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All articles with the "Immigration" tag.

Published: Sat, 24 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0500

Last Build Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2018 15:19:57 -0500


Even in Health Care, Immigrants Do Jobs Americans Won't

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 16:16:00 -0500

The debate over American health care tends to focus on how we pay for services, rather than why we pay so much more than any other developed country. In a new working paper, Jeffrey S. Flier and Jared M. Rhoads of the Mercatus Institute suggest that we could lower costs by allowing more people to practice medicine. In a comparison of 11 industrialized nations, they write, the U.S. has the second lowest number of physicians per capita: "2.5 physicians per 1,000 population, compared to a mean of 3.1 for the group and high of 4.2 for Norway." The American Association of Medical Colleges anticipates a shortage of 40,800 to 104,900 physicians by 2030, particularly in the fields of pediatrics, primary care, family medicine, and internal medicine. (Not coincidentally, these are four of the lowest-paying medical specialties.) The association wants to address that shortage by securing more federal funding for physician training, but with no concessions on tuition, which averages $55,000 per year in the United States. Flier and Rhoads have some other suggestions: expanding the number of accredited U.S. medical schools, shortening the length of medical school, granting more independence to nurse practitioners and physicians assistants, and reforming state licensing boards so that medical doctors can no longer use their clout to suppress competition. We could also, they add, make it easier for foreign-born, foreign-trained doctors to migrate to and practice in the U.S. Indeed, there are roughly 60,000 foreign medical doctors already living in the U.S. who aren't licensed to practice. Foreign-born medical doctors who trained outside the U.S. already play a crucial role in providing care in America. These physicians "are substantially more likely to practice in rural and poorer communities and are overrepresented in primary care specialties, including family medicine and pediatrics," write Flier and Rhoads. A 2015 study found that international medical graduates (a group that includes Americans who train outside the U.S. and foreign citizens who train outside the U.S.) are filling a crucial care gap: IMGs are more likely to practice in specialties in which a physician shortage would otherwise go unfilled. For example, a higher proportion of IMGs than other graduates serve socioeconomically disadvantaged populations across the United States. They also tend to fill the gaps in workforce demands in rural areas depending on the particular state. One study reported that 19.3% of IMGs, compared with 10.4% of osteopathic physicians, are practicing in rural areas. An ambulatory care survey published in 2009 found that most office-based IMG primary care physicians are in areas with physician shortages where Medicare and Medicaid patients are overrepresented. Compared with US medical graduates, a higher percentage of IMGs are also in solo practice. Overall, IMGs have been taking up opportunities to practice within patient populations that are facing difficulties caused by uneven distribution of the physician workforce. It's possible that foreign doctors have lower debt loads and can thus pursue lower-paying specialties, or, because the American residency system prefers American born-and-trained physicians, that IMGs fill less desirable roles in order to practice in the U.S. at all. Either way, they're often willing to go to areas many American-trained physicians are not. Like Nebraska. Every year, the National Residency Match Program publishes data showing what types of doctors matched to what kind of medical residency in each state (a medical residency of at least a year is required in order to receive a medical license in the U.S.). Here's what the numbers look like for Nebraska, which had a total of 93 open positions for family medicine and internal medicine in 2017: Across the top of that chart are the various applicant types. "US sr" are fourth-year medical students attending allopathic medical schools in the U.S.; they will be M.D.s upon graduation, and 94 percent of them will "match"—as in, be selected for—a U.S. residency. Furthe[...]

Are Libertarian Responses to Mass Shootings Persuasive?: Podcast

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 15:25:00 -0500

When mass shootings take place, libertarians at Reason and elsewhere respond by pointing out that gun violence is declining even as the number of weapons in circulation is climbing; that mass shootings are not increasing in number; and that most proposed solutions either won't work or raise serious civil liberties concerns. These points are all true and important. But are they the limit of all meaningful response? In today's Reason Podcast, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, Robby Soave, and Nick Gillespie discuss what if any policies might mitigate the frequency and casualties of mass shootings. They also talk about how Rush Limbaugh, of all people, has advanced the most progressive immigration policy heard in several months, whether the investigation of Russian influence into the 2016 election will undermine belief in American politics, and the deeper meanings of Black Panther, the latest Marvel superhero movie that is setting box-office records.

Take a deeper dive by reading Reason's continually updated archive on the Florida shooting, "Rush Limbaugh Is More Progressive on Immigration Than Anyone on Capitol Hill. Seriously," and Kurt Loder's review of Black Panther for Reason.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Photo credit Carline Jean/TNS/Newscom.

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Border Bouncers Don't Need Big Brother Spying Powers Over Americans

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 10:15:00 -0500

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is reportedly trying to join the network of federal departments that can access warrantless surveillance information gathered by the spies at the National Security Agency. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is trying much the same thing. The prospect of these two law enforcement agencies gaining access to such intelligence should send chills down the spines of illegal immigrants—and all Americans. The NSA was originally handed extra-constitutional spying tools to keep an eye on foreign threats—not assist in routine law enforcement by domestic agencies. But it hasn't worked out that way. For many years, this spy agency has been sharing all kinds of information with law enforcement. It claimed that it was taking care to scrub out sensitive and private details about innocent Americans. However, since 9/11, it has come under pressure to abandon even such minimal restraint and share unfiltered information so that law enforcement doesn't miss crucial clues about burgeoning threats. Instead of resisting these demands, President Barack Obama, a constitutional law professor who should have known better, threw open the NSA's entire treasure trove of secret information to 16 agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. However, he pointedly left out immigration enforcement agencies like ICE and CBP. But in Donald Trump, the duo has a simpatico president, which is why they have renewed their quest to join the spy community. If President Trump obliges, what information will these agencies obtain? The NSA employs tools of mass surveillance that, in theory, it is supposed to use only on foreigners outside the country. But the reality is very different, if for no other reason than we live in a digital world where information flows seamlessly across borders. Americans who correspond with any foreigner that the NSA is watching instantly become fair game. Their information is secured on servers abroad that the agency routinely taps. Emails, text messages, and vast amounts of internet data are vacuumed in. The NSA has targeted entire Yahoo and Google data centers abroad, all of which contain communication by Americans. It also intercepts and archives every cell phone call to and from the Bahamas and other Caribbean countries. It gathers millions of text messages in global information sweeps. This is not just metadata, but actual content. The NSA listens in on and records phone conversations, reads and downloads text messages, hacks into emails and copies exchanges. (In one instance, NSA agents were amusing themselves by listening to recorded conversations of Americans engaged in phone sex.) Nor does this information just sit there in untouched archives. The NSA has powerful search engines to rifle through its databases to dig up information about any American for any reason without ever obtaining a court order, basically eviscerating the Fourth Amendment's protections against illegal searches and seizures. Some agents have even used these tools to spy on their exes. The NSA gets the legal authority for such activity from Section 702 of the recently reauthorized FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) that has nominal congressional oversight but no judicial check —and the notorious Reagan-era Executive Order 12333 that has neither. In other words, the order uses executive authority to give an executive agency unchecked spying powers. Handing ICE and CBP, which have vast powers to track the physical movements of people in America, unfiltered access to this massive surveillance would be problematic under any circumstances. But it is especially so when these agencies are expanding their own internal spying capacities in the name of interior enforcement. Last month, ICE signed up with Vigilant Solutions to access license plate databases that the company has created by taking pictures of unsuspecting vehicles on toll roads, parking lots, and other public places. This will give ICE the [...]

Now ICE and Border Patrol Want to Spy On You Too: New at Reason

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 10:15:00 -0500

All wars begin to protect insiders from outside threats and end up targeting the very insiders they are seeking to protect. Indeed, as libertarian scholar (image) Robert Higgs has documented, every major war involving America abroad has led to the death and destruction of civil liberties of Americans at home.

And so it is with the War on Immigration where in a bid to purge the country of unauthorized migrants, federal immigration authorities are amassing ever more powers. They already have obtained the authority to erect checkpoints and conduct unconstitutional searches of anyone within the 100-mile Constitution-free zone adjacent to the border. Now they want to combine their awesome enforcement powers with NSA's awesome mass surveillance powers to ferret out and deport unwanted aliens, notes Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia.

This won't just erode the liberties just of foreigners but Americans as well. ICE and border patrol gaining such Big Brother snooping powers should scare the bejeezus out of every man, woman and child in America.

Rush Limbaugh Is More Progressive on Immigration Than Anyone on Capitol Hill. Seriously.

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 14:10:00 -0500

Who would have thunk it but when it comes to immigration, the king of conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, might have become the most progressive voice in America today. Limbaugh has done more than any human alive over the last two decades to kill any immigration bill that smacked of "amnesty." Yet there was El Rushbo telling Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday that he would be willing to go along with permanent citizenship—not merely legal permanent residency, mind you—for "whatever number" of undocumented immigrants on one simple condition. And what's this condition? Building a border wall? Nope. Enhancing border security by forcing taxpayers to spring for more boots on the ground and whiz-bang satellite surveillance etc? Niyat. Cuts in legal immigration? No. Banning amnesty recipients from voting for 15-25 years. That's it. Limbaugh said, "I would be willing right here to support an effort to grant permanent citizenship to whatever number of illegal immigrants there are in the country tomorrow if you will make as part of a deal they can't vote for 15 to 25 years. And if they will agree to that, then I'll grant them amnesty." This is a far more modest demand in exchange for a far more generous deal than any offered by the four immigration bills that went down to defeat in the Senate Friday. Trump's constant vilification has killed talk of legalizing the entire 11 million strong undocumented population not only among Republicans but also Democrats. Hence, none of the bills even considered handing citizenship to anyone other than the 1.8 million Dreamers—a nickname for those who were brought to America illegally as children. The Secure and Succeed Act, the brainchild of arch restrictionists like Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that the White House supported, in theory offered a pathway to citizenship for all the Dreamers. But it put so many conditions on who could qualify that, in practice, Cato Institute's David Bier and National Foundation for American Policy's Stuart Anderson argued, less than 900,000 Dreamers could have availed of it. That plan would have also handed Trump $25 billion to build his big, beautiful wall, killed the diversity visa program and slashed family-based immigration, effectively cutting legal immigration by a good 40 percent. It was the stuff of nativist wet dreams. Sen. Pat Toomey's bill offered amnesty to no one but wanted to defund sanctuary cities. Meanwhile, the Coons-McCain bill would have offered a genuine pathway to citizenship for all Dreamers in exchange for handing the administration money for enhanced border security. And then there was Sen. Susan Collins' (R-ME) "Common Sense" plan that would have provided $25 billion for border security and banned Dreamers from sponsoring their parents in exchange for giving them a path to citizenship. The last bill came the closest to obtaining the requisite 60 votes to move ahead and the Trump-backed one the least, a resounding blow to the nativist agenda. Indeed, it is thanks to the overreaching by White House aide, Steve Miller, an arch nativist, that Trump couldn't close the deal after Democrats had all but resigned themselves to giving him his beloved wall. He literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. So much for deal making and winning "bigly." Be that as it may, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is now trying to overcome the impasse by scaling back legalization even more. He is working on a bill that would hand Dreamers a few years of reprieve from deportation in exchange for enhanced border security funding. But there is no reason for Flake and other Congressional immigration doves to be this timid if Limbaugh is willing to be so bold. Limbaugh is a pretty good gauge of grassroots conservative sentiment on this issue if for no other reason than he is among its chief architects. Indeed, he is the one who—contra Ronald Reagan—turned amnesty into a dirty word by whipping up rank-and-file Rep[...]

Mitt Romney Now Wants to Make Being Welcoming on Immigration a Key Part of His Campaign

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:15:00 -0500

Mitt Romney, former failed Republican presidential candidate and former governor of Massachusetts, is officially running for Senate from Utah. His announcement video (see bottom of post) has a lot of rah-rah boilerplate about how great and giving and pioneering Utahns are, but in the middle is an interesting turn for Romney and a gauntlet thrown to the Trump Republican attitude toward immigration.


Around one minute into the ad, as Romney is explaining what makes Utah better than Washington (including balanced budgets, yay, followed by an unfortunate emphasis on how apparently great it is that they export more than they import) he throws in how "Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world; Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion."

Mitt didn't always think that front and centering a pro-immigration message was one of his selling points. In 2012 he was anti-Dreamers, and as Matt Welch emphasized, in 2012 Donald Trump was calling Romney's attitudes toward immigration "mean-spirited," "crazy," and "maniacal" for talking about encouraging illegal immigrants to "self deport." Welch further stressed that Romney was the king and founder of the Trumpian trend toward demonizing "sanctuary cities."

Romney seemed confused later on that Hispanics didn't understand what he thought he was trying to say: "make sure we have a legal immigration system that brings, in my view, more people legally to our country."

Romney can and undoubtedly will stress that he's as against illegal immigrants as he ever was. But Trump's reign has brought forward a general animus against foreigners and even legal immigrants such that Romney stressing his admiration for legal immigrants as one of his main substantive selling points in his Senate run can be read as an attempt to change the Party's current spirit toward immigration.

Good luck with that, though his history doesn't mark him as the best spokesman for the value to the U.S. economy and spirit that less restricted immigration brings.

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Appeals Court Rules That Trump's Travel Ban 3.0 Is Unconstitutional

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 10:29:00 -0500

Yesterday, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that Donald Trump's third travel ban is unconstitutional because it was adopted for the purpose of discriminating against Muslims, in violation of the First Amendment. The presidential "proclamation" permanently bars nearly all entry into the United States by citizens of six Muslim-majority nations. In a 9-4 en banc decision, the court concluded, after "[e]xamining official statements from President Trump and other executive branch officials, along with the Proclamation itself,... that the Proclamation is unconstitutionally tainted with animus toward Islam." Five of the judges in the majority also conclude that the Travel Ban 3.0 violates immigration laws enacted by Congress, relying on reasoning similar to that adopted by the Ninth Circuit in in its December ruling against the ban. The Fourth Circuit decision includes a detailed discussion of why Travel Ban 3.0 is just as "tainted" by religious animus as its predecessors, and why the addition of North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials in this latest travel ban does not materially affect its anti-Muslim focus. The inclusion of North Korea and the Venezuelan officials does not keep out any significant number of people who might have gained entry otherwise, and the other six nations covered by the travel ban are all overwhelmingly Muslim. In addition, as the court explains, the supposed security justifications for the travel ban are extremely weak, and "the President repeatedly distanced himself from the[se] non-discriminatory policy rationales." For that reason, the court concluded that it must "accept the President's consistent characterization of his Proclamation as intended to invidiously discriminate against Muslims—and therefore hold that the Proclamation violates the law." Judge James Wynn's concurring opinion includes an exceptionally thorough discussion of the reasons why the president's numerous statements advocating a "Muslim ban" and equating that goal with the "territorial" approach adopted in the various travel ban orders are relevant evidence that courts must consider. I addressed this same issue, myself, here. Campaign promises and other statements by decision-makers are relevant evidence of motive, and motive is an essential element of any case where the plaintiffs challenge a seemingly neutral law or regulation on the basis that it is intended to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, or some other prohibited classification. Such pretextual discrimination claims are a longstanding and vital element of constitutional antidiscrimination law. Without them, government officials could easily target disfavored minority groups simply by focusing on some characteristic that is heavily correlated with group membership. For example, officials intent on discriminating against African-Americans could target people who live in overwhelmingly African-American neighborhoods, a strategy similar to Trump's approach of targeting overwhelmingly Muslim nations. The Fourth Circuit decision is not a surprise. The same court issued a very similar ruling against Travel Ban 2.0, for much the same reasons, by a 10-3 margin that was nearly identical to yesterday's 9-4 vote. The Fourth Circuit decision largely affirms an October 2017 trial court ruling against Travel Ban 3.0, which was also based on religious discrimination grounds. Yesterday's ruling reinforces my view that Travel Ban 3.0 has nearly all the same flaws as its predecessor, and may in some ways be even worse. The same two appellate courts that issued rulings against Travel Ban 2.0 have now also ruled against the latest version, and for largely the same reasons. The 285 pages of majority, concurring, and dissenting opinions in the Fourth Circuit case include discussion of a variety of secondary issues, such as whether and to what extent different plaintiffs have standin[...]

Trump Leads GOP in Turn Against Legal Immigration

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:15:00 -0500

One of the big moments in the phenomenally popular musical Hamilton, which has been running on Broadway for more than two years, is titled "Immigrants—We Get the Job Done." In the debate over new federal legislation, a response is being heard: "Get it done somewhere else." Many people have long decried illegal immigration while claiming to have no problem with legal immigration. The complaints about undocumented foreigners are familiar: "Why can't they follow the rules? Why don't they get in line and wait their turn like everyone else? Why should they be rewarded for breaking the law?" The simple answer is that we make it too hard to immigrate, even as our economy depends on the labor of immigrants, legal or otherwise. If the goal is to induce more aspirants to come through legitimate channels, we should be working to expand and simplify those channels. That's not what Donald Trump proposes. His plan provides legal status and a lengthy path for citizenship for up to 1.8 million people who are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In exchange, though, the president wants to sharply restrict family-based immigration. The bill he favors would change the law to bar naturalized citizens from petitioning to bring their parents, adult or married children, and siblings. Only spouses and children under age 18 (down from the current 21) would be eligible. Trump also wants to abolish the diversity visa lottery, which takes up to 50,000 people each year from countries that are underrepresented in other categories. He would limit refugee admissions, which numbered 85,000 in 2016, to an annual maximum of 45,000. In all, his plan would slash legal immigration by as much as half, the most drastic cut in nearly a century. On Wednesday, Trump threatened to veto any bill that doesn't include such limits. It is not just the president's policy to target prospective immigrants who are willing to use approved avenues. It's now the agenda of his party. The bill he favors is sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Trump says his changes would "curb the flow of low-skilled workers into the U.S." In fact, as the Migration Policy Institute notes, close to half of adult immigrants who have come here legally since 2011 have a bachelor's degree, compared with one-third of native-born Americans 25 or older. Though Trump wonders why we take people from "shithole countries" in Africa, 40 percent of African immigrants are college graduates. His allies profess a desire to boost "merit-based" immigration. But this measure would actually reduce the flow of high-skilled workers. "If you are thinking about the number of college graduates who would be getting green cards each year, that number would go down" under Trump's plan, MPI analyst Julia Gelatt told The Atlantic. Why would we want to close off half the legal stream of immigrants? Economists generally see them as a net plus. Trump and his allies insist that the new arrivals depress wages. But the effect, if any, is small. And the newcomers stimulate investment, create employment by buying goods and services, fill jobs that few Americans want, and help revive poor neighborhoods that have lost residents. The benefits are not accidental. Immigrants don't land here by accident to be transported to Shangri-La on a feather bed. The people who come are self-selected for motivation, resilience and industry. They leave their home countries because they think they will have greater opportunities to make full use of their talents and ambitions here. And Americans of all income and skill levels gain from their presence. Trump routinely equates foreigners with danger, drugs, and crime. But reducing the influx of legal immigrants, who are far less likely than natives to go to prison, would do nothing to make America[...]

The 5 Best Arguments Against Immigration—and Why They're Wrong

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 11:15:00 -0500

No issue is more hotly contested today than immigration, with restrictionists calling for the deportation of illegals and a 50 percent cut in legal immigration. Here are the five strongest arguments against immigrants and immigration—and why they're wrong. They take our jobs and lower wages. President Donald Trump has said that illegals, who are mostly low-skilled, "compete directly against vulnerable American workers" and that reducing legal immigration would "boost wages and ensure open jobs are offered to American workers first." But as the president himself likes to point out, unemployment across virtually all categories of workers is at or near historic lows, so displacing native-born workers isn't much of an issue. Virtually all economists, regardless of ideology, agree that immigrants, both legal and illegal, have little to no effect on overall wages. The most-vulnerable workers in America are high-school dropouts and economists say that low-skill immigrants from Mexico reduce that group's wages by less than 5 percent—or that they increase drop out wages by almost 1 percent. But it's also true low-skilled immigrants make things cheaper for all Americans by doing jobs such as picking fruit or cleanup on construction sites. And consider this: In the developed world, "There is no correlation between unemployment and immigration rates." Immigrants go to hot economies and they leave when the jobs dry up. More important, immigrants grow the population, which stimulates economic growth, the only way over the long term to improve standards of living. They're using massive amounts of welfare. Since the late 1990s, most legal immigrants and all illegals are barred from receiving means-tested welfare. The only real taxpayer-funded services most immigrants use are emergency medical treatments that account for less than 2 percent of all health-care spending and K-12 education services for their children, who often times are U.S. citizens. For those immigrants who do qualify for programs such as Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), or supplemental Social Security income (SSI), they use all these programs at lower rates that native-born Americans or naturalized citizens. It's also worth noting that immigrants come here to work, not collect WIC. Legal immigrant men have a labor-force participation rate of about 80 percent, which is 10 points higher than that of natives. Illegal immigrant men have a participation rate of 94 percent, precisely because they can't access welfare. They don't pay their fair share. Whether legal or illegal, all immigrants pay sales taxes and property taxes (the latter are factored into the cost of rental units for people who don't own homes). And all legal immigrants pay all the payroll and income taxes that native-born Americans do. Amazingly, most illegals also cough up income and payroll taxes too. That's because most of them use fake Social Security cards and other documents to get hired. Somewhere between 50 percent and two-thirds pay federal income and FICA taxes. In 2010, for instance, administrators of Social Security said that "unauthorized immigrants" contributed $12 billion to Social Security trust funds that they will never be able to get back. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, about half of illegals paid state and local taxes worth over $10 billion. They broke the law to get here and they're bringing all their relatives. Critics of illegal immigration often say that unauthorized entrants refuse to stand in line and wait for their turn. That's true but misleading. For many immigrants, especially low-skilled immigrants from countries such as Mexico, there is really no line. In 2010, for instance, just 65,000 visas were given to Mexicans, with the overwhelming majority going to close family members such as spouses and minor children. The wait list had 1.4[...]

Trump's Orwellian Plan to Make America's Immigration System 'Merit Based'

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 12:12:00 -0500

President Trump insists that the changes to immigration law he's proposing in exchange for protecting DREAMers a nickname for those illegally brought to America as children—would make our country's immigration system, like Canada's, more merit-based. That would be awesome if it were true. Unfortunately, it is a complete lie. In fact, it is like saying that kneecapping someone would make them a better sprinter. It is true that Canada's immigration system, though not perfect, is far superior to America's in many respects. Canada admits the vast majority of foreigners based on a point system that gives more weight to those with college degrees, youth, job offers, and English or French speaking skills. Foreigners who earn the requisite points are granted permanent residency—along with their nuclear family members—within a matter of months. That is a far cry from how things work in America. Here, most high-skilled foreigners have to go through a painfully arduous process to obtain green cards. First, their employer has to undertake the frustrating and expensive process of sponsoring them for an H-1B visa. This involves entering their name in the annual visa lottery, which gets over twice as many entries as it has slots. Even if they are among the lucky who land the coveted visa, they have to wait for years to obtain their green cards. Wait times for Indian and Chinese tech workers are running close to 20 years currently. Why? Because every country gets the same fixed annual green card allowance. So a massive backlog has developed for countries that are major donors of technical talent to America. During much of this time, these tech workers are stuck in their jobs, because switching might push them to the back of the green card queue. The upshot of all this is that on a per-capita basis, Canada admits more than twice as many immigrants as the United States. And even though its system is not family based per se, Canada's rate of family immigration is roughly identical to America's—about 2.0 and 2.5 family-based immigrants per 1,000 residents, respectively. But Canada admits 4.5 employment-based immigrants per year compared to America's meager 0.5 per 1,000 residents. If Trump were truly using Canada as his inspiration, he would radically streamline the immigration process for high-skilled immigrants. He could skip the H-1B stage altogether and hand green cards to them directly, just as Canada does. Or at least "staple" greencards to the diplomas of foreign students graduating from American universities (as Mitt Romney once proposed) or to the job offers of foreigners. Or increase the annual quota of H-1Bs. Or scrap the per-country annual limit on green cards. Or at minimum give the unused green card quota of one country to others like India and China that send more talent to America. But Trump has proposed none of those things. His plan for making America's immigration system merit-based is by slashing family-based immigration. Besides their nuclear family, Americans are now entitled to sponsor only their siblings, adult children, and parents — not their aunts, uncles, grandparents, and the rest. Siblings are afforded the lowest priority and take decades to process. Bringing parents into the country, by contrast, is not so hard—and definitely a bright spot in the American system compared to Canada. And so, of course, Trump is hellbent on eviscerating that by banning parents along with the other non-nuclear family members. All in all, he would cut legal family-based immigration by 40 percent without raising high-skilled immigration one iota. But it gets worse. Not only is Trump seeking no legislative fixes to liberalize America's high-skilled immigration program—contrary to the impression he gives when he harps about transforming America's system into a more merit-based on[...]

Trump Goes After High-Tech Foreign Talent: New at Reason

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 12:12:00 -0500

President Donald Trump has no love lost for family-based immigration, except when it comes to his foreign wives. But he does say he wants to make (image) America's immigration system more merit-based. Most people would assume that this means he would like to encourage more high-skilled foreigners to alleviate the tight-labor market that American employers are facing, especially in STEM fields.

They would be wrong, says Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia. Trump is doing everything he can to get rid of foreign techies already here and discourage new ones from coming.

Dubbing his all-out assault on foreign high-tech labor as an effort to recruit this labor is Orwellian double-speak.

Immigration Authorities Want Access to All the Raw Intelligence the Feds Already Collected on You

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 12:35:00 -0500

Now that Congress and the president have renewed and expanded federal foreign intelligence surveillance authorities to be used on Americans and people on American soil, immigration officials want in on the information. It's not enough for Border Patrol, Department of Homeland Security, and immigration officials to demand to see our papers at checkpoints and stops within the United States, to try to implement facial recognition scans at airports and entry points, to try to demand access to our phones and laptops, and to start scanning license plates. Now, the Daily Beast reports, they want to officially be treated like an intelligence agency and have greater access to information collected through secret surveillance. While this is by no means a new push confined to the current administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) probably has the friendliest ear they've had in a while in President Donald Trump. Betsy Woodruff explains: If ICE joins the Intelligence Community, then its officials will have increased access to raw intelligence, unfiltered by analysts. This could prove useful to both of the agency's components: Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which investigates transnational crimes, including drug trafficking, money laundering, cybercrimes, and arms trafficking; and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), which arrests and detains undocumented immigrants. For anybody who remembers the privacy debate surrounding the renewal of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) amendments, the list of crimes ICE investigates is very relevant. When Congress renewed Section 702, they officially gave the FBI authorization to use this foreign intelligence law to secretly snoop on American citizens in order to investigate a list of federal crimes. That authorized list aligns very nicely with the types of crimes ICE investigates. So if ICE were to get greater access to federal intelligence, thanks to the renewal and expansion of Section 702 of FISA, immigration officials would also get additional access to secret data collected about Americans, not just immigrants. And Section 702's renewal puts some wonky warrant rules in place. If an American citizen is suspected of a crime that ICE is investigating, officials are required to get a warrant to get access to an American's private communications. But if they are not the subject of an investigation or their communications get collected in intelligence-gathering that's not about fighting crime, they do not. So, weirdly, Americans have more due process protections from warrantless snooping if they're suspected of crimes. For the purposes of ICE surveillance, it's very easy to imagine that an American communicating with an immigrant (here legally or not) having his or her phone calls or communications accessed without even knowing about it. So if ICE is allowed to intrude further into the realm of intelligence, that increases the number of federal officials allowed to have access to secret snooping not just of immigrants or people in foreign lands, but of Americans here at home as well.[...]

Don't Count on Institutions to Stop Trump

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 10:00:00 -0500

Donald Trump is a Rorschach blot on the office of the presidency. Some people look at him and see a dangerous authoritarian. Some see a leader too weak to be authoritarian. Some see a weak leader who nonetheless has an authoritarian heart. And that's just the people who don't like the guy. Still, pretty much everyone who isn't paid to pretend otherwise agrees that he's been hemmed in by Washington's permanent institutions. Trump has signed just one major piece of legislation, and his executive orders have frequently landed with a splat. From his stab at banning transgender soldiers to his efforts to defund sanctuary cities, Trump has hit one wall after another. That has led some anti-Trump pundits to a quietly optimistic take on the state of the country. "America's core institutions may not be in perfect health," Zack Beauchamp summed it up in Vox, "but they seem to be functioning well enough to constrain a president who's gone after essential parts of its democratic system." Yet if institutions have largely kept Trump from pushing presidential power in new directions, they have also let him intensify authoritarian policies that already exist. While some institutions have kept Trump in check, others have empowered him. In some ways, immigration is the great success story for the institutions-will-save-us crowd. Thanks to the courts, Trump's travel ban has been both narrowed and delayed. State and local governments have refused to cooperate with some elements of Trump's deportation drive, and so far the Justice Department has been impotent in its efforts to bring them in line. Trump hasn't even had much luck yet in getting Congress to cough up funds for his border wall. But courts, federalism and an opposition party aren't the only institutions at work here. Trump inherited a powerful raids-and-deportation apparatus, and he hasn't been shy about using it. And so while deportations themselves have receded somewhat in the last year, deportation arrests have surged—and they're much more likely to take place far from the border. The American Civil Liberties Union reports a "notable increase" in "arrests of people who don't have criminal records, those who show up to routine check-in meetings with agents, and even people previously offered humanitarian exceptions." That apparatus is an institution. It was built up by prior presidents of both parties, along with Congress and the bureaucracy. They assembled a weapon, and then they left it on the Oval Office desk. Speaking of weapons: Trump has escalated the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, and his war with Islamic State killed more civilians in just over half a year than Barack Obama's did in three years. He's been able to do such things because he inherited a strong institution: an increasingly unaccountable system for raining death from the air. Obama got away with claiming that the authorization to use military force to fight the perpetrators of Sept. 11, 2001, covers all manner of battles around the world. Naturally, Trump's team has embraced the argument. And if the president decides to launch nuclear missiles at North Korea this evening, it would take a full-fledged mutiny to stop him. Thank a decades-old policy of giving the president unilateral control of the nuclear arsenal. Institutions haven't just empowered Trump; he's empowered institutions. He has allowed the military to make its own decisions on a host of war-making matters without White House input—including, in some theaters, whether to launch a raid or airstrike. He has also reportedly given the CIA the right to conduct its own covert drone strikes in Syria, and there has been talk of letting it exercise that authority elsewhere. Power isn't flowing to the executive so much as it's flowin[...]

Trump's Bigly Lie that He'll Make America's Immigration System More Merit-Based Like Canada's

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 11:01:00 -0500

Debunking Trump's steady stream of bigly lies on immigration is a full time job.

One such lie is that the immigration reforms he is demanding in exchange for handing citizenship to Dreamers will make America's(image) system more "merit based," like Canada's. But I note in my column at The Week, this is like saying that kneecapping someone will make them a better sprinter.

If Trump were serious about this goal, he would:

radically streamline the immigration process for high-skilled immigrants. He could skip the H-1B stage altogether and hand green cards to them directly, just as Canada does. Or at least "staple" greencards to the diplomas of foreign students graduating from American universities (as Mitt Romney once proposed) or to the job offers of foreigners. Or increase the annual quota of H-1Bs. Or scrap the per-country annual limit on green cards. Or at minimum give the unused green card quota of one country to others like India and China that send more talent to America.

Instead, Trump has launched a two-front assault on high-skilled immigrants. He wants to pass laws to cut off the future stream of high-skilled workers and he is using his regulatory powers to make it difficult for those already here to stay.

The administration's motive here is clear: Make life so uncertain and miserable for foreign tech workers that they'll think twice before opting to come to America—and the red tape so time-consuming and costly for employers that they would think twice before hiring them.

Go here to read the whole thing.

The Pernicious Myth of 'Chain Migration'

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 06:00:00 -0500

President Donald Trump's war on immigration is in full-blown mission creep. No longer does he only want to throw "bad hombres" out. He's even targeting immigrants who pose no security threat to the country. And recently, he has become preoccupied with so-called chain migration. "CHAIN MIGRATION cannot be allowed to be part of any legislation on Immigration!" he bleated in one tweet. The practice is "horrible" and "bad for the country," he barked in others. The president is using nativist language to trash a noble goal of America's immigration system: keeping families intact, which, as it happens, has also worked wonders for America's economy. The term is meant to conjure images of a process in which one immigrant comes into the country and then pulls in hordes of relatives, who in turn pull in hordes more, until entire tribes and villages are emptied into the United States. The White House even released an infographic to that effect. But that's not how things work. Beyond spouses and minor children, American law allows immigrants to sponsor only parents, adult children, or siblings—not aunts, uncles, and cousins. Moreover, they can do so only after they themselves receive green cards or become naturalized citizens. According to a National Foundation for American Policy analysis of government data, it can take up to 45 years for an immigrant to gain entry and pull in the next link in the "chain." Using a typical case, the study pointed out that if a Mexican-American naturalized woman sponsored her married son from Mexico, it would take the son and his wife 20 years to get green cards. If the wife wished to bring her siblings over, the quickest route would be for her to become naturalized, too, which would take five years. Sponsoring them would take another 20, by which time they'd be middle aged! As the Mercatus Center's Daniel Griswold wrote in The Hill, the U.S. system admits only 2–2.5 family members of immigrants per year for every 1,000 residents. That's the same rate as in Canada and Australia—countries whose skills-based systems are Trump's alleged models. And about 66 percent of the foreigners America admits under this category are spouses or minor children. Hence, America can't stop what nativists call "mass immigration" without breaking up nuclear families. Sadly, even failed Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, an immigration dove and Mr. Family Values himself, recommended rebalancing America's immigration system by cutting the family-based immigration that accounts for two-thirds of all immigrants to the country, and ramping up the employment-based immigration that accounts for a third. To his credit, unlike Trump, Bush favored raising overall immigration levels. He knows that without more foreign workers, America's workforce will diminish by 8 million by 2035. One reason Republicans such as Bush badmouth family-based immigration is that they believe allowing in relatives rather than skilled professionals is not good for the economy. That's understandable—and profoundly mistaken. Indeed, with the exception of aging parents, immigrants leave their home and hearth and come to America only if they believe they have a good shot at achieving something better here. Regardless of which bureaucratic category they're admitted under, they do what it takes to be productive and get ahead. A study by Harriet Duleep of the College of William & Mary and Mark Regets, then of the National Science Foundation, examined three decades of census data and found no difference in the final earnings of foreigners sponsored by family members vs. those sponsored by employers. Even though the former make less money than the latter initially, they a[...]