More Immigrants Know Their Rights Thanks to Trump’s Threats

Ironic. But rights become more important when under threat:

Over the last month, President Donald Trump’s publicizing of large-scale immigration enforcement operations seemed to have the intended result: wall-to-wall media coverage that indicated he was moving to fulfill his signature campaign promise to deport “millions of illegal aliens” from the United States.

But the threat of massive raids has also had a significant, unintended side effect. For the first time, many undocumented immigrants are finding out that when Immigration and Customs Enforcement come to their door, they have rights.

Immigration attorneys, advocates, and organizers in 10 cities across the country told TIME that the highly public threat of ICE raids, communicated directly from the White House, has gotten out the “Know Your Rights” information and prepared immigrant communities in a way that years of previous outreach had not.

“We are now seeing the ‘Know your Rights’ information really working to save people’s lives and teaching them that they have agency,” said Shannon Camacho, who coordinates a rapid response network for immigrants in Los Angeles.

When more than a dozen ICE agents knocked on the door of a family with two children in her community early in the morning last week, the father remained “calm and confident” because he knew what to do, she said. He refused to open the door unless agents presented a warrant signed by a judge and, speaking through the window, declined to give their names. He had video footage from the security camera, and knew to contact the rapid response network for legal help.

“Fifteen ICE agents, for one family,” said Camacho. “They were shaken up from the experience, but we told them ‘You did everything great, you understood your rights as a person here in the U.S. regardless of whether you’re undocumented or not.’’’

Like all legal and immigrants rights organizations who spoke to TIME, Camacho’s group has seen skyrocketing requests for information and “Know Your Rights” trainings. While these efforts existed long before Trump, his rhetoric and the unprecedented media attention to ICE operations has managed to help it break through in ways it hadn’t before.

Before Trump first threatened the raids in a June 17 tweet, the hotline for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights averaged roughly 40 calls a week. In the past week, that jumped to 250 calls a day, the group told TIME, with people requesting information on what to do if agents come to the door and reporting ICE activity in their communities. The group has also seen a “massive increase” in requests to have “Know Your Rights” trainings and workshops, as well as a flood of volunteers, said spokeswoman Cara Yi.

“There’s been such a spotlight put on this, and our elected officials have come out so strong, it’s going to be very difficult at least in the city of Chicago to reach any massive sweep,” said Lawrence Benito, the group’s executive director. “I mean, the Chicago mayor [Lori Lightfoot] was out in the community passing out our ‘Know Your Rights’ and hotline information.”

A few years ago, it would have been unusual to see government officials distributing information on how to evade immigration enforcement officials. Now it has not only become acceptable but expected for Democratic politicians and presidential candidates to share the “Know Your Rights” information on their platforms. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand all shared the American Civil Liberties Union’s “Know Your Rights” page in recent days. The organization’s thread on Twitter laying out the information in multiple languages reached almost 3 million people.

“There’s definitely an energy that’s different now. People are saying ‘We marched, we’re done marching, and now we need to stand up and do something,’” Benito said.

Organizers across the country told TIME that unlike other inflection points — Trump’s election, the travel ban and the family separation crisis last summer — they are seeing people go beyond protest marches to taking action in the face of imminent ICE sweeps, which are meant to target undocumented families who have been issued final removal orders.

Volunteers ran out of “Know Your Rights” pamphlets as they canvassed homes, supermarkets, restaurants, churches and laundromats handing out fliers and providing on-the-spot preparation. Trainings have been bursting at capacity, forcing some to find larger venues. Immigration attorneys said families that previously would have felt helpless in the face of ICE agents at their door now know that they don’t need to follow their orders if they don’t have a warrant signed by a judge. Many have pasted the bilingual fliers to their door, instructing their children on what to do, organizers said.

News stories about attempted ICE arrests increasingly reflected that — for example the New Jersey teenager who refused to open the door to agents when they knocked at 1 am after having seen a “Know Your Rights” post on Instagram.

“We’re seeing a lot of these (attempts) thwarted because no one was opening the door,” said Thomas Kennedy, the political director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “It’s encouraging to see that people are taking these lessons and applying them to protect themselves.”

Unlike in the past, in many of the 10 counties in Florida his group canvassed they found people already seemed well prepared in how to handle ICE raids, he said. Kennedy attributes much of that to the shift in local media coverage of these raids, which are targeting families.

“There’s been a lot of sensationalizing of the issue, which spreads fear and anxiety — I mean four or five years ago the headline would have been straight-up ‘widespread immigration raids target illegal immigrants,’” he said. “But now most local news — in English, Spanish, and Creole — also includes ‘Know Your Rights’ information, not just the fear element.”

Americans who oppose Trump’s immigration actions have also been flooding workshops and training sessions on how to support their immigrant neighbors.

“When the initial tweet came out, we organized a training on 48 hours notice and had 200 people show up — more than double the usual turnout,” said Brandon Wu, an organizer with the D.C.-based group Sanctuary DMV. “People are not just outraged but they’re willing to step up and do what it takes in proactive solidarity.” For his group in the Washington, D.C. area, this includes everything from documenting ICE raids they may witness in their neighborhood to accompanying immigrants to court appointments for moral support.

While the Trump Administration’s public threats do “galvanize allies in a way we find really useful, on the other hand it’s hard to overstate the level of fear it puts in the immigrant community,” Wu said. “They’re saying ‘If I leave my house to go to the grocery store I might never see my kids again.’ But if this is what it takes to galvanize people then that’s what it takes, we’re here now.”

Activists say another side effect of the Trump Administration’s constant publicizing of immigration enforcement is that many Americans are, for the first time, taking a close look at the system.

“We are witnessing a surge of support because I think the virulent anti-immigrant rhetoric of this administration is opening many people’s eyes to the horrors of the US immigration system,” said Andrea Mercado, the executive director of New Florida Majority, a progressive grassroots group. “Many people who weren’t aware of the deportation crisis in our country under previous administrations are now motivated and committed to do something.”

The same “Know Your Rights” information has been around for decades, but the way it has broken to the surface over the last two years – and especially in the last month – is giving some advocates whiplash, they say.

“We were having ‘Know Your Rights” trainings 10 years ago,” Madhuri Grewal, federal immigration policy counsel with the ACLU, told TIME. “So it’s amazing that now, as a result of this new level of interest, the U.S. is in this moment where people are really starting to understand our immigration enforcement.”

While there is no consolidated data from across all of the ACLU’s local offices, the significant surge in interest has clearly helped disseminate information more effectively than ever before, and “undocumented communities are much more aware of their rights,” she said, pointing to social media as a main factor. “Teenagers with access to social media are seeing this and sharing it with their parents.”

Source: More Immigrants Know Their Rights Thanks to Trump’s Threats

Are there still NDP voters in a province that just passed a religious symbols law? Singh looks to find out

Hard to see him squaring the circle on this one.

Will see during the campaign how much time he spends in Quebec compared to other provinces as possible barometer of prospects:

Quebec’s new law on religious symbols makes minorities feel like they don’t belong in the province, says Jagmeet Singh, and he wants to be the one to lead opposition to the legislation in Ottawa.

The leader of the federal New Democrats says this as he is standing in the food court of a mall in Drummondville, Que., surrounded by locals who support the law and think it’s about time immigrants adapted to Quebec’s culture.

If Singh is to hold on to his party’s 15 seats in Quebec, it will mean connecting with voters in places like Drummondville. That won’t be easy.

“Why do you wear that?” one elderly woman asks, pointing to Singh’s yellow turban. She asks him if he’s been in Canada for a long time.

Another man, Réal Lamott, admits it bothered him to see a politician wearing such a visible religious symbol.

“No, I definitely won’t vote for him,” says Lamott, who backed the Liberals in 2015.

Of the NDP’s 15 seats in Quebec, only three are in Montreal. The bulk of them are in the province’s manufacturing heartland, which stretches between Montreal and Quebec City. Drummondville is right in the middle.

The NDP swept the heartland during the Orange Wave of 2011, when the party won 58 of Quebec’s 75 ridings, but since then political affiliations have drifted toward the right, at least at the provincial level.

This region, its economy driven by mid-sized businesses, was critical to the Coalition Avenir Québec’s sweeping victory in October.

The CAQ’s so-called secularism law, which bars public schoolteachers and other authority figures from wearing religious symbols while at work, hasn’t dented its popularity here. Quite the opposite: According to some polls, the party’s popularity has grown since October’s provincial election.

Striding into these headwinds, Singh campaigned this week, visiting ridings in and around Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières and Drummondville.

He’s tried to tailor the party’s message to local concerns on this tour.

The NDP’s immigration policy, Singh said, will help businesses deal with the labour shortage, which is particularly acute in Drummondville. Its mass transit plan will bring upgrades to the local train service.

And its proposals for the environment will help smaller municipalities prepare for the more variable weather brought on by climate change.

“That’s what people are talking about,” said Drummondville MP François Choquette, who hung onto his seat for the NDP after he was first elected in 2011.

The religious symbols law is a provincial issue, said Choquette: “I’m concentrating on federal issues.”

Critics of the law, known as Bill 21, have been hoping for more vocal opposition from the federal parties.

The NDP, like the Liberals and the Conservatives, has avoided making any commitments to directly back legal challenges of the law.

Singh, though, went one step further this week, pitching himself as the spokesperson for those Quebecers angered by Bill 21.

“There are a lot of people in Quebec who don’t feel this is the right way to go, and I can be their champion,” he said.

The law, he says, is telling young people from religious minorities that the province where they grew up “is now rejecting you.”

Talk of turban ‘an opportunity’

Political observers are skeptical of Singh’s ability to reconcile that aspiration to lead the anti-Bill 21 vote while holding onto seats in the heartland.

The conventional wisdom among pollsters is that the federal leaders have little to gain in Quebec by being vocal about the issue.

But it would be nigh impossible for Singh to avoid addressing the law head on. Aside from his boldly coloured turban, his kirpan — the small dagger that religious Sikhs carry at all times — was visible as he shook hands in the Drummondville mall.

“Instead of a challenge, I find it’s an opportunity,” he said. “I find it’s the opening of a conversation.”

He offers the woman who was wondering about his turban a quick overview of Sikh history, focusing on the turban’s egalitarian symbolism.

“Well, I think you look quite nice,” she said.

Singh responded by giving her a high-five.

Source: Are there still NDP voters in a province that just passed a religious symbols law? Singh looks to find out

Le Canada ouvre ses portes au mouvement Gülen

Of note. Not without potential longer-term implications:

Il y a maintenant plus de 1000 personnes [ayant des liens avec le mouvement Gülen] au Canada. Les gens sont venus de Turquie, mais aussi d’ailleurs dans le monde », a confirmé à La Presse Halil, de l’Institut du dialogue interculturel de Toronto, organisation liée au mouvement Gülen. Pour des raisons de sécurité, il nous a demandé de taire son nom de famille.

Les statistiques de la Commission de l’immigration et du statut de réfugié (CISR) confirment ses dires. Si, avant 2016, le Canada accordait en moyenne l’asile à moins de 500 personnes originaires de Turquie par année, leur nombre a bondi depuis le coup d’État raté de 2016.

En 2017, sur quelque 13 500 demandes d’asile qui ont été accueillies favorablement par le Canada, 1247 ont été accordées à des individus fuyant la Turquie. Ce chiffre a grimpé à 1407 en 2018 et atteignait 852 au cours des premiers mois de l’année 2019.

La Fondation Horizon, mise sur pied par des supporteurs du mouvement Gülen, vient en aide aux nouveaux réfugiés issus de la confrérie musulmane.

M. Salimoglu, qui a des liens avec le mouvement Gülen depuis les années 80, a lui-même obtenu l’asile en 2017 (voir l’onglet suivant). « À Montréal, il y a de 30 à 40 familles qui sont venues depuis le coup d’État. Il y a plus de gens en Ontario, notamment à Toronto et à Kitchener », précise-t-il.

La Turquie au premier rang

Au cours des trois dernières années, la Turquie est ainsi passée au premier rang pour le nombre de demandeurs d’asile qui obtiennent le statut de réfugié au Canada, se hissant devant l’Afghanistan et la Syrie.

Actuellement, les personnes ayant des liens avec le mouvement Gülen qui se présentent devant la CISR font l’objet d’une procédure accélérée. En vertu de cette procédure, les commissaires évaluent les demandes d’asile à partir de dossiers écrits et n’ont pas nécessairement à convoquer les demandeurs en audience, apprend-on dans les documents de la Commission de l’immigration et du statut de réfugié (CISR). Les Syriens, les Irakiens, les Afghans, les Coptes d’Égypte, les opposants politiques du Venezuela et du Soudan, notamment, sont aussi visés par cette procédure rapide.

Quand on l’interroge sur les raisons ayant mené à cette décision, la CISR se borne à fournir un lien internet décrivant la procédure accélérée, mais n’explique pas pourquoi la confrérie musulmane a été mise sur la liste. Au bureau du ministre de l’Immigration, même discrétion. On renvoie les journalistes aux communications de la CISR.

Interrogé par La Presse, l’ambassadeur de Turquie à Ottawa, Kerim Uras, estime que le Canada fait fausse route.

« Le mouvement Gülen est un mouvement très organisé qui sait utiliser les failles du système. La politique canadienne est malavisée. Un jour, le Canada pourrait la regretter. »

– Kerim Uras, ambassadeur de Turquie à Ottawa

Un mouvement décimé

Depuis le coup raté qui a eu lieu dans la nuit du 15 au 16 juillet en Turquie, le mouvement Gülen est l’ennemi juré du président Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Ce grand réseau, qui comptait au début de la décennie près de 2 millions de membres actifs et 10 millions de sympathisants en Turquie, est disséminé à travers le monde.

Selon les experts, le mouvement Gülen peut être comparé à une franc-maçonnerie musulmane, très présente dans le milieu de l’éducation, des affaires et des médias. Pendant plus d’une décennie, ce réseau tentaculaire qui disposait de nombreux médias, d’institutions bancaires, de milliers d’écoles et de représentants à l’étranger était un allié du gouvernement islamo-conservateur de M. Erdoğan, mais les choses se sont gâtées en 2013.

Soupçonnés d’avoir fomenté le putsch contre le gouvernement turc, au cours duquel le parlement d’Ankara et le palais présidentiel ont été attaqués, des militaires associés au mouvement Gülen ont été arrêtés au lendemain du coup raté et accusés de terrorisme par la justice turque. Fethullah Gülen, le prédicateur et leader spirituel du mouvement, a affirmé à partir de la Pennsylvanie, où il vit en exil depuis 20 ans, que ses sympathisants n’avaient rien à voir avec le coup d’État.

Auteur d’un livre sur le mouvement Gülen et experte des études islamiques de l’Université de Chester en Grande-Bretagne, Caroline Tee ne partage pas le point de vue du leader musulman. « Il est pas mal clair, à partir des preuves journalistiques mises de l’avant en Turquie, que des sympathisants du mouvement Gülen ont participé au coup d’État », dit-elle.

Trois ans après les événements, il reste cependant beaucoup de zones d’ombre entourant l’événement, ajoute-t-elle. « C’est vraiment étrange qu’il y ait aussi peu d’informations rendues publiques sur les résultats des enquêtes policières », dit Mme Tee.

Rafles massives

Ces zones d’ombre n’ont cependant pas empêché le gouvernement Erdoğan d’arrêter des dizaines de milliers de citoyens – militaires, professeurs, journalistes, gens d’affaires – dans les semaines et les mois qui ont suivi le putsch avorté. Selon Human Rights Watch, plus de 77 000 personnes ont été arrêtées en lien avec le coup d’État de 2016. De ce nombre, plus de 45 000 l’ont été pour leur lien avec le mouvement Gülen, rebaptisé FETO par le gouvernement, soit l’« organisation terroriste de Fethullah ».

Au cours des trois dernières années, les organisations Human Rights Watch et Amnistie internationale ont dénoncé maintes fois l’aspect arbitraire des arrestations massives et des accusations de terrorisme qui touchent les membres du mouvement Gülen, mais aussi des Kurdes, des opposants politiques et des journalistes. « Il est normal que le gouvernement turc arrête et traduise en justice les organisateurs de la tentative de coup d’État qui a fait beaucoup de morts et de blessés dans la population civile, mais comment peut-on accuser de terrorisme des dizaines de milliers de personnes ? », a dit à La Presse Emma Sinclair-Webb, directrice de HRW en Turquie.

Fuyant cette répression tous azimuts de l’État, des dizaines de milliers de sympathisants du mouvement Gülen ont fui le pays. Le Canada n’est pas le seul pays à les accueillir. La France, l’Allemagne, les Pays-Bas, le Royaume-Uni ont notamment ouvert leurs portes aux membres de la confrérie musulmane.

Réfugiés ou menaces ?

Professeur d’économie à Harvard connu pour son blogue sur la politique turque, Dani Rodrik est convaincu que la majorité des membres du mouvement Gülen qui trouvent refuge à l’étranger ont de bonnes raisons de le faire. « Ça ne fait aucun doute : les gülenistes sont persécutés par le gouvernement turc, qu’ils aient pris part ou non à certaines des activités illégales du réseau. Je crois que la majorité des gülenistes sont des citoyens honnêtes qui n’avaient rien à voir avec les activités clandestines de certains membres du mouvement », dit M. Rodrik.

Selon l’expert de Harvard, les gouvernements qui accueillent des gülenistes doivent rester vigilants puisque les visées politiques du groupe restent obscures. « Je m’assurerais que mes services secrets gardent un oeil sur les activités des gülenistes. Sans l’ombre d’un doute », fait valoir le professeur.


Une présence montréalaise

Le mouvement Gülen est présent à Montréal depuis plus d’une décennie et organise fréquemment des événements publics. Au début de la décennie, l’Institut du dialogue interculturel, lié au mouvement, organisait chaque année des soupers auxquels étaient conviés politiciens, professeurs d’université, journalistes et représentants des forces de l’ordre. Des membres des cercles de pouvoir québécois ont aussi participé à des voyages en Turquie financés par le mouvement Gülen.

Depuis le coup d’État, le mouvement s’est fait beaucoup plus discret, mais n’a pas cessé ses activités. En public, le mouvement prône la tolérance, le service à la communauté et le dialogue interreligieux, mais dans ses rangs, il impose un mode de vie très strict à ses membres – pas d’alcool, pas de tabac, pas de sexe avant le mariage.

« En Turquie, les gens sont très sceptiques à l’égard de ce groupe entouré de secret, dit Caroline Tee, professeure à l’Université de Chester, qui a passé de longues années à étudier ce mouvement. Par contre, en Occident, le mouvement est bien reçu. Les gens veulent croire que c’est un mouvement musulman modéré. »

Source: Le Canada ouvre ses portes au mouvement Gülen

Laïcité: le Manitoba veut recruter des employés du secteur public québécois

Not surprising. Premier Pallister has been the most outspoken premier against Bill 21:

Le gouvernement du Manitoba veut recruter des employés du secteur public québécois préoccupés par la Loi sur la laïcité de l’État, qui interdit les signes religieux dans l’exercice de certaines fonctions.

Alors même que la Cour supérieure du Québec rejetait, jeudi, la requête de groupes de défense des libertés civiles et religieuses, qui réclamaient la suspension de la loi, le premier ministre Brian Pallister indiquait que le Manitoba avait besoin de fonctionnaires bilingues.

M. Pallister a promis de s’adresser aux employés de l’État québécois pour les assurer que sa province n’avait pas, elle, de « police du vêtement ». Il a indiqué que des lettres seraient bientôt envoyées aux associations professionnelles du Québec ainsi qu’aux cégeps et autres institutions d’enseignement afin de recruter des Québécois.

La Loi sur la laïcité de l’État, adoptée en juin à l’Assemblée nationale, interdit aux employés de l’État en position d’autorité coercitive, comme les juges, les policiers et les gardiens de prison, de porter des signes religieux dans l’exercice de leurs fonctions ; cette interdiction s’étend aussi aux enseignants du réseau public. Les opposants à la loi affirment qu’elle cible injustement les musulmanes, les sikhs et les autres minorités religieuses.

Le premier ministre Pallister, qui cherche à se faire réélire au Manitoba le 10 septembre, avait déjà affirmé son opposition à la loi québécoise lors de la rencontre estivale des premiers ministres des provinces et territoires, le 11 juillet. Le premier ministre François Legault a rappelé au Conseil de la fédération que la loi est appuyée par une majorité de Québécois et que son parti respectait une promesse électorale.

Jeudi, le juge Michel Yergeau, de la Cour supérieure du Québec, a déclaré que la loi continuerait de s’appliquer jusqu’à ce qu’un tribunal se prononce sur le fond de l’affaire.

En avril, le maire d’Edmundston, Cyrille Simard, invitait dans sa municipalité du nord-ouest du Nouveau-Brunswick les Québécois « qui pourraient rencontrer des obstacles » dans certaines catégories d’emplois. Alex LeBlanc, directeur général du Conseil multiculturel du Nouveau-Brunswick, rappelait alors que le Nouveau-Brunswick vivait notamment une pénurie d’enseignants francophones et bilingues qualifiés, et que de nombreux Québécois pourraient pourvoir ces postes.

Source: Laïcité: le Manitoba veut recruter des employés du secteur public québécois

The Surprising Way Republicans Used to Use Immigration to Boost the Economy

Nice historical reminder. Never thought when Reagan was in power that he would be viewed as progressive a generation later:

There was a time when a Republican president formed immigration policy for its economic impact, rather than its rhetorical value as a campaign issue. In 1980, Ronald Reagan recognized soaring unemployment in Mexico as the driving force behind the increased flow of illegal immigrants into the United States. Then-candidate Reagan said he wanted to “make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit, then while they’re working, and earning here, they pay taxes here. And when they want to go back, they go back.”

While nobody would say Reagan, as president, solved the problem of illegal immigration—amnesty for 2.9 million illegals and increased employer responsibilities rubbed some the wrong way—his focus was on the needs of employers to find affordable labor, and the needs of immigrants to find jobs.

In fact, “there was a time in the 80s and 90s, under both Republican and Democratic presidents, when border patrol agents along the Texas border would regulate employment levels,” says Professor Gordon Hanson of the University of California, San Diego. “The border agents would keep track of the labor needs of employers in the Rio Grande Valley. The higher the need for workers, the weaker the enforcement would be.”

Fast forward to last week’s testimony by Fed Chief Jerome Powell on Capitol Hill. Powell addressed the pressures on homebuilders, who are trying to continue building affordable homes. “You have a shortage of skilled labor,” Powell said, “so it’s hard to get people on the job—electricians, plumbers, carpenters and other people…just to get the people, no matter what you pay them, just finding people who can do that work.”

“Would you say our immigration policy has something to do with that?” asked Democratic Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota.

“That’s what we hear from home builders,” Powell replied.

Depressing the housing industry

“The lack of labor force is one of the main concerns for U.S. business,” says Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at Compass, an independent real estate brokerage. Hepp cites a survey from John Burns Consulting indicating that 82% of builders report a labor shortage. And since the housing industry contributes roughly 15% to the economy, that’s significant potential growth not being realized.

“The current level of single-family construction,” Hepp says, “while improving, it is still at about 50 percent below the levels of housing starts we had during the housing boom in early 2000s.”

The issue of illegal immigration is a touchy political topic, but let’s look at economic space that illegal immigrants fill. They tend to arrive when the U.S. economy is booming, provide low cost labor that is flexible enough to go where it’s needed, when it’s needed, and fill many jobs that Americans are not willing to do, especially in housing, food service, hospitality services, and agriculture. (Legal immigrants, on the other hand, many of them sponsored by companies or families, tend to be more highly educated, demand higher wages, and are not as flexible in moving to where the jobs are—partially because they may be legally obligated to a sponsoring employer.)

That potential increase in the labor force could come in handy right now, with an estimated 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, and when there are more job openings than there are people looking for work.

Perhaps sensing that the full story was not being told last week, Republican Senator John Neely Kennedy of Louisiana asked Powell, “What is the economic impact of illegal immigration on America’s economy?”

“I haven’t tried to quantify that, but people who come in legally or illegally, they add to our workforce,” Powell said, “and they contribute to GDP, certainly, so that’s part of it. You can really boil down growth into labor force growth and productivity increases, and immigration—total immigration—has contributed more than half of the growth in our workforce in the last few years.”

In fact, one of the ways that the economy could grow faster is if there were more workers, who are also tax payers and consumers, who supported other workers, who were also tax payers and consumers, and so on, and so on.

End to an unwritten policy

“But the shortage in the labor force isn’t just because of Trump’s policies,” says Professor Hanson. “That unwritten policy of border enforcement, following the ups and downs of the economy, ended with the border enforcement crackdown in 2005 under the George W. Bush administration.” Ironically, this was done by the former Texas governor to appease conservatives in Congress as a step toward comprehensive immigration reform. But reform never happened, even as tighter immigration policies continued, including under President Obama.

Then came the Great Recession, which took away the incentive for many foreign citizens to seek unfilled jobs in the United States. It was what Professor Hanson calls the end of the “Great Mexican Emigration.”

Kennedy clarified his focus for Powell: “What about illegal immigration? Does it have an impact on wages?”

“You know, there’s been a lot of research on that and it has really not reached a clear conclusion on that,” Powell said. “There is research that finds there is no visible impact, and there’s research that finds there’s a modest impact.”

Senator Kennedy was likely suggesting that illegal immigrants drive down the wages of Americans, which is a big part of the political argument Republicans have used against illegals coming into the country. And according to several sources, the argument is correct, especially when it comes to lower income, lower educated Americans who might find themselves competing with immigrants who are also looking for low-skilled work.

But the real drain on the economy from illegal immigrants comes when the resources they take from our economy exceed their contributions to it, which tends to happen, according to Professor Hanson, in the early years, just after they’ve arrived.

We’ll assume that the illegal immigrant worker IS paying certain taxes, including sales tax, property taxes (indirectly as renters), and possibly payroll taxes, under false social security numbers. But if a family comes into the U.S. illegally, sends their kids to publicly funded schools, and then has more children—who as natives are entitled to all American benefits such as Medicaid—will they be taking more from the economy than they are paying into it?

That’s the much-disputed question, politically as well as economically. Since illegal immigrants operate largely in the shadows, and are not eligible for most public benefits, a certain number is hard to determine, at least one that both parties will accept.

The problem for the administration is that with unemployment at 3.7%, it’s hard to say there’s a clear and direct impact being felt by many Americans economically. Most Americans who want a job, can find a job. That doesn’t take away the political argument, which will presumably still resonate—again, not without some validity—with a part of the voting public.

But as this expanding economy gets historically long in the tooth—the recession ended in June of 2009—a cooling housing industry may also put a chill on an economy that the president is hoping will carry him to reelection next year. That is surely not what he intended

Source: The Surprising Way Republicans Used to Use Immigration to Boost the Economy

Analysis: Why the 2020 census doesn’t need a citizenship question to count the undocumented

Good in depth analysis for data nerds:

It is now clear that there will be no question about citizenship on the 2020 U.S. Census.

After the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration, President Trump vowed to find a way to include the question. But with no legal path forward and time running out, the administration ultimately backed down.

Opponents of the citizenship question remain concerned about the census, though hopeful that more immigrant households will respond to the census now that the question has been removed.

But others worry that it will be much harder to keep track of undocumented immigrants. President Trump argued that a citizenship question was needed, saying: “I think it is very important to find out if somebody is a citizen as opposed to an illegal.”

However, a citizenship question wouldn’t actually help the government distinguish between who is an undocumented immigrant and who is not. The question distinguishes only between citizens and noncitizens, and noncitizens are not the same as undocumented immigrants. For example, three out of five noncitizens are in the country legally.

Even more importantly, demographers have figured out a simple and effective way to estimate the number of unauthorized immigrants – even without information on citizenship. In the last five years, my colleagues Frank D. Bean, James D. Bachmeier and I have conducted a series of studies that evaluate this method and its assumptions.

Our research on the methods used to estimate the size of the group indicates that existing estimates – putting the undocumented population at about 11 million – are reasonably accurate.

Here’s how it works.

What’s the formula?

Beginning in the late 1970s, a group of demographers consisting primarily of Jeffrey Passel, Robert Warren, Jacob Siegel, Gregory Robinson and Karen Woodrow introduced the “residual method” for estimating the number of unauthorized immigrants living in the country.

At the time, Passel and his collaborators were affiliated with the U.S. Bureau of the Census and Warren with the Office of Immigration Statistics of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Much of this work was published in the form of internal reports, but some of it appeared in major journals.

The residual method uses an estimate of the total foreign-born population in the country, based on U.S. Census data. Researchers then subtract from it the number of legal immigrants residing here, estimated from government records of legal immigrants who receive “green cards” minus the number that died or left the country. The result is an estimate of the unauthorized population.

Various adjustments are typically made to this formula. Most adjustments are minor, but a particularly important one adjusts for what researchers call “coverage error” among the unauthorized foreign-born. Coverage error occurs when the census data underestimate the size of a group. This can occur when people live in nonresidential or unconventional locations – such as on the streets or in a neighbor’s basement – or when they fail to respond to the census.

Coverage error could be particularly high among unauthorized immigrants because they may be trying to avoid detection. The Census Bureau’s own research suggests that asking about citizenship would likely aggravate this issue.

Currently, the Department of Homeland Security, the Pew Hispanic Center and the Center for Migration Studies are the major producers of estimates of the unauthorized foreign-born population.

Chart by The Conversation, CC-BY-ND. Data source: <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" >Pew Research Center</a>

Chart by The Conversation, CC-BY-ND. Data source: Pew Research Center

How accurate are the estimates?

The residual method has been widely used and accepted since the late 1970s. Within a reasonable margin of error, it predicted the number of unauthorized immigrants to legalize under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which, among other things, granted permanent residency status to unauthorized immigrants who had been living in the country since 1982. The residual method predicted that about 2.2 millionmet the residency requirement; the actual number to come forward was about 1.7 million.

Both Department of Homeland Security and Pew have used the residual method to estimate the unauthorized population since 2005. Despite using slightly different data and assumptions, Pew’s, Department of Homeland Security’s, and the Center for Migration Studies’s estimates have never differed by more than 1 million people, less than 10% of the total unauthorized population.

Nevertheless, skeptics question a key assumption of the residual method, which is that unauthorized immigrants participate in census surveys. All three organizations listed above inflate their estimates to account for the possibility that some unauthorized immigrants are missing from census data. For example, Pew inflates by about 13%. But is this enough?

My colleagues and I estimated coverage error among Mexican immigrants, a group that composes 60% of all unauthorized immigrants.

Even if they are not counted in a census, populations leave “footprints” of their presence in the form of deaths and births. Because people give birth and die with known regularity, regardless of their legal status, we were able to use birth and death records of all Mexican-born persons to determine the number of Mexican-born persons living in the U.S. We also looked at changes in Mexican census data between 1990 and 2010 to gauge the size of Mexico’s “missing” population, most of whom moved to the U.S.

We then compared these estimates with the estimated number of Mexican immigrants in census data. We found that the census missed as many as 26% of unauthorized immigrants in the early 2000s.

We speculated that this could have been due to the large numbers of temporary Mexican labor migrants who were living in the U.S. at the time. Because many worked in construction during the housing boom and lived in temporary housing arrangements, it may have been particularly difficult to accurately account for them in census surveys.

However, when the Great Recession and housing crisis hit, many of these temporary workers went home or stopped coming to the U.S. in the first place, and coverage error declined. By 2010, the coverage error may have been as low as 6% and does not appear to have changed much since then.

If current levels of coverage error for all unauthorized immigrants were as high as 26%, then the number living in the country could be as high as 13 million. But if coverage error were as low as 6%, then the figure could be as low as 10.3 million. The true number likely falls within that narrow range.

What this boils down to is that demographers already have a pretty good idea of the number of unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S., even without relying on citizenship data. If coverage error has declined as much as we think it has, then the truth is at the lower end of this range.

Will administrative records improve the estimates?

Looking ahead, methods could change as new data become available.

In the wake of its Supreme Court loss, the Trump administration issued an executive order directing government agencies to share administrative data on citizenship.

They want to link information on citizenship and immigration status in administrative records to everyone’s census responses. For example, the executive order requests the Department of Homeland Security’s records on refugee and asylum visas, as well as Master Beneficiary Records from the Social Security Administration. They want to use this information to estimate the undocumented population at very detailed levels of geography for purposes of redistricting, reapportionment and the allocation of public funds.

(It is worth noting that the Census Bureau is a fortress when it comes to protecting your data. Under federal law, the Census Bureau cannot share your personal information with anyone, including other government agencies such as ICE.)

Regardless of how anyone feels about these policy proposals, administrative data may not be up to the task. In my view, administrative records are complicated to use. They can provide inconsistent information about the same person depending on which agency’s records are used.

Additionally, the records will be of limited value for describing those who fall outside of the administrative records system, which can happen for all kinds of reasons. Even if the Trump administration uses administrative records to estimate the undocumented population, researchers will still need to make assumptions about coverage error, just like they do for the residual method.

Overall, I suspect that administrative records could help answer some narrowly defined questions about immigrants and improve national estimates. The jury is still out about their ability to provide definitive answers about the precise numbers of undocumented immigrants, particularly at detailed levels of geography.

Source: Analysis: Why the 2020 census doesn’t need a citizenship question to count the undocumented

Kuwait: Authorities crackdown on protesters demanding citizenship rights

Ongoing story:

The Kuwaiti authorities have arbitrarily arrested more than a dozen protesters in recent days, including prominent human rights defender Abdulhakim al-Fadhli and other activists, in a crackdown on peaceful protestors demanding greater rights for the stateless group known as Bidun [short for “without citizenship”]. Twelve protesters remained in custody, Amnesty International said.

The arrests took place between 11 and 14 July following demonstrations held last week by members of the Bidun group, who had gathered in Freedom Square in Tayma, in the Governorate of Jahra, and Al Erada Square, in Kuwait City, after Ayed Hamad Moudath, 20, committed suicide after reportedly being unable to obtain official documents and eventually losing his job.

“These arbitrary arrests primarily targeting peaceful protesters, activists and human rights defenders in Kuwait are not only unlawful, but are only set to exacerbate an already tense situation brought to the fore by the young man’s suicide. By continuing to deny the Bidun citizenship, the authorities are denying these long-term residents a range of basic rights, including their right to health, education and work, which in effect exclude them from being part and parcel of and contributing to a vibrant Kuwaiti society,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research.

“This has been a long-standing issue since Kuwait’s independence in 1961. It is high time the authorities address it in a meaningful and sustainable manner by ensuring that all Biduns have access to an independent, prompt and fair process when applying for citizenship.”

Two of the detained protesters Nawaf al-Badr and Mohamad al-Anzi, were referred to prosecutors on 14 July and charged with “national security offences”. Their detention has been extended for 21 days.

Abdulhakim al-Fadhli and nine others were referred to prosecutors on 15 July and face a range of charges including participation in unlicensed protests, misuse of communication equipment, spreading false news, and other national security offences. Others were summoned and questioned but not arrested.

“We call on the Kuwaiti authorities to immediately lift the unlawful restriction of the rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression and to release the protesters or charge them with a recognizable criminal offence,” Lynn Maalouf said.


More than 100,000 Bidun people are long-term residents of Kuwait, with most of them born there and belonging to families who have lived there for generations.

Despite government reforms announced in 2015, the Bidun community face severe restrictions on their ability to access documentation, employment, health care, education and state support enjoyed by Kuwaiti citizens.

In 2018, the minister of education rejected a parliamentary proposal to register children of Bidun in public schools. In the past, when Bidun people have protested to demand their rights, they have often faced repression.

Source: Kuwait: Authorities crackdown on protesters demanding citizenship rights

China relaxes rules to attract more skilled overseas talent

Interesting shift:

China’s Ministry of Public Security is to relax its immigration rules, opening the door to more highly skilled overseas workers and allowing a greater number of foreigners the opportunity to become permanent residents.

The rule changes, which will take effect from August, will also allow top talents from abroad to apply for long-term visas and make it easier for budding overseas entrepreneurs to start a business in China, the ministry announced on Wednesday.

Previously, only foreign talents who made “major and extraordinary contributions” while in China or who filled a skills gap were allowed to apply for permanent residence. From next month, those with in-demand skills and those whose annual income or taxes reached a specified threshold can apply for permanent residence, as can their spouses and underage children.

Those who have held a job in China for four years in a row and have been resident for at least six months each year, whose annual income is higher than six times the annual average worker’s wage in their city of residence, and who pay at least 20 per cent of their income in taxes, are eligible for permanent residence under the new rules.

In Beijing, the average salary last year was 94,258 yuan (US$13,706), setting the threshold for overseas candidates at 565,548 yuan (US$82,236) per annum.

The revised policy will also make it easier for people of Chinese ethnicity from overseas to apply for permanent residence. Those with a doctoral degree, or who have worked in what the ministry called “key development areas” for four years with a stay of at least six months each year are also eligible for permanent residence.

Source: China relaxes rules to attract more skilled overseas talent

Zelensky initiates dual citizenship for Ukrainians living abroad

Given the large number of Ukrainian Canadians (1.4 million), significant:

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky ordered the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine to develop the procedures of the provision of the second Ukrainian citizenship to the Ukrainians, who live abroad. He also ordered to simplify the procedure of the provision of the Ukrainian citizenship to people, whose rights and freedoms are violated as President’s Office reported.“From his side, President of Ukraine orders the MFA to develop the mechanism of the provision of Ukrainian citizenship as the second one to the ethnic Ukrainians from friendly states, to those, who want to join the development of their historical homeland. Besides, Volodymyr Zelensky orders to develop the mechanism of the simplified provision of Ukrainian citizenship to people who suffer from the violation of rights and freedoms in their countries,” the message said.

Such decision was made within the news on the extension of the arrest of Ukrainian POW sailors and signing of the order on the simplified procedure of the provision of the Russian citizenship to the Ukrainians by Russia’s president. Zelensky’s office believes that such steps create the obstacles for the weakening of the conflict in Donbas.

On July 17, 2019, Lefortovo Moscow Court extended arrest of all 24 Ukrainian POW sailors until the end of October.

The same day President of Russia Vladimir Putin distributed the effect of the order on facilitated issuance of Russian citizenship on all the residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Source: Zelensky initiates dual citizenship for Ukrainians living abroad

Trump’s ‘blatantly illegal’ immigration rules end asylum protections

One of the better summaries:

The Trump administration has announced new immigration rules ending asylum protections for almost all migrants who arrive at the US-Mexico border, in violation of both US and international law.

According to the new rules, any asylum seekers who pass through another country before arriving at the southern border – including children traveling on their own – will not be eligible for asylum if they failed to apply first in their country of transit. They would only be eligible for US asylum if their application was turned down elsewhere.

The change would affect the vast majority of migrants arriving through Mexico. Most of those currently come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, but an increasing number are from Haiti, Cuba and countries further afield in Africa and Asia.

The new rules were placed on the federal register on Monday and due to take effect on Tuesday, though they will be immediately challenged in court for contraventions of the US refugee act and the UN refugee convention guaranteeing the right to seek asylum to those fleeing persecution from around the world.

Source: Trump’s ‘blatantly illegal’ immigration rules end asylum protections