How immigrations make it, past and today

The opinion of Princeton economist Leah Boustan

….the pattern whereby the kids of poor and working-class immigrants do better than their American counterparts, is true both today and in the past. The children of poor Irish or Italian immigrant parents outperformed the children of poor US-born parents in the early 20th century; the same is true of the children of immigrants today.

In the past: We are able to delve into the reasons for this immigrant advantage in the past in great detail, and we find that the single most important factor is geography. Immigrants tended to settle in dynamic cities that provided opportunities both for themselves and for their kids. So, in the past, this meant avoiding Southern states, which were primarily agricultural and cotton-growing at the time, and – outside of the South – moving to cities more than to rural areas. If you think about it, it makes sense: immigrants have already left home, often in pursuit of economic opportunity, so once they move to the US they are more willing to go where the opportunities are.

Today:  Geography still matters a lot today, but not as much as in the past. Instead, we suspect that educational differences between groups matter today. Think about a Chinese or Indian immigrant who doesn’t earn very much, say working in a restaurant or a hotel or in childcare. In some cases, the immigrant him or herself arrived in the US with an education – even a college degree – but has a hard time finding work in their chosen profession. Despite the fact that these immigrant families do not have many financial resources, they can pass along educational advantages to their children.
From Noah Smith substack blog

Here is my posting on the remarkable upward mobility of children of poor Asian mothers.

Children do better than their parents. Here.

Why children of immigrants are especially upwardly mobile

I have posted here on research showing that for many generations immigrant families have been relatively more upwardly mobile than strictly U.S. born families.  The authors of the studu have written a book, “Paved in Gold,” which states the case in lay-accessible language.  A recent book review in Foreign Policy by Reihan Salam, the president of the Manhattan Institute, summarizes the findings into reasons for superior upward mobility:

First, because immigrants are by definition less tethered to a given U.S. locale than native-born Americans, who may have deep, multigenerational roots in their communities, they are more open to moving in search of opportunity. As a result, immigrants tend to settle in more opportunity-rich cities and neighborhoods, which gives their children a leg up. This is true even when opportunity-rich communities are more expensive, as immigrants are more amenable to living in multifamily housing, which is cheaper….

Second, the apparent mobility advantage experienced by children of immigrants stems from the disadvantage of their immigrant parents, who Immigrants, and particularly recent immigrants, often confront obstacles….The children of immigrant parents are “upwardly mobile” relative to their parents’ actual earnings in the U.S. labor market, but not nearly as much relative to their parents’ capabilities, which parents can pass on to their children in a number of ways.

Third, sociologists of immigration refer to the “class-specific resources” of immigrant parents who were raised in the upper strata of their home countries, i.e., the cultural practices, social networks, and narrative self-understandings that can help their children climb the occupational and social ladder.

Skill level of immigrants has been rising

Here are some nice charts, from the Cato Institute. I’ve covered this in the past, not only recent immigrants, but a rise in education for 2nd and 3rd generation mainly among Latin American immigrants. (Asian first generation already well educated.)

The rise in education of new immigrants is due in part to the greater number of Asian immigrants, a sharp rise from all sources of very highly educated persons, and the overall rise in education globally.

This posting addresses the educational agenda for our immigration policies and experience.

Sharp rise in educational attainment of recent graduates here and here.

Educational gap between US born persons and children of Latin American immigrants has narrowed. here and here.

Higher education attainment of immigrants here.

Climate change migration

Climate – related migration is easier to conjecture than to document.  One 2019 article from Brookings wrestles with the speculative nature of the subject. Last month, in August 2022, Nomad Century was published, possibly the first trade book on climate change migration.

Most of climate change migration will appear as internal migration. The dominant pattern, I expect, will be gradual, not sudden, change in location within  country guided by work opportunity, family and community chains, and governmental aid.  I doubt there will be no such thing as large scale formal international climate refugee programs. Wholesale movements of communities over short periods of time will be rare. 

The following is from the World Bank, on climate-related migration, which will be mostly internal within countries. This is from a 2018 forecast.

By 2050 as many as 216 million people could be internal climate migrants in major world regions; this represents almost 3% of these regions’ total projected population. Sub-Saharan Africa could see as many as 85.7 million internal climate migrants or 4.2% of the total population. East Asia and the Pacific: 48.4 million or 2.5% of the total population. South Asia: 40.5 million or 1.8% of the total population. North Africa: 19.3 million or 9% of the total population. Latin America: 17.1 million or 2.6% of the total population. Eastern Europe and Central Asia: 15.1 million or 2.3%

They will migrate from areas with lower water availability and crop productivity and from areas affected by sea-level rise and storm surges. Hotspots of internal climate migration could emerge as early as 2030 and continue to spread and intensify by 2050. The reports also finds that rapid and concerted action to reduce global emissions, and support green, inclusive, and resilient development, could significantly reduce the scale of internal climate migration. The World Bank. Here and here.





3 Million Americans live outside the U.S.

One percent of Americans live abroad, compared to 7% of British, 5% of Germany, and 3.5% of French. From here.

There’s a dispute as to how many Americans live in Mexico. Do you count persons with dual citizenshhip?

 

STEM workers are increasingly immigrants



Between 2000 and 2019, the overall number of STEM workers in the United States increased by 44.5 percent, from 7.5 million to 10.8 million. 40% of this increase were immigrants. As of 2019, there were 2.5 million immigrant STEM workers, 23% of the total, up from 16% in 2000.

Immigrants from India accounted for 29 percent, or 725,000 of all foreign-born STEM workers in 2019. In that year there were 2.7 million Indians in the U.S, of whom 80% or 2.16 million were of working age. This means that 33% of Indian workers in the U.S. were STEM workers. By comparison, about 6% of all workers are STEM workers.



See here and here.



U.S. and U.K. private refugee sponsorships inspired by Canada’s program

These United States and United Kingdom programs, both spawned out of response to Afghan and then Ukrainian refugee crises, are very limited compared to Canada’s.  They do not have any legal power to initiate refugee applications. They allow citizen groups to be formally recognized as part of the resettlement process.

United States:

In October 2021, the State Department worked with the Community Sponsorship Hub—a new nongovernmental organization (NGO) designed to expand sponsorship in the United States by focusing on program development and capacity building—to launch community support for refugees. This allows five or more Americans to come together to welcome Afghan refugees after receiving rigorous training. The successful trial of Sponsor Circles set the stage for the Uniting for Ukraine program, which launched in April and has led to an extraordinary increase in the number of sponsors. Source: Foreign Affairs Magazine.

See this New Yorker article

United Kingdom:

Community Sponsorship is a UK government-backed, volunteer-led refugee resettlement scheme. Inspired by the Canadian Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, Community Sponsorship was introduced in the UK in 2016. The scheme enables groups of local volunteers to support a refugee family for their first year in the UK. It is eligible to those from Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt who are displaced due to the Syrian crisis. (Wikipedia).

Canada’s private sponsorship program for refugees

Canada introduced private sponsorships during the wave of Southeast Asian refugees in the late 1970s. A large share of its refugee intake happens through this program. Go here. Private sponsors support a refugee for the sponsorship period, usually up to 1 year. The support includes start-up costs, such as furniture and clothing, on-going monthly costs for basic necessities, including housing, food, and public transportation, and supporting refugees socially and emotionally. (go here).

Who can sponsor a refugee?

Sponsorship agreement holders: These groups have a formal agreement with the department to sponsor refugees. Groups of five: This is a group of five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents who live in the community where the refugees will settle. Community sponsors: This is an organization, an association or a corporation based in the community where the refugees will settle.

The sponsor will present the name of a refugee or refugee family it would like to sponsor. One of our officers will decide if a group has set up the supports it needs to be a sponsor.

This group trains private sponsors.

Georgia’s audit of voters among non-citizens

There are about 600,000 non-citizen foreign born persons in the Georgia, in addition to about 400,000 foreign born persons who have naturalized.

George Secretary of State Raffensperger conducted the first audit of Georgia’s voter rolls for citizenship status in the state’s history.  He focused on attempted registrations. He reported the results in March, 2022. (Here and here.)

The review involved the Georgia Department of Driver Services and USCIS’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program.

The attempts spanned from 1997 until as recently as February 24, 2022. 1,319, or 80.7% of the attempted registrations, have occurred since 2016.

The search found 1,634 individuals who had attempted to register to vote in Georgia despite not being citizens. None of these individuals have cast ballots in Georgia elections.

Assume that 85% of the non-naturalized foreign born are adults, or 510,000 persons, This means that 0.3% attempted to register to vote.  however, is it very likely that some of these persons had incorrectly labeled themselves as non-citizens in their drivers license forms. Databases do not match 100% each other and the facts in the ground.

I have posted here and here about spurious allegations of voter fraud by non-citizens.

Venesuelan refugees surging at Mexican border

Encounters at the Mexican border with Venesuelans were 2,800 in 2020. This calendar year they are running at an annual rate of 200,000

Foreign Policy reports that more than 6.8 million Venezuelans in have fled their country in the past eight years, which is equivalent to about 25% of its current  population of 28 million. Compare this to the seven millions external refugees from Ukraine, or 18% of its population of about 40 million.

Colombia has taken in 2.5 million Venezuelan refugees; Peru, 1.2 million.