What ChatGPT tells me about AI and immigration

 

I’ve posted here about global talent in artificial intelligence. Here is what ChatGPT has to say.

Describe the distribution of artificial intelligence experts throughout the world

Artificial intelligence (AI) expertise is distributed throughout the world, with concentrations in certain regions and countries.

North America, particularly the United States, is considered to be a leading center for AI research and development. Many of the world’s top AI companies and research institutions are located in the US, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and IBM. Additionally, many universities in the US, such as MIT and Stanford, have strong AI research programs and produce many of the top AI experts in the field.

Europe also has a strong presence in the field of AI, with several countries having well-established research communities. The United Kingdom, France, Germany and Switzerland have a large number of AI experts and companies working in the field of AI.

In Asia, China and South Korea are becoming major players in the field of AI, with a growing number of companies and research institutions investing in AI research and development.

India is also emerging as a key player in the field of AI, with a large number of AI experts and a growing number of companies working in the field.

In Latin America, countries like Brazil, Argentina and Chile are showing a growing interest in AI and are starting to develop their own AI research communities.

What is the share of artificial intelligence experts in the U.S. who are foreign born?

According to a study by the National Science Board, about one-third of all artificial intelligence (AI) experts in the United States are foreign-born. The study found that of the 1.2 million people working in the field of AI in the US, about 36% were born outside of the country. This is in line with the trend of high-skilled immigration in the US, where a significant percentage of professionals in technology and other STEM fields are foreign-born.

Many of these foreign-born AI experts come from countries such as India, China, and Canada, and have been attracted to the US by the opportunities to work at leading technology companies and research institutions, as well as the availability of funding and resources for AI research.

How Indians came to dominate the independent hotel business

When I come across an Indian at the reception desk of a modestly priced hotel, I routinely ask if she or he comes from Gujarat State.

Indians, primarly from Gujarat, are estimated to own between 80 and 90 percent of the motels in small towns. According to the Asian American Hotel Owners Association. 34,000 hotel are run by Indians (from all states in India), out of about 50,000 hotels in total in the U.S. For instance, 89% of all hotels in Texas are owned by Indians.(Go here.)

Indians began to buy hotels in the 1940s, mainly in California, But the surge started in 1976 when Chandrakant Patel, working for Braniff airlines in Dallas, and with masters degrees from Stanford and Johns Hopkins, bought a hotel he named the Alamo Plaza Hotel Courts Dallas, part of a chain of Alamo hotels which eventually went out of business.  (This from a 1999 New York Times article. Also go here.)

He manned the front desk, his  wife did the laundry. The family, with four children had a 2,000 square-feet house to live in rooms behind the motel’s front desk.

“It was a tough life managing both my airline job and the motel at the same time. I had to sacrifice a lot, especially in terms of my family life but I realized soon that I was saving a lot of money in terms of rent, utilities and phone bills because I was staying on my own property and using the motel’s phone and power connections.”

Eventually Indians, especially those from Gujarat, bought and operated many thousands of motels in rural America, often the only Indian family in town.

A formula for purchase, management and further investment evolved. Financing came from family and friends, for a down payment, from an independent American owner who wanted to leave the hotel business – Indian vastly expanded their ownership while the demand for hotel rooms grew and existing owners decided to sell. (Go here for a recent history of hotels in the U.S.)  One did not need fluent English, and the owners lived in the hotel. Extended family members came to live in the hotels. Profits were often used to buy other hotels.

Assume a small budget hotel with 40 rooms, an 60% occupancy rate with average nightly charge of $75. By providing most of the labor, the owner family can removed some 50% of operating costs. If the profit margin is 30%, income after expenses will be around $200,000.

Patel himself went on purchase 13 hotels by 1987, eventually large big city hotels as well. He founded the State Bank of Texas. His well-educated sons are part of the management team. (This hotel Patel family is different from Mafat Patel, who immigrated to Chicago and built a chain of grocery stores.)

Here is a short Youtube Video of a case study about Indian run hotels.

Naturalization is back up.

From Pew Research: The naturalized citizen population in the U.S. continues to increase rapidly. The total number of naturalized citizens in the U.S. almost tripled between 1995 and 2019, from 7.6 million to 22.1 million. The share of lawful immigrants who were naturalized grew steadily from 38% in 1995 to 65% in 2019. Net result: a greater share of foreign born persons in the U.S. are citizens — thus able to vote.

there are about 46.6 million foreign born persons in the U.S. (legal, illegal, temporary, permanent) –up from 34.2 million in 2000.

Green card holders can achieve citizenship after a waiting period of at least five years before they are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship after three years. Once one applies for citizenship, the bureaucratic steps take about a year.

Pew says that immigrants are more likely to be naturalized if they speak English very well, have strong ties to the U.S. and have lived in the U.S. for a long time.  (To pass an English test, you must be able to demonstrate an understanding of basic English grammar, vocabulary, and reading and writing skills.).

My sense is that many immigrants from Mexica and Central America are relatively less motivated to become American citizens due to continuing strong attachment to their countries of origin.

 

Vulnerability of climate change: The Sahel

The Sahel, broadly defined, is an expense of whole countries and portions of countries south of North Africa, extending from the Atlantic coast to the Red Sea, from Senegal to Eritrea but also bordering parts of Nigeria, Algeria, Central African Republic and other countries.  Some 150 million persons live there. The countries have some of the highest birth rates in the world, some exceeding 5 children per woman.

One center says that “the temperature of the Sahel will increase by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by 2050 and possibly 8 degrees Celsius by 2100. Rainfall will decrease and become more erratic. Agricultural production will decrease from anywhere between 13 percent in Burkina Faso to almost 50 percent in Sudan.

The entire sweep of countries are among the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change,  measured in degree of exposure to harm in food, water, health, ecosystem service, human habitat, and infrastructure, and degree to their incapacity to adapt to change. Go here for Notre Dame’ ranking of countries,

A Migration Policy Institute report of November 2022 says that most people severely affected by climate change will be immobile, either choosing to stay or forced to do so. In Burkina Faso, for example, people living in better environmental conditions are more likely to migrate, in part because severe rainfall deficits and bad harvests can make it harder for people in other areas to gather the resources needed to move internationally.  In a 2021 survey of West African migrants conducted in Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali, Niger, Sudan, and Tunisia, 86 percent shared that they had left their countries of origin because of economic reasons and only 2 percent cited natural disasters or environmental reasons. However, when asked if environmental issues were a factor in their decision to leave, 41 percent agreed.

 

Fast tracking refugee admissions – privatized humanitarian parole

The Biden administration is applying “humanitarian parole” to fast track would be refugees. Parole is temporary (two years) and assumes the person will return to her country of origin. Refugee status is permanent. However, it is hard to imagine that parole status will not eventually convert to permanent residence. And since the refugees will have family sponsors, the lobbying will be intense.

The first major use of this approach to refugee immigration was for Ukraine (see below). The administration just applied the approach to four other countries. On January 5 DHS announced the use of private sponsorship humanitarian parole for Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela: “These processes will allow up to 30,000 qualifying nationals per month from all four of these countries to reside legally in the United States for up to two years and to receive permission to work here, during that period.” See more towards the end.

The normal refugee system of the U.S. has performed miserably in the past two fiscal years: 25,465 in FY 2022, 11,411 in FY 2021. Trump had lowered the ceiling of annual refugee admissions to 15,000, the Biden administration raised the cap to 125,000. The system is severely backlogged. The State Department expected 300,000 new asylum and refugee applications in FY 2012.

First, why the backlog? The Immigration Forum in late 2021 explained the procedure by which refugees around the world are selected, screened, and ultimately admitted and resettled into the U.S. “It is a process that has grown increasingly complicated in recent years, encompassing numerous government agencies, at least five separate information technology systems, and a trove of inscrutable acronyms (FTTTF, RAD, NVGB, to name a few).”

The administration introduced, apparently for the first time in American history, a family, or private, sponsorship program for what in effect is a temporary refugees program. It is country-specific – for Ukraine, yet possibly other countries. In effect, this is in part a privatized program to get around the bureaucracy of refugee admission.

On April 21, 2022, the executive branch announced Uniting for Ukraine. (Go here and here for the government websites.) “Uniting for Ukraine provides a pathway for Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who are outside the United States to come to the United States and stay temporarily in a 2 year period of [humanitarian] parole. Ukrainians participating in Uniting for Ukraine must have a supporter in the United States who agrees to provide them with financial support for the duration of their stay in the United States….The U.S. government will then vet the supporter to ensure that they are able to financially support the individual whom they agree to support.”

The Wall Street Journal reported on November 24th that, under the Uniting for Ukraine program, there were 171,000 applications to be sponsors, 121,000 travel authorizations for Ukrainians and roughly 85,000 arriving since April, said a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman.

In a December 21 article the WSJ raised the number of total admissions to 200,000, of which 94,000 were through the United for Ukraine program of private sponsorships and another 35,000 approved but not yet arrived. “Congress made the Ukrainians eligible for a range of refugee benefits, including Medicaid, housing assistance and food stamps. They are also eligible to work the moment they arrive.”

Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua 

Large numbers of persons from these countries have been showing up at the border, crossing illegally to seek asylum — only once one is on American soil does one apply for asylum. (Go here.)

The WSJ writes,” More than 150,000 Venezuelans have crossed the border illegally in the first 11 months of the government’s fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, compared with about 48,000 the entire year before, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. (Go here for a posting on the Venezuelan refugee crisis.) Late last year, a private sponsorship / parole program was introduced for 24,000 persons a year.

The Biden administration introduced a parole program for Venezuelans modeled after Uniting for Ukraine – that is, private sponsorship — and the volume of Venezuelans at the border dried up. In the January 5 announced program, citizens of these four countries are eligible for private sponsorship, up to 30,000 a year.  (USCIS website on this is here.) Those who present themselves illegally at the border will be denied any access to ayslum for five years.   The desired effect, of course, is to greatly reduce large volumes of persons from these countries at the border.

Afghan refugees

Afghans have been admitted through the parole system but without family sponsorship available.

 

Climate stresses in Pakistan

Extreme weather is adversely affecting 15% of the population. Some two million are expected to internally migrate by 2050.

The ten countries with the greatest long-term climate risk or in descending order Puerto Rico, Myanmar, Haiti, Philippines, Pakistan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Thailand, Nepal, and Dominica. This posting deals with Pakistan.

Heat: “in Jacobabad, Sindh Province, Pakistan, temperatures surpassed a threshold that was “too hot for human tolerance”. The thermometer read over 52 degrees C (126 degrees F) with humidity. Experts note that if this temperature persists for more than a few hours, it could result in organ failure or even death. This milestone was reached far sooner than scientists and climate models had predicted. Jacobabad is one of two cities known to have crossed this threshold. Additionally, their research indicates that “this region of Pakistan along the Indus Valley is believed to be particularly vulnerable to climate change”, causing temperatures to rise even further in the near future.” (Go here.)

“Jacobabad, home to some 300,000 people, is one of two cities on Earth that researchers say recently passed heat and humidity thresholds above what the human body can tolerate. (The other is Ras al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.)” (Go here.)

Glacier melt: “Melting glaciers “are the biggest economic, human and national-security threat Pakistan will ever face,” said climate policy consultant Dawar Butt. Individuals residing in the northern region of Pakistan have noticed the glaciated margin pulling back further each year, part of the larger Himalayan and Karakoram glacial range that is in rapid retreat causing disasters throughout Pakistan, India, and Nepal.” (Go here.)

Rain: “By late August, writhing under a monsoon on steroids that was almost certainly exacerbated by climate change, a third of a country typically preoccupied with water shortages was drowning. Nearly 33 million people—one in seven Pakistanis—have been affected, with nearly eight million displaced. More than two thousand are dead, initially from rain-related accidents, then from waterborne diseases such as malaria and typhoid; the toll continues to climb. Pakistan has flooded before (the riverine floods of 2010, which ultimately killed nearly two thousand, were described as once-in-a-century), but it has never flooded at this scale, and never in so many ways at once.” (Go here.)

“From mid-June until the end of August 2022, large parts of Pakistan experienced record-breaking monsoonal rainfall, leading to large parts of the country being flooded. Pakistan is reported to have received more than 3 times its usual rainfall in August, making it the wettest August since 1961. The two southern provinces, Sindh and Balochistan, each experienced their wettest August ever recorded, receiving 7 and 8 times their usual monthly totals. The Indus river, that runs the length of the country, burst its banks across thousands of square kilometres, while the intense rainfall also led to urban flash floods, landslides.” (Go here.)

The historic irrigation system, up to 5,000 years old, is overwhelmed. “Pakistan’s overbuilt irrigation system is also a cause of chaos during disasters. In mid-September 2022, residents of villages near the town of Pangrio in southern Sindh, east of the Indus Delta, waited for word from authorities on whether or not to evacuate. Rain had not yet wrought extensive damage on their lands, but as the irrigation and drainage structures heaved to contain water—from upstream, from the western hill torrents, and from continued rains—news arrived of a sudden breach in the Left Bank Outfall Drain (another World Bank–funded project, intended to address waterlogging and salinity issues in upper Sindh). The breach brought the residents out of their homes, and they fled within hours. Leela Ram Kolhi, a local organizer, sent me a video of young villagers, water up to their calves, pushing an elderly man on a makeshift raft made from an upturned charpoy, buoyed by plastic water containers. (Go here.)

Many thousands of amnesty seeking persons from U.S. sanctioned countries are crossing at the Mexican border

A significant share of persons crossing the Mexican border in search of amnesty come from countries which has incurred the official wrath of the United States.

In October 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection had about 240,000 encounters at the Mexican border (many may be the same persons from prior months trying again). About 180,000 were from seven countries.  The country with the most persons was Mexico (66,000). Three countries with which the U.S. has an officially hostile relations – Cuba (29,000), Venezuela (22,000) and Nicaragua (21,000) — totaled about 72,000.  Given as the U.S. considers their governments as oppressive and (for Venezuela) illegitimate, it is reasonable to expect that many of these 72,000 will qualify for amnesty.  (Go here.)

Cubans

The Wall Street Journal reports that In the 12 months through October, around 244,000 Cubans were apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol after fleeing economic misery and political repression at home. Most of them came via this expensive airlift through Nicaragua, and were released into the U.S., according to U.S. officials.

It is the largest number of Cubans to arrive in the U.S. in a single wave since the late Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, twice the 125,000 who came in the Mariel boatlift of 1980 and almost six times as many as in the comparable 2021 period.

U.S. policy regarding Cuban refugees: the U.S. embassy in Havana has issued a statement that the following are acceptable reasons for amnesty: Members of persecuted religious minorities; Human rights activists; Former political prisoners; Forced-labor conscripts (1965-1968); and Persons deprived of their professional credentials or subjected to other disproportionately harsh or discriminatory treatment resulting from their perceived or actual political or religious beliefs or activities.

Nicaragua

On September 2022 White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said Nicaraguans are “fleeing political persecution and communism.” (Go here.)

Venezuela

In October 2022 the Biden administration said it would accept up to 24,000 Venezuelans via a humanitarian parole plan. (Go here.) This number is about equal to the number of Venezuelans to appear at the Mexican border each months. The administration in 2021 had provided for Temporary Protection Status though March 2024 to 320,000 Venezuelans in the U.S. without authorization. Yet as a sign of conflicted policy, the U.S. is expelling Venezuelans at the border (go here).

 

 

The Eritrean diaspora

Eritrea, which gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993, and which has been run by the former independence movement leader and now dictator pretty much since, Isaias Afwerki, has one of the most intensely alienated diasporas in the world. 800,000 Eritreans, or 13% live outside the country, some 300,000 of whom live in liberal democracies.  The diaspora population is riven by political schisms. Akwerki rules without a constitution or public budget. It may be the most difficult African country for the diaspora to exert any influence.

Once again the labor shortage

The U.S. workforce now is three million fewer than would be the normal number based on pre-pandemic trends. (At the depths of the pandemic it was five million fewer.)  This places even greater than before dependence on the inflow of immigrants.

Today, the workforce participation rate of 25-54 year olds, which was at a near 21st Century high of 83% in 2019, is now at 82.5%, and the rate for 55 and older, which used to be at 40.3%, is now at 38.3%.

Growth of the workforce, which averaged about 1.4% per year prior to the pandemic, will be about 0.4% for the next ten years, according to federal forecasts—about 600,000 a year.  Most of this annual gain is due to immigration.

Biden’s initial immigration proposal in early 2021 was to increase immigration by about 500.000 a year, which would increase the annual inflow of workforce – type people from about 500.000 to 750,000.

Also go here.

 

 

 

Pay attention to India

 

Shruti Rajagopalan,  who writes the Substack blog Get Down and Shruti,  predicts that the country will be a global sources of IT talent, and that the U.S. is committing hari-kari because it is so hard for Indians to migrate here. Excerpts:

At present, both India and China have 1.43 billion people. The difference is that while China will depopulate and age over the next forty years, during the same time, India will add the same number of people China loses, over a quarter of a billion.

Globally, one in five people below 25 is from India. 47% of Indians, about 650 million, are below the age of 25. This group of young Indians has some unique characteristics.

First, they have grown up in a market economy, post-command-and-control socialism. Two-thirds of Indians were born after the 1991 big bang reforms and have not experienced rationing and long lines for essential goods (other than episodic shortages during Covid). They have lived in an India that has averaged about 6 percent annual growth for three decades. They have access to global goods and content, and this generation of Indians wants and expects to compete with the world.

Second, a large proportion of these young Indians have grown up with access to the internet, with more coming online each year. Close to two-thirds of the population has access to a smartphone, and by 2040, it will be over 95% of Indians. Indians have access to some of the cheapest mobile data plans in the world, and charges are $0.17 per gigabyte on average, with plans as low as 5 cents per gigabyte.

Third, compared to their parents and grandparents, this generation of Indians has grown up exposed to some English, though only the rich with elite education have native-level fluency.

Another difference compared to previous generations is India’s growing number of entrepreneurs and the vibrant startup culture.

Indians will be the largest pool of global talent. Barring immigration restrictions or diversity quotas, in the next few decades, Indian students will form the single largest international student cohort at most top universities in the English-speaking world.

Universities should plan for the future, hire and engage scholars working on India more seriously, start programs and centers focused on India to understand its political economy and culture better, have more papers on India in their top journals, and publish more books on India through their university press.

The single largest pool of talent will be STEM graduates. American and British labor markets face a massive shortage of STEM graduates, usually filled by foreign-born/trained students

The US has a particularly bad immigration system where Indians are concerned. First, the US issues too few work visas relative to the demand generated by US firms, especially for highly skilled STEM talent from large countries like India and China.

During the tech boom in the nineties, Indians easily moved to Silicon Valley and rose to the top. Top STEM talent today is reluctant to move to the US and deal with immigration problems for decades. The UK, Canada, or founding their own start-up in India, are far more appealing. Given changing global demographics, the country caps obstructing Indian talent is hara-kiri for the US labor market and innovation.

This is also bizarre as a policy preference, given that highly skilled Indian immigrants have an excellent track record of assimilating, are often considered the model immigrant community, have an incredible track record of leading blue-chip American companies, and are dubbed “The Other One Percent.” If nothing changes and Indian talent cannot easily flow to the US, in a few decades, US capital and US firms will move to India.

Countries that are depopulating, like Finland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Portugal, and Japan, should seriously think about attracting young Indian talent to settle permanently.

English is the 44th most spoken language in India (at native-level fluency). Only about 1.5 million Indians speak English as their first language. But about 15-20 million have relatively high levels of English fluency as a second language, and another 200 million can understand basic English.