TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S WAR ON AMERICA — Proposals To Restrict Student Visas & Reduce Legal Immigration Will Hurt Economy, National Standing

These articles from today’s Washington Post highlight three “gonzo” immigration proposals driven by the Trump Administration’s white nationalist agenda.

First, the proposal to require nonimmigrant students in the U.S. to apply for annual extensions of stay would roll back the “duration of status program” for students — arguably the single best and most mutually beneficial efficiency move in the history of INS/USCIS. It would also create chaos in student visa programs that not only keep many colleges and universities financially viable, but also fuel American innovation and technological advances in the STEM fields.

Second, proposals to make visa issuance a law enforcement function within the DHS would lead to chaos in the visa issuing program and probably will result in retaliation by other friendly nations. Visas are part of the foreign commerce of the U.S., not a domestic law enforcement program.

Finally, proposals to reduce legal immigration and further restrict legal opportunities for unskilled workers would deprive the U.S. of workers at a time when the growing economy needs them the most. This short-sighted policy would likely lead to the same type of economic stagnation that has plagued EU countries and Japan over the past several decades.

Read the articles here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-latest-nativist-trump-proposals-would-actually-hurt-american-institutions/2017/07/17/c85765fc-67eb-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html?utm_term=.570c8e41fee6

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/07/17/cutting-legal-immigration-50-percent-might-be-trumps-worst-economic-policy-yet/?utm_term=.ac7808d8383d

Restrictionist policies driven by xenophobia and racism inevitably lead to disaster.

PWS

07-18-17

WANTED: MORE IMMIGRANTS TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT! — Trump Administration’s “White Nationalism” Likely Road To National Disaster!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/06/opinion/sunday/to-be-great-again-america-needs-immigrants.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region®ion=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&_r=0

Rushir Sharma writes in the NY Times Sunday Review:

“In short, the standard innovation theory of American exceptionalism is all about qualities that make each worker more productive. Today, nearly all the economic discussion about how to make America great again focuses on ways — like cutting red tape and taxes — to revive flagging productivity growth.

Though this discussion remains critically important, it plays down a big shift in the story. The underlying growth potential of any economy is shaped not only by productivity, or output per worker, but also by the number of workers entering the labor force. The growth of the labor force is in turn determined mainly by the number of native-born and immigrant working-age people. Over the last two decades, the United States’ advantage in productivity growth has narrowed sharply, while its population advantages, compared with both Europe and Japan, have essentially held steady.

What makes America great is, therefore, less about productivity than about population, less about Google and Stanford than about babies and immigrants.

The growing importance of the population race will be very hard for any political leader to fully digest. Every nation prefers to think of itself as productive in the sense of hard-working and smart, not just fertile. But population is where the real action is.

Comparing six of the leading developed countries — the United States, Germany, Japan, Canada, Australia and Britain — I found that not only has productivity growth been slowing across the board in recent decades, but also that the gaps in productivity growth among these rich nations are narrowing sharply. For example, in the 1990s and 2000s, productivity was growing much faster in the United States than in Germany or Japan, but that advantage has largely disappeared in this decade.

The reasons for this convergence are complex, possibly having to do with the way production technology now spreads quickly across borders. But this trend spans the developed world, and it basically holds regardless of which two countries you compare, which should raise doubts about how any one country, including the United States, can regain a distinct economic advantage by focusing only on reviving productivity.

Which brings us back to babies and immigrants. Like productivity, population growth has been slowing worldwide in recent decades, the big difference being that the gaps among the rich nations are increasingly significant. In the 1960s the United States population growth rate averaged 1.2 percent, or 50 percent higher than Europe’s and about the same as Japan’s. By the late 1960s, population growth peaked worldwide because of the spread of birth control and other cultural shifts, but it has slowed much more gradually in the United States than in its rivals.

Since 2005, per capita gross domestic product has grown on average by 0.6 percent a year in the United States, exactly the same rate as in Japan and virtually the same rate as in the 19 nations of the eurozone. In other words, if it weren’t for the boost from babies and immigrants, the United States economy would look much like those supposed laggards, Europe and Japan.

Indeed, if the United States population had been growing as slowly as Japan’s over the last two decades, its share of the global economy would be just 15 percent, not the 25 percent it holds today.

Moreover, immigrants make a surprisingly big contribution to population growth. In the United States, immigrants have accounted for a third to nearly a half of population growth for decades. In other countries with Anglo-Saxon roots — Canada, Australia and Britain — immigrants have accounted for more than half of population growth over the past decade. Those economies have also been growing faster than their counterparts in the rest of Europe or Japan. But much of that advantage would have disappeared without their population advantage.

Politically, the irony of this moment is stark. Population growth is increasingly important as an economic force and is increasingly driven by immigration. Yet now along comes a new breed of nationalists, rising on the strength of their promises to limit immigration. And they have been especially successful in countries where anti-immigrant sentiment has run strong, including the United States and Britain.

. . . .

It would be unrealistic to imagine that hard economic logic will turn the anti-global, anti-foreign tide any time soon. So the likely result is that the United States and Britain will go ahead and limit immigration. To the extent they do — and their rivals do not — they will undermine their key economic edge, and cede much of the growth advantage they have enjoyed over Europe and Japan.”

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The “other people’s babies” crowd is driven by xenophobia and racism, not by any real desire for a great future for all Americans.

Meanwhile, tone-deaf Republicans, including Jeff Sessions, are calling for limits on legal immigration, without any credible factual or statistical basis to support their restrictionist agenda. Same goes for those who would limit family-based immigration in favor of some type of “point system” favoring highly skilled migrants.

The U.S. needs (and uses) migrant labor in all parts of the economy. If anything, migration, both legal and undocumented, at the “worker bee level” — farmworkers, construction  workers, food processors, child care workers, hospitality industry workers, janitors, and other service occupations — has been just as important to our growth and prosperity as a nation as have been scientists, researchers, professors, executives, star athletes, entertainers, and capitalists.

We need a comprehensive immigration reform package that not only legalizes those law-abiding immigrants already in  the workforce, but provides opportunities for significantly expanded legal immigration. Not only would this more realistic approach address our economic needs, but it also would be a better way to solve immigration enforcement issues than money spent on walls, detention, and more enforcement bureaucracy.

As the system more reasonably matches supply and demand, the pressure for migration outside the system decreases and the incentive for “getting in line” increases. Just good old capitalist theory applied to the oldest human phenomenon: migration.

PWS

05-07-17

NYT: Japan Finds Out (The Hard Way) How Limiting Immigration Limits Future Economic Growth

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/business/japan-immigrants-workers-trump.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Jonathan Soble writes in the NYT:

“Japan, on the other hand, long ago achieved what Mr. Trump has promised: It has very little illegal immigration and is officially closed to people seeking blue-collar work.

Now, though, its tough stance on immigration — legal and illegal — is causing problems. Many Japanese industries are suffering from severe labor shortages, which has helped put a brake on economic growth.

That is prompting Japan to question some fundamental assumptions about its labor needs. The debate is politically delicate, but changing realities on the ground — in Japan’s factories and fields — are forcing politicians to catch up. Japan’s total foreign-born labor force topped one million for the first time last year, according to the government, lifted in part by people entering the country on visas reserved for technical trainees.

That growth has also led to an increase in cases of worker abuse and fraud, labor activists say.”

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Yup.  When my parents went into a very “high end” retirement home in this area, I noticed that virtually all of the dedicated staff, from doctors and nurses down to the janitors, were recent immigrants. I never ran into a high school kid, when our kids were at that stage or later, who said he or she aspired to be an orderly, a janitor, or even a Certified Nursing Assistant. But, I don’t think most of our kids and grandkids want to take care of us to that degree, either. So, those of us who plan to live to a ripe old age had better hope that Trump’s upcoming “war on immigrant workers (legal and undocumented)” is less than fully successful. Or else, we’ll be emptying our own bedpans.

PWS

02/10/17

Washington Post: Next Trump Targets: Public Charges, Birth Tourists, Foreign Workers!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-circulates-more-draft-immigration-restrictions-focusing-on-protecting-us-jobs/2017/01/31/38529236-e741-11e6-80c2-30e57e57e05d_story.html

The Washington Post reports:

“The Trump administration is considering a plan to weed out would-be immigrants who are likely to require public assistance, as well as to deport — when possible — immigrants already living in the United States who depend on taxpayer help, according to a draft executive order obtained by The Washington Post.

A second draft order under consideration calls for a substantial shake-up in the system through which the United States administers immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, with the aim of tightly controlling who enters the country and who can enter the workforce, and reducing the social services burden on U.S. taxpayers.
The drafts are circulating among administration officials, and it is unclear whether President Trump has decided to move forward with them or when he might sign them if he does decide to put them in place. The White House would not confirm or deny the authenticity of the orders, and White House officials did not respond to requests for comment about the drafts Monday and Tuesday.
If enacted, the executive orders would appear to significantly restrict all types of immigration and foreign travel to the United States, expanding bars on entry to the country that Trump ordered last week with his temporary ban on refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries.”

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For copies of the draft Executive Orders and the full story, go over to the Washington Post at the above link.

PWS

01/31/17

 

The First Target Of The Trump/Sessions Immigration Agenda Might Not Be Undocumented Individuals — “H-1B” Program That Brings Professionals and Techies In To Aid U.S. Companies Appears To Be In The Crosshairs — Some Indian Pols Rejoice At Prospect Of Relocating Silicon Valley To India!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/trump-and-sessions-plan-to-restrict-highly-skilled-foreign-workers-hyderabad-says-bring-it-on/2017/01/08/8701e0ca-d2c0-11e6-aa0c-f196d8ef0650_story.html?utm_term=.bd6585171144

“But the H-1B cap meant that the bulk of Indian tech workers stayed back. The current cap — not just from India — is 65,000, plus another 20,000 who have graduated from American universities with advanced degrees, down from almost double that at the beginning of the 2000s.

Among those who do get the visas, most ultimately return to settle and work in India. In Hyderabad, many of those returnees are confident that their city can compete with Silicon Valley for India’s brightest young minds.

K.T. Rama Rao, the son of the current chief minister, was one of them. Now he’s the minister for information technology in his father’s government. He pointed to Apple as an example of how Hyderabad could absorb the thousands of workers in a potential future with far fewer H-1Bs — or without them altogether.

“Apple is already moving their maps division here, and they’re doing that because we’re producing more G.I.S. talent than anyone else in the world,” he claimed in an interview, referring to geographic information systems. “Ideally, a president of the United States would have a balanced perspective on business, but if he wants tech firms to stay, he should create better job readiness in the U.S.”

Rao said that legislation targeting big Indian outsourcing companies would wean them away from their dependency on servicing American companies. Without the visa program, they would have to engage in new lines of work that created value in Hyderabad and not abroad, he said.

Amit Jain, now the president of Uber India, is another returnee who used to be on an H-1B. He said that the influx of American companies, as well as a growing indigenous start-up culture, could offer what Indians used to seek in the United States closer to home.

“We definitely have a more robust ecosystem here now,” he said. “We’re seeing plenty of hiring in the future.”

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I find the projected continued role of Jeff Sessions in this process interesting.  While the Attorney General used to be responsible for administering the H-1B program, that ended more than a decade ago with the transfer of the adjudication functions of the “Legacy INS” to the then newly created Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and it’s United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) Division.   The Attorney General’s responsibility for the H-1B program is now strictly “in the margins:” narrow legal issues involving individuals in H-1B status occasionally arise in Immigration Court proceedings, and the Office of Immigration Litigation (“OIL”) in the Civil Division and the U.S. Attorneys are occasionally called upon to defend particular USCIS policies or interpretations of the H-1B category in Federal Court.

Normally, the moving force within an Administration on H-1B policies and reforms would be the Secretary of Homeland Security — soon to be General John Kelly.  Sessions’s continued involvement as Attorney General in what normally would be DHS/USCIS issues, could presage a reincarnation of the old “Commissioner of Immigration” role.  The Commissioner once headed the INS within the Department of Justice and was a powerful figure whose “finger was literally in every pie in the immigration world.”

My recollection is that one of the ideas of moving the immigration enforcement and service functions to the DHS, while leaving the Immigration Courts behind within the Department of Justice was to increase the separation of the immigration enforcement and service functions from the legal and “fair and impartial hearing” functions of the Immigration Courts.  While this distinction has always worked better in theory (and, perhaps, in terms of perception) than in actual practice, it is likely to become further blurred and hampered if the Attorney General intends to assume a primary immigration enforcement and policy making role within the Administration.

Presumably, Senator Sessions’s specific views on how he sees his role in immigration and his plans for maintaining and improving the due process role of the Immigration Courts — currently struggling with a 500,000+ case backlog and dozens of unfilled judicial positions — will be better fleshed out during the upcoming confirmation process.

PWS

01/09/17