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The Political Assimilation of Immigrants and Their Descendants

February 27, 2015 Comments off

The Political Assimilation of Immigrants and Their Descendants
Source: Cato Institute

Many skeptics of immigration reform claim that immigrants and their descendants will not politically assimilate and will consistently vote for bigger government for generations. Political survey data suggest that this fear is unwarranted, as the political differences between immigrants and native-born Americans are small and, in most cases, so small that they are statistically insignificant. In the cases where the differences are significant, the descendants of immigrants rapidly assimilate into America’s political culture by adopting mainstream ideologies, political party identifications, and policy positions held by longer-settled Americans. The policy and political views of immigrants and their descendants are mostly indistinguishable from Americans whose families have been here for at least four generations. As a result of these small differences in opinion and the subsequent rapid assimilation of immigrants, they and their descendants are unlikely to alter America’s aggregate political attitudes.

Immigration Enforcement Along U.S. Borders and at Ports of Entry

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Immigration Enforcement Along U.S. Borders and at Ports of Entry
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts

The federal government processed 362 million citizen and noncitizen travelers through U.S. ports of entry in fiscal year 2013—more than 242 million people by land, 102 million by air, and 18 million by sea. That year, authorities apprehended some 421,000 people trying to enter the country illegally outside those official ports.

Border security is primarily a federal responsibility and involves managing the legal flow, and preventing the illegal entry, of people and goods into the United States. In recent years, though, state and local authorities increasingly have collaborated with federal agencies on immigration-related efforts at the nation’s borders. This brief explores the federal, state, and local work in enforcing immigration laws at those borders and ports of entry. The Pew Charitable Trusts addressed similar issues in the country’s interior in a July 2014 brief, “Immigration Enforcement Within the Nation’s Borders.”

In discussions of immigration and border security, attention often focuses on the 1,954-mile land border between the United States and Mexico. Yet the federal agencies involved in immigration enforcement have personnel and operations at other U.S. borders and at ports of entry in all 50 states. Over the past two decades, increased federal funding for border security has meant more facilities, equipment, and personnel devoted to this mission. Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003, funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency that manages the nation’s borders, has risen from $6.6 billion to $12.4 billion in fiscal 20145—in real terms, a 91 percent increase.

There also have been expanded attempts to coordinate activities with state and local law enforcement. Although no nationwide program of border cooperation exists, pockets of activity and examples of collaboration are evident along land borders. Over the past decade, partnerships, programs, offices, and task forces have been started to share information and coordinate law enforcement efforts among various levels of government.

CRS — Alien Removals and Returns: Overview and Trends (February 3, 2015)

February 23, 2015 Comments off

Alien Removals and Returns: Overview and Trends
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The ability to remove foreign nationals (aliens) who violate U.S. immigration law is central to the immigration enforcement system. Some lawful migrants violate the terms of their admittance, and some aliens enter the United States illegally, despite U.S. immigration laws and enforcement. In 2012, there were an estimated 11.4 million resident unauthorized aliens; estimates of other removable aliens, such as lawful permanent residents who commit crimes, are elusive. With total repatriations of over 600,000 people in FY2013 —including about 440,000 formal removals—the removal and return of such aliens have become important policy issues for Congress, and key issues in recent debates about immigration reform.

Through an Immigrant Lens: PIAAC Assessment of the Competencies of Adults in the United States

February 19, 2015 Comments off

Through an Immigrant Lens: PIAAC Assessment of the Competencies of Adults in the United States
Source: Migration Policy Institute

In today’s knowledge-driven world, literacy, numeracy, and the ability to use digital technology are foundational to socioeconomic success. However, when it comes to these skill areas, immigrants in the United States lag behind their native-born counterparts. MPI analysis of data from the 2012 Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), a survey that assessed the cognitive skills of adults (ages 16 to 65) in 24 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, finds that immigrants are over-represented among low-skilled adults in the United States—accounting for 33 percent of adults with low literacy skills and 24 percent of those with low numeracy skills while comprising only 15 percent of the overall U.S. adult working-age population.

This report uses PIAAC data to describe the English literacy and numeracy of adults in the United States and explore how these skills are related to key outcomes such as labor market participation, income, and health status. The detailed analysis reveals a number of findings regarding immigrants and their U.S.-born adult children, which taken together underscore deep social inequalities. Roughly 40 percent of immigrant adults lacked basic English literacy and 48 percent lacked basic numeracy in English. The authors point out that the PIAAC competency tests are administered in English, leaving non-English speakers at a disadvantage—regardless of their skills in their native language.

While native-born adults in the United States outperformed immigrants on the PIAAC survey, both groups scored well below international averages. The overall U.S. scores were only marginally affected by immigrants’ low scores, the MPI researchers found. The test results show that between half and two-third of all U.S. working-age adults were not proficient in literacy and numeracy. Even among those with a college degree, 22 percent of natives and 54 percent of immigrants scored below proficient in literacy.

Improving Migrants’ Labour Market Integration in Europe from the Outset: A Cooperative Approach to Predeparture Measures

February 19, 2015 Comments off

Improving Migrants’ Labour Market Integration in Europe from the Outset: A Cooperative Approach to Predeparture Measures
Source: Migration Policy Institute

There is a growing consensus on the value of providing immigrants with integration support at the earliest possible moment in the migration process. Integration services provided prior to departure, such as language instruction, training, recognition of foreign credentials, and job skill-matching, can all have positive impacts on the labor market outcomes of immigrants once they reach their destination—and on their capacity to actively contribute to the development of their country of origin. While European policymakers as well as their counterparts in migrant-sending countries have contributed significant political capital and resources to predeparture integration measures over the past decade, these initiatives generally have yet to fully realize their potential as a tool able to durably improve migrants’ labor market integration. This is largely due to the lack of cooperation between origin and destination countries in the design and implementation of such measures.

This policy brief reviews promising examples of predeparture measures for labor market integration that are jointly designed and/or run by origin- and destination-country actors, illustrating their potential to help effectively address some of the most stubborn obstacles to successful integration. A number of these examples involve destination-country employers, and key elements in their success include flexibility and responsiveness to employer demand. Equally important is the buy-in from origin-country actors, which can be supported through a development-sensitive approach in the design of the programs.

DHS OIG — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Alternatives to Detention (Revised)

February 18, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Alternatives to Detention (Revised) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

Why We Did This
ICE’s Intensive Supervision Appearance Program offers alternatives to detention. We reviewed whether: (1) the rate at which individuals in the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program have absconded or committed criminal acts has been reduced since 2009; (2) ICE can improve the effectiveness of its alternatives to detention program, either by revising or expanding its Intensive Supervision Appearance Program contract, or through other cost-effective means; and (3) ICE’s Risk Classification Assessment is effective.

What We Found
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program is effective because, using its performance metrics, few program participants abscond. However, ICE has changed how it uses the program and no longer supervises some participants throughout their immigration proceedings. As a result, ICE cannot definitively determine whether the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program has reduced the rate at which aliens, who were once in the program but who are no longer participating, have absconded or been arrested for criminal acts. ICE should adjust its performance metrics to reflect changes in its criteria for program participation.

ICE instructed field offices to consider redetaining noncompliant Intensive Supervision Appearance Program participants, but most field offices do not have sufficient funding for detention bed space to accommodate all noncompliant participants. ICE could improve the effectiveness of the program by allocating some Intensive Supervision Appearance Program contract funds to redetain noncompliant participants.

ICE developed a Risk Classification Assessment to assist its release and custody classification decisions. However, the tool is time consuming, resource intensive, and not effective in determining which aliens to release or under what conditions.

CRS — Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs (January 20, 2015)

February 13, 2015 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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