Immigrant Share Continues Flatlining Under Trump in 2019

Good analysis regarding the impact of the Trump administration. Last line captures is “his mere presence has created a social and political environment that is seen as unfriendly toward immigrants”:

For the second year in a row, the proportion of the U.S. population who are immigrants did not increase, according to new numbers from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (its annual “mini‐​census”). This is the first time since the Great Recession that multiple years have passed consecutively with no increase.

The stall also defies Census Bureau 2016 projections which had predicted more than a million more immigrants by 2019, and the change had already placed America on pace to have the lowest growth in its immigrant share of any decade since the 1960s before COVID-19 drastically reduced both legal and illegal entries in 2020.

Figure 1 shows the immigrant share of the U.S. population from 2000 to 2019. The share increased by 1.5 percentage points from 2000 to 2007 before dipping in 2008 through 2009 as the housing bubble burst and employment fell. The share then rose again by 1.2 percentage points through 2017 to 13.7 percent where it has stayed during President Trump’s term in office. The Census Bureau in 2017 projected that by 2019, 13.9 percent of the U.S. population would be immigrants.

Figure 2 shows how the actual immigrant population is already down by over a million people relative to the Census Bureau’s 2016 projections. The Census Bureau guessed that the number of immigrants would increase from July 2017 to July 2019 by 1.4 million when, in fact, it increased by little more than 400,000. The Census Bureau’s estimate for the increase in 2017 was 96 percent accurate, but only about 28 percent accurate for 2018 and 2019.

The falloff in the last couple of years is attributable to strong declines from all regions of the world except Oceania. In particular, the European immigrant population fell by 150,000 from July 2017 to July 2019. Northern American immigrants outside of Latin America also declined in absolute numbers. The Asian population grew by almost 200,000 in 2 years as opposed to nearly 500,000 in a single year from 2016 to 2017. The African population grew by 71,554 in 2019, which was half the increase from 2016 to 2017. Latin American immigrants increased by 70,000—half the rate of increase from 2016 to 2017.

The broader historical perspective is key as well. The increase in the immigrant share of the population was the least since the 1960s when it declined. The growth was 0.8 percentage point from 2010 to 2019—less than half the growth from 2000 to 2010.

The change comes despite a wave of more than a million Mexican and Central American asylum seekers and undocumented border crossers in 2019—most of whom were not returned that year. The fact is that it’s lower legal immigration and more immigrants leaving that is driving the decreases in immigrant population growth in the United States. Figure 4 shows how the number of legal immigrants admitted to legal permanent residence from abroad has declined steadily under President Trump by 158,826. But this decrease is not enough to explain lower immigrant population growth. Many immigrants must also be choosing to abandon the United States, such as those caught in decades‐​long green card backlogs.

In a normal environment, immigration should have increased when unemployment reached historic lows. But the president’s anti‐​immigration policies made that impossible, increasing deportations and imposing many new regulations on legal immigration. But it could also be that his mere presence has created a social and political environment that is seen as unfriendly toward immigrants.

Source: Immigrant Share Continues Flatlining Under Trump in 2019

Home Office immigration unit has ‘no idea’ – MPs

Another apparent weakness in Home Office policy and management:

The Home Office has “no idea” what its £400m-a-year immigration enforcement unit achieves, meaning it is unprepared for Brexit, MPs have warned.

The cross-party Public Accounts Committee said a lack of diversity at the top of the department also risked a repeat of the Windrush scandal.

Its policies may be based purely on “assumption and prejudice”, it warned.

A Home Office spokeswoman said it used a “balanced” approach to maintain “a fair immigration system”.

The Home Office’s 5,000-strong Immigration Enforcement directorate, and other parts of the system, have been repeatedly reorganised since being branded “unfit for purpose” 15 years ago by the then home secretary.

The latest massive changes will come in January to deal with the end of freedom of movement.

In the highly critical report, the influential committee said officials were reliant on “disturbingly weak evidence” to assess which immigration enforcement policies worked, and why.

Officials had no idea how many people are living illegally in the UK, no idea what their impact was on the economy and public services – and no means of countering claims that could “inflame hostility”.

“We are concerned that if the department does not make decisions based on evidence, it instead risks making them on anecdote, assumption and prejudice,” said the MPs.

“Worryingly, it has no idea of what impact it has achieved for the £400m spent each year.”

The MPs said the the department showed too little concern over failures.

It risked a repeat of the Windrush scandal in which people with a right to be in the UK were treated as illegal immigrants because the Home Office had lost records of their status or did not believe the evidence they provided.

“The significant lack of diversity at senior levels of the department means it does not access a sufficiently wide range of perspectives when establishing rules and assessing the human impact of its decisions,” said the MPs. “Professional judgement cannot be relied upon if an organisation has blind spots, and the Windrush scandal demonstrated the damage such a culture creates.”

From January, unless the UK reaches a deal with Brussels, it will no longer be part of a system that obliges EU members to take back some migrants who have no right to be in another state.

But the MPs said they had been provided with “no evidence” that the Home Office had begun discussions “internally” or with EU nations over how to prepare for the possible impact of that change.

“Without putting new arrangements in place successfully,” warned the MPs, “There is a real risk that EU exit will actually make it more difficult to remove foreign national offenders and those who try to enter the country illegally.”

Committee chairwoman Meg Hillier said: “The Home Office has frighteningly little grasp of the impact of its activities in managing immigration.

“It accepts the wreckage that its ignorance and the culture it has fostered caused in the Windrush scandal – but the evidence we saw shows too little intent to change, and inspires no confidence that the next such scandal isn’t right around the corner.

In response to the report, a Home Office spokeswoman said: “We have developed a balanced and evidence-based approach to maintaining a fair immigration system.

“Since 2010, we have removed more than 53,000 foreign national offenders and more than 133,000 people as enforced removals.

“On a daily basis we continue to tackle those who fail to comply with our immigration laws and abuse our hospitality by committing serious, violent and persistent crimes, with immigration enforcement continually becoming more efficient.”

Source: Home Office immigration unit has ‘no idea’ – MPs

O’Toole’s goal to ‘triple’ Conservative strength in Quebec built on promises of autonomy

Of note, the comments on secularism (Bill 2 1) and immigration powers:

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole emerged from “a great first meeting” with Quebec Premier François Legault on Monday to say he aims to “double and triple” his party’s Quebec caucus in the next federal election.

The Quebec premier noted that O’Toole told him a Conservative government would not contest Quebec’s Bill 21, which bans the wearing of religious signs by teachers, peace officers, prosecutors, judges and other provincial employees.

As well, O’Toole said he was open to giving Quebec greater powers over immigration and to increasing federal health-care transfers to the provinces.

“We have a national unity crisis, particularly in Western Canada,” O’Toole told reporters regarding his agreement with Legault on Bill 21, immigration, and health-care funding.

“We need a government in Ottawa that respects provincial autonomy, and respects provincial legislatures and the national assembly. I will have an approach like that.

“Personally, I served in the military with Sikhs and other people, so I understand why it’s a difficult question, but as a leader, you have to respect our Constitution and the partnerships we need to have in Canada,” O’Toole said, adding that he will focus “on what we can do together.”

The Legault government is contemplating extending its Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language, to cover activities in Quebec under federal jurisdiction, such as banking and federal operations in the province.

Bill 101 requires businesses in the province under provincial jurisdiction to operate in French.

“I told him that large institutions should respect the French-language provisions in Quebec,” O’Toole said, recalling his own experience as a lawyer for the Canadian division of Gillette, the American-owned razor and health products company, which complied with Quebec’s language law.

“Why would banks and airports and others not have to?” he said. “I think it’s a question of respect, and I understand the priority of (protecting) the language, culture and identity.”


While O’Toole is onside with Legault on Bill 21, Bill 101, which gives greater immigration powers to the province and more health-care funding from Ottawa, he said he has yet to made up his mind about Legault’s push for a single income-tax return.

Quebec is the only province where residents must file separate returns for federal and provincial taxes.

Legault wants Quebec to collect federal income tax in the province using a single filing.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employes about 6,000 people in the Saguenay and Shawinigan areas of Quebec.

O’Toole said he would discuss the matter with his caucus, along with the union representing CRA employees and the cities involved.

“We have to protect the jobs,” he said. “I will make a decision after the discussions.”

Source: O’Toole’s goal to ‘triple’ Conservative strength in Quebec built on promises of autonomy

Ninth Circuit ruling could allow Trump to deport 400,000 immigrants next year

Of note. Potential significant impact on Canadian refugee claimants should decision not be successfully appealed and Trump re-elected, as we saw in 2017:

A federal appeals court has upheld President Donald Trump’s decision to take away legal protections for 400,000 immigrants, who could be deported next year if he wins reelection — despite having put down roots in the US over years or even decades.

Citizens of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan have been able to stay in the US through Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a protection typically offered to citizens of countries experiencing natural disasters or armed conflict that allows them to legally live and work in the US. Against the advice of senior State Department officials, Trump tried to end TPS for those countries starting in November 2017, arguing that conditions have improved enough that their citizens can now safely return.

A federal court decision had prevented Trump from proceeding to roll back those protections temporarily. But on Monday, a divided panel of judges at the Ninth Circuit lifted the lower court’s block, meaning that the administration could terminate TPS status for all countries but El Salvador on March 5, 2021 (Salvadorans would lose their status on November 5, 2021). After those dates, TPS recipients’ work permits will expire and they will lose their legal status, making them eligible for deportation.

Those affected could include roughly 130,000 essential workers, more than 10,000 of whom are in medical professions, and roughly 279,000 US-citizen children under age 18 who are living with TPS recipients and could be separated from their families if their relatives were deported.

Wilna Destin, a TPS recipient from Haiti who has lived in Florida for two decades and recently contracted Covid-19, said in a press call that the Ninth Circuit ruling represented just one in a series of challenges she has recently had to face.

“We have coronavirus, we have hurricane, and now this. For me, it’s another disaster,” she said.

The presidential election could decide what becomes of TPS holders

The fate of TPS holders hinges on the outcome of the presidential election this fall.

If former Vice President Joe Biden is elected, he has vowed to prevent TPS recipients from being sent back to countries that are unsafe and would pursue legislation providing a path to citizenship to those who have lived in the US for an “extended period of time and built lives in the US.” He would also try to expand TPS protections to Venezuelans fleeing their country’s present socioeconomic and political crisis.

If Trump wins, his administration could also decide not to move forward with ending TPS protections at any time. But what’s more likely is that Congress will face pressure to pass legislation offering permanent protections to TPS holders who have put down roots in the US, shielding them from deportation.

The Dream and Promise Act, which passed the House last year, would have made TPS holders who have lived in the US for three or more years eligible to apply for a green card and, eventually, US citizenship. It could serve as a template for further negotiations, though whether it will get any traction depends on the makeup of the next Congress.

In a second term, Trump could also move forward with his plan to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has allowed more than 700,000 young immigrants who came to the US as children to live and work in the US legally. (The Supreme Court has temporarily prevented him from doing so, but his administration is laying the groundwork for him to try again and has refused to fully reinstate the program.)

“Temporary Protected Status is on the ballot in November,” Frank Sharry, the executive director of the immigrant advocacy group America’s Voice, said in a statement. “And if we do not remove Trump … we could see one of the largest mass deportations and family separation crises in American history.”

The Ninth Circuit ruled that no court has the authority to review the administration’s decision to terminate TPS, which it said is a matter of agency discretion. It also dismissed the ACLU’s argument that Trump’s decision to terminate TPS was motivated by racial animus toward nonwhite, non-European immigrants in violation of the Constitution’s guarantee that everyone receive equal protection under the law, regardless of race or national origin.

The ACLU’s Ahilan Arulanantham, who represented TPS holders at the Ninth Circuit, said in a press call that the organization will ask the full appeals court to review the case and, failing that, would seek review at the Supreme Court, potentially setting up another high-profile case challenging Trump’s immigration policy.

In the meantime, immigration advocates are waiting on the result of another lawsuit now before the Second Circuit concerning some 40,000 Haitian TPS recipients. If that court decides that the administration can’t terminate their TPS status, they could be spared termination of their status before next March.

Source: Ninth Circuit ruling could allow Trump to deport 400,000 immigrants next year

Biden Pledges To Dismantle Trump’s Sweeping Immigration Changes — But Can He Do That?

More on the challenges that a possible Biden administration would face:

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is pledging to dismantle the sweeping changes President Trump has made to the American immigration system, if he wins the White House in November.

But that’s easier said than done.

“I don’t think it’s realistic that Biden in four years could unroll everything that Trump did,” says Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C.

“Because of the intense volume and pace of changes the Trump administration enacted while in office, even if we have a new administration, Trump will continue to have had an impact on immigration for years to come,” Pierce says.

The Trump administration has undertaken more than 400 executive actions on immigration, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Those include tougher border and interior enforcement, restricting asylum, rolling back Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), slashing refugee visas, streamlining immigration courts, and creating Remain in Mexico.

“What the administration has sought to do is to simply turn off immigration and to do it unilaterally by presidential edict, without the approval of Congress or the consent of the American people,” says Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “That project should be reversed.”

That’s exactly what Biden pledges to do. His position paper on immigration — 51 bullet points that fill 22 pages — seeks to roll back Trump’s accomplishments, and re-enact Obama-era policies.

“If I’m elected president, we’re going to immediately end Trump’s assault on the dignity of immigrant communities. We’re going to restore our moral standing in the world and our historic role as a safe haven for refugees and asylum seekers,” Biden said in his acceptance speech at the virtual Democratic National Convention.

The former vice president has an exhaustive to-do list. Within his first 100 days, Biden says he would implement a wide range of policies: not another mile of border wall, no more separating families, no more prolonged detentions or deportations of peaceable, hardworking migrants.

Biden also says he would restore the asylum system and support alternatives to immigrant detention, such as case management, that allow an applicant to live and work in the community while their case works its way through the hearing process. Trump has derisively called this “catch and release.”

And Biden would fully reinstate DACA, which allows migrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children to live and work without fear of deportation.

But if he’s elected, Biden would face a host of obstacles that could slow his immigration counter-revolution.

First, there’s the specter of renewed chaos at the Southern border. Last year, groups as large as 1,000 Central Americans at a time waded across the Rio Grande into El Paso, Texas, to request asylum. The Border Patrol was overwhelmed, and ended up detaining families in primitive, unsanitary conditions. Immigration hawks are wary that Biden would throw open the gates again.

“They don’t want to create such a chaotic situation at the border by welcoming or incentivizing another massive influx from Central America,” says Jerry Kammer, who is affiliated with the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors restrictions on immigration.

Federal border officials are worried what would happen if Biden cancels bilateral agreements with Mexico that have dramatically slowed the migrant flow.

“If Mexico right now decided they weren’t going to continue to help us, people would start coming through like we saw in the caravans two springs ago. There’s no reason that it wouldn’t come back as bad as it was,” says Ron Vitiello, former deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

NPR asked a senior adviser to the Biden campaign what would happen if a new president gave migrants a green light. The advisor said they are cognizant of that “pull factor.”

In fact, the people most closely watching to see if Biden defeats Trump and reverses his immigration crackdown may be beyond U.S. borders.

Some 700 migrants languish in filthy tents pitched in a public park amid mud, rats and clouds of mosquitoes. The encampment is in Matamoros, just across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas. They’re seeking asylum in the U.S., but stuck there under a Trump initiative known as Remain in Mexico.

“We place our hope in Joe Biden, who is the Democratic nominee, because he would treat the immigrants very differently than Trump has,” says Carla Garcia, speaking at her cluttered campsite. She and her 7-year-old son are seeking protection in the United States after fleeing criminal gangs in Honduras.

“We hope he wins and changes all of this that Trump has created,” Garcia says, motioning to the bedraggled camp. “This is discrimination and racism.”

For his part, the president is touting the success of Remain in Mexico, which the administration calls the Migrant Protection Protocols.

“We don’t want ’em here. We want ’em outside,” Trump told cheering supporters in Yuma, Ariz., last month. “We got sued all over the place, and we won. So now they don’t come into the United States. They can wait outside.”

While the president says he has single-handedly restored a broken immigration system, human rights advocates are appalled at what they call the cruelty of his policies. And immigrant advocates say they have high hopes that a new administration would rebuild the immigration system based on “American values.”

“There’s no doubt about it, this is a monumental challenge,” says Heidi Altman, director of policy for the National Immigrant Justice Center. “That means a complete and utter reorientation of the culture of the agencies that administer immigration law and policy in the United States.”

But that’s a tall order — and another obstacle Biden would face. Immigration agents have enjoyed extraordinary support from the White House over the past 45 months. The Trump administration has bragged about “unshackling” them to let them do their jobs more aggressively.

“That isn’t something that’s a light switch. You can’t change culture within an organization that vast overnight,” says Angela Kelley, senior adviser to the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “So I agree that it’s going to be a long, long road.”

For an example of how the Border Patrol is marching lockstep with the White House, look to a video titled “The Gotaway,” posted earlier this month.

CBP produced an ominous, fictionalized video on the Border Patrol’s YouTube channel that depicts a Latino migrant who had just escaped from agents, attacking and knifing a man in a dark alley. The video was released at a time when Trump has been stoking fears about violent immigrants at his campaign rallies.

NPR inquired why the video was made and why it was removed a week later before being re-posted. Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott said in a statement that the video was produced “to enhance awareness that effective border security helps keep all Americans safe,” and it was briefly pulled because they misused copyrighted materials.

A Biden presidency also would likely find itself skirmishing with conservative lawyers the way the Trump administration has been tied up in federal courts fighting immigrant advocates.

“If Biden is elected and his administration starts rescinding executive actions that Trump had firm legal authority to do, groups like us will sue. That is a fact,” says R.J. Hauman, head of government relations at the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “We did so under President Obama, and we’ll do so again.”

Finally, there’s the pandemic. An NPR/Ipsos poll shows that a majority of Americans support Trump’s decision to shut the nation’s borders to all types of immigrants to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Biden has not said if he would reverse that order to reopen the borders and jump-start the asylum process, which has been suspended. So it’s anybody’s guess when the virus will subside and the nation can welcome immigrants again.

Source: Biden Pledges To Dismantle Trump’s Sweeping Immigration Changes — But Can He Do That?

International students call for COVID-19 immigration changes in Toronto

Some of the calls are worthy of consideration (e.g., post-graduate work program permit renewals), others divorced from reality (e.g., eliminating higher fees for international students, given that universities depend on the higher fees):

Current and former international students called for changes to Canada’s immigration rules on Saturday as they face a job market still recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dozens of demonstrators gathered at Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office in Toronto in the first of two events scheduled this weekend. A second event in Mississauga, Ont., is planned for Sunday.

The students say the requirements for graduates to gain permanent residency in Canada are too strict, and economic disruption from the COVID-19 crisis has made those requirements essentially impossible to meet.

Sarom Rho, an organizer with the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change who leads the Migrant Students United campaign, said the pandemic has compounded the difficulties international graduates face when entering the job market in Canada.

“During the COVID-19 crisis, millions of people in Canada have lost work and wages, but for migrant students there is an added cost,” Rho said by phone ahead of Saturday’s rally.

“Without jobs, students can’t apply for permanent residence.”

Post-graduate work permits are not currently renewable and Rho said this puts graduates who have been laid off or unable to find work during the pandemic at extra risk.

Graduates experiencing unemployment face deportation if they do not complete continuous, high-wage work before their permits expire, she noted.

The group is calling on the provincial and federal governments to make post-graduate work permits renewable so graduates struggling in the COVID-19 job market will not be deported or become undocumented.

An online petition calling on the federal government to address the issues international students face had attracted more than 18,000 signatures as of Saturday afternoon.

It reiterates the key demands in the Migrant Students United campaign, including making work permits renewable.

“We call on the federal government to make immediate changes that support students during the new global reality we are in,” the petition reads.

It also says families of international students should be able acquire work permits, asks that tuition fees be lowered to be on par with domestic rates and says all migrants should be granted permanent status.

Rho noted returning home is not an option for many graduates who come from countries that have been destabilized by economic devastation and other crises during the pandemic.

She said delays in immigration processing times have also left current international students on study permits without social insurance numbers, leaving them unable to find work.

These pressing concerns about students’ futures could be avoided simply, Rho said.

She said the weekend’s demonstrations call for simple fixes to a “punitive” system that sets students up to fail as they work to stay in Canada after their studies.

“This could all be fixed if there were a simple fix like making the work permit renewable, and even simpler, granting status for all migrants,” she said.

Neither Freeland nor Immigration Minister Marco Mendocino immediately responded to a request for comment.

Source: International students call for COVID-19 immigration changes in Toronto

Racism against Indigenous groups, immigration at issue as Chile debates new constitution

Of interest as a adopts to increased immigration and comes to terms with its history with Indigenous peoples:

With an era-defining vote for a new constitution fast approaching, issues related to racial diversity have led to outbreaks of violence and political strikes up and down Chile.

Like other parts of Latin America, Chile has grappled with racism against its Indigenous groups, but political events in other countries, such as Venezuela and Haiti, have added to a recent surge in immigration, heightening debates around ethnicity.

An increasingly diverse Chile is posing challenges to the current 1980 constitution, penned during the 1973-90 military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, which treats all residents as simply “Chilean.” Conservatives argue that that includes Indigenous people, while opponents say it ignores Chile’s history of genocide against them.

An indigenous Mapuche leader, Celestino Córdova, ended a 107-day hunger strike last month over what he and fellow prison inmates saw as inadequate handling of their requests to serve sentences at home as COVID-19 threatened prisons — while many non-Mapuche prisoners were allowed to do so. Córdova’s strike was joined by 26 other Mapuche prisoners, many of who remain on strike. The U.N. sent a fact-finding team to investigate, and some protests broke out over the treatment of the Mapuche prisoners.

Some Mapuche groups showed solidarity with the prisoners, occupying municipal buildings, including one in the river-fringed town of Curacautín in the southern Araucanía region, which is home to most of the 2 million Mapuche people and is center stage in a centuries-long land dispute. The Mapuches claim ancestral rights over large territories in Araucanía.

When the national police forcibly evicted the occupiers, they were joined by a mob of townspeople breaking a coronavirus curfew, brandishing weapons and attacking Mapuche vehicles as they shouted racist slurs, which was captured on social media.

A spate of arson attacks erupted in Araucanía targeting private trucks traveling up and down the Pan-American Highway, Chile’s main thoroughfare for freight. Such incidents are commonly associated with the conflict between the state and the Indigenous group. The last major string of arson attacks occurred after police in 2018 killed a young unarmed Mapuche farmer, Camilo Catrillanca, in 2018, with an attempted cover-up sparking lasting outrage.

Last month, a 9-year-old girl needed surgery after she was seriously injured by a bullet when her father’s truck cabin was ambushed and set ablaze. Several truckers began a weeklong strike, which ended Sept. 2, to demand more protection from the attacks. Scores of colorful trucks with beaming headlights formed full and partial barricades up and down the Pan-American Highway and on a key road between the capital, Santiago, and its coastal port Valparaíso, over 400 miles north of Araucanía.

A new constitution and a multicultural Chile

Chilean voters will go to the polls Oct. 25 to decide whether they want a new constitution and, if so, which of two methods should be used to write it. Changes would be voted on in a second referendum expected in 2022.

Many see the plebiscite as a way to create fairer conditions for Chile’s native people, as well as the rising number of immigrants, two wider groups who together make up almost 20 percent of the population.

“We are in a huge transformation as a society in Chile,” said Claudio Fuentes, a political scientist at the University of North Carolina and Chile’s Diego Portales University.

“The recent protests have brought about the combination of several movements, like the feminist movement to promote sexual diversity, and movements around ethnicity, all of who symbolically use the flags of the Indigenous groups during protests because they are seen as the worst affected and most discriminated,” Fuentes said. “A new constitution could change the way that Chile treats its minorities.”

Fuentes said Chile might become a plurinational country that recognizes the distinct nationality of its native people in its constitution, like New Zealand or Norway.

“Some are opposed to this, whereas others want a constitution with a broader recognition of its multicultural society, which is more inclusive of those who don’t necessarily identify as Chilean,” he said.

But with its historical roots, it could be hard for Chile to accept diversity, Fuentes said.

“Chile was built upon discriminatory values that saw Indigenous people and other ethnicities, like darker-skinned people from Peru or Bolivia, who Chile warred with during its formation, as second-class citizens, while the elite, with their European heritage from Spain, are seen as first class,” he said.

A dramatic increase in immigration

Immigration has increased massively in Chile, from just 1.8 percent of the population in 2010 to 7.8 percent, with about 1.5 million immigrants in the country, according to a 2019 estimate by the Jesuit Migrant Service.

Venezuelans make up almost a third (31 percent) of the immigrant population, and Peruvians are 13 percent. Chile has the largest number of Haitian immigrants outside the U.S.

The influx of mostly Black Haitians since 2014 has made immigration more visible, and coalition parties touted anti-immigration policies for the first time in recent history during the 2017 presidential elections. In August, #masinmigrantesmascesantia — which translates as “more immigrants more unemployment” — trended on Twitter.

“Since 2018, we have seen immigrants being used as scapegoats for unemployment, risks to the health system, housing and urban problems, low wages, unpredictability in the labor market and even COVID-19, which in Chile has obviously been caused by our insertion in global dynamics and the travel to Europe and the U.S.,” said Luis Thayer, a social scientist at Silva Henríquez Catholic University in Santiago.

It’s a dangerous trend for Chile, said Thayer, and an issue that should be tackled in a new constitutiion.

“As long as governments continue to promote nationalism in their responses to the recent crises we are seeing globally and in Chile, they are risking an extinction of our societies and the frameworks that support them,” Thayer said. “This referendum gives us a chance to redress this, at least in this country. We haven’t had a better chance to do so.”

Source: Racism against Indigenous groups, immigration at issue as Chile debates new constitution

Hyder: Canada needs to get its stalled immigration system back on track

The Canadian big business perspective, arguing that Canada should go back to the previous immigration targets given a larger population means more consumers and hence business revenues.

However, it focusses on GDP, not per capita GDP, it ignores the fact that previous recessions have hit hardest on recently arrived immigrants and have long-term impact on their earnings.

Moreover, an almost cult-like fixation on previously announced target without any serious reexamination of whether they remain appropriate is  incredibly short-sighted. The only interesting point is the the reference to Anna Triandafyllidou’s innovation proposal for virtual immigration (for knowledge industries), the rest is simply repeating previous arguments:

The effects of COVID-19 on Canada’s economy can be measured in many ways. Some are obvious: millions unable to work, thousands of firms forced to close their doors, more than $250-billion in emergency government spending.

Less obvious, but of potentially greater significance to Canada’s long-term economic health, is the impact of the pandemic on immigration.

Canada’s ability to attract newcomers to its shores has long been one of this country’s greatest strengths and competitive advantages. Immigration enriches the social fabric of the nation while boosting the economy, helping to offset a low birth rate and an aging population.

Immigrants bring energy, skills, new ideas and entrepreneurial spirit. They start companies, fill skill shortages, buy houses and pay taxes.

It’s no exaggeration to say – as Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, declared in a speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto last Feb. 28 – that the future of Canada “hinges on immigration.”

The minister couldn’t have foreseen it at the time, but less than a month later Canada responded to the global pandemic by temporarily closing its borders to all non-essential foreign travellers.

Overnight, the country’s intake of immigrants – which had been expected to hit 341,000 this year – slowed to a trickle.

In April, Canada welcomed just 4,140 new permanent residents, 85 per cent fewer than in the same month in 2019. Since then, the pace of admissions has gradually picked up, reaching 11,000 in May and 19,200 in June.

Still, at the current rate we can expect to see 170,000 fewer permanent residents entering the country in 2020 than planned, according to a recent report by RBC Economics.

The collapse in immigration means Canada’s population is currently experiencing its slowest growth since 2015. That will have important implications across many sectors, including residential construction, industries with labour shortages, and Canada’s postsecondary education system.

Canada currently ranks third in the world as a destination for international students. In 2019, 642,000 foreign students injected more than $22-billion into the economy, supporting 170,000 jobs.

The good news is that, despite the new coronavirus, Canadian officials are continuing to process new applications for permanent and temporary residence, albeit at a reduced rate due to physical distancing and other pandemic-related restrictions.

In addition, Mr. Mendicino has removed at least some of the obstacles standing in the way of would-be immigrants. Recently he introduced a special “one-time” pathway to permanent residency for refugee claimants who are working in front-line health and long-term care jobs.

He also announced that visitors to Canada who have a valid job offer will be able to apply for a work permit without the normal requirement to leave the country. The temporary policy is aimed at helping employers who continue to face challenges recruiting and hiring international workers during the pandemic.

Such measures are welcome, even though they won’t make a big difference to Canada’s immigration numbers.

There’s no getting around the fact that the longer the COVID-19 pandemic persists, the more difficult it will be for the country to meet its goal of more than one million new permanent residents between 2020 and 2022.

What can be done to close the gap? Anna Triandafyllidou, the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration at Ryerson University, has proposed a workaround for highly skilled people who have a job offer in Canada but are unable to get here because of travel restrictions. Under the rules, they can’t obtain a work permit or a social insurance number until they enter the country, which means they can’t be paid.

The solution, Ms. Triandafyllidou says, is technology. Her idea is to issue digital work permits and temporary SINs that would allow these “virtual immigrants” to start working remotely for their Canadian employers while they wait for the health emergency to abate.

Beyond that, immigration must be a pillar of Canada’s postpandemic economic recovery plan. In November, the federal government is expected to table its next multiyear immigration plan. It should move to make up lost ground by raising the targets for 2022 and beyond. The incremental growth should emphasize economic-class newcomers – those admitted through Express Entry programs, the Provincial Nominee Program, Quebec’s programs, and other federal streams such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot.

The demographic factors that drive Canada’s need for immigrants have not changed due to COVID-19. Neither, it seems, has public support for immigration. In a Leger poll this summer, respondents agreed by a three-to-one margin that newcomers will help rather than hurt Canada’s long-term economic recovery. The sooner Canada’s immigration system gets back on track, the better.

Goldy Hyder is the president & chief executive officer of Business Council of Canada.

Source: Canada needs to get its stalled immigration system back on track

Top Legal Scholar: Trump Team Radically Restricted Immigration

Interview with the author of the Immigration Law Sourcebook on the extent to the changes (similar to the MPI study Dismantling and Reconstructing the U.S. Immigration System: A Catalog of Changes under the Trump Presidency):

The Trump administration has radically restricted immigration to the United States through administrative actions and executive orders, according to a leading immigration scholar. Ira Kurzban, author of the 2,650-page Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook, 17th edition, has documented the changes made since Donald Trump took office. To better understand the changes, I interviewed Kurzban about what his research revealed.

Stuart Anderson: How is a book of this size meant to be used?

Ira Kurzban: As the title implies, it is a sourcebook and should be used as the first place a lawyer, scholar, member of Congress, or someone just interested in immigration issues may go to find answers about a particular topic concerning immigration law. Immigration law inevitably intersects with constitutional law, international law, criminal law, family law, employment law, contract and tort law, and virtually every other area of practice. The Sourcebook will get you to those areas of the law as they relate to immigration.

If you are interested in learning about any area within immigration law, the book includes business, family, asylum, deportation, detention, citizenship, litigation, workers’ rights and employers’ obligations and all other areas of immigration law. It is all there. It is the place to start research in any area of immigration law that you need to investigate.

Anderson: What surprised you the most in conducting research for the book?

Kurzban: I was most surprised at how sweeping the changes in immigration law have been. The transformation of immigration law was shocking and Covid-19 has accelerated those changes in the law of asylum, relief in deportation proceedings, family and employment-based permanent immigration, and the treatment of nonimmigrants, including students, exchange scholars, multinational executives and high skilled workers. The book, in painstaking detail, covers all of those changes through July 2020.

Anderson: Is it accurate to say the Trump administration has made significant changes to the U.S. immigration system with little or no legislation passing Congress?

Kurzban: After Trump won the election, he held meetings at Trump Tower with Kris Kobach, Stephen Miller and others who sought to transform and some might say disfigure immigration law. In the earliest days of the Trump administration they announced a plan to develop a highly restrictive immigration policy with a narrow point system that would designate few entrants into the country. They have executed that plan in a manner that few could have imagined.

Without any new legislation, but with a complete understanding of how the immigration bureaucracy operates, they have been able to radically restrict immigration and immigration law through presidential proclamations and executive orders, and by using policy manuals, websites, forms, procedures and regulations. In essence, they have ground immigration to a halt with massive backlogs and they have reoriented the immigration field to be almost exclusively the province of enforcement agencies at the cost of granting few immigration benefits, including residency and citizenship.

They created a system of an outer wall preventing people from entering the United States, a physical wall as a barrier to entry and an “inner” wall shutting down most lawful immigration through endless investigations, interrogations and denial of benefits. At the same time, they have sought to deport massive numbers of people, and today there are over 1 million people waiting for removal proceedings.

Anderson: What executive branch authorities have been the most important to the Trump administration’s efforts to change the immigration system?

Kurzban: Presidential proclamations and executive orders have played a key role in shutting down migration to the United States. Although these orders are temporary, Trump has continued to extend them. For example, we have a “Muslim ban” that was supposed to be for 90 days and is now in its fourth year. The most recent presidential proclamation banning most lawful permanent immigration to the United States, which was supposed to be in effect for 60 days, has now been extended to December 31, 2020, and is likely to be extended indefinitely if Trump is reelected.

Similarly, the administration has used every lever of executive authority to shut down immigration in the U.S. by establishing discretionary reasons for denying otherwise eligible applicants and by creating regulations that allow them to deny applications with impunity. By prioritizing investigations over examinations, they have ground benefit adjudications to a halt, leaving over three-quarters of a million citizenship applications and a similar amount of employment authorizations on the table without adjudication.

They have also ended asylum law as we know it by refusing to adjudicate hundreds of thousands of refugee and asylum applications that are pending, cutting refugee admissions to 18,000 with a threat to go to zero, ending virtually all forms of parole into the United States, restricting the standards for asylum and employment authorization for asylees, ending most Temporary Protected Status programs and weaponizing Covid-19 to shut the southern border in violation of the Refugee Act, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and our international commitments under the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.

Anderson: Given the past four years of the Trump administration, what reforms or changes in immigration law or policy would you like to see?

Kurzban: I believe we need to have a much broader vision, consistent with our heritage, economy and values, that recognizes the positive aspects of immigration. While the current administration has tried to demonize and denigrate immigrants, we have a long and beautiful tradition of welcoming people into our country who have made the country better economically, culturally and intellectually.

We need an immigration system that not only works for the country economically, but one that calls upon our best instincts as a world leader in welcoming people fleeing oppression and hardship. We have the capacity to be that emblem of freedom and dignity so eloquently represented by the Statute of Liberty and we need to return to policies that restore our country as an example for the rest of the world.

Source: Top Legal Scholar: Trump Team Radically Restricted Immigration

When the great New Zealand immigration tap suddenly went dry

Good overview by Paul Spoonley, with some COVID similarities to Canada:

In March 2020, the immigration tap was all but turned off as New Zealand, and many other countries, closed their borders. But few countries have experienced quite the immigration arrival and net gain story that New Zealand has over the last two decades.

At this point, the drop in arrivals, apart from returning New Zealanders, is of such a magnitude it raises some fundamental questions: when will international mobility, both temporary and permanent migration, restart? And what will – or should – the new normal look like?

How did we get here?

There have been three very distinct periods of population growth and migration since 2000.

Lianne Dalziel, as minister of immigration, oversaw a significant period of immigration policy reform in the early 2000s, after the rather disastrous 1990s. What we gave points for, and what sort of work an immigrant could do after arrival, were not aligned through the prior decade. The politicisation of Asian immigration in the 1996 election did not help.

After 2000 the numbers grew but were then curtailed by the global financial crisis, when the numbers departing New Zealand increased significantly. From 2000 to 2008, the population grew by 407,200 with net migration gains contributing 45.5% to this growth.

Then the GFC years happened. Between 2008 and 2013, population growth was modest (+191,200) and net migration made up less than 5% of this growth. (Remember, there were years in this period when the net loss was nearly 16,000 per year.) But this was then followed by another period of major population growth (480,000, from 2014 to 2019) and net migration gains now made up 65% of population growth.

Fewer babies but many more immigrants

As fertility rates continued to decline, and reached sub-replacement levels in 2017, New Zealand was more than making up for it with migration numbers. The country was adding more than 60,000 people each year as a result of immigration.

The numbers did dip in 2019 but the latest figures for the year to June 2020 are quite staggering. There were 153,900 arrivals (up 8.7%), 74,500 departures (down 16.6%) with a net gain of 79,400 – and that included four months of lockdown migration rates.

The monthly arrivals for June are down 86.8% compared to June a year earlier, while departures are down 87.6%. And we still managed an all time high for the 12 months.

Our annual population growth since 2013 has been high (1.9-2.1%) and the key driver was now immigration, not natural increase. New Zealand stood out in terms of the relative size of these migration flows. Last year, New Zealand had 11.4 migrants (net) per 1000 people. Australia’s rate was 6.2, the US was 3.8 and the UK 2.4.

But there is more

This story is missing one other key ingredient : the size and role of temporary migration.

The MBIE migration data website provides a fascinating picture of the size of the temporary work and study population in New Zealand. Just before the first lockdown at the end of February, the site was showing 220,887 here on temporary work visas with another 82,857 on a study visa (remembering that these students can work up to 20 hours per week on these visas). Even by the end of July, the total number in both categories had only dropped by 23,828.

This might not be the full story. In May 2020, a statement from the then minister of immigration, Iain Lees-Galloway, suggested that there were 350,000 temporary visa holders which included a big chunk of visitors and the skilled migrant resident visa holders.

To say that these numbers are significant is an understatement.

What next?

The government has extended the current stay for the temporary worker and student visa populations under the Covid-19 Public Health response Act and with changes to the Employer Assisted Work Visa. Essentially, the visas have been extended to September 25. (Thai chefs and Japanese interpreters get their own special category of work visas provisions.) This is essentially a hold and wait approach.

In the meantime, migrant arrivals are now dominated by diaspora returnees – New Zealanders are cutting short their OE and returning home in numbers. Over the last year, 45,481 New Zealanders arrived in the country, and the net gain is 16,945. This is in sharp contrast to the major net losses during the GFC and much smaller losses from 2013 through to 2019. Over half of these returnees are coming from Australia.

The Stats NZ figures divide these returning New Zealanders in terms of whether they intend to stay or not. We will see. Covid-19 keeps changing the rules. A key influencer will be a combination of managing, or not, the virus, whether there are jobs and where is it easiest to get support from the state or family/friends. Australia is not a welcoming place for New Zealanders, as the pandemic has underscored.

One thing is certain: population growth over the next year or two will slow dramatically as migration slows. The saving grace will be returning New Zealanders but the numbers involved are still far from clear. They are exempt from meeting the labour market thresholds and the requirement to have a job offer of non-New Zealand citizen arrivals.

There is considerable pressure to open the borders – for short term workers, students or tourists, and for permanent migrants. But when? That depends on the management of Covid-19 within countries, along with a willingness to accept the risks that international arrivals bring, and international agreements about the protocols required of countries, carriers and travellers. The airline industry is suggesting that it might be 2024 before numbers are back to anything like the levels of recent years.

Demographic disruption

The dial has literally gone back to zero in terms of immigration, in sharp contrast to the previous year when the overall numbers and net gain were New Zealand’s highest ever. What is unclear is what the country’s immigration management system or migrant flows will look like as we emerge from a pandemic. Will there be a major reset or will the old normal return?

There is also the demographic future to consider. The fertility rate is in ongoing decline, aided by the delayed fertility that will result from the uncertainty associated with Covid-19. Ageing will mean that almost a quarter of all New Zealanders will be over 65 years of age by the 2030s. And we are seeing population stagnation – and decline – in many regions.

An inverted population pyramid and a smaller prime working age population are going to provide us with significant challenges. Immigration is one of the options to address these major demographic shifts. It will be interesting to see whether our politicians and policy communities see it this way and construct an appropriate immigration model for a future New Zealand.

Source: When the great New Zealand immigration tap suddenly went dry