Category Archives: Immigration

Organizing Temporary, Subcontracted, and Immigrant Workers: Lessons from Change to Win’s Warehouse Workers United Campaign

Source: Juan D. De Lara, Ellen R. Reese, Jason Struna, Labor Studies Journal, Labor Studies Journal, OnlineFirst, August 25, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Since 2008, Warehouse Workers United (WWU) has organized thousands of low-wage warehouse workers in Southern California’s Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, many of whom are temporary, subcontracted, and immigrant workers. Warehouse Workers Resource Center (WWRC), formed in 2011, has provided additional legal services and other resources to warehouse workers. Combining protest tactics, a legal and media strategy, and a commodity chain organizing strategy, WWU and WWRC helped warehouse workers to win back millions of dollars of stolen wages and to pass new regulatory legislation for employers of warehouse workers. In coalition with other labor organizations, they also obtained an agreement by Walmart to improve its workplace safety standards. This case study, based on field research and interviews with key informants, provides important lessons for those seeking to organize marginalized workers in other industries and regions.

Overall Number of U.S. Unauthorized Immigrants Holds Steady Since 2009: Decline in share from Mexico mostly offset by growth from Asia, Central America and sub-Saharan Africa

Source: Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn, Pew Research Center, September 20, 2016

from the summary:
The U.S. unauthorized immigrant population – 11.1 million in 2014 – has stabilized since the end of the Great Recession, as the number from Mexico declined but the total from other regions of the world increased, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on government data.

Among world regions, the number of unauthorized immigrants from Asia, Central America and sub-Saharan Africa rose between 2009 and 2014. The number from Mexico has steadily declined since 2007, the first year of the Great Recession, but Mexicans remain more than half (52%) of U.S. unauthorized immigrants.
Across the United States, most states saw no statistically significant change in the size of their unauthorized immigrant populations from 2009 to 2014. In the seven states where the unauthorized immigrant population declined, falling numbers of unauthorized Mexican immigrants were the key factor.

Meanwhile, among the six states that had increases in their unauthorized immigrant populations, only one – Louisiana – could trace this to a rise in the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico.

The Economic Impacts of Removing Unauthorized Immigrant Workers: An Industry- and State-Level Analysis

Source: Ryan Edwards and Francesc Ortega, Center for American Progress, September 2016

From the summary:
In every state and in every industry across the United States, immigrants—authorized and unauthorized—are contributing to the U.S. economy. Immigrant labor and entrepreneurship are believed to be powerful forces of economic revitalization for communities struggling with population decline. Estimates suggest that the total number of unauthorized immigrants currently residing in the United States is approximately 11.3 million, or about 3.5 percent of the total 2015 resident population of 324.4 million. Of those 11.3 million, we estimate that 7 million are workers. What is the economic contribution of these unauthorized workers? What would the nation stand to lose in terms of production and income if these workers were removed and returned to their home countries?
The main findings of this report are as follows:
• A policy of mass deportation would immediately reduce the nation’s GDP by 1.4 percent, and ultimately by 2.6 percent, and reduce cumulative GDP over 10 years by $4.7 trillion. …..
• Mass deportation would cost the federal government nearly $900 billion in lost revenue over 10 years. …..
• Hard-hit industries would see double-digit reductions in their workforces. …..
• The largest declines in GDP would occur in the largest industries, not in immigrant-heavy industries. …..
• States with the most unauthorized workers will experience the largest declines in state GDP. …..
Interactive: Removing Unauthorized Workers Harms States and Industries Across the Country

The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration

Source: Francine D. Blau and Christopher Mackie – Editors, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2016

From the press release:
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provides a comprehensive assessment of economic and demographic trends of U.S. immigration over the past 20 years, its impact on the labor market and wages of native-born workers, and its fiscal impact at the national, state, and local levels.
Among the report’s key findings and conclusions:

When measured over a period of 10 years or more, the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born workers overall is very small. To the extent that negative impacts occur, they are most likely to be found for prior immigrants or native-born workers who have not completed high school—who are often the closest substitutes for immigrant workers with low skills.

There is little evidence that immigration significantly affects the overall employment levels of native-born workers. As with wage impacts, there is some evidence that recent immigrants reduce the employment rate of prior immigrants. In addition, recent research finds that immigration reduces the number of hours worked by native teens (but not their employment levels).
Some evidence on inflow of skilled immigrants suggests that there may be positive wage effects for some subgroups of native-born workers, and other benefits to the economy more broadly.

Immigration has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth in the U.S.

In terms of fiscal impacts, first-generation immigrants are more costly to governments, mainly at the state and local levels, than are the native-born, in large part due to the costs of educating their children. However, as adults, the children of immigrants (the second generation) are among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the U.S. population, contributing more in taxes than either their parents or the rest of the native-born population.

Over the long term, the impacts of immigrants on government budgets are generally positive at the federal level but remain negative at the state and local level — but these generalizations are subject to a number of important assumptions. Immigration’s fiscal effects vary tremendously across states.

Trump: the global fallout

Source: Oxford Economics, September 12, 2016
(subscription required)

From the summary:
We assess the potential fall-out from a Donald Trump presidential election victory. Our scenario analysis suggests that the economic and market impact is most likely to be relatively muted. But, should Mr. Trump prove more successful in achieving adoption of his policies, the consequences could be far-reaching – knocking 5% off the level of US GDP relative to baseline and undermining the anticipated recovery in global growth.

In this, the latest in a series of US election briefings, we explore the combined weight of key Trump policy proposals, building on earlier research on individual policies.

Our central expectation is that the plans would be significantly diluted, with Mr. Trump forced to negotiate with Congress. The US economy would slow in the near-term amid increased uncertainty, with GDP easing to a level around ½% below baseline during 2017.

But the impact would be more severe if Mr. Trump were able to implement more substantively some of his stated policy proposals. In our adverse scenario, the US economy not only slows in the near term, it also remains subdued over the longer term, in part reflecting the impact of trade and immigration policies on potential supply.

The global impact also diverges markedly across the two scenarios. In the central Trump scenario, global growth edges down modestly relative to baseline – by up to a ¼ percentage point during the course of 2017. In the adverse scenario, however, the global economy is more badly shaken and growth remains subdued throughout much of the five-year forecast….
‘President Trump’ would cost U.S. economy $1 trillion
Source: Patrick Gillespie, CNNMoney, September 15, 2016

Trump presidency could cost U.S. economy $1 trillion: Oxford Economics
Source: Reuters, September 13, 2016

The U.S. economy could be $1 trillion smaller than otherwise expected in 2021 if Republican candidate Donald Trump wins the presidential election in November, economics research firm Oxford Economics said on Tuesday. While the firm said Trump’s policies – including more protectionist trade measures, tax cuts and mass deportation of illegal immigrants – may be watered down in negotiations with Congress, they could have “adverse” consequences….

Donald Trump’s economic policies aren’t getting good grades. His presidency would cost the U.S. economy $1 trillion over the next five years, according to Oxford Economics, a British forecasting firm with offices in the United States.

Trump’s old school: His immigration plan would kill 4 million jobs
Source: Patrick Gillespie, CNNMoney, August 16, 2016

The Macroeconomic Consequences of Mr. Trump’s Economic Policies
Source: Mark Zandi, Chris Lafakis, Dan White, Adam Ozimek, Moody’s Analytics, June 2016

Testing Attestations: U.S. Unemployment and Immigrant Work Authorizations

Source: Ben A. Rissing and Emilio J. Castilla, ILR Review, Vol 69 no. 5, October 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Each year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants seek legal employment in the United States. Similar to many developed countries, the United States has established immigration policies to protect its citizens’ employment. This study empirically assesses, for the first time, the relationship between U.S. workers’ unemployment rates and immigrant work authorization outcomes, as determined by one key U.S. immigration program—the labor certification process. This program explicitly requires that no willing and qualified U.S. worker be available for the job position offered to a foreign worker. Through the analysis of 40 months of labor certification requests evaluated by U.S. Department of Labor agents, the authors find that, ironically, immigrant labor certification approvals are more likely when the quantity of unemployed U.S. workers within an occupation is high, ceteris paribus. Further, because of the U.S. government’s procedure of auditing applications, the authors are able to assess approval differences when government agents reach similar labor certification decisions using 1) employers’ accounts of their own compliance (e.g., “attestations”) or 2) supporting documentation collected when employers are audited. Only for evaluations of audited applications, in support of the literature on accounts and regulation, are approvals less likely when unemployment is high. The authors conclude by discussing the implications of their findings for theories and policies concerning labor market regulation, immigration, and employment.

Temporary Professional, Managerial, and Skilled Foreign Workers: Policy and Trends

Source: Ruth Ellen Wasem, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R43735, January 13, 2016

Temporary visas for professional, managerial, and skilled foreign workers have become an important gateway for high-skilled immigration to the United States. Over the past two decades, the number of visas issued for temporary employment-based admission has more than doubled from just over 400,000 in FY1994 to over 1 million in FY2014. While these visa numbers include some unskilled and low-skilled workers as well as accompanying family members, the visas for managerial, skilled, and professional workers dominate the trends. ……. Policy makers and advocates have focused on two visa categories in particular: H-1B visas for professional specialty workers, and L visas for intra-company transferees. These two nonimmigrant visas epitomize the tensions between the global competition for talent and potential adverse effects on the U.S. workforce. The employers of H-1B workers are the only ones required to meet labor market tests in order to hire professional, managerial, and skilled foreign workers. ….

…..This report opens with an overview of the policy issues. It follows with a summary of each of the various visa categories available for temporary professional, managerial, and skilled foreign workers as well as an analysis of the trends in the use of these various visas over the past two decades. The policy of authorizing foreign students to work in the United States for at least a year following graduation is discussed next. The labor market tests for employers hiring temporary foreign workers are also summarized. The rules regarding federal taxation of professional, managerial, and skilled foreign workers are explained. The report concludes with a discussion of the avenues for professional, managerial, and skilled foreign workers to become legal permanent residents (LPRs) in the United States…..

Why the US now pulls fewer nurses from abroad

Source: Christopher James, Futurity, August 2, 2016

A study examining a decade’s worth of data on internationally educated nurses seeking work in the US reveals some striking data to counter the “brain drain” narrative.

In what’s known as nursing “brain drain,” locally educated nurses would go to school but then seek employment in the US, leaving their home country without adequate nursing talent and resources.

Historically, the United States has been a top receiving country of internationally educated nurses (IEN). These nurses had often worked in areas where there were significant nursing shortages. Because of this, the US has been seen internationally as a major global contributor to a phenomenon of talent emigration.

A total of 177 countries were eligible for inclusion in the study, representing findings from 200,453 IEN applicants to the US between 2003 and 2013. Their work found that changes to the NCLEX-RN licensure examination (2008), the global economic crisis of late 2008, and the passing of the World Health Organization’s Code for Ethical Recruitment of Health Workers (2010), all played a part in the significant drop in IEN applicants…..

Exploring longitudinal shifts in international nurse migration to the United States between 2003 and 2013 through a random effects panel data analysis
Source: Allison Squires, Melissa T. Ojemeni, and Simon Jones, Human Resources for Health, Volume 14 Supplement 1, June 30, 2016

No study has examined the longitudinal trends in National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) applicants and pass rates among internationally-educated nurses (IENs) seeking to work in the United States, nor has any analysis explored the impact of specific events on these trends, including changes to the NCLEX-RN exam, the role of the economic crisis, or the passing of the WHO Code on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel. This study seeks to understand the impact of the three aforementioned factors that may be influencing current and future IEN recruitment patterns in the United States.

In this random effects panel data analysis, we analyzed 11 years (2003–2013) of annual IEN applicant numbers and pass rates for registered nurse credentialing. Data were obtained from publicly available reports on exam pass rates. With the global economic crisis and NCLEX-RN changes in 2008 coupled with the WHO Code passage in 2010, we sought to compare if (1) the number of applicants changed significantly after those 2 years and (2) if pass rates changed following exam modifications implemented in 2008 and 2011.

A total of 177 countries were eligible for inclusion in this analysis, representing findings from 200,453 IEN applicants to the United States between 2003 and 2013. The majority of applicants were from the Philippines (58 %) and India (11 %), with these two countries combined representing 69 % of the total. Candidates from Sub-Saharan African countries totalled 7133 (3 % of all applications) over the study period, with half of these coming from Nigeria alone. No significant changes were found in the number of candidates following the 2008 economic crisis or the 2010 WHO Code, although pass rates decreased significantly following the 2008 exam modifications and the WHO Code implementation.

This study suggests that, while the WHO Code has had an influence on overall IEN migration dynamics to the United States by decreasing candidate numbers, in most cases, the WHO Code was not the single cause of these fluctuations. Indeed, the impact of the NCLEX-RN exam changes appears to exert a larger influence.

Compensation or Retrenchment? The Paradox of Immigration and Public Welfare Spending in the American States

Source: Ping Xu, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, Early View, Published online before print August 11, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
By using American state-level data from 1999 to 2008, this article explores how the recent immigrant influx has influenced public welfare spending in the American states. By integrating the race/ethnicity and globalization compensation theory, I hypothesize that immigration will increase welfare spending in states with a bleak job market and exclusive state immigrant welfare policy; in contrast, immigration will decrease welfare spending in states with a good job market and inclusive state immigrant welfare policy. Empirical tests show evidence for both hypotheses, suggesting that the applicability of general political science theories depends on a combination of state policy and economic contexts.

State Challenges to Federal Enforcement of Immigration Law: From the Mid-1990s to the Present

Source: Kate M. Manuel, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R43839, August 1, 2016

States and localities can have significant interest in the manner and extent to which federal officials enforce provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) regarding the exclusion and removal of unauthorized aliens. Some states and localities, concerned that federal enforcement disrupts families and communities, or infringes upon human rights, have adopted “sanctuary” policies limiting their cooperation in federal efforts. Other states and localities, in contrast, concerned about the costs of providing benefits or services to unauthorized aliens, or such aliens settling in their communities, have adopted measures to deter unauthorized aliens from entering or remaining within their jurisdiction. In some cases, such states or localities have also sued to compel federal officials to enforce the immigration laws, or to compensate them for costs associated with unauthorized migration.

This report provides an overview of challenges by states to federal officials’ alleged failure to enforce the INA or other provisions of immigration law. It begins by discussing (1) the lawsuits filed by six states in the mid – 1990s; (2) Arizona’s counterclaims to th e federal government’s suit to enjoin enforcement of S.B. 1070; and (3) Mississippi’s challenge to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. It then describes the challenge brought by over 25 states or state officials in December 2014 to the Obama Administration’s proposal to expand DACA and create a similar program for unauthorized aliens whose children are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent resident aliens (LPRs) (commonly known as DAPA.)