Supreme Court Rules Against Immigration Rights In Detention Case

Unfortunate. Should be a limit:

In a blow to immigrant rights, the Supreme Court voted Tuesday in favor of detaining immigrants with criminal records indefinitely pending deportation hearings, even if their cases were adjudicated years before.

The court’s 5-4 ruling overturns the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which limited federal officials to denying bail only if they take immigrants without U.S. citizenship into custody immediately after their release from criminal custody, CNN reports.

In the case brought before the Supreme Court, a group of mostly green card holders said they should be entitled to a hearing before an immigration judge to prove they do not pose a flight risk and are not a danger to the community, NBC News reports.

The five conservative justices voting for the decision argued the U.S. government has limited resources to detain all convicted immigrants immediately after release, so they should be allowed to detain them without bail months or years later.

Justice Stephen Breyer, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

“It runs the gravest risk of depriving those whom the government has detained of one of the oldest and most important of our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms: the right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law,” Breyer said. He added that the “greater importance of the case lies in the power” afforded to the government.

Under federal immigration law, immigrants with criminal records facing deportation proceedings are subject to mandatory detention, and can be held indefinitely without a bond hearing, even after completing their sentences.

The American Civil Liberties Union responded to the ruling on Twitter and said the government’s interpretation of the statute “has resulted in gross violations of due process for thousands.”

Source: Supreme Court Rules Against Immigration Rights In Detention Case

Trump and His Allies Have Lost the Public Debate Over Immigration

Interesting analysis of longer-term polling data, where most of the change towards greater acceptance of immigration has occurred among Democrats and independent voters:

In 1979, John Tanton, a Michigan eye doctor and environmentalist, launched the modern nativist movement. He believed that population growth would slow down if poor people stayed in developing countries, where poverty and potentially starvation would keep growth in check, but that if they came to places like the United States in larger numbers, the planet would become more overcrowded. So he founded a group called the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which aimed to stop nearly all immigration to the United States. It was initially seen for it what it was: a fringe group based on long-disproven ideas about the planet’s ability to support more people.

Forty years later, FAIR would seem to be in its heyday. At least three former FAIR employees, including its former executive director, have been hired for senior roles at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency responsible for legal immigration. And the White House has taken a more sharply anti-immigration stand than in any administration of the modern era.

But when it comes to swaying public opinion to its view that legal immigration should be all but eliminated, FAIR and its offshoots are farther from success than ever.

Twenty-five years ago, Democrats and Republicans felt the same way about immigrants: The Pew Research Center found that nearly two-thirds of both parties agreed they were a burden. Immigration critics were confident that those numbers would increase as a backlash to rising immigration took hold among native-born Americans. Instead, the opposite happened. By the time Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign, the share of Democrats and independents who said immigrants strengthen America had nearly doubled, while Republican opinion on the question had barely budged.

And under Trump, anti-immigrant sentiment has fallen even further as the president’s rhetoric about immigrants alienates large swaths of the public. According to a Pew poll from January, 55 percent of Republicans—8 percent fewer than in May 2015—and a record-low 13 percent of Democrats believe that immigrants burden the United States by taking jobs, housing, and health care from native-born Americans. And according to Gallup surveys, 67 percent of Americans now say immigration should be increased or kept at its present level, the highest number since Gallup began asking the question in 1965.

The United States is in the midst of a two-decade-long shift in favor of immigration, and it is only accelerating under Trump. For all the nativist movement’s efforts over the decades to rein in immigration, the chances of preserving a white majority are effectively gone.

Unlike most environmentalists of his era, Tanton believed ending the era of international migration was essential to stopping population growth and preserving the planet. Frustrated that environmentalists were treating immigration control as taboo, Tanton launched FAIR. His anti-population-growth crusade attracted few followers, but he quickly discovered that tapping into resentment of Latino immigrants held far more potential. So did Dan Stein, who became FAIR’s press secretary in 1982 and has served as its president since 2003. In 1994, as part of an oral history series FAIR was conducting, Stein told Tanton, “What produces the income is evidence of an enemy seeking to produce hostile forces and hostile consequences.”

At the time, it looked like FAIR might succeed. Opposition to immigration was rising in the early nineties amid a dramatic increase in legal immigration from Asia and Latin America, as well as high levels of unauthorized immigration from Mexico. In 1994, voters in California overwhelmingly passed Proposition 187 to bar undocumented immigrants from using government services. Frank Sharry, the founder of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, expected huge cuts to legal immigration after Republicans regained control of Congress in 1995. A Gallup poll that year showed that only 7 percent of Americans favored more immigration and 65 percent wanted cuts, up from 42 percent in the late seventies.

Stein called for slashing legal immigration from more than 700,000 green cards per year to about 100,000, hoping that Americans would realize that “we don’t need immigration as a country anymore.” When Congress rejected measures to cut legal immigration in 1996, he said the country was getting “madder and madder.”

The mid-nineties ended up being the peak of the immigration backlash. Stein didn’t seem to notice. Speaking at an event organized by Pat Buchanan, Stein said “we are about to see a tsunami” against immigration and, as conservatives tried to ban same-sex marriage, predicted that it “will be about the hottest topic in politics once we get gay marriage taken care of.” Congress did take up immigration legislation under George W. Bush. But it was a bipartisan bill that gave undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, and FAIR fought successfully to kill it. And when the Senate finally passed an immigration bill in 2013, it was again one that paved the way to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and FAIR lobbied fiercely to prevent it from passing in the House.

FAIR has known for decades that it needs to do more than just block legislation to succeed. Under the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which removed country-specific caps on immigration designed to favor Northern Europeans and made it easier for immigrants to bring relatives to the United States, legal immigration has risen steadily, to levels not seen since the early 20th century. Tanton noted in 1989 that the post-1965 rise in immigration would “go on forever, until the situation gets so bad that finally the Congress is forced to react.” But he was wrong about how Congress—and the American public—would react.

Since 1994, the share of Republicans who tell Pew that immigrants strengthen the country has barely moved from about 30 percent; among Democrats, it has spiked from 31 percent to 80 percent. Even among white voters without a college degree—Trump’s core base of support—just one in four told Quinnipiac last year that they favored cutting legal immigration. Republicans without a college degree are now less likely to support cutting legal immigration than the average Democrat was 13 years ago.

Last year, nearly two-thirds of respondents, including 67 percent of independents, told the Public Religion Research Institute that it would be mostly a positive thing for the United States to become a majority-nonwhite country by 2045. PRRI has been asking Americans since 2013 whether they would prefer to deport undocumented immigrants or give them a path to citizenship. The responses have not changed much over the years. “It’s kind of remarkable, really,” says PRRI founder and chief executive officer Robert P. Jones. “Usually, we see some movement”—particularly when there’s a “a big bully pulpit, scaring an entire political party toward a more negative anti-immigrant stance.” And with Americans under 40 much more supportive of immigration than the overall population, the future looks bleak for FAIR.

Last year, the Republican-controlled Senate voted on a series of immigration bills. A Trump-endorsed bill to reduce legal immigration by roughly 40 percent got just 39 votes. A measure opposed by the president to fund a border wall in exchange for protections for some undocumented immigrants received 54. Neither became law, but the more progressive bill came a lot closer.

In the absence of legislative success, FAIR’s former staffers and allies in the Trump administration are turning to executive action. Trump has cut refugee admissions to record lows. USCIS, the legal immigration agency, has adopted a long list of policies that make it harder to come to the United States legally, although so far, the number of green cards issued each year is still in line with where it was under Obama. USCIS is in the process of implementing new regulations to dramatically expand a section of immigration law that blocks people from entering the country if they are likely to rely on government assistance, such as food stamps or Medicaid. The rule, which is not yet finalized, could cut legal immigration by hundreds of thousands of people per year by denying green cards to the relatives of working-class immigrants. But unlike legislation, the rule could be overturned by a future administration. Twenty-two Democratic senators—including five of the six running for president—sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security in October, requesting that it withdraw the rule.

Asked about FAIR’s record under Trump, Sharry, of America’s Voice, responded with glee. Republicans, he noted, controlled Congress for two years and had the most nativist president in modern history. “And on his signature issues of a border wall and cuts to legal immigration, they got zilch, nada, zero,” he said. “That is an abject failure.”

Source: Trump and His Allies Have Lost the Public Debate Over Immigration

A big player in becoming a US citizen? Your ZIP code.

Some interesting analysis of regional discrepancies in citizenship processing time. Haven’t seen comparable data for Canada and not sure whether IRCC’s system could generate the data.

The chart on the effect of steep increases in fees is of interest (in Canada, somewhat camouflaged by the effects of longer residency and testing of 55-64 year olds, reversed in October 2017, with full year 2019 data, when available, will separate out those effects):

The ties are straightened, hair combed, and jewelry gleaming here, and the line to get into the federal courthouse is spilling outside into a chilly morning.

Get here 30 minutes early, someone says; they weren’t kidding. Two U.S. airmen from nearby Goodfellow Air Force Base, here to sing patriotic songs, joke about being late for their own gig.

It’s a long drive from here to San Antonio – 220 miles, about the same as from New York to Washington. But for the 33 newly minted American citizens, all the round trips over the past year feel more than worth it.

Milagros Carnes, from the Philippines, says her American daughter worried she (Milagros) would be deported if she didn’t become a citizen. Alejandro Fraire has an American wife and three American children, and his green card was close to expiring. For both of them, naturalizing just made sense.

“It’s a hard and long process, but it’s worth it,” says Mr. Fraire, a Mexican national who has lived in the United States for two decades.

Barriers to becoming a U.S. citizen can vary significantly depending on where in the country a person lives, according to a recent report from Boundless, a Seattle-based startup that helps families navigate the immigration system.

Analyzing data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the report used processing times, backlog numbers, and distances to agency field offices to rank the best and worst metro areas for becoming a citizen.

The report doesn’t explore why these geographic disparities may exist, and it includes some red herrings, according to experts. Austin, Texas, for example, is ranked as the hardest city in which to become a citizen in large part because applicants have to report to a USCIS office in Houston, three hours away. But the report also notes broader trends in how barriers to American citizenship have gotten steeper over time.

The volume of citizenship applications fluctuates from year to year, but the past two years have seen a surge in applications. There hasn’t been a corresponding increase in the processing rate, experts say, exacerbating a backlog that had already doubled during the Obama administration. The success of field offices in clearing this backlog differs. In Providence, Rhode Island, 81 percent of those who applied in the past year or had applications pending have been processed, while in Miami and Dallas the number is only 30 percent, Boundless found.

SOURCE: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

“Despite a record and unprecedented application surge workload, USCIS is completing more citizenship applications, more efficiently and effectively—outperforming itself as an agency. USCIS strives to adjudicate all applications, petitions, and requests as effectively and efficiently as possible in accordance with all applicable laws, policies, and regulations,” said USCIS spokesperson Jessica Collins in a statement.

Staffing levels and office cultures and personalities might affect approval rates and backlog sizes at particular offices. Different field offices can also vary on discretionary aspects of the naturalization process, such as an officer determining if someone is of “good moral character” or if the person’s ability with English is good enough. Having a criminal history, tax debts, or a spotty record of making child support payments are some indications of character issues that can be interpreted differently depending on the USCIS office or officer.

“The only time I’ve seen variation is when there is discretion on an issue of character,” says Marisol Perez, an immigration attorney in San Antonio.

“I think all the offices follow the law,” she adds. “It’s case by case and officer by officer with regard to [who they say] deserves favorable discretion.”

As part of its efforts to continue eliminating the backlog, Ms. Collins added, “USCIS is in the process of realigning our regional, district and field offices to streamline our management structures, balance resources, and improve overall mission performance and service delivery.”

The realignment, effective October 2019, will realign the 88 existing field offices under 16 district offices (instead of the current 24) in order to evenly distribute workloads and provide more consistent processing times. The last such realignment occurred in 2006.

The Trump administration has increased the burden on USCIS offices. In 2017 the administration moved to expand in-person interview requirements for certain permanent residency applications and a year later expanded the interview requirement for married couples applying for a green card. While these changes didn’t affect the naturalization process directly, they have had an indirect impact by increasing the workload on USCIS officers, experts say.

“Placing a lot of emphasis on national security is applying more scrutiny to applications, is increasing their workload in looking at applications,” says Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, “and there are proposed changes that could increase that further.”

The administration is considering other changes for this year, including a wholesale fee review and more expansive questions and travel records for citizenship applications. The administration is also reportedly considering shuttering all 21 international USCIS offices, which could slow the processing of family visa applications, with The Washington Post reporting that officials are preparing to do it.

Perhaps the biggest effect the administration has had on the naturalization process has been through its consistent anti-immigrant tone, however.

The USCIS field office in San Antonio saw a 40 percent increase in citizenship applications last year, according to Ms. Perez. The agency changed its mission statement last year – removing the words “nation of immigrants” and adding “protecting Americans, securing the homeland” – causing clients to come to her seeking naturalization.

“They fear their status is at risk because of the tone of this administration,” she says. “These are folks who should have no reason to be worried but are worried.”

“I have faith in the system, and I have faith in USCIS,” she adds. “We have good relationships with USCIS, but that’s the tone we have out there.”

Source: A big player in becoming a US citizen? Your ZIP code.

Note to David Frum: Americans Actually Really Like Immigrants

Pretty effective counterpart to Frum’s earlier missive by Jordan Weissman. His footnote is particularly strong:

Earlier this week, David Frum, the former George W. Bush speechwriter turned never-Trump scribbler, published a long article in the Atlanticarguing that the United States should massively reduce legal immigration by cutting the number of green cards it issues each year by about half. How come? Mostly because he thinks it might mollify white working-class voters, whose anti-immigrant rage he believes led them to back the authoritarian galoot who now occupies the Oval Office. “If liberals insist that only fascists will enforce borders, then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals refuse to do,” Frum, who immigrated from Canada, writes.

Oddly, in all 7,800-ish words of his piece, Frum never once mentions that Republicans have introduced a piece of legislation that would do exactly what he’s recommending. It’s called the RAISE act. It was written by Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue in 2017 and backed by the president himself. Frum may not admit it out loud, but he’s basically arguing that the best way to defeat Trumpism is to cave on some of its most extreme policy demands. It’s Clintonian triangulation, but for white nationalism.

There are many reasons a reader might object to Frum’s argument.

One could object on moral grounds. If you believe that Trump’s immigration stance is racist and repugnant at its core, then accommodating it in the name of political expediency probably doesn’t sound like a hot idea.

Or one could object on economic grounds. Frum tries to downplay immigration’s benefits to growth, but the bottom line is that mainstream analyses of the RAISE Act have shown that it would make the country modestly poorer over the long term. (By 2040, the Penn Wharton Budget Model shows per capita GDP would be 0.3 percent lower.)

One could also object on political grounds. After all, Frum doesn’t actually provide any evidence that cutting immigration would make white working-class voters less likely to vote for demagogues like Trump in the future. He simply asserts that it might. Yet his own piece offers reasons to think otherwise. Early on, he cites academic evidence showing that white voters become more authoritarian in the face of ethnic change. Later on, he admits that ethnic change is already inevitable, even if we slash how many green cards Washington issues annually. “Under today’s policies, the U.S. will become majority-minority in about 2044,” he writes. “Even cutting immigration by nearly half would postpone that historical juncture by only one to five years.” Will giving caucasians an extra half-decade in the majority really be the magic bullet that saves us from being overrun by MAGA hats? Count me skeptical.

And finally, one could object to Frum’s piece on the simple grounds that most Americans really like immigration. Frum might think the whole Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor”thing is just “nostalgia,” as he puts it, but just Thursday, the Pew Research Center released polling showing that 59 percent of Americans think immigration makes us a stronger country, while only 34 percent think it’s a burden. Most Americans also think immigrants want to assimilate culturally; only 19 percent think immigrants are more to blame for crime than native-born residents. You want an anti-immigrant country? Check out Poland, or Russia, or Greece, not the U.S.

Meanwhile, Gallup’s most recent survey results show that only 31 percent of Americans think immigration levels should be reduced, versus 30 percent who think they should be increased and 37 percent who believe they should be kept the same. Immigration restrictionists don’t even make up a plurality of this country, yet Frum thinks we should cater to them, largely on the hunch that it might make white voters less likely to back the next Fox-addled demagogue who runs for president.1 The U.S. electoral system might hand disproportionate power to a minority of voters in this country. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us should cave in on our values to them.

1 Frum does try to make a wider case about the downsides of immigration, but it is astonishingly weak—and mostly shows that once you strip away the Ann Coulter–style bile, there’s little left in the restrictionist position. He admits up top that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or indulge in substance abuse than native-born Americans. He tries, halfheartedly, to cast doubt on the economics literature that has consistently shown that the arrival of new immigrants doesn’t hurt the wages of other workers much, if at all (other immigrants, or people without high school degrees, may see their wages drop slightly in the short term), before suggesting the issue isn’t that important. (“Neither the fiscal costs nor the economic benefits of immigration are large enough to force a decision one way or the other,” he writes.) He tries to claim that immigrants are lowering Americans’ average education and skill levels, but fails to mention that today’s new arrivals are now more likely to have a college or graduate degree than native-born Americans. In the end, he’s left arguing that the presence of unnaturalized immigrants has encouraged companies to abuse their employees—blame the victim, much?—while making the U.S. more hierarchical, sort of like Dubai. There’s also an odd Malthusian aside about how bringing more people to the United States could hasten global warming. Suffice to say, once you’ve given up on economics, public health, and public safety as battlegrounds for this subject, there isn’t a whole lot left to stake an argument on.

Source: Note to David Frum: Americans Actually Really Like Immigrants

Far fewer unauthorized immigrants living in Arizona cities than 10 years ago, Pew says

Interesting mix of factors, ranging from increased enforcement to improved economic circumstances in Mexico:

There are a lot fewer unauthorized immigrants living in key Arizona metropolitan areas than a decade ago, the Pew Research Center says.

New figures Monday show there were about 210,000 undocumented immigrants in the Phoenix metro area in 2016, the most recent estimates available. That compares with about 400,000 in 2007, though there is a margin for error.

Only the New York City and Los Angeles areas had a larger drop, though both decreases were smaller on a percentage basis.

It’s not just Phoenix reflecting the decline.

Tucson’s unauthorized immigrant population dropped about 25 percent, from 50,000 to 35,000.

The latest estimate for Yuma is 15,000 immigrants without documents, which may be a drop of about 5,000, though with the smaller numbers Pew reports the margin of error makes the accuracy less clear.

For the Prescott area, Pew reports that the number of unauthorized immigrants in 2016 may have been anywhere from 25 to 50 percent smaller than the 10,000 living there in 2007.

Pew researcher Jeff Passel said the reductions may partly be due to the change in immigration patterns from other countries.

“We know there’s been a significant drop in Mexican unauthorized immigrants over that decade,” he said.

“And Arizona’s unauthorized immigrant population is largely Mexicans,” Passel continued. “The fact that many fewer Mexican immigrants are coming into the country and more are leaving than coming is a big factor behind this.”

Some research suggests policies adopted by Arizona lawmakers also may be a factor, Passel said.

For example, Pia Orrenius, vice president and senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas, looked at the requirement for employers here to use the federal E-Verify system.

That requirement is part of a 2007 law, formally known as the Legal Arizona Worker Act.

It allows a state judge to suspend all business licenses of any firm found guilty of knowingly hiring those not in the country legally. A second offense within three years puts the company out of business.

Another part of that law spells out that employers must use the online system to determine whether new employees are legally entitled to work here.

There is no penalty for failing to make the checks. But those who use E-Verify have a legal defense against charges they knowingly broke the law.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision in 2011, upheld the Arizona law, rejecting arguments by the business community, Hispanic-rights organizations and the Obama administration that it infringes on the exclusive right of the federal government to regulate immigration.

“The work that we found on E-Verify found that it actually has a significant impact on the wages of likely undocumented workers,” Orrenius said, with a specific finding of an 8 percent reduction in hourly wages.

But Orrenius said there also are larger issues at work, including an improved economy in Mexico and the changing demographics there.

Orrenius said the age of most migrants for economic purposes is between 18 and 24. As the number of people in that age segment decreases, she said, there are fewer to emigrate to the United States.

She had no specific studies on the effect that Arizona’s SB 1070 had in reducing the number of unauthorized immigrants living in the state.

That 2010 law contained several provisions aimed at illegal immigration. While some were struck down by federal courts, the U.S. Supreme Court did give the go-ahead for Arizona to require that police ask the immigration status of those they stop if they have reason to suspect they are undocumented.

The Pew study also finds mixed results across the country.

Overall, the report says the unauthorized population in the United States dropped from about 12.2 million in 2007 to 10.7 million in 2016.

While most of the metro areas showed a decline or no significant change, there were a few areas with increases.

Most notable is the Washington, D.C., area where the number of people not in this country legally is estimated to have increased by 100,000 between 2007 and 2016, to 425,000.

Source: Far fewer unauthorized immigrants living in Arizona cities than 10 years ago, Pew says

Anti-Immigration Groups See Trump’s Calls for More Legal Immigrants as a Betrayal

Kind of amusing. But one should judge his administrations anti-immigration actions more than this apparent change of language:

For months, President Trump has been railing about the urgent need for a wall to protect against what he calls “an invasion” of illegal immigrants flooding across the southwestern border. But he has also been delivering another message: “We need workers,” he told a group of activists recently.

In other words, he wants more immigrants.

“I want people to come into our country, in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally,” Mr. Trump ad-libbed last month during his State of the Union address.

Comments like those from the president have ignited furious criticism from his hard-line, anti-immigrant supporters who accuse him of caving to demands for cheap foreign labor from corporations, establishment Republicans and big donors while abandoning his election promise to protect his working-class supporters from the effects of globalism.

“This is clearly a betrayal of what immigration hawks hoped the Trump administration would be for,” said Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates cutting legal immigration by more than half. He warned that Mr. Trump was in danger of being “not even that different from a conventional Republican.”

Breitbart News, a conservative website that promotes anti-immigrant messaging, published on Thursday the latest in a series of articles attacking Mr. Trump for catering to big business at the expense of the Americans who put him in the Oval Office. “Trump Requests ‘More’ Foreign Workers as Southern Border Gets Overrun,” the site blared on its home page.

“That Mr. Trump would advance the interests of the global elite ahead of our citizens would be a tragic reversal on any day,” Lou Dobbs, the Fox News host, said in a televised rant against the president on Wednesday evening on the Fox Business Channel. “The White House has simply lost its way.”

Corporations and influential corporate conservatives such as Charles G. Koch and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have long urged the president to help them recruit the talent they need by expanding the number of workers who can enter the United States from other countries.

That has become more urgent as the economy has improved and as declining unemployment has made it harder for companies to find workers. To assuage their concerns, Mr. Trump has increasingly tailored his immigration talking points to cater to the needs of business executives like those who attended a business round table on Wednesday at the White House.

“We’re going to have a lot of people coming into the country. We want a lot of people coming in. And we need it,” Mr. Trump said as he sat next to Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, and other executives. “We want to have the companies grow, and the only way they’re going to grow is if we give them the workers, and the only way we’re going to have the workers is to do exactly what we’re doing.”

But that message runs counter to the hard-line immigration image that Mr. Trump has carefully nurtured — most recently by shutting the government down for 35 days in a failed attempt to pressure Congress to fund a wall on the Mexican border.

Mr. Trump won the White House in no small part by embracing anti-immigrant messaging that tapped into the economic fears of blue-collar workers upset about losing their jobs to foreign workers. Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, he attacked undocumented immigrants as “rapists and murderers” and called for a “big, beautiful wall” along the border with Mexico.

Since becoming president, Mr. Trump has aggressively sought to crack down on illegal border crossings, increase deportations, cut the number of refugees allowed into the United States and make it harder for migrants to claim asylum. He has complained about drug dealers, gangs and members of Central American caravans pouring across the border. And last summer, his administration separated thousands of migrant children from their parents in an effort to deter Central American families from trying to seek refuge in the United States.

The harsh record — and comments by Mr. Trump that disparaged African nations in vulgar terms and suggested that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS” — has earned him the enmity of Democrats and immigration activists, who call him a racist president.

It is unclear whether Mr. Trump will follow through on his recent, pro-business messaging. Many of the president’s aides — including Stephen Miller, his top immigration adviser in the White House — agree with the hard-line activists about the need to lower legal immigration.

In 2017, Mr. Trump endorsed the Raise Act, a Republican Senate bill that would reduce legal immigration by as much as 50 percent. And the administration is currently considering a proposal to cut immigration by denying work authorizations, known as H-4 permits, to almost 100,000 spouses of immigrants who are brought in by companies to work legally in the United States.

But even so, some of the nation’s most hard-line anti-immigration activists have become increasingly nervous that Mr. Trump might waver on their primary concern — the need to shrink the number of immigrants who enter the United States each year, currently 1.1 million.

They argue that tight labor markets make it exactly the wrong time to allow more foreign workers to compete with Americans. Chris Chmielenski, the deputy director of NumbersUSA, which lobbies for lower legal immigration, said companies should be pressured to hire more Americans instead.

“Anything we do now to bring in more foreign workers could actually reverse some of the economic gains over the last four years,” Mr. Chmielenski said. “We’re absolutely concerned. We feel this isn’t how he ran on the issue.”

Last week, in an effort to communicate that message directly to Mr. Trump, NumbersUSA began airing an ad on Fox News Channel in the hopes that the president would get the message that his supporters do not want to let in more than one million immigrants each year.

“The majority of voters say the number should be cut to 500,000 or less,” the ad said. “Americans want less immigration.”

Mr. Krikorian, of the Center for Immigration Studies, said that companies that no longer have access to foreign workers would have no choice but to turn to Americans who are still struggling to find work: people with disabilities, teenagers, older people and even former convicts.

He also said that modest increases in wages for workers would evaporate if companies were allowed to simply tap an unlimited pool of lower-paid workers from other countries.

“If you want wages to go up,” Mr. Krikorian said, “you don’t import more foreign labor.”

Business groups dispute that analysis. They argue that immigration expands the amount of business activity in the United States, adding jobs and increasing wages for the vast majority of American workers.

“Our country has benefited tremendously from welcoming people who have contributed to our economy, our communities, across the board,” said James Davis, a spokesman for the Koch network. “We want to welcome in everyone who wants to contribute to our society. We want to see more legal immigration.”

Todd Schulte, the president of, a pro-immigration advocacy group that started with backing from Mark Zuckerberg, a founder of Facebook, said that “immigrants and immigration increase economic growth, they increase economic productivity and they increase wages for the overwhelming number of native-born Americans.”

Mr. Schulte, whose group has been highly critical of Mr. Trump’s anti-immigrant messaging and policies, welcomed the president’s recognition that legal immigration is a positive thing for the United States’ economy.

But he cautioned that Mr. Trump must be measured by his actions, not his words. He called on the president to halt the effort to deny the H-4 work permits to immigrant spouses.

“He should stop trying to revoke the H-4 rule,” Mr. Schulte said. “Increasing legal immigration would help native-born Americans. Unfortunately, the record has been one bent on cutting overall immigration levels.”

‘Whiter Every Election Cycle’: How a Hate Group Joined GOP

A risk to conservatives in many countries, Canada included:

The white nationalist group Identity Evropa is so cozy with the Republican Party that members led their College Republican clubs and campaigned in support of GOP congressional candidates.

At least one Identity Evropa fan, who is not a member of the group, attended CPAC last weekend where he demanded an autograph from a leftist podcaster who, tripping on acid, signed the book “eat shit.”

Identity Evropa is a fascist organization. Its members have been involved in violent street brawls, including 2017’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. While other white supremacist organizations imploded after the rally, Identity Evropa attempted to cast aside the alt-right’s tarnished image and rebrand as a “clean-cut” organization. The makeover was an attempt to appeal to the mainstream Republican Party, according to chat logs released Wednesday by the media collective Unicorn Riot.

But despite its new face, the group stayed true to its fascist heart, the leaked conversations reveal.

The chat group’s name was an ironic nod at the image Identity Evropa tries to present to outsiders: “Nice Respectable People Group.” The image landed the white supremacist group a softball interview with the Today Show last year. Privately, Identity Evropa members celebrated the interview as a recruitment driver, the leaked chat logs reveal.

“Can we send a bouquet of flowers and a ‘thank you from Identity Evropa’ card to the ‘TODAY Show’?” one group member wrote in a message first flagged by Media Matters researcher Madeline Peltz. “I feel like we owe them something after so many applications today.”

The racist group wasn’t just pandering to the media. Members were also encouraged to get involved with their local Republican parties, Splinter first reported.

“Identity Evropa leadership strongly encourages our members to get involved in local politics. We’ve been pushing this for a while, but haven’t seen much of it happening,” leader Patrick Casey wrote in an Oct. 2017 message. “Today I decided to get involved in my county’s Republican party. Everyone can do this without fear of getting doxxed. The GOP is essentially the White man’s party at this point (it gets Whiter every election cycle), so it makes far more sense for us to subvert it than to create our own party.”

Months later, Identity Evropa member and Charlottesville marcher James Allsup quietly won an uncontested seat in his local Republican party, The Daily Beast first reported. After months of hedging by local Republican leaders who likened Allsup to a lynching victim, the local party ejected him in January.

But other Identity Evropa members have stayed close to the Republican Party. One member who described himself in October as having “an interview for a political job coming up. Anyone know any good inside sources for political news? I can’t say my main news source is [fascist podcast] Fash the Nation.” (Elsewhere in the chat, he posted racist and anti-Semitic attacks.)

The member used the screen name “Logan” and shared links to his now-defunct website, which he registered under the name, Logan Piercy. He described “door knocking” on behalf of Republican candidates in Montana during the 2018 congressional primaries. Piercy did not return The Daily Beast’s Thursday request for comment at the email address used to register his website.

Racists who didn’t campaign on the ground instead pushed for their favorite Republicans from afar. In September, when Rep. Steve King was under fire for being a white supremacist, Casey ordered the group to call then-House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy to voice support for King, HuffPost first reported.

“Got through on the 202 number,” one member wrote. “Thanked lady for taking my call, identified myself as a member of a young conservationist Republican group that supports Congressman Steve King.”

Others bragged of donating money to King, and dreamed about getting him to interact with their Twitter account, as he has with other white supremacists.

Younger members described themselves as being members of College Republicans clubs.

“I’m an officer in my college republicans. I’m sure many other IE members are. It’s easy to infiltrate low level GOP stuff if you just show up,” one Identity Evropa member said in September, adding that he hoped to convert two members of his club. He also described modeling the club after Identity Evropa.

“[That feeling when] I’m making rules for my college republicans based on the IE guidelines and it makes me look like the responsible moderate,” he wrote.

“Join college republicans if you haven’t already,” another urged his fellow white supremacists.

“Dude I joined college republicans and a day later I had a 30 minute conversation with the most right wing populist candidate on the east coast,” another wrote.

A fourth Identity Evropa member mulled “starting a chapter” of College Republicans at his school.

Identity Evropa is far from the only far-right group making eyes at the GOP. Conservative youth darling Turning Point USA is reportedly rife with racism, as its former national field director allegedly texted another employee that “I hate all black people. Like fuck them all… I hate blacks. End of story.” The Proud Boys, an ultra-nationalist brawling group, have posed with Republican politicians and acted as a security service for Roger Stone.

Unicorn Riot’s Wednesday leaks also included chat logs from groups dedicated to a podcast by Allsup and his colleague Nick Fuentes, and logs for a chat group specifically for Fuentes fans.

Fuentes was at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where he posed with Brexit architect Nigel Farage. An apparent admirer of Identity Evropa who was active in Fuentes group chat was also in attendance. The young man, who posted under the screen name Simon Scola, lamented in Fuentes’ group chat that Identity Evropa’s Massachusetts “twitter page is dead and i doubt they have many people.” Elsewhere in the chat he posted an Identity Evropa sticker, which he bought at a racist conference.

Though Scola wrote about his fears of having his identity exposed, he revealed himself to the hosts of socialist podcast Chapo Trap House, who were attending CPAC with media passes.

In a Monday episode, Chapo host Will Menaker described a young man running up to them with a copy of pundit Ben Shapiro’s book while Chapoco-host Matt Christman was tripping on acid. “He was like, ‘sign my book! Sign my book for me!’” Menaker said. “And Matt actually did sign it, ‘eat shit.’”

Shortly after the encounter, Scola proudly tweeted a picture of the Shapiro book, with “eat shit” scribbled on the front page.

“The kid whose book I signed was a ratty little dude with bad facial hair,” Christman told The Daily Beast.

Source: ‘Whiter Every Election Cycle’: How a Hate Group Joined GOP

Census Bureau Seeks Citizenship Data From DHS Ahead of 2020 Census

While I am a great fan of more widespread use of administrative data to improve Census data (e.g., incorporation of immigration and tax data in the Canadian census), hard to see this as innocent data use given the personal identifiers provided rather than anonymous data, not to mention the overall context of the Trump administration’s immigration and citizenship policies:

As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs whether the Trump administration can ask people if they are citizens on the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau is quietly seeking comprehensive information about the legal status of millions of immigrants.

Under a proposed plan, the Department of Homeland Security would provide the Census Bureau with a broad swath of personal data about noncitizens, including their immigration status, The Associated Press has learned. A pending agreement between the agencies has been in the works since at least January, the same month a federal judge in New York blocked the administration from adding the citizenship question to the 10-year survey.

On Wednesday, a federal judge in California also declared that adding the citizenship question to the Census was unconstitutional, saying that the move “threatens the very foundation of our democratic system.”

The data that Homeland Security would share with Census officials would include noncitizens’ full names and addresses, birth dates and places, as well as Social Security numbers and highly sensitive alien registration numbers, according to a document signed by the Census Bureau and obtained by AP.

Such a data dump would be apparently unprecedented and give the Census Bureau a view of immigrants’ citizenship status that is even more precise than what can be gathered in door-to-door canvassing, according to bureau research.

Six former Census and DHS officials said they were not aware that individuals’ citizenship status had ever before been shared with the Census. “Generally, the information kept in a system of records is presumed to be private and can’t be released unless it fits with a certain set of defined exceptions,” said Leon Rodriguez, who led the DHS agency responsible for citizenship under the Obama administration.

The move raises questions as to what the Trump administration seeks to do with the data and concerns among privacy and civil rights activists that it could be misused.

Census spokesman Michael Cook said the agreement was awaiting signatures at DHS, but that Census expected it would be finalized “as soon as possible.”

“The U.S. Census Bureau routinely enters into agreements to receive administrative records from many agencies, including our pending agreement with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to assist us in our mission to provide quality statistics to the American public,” Cook said in a statement. “By law, the Census Bureau does not return any records to the Department of Homeland Security or any of its components, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

Jessica Collins, a spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Services, said no agreement has been finalized. She said the purpose of such agreements is help improve the reliability of population estimates for the next Census.

“The information is protected and safeguarded under applicable laws and will not be used for adjudicative or law enforcement purposes,” Collins said.

Civil rights groups accuse the White House of pursuing a citizenship question because it would discourage noncitizens from participating in the Census and lead to less federal money and representation in Congress for states with large immigrant populations. Census researchers say including the question could yield significant underreporting for immigrants and communities of color.

Under the pending three-year information-sharing agreement, the Census Bureau would use the DHS data to better determine who is a citizen and eligible to vote by “linking citizenship information from administrative records to Census microdata.”

“All uses of the data are solely for statistical purposes, which by definition means that uses will not directly affect benefits or enforcement actions for any individual,” according to the 13-page document signed by Census.

Amy O’Hara, who until 2017 directed Census Bureau efforts to expand data-sharing with other agencies, said she was surprised that a plan was in the works for sharing alien numbers with the bureau.

“I wish that we were not on this path,” she said. “If the citizenship question hadn’t been added to the Census, this agreement never would have been sought.”

In previous administrations, government lawyers advised Census researchers to use a minimal amount of identifying data to get their jobs done, said O’Hara, now co-director of Georgetown University’s census research center. During her tenure, the bureau never obtained anything as sensitive as alien numbers, which O’Hara called “more radioactive than fingerprints.” The numbers are assigned to immigrants seeking citizenship or involved in law enforcement action.

Some privacy groups worry the pending agreement is an end-run around the courts.

“What’s going on here is they are trying to circumvent the need for a citizenship question by using data collected by another agency for a different purpose,” Jeramie Scott, an attorney at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “It’s a violation of people’s privacy.”

The agreement would bar the bureau from sharing the data with outside agencies. But confidentiality provisions have been circumvented in the past.

During World War II Congress suspended those protections, and the bureau shared data about Japanese-Americans that was used to help send 120,000 people to internment camps. Most were U.S. citizens. From 2002-2003, the Census Bureau provided DHS with population statistics on Arab-Americans that activists complained was a breach of public trust, even if the sharing was legal.

The quiet manner in which the agencies pursued sharing records could stoke concerns that the Trump administration may be seeking to create a registry of noncitizens, said Kenneth Prewitt, who was Census director from 1998-2001 and is now a Columbia University professor.

Census scholars say that could not happen without new legislation, which is not likely under the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

In mid-April, the Supreme Court will hear arguments as to whether the 2020 Census can include a citizenship question, with a decision expected weeks later.

Next week, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose department oversees the census, is set to testify before the Senate on his role in the controversy.

About 44 million immigrants live in the United States — nearly 11 million of them illegally. The 10-year headcount is based on the total resident population, both citizens and noncitizens.

The Census figures hugely in how political power and money are distributed in the U.S., and underreporting by noncitizens would have an outsized impact in states with larger immigrant populations. Political clout and federal dollars are both at stake because 10-year survey results are used to distribute electoral college votes and congressional district seats, and allocate more than $880 billion a year for services including roads, schools and Medicare.

The push to get a clearer picture of the number of noncitizens in the U.S. comes from an administration that has implemented hard-line policies to restrict immigration in numerous agencies.

Against advice of career officials at the Census Bureau, Ross decided last year to add the citizenship question to the 10-year headcount, saying that the Justice Department requested the question to improve enforcement of the federal Voting Rights Act.

Some prominent GOP lawmakers endorsed the citizenship question, saying it would lead to more accurate data, and a joint fundraising committee for Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee used it as a fundraising tool. Immigrants’ rights groups and multiple Democratic-led states, cities and counties filed suit, arguing that the question sought to discourage the Census participation of minorities.

A citizenship question has not appeared on the once-in-a-decade headcount since 1950, though it has been on the American Community Survey, for which the Census Bureau annually polls 3.5 million households.

Documents and testimony in a New York trial showed that Ross began pressing for a citizenship question soon after he became secretary in 2017, and that he consulted Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, and then-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a vocal advocate of tough immigration laws who also has advised the president. Emails showed that Ross himself had invited the Justice Department request to add the citizenship question.

A March 2018 memo to Ross from the Census Bureau’s chief scientist says the DHS data on noncitizens could be used to help create a “comprehensive statistical reference list of current U.S. citizens.” The memo discusses how to create ‘baseline citizenship statistics’ by drawing on administrative records from DHS, the Social Security Administration, State Department and the Internal Revenue Service, in addition to including the citizenship question in the census.

In January, New York federal judge Jesse Furman ruled that Ross was “arbitrary and capricious” in proposing the question.

The new data comes from Citizenship and Immigration Services, a DHS agency that has taken on a larger role in enforcing immigration restrictions under Trump.

After Francis Cissna took over as director in October 2017, the agency initiated a “denaturalization task force” aimed at investigating whether immigrants obtaining their citizenship fraudulently. The agency also has slashed the refugee program to historic lows and proposed reinterpreting immigration law to screen whether legal immigrants are likely to draw on the public welfare system.

Cissna also rewrote the agency’s mission statement: “Securing America’s promise as a nation of immigrants” became “Securing the homeland and honoring our values.”

Source: Census Bureau Seeks Citizenship Data From DHS Ahead of 2020 Census

How Toronto Is Wooing Tech Immigrants Away From Silicon Valley

More on a Canadian advantage:

“Nobody calls it Maple Valley,” says Yung Wu. What about Silicon Valley North? No, that nickname hasn’t caught on either, he replies amiably: “We’re not Silicon Valley.”

Toronto’s understated technology community has politely defied outsiders’ attempts to define its rapid growth in relation to California’s unmatched innovation engine. Yet veteran entrepreneurs such as Wu admit to taking some pride in last year’s discovery that Canada’s largest city had created more tech jobs than San Francisco — or any other U.S. metropolis — in the preceding five years.

Its population of software developers, engineers and programmers grew by more than half between 2012 and 2017, according to CBRE, the commercial real estate firm. The 82,100 technology jobs it added over that period made it North America’s fastest-growing tech center, CBRE calculated, to the surprise of many south of the border. Wu, who runs a hub for startups called MaRS Discovery District on the site of Toronto General Hospital, where the use of insulin was pioneered, sees several reasons for this “brain gain,” from the city’s relative affordability to the work being done on artificial intelligence at the University of Toronto.

But he and many of the entrepreneurs on his bustling 1.5-million-square-foot campus credit one new factor with helping Toronto attract ambitious foreign tech workers who would once have headed for Silicon Valley by default: Since the elections of Justin Trudeau in 2015 and Donald Trump in 2016, attitudes to immigration in Ottawa and Washington have diverged markedly.

“There’s a chill going on south of the border,” says Toby Lennox, CEO of Toronto Global, the group tasked with attracting foreign investment to North America’s fourth-largest city. “Right now we’re positioning ourselves to be a lot more welcoming.”

America’s president has not threatened to build a wall along its northern border, but he has made it harder for even skilled foreigners to enter the U.S., where they could undercut the country’s homegrown workforce. In particular, his administration has tightened the requirements for granting H-1B visas and threatened to ban spouses of people on such permits from working.

Up to 85,000 people enter the U.S. each year under the H-1B program, which was introduced to help bring in highly skilled talent but has often been accused of being misused by employers more interested in replacing U.S. workers with cheaper foreigners.

Some U.S. executives concede that reforms are needed but say Trump’s actions and rhetoric have left white-collar employees, who once assumed a U.S. visa was almost a formality, feeling insecure and facing unexplained delays. In a tight labor market, corporate America has stepped up its lobbying for a more open regime.

The Business Roundtable (BRT), a group of CEOs from U.S. companies including Apple and Cisco, warned last summer that the Trump administration’s “buy American and hire American” policies were resulting in “arbitrary and inconsistent” visa adjudications. Since then the BRT has called for an increase in the number of H-1Bs granted, more predictability in the way skilled workers’ visas are assessed and greater efforts to retain international students with top science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees from U.S. universities.


The prescription has a distinctly Canadian ring to it. Canada already grants foreign students work permits for up to three years after graduation, and in June 2017 the country’s immigration and employment authorities launched what they called their Global Skills Strategy, with the goal of making it easier for employers to bring in highly skilled foreign workers.

Among its promises was that work permits for such individuals (and their families) would be processed within two weeks, subject to police and medical checks. Within little more than a year, more than 12,000 people had applied, of whom 95 percent had been accepted.

Some had applied for H-1Bs and been turned down, says Irfhan Rawji, a Canadian venture capitalist who launched a nearshoring company called MobSquad last October to help U.S. tech companies fill vacancies with people based in Canada. “We cannot build this country without skilled workers, and we do not have enough of them,” he says. More than 200,000 people apply each year for the 85,000 H-1B visas the U.S. offers, he notes. “So we knew there were 115,000 people who didn’t win the lottery who were willing to come to North America.”

There is nothing new about Canada being receptive to immigration: Some 51 percent of Toronto’s residents were born in another country — more than New York’s 40 percent. But the strategy has given a new tech focus to Canada’s immigration policy: The most common professions among those admitted were developers, computer analysts, university professors and software engineers.

This is already having a tangible impact, according to Elissa Strome, executive director of the $125 million Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy at CIFAR, a research institute based in the MaRS building.

“I think where Canada has really benefited on immigration is the change in our own policy, not the change in U.S. policy,” she says. “When I talk to CEOs, that speed of decision-making is what’s made the difference.”

Toronto’s entrepreneurs say a tech-friendly immigration system is essential because there are some skills they simply cannot find locally. “It is hard to find enough people with experience of large-scale consumer tech companies anywhere other than Silicon Valley,” says Ray Reddy, CEO of Ritual, a food-ordering app for office workers picking up lunch from local restaurants. “We have to import them.”

Ben Zifkin, CEO of Hubba, is among the entrepreneurs to have taken advantage of the Global Skills Strategy. His online marketplace for small retailers is starting a recruitment program in Tel Aviv to bring soldiers leaving the army to Toronto for a year. “If you want to come up here, I will have you a visa in two weeks. The ability to say that was a pretty impactful thing,” he says.

Among Toronto’s recent arrivals is Protik Das. He moved to the U.S. from Bangladesh in 2012 to study aerospace engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, but the defense companies he met made clear that they were not interested in hiring non-Americans.

He tried his own startup but discovered that he could not apply for an H-1B visa while working for himself and would have to leave the U.S. within a year of graduation unless he could find an employer in the field he had studied to sponsor him. So in September 2017 he moved to Canada, where he is now an engineer with a company applying digital technology to wound care.

Bangladeshi friends who opted for Canadian universities were “way more relaxed about the situation,” he says, adding that he now advises younger Bangladeshis to choose Canada over the U.S. “because you have more guarantees in Canada.”

Das struggles to understand why the U.S. accepts bright foreigners to its universities, trains them and then lets them slip away. “Very talented people are spending a lot of money to come and study in the U.S.,” he says. But the stress the country’s visa process induces means U.S. companies “end up losing talent,” he argues.


Canada’s more welcoming approach has not only helped pull in people from the other side of the world such as Das, Hubba’s Zifkin observes — it has also made it easier to attract Americans and coax back Canadians working in the U.S.

“When 2016 happened, everybody thought that every tech worker would be walking across the border from Buffalo,” he says. “It wasn’t going to happen, but we now have the ability to go to New York and the Valley and wiggle people out.”

Canada has long worried about a “brain drain,” and a recent study found that a quarter of the 2015 and 2016 STEM graduates from the Universities of Toronto, British Columbia and Waterloo were working outside the country, most of them in higher-paying U.S. tech clusters. But a growing domestic tech industry is persuading more Canadians to stay or to return.

Ian Logan is among those who have come back. He grew up in Toronto but moved to the U.S. after he graduated in 2008 because the biggest Canadian name he knew in technology was RIM, the company that brought the world the BlackBerry. He ended up working for Airbnb in San Francisco but wanted a more family-friendly city when he and his wife had a child.

He returned to Toronto in 2017 to “a dramatically different tech scene” from the one he left and a job as vice president of engineering at Drop, a 60-person company with a loyalty points app. Several former colleagues are now considering following him north, he says, “because they have real visa challenges” or because they are attracted by Toronto’s lower cost of living.

“There was always good tech talent across Canada, but it was largely going south. Now that’s changed,” says Gord Kurtenbach, senior director of research at design software group Autodesk, who worked at Apple and Xerox Parc a generation ago.

“I never believed in my lifetime I’d be back working in Toronto,” he says, sitting in his AI-designed office on the MaRS campus. A decade ago, he says, his computer science lab was the only one of its kind in Toronto. Now, there are more than a dozen: Uber set up a Toronto lab in 2017 to research self-driving cars, Samsung has an AI center in the MaRS building and Nvidia and Microsoft are among the U.S. companies that have hired researchers in the city.

Such companies once used Toronto only as “a holding pen” for international employees waiting for U.S. visas, says Ritual’s Reddy. “Now it’s starting to be the end destination.”


Mary Louise Cohen, a Washington lawyer who set up a company with her husband to connect skilled refugees with employers around the world, recalls a meeting on immigration they attended in Ottawa in 2017.

“It really struck us how Canada saw that they were in a global talent competition and how they intended to win. Canada, I think, recognizes that they are a country of immigrants, that their strength is because of their diversity and that to grow and expand they have to bring in the best and brightest around the world,” she says. “I’m hoping in the coming years there will be much greater recognition that skilled immigration is valuable to the United States.”

Trump surprised many in the U.S. business community with a tweet in January in which he promised reforms to the H-1B program “to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.” But CEOs have seen little action since, and their hopes for bipartisan immigration reform are ebbing as 2020 election campaigning kicks off.

The prospect of a change in Washington is one challenge Toronto Global’s Lennox sees on the horizon for his city. “At some point, Trump is no longer going to be president,” he says, and his successor could make it easier for those with tech skills to choose the U.S. Before that moment, he says, “the trick is for us to translate the momentum we’re seeing now into something that’s abiding and resilient.”

To do that, Toronto’s tech companies will have to show that they can compete with the best of Silicon Valley, says Hubba’s Zifkin. “The people we’re trying to attract to Toronto are world-class folks. All they care about is working for winning companies.”

Wu of MaRS insists that Toronto can create enough winners. “We have the opportunity to see our entrepreneurs like we see our hockey players,” he says. “We can always apologize after we’ve won.”

Source: How Toronto Is Wooing Tech Immigrants Away From Silicon Valley

President Trump’s Threats to Remove Birthright Citizenship Could Impact Surrogacies

As always, surrogacy creates some interesting citizenship policy challenges (see…/article-how-canada-became-an-international-surrogacy-destination). This perspective from a legal service provider, yet another element of the supporting birth tourism industry:

With Donald Trump’s recent threat to remove birthright citizenship rights, many international families may wonder how this could affect the nationality of a child born to immigrants. Below, family law Attorney Evie Jeang, founder of Ideal Legal Group, Inc., explains that without birthright citizenship, children born to immigrants and non-citizens will not be recognized as citizens of any country, and that by eliminating these laws, citizenship grants for children of international families will become unnecessarily complex, and the surrogacy market could take a hit.

Under the current laws, when a baby is born in the US to a gestational mother who is an American citizen, the baby is automatically extended American citizenship. The 14th Amendment of the United States provides that, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

In other words, children of international intended parents obtain US citizenship upon birth by a gestational parent in the US Among many legal, medical and ethical factors, birthright citizenship offers an appeal to international families without US citizenship looking to conceive through surrogacy. Thus, the popular commercial surrogacy market could take a hit without birthright citizenship attracting wealthy foreigners.

International family and divorce law firm, Ideal Legal Group Inc., frequently encounters the issue of birthright citizenship for foreign couples looking to conceive, particularly among their clientele base from mainland China.

Ideal Legal Group’s Chinese clientele face legal and cultural opposition to surrogacy in their country, and accordingly, many Chinese nationals come to the United States, where it is legal and ethical to employ a gestational surrogate to carry their baby. Through birthright citizenship, the child is eligible to receive US citizenship benefits, including education, social welfare and treatment in American medical facilities. A child with US citizenship is also eligible for dual residency in countries that recognize this concept.

Ideal Legal Group helps intended parents secure their birthright by ensuring parentage over their child in which they choose to be delivered by an American surrogate. Through their work with Surrogacy Concierge, Ideal Legal Group locates surrogates of specificity for international clientele, ranging in a variety of education and socioeconomic status.

Once a surrogate is selected, the legal process begins. The legal team drafts agreements on behalf of the intended parents to ensure that once the baby is born, the parental rights are transferred from the surrogate parent(s) to the intended parents. In the State of California, this is executed through the Family Code in which a parentage action confirms the birthrights of the intended parents.

The legal team drafts agreements between the intended parents and a gestational surrogate (and their spouse if applicable), memorializing through a legal agreement the medical stages of surrogacy. The intended parents are represented by one attorney and the gestational surrogate is represented by another attorney.

California surrogacy laws provide that a surrogacy contract must contain the date that the contract was entered into; the persons from which the gametes originated; the identity of the intended parent(s); and the process for any necessary pre-birth or parentage orders. Ideal Legal Group incorporates provisions that protect the intended parents’ birthrights.

Further, the legal team focuses on identifying the risks and responsibilities that each party is assuming, including but not limited to, surrogate compensation, what happens in the event of an unfortunate miscarriage, and protocol if the surrogate has multiple children rather than the one child which was contracted. The surrogacy contract is a map for the process.

Ideal Legal Group also handles the courtroom work. Pre-birth parentage orders are needed to finalize the intended parents’ legal parental rights. No actual court hearing is needed; however, pre-birth parentage orders are filed in advance of when the baby is born, and the Judge signs off on the transfer of parental rights from the surrogate to the intended parents.

Source: President Trump’s Threats to Remove Birthright Citizenship Could Impact Surrogacies