3rds to the U.S.) Honduras: about one million Hondurans, or 9.8% of its 10.2 million population, have emigrated (75% to the U.S.

Costa Rica: average life expectancy increased from 70 years in 1970 to 80 years in 2016. Honduras life expectancy increased from 57 years in 1970 to 73 years in 2016.

The adult literacy rate in Costa Rica grew from 80% in 1970 to 97.6% in 2015.  In Honduras, in 1970 the adult literacy rate in Honduras was 57.8%. By 2015, the literacy rate had increased to 89%.

In Costa Rica In 1970, the net primary enrollment rate was 75%. By 2015, the primary enrollment rate had risen to 93%. In Honduras, primary school enrollment rose from 67% in 1970 to 92% in 2015.

Costa Rican GDP per capita is $12,000 on a PPP basis, vs. $4,500 in Honduras.

Politics: Costa Rica has had relatively free and fair elections since 1953.  Corruption and weak governance in Honduras include the president participating in drug smuggling.


Michael Bloomberg on our broken asylum system

Michael Bloomberg in the NY Times Sept 10 2023:

We have a system that essentially allows an unlimited number of people to cross our borders, forbids them from working, offers them free housing, and grants them seven years of residency before ruling on whether they can legally stay. It would be hard to devise a more backward and self-defeating system.