August 2007


New Report Takes Detailed Look at Different Levels of Admissions. CIS press release below

A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies projects how different levels of immigration would impact the future size of America’s population. The findings, carefully modeled on earlier projections by the Census Bureau, show that the current level of immigration will add 105 million to the population by 2060, while having a small effect on the aging of society.

The report, entitled ”100 Million More: Projecting the Impact of Immigration on the U.S. Population, 2007 to 2060,” will be online at http://www.cis.org . Among the other findings:

* Currently, 1.6 million legal and illegal immigrants settle in the country each year; 350,000 immigrants leave each year, resulting in net immigration of 1.25 million.

* If immigration continues at current levels, the nation’s population will increase from 301 million today to 468 million in 2060 — a 167 million (or 56 percent) increase. Future immigrants plus their descendants will account for 105 million (or 63 percent) of the increase.

* The total projected growth of 167 million is equal to the combined populations of Great Britain, France, and Spain. The 105 million from immigration by itself is equal to 13 additional New York Cities.

* If the annual level of net immigration was reduced to 300,000, future immigration would add 25 million people to the population by 2060 — 80 million fewer than the current level would add.

* The above projection follows exactly the Census Bureau’s assumptions about future birth and death rates, including a decline in the birth rate for Hispanics, who comprise the largest share of immigrants.

* Net immigration has been increasing for five decades; if that trends continues, the increase caused by immigration will be higher than the projected 105 million.

* While immigration has a very large impact on the size of the nation’s population, it has only a small effect in slowing the aging of American society.

* At the current level of net immigration (1.25 million a year), 61 percent of the nation’s population will be of working age (15 to 66) in 2060, compared to 60 percent if net immigration were reduced to 300,000 a year.

* If net immigration was doubled to 2.5 million a year it would raise the working-age share of the population by one additional percentage point, to 62 percent, by 2060. But that level of immigration would create a U.S. population of 573 million, double its size in the 2000 Census.

Policy Discussion: The findings of this study make clear that the debate over immigration should not be whether it makes for a much larger population — without question it does. Consistent with the findings of the Census Bureau, these projections also show that the debate over immigration should not be whether it has a large impact on the aging of society — without question it does not. The central question this study raises and that Americans must answer is what costs and benefits come with having a much larger population and a more densely settled country. Some see a deteriorating quality of life with a larger population, including its impact on such things as pollution, congestion, loss of open spaces, and sprawl. Others may feel that a much larger population will create more opportunities for businesses, workers, and consumers. These projections do not resolve those questions. What the projections do tell us is where we are headed as a country. The question for the nation is: Do we wish to go there?

Methodology: This report uses the Census Bureau’s assumptions about future birth and death rates from its most recent projections and then simply varies the immigration component. The last Census Bureau projection, released in March 2004, incorporated only one immigration scenario into the projection, so immigration’s impact was unclear. The new Center for Immigration Studies report is the first to show the impact of so many different levels of immigration. At present, elected officials have no way of knowing how 200,000 immigrants a year versus two million immigrants a year might affect the population in, say, a 20- or 50-year time period. These projections provide the answers. The new projections are based on the most recent immigration data, whereas the March 2004 Census Bureau projections were based on data collected in the 1990s prior to the results of the 2000 Census, and assumed a much lower level of immigration than was actually the case.

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Planned Crackdown on Illegals Denounced

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO this week separately assailed a new White House-backed crackdown on illegal immigration, warning of massive disruptions to the economy and headaches for U.S. citizens if the proposal goes ahead as planned in the coming days. The Bush administration intends to begin writing to 140,000 employers on Tuesday regarding suspect Social Security numbers used by an estimated 8.7 million workers, as a way of pressuring them to fire illegal immigrants. President Bush disclosed the plan three weeks ago as part of a repackaged, 26-point enforcement program after Congress failed to overhaul U.S. immigration laws this summer.

But leaders of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of trade groups representing the politically influential construction, lodging, farming, meatpacking, restaurant, retail and service industries appealed on Monday to the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration to postpone the plan’s implementation for six months. Raising the possibility of plant closings, autumn-harvest interruptions and other destabilizing consequences for the U.S. economy, 50 business organization members of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition signed a letter warning of “uncertainties, disruptions, and dislocations throughout broad swaths of the workforce,” as well as discrimination against Hispanic and immigrant workers.

Yesterday, the AFL-CIO, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center and local labor groups separately asked a federal judge in San Francisco to stop the mass mailing and kill the plan outright. They alleged that the DHS is overstepping its authority to enforce immigration laws and is misapplying the Social Security system in a way that will unfairly penalize law-abiding workers and employers. The groups said that inaccurate federal databases could sweep U.S. citizens and legal residents into a bureaucratic morass. The Social Security database used to cull suspicious numbers contains erroneous records on 17.8 million people, including 12.7 million native-born U.S. citizens, the Social Security Administration’s inspector general reported last year. “This rule is a new tool to repress workers’ rights in the name of phony immigration enforcement,” AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney said in a statement. The plan “will cause massive discrimination against anyone who looks or sounds ‘foreign,’ ” said Lucas Guttentag, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

In a statement, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke called the lawsuit “completely without merit, and we intend to fight it vigorously.” Asked about the business coalition’s request for a six-month reprieve, Knocke said: “The list of signatures tells you why immigration reform has been hard, and why we often face enforcement challenges. Still, we’re going to restore public credibility on enforcement.”

The attacks from the left and the right come as Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff warns of “serious” and “unhappy consequences” for the sectors of the U.S. economy that depend on illegal labor, explaining that these are the costs of reestablishing voters’ confidence. Administration officials have blamed the congressional defeat of an immigration overhaul package partly on Washington’s failure to back up its tough rhetoric on illegal immigration with action, saying that political hypocrisy particularly undermined support among conservative groups. “Historically, whenever any administration has tried to enforce the laws that are on the books, they have received push back from stakeholders” and from “the same congressmen who say we need to be tough on immigration,” said Deborah W. Meyers, an analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington.

Some experts speculated yesterday that the new enforcement effort might have the dual aim of solidifying Bush’s standing among an unhappy part of the Republican Party’s base and punishing business groups that did not adequately support the immigration overhaul package. “I don’t know if there’s the will for it. Maybe it’s too little, too late, but they’re trying,” said one congressional lobbyist, who said the administration appears to be trying to build pressure to revive the overhaul plan in Congress. The lobbyist spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Under the new rules, set to take effect on Sept. 14, employers that receive “no-match” letters have 90 days to resolve discrepancies. If they do not, the DHS may conclude that employers knowingly violated the law by employing illegal workers, opening the door to fines and even criminal arrests. That approach marks a major change. The Social Security Administration has long sent “no-match” letters, and it has found that 4 to 10 percent of workers have suspect numbers because of typographical errors, name changes resulting from marriage or multiple surnames, as well as fraud. But, until now, it has not held employers liable. The problem is greater in some industries. Farm groups estimate that 70 to 90 percent of field workers lack proper documents. Raids at meatpacking plants turn up discrepancies in about 30 percent of workers’ documents.

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Small businesses in Western Australia and other parts of the country are being forced to close because they can’t find enough skilled people with trade and technical experience, reports Perth’s Sunday Times. Both local authorities and the federal government recognise that immigration is the only answer to the labour shortage. The owner of a steel security company, Ian Saggers, told the Sunday Times he was closing his business because he has not been able to find anyone to train his staff to use the equipment. This is despite owning what is potentially a multimillion-dollar turnover business. Skilled tradespeople such as machine operators are being lured to the high-paying jobs offered by mining operations in the north. Many trades are on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (Australian MODL), entitling applicants for an Australian visa to extra points.

Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews recently acknowledged: “The reality in Australia today is we’ve got the lowest unemployment rate for 33 years, in states like Western Australia and Queensland in particular, it’s almost impossible to find some workers, in particularly skilled areas, and we’re crying out for workers, without which we wouldn’t be able to continue to run the economy of Australia.”

Western Australia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) chief executive John Langoulant told the Sunday Times they are calling for increases in the number of skilled workers being brought in from overseas. “The chamber has been working with government and employers to develop innovative ways to solve the problem,’ he said. “The chamber advocates the use of skilled immigration schemes to help industry and business meet their growing short-term labour needs. However, improvements can be made to the present system by allowing more overseas skilled workers to enter the country.’

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New Zealand has a culture of coverup which it is very difficult to defeat. There are some good comments about NZ justice here

The man who alleged that corrupt immigration officials had fast-tracked applications has dismissed a report clearing them, and says he knows parties who saw “money change hands”. Former Immigration Minister Tuariki Delamere said he had no faith in a Government investigation, released yesterday, which found no evidence that immigration officials had possibly taken bribes to process business visa applications in 2002. Mr Delamere said he knew parties who had seen immigration agents accepting large sums of cash, and he would be willing reveal details to a parliamentary select committee. He first made the allegations in 2005 just after he was acquitted of several fraud charges relating to his work as an immigration consultant.

The cases in question were in 2002, when there was a massive backlog of between 3000 and 4000 cases. Eighty-nine cases that year were processed within a week at the Immigration Service’s business migration branch. The Department of Labour’s investigation – by Peter Chemis of law firm Buddle Findlay – found no evidence of undue influence. Of the 89 cases, 39 were either declined or of a nature that would have been processed within two days. The remaining 50 applications – 30 for long-term business visas and 20 for investors – were likely to have been selected for processing because they looked in order and had the correct paperwork attached. At the time the applications would have taken three months on average to process, but the report said “the time it took to process an application would depend on a variety of factors”.

One immigration officer processed half of the 50 applications. The report described him as “honest and trustworthy”. “Other than the statistics, which in themselves do not appear remarkable, I have very little to rely upon to even begin to develop the view that this case officer, or indeed any other case officer, was involved in something untoward or dishonest,” Mr Chemis said in his report.

Mr Delamere said the investigation was a whitewash. “Anyone who might have been involved in anything improper would just deny it. Immigration officers aren’t going to risk their jobs by saying anything adverse.” He questioned whether the investigation had appropriate powers to properly test the claims and search under every rock. “I could have directed [the investigation] to people who say they saw money change hands … Did money change hands? I have no idea. But the whole process smells, big time. “Back then, rich Chinese and Koreans would pay $50,000 to $100,000 if someone could guarantee immediate approval. These applications were approved in less than a week, some on the day they arrived.”

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Yesterday’s Arizona Republic reported on an interesting phenomenon taking place as a new workplace identification law approaches implementation. Those workers with no documentation — in other words, illegal aliens — have begun to sell off their property and leave the state:

Undocumented immigrants are starting to leave Arizona because of the new employer-sanctions law. The state’s strong economy has been a magnet for illegal immigrants for years. But a growing number are pulling up stakes out of fear they will be jobless come Jan. 1, when the law takes effect. The departures are drawing cheers from immigration hard-liners and alarm from business owners already seeing a drop in sales.

It’s impossible to count how many undocumented immigrants have fled because of the new law. But based on interviews with undocumented immigrants, immigrant advocates, community leaders and real-estate agents, at least several hundred have left since Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano signed the bill on July 2. There are an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona.

Some are moving to other states, where they think they will have an easier time getting jobs. Others are returning to Mexico, selling their effects and putting their houses on the market. The number departing is expected to mushroom as the Jan. 1 deadline draws closer. After that, the law will require employers to verify the employment eligibility of their workers through a federal database.

The immigration hard-liners appear to have proven one of their main arguments. Illegal immigrants who face a loss of employment due to strict employer sanctions will move elsewhere, and rather quickly. One talk-radio host that caters to what the Republic calls “undocumented immigrants” estimates that the departure rate has already hit 100 per day. It will likely increase until most of them depart before the end of the year, when their jobs will disappear.

Arizona passed employer sanctions with a particular bite. Rather than set up an escalating series of fines, which has been the federal approach, the state opted to put employers out of business. A first offense gets a ten-day suspension of the firm’s business license, which would close the doors during that period. A subsequent offense revokes the business license permanently. Needless to say, that has provided an incentive to business owners to start checking identities through the federal database and terminating anyone who doesn’t clear the system.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce heads a coalition that wants the law repealed based on a Constitutional challenge, but it’s hard to see how they can succeed. The state can impose sanctions on business licenses it issues, and it can insist that employers check for worker eligibility. The real issue for the ACC is labor shortages. The state currently has an unemployment rate of 3.7%, statistically full employment. Arizona employers will have to raise wages to compete for workers, which will cost consumers more but allow for more money in the market as well. It also might prompt business to push for automation where possible, using technology to fill the gaps.

However, the state does have around 9% of its workforce comprised by illegals. They rent houses and apartments, shop for food, and consume just like anyone else does in Arizona. When they disappear, the state will undoubtedly suffer a hit to the economy, especially in housing, which could depress real-estate values in some areas. Some of the immigrants own houses, and they have to sell them fast, which has glutted the resale market in the state. Secondary markets like furniture and home improvement have slowed considerably in Arizona, too.

Proponents of federalism often refer to states as laboratories for political experiments. Arizona’s efforts on employer sanctions will prove an interesting test case for employer-based immigration sanctions.

Source

People arrested by Missouri state troopers will undergo immigration status checks, under an order issued by Gov. Matt Blunt. Blunt’s order, issued Monday, covers the Missouri State Water Patrol and the Capitol Police, as well as the 1,100-member Missouri State Highway Patrol. It calls for the three agencies to enter an agreement with the federal government under which the state troopers will be authorized to enforce immigration laws.

In issuing the order, Blunt pointed to the Aug. 4 killings of three college students in Newark, N.J. Jose Carranza, 28, an illegal immigrant from Peru, is one of six people charged in their deaths. Carranza was out on bail on child rape and aggravated assault charges when the killings occurred. Immigration officials were never alerted about his first arrest.

America is a nation of immigrants, Blunt said, but now is dealing with a wave of illegal immigrants who “openly flout the laws of the United States.” Any arrestee found to be in the country illegally could be taken to one of 11 federal detention centers in Missouri. Federal immigration agents would then determines what happens to the detainees, Highway Patrol officials said.

It is also possible that someone stopped by a trooper could be detained for immigration authorities even if that person would not otherwise have been arrested, the Highway Patrol said. “If we think they’re illegal, then we would be checking them,” said Lt. John Hotz, a spokesman for the patrol. “There would have to be some reasonable suspicion. It can’t just be, `I want to check them.”‘

Sen. Chris Koster, D-Harrisonville — a former Republican who recently switched parties — presented legislation this year to take away the business licenses of those who hire illegal immigrants. The measure failed because of Republican concerns that it would be too harsh a penalty for business owners.

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The article below is from the Wall St. Journal (known for its advocacy of “open borders”) so impartial commentary on the economic effects of immigration is not to be expected. The article does however make clear that Germany has become very immigration-skeptical

Germany is taking baby steps to relax its tough restrictions on immigration as growing shortages of skilled labor force many European countries to compete for migrant workers. Complaints from businesses that they can’t find enough qualified staff — especially in the engineering sector — are pushing Europe’s largest economy to rethink its reluctance to admit foreign workers. Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that her cabinet had agreed to let companies hire more engineers from European Union countries in Eastern Europe.

But Germany plans to keep a lid on the number of Eastern European migrants in other sectors, maintaining restrictions that have been in place since Poland and seven other ex-communist countries joined the EU in 2004. In contrast, other established EU countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland opened their doors to workers from the East. The influx of workers is widely judged to have boosted their economies.

Germany, like many European countries, is torn between the economic case for more immigration and an attachment to the traditional idea of an ethnically homogeneous nation-state. For years, German politicians on the left and right have assured voters that Germany wasn’t a country of mass immigration — even though the country has gone through periods of letting in millions of foreigners. Even when large numbers of Turks settled in postwar West Germany, most Germans assumed these “guest workers” would return home. “Germany is struggling to accept the idea of diversity in society,” says David Audretsch, an American who heads the Max Planck Institute of Economics in Jena, Germany. But countries that open up to people with different backgrounds and experiences are likely to fare better in the global economy than countries that try to stay homogeneous, he says.

During the 1990s, Germany had Europe’s highest immigration rate, partly because it opened its doors to asylum seekers and ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe. About 13% of today’s German population was born abroad — the same proportion as in the U.S., according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But in recent years, immigration has slowed amid bureaucratic restrictions, while an increasing number of Germans are moving abroad. Net immigration in Germany fell to 80,000 in 2005, compared with 270,000 in 2001. In contrast, countries including the U.K., Ireland and Spain have absorbed huge numbers of immigrants in recent years, which many economists credit with boosting growth and living standards for the native population.

Others contend competition from immigrants depresses wages of lower-skilled workers. In the past few years, much of the debate over immigration in Europe has focused on how to better integrate immigrants and their children into society. Riots in France and the U.K. and problems at German schools have highlighted social exclusion among ethnic minorities.

Terrorism by militant Islamists, including the Hamburg students who took part in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., have made many Europeans mistrustful of their Muslim minorities, adding to the unpopularity of allowing more immigration.

European policy makers also must address illegal immigration. Boatloads of destitute migrants — often smuggled by criminal gangs to Europe’s Mediterranean shoreline — are common. On the other hand, many Europeans see immigration as one of the steps needed to ease future labor shortages that will afflict Europe’s aging societies, together with improving low employment rates in certain parts of the native population. “By 2015 at the latest, our replacement needs will be bigger than our domestic supply of newly qualified workers,” says Volker Treier, skills adviser at the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce.

Pressure for more immigration is compounded by an unexpectedly strong boom in German manufacturing, fueled by surging global demand for capital goods. A survey for Germany’s Economics Ministry by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research found that last year German firms were unable to fill about 110,000 job vacancies for lack of qualified candidates. The study’s author, Oliver Koppel, estimates the skills shortage, concentrated in engineering and information technology, cost the economy 20 billion euros, or about $27 billion. Yet German Economics Minister Michael Glos, who unveiled the study last week, stopped short of calling for more immigration. Instead, the government focused on the need to train citizens better for the labor market, which Ms. Merkel said on Friday was a higher priority than immigration.

Among the members of Ms. Merkel’s cabinet, only Education Minister Annette Schavan recently has called for further relaxation of immigration rules. “Improving education and strengthening immigration aren’t alternatives,” she said in June. “We need both.” Ms. Schavan called for Germany to relax one particularly onerous rule that German business chafes at: Firms can recruit highly skilled workers from abroad only if they pay them at least 85,000 euros a year. But other ministers overruled her, and last week the cabinet agreed to only one change: Beginning in November, companies hiring mechanical and electrical engineers from new EU countries in Eastern Europe will no longer have to go through a long bureaucratic process to prove there is no suitable German candidate for the job.

“Minimal steps are not enough,” says Hartfrid Wolff, immigration spokesman for Germany’s pro-business Free Democratic Party. Under EU law, Germany will have to drop its restrictions on East European EU citizens by 2011 at the latest — so it might as well do so now and reap the benefits, he says.

In another measure to protect Germany against unwanted foreign intrusion, Ms. Merkel reiterated Friday that her government is working on ways to stop investors backed by foreign governments from taking over German companies in sensitive sectors — a concern Germany has expressed in recent months against a background of the growing influence of state-backed investment funds from emerging economic powers such as Russia and China.

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