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Giving Cities and Regions a Voice in Immigration Policy: Can National Policies Meet Local Demand?

July 26, 2014 Comments off

Giving Cities and Regions a Voice in Immigration Policy: Can National Policies Meet Local Demand?
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Immigration policies are typically designed and implemented at the national level, even though economic and demographic circumstances may vary widely across cities and regions. Large and fast-growing metropolitan areas are natural magnets for both immigrants and their native-born peers, while rural areas and small towns tend to attract fewer immigrants, even when employers have vacancies to fill.

Some immigration routes, however, channel new arrivals toward particular destinations where their labor is thought to be in high demand. These routes fall into two major categories: (1) employer-sponsored immigration and (2) immigrants selected through regional nomination programs. Employer-sponsored visa policies implicitly direct foreign workers to areas where their skills are in demand. To ensure that this happens, some such programs are further customized to the needs of particular regions. In the cases of Australia and Canada, which have made regional nomination programs the flagship policies in their immigration systems, the national governments have delegated a certain level of authority to subnational jurisdictions to select their own workers. These subnational visa programs allow regions and localities that are not traditional immigration destinations to attract workers who would otherwise have gone elsewhere.

These types of region-specific immigration policies are not without risk. They add complexity to already complicated immigration systems and disregard immigrants’ market-based decisions, which could potentially undermine economic prospects and contributions.

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CRS — Unlawfully Present Aliens, Higher Education, In-State Tuition, and Financial Aid: Legal Analysis

July 25, 2014 Comments off

Unlawfully Present Aliens, Higher Education, In-State Tuition, and Financial Aid: Legal Analysis (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The existence of a sizable population of “DREAMers” in the United States has prompted questions about unlawfully present aliens’ eligibility for admission to public institutions of higher education, in-state tuition, and financial aid. The term DREAMer is widely used to describe aliens who were brought to the United States as children and raised here but lack legal immigration status. As children, DREAMers are entitled to public elementary and secondary education as a result of the Supreme Court’s 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe. There, the Court struck down a Texas statute that prohibited the use of state funds to provide elementary and secondary education to children who were not “legally admitted” to the United States because the state distinguished between these children and other children without a “substantial” goal, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Once DREAMers complete high school, however, they may have less access to public higher education. Plyler’s holding was limited to elementary and secondary education, and the Court’s focus on the young age of those whom Texas denied a “basic education” has generally been taken to mean that measures denying unlawfully present aliens access to higher education may be subject to less scrutiny than the Texas statute was. Thus, several states have adopted laws or practices barring the enrollment of unlawfully present aliens at public institutions of higher education. In addition, Congress has enacted two statutes that restrict unlawfully present aliens’ eligibility for “public benefits,” a term which has generally been construed to encompass in-state tuition and financial aid. The first of these statutes, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA, P.L. 104-193) bars the provision of “state and local public benefits” to unlawfully present aliens unless the state enacts legislation that “affirmatively provides” for their eligibility. The second, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA, P.L. 104-208) bars states from providing “postsecondary education benefits” to unlawfully present aliens based on their residence in the state unless all U.S. citizens or nationals are eligible for such benefits, regardless of their state of residence.

Select Diaspora Populations in the United States

July 24, 2014 Comments off

Select Diaspora Populations in the United States
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Diaspora populations often perform essential functions in the economic and human capital development of their countries of origin, and can continue playing a strong role in shaping these countries long after they or their forebears departed.The Rockefeller Foundation and the Aspen Institute have launched the Rockefeller-Aspen Diaspora Program (RAD), a joint venture to better understand diaspora members’ financial and human capital investments and to design an approach to foster further growth in these areas. The Migration Policy Institute has partnered with RAD to produce profiles of 15 diaspora communities in the United States, which is home to nearly 60 million first- or second-generation immigrants.

These profiles address 15 different diaspora populations in the United States, gathering in one place key data and analysis on diasporas from Bangladesh, Colombia, El Salvador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Each profile explores the demographic characteristics of first- and second-generation immigrants in a particular diaspora, their educational attainment, household income, employment patterns, geographic distribution, and remittance volume.

Five longer profiles, focusing on Colombia, Egypt, India, Kenya, and the Philippines, also detail historical immigration pathways and contemporary entry trends, poverty status, active diaspora organizations, and country-of-origin policies and institutions related to interaction with emigrants and their descendants abroad.

Migration’s Local Dividends: How Cities and Regions Can Make the Most of Immigration (Transatlantic Council Statement)

July 23, 2014 Comments off

Migration’s Local Dividends: How Cities and Regions Can Make the Most of Immigration (Transatlantic Council Statement)
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Well-managed immigration can be a windfall for local economies by creating jobs and fueling growth, fostering innovation, and bringing in new revenue. But these benefits are neither automatic nor do they accrue evenly. Highly skilled and entrepreneurial migrants tend to flock to certain geographic “magnets”—such as vibrant metropolises, financial hubs, or tech clusters—while other regions may struggle to attract and retain native and foreign workers alike.

Meanwhile, increasing mobility has brought new challenges, which are also asymmetrically distributed. And many cities, even those experiencing new dynamism and growth, have to contend with community tensions arising over the allocation of often scarce public resources such as housing, social welfare, and health services, as well as difficult-to-address problems of poverty, residential segregation, and social exclusion.

While cities and regions experience both the positive and negative effects of immigration firsthand, they are typically at arm’s length, at best, from the policy reins that enable and shape these movements. Immigration policies are rarely calibrated to regional, let alone local, needs.

This Council Statement from the 11th plenary meeting of the MPI-convened Transatlantic Council on Migration examines how policymakers at all levels can work together to get more out of immigration. The Statement launches a series of reports from the Council’s meeting on the topic “Cities and Regions: Reaping Migration’s Local Dividends.” The series examines place-based immigration and entrepreneurship policies, city attractiveness, social cohesion, and means to build inclusive cities.

Moving Up or Standing Still? Access to Middle-Skilled Work for Newly Arrived Migrants in the European Union

July 22, 2014 Comments off

Moving Up or Standing Still? Access to Middle-Skilled Work for Newly Arrived Migrants in the European Union
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Over the past 15 years, migration in Europe has changed considerably. The economic boom in the early and mid-2000s and expanded mobility owing to European Union enlargement helped create new populations of migrants from both within and beyond the European Union. These recent migrants are more educated than earlier arrivals and many are highly skilled. Against the backdrop of the global economic crisis, which profoundly affected many migrant-receiving countries in Europe, governments are grappling with questions of how to ensure that immigrants are able to find employment and progress into better jobs over time.

This overview report caps a series of six country case studies evaluating the employment outcomes for foreign-born workers in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The study examines how easy it is for newcomers in the European Union to establish themselves in destination-country labor markets in the first ten years after arrival, and how well they are able to move out of unskilled work and into middle-skilled jobs.

CRS — Unaccompanied Alien Children: Potential Factors Contributing to Recent Immigration

July 21, 2014 Comments off

Unaccompanied Alien Children: Potential Factors Contributing to Recent Immigration (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

Since FY2008, the growth in the number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras seeking to enter the United States has increased substantially. Total unaccompanied child apprehensions increased from about 8,000 in FY2008 to 52,000 in the first 8 ½ months of FY2014. Since 2012, children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Central America’s “northern triangle”) account for almost all of this increase. Apprehension trends for these three countries are similar and diverge sharply from those for Mexican children. Unaccompanied child migrants’ motives for migrating to the United States are often multifaceted and difficult to measure analytically.

Four recent out-migration-related factors distinguishing northern triangle Central American countries are high violent crime rates, poor economic conditions fueled by relatively low economic growth rates, high rates of poverty, and the presence of transnational gangs.

CRS — Unaccompanied Alien Children – Legal Issues: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

July 21, 2014 Comments off

Unaccompanied Alien Children – Legal Issues: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

Recent reports about the increasing number of alien minors apprehended at the U.S. border without a parent or legal guardian have prompted numerous questions about so-called unaccompanied alien children (UACs). Some of these questions pertain to the numbers of children involved, their reasons for coming to the United States, and current and potential responses of the federal government and other entities to their arrival. Other questions concern the interpretation and interplay of various federal statutes and regulations, administrative and judicial decisions, and settlement agreements pertaining to alien minors. This report addresses the latter questions, providing general and relatively brief answers to 14 frequently asked questions regarding UACs.

International Migration: The Relationship with Economic and Policy Factors in the Home and Destination Country

July 18, 2014 Comments off

International Migration: The Relationship with Economic and Policy Factors in the Home and Destination Country
Source: OECD

Unfavourable demographic trends in many OECD countries threaten the sustainability of potential labour resources, GDP growth and fiscal positions. One factor that is expected to mitigate these trends is continued inflows of migrant workers from low income economies. However, a rapid catch-up in productivity and wages in these traditional source countries vis-à-vis the OECD may weaken economic incentives for migration and imply a transition away from current migration patterns. This paper uses data of the high-skilled and low-skilled migrant stock between 92 origin and 44 destination countries to highlight the relationship between economic factors and migration. The paper also attempts to uncover links with policy and demographic factors prevailing in the origin and destination countries. The analysis suggests that higher skill-specific wages in the destination country are associated with more migration. This relationship appears to be particularly strong for migrants from middle-income countries, supporting theories of an inverted-U relationship between origin country economic development and the propensity to migrate. Policy differences between the destination and origin also appear important, for example in terms of regulations on businesses and labour markets, along with the relative quality of institutions. In some instances, the effects on high-skilled and low-skilled migrants differ markedly. Combining the estimated coefficients from the model with the skill-specific wage profile from the OECD long-term growth projections highlights the potential for weaker future migrant flows to OECD countries than implied by past trends and embedded in official projections.

NCSL — Child Migrants to the United States

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Child Migrants to the United States
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

The U.S. is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of unaccompanied children arriving on the southern border, gaining humanitarian and political attention and challenging federal and state resources and management. As of June 14, 2014, more than 52,000 children have been apprehended, a doubling of arrivals compared to last year.

Federal responsibility for unaccompanied children is divided between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Children in DHS custody who are under age 18 without a parent or guardian must be screened and transferred to HHS within 72 hours. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in HHS reunites the child with family or a friend, or in approximately 10 percent of the cases, places them in foster care, pending court review of their immigration claims. After being placed either with a sponsor or in foster care, every child is put into deportation proceedings. The children may then be granted permission to stay (for example, through family visas, special immigrant juvenile visas or asylum); choose to leave voluntarily; or be removed from the United States.

The surge in children crossing the border has placed an immense strain on federal agencies to process and care for them. The agencies have responded by identifying shelters and processing facilities, redirecting staff and funds, and activating an interagency group coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). DHS and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have assigned more staff to apprehend and process children and families crossing the Texas border. ORR has requested approval from Congress to address a budget shortfall for unaccompanied children by shifting funding from state-administered refugee programs.
Potential state impacts include: budget shortfalls in state administered refugee programs and implications for state services; state licensing and oversight of care providers for unaccompanied children; and communication/coordination of federal enforcement and emergency response with state law enforcement.

In a June 30, 2014 letter to congressional leaders, the president provided an update on the administration’s response to the humanitarian crisis and a request for support for an emergency supplementation appropriation. The request for $3.7 billion in emergency funding, submitted July 8, 2014, would provide an additional $3.7 billion in emergency funding: $1.6 billion to DOJ and DHS; $1.8 billion to HHS; and $300 million to the Department of State.
This brief highlights recent trends in arrivals of unaccompanied children, an overview of the federal unaccompanied minor program, federal budget proposals to respond to the increased arrivals, and benefit eligibility for unaccompanied migrant children.

CRS — State and Local “Sanctuary” Policies Limiting Participation in Immigration Enforcement

July 15, 2014 Comments off

State and Local “Sanctuary” Policies Limiting Participation in Immigration Enforcement (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via University of North Texas Digital Library)

While the power to prescribe rules as to which aliens may enter the United States and which aliens may be removed resides solely with the federal government, the impact of alien migration—whether lawful or unlawful—is arguably felt most directly in the communities where aliens settle. State and local responses to unlawfully present aliens within their jurisdictions have varied considerably, particularly as to the role that state and local police should play in enforcing federal immigration law. Some states, cities, and other municipalities have sought to play an active role in immigration enforcement efforts. However, others have been unwilling to assist the federal government in enforcing measures that distinguish between residents with legal immigration status and those who lack authorization under federal law to be present in the United States. In some circumstances, these jurisdictions have actively opposed federal immigration authorities’ efforts to identity and remove certain unlawfully present aliens within their jurisdictions.

Although state and local restrictions on cooperation with federal immigration enforcement efforts have existed for decades, there has reportedly been an upswing in the adoption of these measures in recent years. Moreover, the nature of these restrictions has evolved over time, particularly in response to the development of new federal immigration enforcement initiatives like Secure Communities, which enable federal authorities to more easily identify removable aliens in state or local custody. Entities that have adopted such policies are sometimes referred to as “sanctuary” jurisdictions, though there is not necessarily a consensus as to the meaning of this term or its application to a particular state or locality.

This report discusses legal issues related to state and local measures that limit law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The report begins by providing a brief overview of the constitutional principles informing the relationship between federal immigration authorities and state and local jurisdictions, including the federal government’s power to preempt state and local activities under the Supremacy Clause, and the Tenth Amendment’s proscription against Congress directly “commandeering” the states to administer a federally enacted regulatory scheme.

U.S. Naturalizations: 2013

July 10, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Naturalizations: 2013
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon foreign citizens or nationals after fulfilling the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). After naturalization, foreign-born citizens enjoy nearly all the same benefits, rights and responsibilities that the Constitution gives to native-born U.S. citizens, including the right to vote. This Office of Immigration Statistics Annual Flow Report presents information on the number and characteristics of foreign nationals aged 18 years and over who were naturalized during FY 2013.

CRS — Aliens’ Right to Counsel in Removal Proceedings: In Brief

July 8, 2014 Comments off

Aliens’ Right to Counsel in Removal Proceedings: In Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The scope of aliens’ right to counsel in removal proceedings is a topic of recurring congressional and public interest. This topic is complicated, in part, because the term right to counsel can refer to either (1) the right to counsel of one’s own choice at one’s own expense, or (2) the right of indigent persons to counsel at the government’s expense. A right to counsel can also arise from multiple sources, including the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), other federal statutes, and federal regulations. Further, in some cases, courts have declined to recognize a “categorical” right to counsel, applicable to all aliens in removal proceedings, but have found that individual aliens could potentially have a right to counsel on a case-by-case basis because of their specific circumstances.

CRS — Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview

July 7, 2014 Comments off

Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) arriving in the United States has reached alarming numbers that has strain the system put in place over the past decade to handle such cases. UAC are defined in statute as children who lack lawful immigration status in the United States, who are under the age of 18, and who are without a parent or legal guardian in the United States or no parent or legal guardian in the United States is available to provide care and physical custody. Two statutes and a legal settlement most directly affect U.S. policy for the treatment and administrative processing of UAC: the Flores Settlement Agreement of 1997; the Homeland Security Act of 2002; and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.

Several agencies in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) share responsibilities for the processing, treatment, and placement of UAC. DHS Customs and Border Protection apprehends and detains UAC arrested at the border while Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) handles the transfer and repatriation responsibilities. ICE also apprehends UAC in the interior of the country and is responsible for representing the government in removal proceedings. HHS is responsible for coordinating and implementing the care and placement of UAC in appropriate custody.

New From the GAO

July 1, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. Border Security: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Collaborative Mechanisms along the Southwest Border. GAO-14-494, June 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-494
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664478.pdf

2. Virtual Currencies: Emerging Regulatory, Law Enforcement, and Consumer Protection Challenges. GAO-14-496, May 29.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-496
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/663677.pdf
Podcast - http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/664486

Warehoused and Forgotten: Immigrants Trapped in Our Shadow Private Prison System

June 24, 2014 Comments off

Warehoused and Forgotten: Immigrants Trapped in Our Shadow Private Prison System
Source: American Civil Liberties Union

In rural Texas, 3,000 men are locked inside a “tent city,” sleeping in bunk beds spaced only a few feet apart. The tents are crawling with insects and the smell of broken, overflowing toilets. This is Willacy County Correctional Center: a physical symbol of everything that is wrong with enriching the private prison industry and criminalizing immigration.

More than 25,000 low-security non-U.S. citizens languish at thirteen private prisons like Willacy under Criminal Alien Requirement (CAR) contracts. For years, these for-profit prisons have been able to operate in the shadows, effectively free from public scrutiny. That ends now.

Latino Jobs Growth Driven by U.S. Born

June 24, 2014 Comments off

Latino Jobs Growth Driven by U.S. Born
Source: Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project

For the first time in nearly two decades, immigrants do not account for the majority of Hispanic workers in the United States. Meanwhile, most of the job gains made by Hispanics during the economic recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-09 have gone to U.S.-born workers, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.

In 2013, 49.7% of the more than 22 million employed Latinos were immigrants. This share was down sharply from the pre-recession peak of 56.1% in 2007. Although Latinos have gained 2.8 million jobs since the recession ended in 2009, only 453,000 of those went to immigrants. Moreover, all of the increase in employment for Latino immigrants happened in the first two years of the recovery, from 2009 to 2011. Since then, from 2011 to 2013, the employment of Latino immigrants is unchanged.

This development is mostly due to the waning inflow of Hispanic immigrants. The Great Recession, a tepid jobs recovery, tighter border controls and more deportations have served to mitigate migration to the U.S. from Latin America, especially Mexico, in recent years.1 Since the recession started in December 2007, the growth in the Latino immigrant workforce (people ages 16 and older) has slowed dramatically even as the Latino U.S.-born workforce continues to expand at a rapid pace.

Strengthening Refugee Protection and Meeting Challenges: The European Union’s Next Steps on Asylum

June 20, 2014 Comments off

Strengthening Refugee Protection and Meeting Challenges: The European Union’s Next Steps on Asylum
Source: Migration Policy Institute

While great progress has been made towards creation of a Common European Asylum System (CEAS) that establishes shared standards for refugee protection in the European Union (EU), important obstacles to its full and effective operation remain. The evolving global context of conflict and displacement, highlighted by the Syria crisis, failures by many States to protect their citizens, and mixed migration more broadly will continue to throw up new challenges in the asylum domain in the years ahead for the European Union and Member States, requiring robust systems and policies that can be adapted to meet them.

At the end of June 2014, the European Council, comprising the heads of state and government of the European Union’s 28 Member States, will adopt strategic guidelines for the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) area, including asylum. The guidelines, which will define the way forward on the JHA portfolio for the 2014-20 period, have the potential to offer clear direction for the further development of asylum policy and cooperation at the EU level. To achieve this, however, the guidelines will need to address key priorities in practical and principled terms, and accommodate widely differing perspectives among Member States, EU institutions, and other stakeholders. Looking beyond the guidelines, European policymakers will need to explore the ways in which these priorities can be translated into action. The Migration Policy Institute Europe and the International Migration Initiative of the Open Society Foundations, through their ongoing project on the future of asylum in the European Union, are examining a number of the current challenges as well as possible ways to address them.

Critical Choices in Post-Recession California: Investing in the Educational and Career Success of Immigrant Youth

June 19, 2014 Comments off

Critical Choices in Post-Recession California: Investing in the Educational and Career Success of Immigrant Youth
Source: Migration Policy Institute

California’s success in integrating immigrant youth is critical, not just to the state but the nation. Sheer numbers demonstrate this significance. The state is home to one-quarter of the nation’s immigrants, and as of 2012, more than half of young adults in California ages 16 to 26 were first- or second-generation immigrants (compared to one-quarter of youth nationwide). California educates more than one-third of U.S. students designated as English Language Learners (ELLs).

This report examines the educational experiences and outcomes of first- and second-generation immigrant youth ages 16 to 26 across California’s educational institutions, encompassing secondary schools, adult education, and postsecondary education. ELLs are a central focus of the analysis at all levels, as this group has unique educational needs. The findings draw from qualitative fieldwork—including interviews with educators and community leaders in California—and quantitative analyses of the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau and state education agencies.

A Work in Progress: Prospects for Upward Mobility Among New Immigrants in Germany

June 17, 2014 Comments off

A Work in Progress: Prospects for Upward Mobility Among New Immigrants in Germany
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Recent immigrants to Germany differ significantly from their earlier counterparts: newer arrivals tend to be more highly educated, and they increasingly come from Eastern European countries rather than Germany’s traditional sending countries like Turkey and former Soviet states. These new immigrants have entered the German labor market with varying degrees of success.

This report analyzes the labor market integration of newcomers to Germany, based on German Microcensus data. The report is part of a series of six case studies on labor market outcomes among immigrants to European Union countries.

CRS — Immigration: Visa Security Policies

June 16, 2014 Comments off

Immigration: Visa Security Policies (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The visa issuance process is widely recognized as an integral part of immigration control and border security. Foreign nationals (i.e., aliens) not already legally residing in the United States who wish to come to the United States generally must obtain a visa to be admitted. The foreign national must establish that he/she is qualified for the visa under one of the various admission criteria. He or she must also establish that he/she is not ineligible for the visa due to one or more of the legal bars to admission. Applying for a visa is the first gateway for foreign nationals to seek admission to the United States, and the data collected as part of that process forms the core of the biometric and associated biographic data that the United States collects on foreign nationals.

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