US Census Bureau Head: No Advance Warning Over Citizenship Count

Incompetence or deliberate disfunction:

The U.S. Census Bureau director testified Wednesday that he was not given advance notification about an order by the Trump administration that called for undocumented immigrants to be excluded from the national census.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order earlier this month in which he argued that having people who are in the country illegally affect representation in Congress “would be a perversion of our democratic principles.”

Steven Dillingham was called before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee to discuss the order affecting the 2020 census, the once-a-decade count of every person living in the United States and its five territories.

The census has vast implications for the country. The results are used to decide how many congressional seats each state gets, as well as the allocation of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending.

Dillingham told lawmakers that he did not know if any Census Bureau staff were involved in drafting the order, which has been called unconstitutional by civil rights groups.

The Democrats who chair the House Oversight Committee said Trump’s order went against prior assurances from administration officials who pledged at earlier hearings to conduct a complete count that includes everyone residing in the United States.

But Republicans said the order was constitutional, saying the president’s order applied only to redrawing the congressional districts, not the count or how $1.5 trillion in federal spending is distributed.

The Census Bureau was forced to suspend field operations in March and April because of the coronavirus pandemic. The deadline for finishing the count was pushed from July 31 to October 31.

Dillingham also offered in his testimony that despite the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 census self-response has been a “tremendous success.”

“We are now at almost 63 percent, with more than 92 million households counted. About 80 percent have chosen to respond using the internet. Our response system has not had a single minute of downtime since we first invited people to respond online, beginning in March,” he said.

Source: US Census Bureau Head: No Advance Warning Over Citizenship Count

“Dreamers” in Canada need protection, too

It would be helpful having more accurate estimates on the numbers rather than the anecdotal wide range. The numbers are important to assess what policy approach or approaches are more appropriate and or needed:

Thursday’s long-awaited U.S. Supreme Court decision rejecting the Trump administration’s bid to end the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program was met with sighs of relief on both sides of the border. The plight of so-called “Dreamers” — youth and young people who were brought to the U.S. as children who remained with no legal immigration status — is a well-known and heartbreaking story. Despite most often having had no role in the decision to migrate, nor having remaining connection to their previous country, these young people are vulnerable to deportation. Anti-immigration advocates accuse them of “cheating the system.”

While we gasp at this close call in the U.S., the truth is that Canada is no better on this issue. In fact, non-citizens brought to Canada as children are perhaps in a worse position. We have no DACA-equivalent legislation to provide protection from deportation or temporary work authorization to our “Dreamers.” We do not even have a public discourse on the issue.

While the term “Dreamers” invokes idealistic accounts of overcoming odds and happy endings, the people this term refers to are in fact real people living real lives. Like other children, they have gone to school, made neighbourhood friends, and developed views of the world based on their Canadian lives.

As the pandemic has laid bare, while migrants are essential to our communities, they are so often exploited and excluded. Migrants face barriers to health care, education, decent work, family unity and equal rights. While legalization theoretically enables “Dreamers” to access K-12 education, many require the intervention of lawyers and community advocates to enforce that right. As they grow up, they discover they cannot work legally, access supports such as OHIP and OSAP, enrol at most universities and colleges (or if they are admitted, face elevated international fees). Without SIN numbers, they cannot access CERB or CESB. Seeking professional support or calling the police, always a perilous choice for racialized groups, risks exposure to immigration authorities.

These barriers not only close doors to opportunities that other Canadians take for granted, they force these young people into precarious employment, housing and social situations that make them vulnerable to abuse. To protect themselves and their families, they work to “fly under the radar.” Living as an undocumented person carries huge psychological weight. In this case, that weight is carried by children and youth.

Consider “Marla,” who was brought to Canada at the age of 4. She has lived in the GTA for 18 years. An academic star throughout school, she was completely unaware of her insecure immigration status and what that meant until she was mid-way through high school. The revelation was harsh. While her friends entered university, she had to abandon her own university ambitions and instead enter precarious factory employment.

Since 2012, DACA has enabled approximately 800,000 young adults to work lawfully in the U.S.. How many undocumented childhood arrivals do we have in Canada? We do not actually know. Estimates of the number of people living in Canada without legal immigration status vary from 20,000 to 500,000, but there is no estimate of those who arrived during childhood. The existence of childhood arrivals is seldom even acknowledged.

Therefore, hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of young people across the country are living in marginalization and vulnerability. They also cannot contribute to our communities and economies in the ways they wish. And this despite the significant investments we have made in them (e.g., education, emergency health care) — and they in us.

Do we need quantifiable numbers before we act? No. Agencies working with migrants and young people know of enough people like Marla to know their predicament is real.

If the Canadian government finally decides to provide protections to this special group, we must not blindly accept a DACA-like model. Despite applauding Thursday’s decision, we know that DACA is insufficient. It defers removals but does not provide a pathway to citizenship, effectively leaving young people in limbo. It also creates a hierarchy of entitlement due to strict inclusion criteria. A made-in-Canada solution would need to address these glaring deficiencies and embrace childhood arrivals as equal and welcome members of our society.

100,000 children in London ‘without secure immigration status’

Of note:

New research estimates that more than 100,000 children are living in London without secure immigration status, despite more than half of them having been born in the UK.

Children who are undocumented may face problems accessing higher education, health care, opening bank accounts, and applying for driving licences, housing and jobs. The findings were condemned by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, as a “national disgrace”.

The study, commissioned by the mayor and undertaken by the University of Wolverhampton, estimated that there were around 107,000 undocumented children and 26,000 18- to 24-year-olds in London. Once an undocumented child turns 18, they face the threat of deportation to a country they may never have visited.

Undocumented people can include those who arrived in the UK with proper documentation but who stayed beyond their permitted time, those who entered without proper documentation, trafficked children, unaccompanied minors whose temporary leave to remain was withdrawn once they reached adulthood and young people born to parents who are themselves undocumented.

The research found that more than half of the UK’s estimated 674,000 undocumented adults and children live in London. It warns that the number of undocumented young people could rise dramatically if the estimated 350,000 young European nationals in the UK are not helped to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme that will enable them to remain after Brexit.

Assessing the size of Britain’s undocumented population is inevitably a challenging process, since there is no official data and it requires counting people outside most formal systems. Instead, the report has reviewed previous research and analysed all available data to come up with a conservative estimate. The study suggests that the population of undocumented migrant children has grown by 56% between March 2011 and March 2017.

The report highlights the high cost of regularising immigration status. “The Windrush scandal has exposed the barriers facing people who have lived in the UK for many years, including a complex application process, a lack of awareness of the system, cuts to legal aid and the high cost of applications – with the high court last month deeming as ‘unlawful’ a government decision to charge £1,012 to register children as British citizens,” the report states. “Since 2012, only 10% of families with undocumented children in the UK have applied to secure their immigration status.”

How many undocumented immigrants are in the United States and who are they?

Good overview:

Ascertaining the size of the undocumented population is difficult. Estimates vary according to the methodology used. While anti-immigrant groups maintain that the flow of undocumented immigrants has increased, estimates show that over a longer period the number has declined. An often-overlooked fact is that many illegal immigrants pay payroll taxes and sales taxes.

  • Estimates of the number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. range from 10.5 million to 12 million, or approximately 3.2%–3.6% of the population.
  • Immigrants from Mexico have recently, for the first time, fallen to less than half of the undocumented population.
  • In evaluating the cost of illegal immigration, both benefits consumed and taxes paid must be counted.

A Closer Look

The issue of undocumented immigrants has been front and center in American elections since 2016; it has elicited passionate responses from all parts of the political spectrum. Here are a few facts voters need as they wade through the thicket of rhetoric on this issue.

How do we count people who are here illegally?

Ascertaining the size of the illegal population is difficult because, as is obvious, people who are here illegally don’t always want to tell pollsters their legal status (or absence thereof.) The first step estimators use is to take data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, or ACS, which interviews over 2 million households a year. This survey asks people where they were born and whether they are U.S. citizens, but it does not ask if they are here illegally. This yields a total number for the “foreign-born” population.

The next step is to subtract from that total the number of foreign-born residents who we know for certain are here legally. Among them are naturalized citizens, people who have permanent resident status (green cards), and people who have been admitted as refugees. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) keeps careful records of the first two groups and the Department of Health and Human Services keeps careful records of the third. By subtracting the number of people who we know for certain are here legally from the overall number of foreign-born in the ACS survey we can estimate the number of undocumented residents.

Of course, not all undocumented people take part in surveys, and for good reason—they do not want to be found out. So, most estimates assume that there is an “undercount.” The Pew Research Center relies, in part, on survey and census data from Mexico. They estimate the undercount to be somewhere in the range of 5 to 15 percent, which is then added to the number of undocumented immigrants. DHS believes that the undercount is 10% and adjusts its estimates accordingly.

The size of the undercount is a matter of controversy. Opponents of illegal immigration such as FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) argue that the undercount is in fact much bigger. To get to their estimates they analyze other data such as the percentage of migrants who failed to show up for their immigration hearings and those who have overstayed their visas.

So, what are the numbers?

The numbers of undocumented vary according to the methodology used, and there’s also a lag in the estimates because it takes time for accurate data to become available. The last estimate released by the Office of Immigration Statistics at DHS came in December 2018: As of January 1, 2015, there were 11.96 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The most recent Pew Research estimate puts the total number of unauthorized immigrants at 10.5 million in 2017. Overall, this represents a minority of the foreign-born population, which in 2017 numbered 44.5 million—45% of whom are naturalized citizens, and 27% of whom are lawful permanent residents.

While anti-immigrant groups maintain that the flow of illegal immigrants has increased, estimates show that over a longer period the number of undocumented immigrants has declined, from 12.2 million in 2005 to 10.5 million in 2017 according to Pew’s estimates. DHS figures don’t go beyond 2015, but they estimate that the population of undocumented immigrants increased by 70,000 people per year between 2010 and 2015, compared to increases of 470,000 per year between 2000 and 2007.

Who are the undocumented?

Immigrants from Mexico have recently, for the first time since 1990, represented less than half of the undocumented population. According to Pew, in 2017, about 4.95 million of the 10.5 million undocumented population were from Mexico, 1.9 million from Central America, and 1.45 million from Asia. About two-thirds of undocumented immigrants have been in the U.S. for 10 years or longer. In 2017, just 20% of undocumented, adult immigrants had lived in the U.S. for 5 years or less.

In contrast to the President Trump’s rhetoric about building a wall at the Mexican border, illegal migration has shifted since 2010 from border-crossing to visa overstays—the latter share has been greater than border crossings since 2010. The Center for Migration Studies estimates that in 2016, 62% of the undocumented were here because they overstayed their visas versus 38% who crossed the border illegally.

Another controversy is over how much illegal immigrants cost the system. An often overlooked fact is that illegal immigrants are taxpayers. The anti-immigrant lobby tends to ignore the money the immigrants often pay in payroll and sales taxes while counting the money spent on educating children born in the United States to immigrants. Numbers vary widely depending on the source, but undocumented immigrants are not eligible for most federal benefit programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In evaluating the cost of illegal immigration, the voter has to make sure that the argument takes in both benefits consumed and taxes paid.

What about the Dreamers?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was implemented by President Obama to allow many undocumented individuals who came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday to work in the U.S. and defer any action on their immigration cases for a renewable two-year period. About 800,000 immigrants have been covered by DACA at some point since it was implemented; 690,000 are currently in the program. According to Pew, the gap consists of approximately 70,000 who were rejected for renewal or opted not to renew, and 40,000 who were able to obtain a green card. At present no new applications are being accepted by USCIS, so the number of Dreamers is not likely to grow.

What are the candidates saying?

In the 2020 campaign, President Trump has continued his push for a wall at the southern border, on top of increased enforcement both at the border and in the interior. On the Democratic side, all the candidates support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, which would require getting legislation through Congress. There are also shorter-term proposals that a new president could enact on their own, like Elizabeth Warren’s plan to reinstate DACA and to expand deferred action to include more than the Dreamers. Kamala Harris has said she would reinstate DACA and implement DAPA, the shelved policy to protect the Dreamers’ parents. Pete Buttigieg has stated that he would restore the enforcement priorities set by the Obama administration. A number of the Democratic candidates have voiced support for repealing the law that makes it a crime to cross the border without authorization.

As we have seen during the Trump administration, the president can do a great deal even absent legislation to affect the situation of those seeking to come to the United States.

Source: How many undocumented immigrants are in the United States and who are they?

Ahmed Hussen, Purveyor of Untruths, Must Resign

An incredibly strong critique of Minister Hussen in this case by former Liberal immigration minister Joe Volpe. Not the first one that I am seeing in Corriere Canadese that reflects the relative decline in importance of Italian Canadian voters.

However, what I find hard to understand is why there is no mention of the new pilot program (New immigration program opens door to undocumented construction workers in the GTA) announced this June which would appear to address the same group:

It backfired. That is one message that emerged from the 18-page summary and findings of the Law Society Tribunal, Hearing Division, chaired by Barbara J. Murchie, Dated October 4, 2019. The stated purpose of the Hearing was an examination of the modus operandi of one immigration lawyer, Richard Boraks, by the Law Society, with respect to client services associated with a Pilot Project for Undocumented Workers.

Someone – another lawyer, the Minister of Immigration or members of a Press Corps – had gone through a lot of trouble to use the Law Society to harass into submission the legal counsel to the Undocumented Workers Committee (UWC). Since 2014, the UWC, in its current form Chaired by Manuel Alexandre, had been representing the interests of “out-ofstatus” migrants, and their families, in the construction industry.

Given the market sector, much of the “clientele” for which the UWC advocates is Brazilian, Italian, Portuguese, Polish or Hispanic. For whatever reason, they cannot meet the level of English required to secure Permanent Residency (PR). They are not indolent. Quite the contrary, they are an “in-demand asset” for their employers in a labour-starved marketplace. The language skills required for the job site are different from those in academia.

Boraks and the UWC lobbied successfully for “substituted evaluation”, permitted under s. 12(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and s. 87.2(4) of its Regulations until a Ministerial directive in the former Conservative government demanded results under formal testing.

It was a heartless, insensitive and counter-productive move. Families were deported. The labour shortage increased. More workers went underground. Boraks and the UWC appealed to the Courts as part of a response to keep workers here legally until a solution – change in government policy – could be effected. The alternative for the workers would be to find a more expedient method: cheat on the examination by paying a stand-in and then be subjected to the on-going potential of having the PR revoked.

The change seemingly came when a Liberal government, at the behest of Minister McCallum, under “ministerial discretion” pursuant to s. 25.2 of IRPA, proposed a limited Pilot Project, on December 22, 2016 to address the plight of both employers and employees.

Pilot Projects do not need Governor in Council (Cabinet) approval. Nor do they have to be Gazetted – a process that formalizes government Legislative/Regulatory initiatives or changes. The Law Society agreed. Ministers can announce them virtually at will and the Department is duty-bound to execute them.

McCallum went further. He established a Caucus Committee to help in the process. Several Toronto area MPS, Julie Dzerowicz and Peter Fonseca among them (although the Tribunal did not name them in its findings), were active in promoting the Pilot Project. MP Fonseca even took delivery of completed application forms for processing through the Department.

The UWC was encouraged. Many workers, trusting in the new “breath of fresh air” came forward and submitted applications though Boraks and co. A new Minister, Ahmed Hussen – a former Refugee who arrived in Canada without papers – made all the right confirmational statements for the next several months until late 2017.

By early 2018, his focus shifted. In a complete reversal, Hussen began to deny the program ever existed. MPs, following suit, said there was no Departmental evidence the Pilot existed. It was complete misrepresentation of the facts. Immigration Canada, through CBSA, began to initiate removal proceedings against Applicants.

To make matters worse, someone motivated Sean O’Shea, a Global News reporter who advances himself as a consumer watchdog, to research and air a “gotcha” (he disagrees with the characterization) piece declaring the non-existence of the Pilot, and, by extension, questioning the ethics of the UWC’s legal counsel. Rogers’ Omni and an even more obscure Portuguese language periodical piled on.

An objective observer might easily conclude this was a full-on character assassination attempt to silence the UWC’s legal counsel. Boraks countered with a lawsuit against Hussen and O’Shea; but clearly his practice suffered as the reputational damage took its toll. He is tenant in the same building our offices occupy.

On May 28, 2019, the Law Society filed a Notice of Motion to suspend Boraks’ license. Who prompted the action is not yet clear. Had it been successful, Boraks’ career would have come at an abrupt end. So would whatever faint chance at “regularization of status” through a Pilot Project or an Amnesty any undocumented worker might have had. There are hundreds of thousands of them in the GTHA.

It was a sleazy, malicious tactic. The Tribunal took two and a half months to assess the evidence and documentation it had received and heard over a five-day period, in June and July. Manuel Alexandre of the UWC, Constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati and I appeared as witnesses. Whoever the Plainti. was called none.

The Tribunal, in its assessment of the facts and analysis of the claim, essentially rejected every claim by the Plaintiff, vindicating Boraks and the UWC on every issue related to the Pilot Project.

The second message to derive from the Tribunal decision is that the Minister and his colleagues contrived and promoted statements and actions unsupported by the facts. This is unacceptable and unjustifiable in our democratic process.

If they were honourable individuals, they would resign their public o¦ce and forgo the e.ort to seek re-election. They won’t. it will be up the voters to mete out justice for the incalculable psychological and economic harm they have caused the deported families and their friends and families.

If Portuguese and Italian voters in York South Weston, Mississauga- Cooksville and Davenport don’t let their anger show on this issue, they are beyond help.

Source: https://www.corriere.ca/english-articles/ahmed-hussen-purveyor-of-untruths-must-resign/ 

More Immigrants Know Their Rights Thanks to Trump’s Threats

Ironic. But rights become more important when under threat:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Undocumented immigrants in the US are increasingly better educated

Always interesting how so much of the debate reflects the past, not the more current situation:

Not much has changed about Washington, DC’s decades-long fixation with illegal immigration—or its inability to do something about it. The profile of immigrants themselves, however, has shifted dramatically.

Consider their education levels. The share of recently arrived undocumented immigrants with a college degree has nearly doubled between 2007 and 2016, according to a recent analysis by the Pew Research Center. Here’s the share of college graduates who’ve been in the United States for five years or less compared with their more established counterparts.

At the same time, the share of recently arrived undocumented immigrants with no high school degree has shrunk, from 44% in 2007 to 31% in 2016. (Pew used government data for its calculations.)

These shifts reflect the changing nature of illegal immigration to the United States. For one, the number of new arrivals has plunged. In 2007, those who had been in the United States for five years or less made up 32% of all undocumented immigrants, according to Pew. By 2016, they accounted for 20%. And while in the past most undocumented immigrants crossed the border illegally, these days the majority are entering the country with legal visas and overstaying them.

The biggest change is the collapse in the number of Mexicans trekking north. Mexicans previously accounted for the lion’s share of undocumented immigrants in the United States. As their numbers have dwindled, the share of Asian immigrants, who tend to be better educated, has grown. In general, improvements in education around the world—including in places like Mexico—mean that immigrants from all regions are arriving to the United States with more schooling, Pew reports.

This new crop of undocumented immigrants is also more likely to speak English. In fact, despite the overall drop in new arrivals, the number of proficient English speakers grew to 3.4 million in 2016 from 2.8 million in 2007, Pew found. A look at Pew’s data on immigrants’ English proficiency and the shifts in their countries of origin help explain why:

Region of origin % English proficient Change in share of recent arrivals 2007-2016 (percentage points)
Mexico 25 -28
Northern Triangle 22 7
Asia 54 9
Other regions 69 12

To be sure, undocumented immigrants are still far less educated than people born in the United States. Only 8% of American adults lack a high school degree, compared with 44% of all undocumented immigrants, for example.

But the changes in undocumented immigration suggest that the gap will continue to shrink in coming years.

Source: Undocumented immigrants in the US are increasingly better educated

USA: Is There a Connection Between Undocumented Immigrants and Crime?

Spoiler – no:

A lot of research has shown that there’s no causal connection between immigration and crime in the United States. But after one such study was reported on jointly by The Marshall Project and The Upshot last year, readers had one major complaint: Many argued it wasunauthorized immigrants who increase crime, not immigrants over all.

An analysis derived from new data is now able to help address this question, suggesting that growth in illegal immigration does not lead to higher local crime rates.

In part because it’s hard to collect data on them, undocumented immigrants have been the subjects of few studies, including those related to crime. But the Pew Research Center recently released estimates of undocumented populations sorted by metro area, which The Marshall Project has compared with local crime rates published by the F.B.I. For the first time, there is an opportunity for a broader analysis of how unauthorized immigration might have affected crime rates since 2007.

A large majority of the areas recorded decreases in both violent and property crime between 2007 and 2016, consistent with a quarter-century decline in crime across the United States. The analysis found that crime went down at similar rates regardless of whether the undocumented population rose or fell. Areas with more unauthorized migration appeared to have larger drops in crime, although the difference was small and uncertain.

(Illegal immigration itself is either a civil violation or a misdemeanor, depending on whether someone overstayed a visa or crossed the border without authorization.)

Most types of crime had an almost flat trend line, indicating that changes in undocumented populations had little or no effect on crime in the various metro areas under survey. Murder was the only type of crime that appeared to show a rise, but again the difference was small and uncertain (effectively zero).

For undocumented immigrants, being arrested for any reason would mean facing eventual deportation — and for some a return to whatever danger or deprivation they’d sought to escape at home.

There is no exact count of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. To create estimates, experts at Pew subtracted Department of Homeland Security counts of immigrants with legal status from the number of foreign-born people counted by the Census Bureau. Many organizations and agencies, including the D.H.S., use this residual estimation method; it is generally considered the best one available. As of 2016, there were an estimated 10.7 million undocumented immigrants nationwide, down a million and a half since 2007.

Jeffrey Passel, a Pew senior demographer, and his team estimated changes in undocumented populations for roughly 180 metropolitan areas between 2007 and 2016. For comparison, The Marshall Project calculated corresponding three-year averages of violent and property crime rates from the Uniform Crime Reporting program, and the change in those rates.

The results of the analysis resemble those of other studies on the relationship between undocumented immigration and crime. Last year, a report by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, found that unauthorized immigrants in Texas committed fewer crimes than their native-born counterparts. A state-level analysis in Criminology, an academic journal, found that undocumented immigration did not increase violent crime and was in fact associated with slight decreases in it. Another Cato study found that unauthorized immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated.

At the more local level, an analysis by Governing magazine reported that metropolitan areas with more undocumented residents had similar rates of violent crime, and significantly lower rates of property crime, than areas with smaller numbers of such residents in 2014. After controlling for multiple socioeconomic factors, the author of the analysis, Mike Maciag, found that for every 1 percentage point increase in an area’s population that was undocumented there were 94 fewer property crimes per 100,000 residents.

More research is underway about the potential effects of undocumented immigration on crime. Robert Adelman, a professor at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, whose group’s research The Marshall Project and The Upshot have previously documented, is leading a team to expand on the Governing analysis. Early results suggest unauthorized immigration has no effect on violent crime, and is associated with lower property crime, the same as Mr. Maciag found.

Preliminary findings indicate that other socioeconomic factors like unemployment rates, housing instability and measures of economic hardship all predict higher rates of different types of crime, while undocumented immigrant populations do not.

Many studies have established that immigrants commit crimes at consistently lower rates than native-born Americans. But a common concern is whether immigrants put pressure on native-born populations in any number of ways — for instance, by increasing job competition — that could indirectly lead to more crime and other negative impacts.

According to Mr. Adelman and his team, however, the impact of undocumented immigrants is probably similar to what the research indicates about immigrants over all: They tend to bring economic and cultural benefits to their communities. They typically come to America to find work, not to commit crimes, says Yulin Yang, a member of the team.

The data suggests that when it comes to crime, the difference between someone who is called a legal immigrant and an illegal one doesn’t seem to matter.

Anti-Immigration Laws Have Negative Health Effects on Undocumented Youth

Not too surprising:

Anti-immigration laws, coupled with the repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), have negative public health implications for undocumented Latino immigrant youth, according to results presented at the American Public Health Association 2018 Annual Meeting and Expo, held November 10 to 14 in San Diego, California.

These negative effects on public health stem from limited access to education and include higher percentages of tobacco and alcohol use, higher rates of stress-induced chronic disease, and a decrease in the use of health and human services.

The researchers conducted 5 focus groups in San Mateo County, with 3 objectives: to better understand undocumented immigrants’ feelings around the fear of deportation, to identify strategies that can lessen negative effects, and to develop recommendations to help support undocumented immigrants. The researchers also conducted interviews with 6 key informants and 8 healthcare providers.

The researchers found that participants noted signs of depression and anxiety in children and young adults. Particularly, participants expressed concern for older children who once qualified for DACA: these children now reported feelings of hopelessness and lower self-esteem.

The results of the study indicated that undocumented immigrant children sometimes refuse to continue seeking an education, fearing deportation and threats against the Latino community.

To mitigate the negative effects of the political climate on this community, participants expressed a need to increase awareness about health implications, offer practical support systems, and pass local policies that protect all residents, including undocumented immigrants.

“The research highlights the need to study the impact of DACA and immigration enforcement in relation to stress levels, including mental health and chronic disease,” lead study author Mayra Diaz, MPH, from the San Mateo County Health System, Belmont, California, said. “It will be critical to look into areas of outreach for access to public, health, and social services.”

Source: Anti-Immigration Laws Have Negative Health Effects on Undocumented Youth

Trump Refuses to Release Data on Immigration Crackdown – Bloomberg

Never a good sign when governments use press releases rather than regular data releases but in keeping with the Trump administration’s overall approach:

Five days into his presidency, Donald Trump took aim at illegal immigration with executive orders signaling a new era of heavy enforcement. Not only did he threaten to go after undocumented immigrants, many of whom he labeled violent criminals, he also vowed to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities that thwart the federal government’s attempts to round up people who are in the U.S. illegally. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security promised to put out weekly updates that would include information on localities that release immigration violators and the criminal records of those released.

The first reports were filled with inaccuracies and in several instances called out counties for not cooperating with detainer, or detention, requests that were actually sent to other places with similar names. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency had to issue a list of corrections, and soon it simply stopped putting out the reports. For the past 18 months, ICE has also refused to release other key data about its enforcement activity that had been routinely available.

This disappearing data is at the heart of two lawsuits brought against ICE by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a small research group at Syracuse University. As of January 2017, ICE stopped handing over records it had provided under the Freedom of Information Act for years, including any details about how effective Trump’s crackdown has been. If ICE prevails in court, it could give other agencies a legal rationale to deny public access to the vast cache of government data now kept in electronic databases.

At a time when U.S. authorities are separating children from their parents at the border—and then losing track of them—and the president continues to assert that many immigrants are violent criminals, the lack of basic data on government enforcement has created a fog of uncertainty over an already charged issue. TRAC was founded in 1989 by co-directors Susan Long, a statistician, and David Burnham, an investigative journalist, specifically to cut through this sort of political rhetoric by amassing data on federal policy. It uses FOIA requests to pull in 250 million records from various agencies each month, and its website offers tools to help analyze the data. TRAC had long requested and received information on detainers, as well as deportations aimed at removing undocumented immigrants with criminal records. After ICE abruptly stopped providing the information last year, Long and Burnham sued it in federal court in New York to regain access to the detainer data, and then in the District of Columbia over the missing deportation records.

“We have this huge political debate going on in the country over secure communities and sanctuary cities and all the claims that the government is making about how essential this is, and the very data that would allow you to evaluate the program, they’re withholding,” Long says. ICE argues that many of the records TRAC has asked for don’t exist in the form requested and says producing responses would require searching its database, a process the agency claims amounts to creating new records, which isn’t required under FOIA. ICE didn’t reply to a list of questions and a request for comment.

“If they’re going to court to try to keep information hidden about the detainer policy, they’re probably hiding something,” says Peter Boogaard, a former DHS press secretary in the Obama administration. More broadly, transparency has become a function of political convenience, Boogaard says. “They’re happy to say that immigration is causing huge problems, but at the same point, they are not sharing information.”

It’s still possible to track the overall number of detainers ICE issues—about 14,000 a month on average through November 2017. That’s up from the last months under Obama, but much lower than the peak of close to 28,000 in 2011. Left out are details on whether ICE takes custody—or the criminal records of those targeted. Under Obama, TRAC found that even when local law enforcement held an individual under a detainer, more than half the time ICE agents didn’t show up to take custody—and that few ICE detainers targeted serious criminals. That sort of analysis is now impossible to do. “It’s really frustrating to not be able to get a holistic picture of what’s happening,” says Emily Ryo, an associate professor of law and sociology at the University of Southern California, who’s tried with TRAC to get data on detentions. “It really is an important moment for the public to understand what’s happening and for researchers to be able to document what is going on.”

In place of detailed reports, ICE issues press releases describing raids and arrests, citing criminal records of detainees, and complaining about the lack of cooperation from sanctuary cities. “I don’t want bullet-pointed press releases that say some large numbers of people were apprehended over the weekend and here are five examples of how dangerous these individuals were,” says César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, an associate professor of law at the University of Denver. “I want to know details about the large number of people. I want percentages. I want actual numbers about what kinds of crimes.”

The data García Hernández has been able to cobble together show a reality at least partly at odds with Trump’s rhetoric. In fiscal 2017, a period that covers the end of the Obama administration and the beginning of the current one, the average daily population held in immigration detention centers rose by 3,730 people, an 11 percent increase from fiscal 2016. The average length of stay has also risen, to 43.7 days, up from fewer than 35 the previous year.

The number of prosecutions for immigration crimes fell by more than 10,000, or 15 percent, over the same period. That’s striking given the emphasis the Trump administration has put on prosecuting undocumented immigrants. It’s an incredibly complex system that’s shifting all the time, making accurate data more important than ever. Data from this year that TRAC got using another FOIA request show a jump in prosecutions of border crossers. And the detention system may be nearing its limit: This month, authorities are transferring 1,600 detainees to federal prisons while they await civil court hearings.

The inaccuracies in ICE’s statements about enforcement actions have caused a furor within the agency in recent months. James Schwab, a spokesman for ICE in San Francisco, resigned in March over misleading statements from agency leaders about an ICE raid in Oakland. The bigger implication is how agencies are allowed to draw the line when it comes to producing electronic records, and the distinction between creating a record and just extracting one from a database, according to Sean Sherman, a lawyer at Public Citizen Litigation Group who’s representing TRAC in Washington. “ICE is saying that by basically searching for these electronic records, that constitutes creating new records,” he says. “That just can’t be right, because that’s basically true of all government records right now.” Meanwhile, ICE is withholding data in many more of TRAC’s FOIA requests. Says Long: “We could file a new suit every week, if we were going to aggressively litigate this.”

via Trump Refuses to Release Data on Immigration Crackdown – Bloomberg