Category Archives: Immigration

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
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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.)

Women’s Wage Theft: Explaining Gender Differences in Violations of Wage and Hour Laws

Source: Miruna Petrescu-Prahova and Michael W. Spiller, Work and Occupations, Published online before print July 28, 2016
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From the abstract:
In this study, the authors identify and analyze a distinct and understudied source of gender inequality: gender differences in violations of wage-related workplace laws. The authors find that women have significantly higher rates of minimum wage and overtime violations than men and also lose more of their earnings to wage theft than men. In the case of minimum wage violations, the authors also find that nativity and immigration status strongly mediate this gender difference. Multivariate analysis suggests that demand-side characteristics—occupation and measures of nonstandard work and informality—account for more of the gender difference in minimum wage violations than do worker characteristics.

Undocumented Immigrants’ State and Local Tax Contributions

Source: Lisa Christensen Gee, Matthew Gardner, Meg Wiehe, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), February 2016

From the summary:
An updated 50-state study, Undocumented Immigrants’ State and Local Tax Contributions, by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy finds that undocumented immigrants’ tax contributions would increase significantly under the Obama Administration’s executive actions and even more substantially under comprehensive immigration reform granting all undocumented immigrants lawful permanent residence.
The 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States collectively paid $11.64 billion in state and local taxes. ITEP’s analysis finds their combined nationwide state and local tax contributions would increase by $805 million under full implementation of the administration’s 2012 and 2014 executive actions and by $2.1 billion under comprehensive immigration reform.
Press release

Undocumented Immigrants Pay Taxes

Danger and Dignity: Immigrant Day Laborers and Occupational Risk

Source: Jayesh Rathod, American University – Washington College of Law, WCL Research Paper No. 2016-09, March 21, 2016

From the abstract:     
The plight of immigrant workers in the United States has captured significant scholarly attention in recent years. Despite the prevalence of discourses regarding this population, one set of issues has received relatively little attention: immigrant workers’ exposure to unhealthy and unsafe working conditions, and their corresponding susceptibility to workplace injuries and illnesses. Researchers have consistently found that immigrant workers suffer disproportionately from occupational injuries and fatalities, even when controlling for industry and occupation. Why, then, are foreign-born workers at greater risk for workplace injuries and fatalities, when compared with their native-born counterparts? This Article seeks to develop answers to that question with the aid of empirical research and to build upon a growing interdisciplinary literature.

This Article presents findings from a qualitative research study designed to explore the factors that shape occupational risks for immigrants. The study, conducted over several months in 2014, centered on in-depth interviews of eighty-four immigrant day laborers seeking employment in different parts of Northern Virginia. The workers’ responses present a complex picture of the immigrant worker experience, reflecting persistent dangers alongside powerful expressions of worker dignity: while the Virginia day laborers continue to encounter significant occupational risks, many comfortably asserted their rights, complicating standard narratives of immigrant worker subordination and vulnerability.

The results of the study also point to ongoing economic insecurities, and regulatory failures relating to the provision of training, use of protective equipment, and oversight of smaller worksites. The findings also signal the need for a more holistic approach to workplace regulation that concomitantly examines a range of workplace concerns, including wage violations, hostile work environments, and health and safety risks. Finally, the day laborers’ experiences reveal that worker centers are well positioned to insulate immigrant workers from workplace risks, by promoting transparency and accountability in the employer-employee relationship.

Latino immigrant day laborer perceptions of occupational safety and health information preferences

Source: Claudia M. Díaz Fuentes, Leonardo Martinez Pantoja, Meshawn Tarver, Sandy A. Geschwind and Marielena Lara, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Volume 59 Issue 6, June 2016
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From the abstract:
Background: We address immigrant day laborers’ experiences with occupational safety in the construction industry in New Orleans, and opinions about content and method of communication for educational interventions to reduce occupational risks.
Methods: In 2011, we conducted seven focus groups with 48 Spanish-speaking day laborers (8 women, 40 men, 35 years on average). Focus group results are based on thematic analysis.
Results: Most employers did not provide safety equipment, threatened to dismiss workers who asked for it, and did not provide health insurance. Attitudes toward accepting unsafe work conditions varied. Women faced lower pay and hiring difficulties than men. Day laborers preferred audio format over written, and content about consequences from and equipment for different jobs/exposures.
Conclusions: Day laborers have common occupational experiences, but differences existed by gender, literacy and sense of control over safety. Day laborer information preferences and use of media needs further studying.

Outsourcers Top the List of Companies Seeking High-Skilled Guestworkers in Silicon Valley and Across California: A Snapshot Analysis of California H-1B Visa Use

Source: Economic Policy Institute and Jobs With Justice, May 2016

From the summary:
New analysis by the Economic Policy Institute and Jobs With Justice of U.S. Department of Labor data suggests that the leading users of the H-1B high-skilled guestworker visa program in Silicon Valley, and across California, are companies that essentially act as temporary staffing agencies. These companies make permanent work insecure and routinely facilitate the outsourcing of good, skilled jobs to lower wage labor markets.

Rights, Economics, or Family? Frame Resonance, Political Ideology, and the Immigrant Rights Movement

Source: Irene Bloemraad, Fabiana Silva and Kim Voss, Social Forces, Volume 94 Issue 4, June 2016
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From the abstract:
Although social movement scholars in the United States have long ignored activism over immigration, this movement raises important theoretical and empirical questions, especially given many immigrants’ lack of citizenship. Is the rights “master” frame, used extensively by other US social movements, persuasive in making claims for noncitizens? If not, which other movement frames resonate with the public? We leverage survey experiments—largely the domain of political scientists and public opinion researchers—to examine how much human/citizenship rights, economics, and family framing contests shape Californians’ views about legalization and immigrants’ access to public benefits. We pay particular attention to how potentially distinct “publics,” or subgroups, react, finding significant differences in frame resonance between groups distinguished by political ideology. However, alternative framings resonate with—at best—one political subgroup and, dauntingly, frames that resonate with one group sometimes alienate others. While activists and political theorists may hope that human rights appeals can expand American notions of membership, such a frame does not help the movement build support for legalization. Instead, the most expansive change in legalization attitudes occurs when framed as about family unity, but this holds only among self-reported conservatives. These findings underscore the challenges confronting the immigrant movement and the need to reevaluate the assumption that historically progressive rights language is effective for immigrant claims-making.