Trump’s ‘Animals’ Remark Is Threatening to Immigrants – The Atlantic

Good article with its conclusion on the longer-term implications:

The true peril of Trump’s comments on Wednesday is this: that the state will be further empowered to suspend human rights. Dehumanization is not just a buzzword, but a descriptor of a specific and well-known psychological and sociological process, by which people are conditioned to accept inflicting increasingly inhumane conditions and punishments on other people. Taking from the well-worn lessons of American racism, dehumanization means both a broadening of what’s acceptable and just who is unacceptable.

The dangers of that broadening were evident in another recent viral moment. In a video clip that made the rounds on social media, 42-year-old New York lawyer Aaron Schlossberg was seen ranting to a restaurant employee and customer for speaking Spanish to each other. With no evidence that anyone present was an unauthorized immigrant—or that a crime was taking place—Schlossberg threatened to call ICE against the employees and the restaurant. Given what is known about the routine processes of ICE arrest and detention, this was at best a threat of disruption, and at worst a threat of violence.

The most likely outcome of Trump’s “animals” rhetoric isn’t a return to some mythological Pax Americana, as his supporters might suggest. Quite the opposite: It could fuel more informing on neighbors, more regular harassment for people of color, a deeper and wider dragnet, and an increased acceptance of brutality and extralegal practices. That’s what happens when people stop being people.

via Trump’s ‘Animals’ Remark Is Threatening to Immigrants – The Atlantic

Animation: Visualizing Two Centuries of U.S. Immigration

Great animation and charts:

America is a nation of immigrants, and though the country has seen a lot of new arrivals over the past two centuries, the rate of immigration has been far from steady.

War, famine, economic boom and bust, religious persecution, and government intervention have all caused wild swings in the rate of immigration from countries around the world.

Today’s striking animation, by Max Galka, is a great way to see changes in immigration over time. Inflows from specific countries rise and fall, and the top three countries of origin change numerous times over the years.

Below, is another way to look at the ebb and flow of American immigration since the early 1800s.

U.S. Immigration Charts
An important note. This data excludes forced migration (slavery) and illegal immigration.

Let’s look at the “waves” in more detail.


From 1820 to 1870, over 7.5 million immigrants made their way over to the United States, effectively doubling the young country’s population in only half a decade.

Ireland, which was in the throes of the Potato Famine, saw half its population set sail for the U.S. during that time. This wave of immigration can still be seen in today’s demographics. There are now more Irish-Americans than there are Irish nationals.

The magnetic pull of the New World was profoundly felt in Germany as well. Growing public unrest in the region, caused by heavy taxation and political censorship, culminated in the German revolutions of 1848-49. Faced with severe hardship at home, millions of Germans made their way to America over the 1800s. It’s estimated that one-third of the total ethnic German population in the world now lives in the United States.


Much of America’s early immigration was from various points in Europe, but there was one prominent exception: China.

The discovery of gold in California inspired Chinese workers to seek their fortune in America. After a crop failure in Southern China in 1852, tens of thousands of Chinese immigrants flooded into San Francisco.

Although the State of California was making millions of dollars off its Foreign Miners Tax, sentiment towards Chinese workers began to sour. Gold mines were being tapped out and white Californians blamed the Chinese for driving wages down.

Chinamen are getting to be altogether too plentiful in this country.

– John Bigler, Governor of California (1852-1856)

By 1882, the newly enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act had a chilling effect on Chinese immigration. The Exclusion Act has the dubious distinction of being the only American law barring a specific group from immigrating to the United States.


The wave of immigration leading into the 20th century is referred to as The New Immigration.

In 1890, Ellis Island was designated as the main point of entry for newcomers entering the United States. In 1907 alone, Ellis Island processed a staggering 1,285,349 immigrants. To put this number in perspective, if all of those people settled in one place, they would’ve formed America’s fourth largest city almost overnight.

This massive influx of people into New York had profound implications on the city itself. In 1910, Manhattan’s population density was an astronomical 101,548 humans per square mile.

The immigrants arriving during this period – heavily represented by Italians, Hungarians, and Russians – were seeking religious freedom and economic opportunity. Certain industries, such as steel, meat-packing, and mining, were staffed by many new arrivals to the country.

During this time, one in four American workers were foreign-born.


The National Origins Act’s quota system, which took effect in 1929, essentially slammed the door on most immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. Shortly after, the Great Depression further put a damper on immigration that would last well into the 20th century.


After decades of sluggish immigration, the United States’ percentage of foreign-born citizens reached a low of 4.7% in 1970. But that was all about to change.

During the next decade, the number of states where Mexico was the top country of origin doubled in a single decade, and Mexicans became the dominant foreign-born population in the country. This migration was fueled by the Latin American debt crisis and later by NAFTA. The influx of cheap corn into Mexico caused hundreds of thousands of Mexicans from rural areas to search for more favorable economic opportunities. America was the obvious choice, particularly during the economic expansion of the 1990s.

U.S. Hispanic Population Map

This wave of immigration has shifted the country’s demographics considerably. Today, nearly one in five people in the United States are Hispanic.


Immigration trends are continually evolving, and America’s newest immigrants are often more likely to come from China or India. In fact, both countries surpassed Mexico as countries of origin for immigrants arriving in the U.S. in 2013. Today, the trend is even more pronounced.

us immigration top 5

Recent immigration numbers indicate that Asian immigrants will continue to shift America’s demographics in a new direction. Perhaps a new wave in the making?

via Animation: Visualizing Two Centuries of U.S. Immigration

Andrew Coyne: It’s that time again, when Conservatives say anything to woo Quebecers

Typical acerbic Coyne commentary on CPC flirting with the Quebec nationalist vote:

Certain things recur eternally, in time with the rhythm of the seasons. Flowers bloom in spring. The swallows return to Capistrano. And the federal Conservatives prostitute themselves for the Quebec-nationalist vote.

Well, that’s a bit strong. Prostitutes, after all, expect to be paid. Whereas the Conservatives’ periodic efforts to sell themselves, their principles and their country to people with a proven lack of interest in all three are as notable for their unremunerativeness as they are for their self-abasement.

The Conservatives have been trying this same act now for several decades, most notably — and destructively, to both country and party — under Brian Mulroney, but in their different ways under Robert Stanfield (“deux nations”), Joe Clark (“community of communities”) and even Stephen Harper (“the Québécois nation” resolution).

Occasionally, they manage to attract some attention in the province that has remained largely indifferent to them since 1891. If they are particularly extravagant in their offerings, as under Mulroney, they may even win their votes — but only for as long as it takes to sink in that there is no support in the rest of Canada for what they are proposing, and no possibility of their being implemented.

At which point the whole exercise sinks in a heap of dashed expectations and accusations of bad faith, leaving the country divided and the Tories in ashes. Until, inevitably, some genius gets it into his head to launch the whole routine again.

As, indeed, some genius now has. There were early warning signs during the leadership campaign, with Andrew Scheer’s efforts to prostrate himself before the dairy lobby on the issue of supply management — a policy that is not explicitly about Quebec nationalism, but which only exists because it has been incorporated into the “Quebec consensus,” and is as such, like others of its kind, untouchable.

There were further hints in Scheer’s expressions of interest, as leader, in the Couillard government’s ruinous plan to leap again into the constitutional bog, this time with a set of demands that include entrenching “the Quebec nation” — not the Québécois, as in the Harper resolution, but the province entier, as national proto-state.

But it wasn’t until last weekend’s gathering of the party in Saint-Hyacinthe that we began to see just how far the Scheer Conservatives are prepared to go down this road. We now learn that among the proposals Scheer is considering including in the platform for 2019 is a federal retreat from responsibility for culture and immigration in Quebec, in favour of the provincial government: a longstanding nationalist demand, and another brick in the wall dividing Quebec from the rest of Canada.

As in a growing list of other fields, MPs from Quebec would be setting rules for the rest of Canada that did not apply to themselves, legislating for other provinces in areas over which Quebec reserved all power to itself. To now we’ve been able to paper over the inequities this implies: the levies Quebec MPs voted to impose on other Canadians under the Canada Pension Plan were until lately the same as those imposed under the Quebec Pension Plan. (They are now slightly lower.) But the principles of federalism can only be stretched so far. At some point they’re bound to break.

And there was this gem. In the name of preserving its autonomy, Quebec has long been the only province to force its long-suffering citizens to file their taxes twice: once to Ottawa and a second, entirely separate return to the province, with a separate set of deductions and credits. The Tories now propose to end this silliness — not, as you might expect, by the province agreeing to use the federal tax base in return for the feds collecting its taxes for it, as in the rest of Canada, but by the province collecting both sets of taxes, then remitting the federal portion to Ottawa.

Wonderful: henceforth, the federal government would be dependent on the grace and favour of the government of Quebec for a fifth of its income — even as the government of Quebec depends on federal transfers for about a fifth of its income. (Would it just subtract its share? Or would the two governments send each other cheques?)

And should there arise some dispute between them? That’s a nice little revenue source you have there. Pity if anything should happen to it.

There’s no actual need for any of this, you understand. There never is. The reason Quebec has its own pension plan is not because Quebecers age at different speeds, but because the government of Quebec fancied the cash — and because the Pearson government, with the Quiet Revolution then at its peak, was too unnerved to say no.

So it is with immigration and culture. Believe it or not, the federal government employs many francophone Quebecers. To the extent Quebec has special needs in these areas, they are quite capable of understanding and addressing them. Meanwhile, the province continues to enjoy the greatest degree of latitude in a country whose provinces generally have more powers than many sovereign states.

But then, the interest of Quebec’s political class in protecting the province’s jurisdictional turf seems to ebb and flow. At times, they are only too happy to have the feds intervene — for example, when it comes to covering the costs of the current influx of asylum seekers. Or, in perhaps the most brazen recent example of have-it-both-ways federalism, in the Coalition Avenir Québec’s suggestion that, should it form a government, it would exclude immigrants who did not pass its “values” test — but stick Ottawa with the job of kicking them out of the country.

I get why provincial politicians behave this way. I have no idea why their federal cousins are so eager to enable them. Or rather no, I know exactly why. Certain things recur eternally, after all.

Immigration has been good for Britain. It’s time to bust the myths

Revealing media and other analysis underlying the opinions:

Cut the niceties. Skip the jargon. Let us speak the plain truth, however ugly. What is driving this country headlong into a chaotic and punishing Brexit is a blind desire to cut immigration. That’s why people voted to leave the EU, politicians and pundits tell us. That’s what makes a Norway-style deal impossible, since it would almost certainly allow freedom of movement with mainland Europe – and any prime minister accepting that would be strung up by the press for treachery.

As long as Brexit is a synonym for keeping out foreigners, there can be no hope for meaningful compromise with the rest of the EU. The Lords can inflict endless defeats on Theresa May. An entire dinosaur gallery of has-been politicians can clamber on rice sacks to issue grave warnings. All will be drowned out by this one guttural roar.

Yet the anti-migrant arguments are a toxic alloy of barefaced lies and naked bigotry. None are new. But they were feverishly circulated in the days before the 2016 referendum. This time, crucially, migrants were made scapegoats for the misery caused by the government’s own drastic spending cuts – for a buckling NHS, a cash-starved school system and falling wages.

The definitive guide to how that happened is a study from King’s College London, which analyses almost 15,000 articles published online during the Brexit campaign by 20 news outlets, including the BBC and all the national papers. Despite its thoroughness, the media has barely covered it – perhaps unsurprisingly given what it implies about the state of our press.

Researchers found immigration to be the most prominent issue in the 10 weeks running up to the vote, leading 99 front pages. Of those, more than three-quarters were from the four most virulently leave newspapers: the Sun, the Mail, the Express and the Telegraph. Brexiteers fed their papers’ scare stories about immigration – no matter how scurrilous. Recall how Penny Mordaunt and the Vote Leave campaign claimed that Turkish murderers and terrorists were queueing up to come to the UK. Never mind that David Cameron immediately decried the lie. Never mind that this is the same country for whose tyrant leader Mordaunt, Theresa May and the rest rolled out the red carpet this week. Anything to fling some mud and get a headline.

“When not associated with rape, murder or violence, migrants were often characterised as job stealers or benefit tourists,” observes the academics’ report. So grab-handedly abhorrent were these newcomers that they were simultaneously taking our jobs and stealing our dole money. Or else they were jostling British mothers out of maternity wards and cramming their kids into British classrooms.

Such poisonous stories were happily ventriloquised by Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Chris Grayling and Michael Gove. Their reward for helping to generate the hatred that will scar this country for years was, naturally, a big job in government. Their targets, on the other hand, have to live in a society in which racial prejudice is not just normalised but tacitly encouraged by cabinet ministers.

Yet time and time again, the politicians’ claims were false. The men and women who have come here from Budapest or Prague are like previous generations of arrivals: young, educated at someone else’s expense and here to work. They aren’t low-skilled labour but what former government economist Jonathan Portes describes as “ordinary, productive, middle income, middle-skilled – the sort of people our economy actually needs”. Study after study has failed to find any evidence of significant undercutting of wages. Far from jumping the queue, analysis published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows they are much less likely to be on benefits or in social housing than their UK-born counterparts.

Migrants from eastern Europe pay billions more in taxes to Britain than they take out in public spending. Far from squeezing hospitals and schools, they subsidise and even staff them. Rather than take jobs, they help create them. What has drained money from our public services and held down our wages is the banking crash, and the Tories’ spending cuts. As former Bank of England rate-setter David Blanchflower concludes in a forthcoming book on Brexit and Trump: “Government-imposed austerity has meant their money [migrants’ taxes] has not been used to finance the services they are entitled to, hence the overcrowding.” In one of the most breathtakingly cynical moves of our time, the very same ministers making the cuts looked at the fallout they created – and blamed migrants.

The Tories haven’t created this climate alone, of course. From Tony Blair to Ed Miliband, Labour leaders have marched alongside, muttering about “legitimate concerns” and handing out anti-immigration mugs. Forget about the evidence or leadership or having a backbone. Never mind the surveys showing that however much people dislike immigration in the abstract, they appreciate migrants.

Imagine Labour repealing gay marriage to placate misguided voters, or restricting women from working in order to boost wages for men. You cannot. But torching non-British workers in order to score political points is still deemed acceptable.

As shadow home secretary Diane Abbott observed , the point about pandering to racism – or whatever euphemistic camouflage you want to stick on it – is that it’s a beast whose appetite is never satisfied. One day the target is immigrants without documents; the next it’s a “swarm” of Poles and 100 Indian doctors blocked from taking up their hospital jobs; and by the end of the week it’s 63 of the Windrush generation deported, and countless more plunged into poverty and homelessness.

Having spoken up for migrants during the referendum, Jeremy Corbynthankfully does not share this same soft racism. But neither is he doing enough to challenge it. Among the six tests Labour’s Keir Starmer has set for Brexit is the familiar dog-whistle about “fair management of migration”.

Labour frontbenchers evidently believe they have to promise a Brexit that is sufficiently racist for the press and the hard right. In the old Blairite days, we’d have called this triangulation – take minority-ethnic support for granted, while wooing leave voters. Whatever it’s called, it’s a tawdry tactic that soon gets rumbled.

The point about opinions is that they can be shifted. Just see what Corbyn’s team has achieved on austerity in two years. What was once an economic orthodoxy is now recognised as a failure – because Labour stood up for both the evidence and its own better instincts. There are plenty of parallels here: a policy dreamed up by the Tory right, to which the left shamefacedly paid lip service; a mounting body of evidence that it was wrong; and at ground level a lasting legacy of stunted and broken lives. Austerity was urgent in 2010, essential in 2015 and is a relic in 2018. Much of the credit for that should go to Corbyn’s party. Now it should do the same with immigration.

Or else, as one Corbynite frontbencher admits: “You can’t keep telling West Yorkshire one thing, and Islington another.” And you won’t avert a hard Brexit until you face down the intolerance that is driving it.

Source: Immigration has been good for Britain. It’s time to bust the myths

Liberals risk new-Canadian vote with border-crossing response, say pollsters

Some relevant polling data – will see how these numbers shift or remain stable should the trend continue or change:
Politicians and the media are to blame for using needlessly alarmist language on the rise of asylum seekers, when the system has the capacity to manage, says a former Immigration and Refugee Board chair.

The Liberals have switched to more hardline messaging around asylum seekers, say pollsters and observers, as the government’s response has left it open to attack in the face of increasing irregular border crossings and charges from the Conservatives that the Grits are soft on border security.

Politically, the challenge and vulnerability for the Liberals is especially acute among first-generation and new-Canadian communities, said Jackie Choquette, vice-president at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, which both parties have been targeting and fighting over for several elections.

“That’s traditionally been a huge area of support for the Liberal Party,” said the former provincial Liberal staffer, and an area where they could lose votes.

The issue is starting to gain traction as opinions shift within that community, she said.

“That’s a more-difficult, nuanced conversation, I think, for the government to have and that’s why I think it’s the biggest vulnerability.”

Though the Conservatives have been accusing the Liberals of being weak along the border, Summa Strategies senior consultant Kate Harrison said the attack line that’s more “acutely felt” is “on the notion of queue jumping.”

In a move many saw as a way to court new Canadian votes ahead of the 2015 election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) promised to make family reunification easier for new immigrants to sponsor relatives coming to Canada.

Those “lofty promises” present a political vulnerability, Ms. Harrison said, as some families still wait for that to happen while hearing messages—accurate or not—that others get to jump the line.

“If they don’t make any progress on family reunification, a lot of those new Canadians that are already here and have family members that have been waiting to [come] here may grow very resentful,” said Ms. Harrison, a former Conservative Party staffer.

No party wants the discussion to devolve into “stoking resentment” within those communities, she said, but it has the danger of heading that way if parties aren’t careful.

All parties are “playing a careful dance” around how they frame the “tricky issue” because it “cuts to the very core of who we are as Canadians,” said Ms. Choquette, particularly as the country tends to pride itself on being welcoming.

Government shifts, sharpens message on asylum seekers

At committee and in Question Period last week, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale (Regina-Wascana, Sask.) responded to Conservative questions on what they’ve called “the border crossing crisis” by reiterating international obligations to refugees and stressing the government doesn’t think the situation is acceptable.

“Coming across the border in a way that tries to circumvent the law or defy proper procedure is no free ticket to Canada,” Mr. Goodale told reporters last week.

Observers saw that language from him and other officials as a very different, more stern approach. It was also a necessary shift following documents that showed Mr. Trudeau’s tweet from January 2017 welcoming “those fleeing persecution, terror [and] war,” caused confusion among officials and a flood of inquiries.

Angus Reid Institute executive director Shachi Kurl said there are a couple of outstanding questions.

“We’ve seen that message sharpened in the last little while, but is it enough? Is it enough practically and is it perceived to be enough in the minds of Canadians?” she said, adding the firm plans to poll soon on this issue again.

In a September poll following a summer spike in irregular crossings, Angus Reid found 53 per cent of respondents said the country has been “too generous” to the border crossers.

“I think there’s a narrative—which is not necessarily an accurate narrative—that Canada is an endlessly welcoming and generous country,” she said, but the polls show that’s not the case.

“As we see more individuals arriving at the border I think if anything that concern is only heightened, not lessened,” she said, adding the same goes for general awareness of the issue. “For those who are concerned, they are unlikely to have seen anything in terms of a change of approach that will have lessened or alleviate those concerns.”

‘Alarmist’ language a problem: former IRB chair

Because Canada and the United States are part of the Safe Third Country Agreement, people who cross from the U.S. at regular points of entry along the border or at airports aren’t able claim refugee status. The same does not apply at unofficial entry points, prompting the Conservatives to call on the Liberals to suspend the agreement.

Mr. Goodale has said the government broached the subject and is having “exploratory” talks with the U.S.

The latest government numbers show 2,560 such entries in April—a 30 per cent increase over the previous month. There were 20,593 irregular crossings from the United States in 2017 and have remained above 1,500 crossings a month since July 2017. The vast majority of those crossings are through Quebec, which observers note is a strategically important province politically in which the Liberals are pouring resources and where Conservative leader Andrew Scheer (Regina–Qu’Appelle, Sask.) has recently spent time courting disenchanted Bloc Québécois supporters. While the Liberals still lead the pack, a new poll showed the Tories are making gains in the province.

Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

That uptick in border crossings “is only an increase compared to the unusually low numbers of claims in the past few years,” according to the Canadian Council for refugees.

The average number of refugee claims between 2013 and 2015 was 13,300 per year but between 2000 and 2009, it was an annual average of 31,400, the council said, arguing the case could be made that Canada is “returning to more usual numbers.”

Both the “loose language” and discussion around numbers from media and politicians has been “alarmist,” said Peter Showler, former chair of the Immigration and Refugee Board.

“It’s a kind of Chicken Little reporting on the numbers as though … the sky is going to fall,” he said. “The sky hasn’t fallen.”

The claims that came through in the last year “are well within the capacity of the Canadian refugee system,” he said, though agreed it requires more resources.

Part of the problem, he said, is use of the word “illegal” rather than “irregular” in discussing the kind of crossing.

The NDP has also raised this concern, that people have a right to seek protection and there are specific laws and processes in place to determine if someone falls within Canada’s definition of refugee.

The focus instead should be on protection and the legal rights of entrants, Showler said. And just because a claim is determined not to fall within Canada’s definition of refugee, that doesn’t make them fraudulent.

Most importantly, he noted the acceptance rates currently are approximately the same as those of the national average for refugee claims.

“It means that the significant majority of people who are seeking Canada’s protection, the Immigration Refugee Board has reached the conclusion that they are in need of protection,” said Mr. Showler, adding the rate is for the last two to three years is about 65 to 70 per cent—”which historically is quite high.”

Canadians should have a better understanding of the distinct refugee flows, he said, and the impact of U.S. President Donald Trump and his government’s pronouncements, including an executive order last year banning refugees and visitors from Muslim-majority countries.

Last year, many coming to Canada were from Haiti and feared deportation as Mr. Trump announced the 2019 end of the temporary residency program set up to take in those seeking refuge from the 2010 earthquake, he noted. Canada has already ended a similar program. More recently, arrivals are originally from Nigeria and head north soon after they land in the U.S., leading Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen (York South–Weston, Ont.) to travel to Nigeria this week to meet with officials on the ground.

For the most part, pollsters say opinions on refugees are polarized along political lines, with Conservative voters more likely to say the country is being too generous to asylum seekers.

Pushing border security and painting the Liberals as soft may produce “modest gains” for the Tories but it’s not a strategy that will dramatically increase their support, said Frank Graves, president of EKOS Research Associates.

However, it can provide emotional energy for motivating their base, he said, which are “far more concerned” about the issue.

“Frankly, elections are won on emotional engagement,” he said, and the approach can bring out committed supporters, which can produce higher turnout, better fundraising, and more involvement.

Even so, Mr. Graves said he doesn’t see this issue as “a huge exposed flank” for the government while Ms. Choquette said the Liberals still need a win on the file.

“They need to make a measurable difference on one aspect of this issue, even if it’s a small aspect,” she said, though there’s no easy solution. “The potential for this issue is it hurts them with a number of key constituencies that they rely on or will need to rely on in 2019. They’re running out of time.”

via Liberals risk new-Canadian vote with border-crossing response, say pollsters – The Hill Times

La CAQ adoucit sa position sur l’immigration

The contrast in titles between the Globe (CAQ seeks to expel immigrants who fail ‘Quebec values’ test – The Globe and Mail) and La Presse is telling (La Presse is the more up-to-date version).

Will be interesting to see if the CPC in its effort to gain support in Quebec by further devolving immigration responsibility to that province (Tories on the rise in Quebec as Scheer woos former Bloc voters, poll …) will have second thoughts should the CAQ be elected and implement such post immigration testing:

À quatre mois des prochaines élections, la Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) a édulcoré sa position sur l’immigration. Plus question pour le Québec d’expulser des immigrants qui, au bout de trois ans, n’ont pas appris le français ou ne cherchent pas un emploi ; il appartiendra à Ottawa de procéder éventuellement à des évictions.

Dans un « document d’orientation » sur l’immigration publié ce mois-ci, la CAQ se défend de vouloir expulser ou extrader des immigrants : « le recours à ce vocabulaire témoigne d’une mauvaise foi ou d’une méconnaissance de nos institutions », indique-t-on. Un immigrant « récalcitrant » qui ne respecterait pas l’engagement pris à son arrivée ne serait plus admissible au Certificat de sélection du Québec ; « le gouvernement du Québec fera alors parvenir au gouvernement fédéral un avis officiel pour l’informer de la présence en territoire canadien d’une personne sans statut. Le gouvernement fédéral décidera alors des mesures qu’il entend prendre ».

« [Le pouvoir d’expulsion], je ne pense pas avoir jamais dit que ce serait le gouvernement qui le ferait. Le seul pouvoir que le Québec a est d’accorder ou non un certificat de sélection. » – François Legault, chef de la CAQ, dans un entretien avec La Presse

Sans ce certificat, « techniquement, la personne se retrouve sans statut, donc elle ne peut rester au Canada ».

En conférence de presse, le 16 mars 2015, en présentant la politique avec le député Simon Jolin-Barrette, M. Legault s’était fait demander si les contrevenants seraient expulsés. « L’immigrant [qui] ne reçoit pas son certificat permanent, bien oui, il devra retourner, puis le gouvernement fédéral devra s’assurer que cette personne retourne chez elle », avait-il dit. Plus tard, à une autre question sur l’éviction des immigrants récalcitrants, il avait ajouté qu’ils pourraient être candidats dans d’autres provinces, mais pas au Québec. « Ils ne peuvent pas rester de façon permanente même s’ils se sont fait une blonde, un chum au Québec puis qu’ils ont eu un enfant. À un moment donné, il y a des lois, puis nous, on pense que c’est important pour le vivre-ensemble québécois que les personnes parlent français, connaissent et respectent les valeurs québécoises et répondent aux objectifs d’employabilité », avait soutenu M. Legault il y a trois ans.

La proposition de la CAQ maintient la réduction du nombre d’immigrants acceptés chaque année – des 50 000 actuels, on voudrait passer à 40 000. « C’est une réduction temporaire », a expliqué hier M. Legault, qui rappelle qu’après 10 ans, 26 % des immigrants reçus ont quitté le Québec. « Pendant un certain nombre d’années, il faut réduire le nombre. Actuellement, à 50 000, on excède nos capacités à l’emploi et à la formation en français », observe-t-il. La barre sera remise à 50 000 une fois ces objectifs atteints. « Au cours d’un mandat ? Je ne veux pas fixer de délais, mais cela pourrait être ça », a précisé M. Legault.

Selon le premier ministre Philippe Couillard, la position de la CAQ illustre que pour ce parti, l’immigration « est un problème à régler ». « [Une autre idée] de M. Legault qui est brouillonne et inapplicable à plusieurs égards. Ce que sous-tend ce discours-là, c’est le fait que l’immigrant est un problème ; c’est un problème à régler, alors que c’est une occasion extraordinaire pour le Québec », a lancé M. Couillard en marge du point de presse où il a confirmé qu’Alexandre Taillefer deviendrait président de la campagne électorale du Parti libéral du Québec (PLQ).

Au Parti québécois (PQ), on qualifie la position de la CAQ en matière d’immigration d’« irréaliste ».

« Ce n’est pas sérieux, a martelé hier le chef du Parti québécois, Jean-François Lisée. Ce que la CAQ dit, c’est : “On va faire entrer jusqu’à 100 % d’immigrants qui ne connaissent pas le français puis, après trois ou quatre ans, s’ils ne l’ont pas appris, ils vont rester parce qu’on va demander au fédéral de les expulser, [mais] le fédéral ne va pas les expulser.” »

« On est au coeur de l’imagination fautive de la CAQ, proposer des affaires qui ne se peuvent pas, qui n’existera pas, qui ne sera pas appliquée », a souligné M. Lisée.

via La CAQ adoucit sa position sur l’immigration | Denis Lessard | Politique québécoise

How Trump is really changing immigration: making it harder for people to come here legally

Good overview:

A Trump supporter named John B. who emailed me recently wrote that, “No one is against legal immigration.” President Trump and his administration are, I replied.

Yes, Trump still wants his big, beautiful wall to stop illegal border crossings. But he’s been railing against all forms of immigration since his campaign. And he’s having a much easier time chipping away at legal immigration than funding his wall. In some cases, the methods are strict quotas or new rules. But paperworkand red tape work, too. For instance, this administration tripled the number of pages in green card applications. Forms for sponsoring a foreign-born spouse are nine times longer than they used to be.

Here’s an overview of key ways Trump has made it more difficult and expensive to come here legally for foreign students, skilled temporary workers, green cards holders, refugees and others.

H1-B visas

The Trump administration has piled new compliance rules, documentation requirements and other regulations on H-1B visas. These changes make it much more costly for employers to use H-1B visas to hire skilled foreign workers, which is a likely reason that applications dropped by 20% from 2016 to 2018.

H4 visas

The Trump administration announced plans to take away work permits from those with H-4 visas — the visa for spouses of H-1B workers. In 2015, the Obama administration allowed H-4s to work, and about 91,000 of these visa holders, many of whom are as skilled as their spouses, leaped at the opportunity.

Foreign students

The number of foreign students at U.S. universities was down about 17% in 2017 and likely will fall further this year. A major draw of studying in the United States is the ability to work here after graduation. Those on student visas can legally work for 12 months after earning their degrees, and STEM graduates can stay for three years under a program called Optional Practical Training. In 2016, about 200,000 students signed up for OPT, which is often a first step toward an H-1B visa.

Foreign students fear that President Trump will restrict OPT or the H-1B visa. Trump hasn’t canceled OPT yet (and his administration even defended it in court) but $63,000 a year (the cost of tuition and living expenses at UCLA) starts to look like a very risky investment if paying for it depends on getting a work visa in a few years.


Trump temporarily halted the entire refugee program last year, claiming that terrorists would get into the country masquerading as refugees. It started up again for most countries, but Trump precipitously cut the number of refugees the U.S. will accept. If admissions for 2018 continue at their current pace, 75% fewer refugees will arrive this year than in 2016. Trump even canceled a planned pilot program that would have allowed private individuals or charities to sponsor refugees and absorb all welfare costs — the kind of program Canada has had for more than a decade.

Muslim ban

Preventing terrorism was the reason given for Trump’s so-called Muslim ban, an executive order that limits or altogether bars visas for citizens of several Muslim-majority countries, North Korea and Venezuela. Lower courts keep ruling against it, but the ban and related policies are having a big effect. For instance, while all refugee numbers are down from 2016, the number of Muslim refugees has been cut by 91%. Immigrant visas issued to people from Muslim-majority countries are down 26%, and temporary visitors from Muslim-majority countries by 32%.

‘Extreme vetting’

Last year, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ordered additional security screenings for all immigrants and visitors seeking visas — a move also presented as a way of keeping out terrorists. Immigration attorney Shabnam Lotfi told me that these new procedures, “are causing significant and expensive delays for visa applicants who have already been vetted under the current effective security procedures.”


The administration has directly and indirectly hampered the ability of foreigners to ask for asylum in the U.S. For instance, it cut the number of visas issued to Venezuelans by as much as 74% relative to 2013. That country is in political and economic crisis, but Venezuelans have to get to the U.S. to request asylum — and they can’t get here without a visa. Meantime, the Border Patrol is discouraging asylum-seekers from Central America by breaking up families who arrive at the southern border. The government places parents and children in separate immigration detention cells, sometimes for months.

Temporary Protected Status

In a string of announcements over recent months, Trump has said he’ll end Temporary Protected Status by 2020 for about 437,000 migrants mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti. TPS allowed them to stay here legally after natural disasters struck their home countries. More than 80% of TPS migrants from those countries have jobs here. They have about 273,000 U.S.-born children. Many have been here for decades; they won’t leave now, just as Salvadorans didn’t leave between 1996 and 2001 when their TPS was rescinded.

This is just the low-hanging fruit on the immigration tree. Trump would happily prune more if he could get Congress to go along. He endorsed the RAISE Act, which would cut legal forms of immigration by 50%. He so badly wants to eliminate diversity visas and severely restrict family-based immigration that he seemed willing to trade partial amnesty for some Dreamers (the young people enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program). Still, the changes Trump pushed for would have resulted in the largest policy-driven gutting of legal immigration since the 1920s. Thankfully, they didn’t make it through the Senate.

Trump campaigned that he would take steps to grow the economy by 3% per year or more. To that end, he’s cut taxes and slashed regulation. But he needs legal immigrant entrepreneurs, investors and workers to keep expanding economic growth — especially with unemployment now below 4%. He won’t make America great again without letting in more legal immigrants.

Source: How Trump is really changing immigration: making it harder for people to come here legally

Sadrehashemi/Waldman: Four myths about Canada’s border crossings

While their arguments have a sound basis, I find them somewhat disingenuous.

One could, for example, designate Roxham Road as a port of entry, given that 91 percent come through there. Some would, or course, try other places to enter, and we may get into a game of “whack a mole”, but no need to patrol the entire border as in many places, geography still makes it harder.

And one could, as Howard Anglin has suggested earlier (How Canada can restore order to its immigration system –, have any increase in asylum seekers count against the total number of refugees rather than merely be additive.

Whatever the option proposed, or options being considered by the government, there are no easy solutions. But however and ultimately, as Andrew Coyne has argued, viability depends on cooperation with the US (Andrew Coyne: Asylum problem will only be fixed … – The Victoria Star).

While I agree that some of the rhetoric regarding the influx if overblown, similarly downplaying the risks to public confidence in immigration is equally unhelpful:

Michelle Rempel, Conservative immigration critic, tweeted recently that the media was finally writing about “illegal border crossings” after she had been raising it for a year. The problem is that several recurring myths are shaping much of the coverage. Here are four of them:

The first myth is that Canada could designate the entire border as a port of entry. This is not a viable option. The public safety minister cannot legally designate the entire border as a “port of entry.” Under our law, a “port of entry” is a place designated open by the minister based on a number of factors, including the anticipated frequency of persons arriving at a particular location. Border officials must examine and process people seeking to enter Canada at ports of entry.

Imagine that all 8,891 kilometres of our border with the United States were a port of entry. Even if we only had one officer every 100 meters, we would still need more than 270,000 new officers to cover the border 24/7. This is not a serious policy proposal and should not be treated as one.

The second myth is that refugee claimants who are crossing into Canada at non-official border crossings are entering illegally. Canada is a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees. Under international law, a refugee claimant cannot be punished for the way they enter into a country to seek asylum. Our immigration law does not make it illegal to enter Canada using informal border crossings, as long as a person reports to border services without delay. There is no legal basis to insist, as some have, that those who cross at non-official border points should be summarily deported, or that their refugee claims should be expedited since they will be refused. Underlying these suggestions is the assumption that people who are entering are not “real refugees.” The problem is that you cannot tell whether someone is a “real refugee” simply by the way they enter your country. In fact, in 2017, 53 per cent of those who crossed irregularly from the United States were found to be refugees.

The third myth is that people who are crossing from the United States are taking the spots reserved for refugees Canada would bring from overseas, somehow displacing them from a “queue.” This is comparing apples and oranges. Canada has a quota for the number of refugees it brings from overseas, either through the private sponsorship program or the government assisted refugee program. The quota is not determined by the number of refugee claims that are made in Canada. A rise in the number of refugee claimants arriving at Canada’s border does not push out refugees that Canada would accept from overseas camps.

Fourth, the rush to extreme, unviable policy solutions is predicated on the most egregious myth: the federal government has lost control of the border. This is far from true. The vast majority of those crossing the border, 91 per cent, are coming through one place, Roxham Road in Quebec, and immediately declaring themselves to Canadian authorities. There is no pressure to go “under-ground”; instead, there is a fair process to ensure proper adjudication of refugee claims. Security checks are expedited for these claimants, ensuring those who enter in this fashion do not pose a security threat. The government has also increased the capacity of border officials and refugee adjudicators.

While some try to raise alarm about a “crisis” at the border, the number of refugee claimants in Canada has to be put into a broader perspective. It is true that the number of refugee claimants has risen over the last year, but we also saw similar numbers in 2001. And globally, the same number of refugee claimants who came to Canada over all of last year entered Bangladesh in a single day. This is not the time to ignore our global duties and hastily throw up new barriers. Rather, by treating those who have crossed from the United States fairly and with compassion, according to law, Canada will merely be complying with its obligations as a party to the UN Refugee Convention.

via Sadrehashemi: Four myths about Canada’s border crossings | Ottawa Citizen

When Kelly says these immigrants can’t fit in, historians hear ‘echo of the past’

Great selection of historical quotes:
The similarity was so striking, it made Alan Kraut laugh.

“It’s like an echo from the past,” the American University history professor said after hearing the latest description of undocumented immigrants from a top White House official.

Chief of staff John Kelly told NPR this week that the majority of people who illegally cross into the US are uneducated and don’t have the skills they need to assimilate.

“This is almost a verbatim quotation of what critics of immigration said in the early 20th century,” said Kraut, “often about the Italians and the Poles.”

The professor, who’s writing a book about the long history of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States, was among a number of scholars who noted that Kelly’s assertion had a familiar ring.

Maria Cristina Garcia, a professor of American studies at Cornell University, said a few parallel quotes from the 1890s to 1930s come to mind.

“Comparable statements can be found throughout U.S. history,” Garcia wrote in an email to CNN, “but some of the most interesting come from the turn of the 20th century, when many Americans were calling for restrictive immigration quotas (or outright bars) on people they considered ‘undesirable’: paupers, political radicals, the illiterate, the physically and mental infirm, and people from certain regions of the world.”

Here’s a look at what Kelly said — and some past critiques of immigrant groups:

“The vast majority of the people that move illegally into United States are not bad people. They’re not criminals. They’re not MS-13. Some of them are not. But they’re also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society. They’re overwhelmingly rural people in the countries they come from — 4th, 5th, 6th grade educations are kind of the norm. They don’t speak English; obviously that’s a big thing. They don’t speak English. They don’t integrate well. They don’t have skills. They’re not bad people. They’re coming here for a reason. And I sympathize with the reason. But the laws are the laws.”
– White House chief of staff John Kelly on undocumented immigrants

“The character of immigration has changed and the newcomers are imbued with lawless, restless sentiments of anarchy and collectivism. They arrive to find their hopes too high, the land almost gone and themselves driven to drown into the cities and struggle for a living. Then anarchy becomes rife among them.”
– Rep. Albert Johnson, one of the architects of the act that placed national origins quotas on immigration

“I would build a wall of steel, a wall as high as Heaven, against the admission of a single one of those Southern Europeans who never thought the thoughts or spoke the language of a democracy in their lives.”
– Georgia Gov. Clifford Walker at a Ku Klux Klan rally

“Observe immigrants not as they come travel-wan up the gang-plank, nor as they issue toil-begrimed from pit’s mouth or mill gate, but in their gatherings, washed, combed, and in their Sunday best. You are struck by the fact that from ten to twenty per cent, are hirsute, low-browed, big-faced persons of obviously low mentality. Not that they suggest evil. They simply look out of place in black clothes and stiff collar, since clearly they belong in skins, in wattled huts at the close of the Great Ice Age. These oxlike men are descendants of those who always stayed behind.”
– Edward Alsworth Ross, “The Old World in the New”

“While the people who for 250 years have been migrating to America have continued to furnish large numbers of immigrants to the United States, other races of totally different race origin, with whom the English-speaking people have never hitherto been assimilated or brought in contact, have suddenly begun to immigrate to the United States in large numbers. Russians, Hungarians, Poles, Bohemians, Italians, Greeks, and even Asiatics, whose immigration to America was almost unknown twenty years ago, have during the last twenty years poured in in steadily increasing numbers, until now they nearly equal the immigration of those races kindred in blood or speech, or both, by whom the United States has hitherto been built up and the American people formed. This momentous fact is the one which confronts us today, and if continued, it carries with it future consequences far deeper than any other event of our times. It involves, in a word, nothing less than the possibility of a great and perilous change in the very fabric of our race.”
– Henry Cabot Lodge speaking before Congress

“Those who come hither are generally of the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own Nation. … Few of their children in the Country learn English. … In short unless the stream of their importation could be turned from this to other colonies, as you very judiciously propose, they will soon so outnumber us, that all the advantages we have will not in My Opinion be able to preserve our language, and even our Government will become precarious.”
– Benjamin Franklin on German immigrants

Source: When Kelly says these immigrants can’t fit in, historians hear ‘echo of the past’

USA: Data Points to Wide Gap in Asylum Approval Rates at Nation’s Immigration Courts

Similar to what some of the research by Sean Rehaag has shown in Canada with the IRB:

Years of data from immigration courts around the United States and compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University show that whether or not a person seeking asylum is granted that request depends more on where they live and appear before an immigration court judge than it does on the facts of the case.

The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit closely tracked the asylum results at every U.S. immigration court over the past three years and found a wide variation in the number of asylum approvals depending upon the court; in some instances the rate varies as much as 75 percentage points.

From 2016 through the first part of 2018, immigration courts in Los Angeles and San Francisco consistently ranked in the nation’s top 15 courts when it comes to the number of asylum requests granted. Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Antonio, New York and Boston were also in the top 15 each year. Court data show each of those courts grants asylum requests more than 50 percent of the time.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, U.S. immigration courts that are vastly less likely to approve asylum petitions include Atlanta, Lumpkin, Georgia, Charlotte, Dallas and Houston. In some of those courts, asylum is granted around 20 percent of the time. In other jurisdictions, like the court in Lumpkin, judges grant asylum only 10 percent of the time.

This disparity has led many observers—from academic researchers, to judges, to the very lawyers appearing before the immigration court judges—to worry that political beliefs could be getting in the way of justice in America’s immigration courts.

“There’s something going on that is very, very troubling,” said Karen Musalo, director at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the UC Hastings School of Law in San Francisco. Musalo spent years studying these inconsistencies in asylum outcomes.

“I think there are a number of factors that contribute to these disparities. They have to do with both the selection process for the individual judges and what their backgrounds are and whether or not they’re qualified (to serve as judges),” Musalo said.

“It has to do with a politicization of the selection process. It has to do with a lack of independence of these immigration judges,” she added.

U.S. Immigration Court judges are not part of the independent judiciary but, rather, are appointed and work for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which is an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Congress’s own Government Accountability Office twice issued reports—in 2008 and 2016—that point out a “signification variation” in asylum cases. In its reports, the GAO called on Congress to fix the problem.

But so far, nothing has happened.

…Paul Wickham Schmidt, a retired U.S. immigration judge, says the nation’s immigration court disparity is so wide that it can be explained only by personal bias creeping into judges’ decisions.

“If I were an immigrant, I’d rather be in California than in Atlanta, Georgia, any day,” he said. “Clearly, the attitudes of the judges and how they feel about asylum law has quite a bit to do with it,” Schmidt added.

The EOIR, the agency in charge of the immigration courts, declined NBC Bay Area’s request for an interview on the subject. Kathryn Mattingly, an EOIR spokesperson, emailed a statement:

“Regarding your reference to TRAC data, please note that we do not comment on third-party analysis of EOIR data because the method another party may use to analyze the raw data may be different from the analytical techniques EOIR uses. When looking at this issue, it is important to note that each asylum case is unique, with its own set of facts, evidentiary factors, and circumstances. Asylum cases typically include complex legal and factual issues and EOIR immigration judges and Board of Immigration Appeals members review each one on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration every factor allowable by law. It is also important to note that immigration courts in detained facilities typically have lower asylum grant rates because detained aliens with criminal convictions are not eligible for many forms of relief from removal. That all said, EOIR takes seriously any claims of unjustified and significant anomalies in immigration judge decision-making and takes steps to evaluate disparities in immigration adjudications. In addition, EOIR monitors immigration judge performance through an official performance work plan and evaluation process, as well as daily supervision of the courts by assistant chief immigration judges.”

Source: Data Points to Wide Gap in Asylum Approval Rates at Nation’s Immigration Courts