Politicians of Indian origin in politics

Pamala Harris is the first person of Indian descent who has been a serious candidate for president.  Former UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (2022 – 2024) is of Indian descent. There is a highly visible presence of politicians in the UK of Indian descent, much more than in the U.S., due to the long history of British-Indian engagement. Indian-Americans are much more recent in arrival. We can expect a sharp rise in the number of Indian American politicians in the next ten years, with a large share rising in the Republican ranks.

First, some words on terminology. In the United States, we can use the term Indian-American to identify persons who are first, second or perhaps even third generation immigrants from the country of India. The British use the term British Asians, by which they refer to persons of Indian, Pakistani, or Bangladeshi origin. (That is, South Asia and not Southeast or East Asia.)

They include persons of Indian origin who came to the UK from East Africa.  Uganda dictator Idi Amin expelled upwards of 100,000 persons of South Asia. Many migrated to the UK. They comprised much of the economic elite in Uganda, and were relatively well educated and wealthy.

Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister 2022-2024, was born in the UK with parents from East Africa. He took his oath of office in Parliament using the Bhagavad Gita. Priti Patel, who was the UK’s Home Secretary from 2019 to 2022, has parents who were Ugandan Asians.

About 3% of the British population are of Indian descent. The great majority have been in the U.K. since before 2000.  By comparison, 1.35% of persons in the U.S. are Indian-Americans, and the great majority of them have come to in the past two decades.

The first British Asian member of parliament, Dadabhai Naoroji, was elected in 1892.  Currently there are 26 members of Parliament of Indian descent – an increase of 73% since 2015.  The British Asian political community has become more aligned with the Conservative Party than with the Labor Party, and British Asian voters have over the past 10 or so years shifted from strongly Labor to weakly Conservative. This may in part be due how the Conservative Party appears to have courted British Asians since Thatcher’s regime, pitching to the pro-business life-style of recent British Asian immigrants.

In contrast, the Indian-American community in the United States, which rose from 1.9 million in 2000 to 4.6 million in 2022, is much more associated with members of the higher education and information technology industries, which tend to be either sharply liberal or at least non-Republican.

The first person of Indian descent elected to the U.S. Congress was Dalip Singh Saund (1957-63).  Currently there are five members of Congress who are of Indian descent, all Democrats. Ten years ago, there was only one Indian-American in Congress, Ami Bera.

Trump: Nothing new on immigration

Former president Trump could have, in last night’s acceptance speech at the Republican convention, moved on from dystopian rhetoric about immigration to propose an historical reform of immigration laws, matching in importance the Immigration Act of 1924 (Johnson-Reed Act), Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (Hart-Celler Act), and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA).

The last time there has been a serious proposal for comprehensive immigration reform was in legislation drafted by the ”Gang of 8” senators from both parties in 2013.  This draft provides a framework which Republican senators today such as Senator Tom Cotton to work with. He proposes a reduction of immigration from about one million to 500,000 and a shift towards a point system such as used by Canada and Australia.

However,  Trump simply brought forward his demonization of immigrants as illegals sprung from jails and mental hospitals from Venezuela and other Latin American countries.

If Trump is elected, I expect that the administration, if Republicans win the House and Senate, to abandon the DACA program and rescind much of the temporary authorizations which Biden made under Temporary Protection Status and Parole.  This will make the controversy over child separation (its timeline is here) look like a picnic.





Planning migration into Ireland

Ireland is one of the brightest of the bright spots of economic growth in the world today. I have posted on the surge in population. Since the early 2000s more than 1.6 million people immigrated to Ireland over those 20 years, with net inward migration of around 520,000 people.

Canada and Australia have a purposeful policy of assessing and targeting immigration – which the United States distinctly does not.

Ireland has an employment permits system that allows foreign nationals from outside the European Economic Area to work in certain eligible occupations. This system does not use a points-based approach or hard quotas currently.

In December 2023, Ireland announced the largest expansion of its employment permits system, adding 43 new eligible occupations and increasing salary requirements. This suggests efforts to better match foreign labor to specific workforce needs.

The government is considering proposals for a “single application procedure” that would combine the employment permit and immigration permission processes. This could pave the way for a more comprehensive points-based immigration system in the future.

The government’s first Migrant Integration Strategy was published in 2017, covering the period to 2021, and was being updated as of this writing. MIPEX described the government as having developed “a more comprehensive approach to integration.”  It is not an immigration quota system (with for instance a points system) but rather an comprehensive approach to integration of immigrants.

Its key elements include: Integration is a core principle, with mainstream services adapted to meet migrant needs. Migrants participate in economic life through employment and self-employment.Migrants interact with the host community while preserving their traditions.Migrants acquire language skills and knowledge about Ireland.

Asylum: a white paper on the Direct Provision system for accommodating asylum seekers—which has been widely criticized for its poor living standards and for preventing individuals from integrating into Irish society—promised to end Direct Provision by 2024. To that end, a one-off regularization process was introduced for asylum applicants whose cases had been under review for longer than two years. More than 3,200 applications were received for this scheme; as of June 2023, nearly 1,600 people had been granted approval and a further 1,100 were separately granted another form of status.

Much of this information is from here.

Unauthorized population of the U.S.

According to the Deparment of Homeland Security, the unauthorized population has remained roughly the same since 2010, with a recent dip and resurgence. Here are some figures.

The total number of unauthorized persons was in 2008 at 8.5 million, about 11.1 million in 2010, increased to 11.6 million in 2018, dipped, then rose and stood at 11 million in 2022 (go here).

The Mexican share in 2022 was 44%, down from 47% in 2018. The greatest percentage rise since 2018 has been Venezuelans, now at about 3%. Most if not all of these Venezuelans arrived under the Temporary Protected Status system.

The size of the unauthorized immigrant population that arrived since 2010 declined by 280,000 from 2018 to 2020, then grew by 630,000 from 2020 to 2022. The vast majority of the population, or 79%, entered before 2010, but that percentage is declining from 83% in 2018 as new unauthorized entrants arrived and earlier entrance emigrate, die, or just illegally resident status.

My analysis of Temporary Protected Status suggests that the most of the additional unauthorized persons were under TPS.

The Center for Immigration Studies claims that there has been hundreds of thousands of “illegal” migrants entering the country, and Repulican politicians uniformly claim they crossed the Mexican border.  This surge according to them has continued through recent years, The BHS figures in effect dispute this by the role of TPS increases.

Note that the DHS labels as unauthorized people here with temporary protections. Most unauthorized immigrants either entered the United States without inspection, or were admitted temporally and remain past the date they were required to depart. Persons who are beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA], or other forms of prosecutorial discretion, or who are residing in the United States while awaiting removal proceedings in the regression cards, are included among the DHS estimates of the unauthorized population.

Other Interesting facts:

Emigration: between 1980 and 2021, 6.7 million foreign-born persons with green cards emigrated from the U.S. At an average of 150,000 a year, compared to about 800,000 green card issued per year over this time.

Total size of the Temporary Protected Status, asylee, and refugee population in the U.S. 26 million admitted between 1980 and 2021. The TPS population
grew significantly. Under Biden’s policy, there will soon be one million TPS persons in the U.S.

Public opinion: less support for immigration, contradictory views

Gallup reports today in a June poll that public opinion is shifting towards reducing the level of immigration. The partisan divide has widened and the saliency of the issue has increased. Yet overall people appear to be confused and much wanting clarity and competence by the administration.

A majority – 55% — believe that immigration should be decreased, up from 28% in May, 2020. All major political points of view show an increase from 2023 in support for a decrease. It has been over 70% of Republicans for some time, now is over 80%; Independents went form 39% to 50%, and Democrats 18% to 28%. Today, only a quarter (26%) of Democrats want immigration to increase. The implicit level of immigration in an early 2021 Biden bill would have, in my estimate, increased immigration from about one million to 1.5 million.

Since 2020 the percentage people who think immigration is a “good thing” dropped from 77% to 64%.

Republicans are much more likely to consider immigration a very important issue than independents and Democrats.

Not this poll, but other recent polls, show that the saliency of the issue has risen overall, from about 10% to 20% saying that this is the most important issue.

This and prior polls show that people are very conflicted. When asked if persons here illegally should be deported, 37% said yes in 2019 and 47% said yes in 2023. However, in stark contradiction, in 2023 70% agreed with this statement: “Allowing immigrants living in the U.S. illegally the chance to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain requirements over a period of time.” An even higher percentage – 81% — supported citizenship for DACA beneficiaries.




Mass deportation planned by Trump

Reportedly at Donald Trump’s request, the GOP platform released on July 8 endorses the idea of mass deportations. (See the actual language at the end.) Since announcing his candidacy for President, he has tried to make immigration a potent political issue. Mass deportation will make the child separation policy of the Trump administration in early 2017 look like unwarranted minor controversy. It will provoke highly visible, concerted opposition, including by the media. Democratic candidates for November will turn the issue into a cause celebre.

Mass deportation is a uniquely Trumpian idea. It is not present or implied in Republican proposals for immigration reform such as by Senator Cotton of the House Republican’s H.R.2.

In France and England, extreme anti-immigration has shown to be a rallying cry for perhaps 15% of the voting public.  The rest of the electorate has either mixed feelings, and/or is irked by anti-immigration appeals.  The French and British elections in the past week reflect this distribution of sentiment.

There are about 11 million unauthorized persons in the U.S.  Most unauthorized immigrants have been in the U.S.  likely for over 10 years. 38% of undocumented immigrants are parents of US citizens.  I expect that pro-immigration groups, including the many evangelicals who are Hispanic (who make up a third of all evangelicals)  will vigorously oppose a mass deportation initiative.

To carry out a mass deportation strategy will require participation by state and local law enforcement. Oklahoma is the only state I know that requires police to turn in persons they think are here illegally. Roughly half of the unauthorized population live in blue states.

The GOP platform passage:

Begin largest deportation program in American history: President Trump and Republicans will reverse the Democrat’s destructive open borders policies that have allowed criminal gangs and the legal aliens from around the world to roam the United States without consequences. The Republican party is committed to sending illegal aliens back home and removing those who have violated our laws.




A target for a Trump administration: Temporary Protected Status

The Heritage Foundation and the Trump campaign appear to overlook the Temporary Protected Status program.  It may be because the TPS does not have the front page flash appeal of the Mexican border. But if Trump is elected, I expect that one of his first moves will be to revoke TPS for hundreds of thousands, if not a million, persons in the U.S.

At the end of the Trump administration there were about 400,000 persons in the U.S. covered by TPS. In 2022, there were about 350,000. Today there are well over a million, after taking into account a boost in Haitian TPS protected persons in the past few days. The Biden administration has been adding TPS beneficiaries at a rate of about 400,000 a year.

This surge has resulted in very roughly 500,000 + additional workers in the U.S. and contributed to the perplexing, contrasting estimates of the number of foreign-born persons in the U.S. ranging from a recent increase  from 1.1 million to 3.3 million

TPS designation can be for an initial period of anywhere from 16 to 18 months and extended indefinitely for periods for up to 18 months. The program is designed for people who cannot return safely due to their home countries due to ongoing armed conflict, environmental the disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. While the designation formally is temporary, the designation can lead to a more permanent status.

The Biden administration has been using TPS to divert migrants from crossing the Mexican border and asking for asylum.

An example is Haiti.  Darian Gap crossings by Haitians and Mexican border corssings by Haitians surged in the past few years. The Biden administration just announced that 309,000 Haitians in the U.S. are to be granted Temporary Protected Status. This will bring the total number of Haitians in the U.S. under TPS to about 500,000, or 4% of the entire population of Haiti.

The number of Haitians in the U.S, appears to be about 700,000 but I think that may understate the actual number as it may not take into account the surge of migrants in the past 12-18 months.



A second Trump administration and long term immigration strategy

Over the past week the prospects for a second Trump administration have risen a lot.

Trump himself is largely incoherent and self-contradictory on long term immigration policy. He has said he wants to deport all 11 million unauthorized persons. As with much of Trump’s positions, it is hard to sort out the performative rhetoric and wildly illegal impulsiveness from a durable strategy.

The Heritage Foundation, including its Project 2025, is an important source laying out a vision. The document itself and the Heritage Foundation’s overall messaging on immigration tends to focus on the border issues.  I will here and in future postings try to elucidate the Foundation’s proposals on longer term structural changes.

Simply stated, the Foundation wants to introduce a deliberate, comprehensive strategy of tight control over immigrant access to the United States and rights of non-permanent residents.  It wants to convert the inflow of immigrants towards a merit-based system.

If there is an antecedent to the Foundation’s policy approach for the long term it is Senator Cotton’s proposals which he articulated in 2018.

This posting focuses on the merit-based system.

According to the Foundation, applicants for immigration would be awarded points based on various criteria such as educational qualifications, work experience, especially in high-demand fields, English language proficiency, age, existing job offers from U.S. employers, and entrepreneurial potential or investment capability.

Certain industries or job categories deemed crucial for the U.S. economy might have specific quotas. The points system and thresholds would be periodically reviewed and adjusted based on economic needs and labor market trends. The system might include provisions for temporary workers to transition to permanent residency based on their contributions and integration over time.

The distribution of the total number of immigrants accepted will shift from about 15% employment -based to about 50% employment based.

The system will then come to look more like the Canadian and Australian systems, about which I have posted often.

“nomad” visas

A “nomad visa” (or digital nomad visa) allows remote workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to live and work in a foreign country for an extended period. These visa began to become popular since the pandemic ended, in 2022.

These visas are typically used by persons working remotely for a company located outside the host country. they  include extended stays, simplified application processes, and potential tax benefits. Applicants must prove a steady income or sufficient funds. Estonia, Germany, Costa Rica, Croatia, Mexico (apparently a very popular location), the Canary Islands, Slovenia, Thailand, Japan, Portugal and many other countries offer digital nomad visas. The number of host countries has grown rapidly to about 60 as of Spring 2024.

It is unclear how many people have been issued this visa. One estimate for U.S. citizens is 17 million, which is ridiculously high given as there are 160 million in the workforce within the U.S. and the Migration Policy Institute’s website estimates that only 3 million Americans live outside the U.S.

Here is a useful overview of this visa alternative, including summaries of visa requirements. For instance, The visa for Costa Rica is good for two years. Conditions The visa for Costa Rica (referred to as the Rentista) is good for two years. Conditions to apply for this nomad visa include proof of $3,000 monthly income and travel/medical insurance, Also go here.

For Mexico, the visa is call a Temporary Resident Visa, available for one year, extendable to four years, in contrast to a normal non-immigrant visa good for only up to 180 days.

Great study of present and future impact of immigration on US workforce.

“How Immigrants and Their U.S.-Born Children Fit into the Future U.S. Labor Market” – this study by the Migration Policy Institute examines the 47 million first and second persons who are part of the U.S. workforce. That’s 27% of the workforce. They include both foreign born persons and their adult children. These figures reveal the impact of immigrants on the American economy than the percentage of Americans who are foreign-born — 14%

First and second generation immigrants account for all of the work force growth between 2000 and 2023. This is due in part to the increase in these numbers, the higher participation rate of immigrant men in the workforce compared to other Americans, and rise of immigrant women in the  workforce.

First and second generation immigrants comprised 21% of young adults (18 -24) in 2000 and 30% in 2023. Among prime working age (25 to 54) persons in the US first and second generation immigrants comprised 19% in 2000 and 31% in 2023.

In 2023, first and second generation immigrants comprised 38% of all STEM and social science workers.

The job market is increasingly dependent on college educated workers. 41% of recent immigrants have at least a BA degree. Asian workers are best primed to meet the higher demand for formally well educated persons (go here).