Category Archives: Immigration

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.

U.S. Immigration Policy: Chart Book of Key Trends

Source: William A. Kandel, Ruth Ellen Wasem, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R42988, March 14, 2016

This report is a chart book of selected immigration trends. Key immigration issues that Congress has considered in recent years include increased border security and immigration enforcement, expanded employment eligibility verification, reforms to the system for legal temporary and permanent immigration, and options to address the millions of unauthorized aliens residing in the country. The report offers snapshots of time series data, using the most complete and consistent time series currently available for each statistic. The key findings and elements germane to the data depicted are summarized with the figures. The summary offers the highlights of key immigration trends. ….

Between Public Service and Social Control: Policing Dilemmas in the Era of Immigration Enforcement

Source: Amada Armenta, Social Problems, Volume 63, Issue 1, 1 February 2016
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From the abstract:
While research provides numerous insights about the fear and insecurity that Latino immigrants experience at the hands of the police, much less is known about the experiences and practices of local police vis-à-vis Latino immigrant residents. This article contributes to research on street-level bureaucracies and immigrant incorporation by examining police practices in a new immigrant destination. Drawing on two years of fieldwork with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, it offers an extended ethnographic look at policing dilemmas in the era of immigration control. As the findings reveal, police bureaucracies respond to immigrant residents in contradictory ways. On one hand, the department has an official community policing program to increase trust and communication with Latino immigrant residents. On the other hand, street-level patrol officers undermine these efforts by citing and arresting Latino residents who lack state-issued ID. Thus, alongside ostensibly sincere efforts to incorporate immigrant residents, ultimately, police produce a form of social control and urban discipline through their discretionary decisions.