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CRS — May States and Localities Hold Aliens Pursuant to Immigration Detainers?, Legal Sidebar (September 22, 2014)

October 1, 2014 Comments off

May States and Localities Hold Aliens Pursuant to Immigration Detainers?, Legal Sidebar (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

As previous Sidebar postings have noted, there have long been questions as to whether states and localities must comply with immigration detainers issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requesting that they briefly detain persons whom they would otherwise release from their custody so that ICE may assume custody. However, in the wake of recent court decisions, that question would seem to have been replaced by a new question: may states and localities hold persons whom they would otherwise release from their custody upon receiving an immigration detainer from ICE asking them to do so?

The preliminary answer—based upon two recent federal district court decisions—would seem to be that states and localities run afoul of the Fourth Amendment if they hold an alien whom they would otherwise have released so that ICE may investigate whether the alien is removable. However, these decisions do not purport to address all uses of immigration detainers, and courts in other jurisdictions, or on appeal, could potentially reach alternate conclusions, perhaps based upon provisions of federal law that authorize ICE to make warrantless arrests under certain circumstances of aliens believed to be unlawfully present.

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Investing in English Skills: The Limited English Proficient Workforce in U.S. Metropolitan Areas

September 25, 2014 Comments off

Investing in English Skills: The Limited English Proficient Workforce in U.S. Metropolitan Areas
Source: Brookings Institution

An analysis of the labor market characteristics of the working-age limited English proficient (LEP) population in the United States and its largest metropolitan areas reveals that:

Nearly one in 10 working-age U.S. adults—19.2 million persons aged 16 to 64—is considered limited English proficient. Two-thirds of this population speaks Spanish, but speakers of Asian and Pacific Island languages are most likely to be LEP. The vast majority of working-age LEP adults are immigrants, and those who entered the United States more recently are more likely to be LEP.

Working-age LEP adults earn 25 to 40 percent less than their English proficient counterparts. While less educated overall than English proficient adults, most LEP adults have a high school diploma, and 15 percent hold a college degree. LEP workers concentrate in low-paying jobs and different industries than other workers.

Most LEP adults reside in large metropolitan areas, but their numbers are growing fastest in smaller metro areas. Eighty-two percent of the working-age LEP population lives in 89 large metropolitan areas, and 10 metro areas account for half of this population. Large immigrant gateways and agricultural/border metro areas in California and Texas have the largest LEP shares of their working-age populations. Smaller metro areas such as Cape Coral, Indianapolis, and Omaha experienced the fastest growth in LEP population between 2000 and 2012. Los Angeles was the only metro area to experience a decline.

Educational attainment and the native languages of LEP adults vary considerably across metro areas. The share who have completed high school ranges from 33 percent in Bakersfield to 85 percent in Jacksonville. Spanish is the most commonly spoken non-English language among LEP adults in 81 of the 89 large metro areas, but the share varies from a low of 5 percent in Honolulu to 99 percent in McAllen.

Most working-age LEP people are in the labor force. A majority across all 89 large metro areas is working or looking for work, and in 19 metro areas, at least 70 percent are employed. Workers proficient in English earn anywhere from 17 percent to 135 percent more than LEP workers depending on their metro location.

Immigration Enforcement and Crime Control: A Study of Secure Communities

September 24, 2014 Comments off

Immigration Enforcement and Crime Control: A Study of Secure Communities
Source: New York University School of Law

Does immigration enforcement actually reduce crime? Surprisingly, little evidence exists either way—despite the fact that deporting noncitizens who commit crimes has been a central feature of American immigration law since the early twentieth century. We capitalize on a natural policy experiment to address the question and, in the process, provide the first empirical analysis of the most important deportation initiative to be rolled out in decades. The policy initiative we study is “Secure Communities,” a program designed to enable the federal government to check the immigration status of every person arrested for a crime by local police. Before this program, the government checked the immigration status of only a small fraction of arrestees. Since its launch, the program has led to over a quarter of a million detentions. We exploit the slow rollout of the program across more than 3,000 US counties to isolate the effect of Secure Communities on local crime rates. Moreover, we refine those estimates using rich data on the number of immigrants detained under the program in each county and month—data obtained from the federal government through extensive FOIA requests. Our results show that Secure Communities led to no meaningful reductions in the FBI index crime rate. Nor has it reduced rates of violent crime—homicides, rape, robbery, or aggravated assault. This evidence shows that the program has not served its central objective of making communities safer.

DHS OIG — The DHS Visa Security Program

September 22, 2014 Comments off

The DHS Visa Security Program (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Visa Security Program is intended to prevent terrorists, criminals, and other ineligible applicants from receiving visas. DHS assigns special agents with expertise in immigration law and counterterrorism to U.S. diplomatic posts overseas to perform visa security activities. We reviewed the program’s effectiveness in preventing ineligible applicants from receiving U.S. visas; DHS’ annual reporting to Congress on the program’s expansion; and the efforts to expand the program to additional overseas posts, including the potential impact of a new initiative, the Pre‐Adjudicated Threat Recognition and Intelligence Operations Team.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is required to employ mechanisms that measure and accurately report the program’s performance to determine its value. However, current performance measures for the Visa Security Program do not include key aspects to determine its effectiveness. In addition, ICE has not taken actions to assure that (1) data needed to assess program performance is collected and reported, (2) consular officers receive appropriate advice and training, and (3) Visa Security Program hours are tracked and used to determine staffing and funding needs. Without these types of information, ICE cannot ensure that the Visa Security Program is operating as intended.

DHS has consistently delivered their annual reports to Congress late, reducing their usefulness. ICE should take appropriate steps to ensure that Congress receives future reports in a timely manner.

To date, ICE has established only 20 visa security units. Congressional leaders have repeatedly expressed concerns that the program has not expanded to more visa‐issuing posts. ICE’s responses to these concerns have stressed funding challenges, a limited number of trained special agents, and Department of State challenges to make space and provide support for DHS’ overseas presence.

According to ICE officials, a solution to the program’s slow expansion may be the Pre‐ Adjudicated Threat Recognition and Intelligence Operations Team. ICE officials explained that this new initiative will eventually be capable of screening visa applications from all visa‐issuing posts. However, because it was still being tested at the time of our review, we were not able to determine its effectiveness.

We are making 10 recommendations to improve the Visa Security Program. ICE concurred with each of the recommendations.

Vietnamese Immigrants in the United States

September 22, 2014 Comments off

Vietnamese Immigrants in the United States
Source: Migration Policy Institute

The once-tiny population of Vietnamese immigrants in the United States has grown to become the country’s sixth largest foreign-born group in the span of several decades, with the first wave beginning at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. This data profile examines the Vietnamese immigrant population by size, recency of arrival, top states and cities of settlement, college education, sending of remittances, and much more.

Age patterns of racial/ethnic/nativity differences in disability and physical functioning in the United States

September 21, 2014 Comments off

Age patterns of racial/ethnic/nativity differences in disability and physical functioning in the United States
Source: Demographic Research

Background: Rapid population aging and increasing racial/ethnic and immigrant/native diversity make a broad documentation of U.S. health patterns during both mid- and late life particularly important.

Objective: We aim to better understand age- and gender-specific racial/ethnic and nativity differences in physical functioning and disability among adults aged 50 and above.

Methods: We aggregate 14 years of data from the National Health Interview Survey and calculate age- and gender-specific proportions of physical functioning and two types of disability for each population subgroup.

Results: Middle-aged foreign-born individuals in nearly every subgroup exhibit lower proportions of functional limitations and disability than U.S.-born whites. This pattern of immigrant advantage is generally reversed in later life. Moreover, most U.S.-born minority groups have significantly higher levels of functional limitations and disability than U.S.-born whites in both mid- and late life.

Conclusions: Higher levels of functional limitations and disability among U.S.-born minority groups and immigrant populations in older adulthood pose serious challenges for health providers and policymakers in a rapidly diversifying and aging population.

CRS — Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs (September 12, 2014)

September 19, 2014 Comments off

Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Congress has enacted a series of legislative provisions since 2006 to enable certain Iraqi and Afghan nationals to become U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs). These provisions make certain Iraqis and Afghans who have worked as translators or interpreters, or who were employed by, or on behalf of, the U.S. government in Iraq or Afghanistan, eligible for special immigrant visas (SIVs). Special immigrants comprise a category of permanent employment-based admissions under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). While the special immigrant category is unique, it does bear some similarities to other admission categories that are authorized by other sections of the INA, including refugees and Amerasian children.

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