Declining popular support for Biden immigration initiative

The Morning Consult reports:

As of last week [9/19/-9/21], a majority of voters (55 percent) disapproved of Biden’s handling of immigration, up 16 percentage points from his opening weeks in office and his worst marks on a list of 14 issues regularly tracked in Morning Consult/Politico polling.

In the latest poll, Republicans in Congress are narrowly favored over their Democratic counterparts, 44 percent to 39 percent, on trust to handle immigration, a sizable swing from January, when Democrats in Congress had a 10-point edge in trust on the question.

65% of Republican voters strongly oppose raising the refugee cap, twice the size of strong Democratic support.


Does skin pigmentation of migrants affect their health?

Researchers propose than when persons with darker skin migrate to places with less intense sunlight, they suffer health effects and have higher mortality.

The abstract:

We argue that migration during the last 500 years induced differences in contemporary health outcomes. The theory behind our analysis builds on three physiological facts. First, vitamin D deficiency is directly associated with higher risk of all-cause mortality. Second, the ability of humans to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight (UV-R) declines with skin pigmentation. Third, skin pigmentation is the result of an evolutionary compromise between higher risk of vitamin D deficiency and lower risk of skin cancer. When individuals from high UV-R regions migrate to low UV-R regions, the risk of vitamin D deficiency rises markedly. We develop a measure that allows us to empirically explore the aggregate health consequences of such migration in a long historical perspective. We find that the potential risk of vitamin D deficiency induced by migration during the last half millennium is a robust predictor of present-day aggregate health indicators.

Historical migration and contemporary health, by Thomas Barnebeck Andersen, Carl-Johan Dalgaard, Christian Volmer Skovsgaard, Pablo Selaya. Oxford Economic Papers, Volume 73, Issue 3, July 2021.

Go here and here.

How the Del Rio camp of Haitians evaporated

Reporting by Todd Bensman on 9/29/21:

DEL RIO, Texas — The migrant encampment under the international bridge here has been liquidated and the 15,000 mostly Haitian illegal migrants who had pooled under it have moved on to different futures (most paroled into the United States, but others flown to their home country of Haiti). Bulldozers have erased all evidence that anything of note ever happened here.

The important takeaway is that, even in this one, limited use, repatriation flights [to Haiti] proved highly impactful as a deterrent that reduced the camp’s population almost immediately. Air repatriation was the single most effective tool the administration brought to bear in liquidating the camp.

If such flights were ever applied border-wide and to a greater number of nationalities, the broader border crisis might be very significantly attenuated.

Many of those who fled the Del Rio camp said they planned to disappear into Mexico City or Monterrey or Tapachula to get their Mexican asylum, work, and bide their time until one thing happens and one thing only: The Biden administration stops the repatriation flights.

Then, they will return to cross the U.S. border.

From the Center for Immigration Studies

Tucker Carlson and Gaetz endorse Replacement Theory

Tucker Carlson endorsed replacement theory on Sept. 23:

What Joe Biden is doing now will change this country forever….An unrelenting stream of immigration. But why? Well, Joe Biden just said it, to change the racial mix of the country. That’s the reason, to reduce the political power of people whose ancestors lived here, and dramatically increase the proportion of Americans newly-arrived from the third world….

In political terms, this policy is called “the great replacement,” the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from far-away countries. They brag about it all the time, but if you dare to say it’s happening they will scream at you with maximum hysteria.

Salon reports on Gaetz:

In 2019, the theory inspired a mass shooting in El Paso, as well as the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand that same year, Insider noted. During the “Unite the Right Rally” in 2017, hundreds of white supremacist protesters gathered in Charlottsville, Virgnia chanting slogans like “You will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us,” alluding to fears around America’s changing ethnic landscape.

On Saturday, Gaetz appeared to formally back this theory, tweeting that Carlson “is CORRECT about Replacement Theory as he explains what is happening to America.”

Gaetz also added that the ADL – a Jewish non-governmental organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism and led by Jonathan Greenblatt, a former Obama administration official – is a “a racist organization.”

Big decline in green cards FY 2021 vs. FY 2019

Fiscal Year 2021 ends today, September 30, 2021. In the years just before the pandemic, a little over one million green cards were issued each year. The total figure for FY 2021 will be much less, perhaps 800,000. If the immigration provisions in the budget reconciliation bill pass, that will add many millions of green cards to be awarded over the next few years.

Here is a summary of the three largest categories. I compare with the last pre-pandemic year, FY 2019.

Family-related green cards: In FY 2019 about 650,000 family-related green cards were issued, and 748,000 were eventually admitted. Because of the Trump administration’s COVID-19 immigrant visa ban and the close of U.S. embassies and consulates abroad last spring, about 122,000 family-based visas for FY 2020 went unused. About 50% of all existing green card holders are immediate family members and about 20% are family relatives; they total about 9.4 million of all 13.4 million existing green card holders

Employment-related green cards: The overall numerical limit for permanent employment-based immigrants is 140,000 per year. In FY 2019, 138,000 such visas were issued. This number includes the immigrants plus their eligible spouses and minor unmarried children, meaning the actual number of employment-based immigrants is less than 140,000 each year. About 12% of all existing green card holders are here due to employment; they are about 1.6 million.

The unused 122,000 family-related visas for FY 2020 have been added to the cap on employment-based immigration could have allowed the Biden administration to reduce the backlog of employment-based immigrant visa applications. But it seems likely that the administration will waste this opportunity by letting 100,000 employment-based visa numbers go unused.

Refugees: In FT 2019, 146,000 persons were admitted on refugee status. For FY 2021, the Trump administration set a cap of 15,000. The Biden administration initially continued the cap, but was pressured to revise it upwards to 62,500, and to 125,000 in FT 2022.  About 12% of all existing green card holders are refugees; they number about 1.6 million.

Sources: American Immigration Council here and here. Government figures for FY 2019 and other recent years here. Data on distribution of all green card holders are as of 2016, here

Registry approach to immigration law changes

A registry approach has been one of several ways to legalize the status of unauthorized persons. It is one of four ways Congress faces this year to normalize the status of a large number of persons.  If Congress deems that anyone in the U.S. before January 1, 2010 is now legally here, that will affect 6.8 million or about 60% of the roughly 11 million unauthorized persons in the U.S. And (per the table below) 60% of the 6.8 million reside in five states: CA, TX, FL, NY and IL. As I have posted before, The percentage of undocumented immigrants that has lived in the United States for 15 years or more increased from 25% to 43% between 2010 and 2019. According to American Progress:

Registry is among the oldest legalization provisions in U.S. immigration law and one with a long and bipartisan history of recognizing long-established residents of the United States. In 1929, Congress passed the Registry Act, allowing certain noncitizens who were long-term residents of the United States to register for lawful permanent resident status.

Immigrants—both undocumented immigrants and immigrants with other temporary statuses—could qualify for the registry provisions if they met the registry’s arrival date, had lived in the United States continuously since then, and were of “good moral character.” That original date was June 3, 1921.

Since then, Congress has updated the registry by advancing the arrival date multiple times in a bipartisan fashion. The most recent update to these provisions came in 1986—the last time the United States saw meaningful immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship—advancing the arrival date to cover anyone who had been in the country since before January 1, 1972.

Given that the average undocumented immigrant has lived in the country for 16 years, updating the registry date to January 1, 2010—which could be as simple as just swapping out “1972” for “2010” in 8 U.S.C. 1259—would open the door for an estimated 6.8 million undocumented immigrants to become green card holders.

Arizonans want legalization

From The Arizona Mirror:

Majorities of Trump supporters and self-described conservatives backed a pathway to citizenship. Among Trump voters, 61% support a pathway to citizenship for dreamers, 58% for farmworkers and 50% for essential workers who are undocumented. Those polled who identified as conservatives support citizenship by 66% for dreamers, 59% for farmworkers and 56% for essential workers. Overall, nearly 4 out of 5 Arizona voters supported this pathway.

Democratic pollster Matt Barreto, a principal at BSP Research, said Arizona voters have changed significantly from the late 2000s, when anti-immigrant sentiment was at its height in the state. Barreto said the poll showed a majority of Arizona voters don’t want to see the removal of undocumented immigrants and they understand that undocumented immigrants contribute to the economy.

“They can relate to the immigrants they work with in their communities,” he said.

“Simply put, Arizona voters are tired of inaction and are ready for reforms they believe will benefit small businesses and the economy as a whole,” the pollsters concluded in their analysis of the results.

The poll found over 60% of Arizona voters say immigrant laws and regulations are not working.

National Immigration Forum and Noorani’s Notes

I read the daily weekday newsletter of the National Immigration Forum, Noorani’s Notes which you can subscribe to here. The Notes give me insights into what is happening around the United States in immigration.

“Founded in 1982, the National Immigration Forum advocates for the value of immigrants and immigration to our nation. In service to this mission, the Forum promotes responsible federal immigration policies, addressing today’s economic and national security needs while honoring the ideals of our Founding Fathers, who created America as a land of opportunity.”

Half of Americans under 16 are nonwhite

In 2019, for the first time, more than half of the nation’s population under age 16 identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Among this group, Latino or Hispanic and Black residents together comprise nearly 40% of the population. Given the greater projected growth of all nonwhite racial minority groups compared to whites—along with their younger age structure—the racial diversity of the nation that was already forecasted to flow upward from the younger to older age groups looks to be accelerating.

In 2019, the white median age was 43.7, compared to 29.8 for Latinos or Hispanics, 34.6 for Black residents, 37.5 for Asian Americans, and 20.9 for persons identifying as two or more races.

By William Frey at the Brookings Institution

Washington Post editorial on Del Rio

Many of the failings in the U.S. immigration system are reflected in the mess in Del Rio: the absence of any workable channel by which migrants could apply for asylum south of the border; the massive backlog and shortage of judges in migration courts, which means asylum applicants, once admitted, may wait two or three years for their cases to be heard; and the misalignment of high domestic demand for cheap immigrant labor with an inadequate legal supply of it.

From here.