Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Bopha Malone

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

Bopha Malone with an Enterprise Bank client in Lowell, Massachusetts. “When I was three my mother walked to a camp. I arrived in the U.S. in 1989 as a nine-year-old. The refugee generation worked all hours, they did not know the laws. Our generation born just before or in the refugee camps know the system, we’re able to get better jobs. I acclimated very quickly – it scared my parents. Now Cambodians are arriving with some assets.”


What Trump’s merit based system might look like

Friday, May 17th, 2019

The White House yesterday (5/16/19)  announced new immigration legislation without disclosing the text of an actual bill. But we can make an informed guess of its content by looking at the RAISE Act, which was proposed by Senators Cotton and Perdue in mid 2017. If enacted, the bill would turn immigration policy into an extremely selective and narrow funnel into which only the most educated and economically productive would be admitted. If unauthorized persons are not converted to legal status but are driven out of the country through legal enforcement, whole industries that rely on workers with low formal education would be challenged to survive.

The RAISE act would reduce levels of legal immigration to the United States by 50% by halving the number of green cards issued. The bill would also impose a cap of 50,000 refugee admissions a year and would end the visa diversity lottery. Legal immigration would be severely cut by reducing family based immigrations.

The Act would revise the awarding of 140,000 green cards for economic reasons to a merit-based system. The number of economic-based green cards would not increase. Entry through the points systems would surely be incredibly competitive, with only the most highly educated, most English fluent, highest-paid STEM workers making the cut.

It would essentially bar green cards for artists and low formally educated immigrants. Some 27 million foreign-born people work in America, about 17% of the workforce. Among major occupations with no need (1) for a high school degree and (2) much contact with the public, immigrants fill about 40% of these jobs. They include jobs on farms, construction sites, warehouses, in kitchens, and for building cleaning and maintenance. Roughly half of the immigrant workers in these jobs are undocumented.

An analysis of the RAISE Act by the Migration Policy Institute is here.

One undocumented family member would throw families out of public housing

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

Thousands of legal residents and citizens, including 55,000 children who are in the country legally, could be displaced under a proposed rule intended to prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving federal housing assistance, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The proposal, published on Friday, would prohibit families in which at least one member is undocumented from obtaining subsidized housing, according to an analysis by HUD career officials. The administration is pushing the changes to ensure that the benefits are awarded only to verified citizens — a move that was made without the knowledge of many longtime housing officials at the department.

Current rules bar undocumented immigrants from receiving federal housing subsidies, but allow families of mixed immigration status to live in subsidized housing as long as one household member is a legal resident. The subsidies are prorated based on the number of eligible members of the family. According to the HUD analysis, more than 108,000 people receiving benefits are in a household with at least one undocumented immigrant.

From the New York Times

Oath of Allegiance

Monday, May 13th, 2019

To be spoken by candidates for U.S. naturalization, upon which the oath-taker is a citizen.

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.


According to U.S. regulations, the phrase “so help me God” is optional and that the words ‘on oath’ can be substituted with ‘and solemnly affirm’.

According to U.S. Congress, if the prospective citizen is unable or unwilling to promise to bear arms or perform noncombatant military service because of “religious training and belief”, he or she may request to leave out those clauses. The law specifies:

The term “religious training and belief” as used in this section shall mean an individual’s belief in a relation to a Supreme Being involving duties superior to those arising from any human relation, but does not include essentially political, sociological, or philosophical views or a merely personal moral code.

From here.

The administration “is dismantling the infrastructure” of refugee resettlement

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Syrian refugees in Jordan, Mr and Mrs. Rastanawi were shocked to learn in March of this year that they were being admitted to the United States as refugees, and their spring arrival in Indianapolis was akin to winning the lottery. The country used to allow thousands of Syrians to immigrate, but the flow of Syrian refugees is at an almost complete stop.

Mrs. Rastanawi was riding a bus to pick up diabetes medication in March when she got the phone call telling her that she and her husband were eligible to come to the United States. The couple had to go to a hospital the next morning for a medical exam, pack their bags, pick up medication and get ready for a new life. The couple arrived at the Indianapolis airport on March 23. They are now living in Indianapolis, where their daughter lives with her family.

But the number of Syrian refugees allowed into the United States in fiscal 2016 was 12,587. In fiscal 2018, the United States admitted 62.

“Syrian refugees are the largest population of refugees seeking resettlement,” said Nazanin Ash, vice president of policy and advocacy for the International Rescue Committee. “Their vulnerability is increasing while U.S. policy is reducing admissions.”

The sharp decline in refugees has led some resettlement agencies to dismantle the infrastructure that has helped place those seeking assistance within the United States and leaving struggling U.S. towns short of workers they are eager to welcome. The nine organizations that resettle refugees in the United States have all had to lay off staff or close offices, sometimes both.

In 2016, Exodus Refugee Immigration in Indianapolis resettled refugees from 13 countries, including Syria, Iraq and Sudan. Last year, Exodus placed refugees from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Congo and Eritrea, said Cole Varga, the group’s executive director. The drop in refugees means the group’s funding has been cut almost in half, and the group laid off or did not backfill more than a dozen positions.

“One of the most striking things, I think, is just how much disruption this has caused to the network,” Varga said. “The top level is all the missing refugees who are not in the U.S., but it’s also about how [the president] is dismantling the infrastructure of this program.”

From the Washington Post

Medical care for the 13,000 migrant children in U.S. custody

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

Pro Publica reports that the care of immigrant children in U.S. custody has faced intense scrutiny over the past year as thousands of sexual abuse allegations and reports of personal enrichment by some nonprofit operators have raised questions about the federal government’s ability to monitor its network of about 100 shelters.

The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), in the Department of Health and Human Services, oversees the shelters. Lapses in medical care documented by a New Jersey-based pediatrician, Elana Levites-Agababa raise critical questions about the patchwork of state regulations that ORR relies on to monitor the shelters, which range from tiny group homes to 2,000-bed facilities and are often tucked in small towns and remote locations. The other day, a 16-year-old boy died shortly after arriving at an ORR shelter in Texas.

There were 13,500 children in shelters as of the end of February, more than five times as many as there were two years ago. On May 1, Trump requested congressional funding to nearly double the number of beds.

Under a federal court settlement, the shelters are required to provide routine medical care and emergency services, including a medical exam, immunizations and screening for infectious diseases within 48 hours of admission.

ORR’s guidelines further require shelter workers to observe children for signs of illness and to respond to nonemergency requests for medical attention within 24 to 48 hours. The shelters must notify ORR within four hours of an emergency room visit, review hospital discharge plans and follow doctors’ treatment recommendations.

But while ORR has the power to remove kids from shelters and cut off funding, it’s also desperate for beds, and any major reduction in capacity could create a crisis. Those conflicting priorities are why child advocates say state oversight is important.

A Century Ago America Built Another Kind of Wall

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

There was a time when even Ivy League scientists supported racial restrictions at the border, says Daniel Okrent in the NY Times. Their advocacy of racial disparity led to the passage in 1924 of The Immigration Act of 1924 (The Johnson-Reed Act). The Act limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota. The quota provided immigration visas to two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia.

Okrent writes:

In early 1921, an article in Good Housekeeping signaled the coming of a law that makes President Trump’s campaign for immigration restriction seem mild by comparison. “Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend,” it read. “The dead weight of alien accretion stifles national progress.” The author was Calvin Coolidge, about to be sworn in as vice president of the United States. Three years later, the most severe immigration law in American history entered the statute books, shepherded by believers in those “biological laws.”

The scientific arguments Coolidge invoked were advanced by men bearing imposing credentials. Together, they popularized “racial eugenics,” a junk science that made ethnically based racism respectable. The biologists and their publicists achieved what their political allies had failed to accomplish for 30 years: enactment of a law stemming the influx of Jews, Italians, Greeks and other eastern and southern Europeans. “The need of restriction is manifest,” The New York Times declared in an editorial, for “American institutions are menaced” by “swarms of aliens.”

They took the ideas of the British gentleman scientist Francis Galton — who had coined the word “eugenics” in 1883 — welded them to a gross misunderstanding of the genetic discoveries of Gregor Mendel, and concluded that the makeup of the nation’s population could be improved by the careful control of human breeding.

First published in 1916, “The Passing of the Great Race,” a book by Madison Grant, the founder of the Bronx Zoo and the era’s most prominent conservationist,  savagely denigrated the peoples of eastern and southern Europe while exalting the “Nordics” of northwestern Europe.

Princeton faculty member Carl C. Brigham, the inventor of the SAT, wrote, “There can be no doubt that recent history has shown a movement of inferior peoples or inferior representatives of peoples to this country.”

The aging of the white race in America

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

From the Brookings Institution:

The picture being painted for the upcoming decades is one of a rapidly growing largely white native born senior population, that is becoming dependent on a more slow growing and increasingly diverse child and labor force aged population.

The white population is projected to decline.  This decline has already occurred for whites under the age of 18 since 2000. Census projections show the decline will continue for whites in their 20s and 30s in the two decades ahead. Only whites over age 65 show significant projected growth. This means that all of the growth in the nation’s youth and tepidly growing labor force population will come from racial minorities and particularly new minorities.

The 2020 census will show that a majority of the under-18 population will identify with races other than white. This will especially be the case for the 18-29 year old labor force aged population in 2030, when whites will account for 48% in this age group, Hispanics 27%, Blacks 13% and Asians 7.%

Table: numeric absolute change in population by race, 2020 – 2030 (in millions):

Half of pop growth in U.S. is by immigrants

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

The share of U.S. population growth attributable to immigrants hit 48% for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018, up from 35% in fiscal 2011.

The general fertility rate in 2017 for women age 15 to 44 was 60.2 births per 1,000 women—the lowest since the government began tracking it more than a century ago, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia drew on immigration for more than half of their growth last fiscal year, including Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The figures encompass people moving to and from the U.S., including an influx from Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Migration from Puerto Rico is counted as immigration by the Census Bureau though the island is a U.S. territory and its residents are U.S. citizens.

Since 2010, the biggest share of immigrants—41%—has come from Asia, according to separate census figures. A fifth, or 21%, has come from Mexico and Central America.

From the Wall Street Journal.

Deported to Mexico

Thursday, April 25th, 2019


Politico reported on a deportation of a father in New York City back to his Mexican state of origin, Puebla, which is southeast and east of Mexico City. The authors wrote, “Numbers alone can’t capture what it’s like to spend years or decades building a life, finding work, starting a family—only to be torn away and made to return to the violent and impoverished place you fled.”

Jorge Vargas, now back in living with his mother in the town of Santa Lucia, says, “Since I was deported, I hardly leave my room. All of my old friends are now involved in gangs and drugs, so I stay home.”

Now 28, he lived in New York from age 15 to 27. Just when he was on the verge of qualifying for DACA, having passed the biometrics screening, and just after his wife had given birth to their son, he was arrested by ICE in April 2017 on his way to work and was deported within a month. The name of his newborn son, Joandri, whom he hasn’t seen in almost two years, is tattooed on his arm.

An estimated 1 million undocumented Poblanos live in the United States—one of the largest communities of undocumented Mexican immigrants in the country. Roughly half of those million Poblanos are in New York, where areas like Corona, Queens, have earned the nickname Puebla York. Puebla is the only Mexican state that has a New York office devoted to immigrants, and every year, the Puebla government sponsors reunions of Poblano families, who are allowed to visit their undocumented relatives in the United States on temporary visas for three weeks.

Those who leave Puebla escape the dire poverty of a state where most families earn an average of US $70 a month. More than 60 percent of Puebla’s 6 million people live below the poverty line; many Poblanos resign to labor under the control of cartels in order to stay above it. Meanwhile, an undocumented Mexican construction worker in New York can earn more in a day than he would make in a month in Puebla. Most Poblanos in the United States send much of their earnings back to family below the border.