Trump’s tariff threat to Mexico is based on all the wrong data

Good overview of the data, and making the case that it is more a capacity issue of the asylum system (as in Canada):

For years Americans have looked at how many people border patrol agents catch as an indicator of undocumented immigration.

Since October, those numbers—known officially as “apprehensions”—have more than doubled compared to the same period the previous year to nearly 600,000 people. The surge prompted US president Donald Trump to threaten Mexico with import tariffs if authorities in that country don’t intercept more immigrants before they cross the Rio Grande.

“This sustained influx of illegal aliens has profound consequences on every aspect of our national life—overwhelming our schools, overcrowding our hospitals, draining our welfare system, and causing untold amounts of crime,” he said in a statement last week announcing the tariff strategy.

The strategy is questionable, both legally and in practice. And so is Trump’s math.

He is missing some pretty crucial figures, starting with the number of undocumented immigrants who actually settle and live in the United States. For years, that population has been shrinking. He also needs to subtract asylum seekers, who account for a large share of the intercepted immigrants. Under US and international law, they have a right to legally stay in the United States until a judge rules on their case, regardless of whether they entered the country illegally.

We took a historic dive into immigration data and found why Trump’s narrative doesn’t add up. Here are the holes, in seven charts:

The long view

The number of border crossers is rising, but remains historically low. The reason for this is the collapse in the number of Mexicans trying to sneak into the United States. Better opportunities and lower fertility rates in Mexico cut down the number of people desperate to leave. On the US side, the Great Recession dried up jobs, and increased border security made it harder to get in.

It would take many more Central American caravans for the the number of border apprehensions to reach the historic high of nearly 1.7 million from the 1980s.

Other than Mexican

These days, it is people from other countries who are shaping border traffic. They include Central Americans, who now account for well over half of apprehensions along the border. That’s partly because US immigration authorities are taking more Central Americans into custody, but mostly because they are arresting fewer Mexicans.

Most of these migrants are fleeing violence and poverty in the Northern Triangle, the trio of countries that include Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

The number of apprehended immigrants from that region is up, but that doesn’t mean illegal immigration is rising.  Trump is leaving out a key distinction between apprehensions in the past and today. What they reflect is changing.

Back when Mexican economic migrants were the most common type of border crosser, apprehensions acted as a proxy for undocumented immigration—if not a very good one. At that time, it was much easier to evade the Border Patrol. So, observers looked at the number of people being caught for clues on how many people overall were making the trip north.

These days border patrol agents are far more effective at intercepting immigrants. In fact, they don’t even have to chase after them. Many Central Americans actually turn themselves in to request asylum.

The profile of “apprehended” immigrants has also changed. More than half of the Central Americans intercepted at the border since last October were families traveling with children, not men looking for work as in the past.

Many among this new group have pending asylum cases. They shouldn’t be considered undocumented unless a judge decides they’re not eligible to stay permanently. Subtract them from the number of apprehensions, and the total looks much smaller.

Many are deported

The crisis at the border is not really a numbers crisis. It’s a bureaucratic emergency because the United States has failed to adapt to the shift in immigration flows from Mexican men seeking work to Central Americans seeking asylum.

Unlike Mexican men, whom it could quickly deport, it is obligated by law to give those who fear going back to their country a day in court. It’s a much longer, back-office-heavy process that immigration authorities are ill-equipped to do. For years, they’ve directed much of their funding towards border agents and fences. That’s why they’re struggling now, even though the number of immigrants is significantly smaller than what they handled in the past.

Even taking into account that mismatch, the US deports thousands of immigrants every year.

That’s another group of people that should be removed from Trump’s tally of undocumented immigrants.

Border crossers vs. residents

Even after those adjustments, apprehensions are not the best statistic to look at if what’s worrying Trump are undocumented immigrants. (Those who are caught and have no permission to be in the United States will be deported. As we said above, asylum seekers are allowed to stay.)

He should instead focus on people who live in the United States without permission. That number has come down from a pre-Great Recession peak of more than 12 million to less than 11 million in 2016, according to analysis by the Pew Research Center.

Again, the drop in the number of Mexican immigrants coming to the United States is partly behind that math. In addition, many immigrants are leaving, whether through deportation or on their own. Add to that the number of undocumented residents who die and those who get papers to legally live in the county, and you get more immigrant residents exiting the undocumented column than entering it.

Data from the Center for Migration Studies show that’s been the case in recent years:

Most don’t enter illegally

Of the undocumented population living in the United States, not all entered illegally. In recent years, more than half of the people settling in the country without permission entered on a visa and overstayed it. “It’s hard to walk here from India,” said Jeffrey Passel, senior demographer at Pew.

While many asylum seekers show up in the apprehension figures, visa overstayers don’t at all. That’s another reason why the number of people border patrol agents catch shouldn’t drive the immigration debate.

Does the border crisis change the math?

Immigration hawks fear that the asylum seekers showing up at the border will eventually become undocumented immigrants. US authorities have been releasing many of the new arrivals because there’s not enough detention space. And there are rules that limit how long officials can keep immigrant children in custody.

Immigration statistics lag, so we won’t know for a while how many of those people end up living in the United States illegally. Robert Warren, a senior visiting fellow at the Center for Migration Studies, doesn’t believe they’ll make much of a difference given recent trends. The potential impact of border crossers has shrunk along with their share of the undocumented population.

A look at border crossers who were caught and those who settled in the United States sheds some light on what we might see. The number of immigrants requesting asylum started to swell a few years before Trump took office, and so did the number of apprehensions. The number of undocumented immigrant residents who entered the country illegally went up too, but remained well below apprehensions.

That’s not to say Trump should discard apprehension statistics. He just needs to work on the takeaway. Apprehensions don’t equal undocumented immigrants. What they’re showing these days is that the asylum system is clogged up. That’s keeping the United States from protecting Central Americans at risk, and encouraging more of them to come.

“It is a very serious situation when you have so many families and children coming up to apply for asylum,” Warren said. “The thing that might be getting missed is we haven’t set up our capacity to handle that situation.”

Source: Trump’s tariff threat to Mexico is based on all the wrong data

Recent immigrants and non-permanent residents missed in the 2011 Census

May have missed this but important analysis of the data limitations regarding immigrants and non-permanent residents in the 2011 NHS, regarding the characteristics of those missed and plausible explanations.

No discussion as to whether the shift from the mandatory long-form census questionnaire to the voluntary NHS questionnaire made a difference and we will see once an equivalent analysis is done for the 2016 census:

Recent immigrants and NPRs are growing segments of the Canadian population. While censuses strive to provide comprehensive coverage of the population, these groups are less likely to be enumerated. The purpose of this analysis was to examine the factors associated with the propensity for being missed in the 2011 Census for recent immigrants and NPRs using RRC data.

According to the RRC, just under 20% of recent immigrants and more than 40% of NPRs were missed by the 2011 Census, compared with 8.3% of the total population. While missed rates are not a direct reflection of undercoverage but are rather one of the elements of undercoverage, they are still a clear sign that these two populations could have been less covered than the rest of the population in the 2011 Census.

Some characteristics of recent immigrants and NPRs are associated with the propensity for being missed.

First of all, this study highlighted the close links between the year at landing and the propensity of recent immigrants for being missed. More than one-third of immigrants who settled in 2011 and almost a quarter of those who settled in 2010 were missed in the 2011 Census. Immigrants who held a temporary residence permit before being admitted as immigrants were also slightly less likely to be missed, when the effect of other characteristics are accounted for.

About 30% of recent immigrants whose mother tongue was Punjabi were missed in the 2011 Census. The multivariate analysis also highlighted the higher likelihood for immigrants with an Arabic mother tongue to be missed. These results might stem from cultural factors specific to immigrants from certain countries, notably regarding social integration to Canada.

The context in which immigrants are admitted to the country might also affect the likelihood to be missed in the census. While a fifth of immigrants were missed in 2011, 12.3% of refugees were missed. These immigrants fled very difficult situations in their home country and usually maintain contacts with the Canadian government on a regular basis. For these reasons, they may have a better relationship with the government.

Multivariate analysis identified additional correlates of the likelihood for recent immigrants to be missed. Immigrants who were in a couple, who were living in Quebec and who were under the age of 20 were less likely to be missed. These results are similar to the ones observed for the entire Canadian population.

Knowledge of the official languages is a very important marker of integration into a new country. Recent immigrants who reported not speaking English or French at landing seem to be less likely to be missed. This could be because they take language training classes, which might introduce them to the topic of the census, because they learn an official language shortly after landing, and because of differences in concepts and measurement of concepts between census data and IRCC data. It would be very relevant to examine the 2016 RRC data when they become available to see if there is the same finding.

For NPRs, the duration of the permit held by NPRs played a role in being missed in the 2011 Census. For example, more than half of NPRs who received their temporary resident permit no more than six months before the census were missed in 2011. Because they arrived in the country very recently, these NPRs may consider their usual residence to still be in their country of origin, and therefore not consider themselves part of the census universe. Conversely, 36.4% of NPRs who were granted temporary residence two or more years before census day were missed.

Missed rates for NPRs were above 45% for NPRs who were not in a couple. NPRs in their twenties were also more likely to be missed. As with immigrants, these results tend to be similar to the results of the general population.

When accounting for the effect of other factors, NPRs who held their first temporary permit were less likely to be missed than those who already had a permit in the past. This is difficult to interpret and could be studied a second time when the 2016 RRC data become available. It should be noted that the sample from the NPR frame was increased in 2016; as a result, more precise analyses could be conducted for this subpopulation when the data become available.

Refugee status claimants were less likely to be missed than other NPRs. However, the multivariate analysis revealed that much of this difference could come from the specific characteristics of refugee claimants, including their length of stay in the country.

Source: Statistics Canada – Catalogue no. 89-657-X2019008 25 –Recent immigrants and non-permanent residents missed in the 2011 Census (NHS)

Vancouver Has Been Transformed By Chinese Immigrants

Getting more international attention:

When you cross over the Granville Street Bridge that winds into downtown Vancouver, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in Hong Kong. The skyline has the same ribbon of gleaming apartment towers hugging the waterfront, and similar mountains in the distance.

There is also an unabashed display of wealth, readily apparent in the city’s Kitsilano neighborhood. Within a few short blocks, you can find dealerships for some of the world’s most expensive cars: Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin, among others.

At the front of the McLaren showroom are four sleek, high-performance sports cars, known as supercars. Wilson Ng, an account manager with McLaren Automotive, gently runs his hand over one of the 570GT models. “They’re starting around $200,000 to up to $250,000 to $300,000,” he says, up to about $222,000 in U.S. dollars.

That’s for one of the cheaper models in this showroom. The most expensive runs about CA$1 million ($740,587) — the Vancouver showroom sold six last year. Ng says there’s a big market in Vancouver. Most customers are foreign.

“There is a large amount of Asian [supercar buyers], including mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, East India, Singapore … so a lot of foreign money,” he says.

Ng says the supercar market in Vancouver started to really take off around 2010, when China’s economy was red-hot. Wealthy Asian immigrants and investors also started buying up businesses and property in the city. The result has been a real estate market now out of reach for many residents, something that is straining the city’s reputation for welcoming newcomers.

A magnet for immigrants

Marianne Wu first came from China to Vancouver as a student seven years ago and now works in marketing and translating. The 27-year-old says she loves the city, just received her permanent residency card and bought a two-bedroom condo downtown.

“You know, people really want to own something because that’s where their security comes from,” she says. Owning property is deeply rooted in Chinese culture, she says, but the government in Beijing doesn’t allow people to own the land their homes are built on.

Wu says her family back in China helped her buy a home in Vancouver. “They push me to buy a property here,” she says. “They want me to have a stable life, which everybody wants.”

Vancouver has long been a magnet for immigrants from all over the world. It is one of Canada’s most diverse cities and prides itself on its multiculturalism. Immigrants began arriving from China in the late 1800s, when laborers came to help build the trans-Canada railway. Shortly after its completion, Canada began cracking down on Chinese immigrants, and banned most of them in the early 1920s.

Half a century later, those policies changed and Canada began encouraging Chinese professionals and entrepreneurs to come. About 20% of Vancouver’s population now identifies as ethnic Chinese.

Don’t see the graphic above? Click here.

The Chinese community has made a positive contribution to Vancouver, says Henry Yu, a historian at the University of British Columbia.

“You’ll see hospital wings, you’ll see at UBC, the Chan Centre for [the] Performing Arts. There are Chinese names on all of the institutions of arts and culture,” he says.

Yu says there was a surge of Chinese immigrants and investment in the Vancouver region in the 1990s, when there was concern over what would happen in 1997, the year Britain handed sovereignty of Hong Kong back to China.

Source: Vancouver Has Been Transformed By Chinese Immigrants

Recently arrived U.S. immigrants, growing in number, differ from long-term residents

More analysis of the changing nature of immigrants to the USA:

Recently arrived U.S. immigrants are a growing part of the nation’s foreign-born population, which reached a record 44.4 million in 2017. Overall, their profile differs from immigrants who have been in the country longer.

About 7.6 million immigrants have lived in the country for five years or less. They make up 17% of the foreign-born population, a share that has returned to 2010 levels after a slight dip. Recently arrived immigrants have markedly different education, income and other characteristics from those who have been in the U.S. for more than a decade. Proposed changes to U.S. immigration lawscould favor highly skilled immigrants, which could further change the demographics of the nation’s foreign-born population. U.S. adults support encouraging highly skilled people to immigrate and work in the U.S., according to a 2018 survey from Pew Research Center.

View interactive charts and detailed tables on U.S. immigrants.

Related: A statistical portrait of the nation’s foreign-born population, which includes historical trends since 1960

Here are several ways the differences between shorter- and longer-tenured U.S. immigrants have changed over time:

1Nearly half of recently arrived U.S. immigrants have at least a bachelor's degree, a sharp increase from 2010. Short-term residents have more education than long-term residents, and the gap between these immigrant groups has widened. Almost half (47%) of immigrants ages 25 and older who arrived in the U.S. during the previous five years have a bachelor’s degree or more as of 2017, compared with just 28% of those who have lived in the country for more than 10 years. The share among newer arrivals has grown since 2010, when 36% had a college degree, compared with 25% of longer-tenured immigrants. Overall, the education levels of U.S. immigrants have increased, due in part to growing numbers of international students and highly skilled workers. By contrast, 32% of the U.S.-born population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

2. Recently arrived immigrants have higher unemployment rates than longer-term immigrants. Immigrants who arrived in the past five years have a 7.1% unemployment rate, compared with a 3.9% unemployment rate for immigrants who have lived in the country for more than 10 years, according to Pew Research Center analysis of American Community Survey. Both groups have seen declines in unemployment since 2010, when their rates were 12.8% and 9.7%, respectively. More-recent arrivals have for decades had higher unemployment rates than longer-term residents, despite having more education. The opposite is true for the U.S. population overall: Those with more education have lower unemployment rates.

3. Earnings of recently arrived immigrants have grown, but lag those of longer-term foreign-born residentsThe personal earnings of recently arrived U.S. immigrants have increased, but trail those of longer-term immigrants. Those who arrived in the past five years had median annual personal earnings of $24,000 in 2017, compared with $32,000 among those who have lived in the country more than 10 years. For decades, more-recent arrivals have lagged longer-term residents in personal earnings despite having higher levels of education. For the U.S. population, by contrast, those with a college education have higher earnings. Since the Great Recession, the personal earnings of newer arrivals have increased while those of longer-tenured residents have remained flat.

4English proficiency among recently arrived immigrants is up since 2010. English proficiency among recently arrived immigrants is on the rise. Among those who arrived in the U.S. in the past five years, 45% said in 2017 that they either speak only English at home or speak English very well, up from 38% in 2010. Due to this increase, recent arrivals are closing the gap with longer-term immigrants, who have seen little change in their English proficiency. About half of immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years said in 2017 that they either speak only English at home or speak English very well, a share little changed from 2010.

5, South and East Asia is approaching Latin America and the Caribbean as the top origin region of recently arrived immigrants. Latin Americans account for 38% of U.S. immigrants who have arrived in the past five years, as of 2017, compared with 35% from Asia. This has changed since 2010, when immigrants from Latin America (48%) made up a far higher share of recent arrivals than Asia (30%).

Latin America and the Caribbean is by far the largest origin region among immigrants who have lived the country for more than 10 years. In 2017, immigrants from Latin America accounted for more than half (54%) of longer-term residents, compared with 25% among those from South and East Asia.

Denmark’s centre-left set to win election with anti-immigration shift

Ongoing shift:

Tacking left on welfare and right on immigration looks likely to pay off for Denmark’s Social Democrats, who are widely expected to return to power this week as voters desert the centre-right government and the far right.

A poll this weekend predicted the centre-left party, led by Mette Frederiksen, will be the country’s largest with about 27% of the national vote after the election on Wednesday, while the “red bloc” of left-leaning parties it leads is on course for more than 55%.

The outgoing centre-right government of the prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, is forecast to finish a distant second on about 18%, with support for the far-right Danish People’s party predicted to collapse to barely 11%: half its score in the 2015 vote and a repeat of the DPP’s poor performance in the European elections last month.

The projected results follow the adoption by Denmark’s mainstream parties of hardline anti-immigration policies previously the preserve of the far right, which immigrants and human rights campaigners believe have led to a rise in racist abuse and discrimination.

Rasmussen’s Liberal party and the Social Democrats have both backed widely criticised measures on immigration, arguing they are needed to protect Denmark’s generous – if increasingly creaking – welfare system and to integrate migrants and refugees already in the country.

But discrimination cases are up and the number of racially or religiously motivated hate crimes registered by Danish police – which is likely to be lower than the actual figure because not all incidents are reported – surged to 365 in 2017 from 228 the year before.

Louise Holck, the deputy executive director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, said: “Politicians are moving very close to the boundaries of human rights.”

With a welter of tough new legislation aimed at discouraging further non-European immigration, the immigration minister, Inger Støjberg, installed a counter on the ministry’s website showing the government had tightened the law 114 times.

Many measures, some of which have been sharply criticised by Danish human rights campaigners and the UN refugee agency, have been supported not just by the DPP – a key ally propping up Rasmussen’s minority government – but also by the Social Democrats.

The centre-left party has repeatedly rejected criticism of this approach, saying it was necessary. “You are not a bad person just because you are worried about immigration,” Frederiksen said during a debate earlier this month.

Polls suggest, however, that the centre-left party’s tough stance swayed some voters to switch their support back from the populist DPP, which also faces a stiff challenge from two new small far-right parties, including Stram Kurs, which wants Islam to be banned and Muslims deported.

The Social Democrats have also won support by promising to increase public spending due to widespread anger in Denmark at what many voters see as the gradual erosion of the welfare state.

Cuts to healthcare services have led to the closure of one-quarter of state hospitals in the past decade, and one recent survey showed more than half of Danes did not believe the public health service offered the right treatments, prompting more than one-third to take out private health insurance, compared with 4% in 2003.

Other cuts over the past 10 years have led to the closure of about one-fifth of state schools, while spending per person on services such as care homes, cleaning and rehabilitation after illness for the over-65s has fallen by one-quarter.

Frederiksen has promised to raise public and welfare spending by 0.8% a year over the next five years, making businesses and the wealthy pay more through higher taxes and partially rolling back some recent pension changes.

Source: Denmark’s centre-left set to win election with anti-immigration shift

Andrew Coyne: Andrew Scheer rebrands his party and gets it right on immigration

Coyne’s take. The removal of Conservative MP Michael Cooper from the Justice Committee is an early signal that he may have learned from his earlier missteps and that the Bernier’s PPC will have less of an impact:

….The deficit about-face, it should be said, is only part of a larger project on which the Conservative leader is now embarked, the purpose of his current “My Vision of Canada” speaking tour. One part of it is to neutralize any issues on which the party might be vulnerable. The other is to establish himself as a prime minister in waiting and his party as a credible alternative to the governing Liberals.

That this is still necessary is in no small measure due to Scheer’s own actions: speaking at a rally organized by the dubious group known as the Yellow Vests, ranting about fictional plots to subject Canadian immigration policy to United Nations rule, enthusing about Brexit, refusing to say how he would reduce Canada’s carbon emissions. If he was trying to keep voters from straying to Maxime Bernier’s populist People’s Party, it was at the cost of too-closely resembling it.

The most immediate necessity, then, was to rebrand the Conservatives as the Conservatives. The first of the five speeches, on foreign policy, was a solid, if anodyne effort at presenting himself as a statesman; the second, on the economy, an opportunity to recite some familiar Conservative bromides on the virtues of low taxes, balanced budgets and free markets (the deficit climbdown was included in a supplementary effort).

But the third, on immigration, was the most important yet, and the most successful. Not every line rang true, but it was, in the main, an ode to immigration, and to immigrants, as the lifeblood of the country. That it was also an explicit renunciation of the sort of anti-immigrant or racist sentiment that has attached itself to conservative parties across the West was of course also welcome, if essential: not to do so, in view of the suspicions to which he has himself contributed, would have been disqualifying.

But Scheer went much further. At a time when conservative leaders elsewhere, responding to public fears, are demanding the gates be closed, it should be cause for some satisfaction that the leader of the main Canadian conservative party should make such an avowedly pro-immigration speech.

He will have to do much more to make the case for his election. But centrist voters, disenchanted with the Liberals but concerned at the Tories’ flirtation with populism, might be at least reassured enough now to give him a look.

Source: Andrew Coyne: Andrew Scheer rebrands his party and gets it right on immigration

Federal government could face new lawsuit over family reunification program

A challenge for any government given the demand and the quest for balance between the economic, family and refugee classes:

The federal government is facing an angry backlash and the prospect of more legal action by Canadians trying to bring their parents or grandparents into the country.

Outraged applicants are considering their next steps after learning the government made a secret settlement with more than 70 litigants and granted them coveted spots to apply to sponsor their family members.

CBC News reported on the lawsuit resolution this week, which included a confidentiality clause barring the parties from publicly disclosing details. Legal actions were launched in Toronto and Vancouver after the new online application process went live on Jan. 28 — a process that left tens of thousands of people frustrated and furious because they couldn’t access the form or fill it out fast enough.

Shishir Shivhare, who has been trying unsuccessfully to sponsor his parents in India for seven years, is one of those now considering legal action. He said this year’s application process came down to how fast someone could type.

He said he thought that process was unfair — but he called the government’s move to quietly settle with some applicants “outrageous.”

“What I felt personally was shock,” he told CBC News. “Happy … for those people, but I felt it’s unfair and it felt like a third world country, where things can be manipulated and deals can be reached on something which was a government process.

“In a way, they invalidated their own January process, because if they’re reaching a deal with someone that means they admitted there was a flaw to it.”

This year, the federal government offered 20,000 spots for sponsoring parents or grandparents, and confirmed that more than 100,000 had attempted to access an online form to express interest. The online form opened Jan. 28 at noon ET, and closed less than nine minutes later.

Erind Shkurti, who has been trying to sponsor his mother from Albania for three years, was among those who lost out. He’s also considering legal action — not to “undo” the spots the 70 or so litigants received from the settlement, but to challenge what he called “conflicting and contradictory messaging and rationale” from the government.

He has written to his local MP,  Liberal Omar Alghabra, expressing concern about the settlement — noting the irony in the fact that the changes to the application process were designed to ensure people weren’t disadvantaged because of their geographic location, or because they couldn’t afford courier fees.

Frustration over ‘secrecy’

“It seems to me that what our government has done with this settlement is just state that being able to pay a few hundred dollars for a lawsuit can actually get you a spot in the program,” he wrote. “This is very frustrating to hear, especially with all the intended secrecy and justification behind it.”

NDP MP and immigration critic Jenny Kwan said her office has been on the phone non-stop recently with people outraged by the settlement. She said the fact the government offered a “side deal” proves its system is inherently flawed and unfair.

“With this side deal, the minister is effectively telling Canadians that you have to take the Liberal government to court to be treated fairly,” she said. ” And it shouldn’t have come to this. All the families want to do is be reunited with their loved ones. They should have a process available to them that is fair, and people should not have to go through such pain and anguish.”

Kwan said some people bought new computers or upgraded their internet connections to take their best shot at filling out the online form. They’re now angry the government tried to keep its “fix” under wraps.

‘Inappropriate, troubling’

Kwan said the government should lift the cap on the spots for family reunification. She said it’s a myth that parents and grandparents are a drain on the economy, since many bring financial assets and the ability to help with child care.

Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel said the legal settlement is an admission the process was flawed and criticized the government for using entry to Canada as a legal bargaining chip.

“It’s not a prize to be given away. It’s not a settlement, and I find this very inappropriate and very troubling,” she said.

A government official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the case, said the government opted to settle the legal challenges because the number of applicants was relatively small, because they included plaintiffs with disabilities and because a court proceeding could have suspended the entire set of applications.

Plagued with problems

The parent and grandparent sponsorship program has been plagued with problems for years.

The Liberal government moved to a first-come, first-served online application system this year after scrapping a controversial lottery system for reuniting immigrant families. The lottery system was contentious, with critics claiming it essentially gambled with peoples’ lives.

The lottery process had replaced another first-in system which itself was unpopular because it led to a “mad rush” every January, with people lining up overnight at the doors of processing centres or paying placeholders to stand in line and deliver applications prepared by consultants or lawyers.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen’s office said the government is committed to family reunification and will continue to listen to a variety of stakeholders to ensure it moves forward with the program in “a thoughtful and responsive way.”

“Any specific comment on the litigation would be inappropriate at this time,” reads a statement from Hussen’s office.

Source: Federal government could face new lawsuit over family reunification program

Danish Muslims feel backlash as immigration becomes election issue

Of note how a far right party can influence political discourse and shift the positions of mainstream parties:

Growing numbers of Danish Muslims say they have faced verbal abuse, exclusion and hate crimes since mainstream political parties began adopting anti-immigrant policies previously the preserve of the far right.

The ruling centre-right Liberal Party and the opposition Social Democrats both say a tough stance in immigration is needed to protect Denmark’s cherished welfare system and to integrate the migrants and refugees already in the country.

But Manilla Ghafuri, 26, who came to Denmark from Afghanistan in 2001 as a refugee, fears that anti-Muslim attitudes could harden further as the immigration debate heats up ahead of a general election on June 5.

“In 2015 I thought: ‘Wow, what’s happening?’ and I think it has got a lot worse over the last few years,” she told Reuters.

Ghafuri, who has more than once been told to go back to her “own country”, said she has been kicked out of a supermarket while shopping with her family. While she was working at a bakery a male customer refused to be served by her.

“I asked if I could help him, but he didn’t look at me at all. He just stood and waited for another girl who is an ethnic Danish girl,” said Ghafuri, who also works as a teacher and has a degree in Danish.

The number of immigrants from non-Western countries and their descendants who have experienced discrimination because of their ethnic background rose to 48% last year from 43% two years earlier, according to the National Integration Barometer.

“If people are ready and willing to be part of Danish society and want to contribute to it, then we invite them to become part of one of the best-functioning societies in the world,” said Mads Fuglede, the Liberal Party’s immigration spokesman.

“But we need to be able to discuss openly if there are problems with groups of people,” he said, citing the large number of immigrant women from the Middle East who have not found work in Denmark.

He did not see any connection between racist incidents and the tone of the immigration debate.

Tarek Ziad Hussein, 26, a Danish-born Muslim of Palestinian origin, has written a book about being Muslim in Denmark. He told Reuters he has received death threats.

“An environment has been created where you can say crazy things without too many people even raising an eyebrow,” said Hussein, who works as a lawyer.

“I and a lot of others from my generation feel that no matter what we do, we are not good enough in the eyes of society,” he added. “No matter how educated we are or how integrated we become, we are not good enough because of our skin colour or our religion.”

The number of racially or religiously motivated hate crimes registered by Danish police jumped to 365 in 2017 from 228 the year before. That could be higher as not all cases are reported.

The Danish Institute For Human Rights has urged politicians to draw up plans to combat racism and hate crimes, especially against Muslims and Jews.

“The politicians are moving very close to the boundaries of human rights,” said Louise Holck, the institute’s deputy director.

Denmark’s 320,000 Muslims are about 5.5 percent of the population, a slightly higher proportion than in the rest of Europe, according to Danish and U.S. estimates.

The shift to the right by Denmark’s mainstream parties runs counter to outsiders’ traditional views of liberal Scandinavia, but has its parallels elsewhere in Europe, particularly since large numbers of migrants arrived there in 2015.


The immigration minister, Inger Stojberg, has meanwhile been criticised for celebrating her 50th piece of legislation tightening immigration laws with a big cake. A tracker on the ministry’s website shows immigration law has been tightened 114 times under the present government.

Earlier this year, the government passed a law that would mean more refugees could be repatriated, the latest move to discourage non-western immigration.

The law was passed with support from the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, a key ally of the minority government, and the Social Democrats, the country’s biggest party, which has hitherto had a softer stance on immigration.

It means residence permits for refugees will be temporary, there will be a limit on the number of family reunifications, and a cut in benefits for immigrants.

The law has been criticised by the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the United Nations refugee agency. Trade organisations and unions have warned that tight immigration policies could worsen labour shortages and put a brake on growth.

Fuglede of the Liberal Party said lower benefits would encourage people to work.

Around 43% of refugees who have lived in Denmark for more than 3 years were employed by the end of 2018, up from just 20% by the end of 2015. However, only 19% of women had jobs compared to 57% of men.

But while employment has risen, assimilation of immigrants has not always kept pace. More young men descended from non-western immigrants commit crimes than Danes, official figures show.


The Social Democrats declined to comment for this article because of a tight pre-election schedule, but they have repeatedly said they want to limit the number refugees.

“You are not a bad person, just because you are worried about immigration,” party leader Mette Frederiksen said earlier this month.

With the mainstream parties toughening up on immigration, Denmark’s biggest populist group, The Danish People’s Party (DF) has lost some of its appeal and opinion polls show it is likely to shed almost half of its voters in the election.

This is partly because voters are moving to the Social Democrats. DF also faces competition from far-right parties the New Right and Hard Line, the latter a new grouping that wants Islam banned and Muslims deported.

But even though the DF is losing voters fast, its impact on Danish politics is undeniable.

“They have completely changed the discussion and politics in Denmark over the past 20 years,” according to Rune Stubager, professor of political science at Aarhus University. “For the history books, this is definitely a big victory for them.”

Source: Danish Muslims feel backlash as immigration becomes election issue

Prosperity Reigns Where Immigrants Live

Correlation or causation? Immigrants go to where the jobs are:

The hypocrisy of Trumponomics is laid bare by the demonizing of undocumented workers as the Trump Organization profits from them. With so many Trump hotels, residential buildings and golf courses located where migrants are numerous, Employer-in-Chief Donald Trump has enjoyed the economic benefits of immigration. That’s because states with the greatest concentration of immigrants create the most jobs and biggest increase in personal income. Where immigrants are relatively scarce, states generate the fewest jobs and smallest rise in income.

A record 43.7 million immigrants were living in the U.S. in 2016, representing 13.5% of the population, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s more than a fourfold increase since 1960, when 9.7 million immigrants represented 5.4% of the total. The relationship between prosperity and immigrants — authorized or not — is definitive, according to data among the 20 largest states compiled by Bloomberg.

California and Texas, the top two manufacturing states in 2017, relied on at least 6% of their labor from undocumented immigrants, according to Pew. In agriculture, where California dominates the nation with $35.6 billion of annual receipts, unauthorized immigrants can make up as much as 17% of the workforce each year.

Personal income in the five states with the highest proportion of immigrants — California (26.6%), New York (23%), New Jersey (22.2%), Florida (19.3%) and Texas (16.1%) — has increased 10.1 percent since Trump became president nearly two-and-a-half years ago. Personal income for New York City, home to some of Trump’s signature businesses, advanced 11 percent since 2017, enabling New York to outperform 42 of the 50 states. Income for the five states with the lowest immigrant ratios — Indiana (5%), Wisconsin (4.8%), Tennessee (4.8%), Ohio (4.3%) and Missouri (4%) — improved 8.3 percent. Missouri, which has the lowest percentage of immigrants among the 20 most-populous states, experienced income growth of 8.2%, just below the national average, according to the data compiled by Bloomberg.

The job market in the five states with the highest immigrant ratios grew 3.9% since Trump was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017. Employment in Florida, home to Trump’s 128-room, 62,500-square-foot mansion at the Mar-a-Lago resort, increased 5.7% during the past 12 months. Jobs in the health-care industry, where Pew says as much as 25% of the immigrant population is employed, increased 31%.

“Here in Central Florida, the business community is bolstered by the presence of immigrant entrepreneurs who have made their homes here, started businesses, created jobs and contributed to the communities in which they’re headquartered,” wrote Kelsey Sunderland and Cindy Barth in the Orlando Business Journal in February.

Job creation in the five states with the lowest immigrant ratios suffers by comparison, averaging 2.3% since 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Missouri could manage nothing more than a 1.5% increase in employment during the same period. But even in the Show-Me state, immigrants were the best part of the growth story: Health-care jobs surged 38% last year, outperforming every other industry, according to Bloomberg data.

Strong regional economies with lots of jobs, high wages and other advantages naturally attract migrants looking for opportunity. They then become an essential force in extending prosperity in the places that welcome them.

“The state benefits from immigrants’ active participation in the economy — from working in Missouri’s service industries to accounting for nearly 15% of residents working in the life, physical and social sciences,” says an October report by the American Immigration Council. “As workers, business owners, taxpayers and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of Missouri’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.”

As Trump continues to assail and limit immigration, he might want to be careful what he wishes for. He does business where the immigrants are because they get the job done.

Almost 5000 immigrants to the US every year are clergy or religious

Small number compared to the total number of immigrants (1.1 million in 2017). Haven’t seen a breakdown for non-Christian religious leaders. For Canada, opendata doesn’t provide a breakdown, grouping charitable and religious temporary residents together, about 5,000 in 2015:

Much has been written, and for many years, about immigration and its various policy and practical aspects.

But what about that “weekend associate” at your parish? Or that group of nuns who reopened the old convent? They, too, may be immigrants.

There are close to 5,000 people from all denominations hailing from other countries who come to the United States each year as “religious workers.” Among Catholics, they are usually clergy, sisters and brothers, but there are lay missioners, some of them married and with families. U.S. immigration law makes provisions for them to carry out their ministry through the R-1 visa.

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINC) has a hand in about 800 cases each year, according to Miguel Naranjo, director of CLINIC’s Religious Immigration Services. It was one of CLINIC’s first programs, established more than 30 years ago, and the numbers suggest it remains a valued initiative. “We certainly have a very busy practice,” Naranjo told Catholic News Service.

CLINIC works with nearly half of U.S. dioceses in doing the visa work for religious workers. The remainder, according to Naranjo, either are connected with attorneys who can guide the process for immigrant clergy and religious, or work through a local Catholic Charities affiliate or similar agency on sponsorship issues. “We work more with religious orders. There is a large number of religious orders in the United States,” he said.

Naranjo, who has been with CLINIC for 13 years and has led its Religious Immigration Services division for about half that time, walked through the process.

“This is a program that did undergo some changes a decade ago. They changed it to make it similar to other visas. What they require — which they did not require 10 years ago — was to file a petition. They have to file a petition with the Immigration Service: The organization’s legit; it has the financial means to sponsor the person they want to sponsor,” he said.

For someone who qualifies as a religious worker, he says they “could fall under a traditional religious occupation, somehow involved in promoting the belief system of the denomination. You need a lot of documentation. The standard the immigration service will use is that the documentation must be verifiable. We can submit affidavits. You’re looking at 3-6 months to prepare the petition,” Naranjo noted.

“There is a site visit the immigration service will conduct. And there’s a fraud investigator that makes sure everything you said you were going to do in the petition was true. It’s certainly not a simple process,” he added.

Organizations calling CLINIC on religious immigration issues “express some frustration how the process can take a lot of time. Inevitably, there comes a time when you have to troubleshoot issues. Immigration service will request further evidence — evidence on why this person is qualified, or do you have the means to support.

“Like people who use an accountant to prepare their taxes,” Naranjo said, “with immigration you can do it yourself, or you can use a service like ours.”

One priest who used CLINIC is Fr. Marinaldo Batista, a Brazilian priest with dual Italian citizenship who ministered in Victoria, British Columbia, for 13 years before arriving last year in Bristol, Rhode Island. He needed some CLINIC troubleshooting.

“My coming was a little bit complicated last year,” Batista told CNS. “I faced some trouble because I came and there was a lawyer who was supposed to take care of my immigration process. So then things went not good with him. I was here already, working,” he said, laughing afterward. “But everything was by mistake. … I was relying on the Diocese of Providence, because they are the ones who called me here.”

Batista said, “Things were stuck. I spoke to the diocese: ‘We have to solve it, otherwise I’m going back, because I’m not going to be here this way.’ “

A priest he knew in New Hampshire gave him Naranjo’s name. “I knew he was working with Catholic immigration, but I was not sure if he was working with CLINIC. So then I spoke to the bishop, [Providence Auxiliary] Bishop [Robert] Evans, and he told me to have a conversation with CLINIC. That is when things started with him and the diocese. They started the process, the petition, everything. So then, I think, it took like, two months if I’m not mistaken. Two months. It was faster than I thought.”

Since he had business in Italy, he flew to Rome and made an appointment for an immigration interview. He left Dec. 5 and was able to return to the United States, visa in hand, before Christmas. “So, no, I didn’t have any complications in this regard,” Batista said.

“I am here because I know that there is a need in this parish. There is a need for these people. And these people are God’s people. They need my ministry. That’s why I’m here,” Batista said he told the diocesan chancellor. “Otherwise, I don’t need this travel. I can go back to where I was. To have this move in our lives is not easy.”

The experience of immigrant sisters

Venturing to new territory is the subject of a new book, Migration for Mission, published in April and co-written by Sr. Mary Johnson, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur who teaches at Trinity Washington University; Sr. Patricia Wittberg, a Sister of Charity; Sr. Thu T. Do, a Lover of the Holy Cross-Hanoi; and Mary Gauthier. They are staffers at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) in Washington.

The book included results from a survey of nearly 1,000 immigrant sisters. The average age of the sisters is 58, making them much younger than U.S.-born sisters, whose average age is in the high 70s.

“Most of the sisters are satisfied with the practical aspects of their living situation in the United States: their housing, food, health care, transportation and financial support. But there are age and ethnic differences,” the book said, and the sisters’ lives weren’t entirely free of trials and tribulations.

“The percentage of sisters who say they are very satisfied with these aspects is higher among the Europeans, Australians and Canadians than it is among the respondents form other parts of the world, and among older respondents than among younger respondents. These patterns may be related, since many of the sisters from Europe tend to be older and to have lived in their own, U.S.-based institutes for many years,” the book said. “The sisters’ satisfaction depends, to some extent, on their living arrangements,” with more dissatisfaction reported if they are not living with other members of their own order.

When asked, “In your experience, what is most needed to improve the life and ministry of international women religious?” practical aspects received scant attention: Financial difficulties were mentioned by 5.3 percent, health insurance by 2.5 percent, housing by 2.2 percent, food by 1.5 percent, and there were just six mentions of transportation. Nuns from Europe, Canada and Australia more likely to mention health care,” the book said, “which might be expected, given their older median age.”

Some sisters’ comments were printed in the book, although identifying information was not included.

“In my own country, we don’t pay the rent, we don’t talk about the rent. So we don’t know how to pay rent. If we tell [our superiors in our home country], they don’t believe it, that you have to pay rent here yourself,” one sister said.

Another said, “Some of [our sisters], when they came here, they saw how we live in simple houses. And they said, ‘Oh, I expected more luxury,’ and everything. … So, actually, we live in old convents. We don’t have luxury.”

“It is often hard to attend daily or Sunday Mass due to lack of transportation. There is no public transport in some places, and this makes it hard for international women religious to carry out their mission or studies effectively,” a third sister said. “Depending on rides sometimes does not work.”

The sisters’ experience with the U.S. health care system was eye-opening.

“Doctors!” exclaimed one nun. “It was difficult because I was sick, but when I tried to make a doctor’s appointment, they wanted $304 up front before they would even see me.”

“I feel so afraid to go and see a doctor,” another sister said. “I was informed if I want to have a CT or MRI, ‘You should go and take a flight to [country] because seeing a doctor will be cheaper than if you do it here.’ ”

“Currently, my religious community provides health care for me, but it is very expensive. I would wish for some kind of program for international religious in the United States, when health care could be made more affordable.”

In other survey questions, routinely three out of four sisters reported being “very satisfied” with the social aspects of their life in the United States.

“When I came to the airport, I didn’t know anybody. … They had told me, ‘You have to meet other sisters over there. They will be waiting for you.’ So when I came, I saw somebody holding a sign saying, ‘Welcome Sister X.’ So I just went to them and they were so thoughtful,” one sister reported. “They said, ‘We know that you are so lonely and we are here for you. Just make yourself at home. And if you need anything, please let us know.’ So I felt like I was at home.”

When asked what could be improved about the sisters’ lives, one sister replied: “It would be helpful if the members of the dominant culture would treat the members of the minority culture with mutuality and encourage the minority culture to preserve the richness of one’s native tongue and culture. Forced enculturation for the sake of uniformity is a very violent experience of ‘colonization.’ ”

Another sister answered, “I cannot recall being fully welcomed and supported by the diocese. There are situations of feeling isolated because of my accent. I offered help in situations I knew I can help, but there was not a response from the diocesan staff.”

Source: Almost 5000 immigrants to the US every year are clergy or religious