Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Supreme Court to consider unauthorized resident issue

Sunday, November 29th, 2020


On Monday November 30 the Supreme Court hears the arguments over whether unauthorized persons can be excluded from Congressional apportionment. This long posting will brief you on the issue.

Before delving into the current issue, I note that the Trump Administration has been trying from the start to reshape elections through innovative use of census data. I posted here about an attempt to apportion Congressional seats by excluding all non-citizens, authorized and unauthorized.

What is at stake.

The way in which the 435 Congressional seats are divided up among the states when unauthorized persons are excluded from the apportionment process.

Why it matters.

I posted on July 21 that Brookings demographer William Frey opined that only states where the undocumented population is so proportionally large that they would lose seats are California (lose 2 seats of 53), Texas (lose 1 seat of 36) and Illinois (lose 1 of 18). Florida would come close to losing 1 of 27 seats.

What the Trump Memorandum says, plus to relevant passages in law.

Trump Administration’s action (from a suit by New York State): On July 21, 2020, President Trump issued a “Memorandum on Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census” The Memorandum announces a “policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status.” It directs the Secretary of Commerce to provide the President with information to carry out this policy. And it declares the President’s intent to make a determination of the “whole number of persons in each State” that will in fact exclude the undocumented immigrants he has targeted throughout his administration.”

I posted here about the statistical methods to be used to estimate the unauthorized population.

Text of Article XIV § 2 of the Constitution: Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.

4. 13 U.S.C. 141(a)-(b) provides: (a) The Secretary shall, in the year 1980 and every 10 years thereafter, take a decennial census of population as of the first day of April of such year, which date shall be known as the “decennial census date”, in such form and content as he may determine, including the use of sampling procedures and special surveys. In connection with any such census, the Secretary is authorized to obtain such other census information as necessary. (b) The tabulation of total population by States under subsection (a) of this section as required for the apportionment of Representatives in Congress among the several States shall be completed within 9 months after the census date and reported by the Secretary to the
President of the United States.

What the opponents of the Memorandum say.
New York State’s brief July 24, 2020 : The President’s new policy and any actions Defendants take to implement it unequivocally violate the Fourteenth Amendment. The constitutional mandate to base apportionment on “the whole number of persons in each State” could hardly be clearer, and the Supreme Court has long recognized that undocumented immigrants are “persons” under the Fourteenth Amendment, Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 210 (1982). The Memorandum’s open disregard of the Constitution’s plain text is reason enough to invalidate it and to prevent Defendants from taking steps to carry out its unlawful policy.”

How the Justice Dept is defending the Memorandum.
Quoting from its brief: “It has long been understood that, under the governing legal provisions, the phrase “persons in each State” means “inhabitants” (or “usual residents”), and vests discretion in the Executive Branch to ascertain how that standard applies to particular categories of persons with debatable ties to a State.

The Justice Department says that “person” in state “has long been understood to cover only a State’s “‘inhabitant”…”As history, precedent, and structure indicate, the President need not treat all illegal aliens as “inhabitants” of the States and thereby allow their defiance of federal law to distort the allocation of the people’s Representatives. To the contrary, that an alien lacks permission to be in this country, and may be subject to removal, is relevant to whether he has sufficient ties to a State to rank among its “inhabitants.”

The DOJ goes on: “Founding-era dictionaries defined “inhabitant” as one who “dwells or resides permanently in a place…. This understanding of “inhabitants” is also consistent with Franklin’s observation that the concepts of “‘inhabitan[ce]’” or “‘usual reside[nce]’” can mean “more than mere physical presence” and can connote “some element of allegiance or enduring tie to a place.”

Most unauthorized persons have been living (or, have been “inhabitants”) in the U.S. for over 10 years.
Pew Research reports that “A rising share of unauthorized immigrants have lived in the U.S. for more than a decade. About two-thirds (66%) of unauthorized immigrant adults in 2017 had been in the U.S. more than 10 years, compared with 41% in 2007. A declining share of unauthorized immigrants have lived in the U.S. for five years or less – 20% of adults in 2017, compared with 30% in 2007. In 2017, unauthorized immigrant adults had lived in the U.S. for a median of 15.1 years, meaning that half had been in the country at least that long.”

See this Washington Post article.

Rapid decline in international students

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

The total number of international students studying at U.S. universities, whether from within the U.S. or online from abroad, decreased by 16 percent this fall, while enrollments of new international students decreased by 43 percent, according to a new survey of more than 700 colleges conducted by 10 major higher education organizations.

The survey provides a first look at how hard international enrollments have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey found that one in five international students are studying online from outside the U.S. Ninety percent of responding institutions reported student deferrals, collectively reporting that nearly 40,000 international students have deferred their studies to a future term.

Pre-pandemic data show a 0.6 percent decline in new international enrollments in 2019-20 — the fourth straight year of declines in new international enrollments — and a 1.8 percent decrease in the total number of international students. The decline in total international student numbers is the first recorded year-over-year decline in total international student numbers since 2005-06.

From here.

Immigration and the electorate 2000 to 2000

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

The Center for Immigration Studies summarizes the growth of the immigrant-related eligible voter population (both naturalized adult immigrants and their U.S.-born children):

Nationally, the number of voting-age citizens who are immigrants or their children increased by 71 percent, while the rest of the potential electorate grew by just 15 percent between 2000 and 2020. As a share of eligible voters, immigrants and their children increased their share from 14 percent to 20 percent.

As a share of eligible voters, between 2000 and 2020 adult immigrants and their adult U.S.-born children increased the most in New Jersey, from 23 percent to 36 percent; Texas, from 14 percent to 25 percent; Maryland, from 12 percent to 23 percent; California, from 33 percent to 43 percent; Georgia, from 4 percent to 13 percent; Virginia, from 7 percent to 16 percent; and in North Carolina, from 4 percent to 12 percent.

Biden and immigration

Friday, November 20th, 2020

Here is a post-election summary of some of the elements in the Biden immigration platform. They come down to two types: (1) reversal of Trump administration executive orders and (2) streamlining some channels of immigration. From here.

Missing are an initiative to assess immigration for the future of the workforce and society, and effective controls over unauthorized immigration (which includes e-Verify).

Here is my July 15 posting on Biden’s 1,800 word statement on immigration.




Unauthorized workers and the future of the American economy

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

The 160 million person workforce of the country includes roughly 8 million unauthorized workers who are predominantly with little formal education and very restricted as to their ability to progress into well-paying jobs, to buy household assets, and to demand good working conditions. This is a captive workforce, one which perpetuates low productivity jobs and social indignity.

A friend in London told me the story of the Midland Grand Hotel, which opened in about 1865 next to St. Pancras Station. Five stories tall, it was the epitome of luxury, coal fires every room, even elevators. But as there was no central plumbing a battalion of servant girls was required to haul coal and hot water up to the rooms and carry down full chamber pots. During World War One, women were hired to work in factories. They did not want to go back to domestic service, with its low pay and demeaning social status. The hotel was forced to close

It reopened in the 2011, without the servant girls.

Immigration post-Trump

Saturday, November 14th, 2020

I have not posted since before the election. Now is time to make some initial observations on what the election results mean for immigration policy.

The starting point is the removal of a president with the most coherent immigration policy in generations – a policy basically to cut the inflow of immigrants in half, across the board, but with a tilt in favor of those with high formal job skills. And, this policy is to be run almost entirely through executive order, relying very little or not at all on Congressional approval.

The president replacing him is an immigration inclusivist, without expressed policy choices that would give liberals, moderates, and perhaps even some fiscal conservative much heartburn.

A key point to make today that there is little public support for the Trump policy of severe cutback in immigration. It appears to be supported by only his fervent supporters, and even then only a segment of his fervent supporters.

John Hibbing, in his 2020 book The Securitarian Personality, has polled Trump supporters. His key restrictionist followers are what Hibbing call “securitarians.” They are generally financially comfortable, have a good sense of well-being, and are preoccupied with threats to the country’s well-being and safety as they see it. One of the leading threats to them are immigrants who take advantage of America’s wealth. In one sense, their view is correct: overall, immigrants gain economically vs. their chances in their country of origin more than the U.S. economy appears to.

In the graph below, we see how Trump supporters feel threatened by immigrants a lot more (this is not being personally threatened, but the fabric of true America being threatened). The population segments are Liberals, Moderates, Conservatives who are not strong Trump supporters, and Trump supporters.


The next graph shows that immigration is the most important issue for Trump supporters.



 

Rising economic status of Hispanic workers

Thursday, October 29th, 2020

The median real (i.e. net of inflation) weekly wages of Hispanic men have improved by 20% between 2000 and today; for Hispanic women, by 17%. But half of that growth has taken place after 2013. Since then, Hispanic incomes have risen faster than those of whites, blacks and Asians.

A 2018 study of intergenerational economic mobility reports that “Hispanics have relatively high rates of absolute upward mobility and are moving up significantly in the income distribution across generations.”

Remittances to Mexico have grown by a lot

A fair indicator of the trends in economic fortunes of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. (legal, unauthorized, naturalized or not) is the trend in remittances from the U.S. to Mexico. The chart below shows that this amount grew significantly in the 2000s, declined and leveled off due to the 2008 financial crisis, and has grown by a lot during Trump administration. This most recent trend is consistent with the trend in Hispanic wages.

Does this translate in more Republican Hispanics?

The only Hispanic community with a distinctly pro-Republican presence is Cuban. The basic issue however is that Hispanics have relatively much lower rate of voting.

Immigrants staffed the early 20th C manufacturing industry

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

European immigration provided the large semi or unskilled workforces for industrial growth in the first decades of the 20th Century. They cut off access to these jobd by Blacks who otherwise would have migrated in large numbers from the South.

Here is the abstract of a 2009 article:

In this study, we measure the contribution of immigrants and their descendents to the growth and industrial transformation of the American workforce in the age of mass immigration from 1880 to 1920. The size and selectivity of the immigrant community, as well as their disproportionate residence in large cities, meant they were the mainstay of the American industrial workforce. Immigrants and their children comprised over half of manufacturing workers in 1920, and if the third generation (the grandchildren of immigrants) are included, then more than two-thirds of workers in the manufacturing sector were of recent immigrant stock. Although higher wages and better working conditions might have encouraged more long-resident native-born workers to the industrial economy, the scale and pace of the American industrial revolution might well have slowed. The closing of the door to mass immigration in the 1920s did lead to increased recruitment of native-born workers, particularly from the South, to northern industrial cities in the middle decades of the 20th century.

Immigration and the American Industrial Revolution From 1880 to 1920, by Charles Hirschman and Elizabeth Mogford. Soc Sci Res. 2009 Dec 1; 38(4): 897–920.

Trump Administration tightens H-1B rules

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

The Trump Administration is undertaking to severely constrain the use of H-1B visas. This visa program was created in 1990 for professional level temporary workers. This visa lasts for up to six years. Indian and Chinese workers in STEM fields have dominated the flow. The program, set at 85,000 new visas a year, attracts far more applicants than allowed by the cap.

The Administration is issuing new rules which constrain the problem in at least two ways. First, the rules are being changed to force a more narrow match between the applicant’s qualifications and the occupation the applicant will fill. Second, the wage paid to the applicant will need to meet a higher threshold of “prevailing wage,” i.e. be paid more,

The Administration has already restricted the right of a H-1B visa holder’s spouse to work in the U.S. 

Since the 1950s the use of skilled foreign workers has been debated, with waves of arguments for or against there being a labor shortage in the U.S. Two indicators are often referred to. One, are the wage levels in the occupational categories under consideration (such as computer scientists) going up significantly higher than average wage increases? Second, are the unemployment rates of the occupational categories relatively low? A “yes” answer to both questions can be taken an evidence that a labor shortage exists.

The case for importing skilled workers when both answers are “yes” is bolstered by a contention that in these skilled fields, the addition of a foreign-born worker leads to further job openings to be field by U.S. citizens.

I doubt the arguments for or against temporary foreign skilled workers are often overwhelmingly strong in one direction or another. This makes it particularly costly that Washington does not have an agency which tracks, studies and makes projections of labor demands and foreign workers.

for stories of these recent rules, go here and here.

 

Impact of immigration of U.S. population growth since 1965

Monday, October 19th, 2020

The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act replaced the restrictionist and explicitly racist Immigration Act of 1924. In 1965 there were 6.9 million foreign-born persons in the United State. Today there about 45 million.

Between 1965 and 2015, new immigrants, their children and their grandchildren accounted for 55% of U.S. population growth. They added 72 million people to the nation’s population as it grew from 193 million in 1965 to 324 million in 2015. Growth of this size was not anticipated in 1965.

In 1980, foreign-born persons were geographically concentrated pretty much as they were in the 1920s – in California, the Northeastern cities, and some old cities in the interior such as Chicago. Since about 1980 they have spread throughout the country.

The combined population share of immigrants and their U.S.-born children was 26% in 2015 and has also certainly risen. That percentage (which leaves out third generation) is projected to rise to 36% in 2065, at least equaling previous peak levels at the turn of the 20th century.

From Pew Research.