Immigrants’ occupational segregation in France: “brown-collar” jobs or a Sub-Saharan African disadvantage?

Unfortunately behind a paywall but looks interesting:

Large-scale labour migration is considered a recent phenomenon in most European countries; however, immigrants have been an integral part of the French labour-force nearly as long as in the United States. Numerous studies document Sub-Saharan African immigrants’ employment and wage disadvantages in France; however, few investigate an important aspect of Sub-Saharan African immigrants’ integration – occupational segregation. Using 2011 French census data, I examine Sub-Saharan African immigrants’ occupational segregation. I find that all immigrants are concentrated, but only Sub-Saharan Africans are concentrated in low-skilled work regardless of citizenship. Department-level regression analyses measuring occupational segregation show that after controlling for socioeconomic characteristics, Sub-Saharan Africans are most segregated. Control variables explain less of Sub-Saharan African women’s segregation than any other group indicating that they experience more discrimination in the labour market than even Sub-Saharan African men. Future research using longitudinal data is needed to determine if these results reflect a persistent disadvantage.

Source: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01419870.2019.1686162?journalCode=rers20

Study: Diversity is Shaping Pet Owner Population

Part of integration may be getting a pet:

Pets live in 67 million U.S. households, a statistic that is being driven by the increase in multicultural pet owners, according to a new report by market research firm Packaged Facts. Compared to a decade ago, pet owners are now more likely to be a member of a multicultural population segment, 28 percent in 2018 versus 22 percent in 2008, the report further noted.

“Between 2008 and 2018 the increase in the number of Hispanic, African American, Asian and other multicultural pet owners was five times higher than the increase in the number of non-Hispanic white pet owners,” said David Sprinkle, research director of Packaged Facts, which is headquartered in Rockville, Md.

Pet Population and Ownership Trends in the U.S: Dogs, Cats and Other Pets, 3rd Edition also revealed the following findings:

  • The number of Latinos owning pets increased 44 percent from 15 million in 2008 to 22 million in 2018, a growth rate vastly greater than that experienced among non-Hispanic white pet owners, according to the researchers.
  • Although a much smaller population, the number of Asian pet owners grew at the same rate (45 percent), between 2008 and 2018.
  • During the same period, the number of African American pet owners increased 24 percent.

The impact of Latinos on dog or cat ownership has been especially pronounced, the researchers also noted. Over the past decade, the number of Hispanic dog owners increased 59 percent. Likewise, the number of Latino cat owners increased 50 percent.

Overall, the report found that out of the more than half (54 percent) of American households that have a pet, dogs and cats are the most popular, coming in at 39 percent and 24 percent, respectively. One in eight households has other pets, including fish, birds, reptiles or small animals such as rabbits, hamsters or gerbils.

Source: Study: Diversity is Shaping Pet Owner Population

Election 2019: Party Platform Immigration Comparison

With all party platforms out, it is now possible to compare the written policy commitments of each party. 

While each party leader has made additional commitments on the campaign trail (e.g., Conservative Party of Canada leader Scheer on maintaining current Liberal immigration levels, New Democratic Party leader Singh pledging additional funding for Quebec integration and settlement services), this analysis looks only at the official party platforms, as these will form the basis of any future government “report card.”

In general, differences among the four main parties are a matter of nuance as all accept ongoing large numbers of immigrants, programs to facilitate integration, straight forward  pathways to citizenship  and the multicultural reality of Canada. 

The only major dissent from that overall consensus is from the People’s’ Party of Canada. The Bloc québecois’ narrow focus on Quebec issues is reflected in virtue signalling its intent to table private members’ bills that assert or seek to expand Quebec’s jurisdiction in immigration.

Party platforms reflect commitments, which are both concrete and “virtue signalling” to their respective bases and voters that they wish to attract.

The Conservative platform on immigration is sparse, with commitments that reflect their main focus on management of immigration, particularly the irregular arrivals at Roxham Road. This is balanced by their commitment to remove the cap on privately sponsored refugees while clarifying priorities for refugee selection (implicitly downplaying the UN Refugee Agency role). Commitments that reflect more strongly concerns of their base include banning values tests for Grant and Contribution programs (Canada Summer Jobs program) and re-opening the Office for Religious Freedom. 

The platform is silent on high profile issues previously raised in opposition such as M-103 on Islamophobia and other forms of racism and discrimination and their opposition to the UN’s Global Compact for Migration.

The lack of meaningful commitments on immigration levels and mix, citizenship and multiculturalism would provide a Conservative government considerable policy and program latitude should it form the government. The PPC picks up on some of issues the Conservatives dropped, along with prohibiting birth tourism and an overall hard-tone on immigration.

The Liberal platform is stay the course on immigration levels and most other policy areas. Apart from the major announcement of eliminating citizenship application fees, the platform places greatest emphasis on multiculturalism-related issues, whether it be with respect to diversity of appointments, anti-racism and anti-hate strategies, and resources to counter international far-right networks, including additional funding. The platform is silent on family reunification, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, refugees, and integration.

The NDP and Green platforms are to the left of the Conservative and Liberal platforms. Of the two, the NDP platform is the more coherent. In the event of a minority government, the almost “laundry list” approach in both platforms would provide some areas of agreement, but not their call to abolish the Safe Third Country Agreement with the USA.

Neither major party has chosen to make immigration the big issue that was predicted at the start of the campaign, reflecting that both parties need to win a substantial part of the immigrant and visible minority vote to win the election. So while there are differences in tone and substance,  these have been relatively downplayed in their respective platforms, campaign language notwithstanding.

This table (Election Platforms 2019 Comparison) highlights party positions on immigration (levels, mix, Temporary Foreign Workers, refugees, irregular asylum seekers), integration, citizenship and multiculturalism.

Immigration levels: The Conservative platform is silent on immigration levels. The Liberal platform continues the current trajectory of “modest and reasonable” annual increases along with making the Atlantic Immigration Pilot permanent and establishing a Municipal Immigration Pilot. The NDP platform states that levels should reflect labour market needs.

The Green platform commits to regularize the status of illegal (non-regularized status immigrants) and improve the pathway to permanent residency for international students and Temporary Foreign Workers.

The PPC platform proposes a cut of between 50 and 70 percent of current immigration levels, along with the addition of in person interviews to assess the “extent to which they align with Canadian values and societal norms.” The PPC also proposes increased resources to Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for the interviews and more thorough background checks.

Immigration mix:  While the Conservative, NDP and Green platforms all promise to speed up family reunification, particularly for parents and grand-parents for the Conservatives and NDP and children for the Greens, the PPC platform calls for abolishing family reunification for parents and grand-parents. The Liberal and Bloc platforms are silent.

The NDP platform calls for faster reunification of caregivers with their families. The Green platform calls for a “robust system” to assess the education and training credentials against Canadian standards prior to arrival along with clear explanations for professionals and an improved pathway to permanent residency for international students and Temporary Foreign Workers.

The PPC proposes to adjust the point system to increase the percentage of economic class immigrants.

Temporary Foreign Workers:  While the Conservative platform commits to match employment backgrounds to employment needs of companies that rely on TFWP, the Green platform calls for the replacement of Temporary Foreign Workers by increased immigration. The PPC platform calls for limiting numbers and ensuring they are only temporary. Both the NDP and Green platforms call for increased regulation of immigration consultants. 

The Liberal and Bloc platforms are silent.

Refugees: While the Conservative platform commits to the elimination of the cap for privately sponsored refugees, the PPC calls for relying solely on private sponsorship, accepting fewer refugees, no longer “relying” on the UN for refugee selection, and taking Canada out of the UN Global Compact for Migration.

The Conservative platform places priority on genocide survivors, LGBTQ+ refugees, and internally-displaced persons while the PPC platform places priority on persecuted religious minorities (e.g.,  Christians, Yazidis) in majority Muslim countries.

The NDP program calls for increased support for refugee integration. The Bloc calls for a moratorium on deportations to countries in conflict or where the life of a refugee would be in danger. The Liberal platform is silent.

Asylum seekers (Safe Third Country Agreement): While the Conservative platform calls for closing the loophole in the STCA that allows irregular arrivals between official border crossings, the Liberal platform states that it will work with the USA to “modernize” the Agreement. The NDP, Greens and Bloc call for its termination. 

The PPC would declare the whole border an official port of entry , deport irregular arrivals,  and fence frequently used border crossings like Roxham Road.

The Conservative platform commits to speed up refugee processing by deploying Immigration and Refugee Board judges to common arrival points and speed up deportations by hiring an addition 250 CBSA agents. The Green platform calls for the establishment of a Civilian Complaints and Review Commission for CBSA. The Bloc platform calls for the hiring of additional IRB members in Quebec to adjudicate claims.

Integration (settlement services): The Conservative platform commits to continue supporting settlement services while the Green platform calls for increased funding for language training through earmarked transfers to the provinces. The platform also calls for increased funding to multicultural organizations to provide language and other services. No other party makes integration commitments.

Citizenship: The Liberal platform commits to eliminate citizenship fees (currently $630 for adult applications). The Green platform commits to address the remaining cases of “lost Canadians” while the PPC platform commits to change the Citizenship Act to make birth tourism illegal.

Multiculturalism: The Conservative platform commits to end values tests for government G&C programs (e.g., the Summer Jobs program) and to reopen the Office of Religious Freedom.

The Liberal platform promises to continue improving the diversity of GiC appointments and senior levels of the public service. The Anti-Racism Strategy will be strengthened through doubling funding, along with increased G&C funding. The platform commits to improve the quality and amount of data collection regarding hate crimes. An additional $6 million over three years will be provided to the Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence along with resources to counter the rise of international far-right networks and terrorist organizations.

Both the Liberal and NDP platforms commit to hold social media companies accountable for hate speech.

The NDP platform has the longest list of commitments including: ensuring all major cities have dedicated hate crime units; the convening of a national working group to counter online hate; funding for anti-gang projects to deter at-risk youth from joining gangs or becoming radicalized; a ban on carding by federal law enforcement and working to end carding in all jurisdictions; and a national task force to develop a roadmap to end over-representation of Indigenous and visible minorities in prison populations, along with an African Canadian Justice Strategy.

The Green platform commits to improving the integration into the multicultural fabric, assisting cultural organizations to obtain charitable status, amending the Anti-Terrorism Act and Public Safety Act to require that formal charges be brought against all those detained and lastly, investigating allegations that Canadian officials cooperated with foreign agencies known to use torture.

The PPC platform commits to repealing the Multiculturalism Act and eliminating funding that promotes multiculturalism.

The Bloc platform focusses exclusively on Quebec jurisdiction questions: opposing any federal intervention in Bill 21 and laïcité; strengthening relations with immigrant communities;  private member bill “virtue signalling” with respect to exempting Quebec from the Multiculturalism Act; banning offering or receiving public services with face covered; having citizenship applicants living in Quebec demonstrate knowledge of French; and making federally regulated sectors (banks, transport, communications) located in Quebec subject to Bill 101.

Les cours de francisation gagnent en popularité

May be some lessons for settlement services elsewhere in Canada in terms of which supports may be more effective:

La hausse de l’allocation hebdomadaire remise aux immigrants pour leur apprentissage de la langue a fait bondir la popularité des cours de francisation de 10 % au cours de la dernière année. C’est ce que constate le ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration dans son rapport annuel déposé mardi à l’Assemblée nationale.

Près de 31 000 personnes se sont inscrites au cours de français en 2018-2019 comparativement à un peu plus de 28 000 en 2017-2018, la plupart à temps complet. La hausse est plus marquée chez les femmes. Elles étaient près de 8500 à avoir suivi ces cours en 2018-2019, contre près de 7000 en 2017-2018. Une augmentation presque deux fois plus importante que celle des hommes.

L’allocation hebdomadaire remise aux immigrants inscrits aux cours avait été haussée de 25 $ par les libéraux et ainsi fixée à 140 $ en août 2017. Le nouveau gouvernement caquiste a fait de la francisation des immigrants l’une de ses priorités. Le ministre de l’Immigration, Simon Jolin-Barrette, a augmenté cette allocation à nouveau le 1er juillet 2019, à 185 $ par semaine. Il a également ajouté une allocation de transport et de frais de garde, en plus de donner accès à ces cours offerts par l’État à tous les immigrants vivant au Québec, y compris les travailleurs temporaires et les étudiants étrangers. Anticipant une plus forte demande, le ministre Jolin-Barrette avait également annoncé l’ajout de 300 nouvelles classes. Le coût de ces nouvelles mesures s’élève à 70,3 millions.

Si les inscriptions aux cours de francisation à temps plein offerts en territoire québécois ont augmenté, celles aux cours offerts en ligne ratent leur cible. Seulement 30 % des immigrants les ont suivis depuis l’étranger, alors que le ministère visait un objectif de 70 %. La baisse de participation à ces cours sur Internet est attribuable à la diminution du nombre de certificats de sélection du Québec délivrés aux personnes à l’étranger, selon le rapport annuel.

Source: Les cours de francisation gagnent en popularité

Four in 10 international students turned away by Canadian immigration

Study Permit Refusals by Level

Source: IRCC data

More than half the international students headed to undergraduate programs in Canada were turned away this winter and spring by immigration officials.

Between January and May, officers rejected 53 per cent of the study permit applications filed by foreign students hoping to begin a bachelor program in Canada, according to data provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The record refusal rate is part of a trend that has seen immigration officials refuse a higher proportion of applications every year as international demand for Canadian education has soared. The overall refusal rate – including study permit applications to attend primary, secondary, post-secondary and language programs – was 39 per cent in the first five months of the year. (Rates for the first five months of 2019 may not reflect full-year rates.)

Reasons for refusal: fraud, danger, doubtful intentions

Twenty-eight per cent of all study permit applications were rejected by immigration officials in 2014. Four years later, in 2018, the overall rejection rate had climbed to 34 per cent. Demand for education boomed in that same period, with total applications almost doubling to more than 340,000 in 2018.

Increasing study permit refusals 2014 to 2019, Canada

Source: IRCC data

Robert Summerby-Murray is president of Saint Mary’s University, where 34 per cent of all students come from outside Canada. He is also chair of the Canadian Bureau for International Education, which promotes international education on behalf of more than 100 Canadian colleges, universities, schools and institutions.

He said study permit approvals have been improving for his students and he hasn’t heard of problems from other institutions.

“In some markets now, approvals are over 90 per cent,” he said of the experience of his own university this year. “We don’t see a 40 per cent refusal rate. That’s not our experience at all.”

Officials can refuse a study permit for many reasons: if they suspect the student may not return to their home country after graduation; if the student doesn’t have sufficient funds to pay for tuition and living costs while in Canada; if the student poses a health or security threat to Canada; if the officer doesn’t think the student’s academic plan makes sense; if the application is incomplete or inaccurate or if there is evidence of fraud in the application.

Harpreet Kochhar, assistant deputy minister of immigration, warned last fall that fraud had become a significant problem in study permit applications. He told a conference of the Canadian Bureau of International Education that a sample audit found that 10 per cent of the admission letters attached to study permit applications were false. In one case, he said, a supposed admission letter from Dalhousie University did not even spell the name of the university correctly.

Undergraduate refusals double

University-bound students are driving the higher rejection rate. While the study permit refusal rate for graduate university programs has increased slightly, the refusal rate for bachelor programs is soaring.

In 2014, only 20 per cent of international students headed to a bachelor program were refused a permit, compared to 37 per cent in 2018 and 53 per cent in the first five months of 2019.

Five years ago, visa officers were twice as likely to approve the study permit applications of international students bound for Canadian universities as students bound for Canadian college programs. Today the overall rates are similar.

The lowest refusal rates in early 2019 were for students who want to attend a doctoral program (11 per cent), high school (20 per cent), primary school (20 per cent), master’s program (31 per cent) or language program (31 per cent).

Refusals vary by source country

Refusal rates also vary dramatically by country, with students from Africa much less likely to receive a permit than students from many Asian and European countries.

Alain Roy, vice president of international partnerships with Colleges and Institutes Canada, said he is pleased that the rejection rate for college-bound students has remained steady despite a huge increase in the number of applications.

Summerby-Murray said his university works hard to build and maintain relationships with the consular officials who decide whether a student permit is approved, and they also work with expert agents who vet students thoroughly before an application is filed.

“We visit. We call,” he said. “I can pick up the phone. I can talk to the consuls in Shanghai, the team in Beijing, the folks in Hong Kong, Nairobi and other places and say, ‘Heh, we have these refusals, can you reconsider?’ We have worked very hard on these relationships.”

Polestar collected impressions from several other university administrators across Canada, all of whom shared information on the condition that neither they nor their institutions would be named. Two smaller universities said they have noticed an increase in problems with study permit approvals and two larger institutions said they had not seen any increase.

Universities Canada declined to comment on the study permit refusal rates.

International students who want to attend school in Canada must be admitted to a designated learning institution before they apply for a study permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Most students will also need either a temporary resident visa or an electronic travel authorization to enter Canada.

Source: Four in 10 international students turned away by Canadian immigration

Singh promises bump to Quebec’s immigration funds to address labour shortage

Sigh. Quebec already receives about 40 percent of settlement funding and only received about 16 percent of immigrants in 2018:

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says his government would give a boost to Quebec’s immigration funding to help prepare immigrants to fill the province’s labour shortage.

At an announcement in Drummondville, Que., on Saturday, Singh promised to increase the federal immigration transfer payment to Quebec by $73 million per year to improve settlement services for newcomers, if he is elected prime minister.

The province has been dealing with a labour shortage, with more than four per cent of all jobs in Quebec left vacant for four months or longer, according to a Canadian Federation of Independent Business report. That’s roughly 120,000 jobs.

“Quebec is dealing with a serious labour shortage, and needs immigration to help meet the challenge,” said Singh.

“It’s a critical issue.”

The NDP’s platform also commits to bolstering immigration settlement in rural areas of Quebec. Many immigrants arrive in Quebec with no French language skills, which affects their ability to work in the province. Singh said that a funding increase from an NDP government would help to target those language barriers.

Quebec will already receive $25.5 billion from Ottawa this fiscal year in the form equalization payments and health and social transfers. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, $490 million was allocated for immigration supports.

But the provincial government isn’t completely sold on the idea of increasing immigration.

Leaning on temporary foreign workers

The CAQ government intends to accept around 20 per cent fewer immigrants this year, or 40,000 instead of the nearly 52,000 accepted last year.

However, Premier François Legault said temporary foreign workers can counter the shortage.

His government recently launched a $21-million plan to make it simpler for smaller businesses to recruit foreigners. It includes subsidizing recruitment missions by Quebec companies overseas and offering to cover $1,000 in moving expenses for the workers.

The province also announced $34 million for measures aimed at better integrating immigrants into the workforce.

Source: Singh promises bump to Quebec’s immigration funds to address labour shortage

Robert Falconer: The open society, Canada’s best response to immigration

Good response to the pulled back op-ed “Ethnic diversity harms a country’s social trust, economic well-being, argues professor.”

The world is experiencing the largest displacement and movement of people of any period since the Second World War.

Canada is not immune to these flows. Almost one in four people living here were born outside Canada, with one million more arriving in the next three years.

We recently passed our neighbour to the south in resettling more refugees than any other country in the world, mostly due to vast reductions in refugee admissions under the Trump Administration, but also in part due to increased resettlement under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Since 2017, approximately 150,000 asylum seekers have claimed protection in Canada, many of whom crossed the border to do so. Under these conditions, questions by Canadians are to be expected.

Some questions will be raised by bad actors. These individuals will not be satisfied by reasonable answers or potential solutions on the issue of immigration or asylum in Canada.

A few of these may stoke fears or unfounded claims about newcomers. Many more Canadians, however, have genuine concerns, worries, or fears about the arrival of newcomers to their communities.

They do not have animosity toward individual immigrants, but they may have concerns regarding border security, the integrity of Canada’s immigration system, or the values and beliefs immigrants bring with them to Canada.

It is this group that policy-makers, academics and journalists should address with open ears, facts, and ideas. Some of these include addressing the following on immigrant integration and social cohesion.

Defining integration is difficult, but some common measures include immigrant official language capability, sense of belonging to Canada, and the adoption of Canadian norms and values. By these measures, Canada is wildly successful at integrating its newcomer population.

The 2016 census showed that approximately 93 per cent of all immigrants in Canada can speak English or French. The census also showed that the majority of immigrants choose to speak English or French in the home.

This high number might surprise some, but it should be noted that official language capability is one of the selection criteria for immigrants seeking to move to Canada.

Official language capability is also one of the citizenship requirements — with the exception of the very old and the very young. Even more fundamentally, there is a workplace advantage that comes with speaking either language.

Official language capability and citizenship requirements may not be relevant if only a few immigrants became citizens, but at approximately 85 per cent Canada has one of the highest naturalizations rates in the world. The United States sits in the mid-40 per cent range.

This means the vast majority of immigrants will, at some point, pass a language test and successfully answer questions on Canadian history, culture and values, culminating in the oath of citizenship to Canada’s Queen, its laws, and the duties associated with citizenship.

Immigrants also tend to show high levels of belonging and civic pride in Canada. Researchers at Statistics Canada found that 93 per cent of newcomers have a strong or very strong sense of belonging to Canada. Some of these (24 per cent) show an affinity only for Canada, while more feel a sense of belonging to Canada and their home country (69 per cent). Only three per cent feel a higher level of attachment to their home country.

When broken down by pride in specific symbols or institutions, such as the Canadian flag, Parliament, or even hockey, immigrants placed greater or equal importance in these than natural born Canadians.

This makes intuitive sense when considering why immigrants choose Canada. Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute has pointed out that most immigrants self-select, meaning that those who are most dissatisfied with Chinese communism, the Ayatollah, or Venezuelan socialism are the most likely to leave, and the least likely to bring those values with them. They choose Canada because they identify with the norms and values that make Canada.

That is not to say there aren’t issues. Canada is struggling to process a backlog of 75,000 plus asylum seekers, many of whom will have less than well-founded claims of persecution. That speaks to a processing issue at the federal level, rather than an issue with immigrant integration in Canada.

A backed-up system is more likely to attract those with unfounded fears of persecution. The solution is not to stigmatize newcomers, but to ensure that our immigration and asylum systems remain “fast, fair and final,” able to process claims in a timelier manner.

For those who are already here, Canada’s best tool for integrating them is open access to our political system and jobs market.

Some have cited Alberto Alesina’s work on fragmentation, the idea that greater population diversity is associated with social strife. This is true in countries with weak democracies and restricted labour markets, where the political and economic systems favour a select few.

Alesina’s subsequent works have shown that diverse populations reap economic benefits and remain relatively cohesive when everyone has a fair shot at becoming an MP or getting a job. Open societies enjoy strong trade relationships with other countries, a diversity in goods and services, and stronger workforces. Under these settings the work of integration takes care of itself, with newcomers and their children identifying with Canada and its values.

In that light, the work of integrating newcomers within the fabric of Canada is less about exclusion, and more about maintaining, celebrating, and safeguarding Canadian institutions, entrepreneurship, and our open society.

Source: Robert Falconer: The open society, Canada’s best response to immigration

Barr Packs Board of Immigration Appeals with Judges Who Denied Asylum Claims at ‘High Rates’

The power of appointments (in Canada, Sean Rehaag has done comparable analysis of IRB board members Refugee approval rates reflect subjectivity of decision-makers, prof says – Montreal – CBC News):

The Trump Administration is making significant moves in an apparent effort to reduce the number of successful migrant applications for asylum at the border. Rather than a ban, which the Trump Administration has explored, U.S. Attorney General William Barr has promoted six immigrations judges to the Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) — all of whom have “high rates” of denying asylum claims, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Friday.

According to the report, the six appointees who were sworn in on Friday will comprise more than 25-percent of the 21-member BIA. In case you are unfamiliar with what this board is for and how powerful it is, don’t worry, the Department of Justice has got you covered [all emphases ours]: 

“The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is the highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws. It is authorized up to 21 Board Members, including the Chairman and Vice Chairman who share responsibility for BIA management. The BIA is located at EOIR headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. Generally, the BIA does not conduct courtroom proceedings – it decides appeals by conducting a “paper review” of cases. On rare occasions, however, the BIA hears oral arguments of appealed cases, predominately at headquarters.

The BIA has been given nationwide jurisdiction to hear appeals from certain decisions rendered by immigration judges and by district directors of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a wide variety of proceedings in which the Government of the United States is one party and the other party is an alien, a citizen, or a business firm.

BIA decisions are binding on all DHS officers and immigration judges unless modified or overruled by the Attorney General or a federal court. Most BIA decisions are subject to judicial review in the federal courts. The majority of appeals reaching the BIA involve orders of removal and applications for relief from removal. Other cases before the BIA include the exclusion of aliens applying for admission to the United States, petitions to classify the status of alien relatives for the issuance of preference immigrant visas, fines imposed upon carriers for the violation of immigration laws, and motions for reopening and reconsideration of decisions previously rendered.”

“Prior to the new rule, the Attorney General’s own decisions were binding on all of DHS, but the BIA’s decisions weren’t binding on the entire system unless a majority of Board members voted to publish them. Currently, this happens about 30 times a year. By giving the Attorney General unilateral power to designate BIA decisions as precedent with the stroke of a pen, the regulation destabilizes the fair checks and balances in the court process.”

The names of the promoted judges: William Cassidy, Earle Wilson, Keith Hunsucker, Deborah Goodwin, Stephanie Gorman, Stuart Couch.

Cassidy and Wilson respectively rejected 95.8-percent and and 98.1-percent of asylum claims between 2013 and 2018; the national denial average was 57.6 percent, the Chronicle reported. (Both of them have inspired complaints of unfairness.) With the national average in mind, consider the other rejection rates added to the board: Hunsucker, 81.6-percent; Goodwin, 89.4-percent; Gorman, 86.9-percent; Couch, 92.1%. These percentages came from data tracked by Syracuse University — data the DOJ claimed it doesn’t track and can’t verify when responding to the Chronicle story.

“DOJ doesn’t track asylum approval and denial rates for individual immigration judges, and (Syracuse) uses its own methodologies in interpreting the data it receives, resulting in conclusions that we cannot verify,” a DOJ spokesperson said. “Collectively these judges … have nearly 120 years of immigration law (experience) through multiple administrations. Advocates that attack their integrity and professionalism only undermine the entire system.”

Source: Barr Packs Board of Immigration Appeals with Judges Who Denied Asylum Claims at ‘High Rates’

Québec évoque un nouvel accompagnement pour mieux intégrer les immigrants

While Quebec reduces the number of immigrants, it also invests in integration programs (reducing the gap between the federal government’s block grant to Quebec and Quebec’s actual expenditures):

Le Québec étant aux prises avec des pénuries de main-d’oeuvre à divers degrés dans plusieurs secteurs et régions, le budget du gouvernement Legault a évoqué jeudi un nouveau « parcours d’accompagnement personnalisé » pour les immigrants de même que des moyens supplémentaires annuels de 146 millions au ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion. Les détails du parcours seront annoncés plus tard.

Les sommes destinées à l’immigrationreprésentent une hausse de 42 % du budget du ministère, a fait remarquer le Syndicat de professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec (SPGQ). Il s’agit ni plus ni moins que d’une « bouffée d’air frais », a déclaré son président, Richard Perron. Sur cinq ans, les nouvelles sommes totalisent 730 millions.

Les efforts visant une meilleure intégration au marché du travail incluront notamment une amélioration des services à la francisation, a indiqué le ministre des Finances, Eric Girard. Mais dans l’ensemble, les nouvelles façons de faire de Québec toucheront plusieurs aspects de l’intégration des nouveaux arrivants, notamment la planification, la prospection, le recrutement international et la sélection. Le budget mentionne également un soutien aux collectivités qui accueillent des immigrants et aux entreprises.

Le gouvernement Legault a confirmé en décembre 2018 qu’il comptait réduire de 53 000 à 40 000 le seuil annuel d’immigration, ce qui avait déçu le milieu des affaires, notamment le Conseil du patronat, qui décrit ces travailleurs comme un bassin « essentiel » pour combler les besoins de main-d’oeuvre de la prochaine décennie.

Le Québec est « ouvert aux immigrants », a dit M. Girard dans son discours, ajoutant que « cette immigration doit cependant répondre aux besoins de main-d’oeuvre existants dans toutes les régions du Québec ».

Source: Québec évoque un nouvel accompagnement pour mieux intégrer les immigrants

Working knowledge: Quebec expands on-the-job French lessons for newcomers

Interesting approach and focus on individual training to small business owners:

Wang Weidong’s shop in Chinatown offers the typical bounty of the Montreal dépanneur − lottery tickets, toothpaste, fireworks, an entire wall of snacks and, of course, beer and wine. One recent morning, the store also featured novel fare: French lessons.

Huit dollars,” Mr. Wang said, struggling to pronounce “eight dollars” in French.

Est-ce que je peux avoir un reçu?” said his teacher, Félix Pigeon, asking for a receipt as he stood before Mr. Wang at the counter.

Mr. Wang was a willing pupil in the expanding frontier of French-language learning in Quebec. As the province seeks to ensure newcomers can work and function in French, it’s increasing funding by $450,000 for on-the-job lessons offered at neighbourhood businesses across Montreal.

In Mr. Wang’s case, that means turning the ubiquitous Montreal dépanneur into a classroom. For two hours a week, Mr. Pigeon, a master’s student in literature, exchanges with Mr. Wang at the counter or between store shelves, doling out French phrases as easily as Mr. Wang dispenses ramen soup and chocolate bars. Customers come and go as Mr. Wang works the cash and gamely tries to grasp the intricacies of French grammar and verb conjugation.

“French is important here. I know that if I want to make my business better, I have to speak French,” said Mr. Wang, 51, who came to Montreal from Beijing two years ago with his wife and now 8-year-old son.

“But I don’t have time to go to school. I have to work.”

Mr. Wang’s views underscore a fundamental reality for many immigrants to Quebec: Learning French is essential to building their new lives, but, like Mr. Wang, they’re unlikely to find time to visit a classroom after long hours on the job.

The on-the-job courses have become a success story within Quebec’s vast undertaking known as “la francisation” – the province’s multimillion-dollar efforts to turn immigrants into French speakers.

The new Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government announced funding this month to expand the workplace program in the city, which is run by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal. The initiative began in 2016 with just 30 immigrant merchants; more than 500 are expected to take part this year.

The “students” include an Egyptian immigrant who owns a driving school, a Ukrainian-born waitress at a Greek restaurant, and a woman from Grenada who runs a beauty salon in Montreal’s multicultural Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood.

“For an entrepreneur – someone operating a dépanneur or a travel agency – going to a French class means closing their business,” said Céline Huot, a vice-president at the chamber of commerce. “So we had the idea of bringing the French class to them.”

As part of the $1.5-million program, participants such as Mr. Wang sport a button saying “J’apprends le français, encouragez-moi,” (I’m learning French, encourage me). The message addresses a basic truth in Montreal: Most people are bilingual and tend to switch to English if they sense that a newcomer is struggling in French. It’s part of the daily interplay of language in a city that typically seeks common linguistic ground.

The message on Mr. Wang’s button turns his personal language effort into a shared goal with his customers.

“It becomes a question of pride for the merchants,” Ms. Huot said. “It’s not, ‘I don’t speak French well, and so I feel a certain embarrassment.’ It becomes extremely positive. The whole campaign shows a positive image of immigrants who are making efforts to integrate.”

At a time when Quebec’s “francisation” programs have come under criticism as inefficient, these free courses have brought measurable results: 80 per cent of immigrants who took part progressed at least one level of French after their three-month session.

And for university students such as Mr. Pigeon, 28, the exchanges deliver their own rewards.

“I’ve travelled a lot and everywhere I go, I’m well-received. Canadians have the reputation to be a welcoming people, so I wanted to be part of that,” Mr. Pigeon said. “I wanted to give back.”

Ensuring newcomers speak French has long been a cornerstone of immigration policy in Quebec, where language is seen as central to the province’s identity and survival. The theme has been heavily promoted by the CAQ government of Premier François Legault, which argues that its 20-per-cent cut to immigration this year is necessary to better integrate immigrants and teach them French. The party has even raised the prospect of expelling immigrants after three years if they failed a French and values test.

Yet despite the “rhetoric” of immigrants posing a threat to the French majority, newcomers in fact overwhelmingly want to learn the language, and 95 per cent of all Quebeckers have a knowledge of French, says Richard Bourhis, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Quebec at Montreal who has studied immigrant integration.

Immigrants might not have time to study French while they’re struggling to pay the rent and put food on the table, he said, but the will is there. “They all want to give themselves as many tools as possible to make their immigration project successful,” Prof. Bourhis said. “If you’re just patient with them, either the first or second generation do learn French. They want to.”

That is certainly the case for Mr. Wang. When a francophone customer comes in asking for fortune cookies, Mr. Wang struggles to understand what she’s saying. Mr. Pigeon coaches him, then Mr. Wang rushes over to a shelf full of cookie bags.

Mr. Wang says he now wants to become proficient enough to go beyond what he calls “dépanneur French,” and has his sights set on a bigger goal: His son’s hockey games.

“When the kids play their games, we have to shout,” Mr. Wang says of his son’s matches with the Jeunes Sportifs d’Hochelaga in Montreal. “I can’t figure out what to say.”

He may not find the answer among the lychee jelly snacks and cans of pop in his dépanneur. But he feels the goal is within reach.

Source: Montreal program