Jobs for Californians: Strategies to Ease Occupational Licensing Barriers,
Little Hoover Commission, Report #234, October, 2016, 46 pp.
a review of California licensing requirements for regulated professions, the Little Hoover Commission -- a nonpartisan state
oversight and research agency established by the California State Legislature -- concluded that many requirements are unnecessary,
obsolete, and particularly burdensome to vulnerable groups, such as ex-offenders, veterans and their spouses, and those trained
or educated outside the state, including foreign-trained workers. The extent of this problem is far-reaching; one out of five
Californians must obtain permission from the government to work. The challenge is to ensure that consumer protection is balanced
with the need to provide access to jobs and services. This report suggests that the balance needs to be corrected in many
areas. The Commission found "a nearly impenetrable thicket of bureaucracy" and a tendency to rely on political considerations
to determine policy, rather than a thoughtful examination of consumer interest. The Commission offers eight recommendations
to improve the system, four systemic in nature and four procedural. One of the systemic recommendations involves the collection
of demographic data about all applicants for licensing to determine whether procedures are having an adverse impact on specific
groups. Two of the procedural recommendations have direct bearing on the needs of foreign-trained workers: first, mandating
that all California colleges create bridge education programs, and second, developing work and apprenticeship models that
would enable people to work in their professions while pursuing licensure.
Reason for Reform: Entrepreneurship
New American Economy, October, 2016, 21 pp.
What role do immigrants play as entrepreneurs in the U.S. economy?
An "outsized" one, according to this report from New American Economy, based on data from the American Community
Survey, the Survey of Small Business Owners and other sources. The authors describe immigrants as "a critical piece
of the U.S. entrepreneurship landscape" -- almost twice as likely as the native-born population in 2015 to start a business.
Businesses owned by immigrants (excluding publicly-owned firms) employed more than 5.9 million workers in 2007, the last year
for which figures are available. The report gives the number of immigrant entrepreneurs in each state and the amount of business
income they produce for the top 25 states. The report also updates an earlier 2011 NAE study by looking at immigrant founders
of Fortune 500 companies in 2016. The "massive role" played by first and second generation immigrants remained essentially
unchanged over the 5-year period. In 2016, 40.1 percent of these firms, or 201 companies in total, had at least one founder
who was either a first or second-generation immigrant. These firms employed almost 19 million people. The report gives
the number of such firms in each state, along with the number of people employed by these firms in 2016. The authors conclude
with an explanation of the frustrations faced by would-be immigrant entrepreneurs in setting up their businesses in the U.S.
and urge the passage of legislation that would create a startup visa program for entrepreneurs conditional on their raising
sufficient start-up capital.The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration,
Panel on the Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,
September, 2016, 508 pp.
Editors: Francine D. Blau & Christopher Mackle
In an effort to understand
the economic and fiscal impacts of immigration on the United States, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
convened a distinguished panel of 22 economists, sociologists, and demographers, chaired by Francine D. Blau, of the Department
of Economics at Cornell University. In a study process lasting three years, the panel pored over the existing scholarly literature
and secured input from experts around the United States. The actual report, more than 500 pages in length, is filled with
technical jargon that may prove intimidating to the lay reader. Repeatedly, the authors caution readers that immigration cannot
easily be isolated as a single causal factor for any economic outcome. Nonetheless, the panel tried to find areas of
consensus. One point of agreement is that high-skilled immigrants have had a significant "positive impact" on the
overall economy, stimulating innovation and helping to create jobs. Without their energy and talent, "patenting
per capita" in the U.S. would not be so high. The authors also review the literature on the "dynamic immigration
surplus," which posits that knowledge formation, spurred on by the diversity of backgrounds and experiences of immigrants,
can act as "an engine of economic growth." The authors conclude that "the prospect of long-run economic
growth in the United States would be considerably dimmed without the contributions of high-skilled immigrants." With
regard to low-skilled immigrants, many of whom help to sustain entire industries in the U.S., some adverse effects may have
been felt by immigrants who arrived earlier and teenagers who never finished high school. "While pre-existing workers
most similar to immigrants may experience lower wages or a lower employment rate, pre-existing workers who are complementary
to immigrants are likely to benefit, as are native-born owners of capital."
Some analysts have highlighted findings
in the report that are supportive of their policy orientation on immigration. Harvard economist George Borjas, for example,
a member of the panel of experts that produced the report, but a favorite of the restrictionist right, has published a User's Guide to the report that echoes his long-standing critique of immigration. Coverage, however, in both the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times emphasized findings suggesting the benefits of immigration to the overall economy. The report also assesses the role
of immigration in helping to mitigate some of the anticipated fiscal effects of an aging population. The report concludes
with a number of recommendations designed to overcome the limitations of existing data sources, including adding a question
on the birthplace of parents to the American Community Survey and adding a question on parental educational attainment to
the Current Population Survey.
Schooling and Labor Market Effects of Temporary Authorization: Evidence from DACA
Institute for the Study of Labor, August, 2016, 42 pp.
Authors: Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Francisca Antman
Using data from the Current Population Survey, this paper attempts to gauge the impact of DACA on the schooling,
employment and wages of eligible youth. One key finding is that -- contrary to some expectations that DACA would increase
motivation to pursue higher education - participation in the DACA program "significantly reduced the likelihood of school
enrollment" of eligible youth who had already earned a high school diploma or a GED. At the same time, the grant
of work authorization through DACA resulted in higher rates of employment, "suggesting that the potential labor market
returns to authorization today might outweigh any additional returns to higher education to be felt further down the road."
The authors do acknowledge, however, that their study only looks at short-term impacts of DACA, not the longer-range outcomes,
which might be quite different.
Can Authorization Reduce Poverty among Undocumented Immigrants? Evidence from the Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals Program,
Institute for the Study of Labor, August, 2016, 14 pp.
Authors: Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes
& Francisca Antman
The estimated 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States face poverty
rates nearly twice as large as those of U.S-born individuals. This study
examines the impact of authorization on
the rate of poverty among households headed by undocumented immigrants. Specifically, the researchers examined the effects
of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows eligible individuals a reprieve from immediate
deportation and the ability to temporarily work in the United States. The report compares the poverty exposure of DACA-eligible
and DACA-ineligible individuals finding that the program reduces the likelihood of poverty conditions in households headed
by DACA-eligible individuals by 38 percent. The researchers conclude that even temporary authorization has a significant impact
on the rate of poverty among undocumented immigrants. However, the long-term effects of DACA depend on the outcome of the
presidential election and whether the program is continued, expanded, or ended. (Sophia Mitrokostas for The Immigrant
Learning Center Public Education Institute)
Who Will Care for Our Seniors? Comparing the Gap between Available Healthcare Workers and Open Healthcare
New American Economy, September, 2016, 12 pp.
There are striking healthcare labor shortages in some areas of
the country that result in limited access to crucial services for Americans. Meanwhile, the number of senior citizens is projected
to more than double by the year 2030. A large share of healthcare workers is already foreign-born and so, given their demonstrated
interest in this field, immigrants could play an important role in addressing these workforce challenges. These are the major
findings of Who Will Care for Our Seniors?
which utilizes data from the 2013 American Community Survey and a labor
market analysis firm to show that healthcare, one of the fastest growing sectors, is facing worker shortages all across the
nation particularly in rural states. For example, in North Dakota, where about 75 percent of counties are rural, there were
53.8 open jobs for every one unemployed healthcare worker (In the broader economy, the average is 1.3 open jobs for every
unemployed worker). Immigrants, who are more likely to be of working age and willing to relocate, could help alleviate gaps
like this. The authors recommend reforms that would make it easier to procure foreign healthcare workers including a visa
system that would allow cities or states to sponsor immigrant workers to fill critical vacancies in healthcare. (Jasmina
Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
Culprit or Scapegoat? Immigration's Effect on Employment and Wages,
Bipartisan Policy Center, June, 206, 19 pp.
Authors: Kenneth Megan & Theresa Cardinal Brown
paper sets out to investigate the claim that a recent decrease in labor force participation by native-born Americans is the
result of immigrants taking jobs and driving down wages. Between 2000 and 2012, the labor force participation rate of the
native born dropped from 67 to 62 percent. According to the authors, this decline can be explained almost entirely by increases
in retirement, disability, and school enrollment. Next, the authors explain that a large percentage of immigrants are concentrated
in certain industries where there are fewer native-born workers. As the economy recovers from the Great Recession, the authors
point out that "foreign-born industries" (industries in which immigrants tend to be concentrated) have shown robust
growth and are experiencing labor shortages. The industries in which immigrants tend to be concentrated have lower median
pay not because immigrants drive down wages, but because they require lesser skills and have lower educational requirements.
In the absence of immigrants, it is unlikely that natives-who are more highly educated and thus can command higher pay-would
take the place of immigrants. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)
Immigrants in Health Care: Keeping Americans Healthy Through Care and Innovation
Immigrant Learning Center & Institute for Immigration Research, George Mason University, June, 2016, 23 pp.
Marcia D. Hohn, Justin P. Lowry, James C. Witte, José Ramón Fernández-Pena
an outsized and critical role in the U.S. health care industry, and greater integration of foreign-born and foreign-trained
health care workers is crucial to sustaining this fast-growing industry. Combining existing data and profiles of immigrants
across the health care spectrum, this report discusses the impact of the foreign-born in health care as a whole and particularly
in three subfields: medicine and medical science, long-term care, and nursing. The report finds that although immigrants comprise
only 13 percent of the general population, they constitute 22 percent of nursing, psychiatric and home health aides, 28 percent
of physicians and surgeons, and 40 percent of medical scientists in pharmaceutical manufacturing research and development.
Foreign-born health care workers are critical in meeting the demands of the current health care market, which includes shortages
of physicians in rural and inner-city areas, a need for cutting-edge medical technology and a growing senior population rapidly
diversifying in race and ethnicity. Given the necessary innovation and cultural and linguistic skills immigrants bring to
health care, as well as the aging U.S. population and other drivers of the industry, the authors recommend creating provisional
visas for home care workers, supporting the Professional Access to Health Workforce Integration Act, and investing in and
further developing workforce development programs that support and help integrate immigrant health care professionals. (Crystal
Ye for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
Banking on Unsafe Working Conditions: Placing Profits Before Protection of Casino & Hotel
Workers' Human Rights in Deutsche Bank's U.S. Supply Chain,
University of California, Irvine, May 17, 2016, 54 pp.
Authors: Fatma E. Marouf, Sameer M. Ashar &
Jennifer J. Rosenbaum
The third-largest private employer in Nevada, Station Casinos, LLC, is alleged to have
committed human rights violations against its largely Latino and immigrant workforce. In preparing this report,
authors conducted 101 interviews with employees to investigate the workers' health and safety. In April 2016, multinational
German corporation Deutsche Bank was a partial owner of Station Casinos LLC but has since reduced its share of the company
from 25 percent to 16-18 percent thereby forfeiting governance rights. The report argues that by reducing its holdings, Deutsche
Bank is not fulfilling its obligation to investigate and address human rights violations alleged by the workers interviewed
for this report. These violations include unfair labor practices, such as blocking freedom of association and collective bargaining,
and health and safety violations, such as inadequate safety gear, defective machinery, negative repercussions from reporting
violations, lack of break time, inadequate benefits and mental stress from understaffing. The report calls for Deutsche Bank
and Station Casinos LLC to investigate and address these complaints. (Sophia Mitrokostas for The Immigrant Learning Center
Public Education Institute
The Labor And Output Declines From Removing All Undocumented Immigrants
American Action Forum, May 5, 2016, 21 pp.
Authors: Ben Gitis & Jacqueline Varas
This paper examines
how major industries would be impacted if all undocumented immigrant workers were removed from the U.S. The authors use estimates
of undocumented workers in each industry developed by the Pew Research Center. They then calculate the number of lawful workers
potentially available in each industry to take the place of undocumented workers should they be removed. The authors conclude
that, overall, there would be a shortfall of, at a minimum, four million workers in the private sector should all undocumented
immigrants be removed. The resulting labor decline would result in a loss of between $381 billion and $623 billion in private
sector output, or 2.9 percent to 4.7 percent annually (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting).
Midwest Diagnosis: Immigration Reform and the Healthcare Sector,
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, March, 2016, 22pp.
Author: Nicole Fisher
supply of native-born health care professionals is not keeping pace with the rising demand for health care workers in the
Midwest, especially to serve the rapidly growing elderly population. In a report for The Chicago Council on Global Affairs,
Nicole Fisher argues that immigrants are the key to the future sustainability and vitality of this sector, but the current
immigration system makes it difficult and burdensome for foreign-trained health care professionals to work in the U.S. The
problem is especially acute in rural areas. The author recommends a number of reforms, including: issuing visas according
to labor force demands, removing quotas and caps on doctors and surgeons, and addressing credentialing challenges for foreign-born
professionals. The report also notes that shortages exist among lower-skilled, lower-paid healthcare jobs, such as home health
aides. Fisher also recommends allowing uninsured immigrants to access some forms of insurance so that the burden on hospital
emergency rooms is eased. She also urges a stepped-up effort to train healthcare professionals to provide linguistically and
culturally competent care to the increasingly diverse populations of the Midwest (Karly Foland for The Immigrant Learning
Center Public Education Institute).
A City of Immigrant Workers: Building a Workforce Strategy to Support All New Yorkers,
The Center for Popular Democracy & Center for an Urban Future, April, 2016, 41 pp.
Kate Hamaji & Christian González-Rivera
In this report, Hamaji and González-Rivera argue for
a revised and expanded approach to workforce development programs for immigrants in New York City. Their key concern
is moving from a sector-based workforce strategy that focuses on equipping workers with the skills that particular employers
are demanding to one that also includes a population-based strategy. Such an approach would address the particular needs
of immigrant workers by providing ESOL classes for increasing English proficiency, by offering "bridge" programs
that help adult learners transition from ABE into higher education and trade-based certification programs, and by providing
targeted training in other employment-related issues (e.g., the difficulty of navigating the US job market, the complexity
of getting credentials from abroad recognized in the US, etc.). The authors suggest that the current workforce system
in New York City is fragmented in ways that limit immigrants' ability to access services, and they present a number of recommendations
for ways to better coordinate services (e.g., recognizing and supporting smaller agencies that already have a presence in
immigrant neighborhoods). To deal with persistent concerns about the exploitation of workers, Hamaji and González-Rivera
suggest that workers' rights should be a central focus of any workforce development effort. Similarly, given the key
role immigrants play in the economy and their limited ability to access necessary services, the authors assert that the needs
of undocumented workers must be addressed in a systemic fashion. The report provides descriptions of model workforce efforts
and concludes with a number of specific policy recommendations (Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University).
Undocumented Immigrants' State & Local Tax Contributions,
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Updated February 24, 2016, 22 pp.
Authors: Lisa Christensen
Gee, Matthews Gardner, & Meg Wiehe
Undocumented immigrants in the United States pay
a significant share of their income in state and local taxes and could potentially pay more through implementation of the
Obama administration's executive actions or passage of comprehensive immigration reform. Using each state's effective tax
rate combined with state population estimates, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy 2016 report Undocumented Immigrants'
State and Local Tax Contributions provides state-by-state breakdowns of the current and potential tax contributions of the
11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The authors find that undocumented immigrants pay an estimated $11.64
billion in state and local taxes per year, or an average of 8 percent of their income compared to the average nationwide tax
rate of only 5.4 percent paid by the top one percent of taxpayers. The authors estimate that full implementation of the Deferred
Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs
would increase the state and local tax contributions of undocumented immigrants by $805 million annually. Moreover, granting
legal status to all undocumented immigrants and allowing them to work legally would boost their tax contributions by $2.1
billion per year (Sophia Mitrokostas for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute).
Immigrants and Billion Dollar Startups,
National Foundation for American Policy, March, 2016, 33 pp.
Author: Stuart Anderson
Immigrants have founded 44 of the 87 U.S. startup companies valued at 1 billion dollars or more. Moreover, according
to the National Foundation for American Policy brief Immigrants and Billion Dollar Startups, at least one immigrant
fills a key management or product development position in 71 percent of the startups, particularly chief technology officer,
CEO or vice president of engineering. The immigrant-founded startups are collectively worth 168 billion dollars and have created
an average of 760 jobs each. The report features profiles of some of the leading entrepreneurs, including Noubar Afeyan of
Moderna Therapeutics (Lebanon), Elon Musk of SpaceX (South Africa), and Jyoti Bansal of AppDynamics (India). The author emphasizes
that the impressive contributions of these entrepreneurs would not have been possible with more restrictive immigration policies,
such as those being proposed by certain members of Congress. With current policies such as the low quota on H-1B temporary
visas continuing to make immigration and business difficult for potential immigrant entrepreneurs, the author recommends the
creation of a startup visa category to encourage future entrepreneurs to set up businesses in the U.S. (Crystal
Ye for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
Danger and Dignity: Immigrant Day Laborers and Occupational Risk,
Seton Hall Law Review, 46(3): 2016, 70 pp.
Author: Jayesh Rathod
article presents findings from a research study designed to assess immigrant workers' exposure to unhealthy and unsafe working
conditions. Conducted over several months in 2014, the study relies on in-depth interviews with 84 immigrant day laborers
who were seeking employment in Northern Virginia. Through this investigation, the author seeks to identify the factors that
either increase or reduce the risk of occupational injury or illness, with special attention to variables such as immigration
status, language and cultural differences, and worksite administration and enforcement. The article begins with a literature
review to frame some of the questions deserving of further study. The author then provides an overview of the day laborer
phenomenon in the United States, noting that the growth in the day laborer population "is just one manifestation of a
broader shift in the economy towards contingent employment." After an explanation of the research methodology used in
the study, the author provides a snapshot of the demographic characteristics of the interviewees and summarizes some of the
key findings from the survey. Forty-six percent reported experiencing a workplace-related injury or illness. However,
those workers affiliated with a worker center (38 of the 84 interviewees) had a dramatically lower rate. Indeed, there wasn't
a single injury for jobs secured at the center. The study concludes with a number of key findings and recommendations,
including the importance of accommodating the diversity of the day laborer population. As the author points out, the "essentializing
of the immigrant worker population leads to ill-fitting policy proposals premised on an incomplete, outdated, and/or stereotyped
understanding of the immigrant worker community."
Reaching a "Fair Deal" on Talent: Emigration, Circulation, and Human Capital in Countries
Migration Policy Institute, Transatlantic Council on Migration, February
2016, 36 pp.
Authors: Kate Hooper & Madeleine Sumption
To assist migrants
in using their skills to the fullest, both in the destination country and in the country of origin if they return or support
development projects there, a variety of initiatives have been implemented by the private sector and national and local governments.
Kate Hooper and Madeleine Sumption of the Migration Policy Institute review some of these initiatives in their report, Reaching
a "Fair Deal" on Talent: Emigration, Circulation, and Human Capital in Countries of Origin. The report emphasizes
the importance of skill transferability so that regardless of where migrants choose to settle, the economies of both the host
and sending countries can benefit from their talent and labor. The initiatives include promoting portable education programs
and credentialing systems in countries of origin and creating targeted job and language programs in countries of destination.
For example, in the Philippines, the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) administers an inexpensive
certification and training system for both the domestic and foreign labor markets. TESDA official certifications have gained
recognition outside of the Philippines, and some have been drawn up with the assistance of destination country industry representatives.
Other initiatives to maximize the potential of skilled migrants include promoting remittance activity and fostering exchanges
between diaspora communities and people in their countries of origin. The report emphasizes that while there is no way to
ensure that migration benefits both the host country and country of origin equally, national and local authorities should
scale up cost-effective initiatives. (The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
62 UCLA Law Review 1558 (2015), 26 pp.
Author: Kathleen Kim
paper explores the consequences of worksite immigration enforcement on the exercise of free labor rights, as derived from
the 13th Amendment's abolition of slavery and other labor and employment laws. The author asks: "does the
absence of (immigration) status render undocumented workers unfree in the workplace?" Although constitutional and legal
protections theoretically apply to all workers, no matter their immigration status, they are largely unavailable to undocumented
workers due to the implicit or explicit threat of deportation and the common assumption that the employment relationship is
"consensual" in nature. "The notion that these workers willingly accept their exploitation nullifies their
coercion claims. Free labor rights seek to correct coercion in the workplace, yet the illegality of undocumented workers places
them beyond coercion, outside the protection of free market remedies." Coerced labor may be defined as
conduct by an employer "intended to constrain the worker's choice between providing labor according to the employer's
demands or suffering a negative consequence." The author recognizes that she is opening a dialogue on these questions
and suggests that worksite enforcement of any type, including E-Verify, may put in jeopardy "our constitutional and moral
commitments to free labor."
Immigration Policy and the Search for Skilled Workers,
The National Academies Press, 2015, 155 pp.
Rapporteurs: Gail Cohen, Aqila Coulthurst &
The importance of high-skilled labor in the global economy is increasing as
the development and dissemination of scientific knowledge become crucial to maintaining a competitive advantage. While the
United States continues to attract the most talented migrants, high-skilled immigration has been growing faster in other member
countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering
and Medicine organized a workshop to collect information on how other countries have changed their temporary and/or permanent
resident programs in order to meet employer needs and fuel growth in new enterprises. This publication summarizes the presentations
and discussions at the workshop and highlights some of the key points made. The workshop participants compared policies aimed
at attracting and retaining international students and high-skilled workers, analyzed the impact on innovation and labor markets,
and examined systemic changes countries undertook in response to unintended results. While the major focus was on policy comparisons
among the U.S., Canada and Australia, immigration systems and trends in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark,
Israel, the Middle East and Southeast Asia were also discussed. Participants used data from the United Nations, OECD and respective
countries' official sources to show that most effective high-skilled immigration policies need to be flexible to respond to
changing labor and market needs. For example, Canada switched from a points-based system in which applicants waited in queue
for years, losing employment opportunities for which they initially applied, to the "Expression of Interest system."
Applicants provide career information and qualifications, and eligible applicants are placed on a list of similar applicants
and ranked according to eligibility criteria and Canadian labor market needs. This method seems to respond better to economic
needs while enhancing opportunities for foreign-born workers. The report notes that the U.S. has been successful in attracting
high-skilled immigrants mainly because of factors other than immigration policy such as the quality of education and research
opportunities as well as employment and retention rates. Participants recommended several policies from other countries that
the U.S. might consider adopting, including an annual pool of applicants from which employers can choose people to obtain
permanent visas; better data collection to assess policy effectiveness, perhaps modeled on the kind of longitudinal studies
of skilled immigrants done in Canada and Australia; allowing employer-sponsored immigrants to change employers; giving states
greater control over skilled immigrant admissions; and a benefits package similar to the one that Israel provides to new immigrants.
(Jasmina Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
State of Latino Entrepreneurship: Research Report 2015,
Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, November 2015, 37 pp.
Authors: Douglas Rivers et al
Since the early 2000s, the number of Latino-Owned Businesses (LOBs) has increased at
substantially higher rates than Non-Latino Owned Businesses (NLOBs). Yet, a multi-trillion dollar "opportunity gap"
exists between LOBs and NLOBs. For this reason, the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (a partnership between the
Latino Business Action Network and Stanford University) released the first annual report State of Latino Entrepreneurship
in an effort to explain why LOBs lag behind NLOBs in yearly sales and to promote the economic potential of Latino businesses.
Based on surveys of Latino businesses owners, the report disputes the notion that the opportunity gap exists because LOBs
lack a diverse customer base or because they are concentrated in smaller industries. Instead, the authors find that lower
sales are more likely to be caused by difficulties raising capital and the weaker networks of LOBs. LOBs also have greater
difficulty getting approval for bank loans and tend to rely on other financing methods such as credit cards or personal savings
for business investment. They are also less familiar with government programs such as those run by the Small Business Administration.
The report encourages policymakers and business leaders to increase their engagement with Latino entrepreneurs to help LOBs
scale to the level of NLOBs and reach their full economic potential. (The Immigrant Learning Center
Public Education Institute)
Immigrants and WIOA Services: Comparison of Sociodemographic Characteristics of Native-
and Foreign-Born Adults in the United States, Fact Sheets for the United States and Selected States
Migration Policy Institute, December, 2015, 12 pp.
Authors: Margie McHugh & Madeleine
As states and the federal government work to implement the Workforce innovation and Opportunity (WIOA)
Act of 2015, MPI undertook an analysis of the characteristics of the immigrant population relevant to the "equitable
implementation of WIOA, as well as consideration of other policy and funding initiatives to promote the successful linguistic,
economic, and civic integration of immigrants and refugees in the United States." The Fact Sheets, available for the
United States as a whole and the ten states with the largest immigrant populations, explore seven demographic variables:
nativity, age, and origin; educational attainment; limited English proficiency (LEP); brain waste; the number of immigrants
with young children; poverty and health insurance; and U.S. citizenship and immigration status. The Fact Sheets discuss the
relevance of each data point for successful WIOA implementation. For example, noting that LEP individuals have constituted
less than 2 percent of individuals receiving Title I services over the last five years, the authors suggest that significant
capacity-building and policy change will be necessary to achieve equity for immigrants in accessing training services. Moreover,
the law's "narrow accountability measures" may exclude immigrants without employment or postsecondary transition
and completion goals from participating in WIOA funded adult education programs.
Reducing Brain Waste: Creating Career Pathways for Foreign-Educated Immigrants in Washington
One America, 2015, 27 pp.
Authors: Vy Nguyen et al
about the growing number of underemployed, foreign-educated immigrants in Washington State, OneAmerica undertook this study
to gauge the scope and severity of the problem and to identify effective policy solutions. The report describes the barriers
that keep foreign-educated immigrants from re-entering their professions and shows how the integration of foreign-educated
immigrants can bolster the state's economy. The authors examine two sectors in particular - nursing and teaching - and
show how these professions could benefit from the more effective utilization of immigrant talent. The two professions would
gain access to a labor pool with strong multicultural and linguistic skills -- attributes important to both reducing health
disparities and improving student educational outcomes in an increasingly diverse state. The report identifies a number of
"key levers" of systemic policy change, including: more effective data collection, the development of case management
capacity, utilization of online resources, the development of bridge programs, the use of alternative routes and pipelines
to recertification, licensing reform, the development of professional connector programs, standard-setting for credential
evaluation, financial assistance programs to ease the cost burden of recertification, and greater employer support and engagement.
In order to implement these changes in an efficient manner - drawing on the resources and expertise of community-based and
educational organizations, as well as different agencies and departments of state government - the authors recommend the establishment
of a state Office of New Americans with broad responsibility for the economic, social, and civic integration of immigrants.
This office would create a special task force dedicated to maximizing the economic potential of foreign-educated immigrants.
The Economics of Step-by-Step Immigration Reform,
Bipartisan Policy Center, May, 2015, 55 pp.
Graham, Joel Prakken, Theresa Cardinal Brown, & Lazaro Zamora
The Bipartisan Policy Center report Assembling the Pieces: The Economics of Step-by-Step Immigration Reform projects
the effects of staggered immigration reform on economic growth and the federal budget by analyzing five reform scenarios.
Utilizing publicly available data, estimates by demographic characteristics and assumptions based on U.S. Census methodologies
to project changes to economic variables, the study finds that a step-by-step approach can have a positive impact on the economy,
but only if the negative effects of over-enforcement are balanced with other policies such as legalization and expanded programs
for temporary and high-skilled workers. For instance, over 20 years, an enforcement-only approach would lead to a 1.5 percent
decrease in GDP and a $110 billion increase in the federal deficit. A combination of enforcement, legalization, lesser-skilled
temporary worker programs and high-skill reform, on the other hand, would increase GDP by 0.5 percent and reduce the deficit
by $570 billion. The models run by the Bipartisan Policy Center further show only modest wage effects on existing workers
under any reform scenario and suggest that regularly adjusted rather than fixed numerical caps on immigration categories are
more likely to meet the economy's changing needs. (Jasmina Popaja for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Engaging Employers in Immigrant Integration
Urban Institute, August, 2015, 41 pp.
Author: María E. Enchautegui
Immigrants make up an outsized share of America's workforce compared to their share of population,
and the country's competitive advantage depends in part on how successfully employers integrate immigrant workers into the
economy. Describing workplaces as "essential spaces for immigrant integration," the author of this study, funded
by the Ford Foundation, interviews key informants and scans the available literature to answer three main questions: 1) What
do we know about employer engagement in immigrant integration? 2) How can we conceptualize this engagement? And, 3) what can
employers do to promote integration? Enchautegui observes that effective integration practices can benefit both the
employer and the foreign-born worker, but these practices are not well known. Among the report's recommendations are: offering
workplace English-language training; equipping human resources staff with information on immigration policy and the value
of foreign credentials; providing safety and occupational training in foreign language; offering naturalization assistance;
and creating employee assistance programs geared specifically toward immigrants. The author hopes that the study will serve
as a tool for "systematizing the knowledge about employer engagement in immigrant integration" and for cataloguing
the many ways that employers can participate in this effort. Through such an effort, employers will boost worker productivity
and company profitability, at the same time that they improve the skills and well-being of their immigrant workers. (Karly Foland for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: What We can Learn from the Banking and Credit Habits
of Undocumented Immigrants,
University of New Mexico School of Law Research Paper 2015-08, 61 pp.
Described by the author as "the first empirical study of the debtor-credit relationships of undocumented
immigrants," this study is based on in-person interviews with 50 undocumented immigrants in New Mexico. The article
begins with a discussion of how "the silencing of undocumented persons due to fear of deportation has implications for
contract and consumer law." The author explains how "when it comes to credit of almost every form, the poor pay
more." Data from the study show "that the financial condition of many undocumented immigrants if far more
precarious than one might imagine" as 74 percent of interviewees "would not be able to cover a $100 emergency if
it came up." Other information gathered from the interviews involved type of work, income levels, property ownership,
use of credit cards and bank accounts, use of payday or title loans, savings levels, use of public benefits, and remittances.
In her conclusion, the author observes that "participants overall were very way of debt, a trait the general American
population could learn from." She also found "little attempt to access public benefits or otherwise tax the American
Steps to Success: Integrating Immigrant Professionals in the U.S.,
IMPRINT and World Educational Services, 2015, 37 pp.
Authors: Amanda Bergon-Shilcock &
This report provides a "first-of-its-kind" analysis of the experiences of college-educated
immigrants who earned their degrees abroad. The U.S. is home to some 3.7 million such immigrants, many of whom are either
unemployed or underemployed in low-wage jobs. Based on an online survey with 4,002 respondents, as well as an innovative audio
survey of 5,000 immigrant radio listeners, the study drew samples from six cities: Boston, Detroit, Miami, Philadelphia, San
Jose, and Seattle. The researchers attempted to identify the factors most strongly associated with professional success
in the U.S. They found a "remarkably powerful correlation" between an immigrant's self-reported social network
and the ability to earn a salary of at least $50,000 per year - the measure used to define "earnings success" in
this study. Moreover, English-speaking ability was also strongly predictive of positive integration outcomes, as was the ability
to get formal recognition, whether full or partial, for foreign credentials. Those immigrants who were able to buttress their
foreign degrees with some form of higher education in the United States, even if just "short-term ‘Made in America'
supplements," also did better in the U.S. job market. Finally, the report looks at the characteristics of the immigrant
professional populations in each of the six cities and concludes with a series of recommendations for service providers, funders,
Guide to Immigrant Economic Development
Welcoming America, July, 2015, 92 pp.
Principal Author: Steve Tobocman
to the authors of this guide, the last half-decade has seen a convergence of interest between economic development specialists
and advocates for immigrant integration. Both have come to see that immigrant integration can serve as an engine for economic
development. "Cities that lead in the 21st century," the report contends, "will be those that intentionally
attract and incorporate diverse people and ideas, and create the means for talented people from around the world to not only
come, but to put down roots." The Guide is a compendium of immigrant-focused economic development strategies and model
practices. There are separate chapters on immigrant entrepreneurship, workforce development, initiatives for highly skilled
immigrants, connector programs, home ownership, urban agriculture, export promotion, international student retention, immigrant
investor visas, corporate diversity programs, and general integration services. Within each of these topical areas, the author
assesses the state of the art and identifies different models or approaches to achieve a particular policy goal. For example,
in the entrepreneurship chapter, he identifies four different models to promote immigrant entrepreneurship: the Community
Development Model, as represented by the Neighborhood Development Center of Minneapolis/ St. Paul; the Case Management Model,
as represented by the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians; the Service Integration Model, as exemplified by the Mission
Economic Development Agency of San Francisco; and the Women Entrepreneurship Model, as represented by the Acre Family Child
Care Program in Lowell, MA, which trains women to develop licensed, home-based child care businesses. The chapter on
"connector" programs showcases a program in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that has been replicated in 15 Canadian communities.
Connector programs are similar to mentorship programs, except that the time commitment from volunteers is not as onerous.
The lead author of the report is Steve Tobocman, Director of Global Detroit and a founder of the Welcoming Economies (WE)
Global Network of Welcoming America, a ten-state regional network of local immigrant economic development initiatives.
2015 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity: National Trends,
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. 2015, 47 pp.
Authors: Robert W. Fairlie, Arnobio
Morelix, E.J. Reedy, & Joshua Russell
Immigrants now account for 28.5 percent of all new entrepreneurs in
the United States and are almost twice as likely than the native-born to become entrepreneurs (0.52 percent for the foreign-born
vs. 0.27 percent for the native-born). The 2015 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity: National Trends presents trends
in startup activity over the past two decades at the national level. The authors define and discuss the three components of
their Startup Activity Index: the Rate of New Entrepreneurs, defined as the percentage of adults becoming entrepreneurs in
a given month; the Opportunity Share of New Entrepreneurs, defined as the percentage of new entrepreneurs driven primarily
by "opportunity" vs. "necessity" (and loosely measured by the number of entrepreneurs unemployed prior
to business formation); and the Startup Density, measured as the number of startups per 100,000 people. According to
the report, startup activity rose in 2014, reversing a five-year downward trend in the United States, although the index remains
below historical trends. Driving this growth were increases in the rate of new entrepreneurs for men (0.41 percent in 2014
vs. 0.34 percent in 2013), Latinos (0.46 percent in 2014 vs. 0.38 percent in 2013) and immigrants (0.52 percent in 2014 vs.
0.43 percent in 2013). There was also a small rise in the opportunity share of new entrepreneurs across all demographic groups,
especially among men, and a modest increase in the startup density after several years of declining rates. (Chiara Magini, The ILC Public Education Institute)
Undocumented Immigrants' State and Local Tax Contributions,
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, April 16, 2015, 20 pp.
Authors: Matthew Gardner,
Sebastian Johnson, & Meg Wiehe
New data on unauthorized immigrants as taxpayers
demonstrate how some immigration reform policies will affect tax revenue for state and local governments. Drawing data from
the Migration Policy Institute and the Pew Research Center, this report discusses the consequences of two policy reforms:
President Obama's executive action to grant work authorization and relief from deportation to almost half of the unauthorized
population, up to 5.2 million people, and the effects of implementing a path to legalization for all 11.4 million unauthorized
immigrants. The authors report that unauthorized immigrants already make impressive tax contributions: their estimated nationwide
average state and local tax rate, which is the share of total income paid in taxes, is 8 percent which is higher than the
wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers, whose effective tax rate is 5.4 percent. Paying an estimated $11.84 billion in state and
local taxes, unauthorized immigrants contribute their share mostly through payroll and income taxes, property tax and sales
tax. According to Undocumented Immigrants' State and Local Tax Contributions, if all of the undocumented immigrants
were granted lawful permanent residence and allowed to work legally, their state and local tax contributions would increase
by more than $2.2 billion per year. The report includes tables showing current and projected state and local tax contributions
by undocumented immigrants for all 50 states. (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Does Immigration Impact Institutions?
Cato Institute, May 6, 2014, 29 pp.
Authors: J.R. Clark et al
While the economic benefits of immigration are well documented, little research has focused
on the impact of immigration on the institutions of host countries. Does Immigration Impact Institutions? examines
the hypothesis that immigrants, particularly those from Third World countries, tend to undermine the consensus in support
of "economic freedom." Defining economic freedom as a combination of strong private property rights, a stable
economy, and minimal government regulation, and considering other factors such as GDP and the extent of immigrant dependence
on government benefits, the study finds that immigrants have a small but beneficial effect on economic freedom regardless
of the source country or volume of immigration. The study compares data from the Economic Freedom of World (EFW)
report against percentages of countries' immigrant populations, provided by the UN's The International Migrant Stock by
Destination and Origin. Between 1990 and 2011, the authors found no evidence that immigrants from either poor or authoritarian
countries have a negative effect on economic freedom. The report does show, however, a small increase in per capita
GDP that correlates with a higher flow of immigrants. (Priscilla Moreno for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Ideas that Innovate: State and Local Policies,
WE Global Network, n.d., 35 pp.
An increasing number of Rust Belt communities are introducing initiatives to attract immigrants and maximize their
contribution to local economic growth and prosperity. Ideas that Innovate is a compendium of state and local
public policies designed to achieve these goals. Compiled by WE Global Network (formerly Global Great Lakes Network), the
paper offers policymakers and economic development specialists an assortment of innovative ideas and models to achieve more
welcoming, inclusive and prosperous communities. Separate chapters discuss efforts to enhance the contributions of international
students, integrate highly skilled immigrants, establish resident leadership academies, introduce the seal of biliteracy,
open state-funded opportunity centers, and establish EB-5 investor visa centers. The paper provides details about each initiative,
identifies key stakeholders, and explains where it has worked and why it is important. It also provides resources for action,
additional readings and key contacts. (Chiara Magini, The ILC Public Education Institute)
Share of Unauthorized Immigrant Workers in Production, Construction Jobs Falls Since
Pew Research Center, March 26, 2015, 34 pp.
Authors: Jeffrey S. Passel & D'Vera Cohn
Analyzing data from the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey, this report
examines the unauthorized immigrant workforce by occupation and industry, with particular attention to changes since the Great
Recession of 2007. In addition to illuminating national trends, this study also shows occupational and industrial patterns
within 43 states and the District of Columbia. Reflecting changes in the overall U.S. economy since the recession, the study
finds small shifts in the composition of unauthorized workers in the labor market. While unauthorized immigrants in construction
and manufacturing industries fell by 5 percent, those with white-collar or professional jobs grew by 3 percent. Despite these
changes, unauthorized workers remain twice as likely to work in low-skill, low-pay positions as U.S.-born workers and less
than half as likely to work in professional or management jobs. The study also finds that, making up approximately 5.1% of
the U.S. labor force in 2012, unauthorized immigrants are generally overrepresented in blue-collar industries and "account
for a far higher share of the total workforce in specific jobs, notably farming (26 percent), cleaning and maintenance (17
percent), and construction (14 percent)." (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)
The Budgetary and Economic Costs of Addressing Unauthorized Immigration: Alternative
American Action Forum, March 6, 2015, 14 pp.
Authors: Ben Gitis & Laura Collins
Unauthorized immigrants play a significant economic role in the U.S. making up 6.4 percent of the work force. The
Budgetary and Economic Cost of Addressing Unauthorized Immigration examines the impact that strict immigration law enforcement
would have on the economy. It analyzes the expense of fully enforcing current immigration law, that is, apprehending, detaining,
processing and deporting the 11.2 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. as well as preventing future
migrants from unlawfully entering the country. The analysis shows that such enforcement would be costly: the U.S. government
and taxpayers would spend up to $600 billion and it would take 20 years to complete. Additionally, deportation of all undocumented
immigrants would reduce the gross domestic product (GDP) by $1.6 trillion due to of the loss of workers. According to the
report, since undocumented immigrants rarely receive governmental assistance, the deportation of 11.2 million unauthorized
immigrants would add to, not lessen, the federal budget deficit through loss of tax revenue and relatively unchanged spending.
The report concludes that deportation costs for all the undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. are burdensome to taxpayers
and harmful to the health of the overall economy. (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Hispanic Immigration and US Economic Growth,
IHS Economics, February 2015, 21 pp.
The growth rate of the U.S. economy's labor force will decrease to around 0.6 percent per year from 2020 to
2034 as Baby Boomers continue to retire in large numbers. The purpose of this report is to analyze the future of the U.S.
work force, its characteristics and the effect of the Hispanic population on the labor market. The authors suggest
that the Hispanic working population, demographically younger and growing more rapidly than other groups, will partially offset
the projected dwindling of the non-Hispanic labor force. Drawing on data from IHS Economics, an economics analysis and forecasting
firm, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the authors find that only 2.2 percent of the Hispanic work force is aged 65 and
over (compared to 5.8 percent of the non-Hispanic workforce) and only 9.8 percent are in the 55 to 64 age group approaching
retirement (compared to 17.4 percent of the non-Hispanic). "The Hispanic population will play an increasingly significant
role in U.S. labor force growth" as it will account for almost half of the work force expansion over next five years,
according to the authors. This study also includes an analysis of economic and social conditions in major Latin American sending
countries and the extent to which these countries will continue to supply immigrants to revitalize the U.S. labor market.
(Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Mentoring Practices in Europe and North America: Strategies for Improving Immigrants'
Migration Policy Institute Europe, January, 2015, 74 pp.
Author: Milica Petrovic
Mentoring is a promising strategy to facilitate labor market entry and career success for immigrants. This study examines
mentoring programs on both sides of the Atlantic in an effort to distill the key "ingredients" for effective programs.
The King Baudouin Foundation funded the study out of a concern to reverse the poor labor market outcomes for non-E.U. immigrants
in Belgium. In reviewing the landscape of mentoring programs, the authors provide details on sponsoring organization(s),
targeted populations, numbers served, and results to date. In some cases, programs target immigrants exclusively, e.g. out-of-school
immigrant youth, or highly-skilled immigrants, while in other cases, programs serve a broader population, of which immigrants
may be one component. The "recipe" for effective mentoring programs seems to include the following: government
and private sector support; stable core funding, predicated on the belief that immigrant employment is "beneficial to
everyone;" success in elevating the issue of immigrant employment to a high level public priority and getting all actors
pulling in the same direction; and having clear benchmarks for success and ensuring careful evaluation of all programs.
The Impact of Temporary Protected Status on Immigrants' Labor Market Outcomes,
The Institute for the Study of Labor, December, 2014, 21 pp.
Authors: Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline
This study seeks to measure the labor market effects of granting Temporary Protected
Status (TPS) to foreign-born residents of the U.S. There are currently about 300,000 foreigners in the U.S. with TPS,
which provides a reprieve from deportation and authorization to work in the U.S for the duration of a major crisis in their
home country. The authors see the TPS program as a possible predictor of what might happen with the deferred action programs
of the Obama Administration. As the largest group of current TPS holders are Salvadoran, and as the current grant of TPS dates
back to the Salvadoran earthquakes of 2001, the authors examine the labor market outcomes of two cohorts of Salvadorans, ones
who arrived just prior to the earthquake (eligible for TPS), and ones who arrived just after (ineligible and presumably largely
undocumented). Men eligible for TPS earn about 13 percent more than those who are not, even if their unemployment rate is
somewhat higher (presumably they now have the freedom to shop around for a better-paying job rather than being locked into
one form of employment). TPS also drives up the labor force participation rate for lesser-educated Salvadoran women by about
17 percentage points. The authors suggest that "the 2001 TPS for Salvadoran migrants is a potential indicator of how
a legalization program that is temporary and does not create a pathway to U.S. citizenship would affect beneficiaries."
How Changes in Immigration Policy Might Affect the Federal Budget,
Congressional Budget Office (CBO), January, 2015, 38 pp.
This report discusses how changes in immigration legislation might affect portions of the federal budget, including
immigrant eligibility for public benefits and the share of tax revenues derived from immigrants. The report also assesses
the budgetary effects of changing the skill and educational profile of the immigrant population, creating more temporary worker
programs, and strengthening border security. The report notes that in the future CBO will likely be required by Congress to
estimate the macroeconomic effects of immigration reform, e.g. changes in GDP and employment -- something that CBO
has traditionally not done. The report doesn't arrive at any conclusions; rather it discusses the complex array of factors
that need to be considered in determining the fiscal impact of any piece of immigration-related legislation.
Bringing Vitality to Main Street: How Immigrant Small Businesses Help Local Economies Grow,
Fiscal Policy Institute & Americas Society/Council of the Americas, January, 2015, 38 pp.
David Dyssegaard Kallick
Immigrants were responsible for all of the net growth in Main
Street business nationally and in 31 of the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas between 2000 and 2013. This is the main finding
of a "first-of-its-kind" report that demonstrates the high value of immigrants to local economies, particularly
as Main Street business owners, and their importance in building healthy, safe and economically viable neighborhoods. Bringing
Vitality to Main Street: How Immigrant Small Businesses Help Local Economies Grow uses data from the American Community
Survey and Survey of Business Owners to determine that immigrants make up about 13 percent of the general population, 16 percent
of the labor force, 18 percent of business owners and 28 percent of Main Street business owners. On Main Street, immigrants
are overrepresented in certain types of business; for example, immigrants make up 61 percent of all gas station owners, 58
percent of dry cleaners, 53 percent of grocery store owners, and 38 percent of restaurant owners. The data also show that,
between 2000 and 2013, immigrants accounted for 48 percent of overall growth of business ownership in the U.S. Based on these
findings, the authors suggest that cities take proactive steps to welcome immigrants and to support their business ventures.
The author also conducted in-depth case studies of three metro areas - Philadelphia, Nashville and Minneapolis-St. Paul -
and examined their policies and programs aimed at helping immigrants and their businesses. To fully maximize the potential
value of immigrants and Main Street businesses, the author recommend establishing a local governmental office to provide overall
leadership, creating culturally competent business training, promoting community-based financial assistance, and ensuring
that resources and programs are available to all (Jamie Cross for The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.'s Public Education
Who's Behind the Wheel? Immigrants Filling the Labor Shortage in the U.S. Trucking Industry,
Institute fort Immigration Research, George Mason University, December, 2014, 10 pp.
The second in a series of papers entitled, "Immigrants Working for US,"
this paper examines the economic contributions of immigrants in the U.S. trucking industry. In 2012, immigrants represented
13 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for 15.7 percent of the total truck driver workforce. The proportion of immigrant
truck drivers was especially high in certain states such as California (46.7 percent), New Jersey (40.4 percent), Florida
(32.2 percent), and New York (25.7 percent). Using data from the American Trucking Association and the Census Bureau's American
Community Survey, the research brief Immigrants Working for US: The Trucking Industry by Zahra Sohail Khan, finds that the
trucking industry is the backbone of the U.S. economy, with 70 percent of all the freight tonnage within the country transported
via trucks. However the industry experiences chronic worker shortages due to a high turnover rate and an aging native-born
workforce. The author suggests that immigrant truck drivers can play a critical role in filling these shortages, but they
will need access to English language training to pass commercial licensing exams and an increase in the quota of H-2B visas
to allow more immigrants to fill vacancies in the industry (Chiara Magini for The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.'s Public
Immigrants Working for U.S. Pharmaceuticals,
Institute for Immigration Research, George Mason University, August, 2014, 6 pp.
Shaun Michel & James Witte
This paper analyzes the role of immigrants in the pharmaceutical
industry and is the first in a series about the economic contributions of immigrants in key industries in the United States.
In 2011, immigrants represented 13 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for 17 percent of the workforce in the pharmaceutical
industry. The role of immigrants was even more pronounced in pharmaceutical production and distribution, with 26 percent of
all positions held by the foreign-born, and in high-skilled occupations, with immigrants representing 33 percent of the research
and development workforce and more than 40 percent of the scientists. Among the key findings in the report are: the U.S. pharmaceutical
industry is considerably dependent on immigrant labor, especially in key occupations like research and development, production
and distribution; among the 10 top countries of origin for workers in the industry are many emerging pharmaceutical
markets; and the U.S. pharmaceutical industry benefits from immigration since it profits from skills and talents which would
otherwise be available to its competitors in other countries. (Chiara Magini for The Immigrant Learning
Center, Inc.'s Public Education Institute)
Policing Wage Theft in the Day Labor Market,
UC Irvine Law Review, 4:2, 2014, 25 pp.
Author: Stephen Lee
recent years, workers' right advocates have pushed for the criminalization of wage theft, i.e. the nonpayment of wages for
work already performed, and convinced a number of state and local governments to pass laws imposing hefty fines and the possibility
of imprisonment for engaging in it. Noting that wage theft is most common in the informal labor market and that many of the
affected workers are undocumented immigrants, the author evaluates the effectiveness of this strategy in an environment in
which the federal government, through programs such as Secure Communities and detention contracts with local governments,
enlists the help of local law enforcement authorities in enforcing immigration laws. Even with the best of intentions,
police departments find it difficult to "insulate" themselves against the pressure to cooperate with federal authorities.
The author concludes that, "the distrust of the police effectively neutralizes the potential of wage theft statutes when
employed against employers who hire unauthorized immigrant workers." Another unintended consequence is that employers,
who themselves are undocumented, may be apprehended and deported, cutting off a source of livelihood for immigrant workers.
He acknowledges, however, that the existing civil regime for enforcing labor law is weak, especially given the challenge of
reaching "into the crevices nestled at the bottom of the economy where much of the nation's day labor work is negotiated
and carried out," the limited resources of the federal government, and the unwillingness of many labor attorneys to take
on these cases given the small sums involved and the contingency fee model under which they operate. One effective approach
might be legislation like the Trust Act recently passed in California. However, further research is needed to determine the
extent to which local police departments can reassure immigrant communities and secure their trust and cooperation.
Does Immigration Increase Economic Growth?
Manhattan Institute, December, 2014, 18 pp.
Author: Diana Furchtgott-Roth
The author reviews the evidence on whether immigration helps or harms American workers. The consensus among
economists, she reports, is that increased immigration leads to higher economic growth and that immigrants complement rather
than displace native-born workers. The publication includes tables showing the concentrations of immigrants and native-born
in various industries. The availability of immigrant labor in a particular occupation often opens up job opportunities for
native-born Americans in related occupations. The author critiques a recent report by the restrictionist Center for Immigration
Studies, which examined New Hampshire's labor market since 2000 and concluded that immigration reduced work opportunities
for native-born Americans. Among the errors and conceptual flaws in this study were: not taking into account New Hampshire
residents working in neighboring states, counting Massachusetts workers who move to New Hampshire as "immigrants,"
and confusing people who are "not employed" with "unemployed." The publication concludes by urging Congress
to undertake major reforms of our immigration system, using the 2013 Senate Immigration bill as a starting point. "A
large body of economic literature and government data, of which this paper offers a snapshot, leaves little doubt that immigration
is not the cause of the country's current economic woes - but is rather part of the cure to the faster economic growth that
the U.S. urgently needs."
Rx for Strengthening Massachusetts' Economy and Healthcare System: A Report by the Governor's
Advisory Council for Refugees and Immigrants, Task force on Immigration Healthcare Professionals in Massachusetts, December, 2014, 53 pp.
Author: Jeffrey Gross
This report examines labor market barriers facing foreign-trained healthcare professionals in Massachusetts and the
U.S. and offers detailed policy and program recommendations to enable these individuals to contribute their talent and training
to address current and future skill shortages in the health care field, particularly in community and primary care settings.
The report was produced with funding from the J.M. Kaplan Fund and The Boston Foundation and utilizes new data from the 2013
National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG), conducted every 10 years by the National Science Foundation. The NSCG permits
the disaggregation of college graduates by source of degree (foreign or U.S.), degree field, salary, and relationship of current
occupation to degree field. One of the more striking statistics cited in this report is that foreign-educated nurses in Massachusetts
are over seven times more likely to have a low-skilled job (21 percent) than their U.S.-trained counterpart (3 Percent) -
the highest disparity in all states studied. Noting that many studies project major shortages of nurses, physicians, pharmacists,
physical therapists, and mental health professionals in the years to come, the author observes that programs and policies
to accelerate the reentry of foreign-educated health care professionals will play an important role in addressing these shortages.
The report details efforts that can be undertaken by state governments and other stakeholders in four key areas: improving
informational resources and awareness about career pathways for foreign-trained healthcare professionals; strengthening and
expanding workforce development and educational programs directly serving immigrant professionals; addressing financial and
structural barriers to professional relicensing; and establishing a staff position within state government to coordinate immigrant
integration policy, including policies and programs for foreign-educated professionals.
Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking
in the United States,
Urban Institute and Northeastern University, October, 2014, 287 pp.
Authors: Colleen Owens et al
With funding from the National Institute of Justice (Office of Justice Programs), this study
is the "first of its kind" to examine the organization, operation, and victimization process of labor trafficking
across multiple industries in the U.S. The research is intended to fill the gap in knowledge of labor trafficking, which has
not been studied as extensively as sex trafficking. Data for this study came from a sample of 122 closed labor trafficking
cases handled by service providers in four U.S. cities, as well as 86 interviews with victims, service providers, legal advocates,
and local and federal officials. Most victims entered the U.S. on legal temporary visas and worked in the areas of agriculture,
hospitality, domestic service in private residences, and restaurants. Few formal connections were found between labor trafficking
perpetrators and other criminal networks, such as drug trafficking. The study examines the recruitment process in countries
origin, the process of movement into the United States, the forms of intimidation or threats that traffickers used to keep
victims in exploitive situations, how victims escaped from these situations, and the nature of services received after escape.
Victims experienced document fraud, withholding of documents, extortion, sexual abuse and rape, discrimination, psychological
manipulation and coercion, torture, attempted murder, and violence and threats against victims and their family members. In
addition to these criminal activities, victims also experienced high rates of civil labor exploitation, e.g. being paid less
than minimum wage, being paid less the promised, wage theft, and illegal deductions. The report finds that local law enforcement
authorities did not prioritize prosecution of these cases and had trouble separating labor trafficking from other forms of
labor exploitation and workplace violations. The authors present a series of policy and practice recommendations, including
reforms to state and federal laws, greater public awareness of the problem, specialized training for law enforcement, and
dedicated funding to support civil litigation for trafficking survivors so they can collect back wages and damages.
Demand for H-1B Visas in New England: An Analysis of Employer Requests for Highly Skilled Guest
New England Public Policy Center, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, October,
2014, 23 pp.
Author: Robert Clifford
This report explains the mechanics of the H-1B
visa program, discusses how the program is utilized in New England and elsewhere, and makes recommendations to revamp the
program so that it garners greater public support and meets the needs of the economy. In recent years, New England accounted
for 7 percent of all H-1 visa requests, exceeding its 5 percent share of national employment, with most demand highly concentrated
in the urban centers of Massachusetts and Connecticut. The report calculates "intensity of demand" for these visas
for all 50 states, with Montana showing the least demand and the New Jersey the greatest. The author also analyzes regional
and national variations in the allocation of H-1 visas by three components of STEM: computer and mathematical, scientists
and engineers, and all other STEM occupations. More than 50 percent of all visas both regionally and nationally were granted
in the first category: computer and mathematical - creating a disproportionate intensity of demand in this field. Data confirms
that the heaviest users of the H-1B visa program are outsourcing or staffing firms, particularly in IT. Two such firms: Infosys
and Wipro requested over 1,000 such visas in New England during the period from 2010 to 2012. Data suggests that employers
utilizing H-1B workers through these firms "would not be doing so in response to regional labor market conditions but
instead to provide a temporary source of labor for shifting work to another location, often overseas." The author suggests
that a more transparent, merit-based system might be more effective in attracting "the best and the brightest...to enable
the United States to compete successfully in global markets..."
New American Investors Making a Difference in the Economy,
Immigration Policy Center, September 30, 2014, 9 pp.
Immigration Investor Program managed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), contributed $2.6 billion to the
GDP, supported 33,000 jobs and created $346 million in federal tax revenue between 2010 and 2011. New American Investors
Making a Difference in the Economy discusses the unique nature of EB-5 as a visa program whose purpose is to create jobs
and economic growth. Through interviews with industry experts, the report describes the evolution of EB-5 from its initial
phase as an underused program to its more recent growth and expansion to approximately 400 regional centers. In its
early years, the EB- 5 program suffered from problems that included a lax regulatory framework, low utilization and fraudulent
investment schemes. The report discusses the many factors that contributed to the resurgence of the program including the
creation of regional centers, which offered models for economic growth. Vermont, for instance, created a successful model
for a state-government-owned, -operated and -managed EB-5 program. In Pennsylvania and California, regional centers collaborated
with non-profit development agencies to fuel job creation. EB-5 has also become a more popular and reliable way to obtain
residency in the U.S. Between 2005-2012, approval percentages have increased from 53% to an average of 81% for conditional
petitioners. The report argues that the EB-5 program is a crucial tool for economic growth in the U.S. and must be managed
with proper oversight in order for its impact to be maximized. (Miguel Colon for The Immigrant Learning
Center, Inc.'s Public Education Institute)
Selling Visas and Citizenship: Policy Questions from the Global Boom in Investor Immigration,
Migration Policy Institute, October, 2014, 25 pp.
Authors: Madeleine Sumption & Kate Hooper
For more than 30 years, governments around the world have offered permanent residence visas
to persons willing to make substantial investments in local economies. This report describes the wide variety of such programs,
assesses their economic impact, and discusses some of their unanticipated, and often troubling, consequences. The authors
note that there are two general types of qualifying investments: private sector and payments to governments. The former are
the only option in countries like the U.S., Singapore, and the Netherlands; the latter are found in some of the Caribbean
Islands, and in countries like the UK and Australia that offer both options. Immigrant investors often come from emerging
economies like China or countries experiencing political or economic instability. Chinese investors dominate programs in the
U.S., Canada, and Australia. Russian investors seem to favor Europe. The authors note that countries vary widely in their
residence requirements, with some countries having no or minimal residence requirements, e.g. Bulgaria and Hungary have none,
and others requiring more substantial residence periods, e.g. the U.S. requires physical presence for more than half of the
five year waiting period for citizenship. Finally, the report concludes with a discussion of steps that have been taken by
governments to ensure that investor programs are not used for money laundering purposes. The authors note that the current
situation is quite fluid, with some governments scaling back their programs due to skepticism about their economic benefit,
but others establishing programs for the first time.
Policies to Support Immigrant Entrepreneurship
Migration Policy Institute and Transatlantic Council on Migration, August, 2014, 19 pp.
Maria Vincenza Desiderio
Policymakers around the world are aware of the economic and social benefits of attracting
and supporting immigrant entrepreneurs, who are often more likely than the native-born to start a business and create jobs,
revitalize declining neighborhoods, innovate, and integrate other immigrants into the labor market. At the same time, immigrants
face major obstacles to starting a business due to a lack of language proficiency, professional networks, knowledge of local
business systems, start-up capital, and credit history. In Policies to Support Immigrant Entrepreneurship, Maria
Vincenza Desiderio outlines a variety of policies that seek to remove these obstacles and promote success among immigrant
entrepreneurs. She suggests, for instance, that these policies rely on public-private partnerships to ensure sustainability.
London's own Silicon Valley known as Tech City, for instance, grew out of a private initiative that eventually garnered government
support. By clustering co-working spaces, start-up incubators and business accelerators, the partnership was able to offer
targeted local support for high-tech entrepreneurship. The author also suggests that programs rely on both mainstream (open
to all residents) and targeted (open to immigrants) business-support measures. In the economically disadvantaged German city
of Dortmund, city authorities partnered with banks and the European Union to launch a credit union that facilitates easy access
to credit, tailored counseling and assistance, and mentoring and network-building initiatives. The author concludes that Initiatives
like these ought to be embedded in a broader policy strategy to create an entrepreneurship-friendly environment. (Denzil Mohammed)
Latino Jobs Growth Driven by U.S. Born: Immigrants No Longer the Majority of Hispanic Workers,
Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project, June 19, 2014, 9 pp.
Author: Rakesh Kochhar
Since the beginning of the Great Recession, the share of Hispanic immigrant workers has fallen such that, for the
first time since 1995, U.S.-born Latinos make up a majority of Hispanic workers in the United States. According to Rakesh
Kochhar in Latino Jobs Growth Driven by U.S. Born: Immigrants No Longer the Majority of Hispanic Workers, data from
the Current Population Survey showed that, since the recession started in 2007, the growth in the Latino immigrant workforce
slowed significantly while the Latino U.S.-born workforce rapidly expanded. As such, most of the job gains made by Hispanics
during the economic recovery since 2009 went to U.S.-born workers. Kochhar attributes this development both to the bust of
the housing market, which was fueled largely by Hispanic immigrant workers, and to a reduction in the numbers of Hispanic
immigrants entering the country. (Denzil Mohammed)
Staying Covered: How Immigrants Have Prolonged the Solvency of One of Medicare's Key
Trust Funds and Subsidized Care for U.S. Seniors,
The Partnership for a New American Economy, August, 2014, 22 pp.
Immigrants not only have paid into Medicare's Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust
Fund at a higher level than they've drawn from it but also have contributed significantly to its solvency so as to benefit
more Americans for a longer period of time. This is the major finding of Staying Covered: How Immigrants Have Prolonged
the Solvency of One of Medicare's Key Trust Funds and Subsidized Care for U.S. Seniors. The report analyzes 1996 to 2011
data from the Current Population Survey and the Medicare Expenditure Panel Survey to show the impact immigrants have had on
Medicare's HI Trust Fund, which covers hospital and home health care for 50 million senior and disabled Americans. This Fund
is of particular importance given America's fast-aging population. The findings show that from 1996 to 2011, immigrants contributed
$182.4 billion more to the Fund than was expended on their behalf while the U.S.-born population generated a deficit of $68.7
billion. Without immigrant contributions to the Fund it would reach insolvency faster disrupting the care of millions of Americans.
Given that immigrants are more likely to be of working age, often migrate with the intent to work and have a higher rate of
labor force participation, the author suggests that increasing the numbers of working-age immigrants would augur well for
America's future wellbeing. (Denzil Mohammed)
Closing Economic Windows: How H-1B Visa Denials Cost U.S.-Born Tech Workers Jobs and Wages
During the Great Depression,
Partnership for a New American Economy, June, 2014, 34 pp.
Authors: Giovanni Peri, Kevin Shih,
Chad Sparber, & Angie Marek Zeitlin
For the U.S. tech industry to grow, it needs
an adequate supply of high-skilled workers. Given that the U.S. higher education system produces only 51,000 such graduates
annually, technology companies also hire foreign-born workers through the H-1B visa system. The annual cap of 65,000 visas,
however, is too low to meet the need, stymies the growth of U.S. tech companies and hinders job creation for U.S.-born workers
as the companies expand. The cap also affects the communities in which these companies are located as a result of lost taxes
and investments. These are the major findings of Closing Economic Windows: How H-B1 Visa Denials Cost U.S.-Born Tech Workers
Jobs and Wages during the Great Recession. Using estimates from theories on how H-1B visa holders interact with the U.S.
high-skilled workforce, Giovanni Peri et al conclude that rejected H-1B visa applicants prevented U.S. metropolitan areas
from hiring as many as 231,224 U.S.-born workers in 2007-08 and slowed wage growth for workers in computer-related industries.
Consequently, the U.S. tech industry missed an opportunity to grow substantially, which would have quickened the pace of recovery
out of the Great Recession. The authors suggest an urgent need for less restrictive immigration policies so as to ensure greater
economic growth for the U.S. (Denzil Mohammed)
Migrant Labour in the United States: Working Beneath the Floor for Free Labour?
Chapter from Migrants at Work: Immigration and Vulnerability in Labour Law, Oxford University
Press, Forthcoming, June 23, 2014, 20 pp.
Author: Maria Linda Ontiveros
This paper argues that the treatment of migrant labor in the United States violates prohibitions against slavery
and involuntary servitude found in the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Although undocumented workers are
theoretically covered under federal labor and employment laws, there are two problems that eviscerate their protection under
these laws: First, the Supreme Court's 2002 Hoffman decision denied undocumented workers important remedies under
the law, such as back pay and reinstatement if terminated unfairly. Second, if they participate in union activity or complain
about working conditions, undocumented workers fear that employers will report their status to U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement thus resulting in deportation. Even guest workers who are in the country legally know that employers will retaliate
if they speak out. Moreover, agricultural and domestic workers ae specifically excluded from protection under the National
Labor Relations Act. "By creating a group of legally exploitable workers who, in practice, tend to be racial minorities,"
the United States is "running afoul of the amendment's purpose."
Immigrant Fact Sheets,
Americas Society & Council of the Americas (AS/COA), February, 2013 to June, 2014.
These fact sheets (currently 10 in number), produced by the Immigration and Integration Initiative of AS/COA, summarize
available research on the role of immigrants in the U.S. economy and explain "why comprehensive immigration reform is
necessary for future U.S. competitiveness." Each fact sheet gives "five reasons" for a specific claim
about immigration, including: why the U.S. economy needs immigrants, why the U.S. labor force needs immigrants, why immigrants
drive entrepreneurship and job creation, why immigrants are critical for the housing market, why the U.S.-Mexico border is
critical to the economy, why immigrants are critical for the agricultural sector, why immigrants are vital for the future
of the U.S. health care industry, why immigrants make cities more economically competitive, why immigrants contribute to safer
communities, and why immigrants drive the essential economy.
Immigrants and the Medical Profession: Good for our Health,
Institute for Immigration Research, George Mason University, Research Brief, May, 2014, 8 pp.
Zara Sohail Khan
The American Medical Association estimates that "International Medical
Graduates (IMGs)" constitute almost 27 percent of the physician workforce in the U.S. This research brief argues that
they perform a critical role in the U.S. healthcare system, serving in disproportionate numbers as "generalists"
in fields such as internal medicine and pediatrics and practicing in underserved areas, where the physician to population
ratio is low. The author predicts that the U.S. will need even greater numbers of IMGs in the future, as the percentage of
insured Americans increases under the Affordable Care Act and as the U.S. population continues to grow. Immigration
reform should take this need into account by allowing greater numbers of IMGs to enter and remain in the U.S. "What would
America have done if these International Medical Graduates never came? It's time we realize that they are the future doctors
The Increasing Importance of Immigrants to Science and Engineering in America,
National Foundation for American Policy, June, 2014, 21 pp.
The United States has benefitted enormously from foreign-born talent,
particularly since 1965 when the U.S. eliminated major restrictions on immigration and opened the door to immigrants from
Asia. In fact, the data show that the country's success in innovation, academia and high-skilled fields is linked to its more
open immigration policy. This is the contention of Stuart Anderson in the brief "The Increasing Importance of Immigrants
to Science and Engineering in America." Using data from a variety of sources, Anderson shows that lifting major restrictions
in immigration law in the mid-1960s has had a positive effect on many areas of American life. For example, the number of foreign-born
immigrants winning Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, Medicine and Physics jumped after the 1960s. The same trend can be seen in foreign-born
PhDs working in science and engineering occupations, which grew from 23 percent in 1993 to 42 percent in 2010. At the nation's
top 7 cancer research centers, 42 percent of researchers are foreign-born. The increased number of high-skilled, foreign-born
entrepreneurs starting companies in the U.S. has contributed to new jobs, technology, growth and innovation. These findings
suggest that restrictive immigration policies such as those of the early 20th century have detrimental effects on the nation's
ability to innovate, create jobs and expand markets. (Denzil Mohammed, The Immigrant Learning Center,
Public Education Institute)
Identifying And Measuring the Lifelong Human Capital of "Unskilled" Migrants in the
Mexico-US Migratory Circuit,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 2:2 (2014),24 pp.
Jacqueline Hagan & Jean Luc Demonsant
In this article, the authors argue that "unskilled"
migrants develop skills over time and can be valuable assets to the receiving country should immigration policies take these
"informal skills" into greater account. Through a bi-national research project that did interviews with 320
Mexican return migrants, the authors examine the idea that while many migrants are "unskilled" in terms of the formal
human capital they bring to the U.S. migratory circuit, the creation of human capital is a lifelong process often "learned
away from the classroom." For the immigrants interviewed, these included not only learning basic English but also
technical skills, occupational mobility and entrepreneurship. As a result, the authors conclude that traditional U.S.
immigration policy, which values "skilled" over "unskilled" immigrants, needs to be reevaluated in terms
of its definition of "skilled" within a life-long human capital framework. Policy should, according to the authors,
match immigrant abilities to specific needs to the US economy. Similarly, the authors suggest that the Mexican government
should recognize the potential economic contributions that "return migrants" could bring to the Mexican economy.(Denzil Mohammed, The Immigrant Learning Center, Public Education Institute)
Everybody in the Tent: Lessons from the Grassroots About Labor Organizing, Immigrants, and
Temporary Worker Policies,
Harvard Latino Law Review, 2014, Forthcoming, UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 382, May 16,
2014, 35 pp.
Author: Leticia M. Saucedo
This paper seeks to understand why
the labor movement experiences difficulties in organizing immigrants. The author compares and contrasts the views of academics,
labor leaders, and immigrant workers themselves on the question. She draws on a series of interviews and focus groups
with over 100 construction workers, union leaders, organizers, and union members in the residential construction industry
in Las Vegas, most of whom are undocumented. Many of these workers have an "endure or leave" philosophy, priding
themselves on their ability to tolerate working conditions that others would find intolerable. Many also aspire to become
subcontractors themselves, after saving enough money to buy tools and accumulate some capital, or to become labor brokers,
or contratistas . With regard to the benefits of organizing, the workers didn't have negative views of labor
unions, only a "void in knowledge" as to how labor unions might improve their lot. The paper gives examples of how
this void can be filled and how unions can conduct successful organizing drives among immigrants. The author finds fault
with recent policy positions of the AFL-CIO on immigration reform (calling them "glimmers of the restrictionist position
of the past"). By supporting a provision in the Senate's immigration bill that creates an annual cap of 15,000 seasonal
construction workers (the W visa program), the AFL-CIO "signals the labor movement's concession to the seasonal nature
of construction work." According to the author, allowing W visas in construction will interfere with organizing
efforts "especially if there is no counterbalancing set of provisions making it easier for unions to organize temporary
workers..." She goes so far as to suggest that the AFL-CIO should "jettison immigration proposals based on
the historic narrative that certain jobs must be protected for the American worker."
High-Skilled Workers and Twentieth-First Century Innovation: The H-1B Program's Impact on Wages,
Jobs, and the Economy,
Immigration Policy Center, April, 2014, 8 pp.
This paper serves
as a short primer on the H-1B visa program and relies on data and analyses from sources such as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services and The Brookings Institution to "debunk the most prevalent myths" about the program. For instance,
the report finds that H-1B workers do not harm job opportunities for, or depress the wages of, native-born workers. On the
contrary, overall wages in high-demand STEM fields are growing, and H1-1B-driven increases in STEM workers were associated
with increases in the wages of U.S.-born counterparts. Moreover, H-1B workers are generally paid more than their non-H-1B
counterparts within the same occupations for workers with similar experience. Furthermore, highly skilled immigrants complement
their native-born peers rather than substituting for them as evidenced by the low unemployment rate in the STEM fields, which
garner two-thirds of all successful H-1B applicants. The paper urges expansion of the H-1B visa program, an increase in permanent
visas for STEM workers, and strengthening STEM training for native-born workers to meet 21st-century demands. (Denzil Mohammed)
Better Business: How Hispanic Entrepreneurs are Beating Expectations and Bolstering the U.S
Partnership for a New American Economy & the Latino Donor Collaborative, April, 2014, 34 pp.
Hispanic Americans have increased their rates of self-employment over the past three decades
and, as a result, helped prevent worse economic fallout during the recent recession. These are the major findings of Better
Business: How Hispanic Entrepreneurs Are Beating Expectations and Bolstering the U.S. Economy. The report uses data from
the U.S. Census, American Community Survey and the Survey of Business Owners to show that Hispanic Americans are turning to
entrepreneurship at a rate that outstrips both their birth rate and the non-Hispanic self-employment rate. For instance, the
number of Hispanic entrepreneurs rose from 577,000 to more than two million between 1990 and 2012, which is 18 times faster
than the growth of non-Hispanic American entrepreneurs. Among Hispanic immigrants, entrepreneurship growth more than quadrupled
particularly among immigrants from Mexico. Such high rates of entrepreneurship were seen even during the recession when the
national unemployment rate would have increased by 0.4 percent without the jobs created by Hispanic-owned businesses. The
report profiles several successful Hispanic American entrepreneurs whose businesses have had significant economic impact on
their communities. The data and profiles underscore the rising importance of Hispanic Americans although the authors note
the lack of political support for measures to help Hispanics grow their businesses. (Denzil Mohammed)
Lessons for U.S. Metro Areas: Characteristics and Clustering of High-Tech Immigrant Entrepreneurs,
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2014, 25 pp.
Authors: Cathy Yang Liu, Gary Painter, & Qingfang
Lessons for U.S. Metro Areas: Characteristics and Clustering of High-Tech Immigrant
Entrepreneurs examines the importance and impact of high-tech entrepreneurship at local and regional levels and suggests
what cities and metros can do to attract and nurture foreign-born entrepreneurs. Using American Community Survey data, the
report finds spatial, industry and growth differences between foreign- and native-born entrepreneurs. Immigrant-owned
high-tech businesses, for example, are more concentrated in a limited number of industries, such as computer sciences and
medical- and pharmaceutical-related fields, whereas U.S.-born entrepreneurs are more evenly distributed across all high-tech
sectors. The data show the increasing importance of high-tech immigrant workers and entrepreneurs in buttressing local
innovation economies. Immigrants now make up 20 percent of the high-tech workforce and 17.3 percent of high-tech entrepreneurs,
up from 13.7 percent and 13.5 percent in 2000.The study also examines the factors that explain the clustering of immigrant
entrepreneurs in particular metropolitan areas. High-tech immigrant entrepreneurs are drawn to areas of high ethnic
diversity that already boast large immigrant populations and which are culturally open to new people and ideas. The data show
that 80 percent of immigrant high-tech entrepreneurs are found in the largest 25 metropolitan areas -- one-third in New York,
Los Angeles and San Francisco alone -- compared with 57 percent of U.S.-born entrepreneurs. (Denzil Mohammed)
Immigrants and Retirement Resources
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 74, No. 1, 2014
Authors: Purvi Sevak & Lucie Schmidt
In Immigrants and Retirement Resources, the authors examine data from the Health and Retirement Study, as
well as restricted access earnings information from the Social Security Administration, to compare retirement resources
of immigrants and natives. The researchers find that working-age immigrants have lower predicted and actual Social Security
benefits than natives largely due to fewer years spent working in Social Security-covered employment. The report also examines
the other two components of the so-called "three-legged stool" of retirement resources: pensions and savings. Married
male immigrants, for example, have an 11 percentage point lower probability than their native-born counterparts of reporting
that they have a pension -- a gap that shrinks, however, the longer the immigrant has lived in the country. The report
also reveals that immigrants have higher net worth than the native-born when controlling for age, education, and self-related
health. The authors then explore whether this "private wealth accumulation" is sufficient to offset the shortfalls
in pension and social security income. The report concludes that "immigrants might be more prepared for retirement
than previously indicated in the literature, compensating for lower Social Security benefits with higher private savings."
However, those who migrated to the U.S. at older ages might be at a significant disadvantage. (Denzil
How do E-Verify Mandates Affect Unauthorized Immigrant Workers?
Institute for the Study of Labor, February, 2014, 27 pp.
Authors: Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny
Several studies have looked at the effects of the E-Verify program, which requires employers
in the 19 states that have mandated the program (to all employers in 8 states and to public sector workers or contractors
in the others) to verify a worker's eligibility to work in the U.S. legally by checking a database of authorized workers maintained
by the federal government. These studies have variously found that the program's implementation leads to shifts in labor across
industries, decreases in the overall employment rate, and a decrease in the overall population of unauthorized Hispanics.
This report, based on data from the Current Population Survey, shows that E-Verify mandates are largely successful in worsening
labor market outcomes among unauthorized immigrants. It reduces average hourly earnings among male unauthorized Mexican immigrants
while increasing labor force participation and employment among female unauthorized Mexican immigrants, who may be compelled
to work when their husband's earnings decline. Overall, this may increase poverty and social assistance needs among these
workers. Furthermore, while the report finds that E-Verify might lead to better labor market outcomes among some groups of
workers who are likely to compete with unauthorized immigrants such as naturalized citizens born in Mexico or U.S.-born Hispanic
men, it does not show positive or negative effects on non-Hispanic White men or women. (Denzil Mohammed)
No Longer Home Grown: How Labor Shortages are Increasing America's Reliance on Imported Fresh
Produce and Slowing U.S. Economic Growth,
Partnership for a New American Economy & the Agriculture Coalition
for Immigration Reform, March, 2014, 27 pp.
Author: Stephen Bronars
As U.S. consumption
of fresh fruit and vegetables has risen, driven by a health-conscious public and the movement to locally source agricultural
products, the percentage of these crops produced abroad has increased. Although free trade agreements may account for part
of this trend, this report suggests that the shortage of agricultural labor is forcing many farmers to shift from labor intensive
crops (fruits and vegetables) to less labor intensive crops like cereal grains, which can be harvested mechanically.
As this transition occurs, the skills involved in producing fruits and vegetables are lost. "Had U.S. fresh fruit and
vegetable growers been able to maintain the domestic market share they held from 1998-2000, their communities would have enjoyed
a substantial economic boost, resulting in an estimated $4.9 billion in addition farming income and 89,300 more jobs in 20112
alone. The increase in production necessary to stave off a growing reliance on imports would also have raised U.S. Gross Domestic
Product by almost $12.4 billion that year." The report urges passage of immigration reform bills similar to the
one passed by the Senate in 2013, which would allow as many as 300,000 additional temporary farm workers during periods of
high labor market need.
The Economic Case for a Clear, Quick Pathway to Citizenship: Evidence from Europe and North
Center for American Progress, January, 2014, 43 pp.
Authors: Pieter Bevelander & Don J. DeVoretz
This paper builds on a body of research showing the economic benefits of citizenship for
immigrants. After reviewing this research, the authors examine the experience of other countries in Europe and North
America with legalization programs and classify countries into three types: those with high citizenship premiums (e.g. Canada);
those with moderate citizenship premiums (Germany); and those with low citizenship premiums (The Netherlands and Norway).
Their purpose is to identify the specific policies and procedures that seem to produce the maximum economic gain in
the form of higher wages, greater social capital acquisition, greater consumption, and higher tax revenues. The size of the
gain depends on a number of factors, including the time it takes to naturalize (longer waits delay positive impacts), the
occupational profile of the immigrant population (lower skilled people show higher gains); whether dual citizenship is tolerated;
and the nature of the barriers encountered in the process, e.g. high fees and unrealistic native language requirements deter
people from applying. The authors conclude that the current 13-year path to citizenship in the Senate immigration bill
is far from ideal (a five-year wait seems to produce the best results from an economic standpoint). "Given that 13 years
is already far longer than the optimal period, lengthening the pathway any further will only further diminish (economic) returns."
The authors also question the fees and penalties associated with the Senate pathway to citizenship, which will likely deter
or prevent many people from applying.
Immigration and Entrepreneurship,
Institute for the Study of Labor, October, 2013, 56 pp
Authors: Robert W. Fairlie &
This paper provides an overview of economics research on immigrant entrepreneurship in the U.S.
The authors begin by tracing the "large contributions" that immigrant entrepreneurs have made to the American economy.
The paper also explores differences in entrepreneurship rates and type among various immigrant groups and the factors that
produce such differences. The authors also explore whether immigrant entrepreneurship has had negative consequences for groups
of U.S.-born workers. Looking at data from the American Community Survey and the Survey of Business Owners, among other
sources, the report finds that business ownership among immigrants (11 percent) is higher than that among native-born Americans
(9.6 percent). Indeed, 18.2 percent of all businesses are owned by immigrants although they constitute only 13 percent of
population. However, immigrant-owned businesses have lower average earnings than native-owned businesses and their contributions
are higher in states with large immigrant concentrations such as California, where immigrants own 37 percent of all businesses.
There are higher entrepreneurship rates among some groups than others, such as Koreans, Iranians and Brazilians. Overall,
Asian immigrants have a higher entrepreneurship rate and better business performance than other groups. In offering such a
sweeping portrait, the report also identifies the following gaps in research: how immigrant-owned businesses contribute
to job creation, how they stimulate U.S. exports, and the connection between immigrant entrepreneurship and innovations in
design and manufacturing. (Denzil Mohammed)
Immigration Reform: Implications for Growth, Budgets, and Housing,
Bipartisan Policy Center, October, 2013, 35 pp
In this economic
modeling study funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the Bipartisan Policy Center presents five distinct immigration policy
scenarios and projects their effects on the overall economy, housing and wages, and the federal deficit. The reference
case is based on the 2013 Senate-passed immigration bill (S.744). The report finds that the Senate bill would increase
economic growth by 4.8 percent over a 20-year period, lower the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over the same period, increase
demand for housing, raise wages, and increase the size of the labor force by 4.4 percent by the year 2033, thereby offsetting
the aging of the native-born workforce. The study explores a variety of alternate scenarios, such as greater shifting from
family to employment based visa categories, lower reductions in unauthorized immigration, lower wage gains for legalized immigrants,
and an "enforcement only" approach. The later scenario was the only one that produced negative economic consequences,
reducing GDP growth by almost 6 percent over a 20-year period. In some cases, "the results of the modeling indicate opportunities
to improve the economic performance of the reference case as well as policy areas that would benefit from further analysis."
Rebecca Talent, newly appointed immigration advisor to House Speaker John Boehner was the Director of Immigration Policy at
the Bipartisan Policy Center during the time that this report was prepared. (Denzil Mohammed)
Undocumented Immigrants' State and Local Tax Contributions,
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, July, 2013,
brief outlines the tax benefits of legalizing undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Utilizing data from the Pew Research
Hispanic Trends Project, Fiscal Policy Institute and the Congressional Budget Office, the report finds that legalization would
increase the taxpaying power of these immigrants by about $2 billion. "The most significant revenue gain [would come]
from simply having these immigrants fully participate in the federal, state and local tax system." Currently, the authors
point out, the 11.2 million undocumented immigrants contribute approximately $10.6 billion in taxes. The report includes a
table showing current and projected tax contributions for all 50 states. California would gain the most (an increase of $327,118,000),
Illinois would gain $149,565,000, and New Jersey $81,240,000. An appendix provides state-by-state breakdowns of the current
and post-reform effective tax rates, as well as totals for sales, property and income taxes paid by undocumented immigrants.
Fatal Inequality: Workplace Safety Eludes Construction Workers of Color in New York State,
The Center for Popular Democracy, October, 2013, 14 pp.
OSHA investigations of construction site accidents in New York State from 2003 to 2011 involving a fatal fall from an elevation,
this report finds that 60 percent of accidents in New York State (and 74 percent in New York City) involved Latinos and/or
immigrants, even though these groups comprised only 34 percent of the population in the state. Most Latinos and immigrants
work for non-Union contractors, who routinely flout OSHA safety regulations. The report faults OSHA for failing to conduct
a sufficient number of worksite inspections due to understaffing and for failing to impose monetary penalties that would compel
employers to abide by workplace safety rules. "When OSHA does inspect a construction site, the monetary penalties imposed
for violations are so small that employers can see them as just an incidental cost of doing business." Moreover, "OSHA
almost never pursues criminal penalties...Since 1970, there have been almost 400,000 worker deaths and liable parties have
served only 89 months in jail." The report cautions New York State not to water down its "Scaffold Law," which
fills in some of the gaps in federal legislation by holding owners and contractors fully liable if a worker is injured or
killed on the job because of safety violations.
Day Labor, Worker Centers & Disaster Relief Work in the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy,
City University of New York, Baruch College, School of Public Affairs,
October 30, 2013, 17 pp.
Authors: Hector Cordero-Guzman, Elizabeth Pantaleon, & Martha Chavez
According to this study by researchers at the City University of New York, Hurricane Sandy revealed the important
role played by day laborers in disaster response, as they engaged in critical post-disaster tasks, such as debris removal,
general clean-up, demolition work, yard maintenance, tree removal, and basement remodeling. Working for contractors or directly
for homeowners, day laborers stepped in to fill an important labor void, exposed themselves to great hazards and risks, and
speeded the overall recovery effort. The authors point out that the network of worker centers in New York City and New
Jersey functioned as important "labor market intermediaries," allowing day laborers to be incorporated into the
informal economy. The researchers conducted interviews with staff members at these centers and organized three focus
groups with day laborers themselves. Some day laborers experienced wage theft, especially those who were hired on corners,
rather than at worker centers. An "overwhelming majority, 91% of respondents, said that they had seen or heard of workers
being exposed to hazardous materials," including mold, contaminated water, unstable structures, toxic substances, and
chemicals at industrial sites. Some laborers reported work-related accidents. Based on their findings, the authors make a
number of recommendations, including "dedicat(ing) specific resources from government agencies such as OSHA, the USDOL
Wage and Hour division and other enforcement agencies to addressing the conditions faced by day laborers," enlisting
experienced day laborers to provide training to other day laborers in advance of any disaster, and expanding the network of
day Laborer centers in New York City through the provision of local funding. The authors conclude that "Any disaster
planning that does not incorporate the role of worker centers, day laborers and other low wage construction workers into their
plan rather than being proper disaster planning is more a disaster of a plan."
Skilled Immigrants in the Global Economy: Prospects for International Cooperation on Recognition
of Foreign Qualifications,
Migration Policy Institute, December, 2013, 25 pp.
Authors: Madeleine Sumption, Demetrios G. Papademetriou,
& Sarah Flamm
This paper looks at the present and future of mutual recognition agreements
(MRAs), i.e. agreements between governments and/or professional licensing authorities to recognize training and experience acquired
in foreign countries. The authors lament the antiquated nature of professional licensing arrangements in most countries
and observe that, "Limiting the right to practice professions to single jurisdictions multiplies inefficiencies when
the economies in which regulated professionals operate have become global." Most current agreements are presently confined
to corridors of commerce within the developed world, such as France and the Province of Quebec, Australia and New Zealand,
and the European Union and Canada. The authors point out that the challenges of negotiating such agreements are formidable,
especially when sub-national authorities are involved, when private professional associations control entry into a particular
profession, and when some licensing authorities do not even recognize certification granted by fellow citizens in different
geographic jurisdictions, i.e. other states in the U.S. The authors describe several types of MRAs, including
automatic recognition (the "gold standard" of MRAs), partial recognition (when credit is given for home-country
qualifications but additional testing, training, or supervised work experience are required), limited-scope recognition (allowing
professional practice in limited areas), and temporary access (allowing people to practice for short periods while they satisfy
requirements in the new jurisdiction). The authors suggest that new MRAs might be more easily negotiated in the context
of free trade agreements, such as the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the U.S.
They also suggest that visa regulations need to be reformed to permit freer movement of professionals between countries; otherwise,
MRAs will be underutilized.
A Tale of Two Cities (and a Town): Immigrants in the Rust Belt,
Bread for the World Institute, Briefing Paper, October, 2013, 15 pp.
Author: Andrew Wainer
Far from the traditional gateway cities of America, immigrants are revitalizing Rust Belt cities and rural communities
with outsized economic contributions. This is the thesis of Andrew Wainer's study of how largely lower-skilled immigrants
in three communities: Baltimore, Detroit, and West Liberty (Iowa) are reversing (or slowing) population decline and stimulating
entrepreneurial activity. Using semi-structured interviews with 78 key informants, the author paints a picture that complements
the familiar portrait of high-skilled immigrants helping to boost local economies. Wainer also draws on data from the Fiscal
Policy Institute on immigrant economic activity in the 25 largest Metro Areas. This data shows that Baltimore and Detroit
have the highest ratio of foreign-born entrepreneurs to natives of all 25 areas. High ratios also exist for other Rust Belt
cities such as St. Louis and Pittsburgh. In Baltimore, for example, the foreign-born represent nine percent of the population
and 21 percent of entrepreneurs. The data also indicate that immigrant neighborhoods have higher rates of employment and more
neighborhood businesses per resident than non-immigrant neighborhoods. The author concludes with a number of recommendations
designed to further boost the economic impact of immigration, including regularizing the status of the undocumented, thereby
allowing them to fully participate in and contribute to their communities. (Denzil Mohammed)
Broken Borders: Government, Foreign-Born Workers, and the U.S. Economy,
The Independent Institute, September 16, 2013, 20 pp.
Authors: Benjamin Powell & Zachary Gochenour
According to the Independent Institute, a California-based libertarian think tank, "The
U.S. government interferes with the market for foreign laborers by restricting the number and mix of immigrants and setting
tight quantitative limits on foreign-born guest workers. This has created a mismatch between the demand for foreign workers
from U.S. businesses and their supply, directly leading to the illegal immigration situation we confront today."
While welcoming the "marginal improvements" in visa availability made in the Senate immigration bill, the Institute
also propose the creation of a "Red Card" system, to be managed by a network of private employment agencies with
offices in foreign countries. Such a system would not limit the number of guest workers allowed to enter the U.S. Instead,
"Market forces would be harnessed to dictate the quantity and distribution of guest workers, across industries, geographic
space, and time." The balance of the paper argues for the eventual elimination of all governmental restrictions on global
migration. Just as free trade in goods and services has led to great economic gains, so too, the paper argues, will free movement
of people increase world prosperity. However, tearing down barriers to migration must also be accompanied by "building
a wall around the U.S. welfare state" and denying immigrants access to taxpayer-financed public education.
Understanding the Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Immigration Reform: A Guide to Current Studies
and Possible Expansions
Urban Institute, November, 2013, 20 pp.
Authors: Maria E. Enchautegui, Stephan Lindner, Erika C. Poethig
After the publication of at least ten studies in 2013 dealing with the economic effects of
immigration reform -- each with significant differences in scope, methodology, and conclusions - the Urban Institute decided
that it was time "to take stock of these studies' methods, critical assumptions, and strengths and limitations - and
then create a guide to help readers evaluate what's being said." Six studies were selected for in-depth analysis: three
measuring economic impact (Immigration Policy Center, Center for American Progress, and Congressional Budget Office), and
three measuring net fiscal impacts (Heritage Foundation, National Research Council, and Congressional Budget Office). The
guide includes useful tables permitting comparison of the main features of the six reports. The authors identify the
questionable assumptions that drive "the relatively high economic benefits" of the IPC and CAP studies. They
also explain why the fiscal impact studies produce results that range from positive to negative. For example, studies may
use different time horizons or they may include or exclude impacts on state and local governments. The Guide concludes by
pointing out that, despite the plethora of studies, important gaps in our understanding remain, including the benefits of
immigrant reforms to workers already residing in the country, and modelling the costs and benefits of providing benefits to
newly legalized workers sooner than the 13-year waiting period in the Senate bill.
Maximizing Human Capital in a Rapidly Evolving Economic Landscape: Council Statement,
Migration Policy Institute (MPI), Transatlantic Council on Migration, November, 2013, 8 pp.
Demetrios G. Papademetriou
This statement grew out of discussions at the Council's ninth
plenary meeting held in Madrid in December of 2012. (MPI has separately published many of the papers commissioned for
this meeting) . The meeting sought to achieve consensus on two broad areas: "Growing Skills" and "Using Skills."
In the first area, the Council "focused on what can be done to adapt mainstream workforce development services so that
migrants' special needs are taken into account without specifically targeting these services to migrants" and
produced three broad recommendations: expand entry points into the system, provide better navigation assistance, and
link training to employer needs. In addressing the needs of higher-skilled immigrants, the Council recommended three
important steps: facilitate early entry into meaningful work that takes advantage of immigrant professional training;
pressure regulators to make qualification assessments more flexible and transparent; and provide hands-on assistance to help
immigrants navigate complex systems. According to the Council, attention to how immigrants interact with workforce development
and regulatory systems is crucial because "national self-sufficiency in nurturing the right skills and talent, and in
finding workers willing to perform the most in-demand jobs, is a thing of the past."
Maximizing Potential: How Countries Can Address Skills Deficits Within the Immigrant
Migration Policy Institute, October, 2013, 22 pp.
Author: Meghan Benton
This is the first in a series of four reports discussing the challenges facing policy makers and practitioners seeking
to address skill deficits within the immigrant workforce in both the European Union and North America. Unlike the other
three reports -- case studies of Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom -- this report is an overview of the issues facing
training and workforce systems in different national settings. The author begins by calling attention to the disincentives
to address these challenges on the part of policy makers, service providers, employers, and migrants themselves. For example,
policy makers may worry about the political risks associated with targeted investments in the immigrant population, especially
if the per-capita costs associated with such investments are greater than the costs incurred by the native-born population.
Service providers, under pressure to get their clients into work as quickly as possible -- and perhaps less concerned with
the quality of work than with its availability "at entry level" -- may bristle at the time it takes to prepare immigrants
for work commensurate with their potential. The author notes that policy interventions fall into "two main camps:
targeted programs that are often classified as integration policy, and mainstream programs that form components of broader
workforce development systems." She adds that "the appropriate mix of these two approaches continues to be hotly
debated in Europe and beyond..." The balance of the report describes and assesses the various approaches. She concludes
by articulating five principles of good practice: first, adopt a flexible and calibrated approach; second, fund innovative
research that assesses different labor market outcomes over longer time periods; third, consider "add-ons" to current
systems in the form of mentoring and navigation support, or extended time with service providers; fourth, reduce opportunity
costs by fitting training around migrant work and other commitments; and fifth, adapt mainstream systems to accommodate
Tackling Brain Waste: Strategies to Improve the Recognition of Immigrants' Foreign Qualifications,
Migration Policy Institute, July, 2013, 19 pp.
Author: Madeleine Sumption Maximizing the skills and experiences of foreign-trained professionals is a formidable challenge for many immigrant-receiving
countries. This report is a "state of the art" review of policy initiatives to address this challenge. According
to the report, a host of issues arise when workers cross borders including language differences, licensing hurdles, differences
in education and training, discrimination on the basis of race or nationality, and navigating complex government and accreditation
processes. By first examining how foreign credentials are currently assessed, the report provides examples of "cooperative
policies and mutual recognition agreements" that show some promise of success. These include the EU Professional Qualifications
Directive, which reduces member state regulatory discretion in rejecting applications. The authors then suggest ways in which
governments can develop policies to speed the integration of skilled immigrants. These include providing more information
both on credentials and government processes to employers and immigrants, offering training opportunities to fill skills gaps
including language and culture, working with regulators to simplify job requirements, and screening for credentials at time
of entry to better place foreign workers in suitable job positions. However, the author also observes that "much more
detailed evidence is needed on the costs and benefits of the range of possible interventions." (Denzil Mohammed)
Verification Nation: How E-Verify Affects America's Workers,
National Immigration Law Center, August, 2013, 19 pp.
Authors: Josh Stehlik, Emily Tulli, &
Every major immigration reform proposal being considered by Congress
in 2013 includes a requirement that employers use the electronic employment eligibility verification system known as E-Verify
to determine employee work authorization. This report examines the recently released Evaluation of the Accuracy of E-Verify Findings against case studies and prior research on E-Verify to conclude that such a system would result in a host of deleterious
consequences. These include job loss, workplace discrimination and intimidation, an undermining of employment standards and
worker rights, technological obstacles with the massive increase in its use, and employer abuse of the system. For instance,
given the estimated 0.3 percent error rate of the system currently being used by seven percent of employers, the authors conclude
that up to a half-million eligible workers including U.S. citizens could be flagged as "unauthorized" by the E-Verify
system without a straightforward procedure for such errors to be corrected. In one example, a Minnesota woman who had been
a U.S. citizen for two decades was fired because of an E-Verify error and her efforts to have the error corrected were futile.
The authors recommend amending proposed legislation on E-Verify to include a formal review process for workers to have errors
rectified, penalties for employer abuse of the system, and a pathway to citizenship to protect workers' rights and to reduce
E-Verify's negative impacts (Denzil Mohammed).
Immigration and the Revival of American Cities: From Preserving Manufacturing Jobs to
Strengthening the Housing Market,
Partnership for a New American Economy & Americas Society/Council of the Americas,
2013, 31 pp.
Author: Jacob L. Vigdor
This report argues that immigrants have a significant,
mostly positive impact on the American communities in which they settle. It uses U.S. Census and American Community Survey
data to examine more than 3,000 counties between 1970 and 2010 to measure immigration's impact on the number of middle-class
manufacturing jobs, the health of the housing market, and the size of the local U.S.-born population. The report finds that
immigrants have contributed to community vitality in significant and myriad ways including job creation, neighborhood revitalization,
boosting civic engagement and raising housing prices. The data show that:
--For every 1,000 immigrants living in a county,
46 manufacturing jobs are created or preserved;
--For every 1,000 immigrants that arrive to a county, 270 U.S.-born residents
move there in response;
--The average immigrant who moves to a community raises the total value of housing wealth by
--More than 800,000 foreign-born U.S. residents have served in the armed forces;
--The immigrant entrepreneurship
rate is as much as three times higher than average; and,
--These contributions extend to rural communities and urban
The author estimates that 100,000 more new immigrants per year would create or preserve 4,600 American
manufacturing jobs and grow U.S. housing wealth by $80 billion annually. (Denzil Mohammed)
Exploitation Creep and the Unmaking of Human Trafficking Law,
American University, Washington College of Law Research Paper, August 24, 2013, 69 pp.
Janie A. Chuang
Janie A. Chung examines the history of the anti-trafficking movement since the adoption of the
U.N. Anti-Trafficking Protocol in 2000. Noting that the anti-trafficking field has been a "strikingly rigor-free
zone" when it comes to defining the concept of "trafficking," the author also contends that the movement has
been under the "grip of a criminal justice paradigm," which has "absolve(d) the state (and its corporate partners)
of responsibility for maintaining labor and migration structures that render those at the bottom of the global labor market
hierarchy vulnerable to trafficking." One reason for the dominance of this paradigm has been the tendency
to conflate all exploitation with trafficking, and all trafficking with "slavery." These conceptual "creeps,"
as she calls them, particularly the last one, "re-entrenches the dominant criminal justice paradigm by locating the harm
of trafficking in individual deviant actors," not in systems or institutions. "The over-prioritization of aggressive
criminal justice," she asserts, has "rendered the welfare of trafficked persons a secondary concern."
Moreover, without addressing the underlying vulnerabilities to trafficking, such as the failure to afford rights to those
working in low-wage sectors of the economy, the goal of eradicating trafficking will remain elusive.
What We Know about Diasporas and Economic Development,
Migration Policy Institute, September, 2013, 13 pp.
Authors Kathleen Newland & Sonia
This policy brief provides an overview of the many ways, beyond remittances,
that diasporas stimulate development in their home countries. Governments in both home countries and developing countries,
as well as international organizations, are devoting increasing attention to the role played by diasporas in promoting trade,
direct investments, and the transfer of knowledge and skills. In 2013, the International Organization for Migration held the
first-ever global conference of diaspora minister, which attracted over 500 delegates. Among examples of diaspora investment
and knowledge transfers cited in the report are: the role of overseas Chinese in financing China's emergence as a manufacturing
powerhouse; the role of the Indian diaspora in helping to develop the information technology sector in India; the ChileGlobal
initiative of the government of Chile; and hospital construction and healthcare training projects in Ghana and Ethiopia carried
out with support from diasporas in Europe and the Americas. Developed countries also benefit through the trade ties
fostered by their diasporas.The report notes that governments in developing countries sometimes have a hard time measuring
"diaspora direct investment," as distinct from all foreign direct investment. The authors conclude by noting
that there are a "number of critical ingredients" in a successful diaspora strategy. "These include identifying
goals, mapping diaspora location and skills, fostering a relationship of trust with the diaspora, maintaining sophisticated
means of communication with the diaspora, and ultimately creating opportunities and clearing obstacles for diasporas to contribute
to national development."
What Do We Know about Skilled Migration and Development?
Migration Policy Institute, September, 2013, 11 pp.
Author: Michael A. Clemens
As the worldwide volume of skilled migration grows, how concerned should policymakers be about the "brain
drain" in developing countries? According to Michael A. Clemens, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development and
author of this policy brief, recent research challenges the widespread assumption of negative impact. This brief, the third
in a nine-brief series prepared by MPI in advance of the UN General Assembly's High-level Dialogue on International Migration
and Development (held on October 3-4, 2013), suggests that the emigration of skilled professionals has important benefits
for sending countries, including seeding new industries in, and transferring technologies to, developing countries; encouraging
greater investments in education in these countries (more students pursue education knowing there is a migration option);
and raising the level of remittances ("more educated migrants in general remit greater amounts to their countries of
origin than do less skilled migrants"). Moreover, "the research literature contains no example of an accepted case
where forcing people to reside in one geographic area, against their demonstrated will, has caused development there."
Indeed, countries with low rates of skilled emigration tend to have poor development outcomes. Clemens also questions the
wisdom of pursuing "self-sufficiency" in any industry, implying as it does a goal of zero net migration. "Rather
than try to build an immobile world," Clemens argues, "policymakers should plan for an increasingly mobile world."
The policy brief concludes with several recommendations, including new research to assess the effectiveness of bilateral agreements
to facilitate a mutually beneficial skill flow, and experimentation with ways to shift the cost of skilled migrant's education
away from taxpayers in origin countries and to beneficiaries in receiving countries.
Attracting and Selecting from the Global Talent Pool - Policy Challenges,
Migration Policy Institute and Bertelsmann Stiftung, September, 2013, 16 pp.
G. Papademetriou & Madeleine Sumption
This paper calls attention to the policy implications
of the growing demand for human capital investment and high quality education both in developed and developing countries.
The "enormous" growth of the "global talent pool" is matched by surging demand for high skilled labor
both in emerging and developed economies. Governments face two interrelated challenges: first, attracting high-skilled migrants
to their countries; and second, ensuring that those migrants successfully integrate into society. The paper offers a schematic
showing the factors the influence a migrant's decision to relocate to another country, and distinguishing between "first-order
variables," such as capital infrastructure and the presence of critical masses of other talented professionals, and "second-order
variables," such as a welcoming society and a "fair and generous social model." The authors also emphasize
the importance of "the immigration package," i.e. the soundness, reliability, and transparency of the rules permitting
migrants and their families to progress to permanent residence and economic integration. Examples of such rules include: allowing
spouses to work during the provisional period of residence and establishing credential recognition systems for those working
in regulated professions. The final section of the paper discusses how countries can "admit the ‘right' people
from the pool of prospective immigrants...." The authors discuss the relative advantages of point-based vs employer-based
systems and find greater promise in hybrid approaches. The authors also caution against overly-generous immigration
opportunities for foreign students for fear that the educational levels of such students will diminish over time through the
spread of "diploma mills."
Fixing our Broken Immigration System: The Economic Benefits of Providing a Path to Earned Citizenship,
The Executive Office of the President, August, 2013,
Failing to provide a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. would result
in significant economic costs, according to this report from the White House. The report argues that a "legalization
only" approach, which would allow people to legally work in the U.S. but not to acquire citizenship, would greatly limit
the economic benefits of immigration reform. Summarizing available research from a variety of sources, the report finds
that citizenship would not only benefit immigrants themselves, but also the larger economy. For instance, one study, contrasting
citizenship with legal status alone, found that the latter would result in $568 billion less GDP over 10 years and $321 billion
less total income. In addition, an estimated 820,000 fewer total jobs would be created, and federal and state governments
would lose out on $75 billion in additional tax revenue. Much of this potential loss, the report suggests, stems from the
fact that citizenship provides not only the means to more actively participate in American society but also a "greater
certainty" in the future which leads to greater investments in education and training and greater willingness to take
the risk of starting a business. (Denzil Mohammed)
Key Components of Immigration Reform: An Analysis of the Economic Effects of Creating
a Pathway to Legal Status, Expanding High-Skilled Visas, & Reforming Lesser-Skilled Visas,
Regional Economic Models, Inc, July 17, 2013, 29 pp.
R. Treyz, Corey Stottlemyer, Rod Motamedi
This study finds that key components of the proposed comprehensive immigration
reform package passed by the Senate in June of 2013 would produce substantial economic gains for the nation, including an
increase in GDP and job creation. Building on the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the Senate bill, the authors
use a PI+ multiregional macroeconomic model to determine the effect of three components of the bill on the national and state
economies over the next 30 years. If passed by the House, a pathway to legal status would create 594,000 new net U.S. jobs,
boost GDP by $49.93 billion and increase personal income by $109 billion by 2018; an expansion of H-1B visas would net 1.3
million more jobs by 2045 and a GDP increase of $158 billion; and reforming low-skilled visa programs would generate 365,000
new jobs by 2045 and an increase in GDP of $31 billion. The authors use a "conservative" methodology in arriving
at their estimates and differentiate between the economic benefits to immigrants and the gains to the broader U.S. population
The study also includes a series of state-level briefs on the impact of these policy reforms. (Denzil
American Made 2.0: How Immigrant Entrepreneurs Continue to Contribute to the U.S. Economy,
National Venture Capital Association, 2013, 30 pp.
Author: Stuart Anderson
Immigrant-founded venture-backed companies are creating jobs and strengthening
the U.S. economy at a fast-increasing rate according to a report from the National Venture Capital Association. A follow-up
to a 2006 report, "American Made 2.0: How Immigrant Entrepreneurs Continue to Contribute to the U.S. Economy"
analyzes the Thomson Reuters database of publicly traded U.S. companies to show a marked increase in the economic influence
of immigrant founders: between 2006 and 2012, immigrants started 33 percent of venture-backed companies that became publicly
traded compared to 20 percent before 2006 and seven percent before 1980. Venture-backed, publicly traded, immigrant-founded
companies have a total market capitalization of $900 billion, a stock exchange value that equates to the 16th largest
economy in the world. The majority of these companies can be found in high-tech manufacturing, IT and life sciences, and their
founders are most likely to come on an employment-based visa from India, Taiwan and Israel. Furthermore, according to its
survey on immigrant entrepreneurs and immigration policy, venture capital members believe "U.S. immigration laws for
skilled professionals harm American competitiveness." Respondents said immigration policy reform must be more favorable
to foreign-born entrepreneurs, high-skilled workers and people wanting permanent residency. (Denzil
Recognizing Foreign Qualifications: Emerging Global Trends
Migration Policy Institute (MPI), July, 2013, 17 pp.
Author: Lesleyanne Hawthorne
with the financial support of the European Union, this report is the third in a series of MPI reports examining credential
recognition issues in migrant-receiving countries. Noting that "the scale of skilled migration has grown phenomenally
in the past two decades," the author reviews the forces that are propelling this change, including skill shortages in
many countries, a trend toward privileging skilled immigrants in country admission policies, and the desire of transnational
employers to have greater flexibility in transferring workers around the world. The report reviews a number of new approaches
to recognizing professional qualifications, including Australia's Fast-Track Medical Registration Program, which recognizes
the quality and equivalence of medical screening procedures in other countries; international agreements governing the reciprocal
recognition of engineering qualifications; and the emergence of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
as a private, international training and accrediting body for accountants. The author also describes the work of a global
umbrella body, called the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO), in certifying geologists
to work as "competent persons" in assessing the value of global mineral discoveries. These ground-breaking efforts
show "an evolving way forward, beyond the 19th-century regulatory structures that still prevail in many immigrant-destination
Skills, Professional Regulation, and International Mobility in the Engineering Workforce,
Migration Policy Institute, July, 2013, 31 pp.
Author: Matthew DixonThis report describes efforts by trans-national engineering associations to reduce barriers to the international
mobility of engineering professionals. Two initiatives, in particular, receive focused attention in the report: first, the
work of the European Federation of National Engineering Associations, which certifies engineering degrees offered by institutions
of higher education in EU member states and maintains a European index of qualified engineers; and second, the International
Engineering Alliance (IEA), a grouping of 19 national degree-accrediting or practice-regulating bodies, which performs similar
services in a non-European context. More than 6,000 engineering programs have been accredited under the IEA, but fewer than
5,000 individuals have been registered, compared to 30,000 members on the European list. According to the author, there is
no data on the role played by these agreements in facilitating international migration. Nor can the existence of these
efforts by non-governmental professional associations guarantee that governmental authorities won't deny recognition to foreign-trained
engineers. The problem is especially complex and challenging in the U.S. where state governments are empowered to grant professional
licenses. The author observes that the upsurge in the "virtual mobility" of analytical and expert services
might "'call the bluff' of the regulators - bypassing regulatory constraints that cannot really be justified."
Disposable Workers: Applying a Human Rights Framework to Analyze Duties Owed to Seriously Injured
or Ill Migrants
Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Winter, 2012,
Author: Lori A. NesselThe author seeks to contextualize the practice of medical repatriation, i.e. the private deportation by hospitals
of seriously ill or injured immigrants lacking health insurance to their home countries. According to the author, this "inhumane
approach" seems to flourish in a social environment that is hostile to workers performing low-wage and often hazardous
work. Repatriation is symptomatic of a trend toward the privatization of immigrant enforcement, which acts to shield the government
from liability for human rights violations and provides cover for hospitals to act with impunity. The author shows how U.S.
obligations under a variety of international human rights treaties covering the right to life, due process in expulsion, health,
freedom from discrimination, and family integrity, are being ignored. She refers to "a well-established principle under
international human rights law that a state cannot insulate itself from liability for human rights abuses by stepping back
and allowing private actors to violate an individual's human rights." The essay discusses various strategies to reform
"a legal regime that treats migrant labor as disposable," including ratification of the Migrant Worker Convention,
making health care coverage truly universal, creating additional visa categories to allow undocumented immigrants who have
been injured at work to qualify for lawful immigration status, and undertaking a "broader examination of all of the interconnected
factors that lead to migration and make migrants vulnerable to human trafficking or exploitation."
Credential Recognition in the United States for Foreign Professionals,
Migration Policy Institute, May, 2013, 17 pp.
Author: Linda Rabben
movement of labor, especially high-skilled workers, across U.S. borders is often stymied by the lack of recognition of foreign
qualifications and outdated recertification procedures. As a result, more than 1.6 million college-educated immigrants in
the United States were underemployed or unemployed as of 2011. The Migration Policy Institute brings this issue to light in
Credential Recognition in the United States for Foreign Professionals. The report is the first in a series of European
Union-funded studies exploring how governments can improve the credential recognition process through domestic policy changes
and international cooperation. While credential recognition reform is currently on the EU agenda, little is being done on
the federal level in the U.S. The author examines the credential recognition process in the U.S., with special attention
to medical professionals and engineers. Barriers to practice are particularly daunting in the medical profession. The
author reviews efforts that have been undertaken, often on a small scale, to surmount barriers to recertification, but notes
that health care reform creates a special urgency to achieve systemic reform. Although some states such as New York, Illinois,
Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are taking steps to improve the credential-recognition process, the federal government
can play a vital role in setting common goals, bringing stakeholders together, and targeting resources to achieve significant
change. (Denzil Mohammed)
A Look at Skilled Immigrant Workers in the U.S.,
Upwardly Global, April, 2013, 4 pp.The
thesis of this report is that when foreign-educated skilled immigrants are able to fill jobs commensurate with their qualifications
and experience, everyone gains. Examining 500 of its clients from 2010 and 2011, Upwardly Global - a nonprofit organization
that specializes in serving foreign-educated professionals -- found that the employment rate increased from 20 to 85 percent
and that the average salary increased by 900 percent (121 percent for those who had been employed at the start of the study).
Upwardly Global further calculated that nearly 700 additional indirect and induced jobs, about 1.4 jobs per participant, were
created. As a result, these new jobs would have led to a $1.8-million increase in annual federal income tax revenue and around
a $16 million increase in annual consumer spending. Upwardly Global estimates a Return on Investment of between 292 percent
and 311 percent for the costs it incurred in serving these clients. The findings suggest the benefit of "invest(ing)
in the support necessary to facilitate skilled immigrants' integration into the country's economic fabric..." (Denzil
Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the U.S. Economy in Growing
The Immigrant Learning Center, April, 2013, 50 pp.
Author: James JenningsThe thesis of this report is that immigrants play an outsized role in growing specific industries relative to their
presence in the general population, often expanding markets that previously did not exist. The report examines the immigrant
contribution to three mid- to high-growth industry sectors: transportation, food, and building services. The report
grew out of a 2010 conference on "Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Massachusetts" which developed the concept of an
"immigrant entrepreneurship ecology" and suggested that these non-tech sectors may be crucial in growing the green
economy. Using Census data and in-depth interviews with 10 business owners and industry players in Massachusetts, New
York and Pennsylvania, the report finds that the three sectors are experiencing significant revenue and job growth, thanks
to the substantial presence of immigrants both as entrepreneurs and workers. For example, immigrants represent 67.4 percent
of workers and 74.0 percent of entrepreneurs in Waste Management and Remediation Service; they also constitute 48.9 percent
of workers and 62.8 percent of entrepreneurs in Taxi and Limousine Service. The report concludes with a series of recommendations
designed to enhance the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs to the overall economy, including funneling more start-up
capital to immigrant entrepreneurs, integrating them into business associations and chambers of commerce, and building bridges
between them and environmental groups. (Denzil Mohammed)
Screening for Solidarity,
University of Chicago Law Review, 2013, 36 pp.
Author: Stephen Lee
how to use its enforcement resources, the federal government has largely relied on the concept of "undesirability,"
i.e. certain people such as criminals and potential terrorists should be screened and removed. Believing that removing
8 million unauthorized workers would be both politically unpalatable and administratively infeasible, the author of this paper
argues that the government should also develop criteria for identifying "desirable" workers from the pool of unauthorized
workers. One important criterion to use in making such a selection would be the potential of the immigrant to integrate
into the larger society. When unauthorized workers show "solidarity" with their native-born and authorized,
foreign-born co-workers, by filing non-frivolous complaints against unscrupulous employers, their commitment to improved working
conditions merits consideration for preferential treatment by the government. The Obama administration has already redesigned
immigration enforcement "to allow the assertion of labor rights to slow, and in some cases, to halt altogether the removal
process." The next step, according to the author, would be to grant permanent residence for such acts of solidarity.
The author also suggests ways in which such a policy might be implemented, including giving labor unions sponsorship authority,
similar to the authority vested in employers to file labor certifications.
Legal Immigration Policies for Low-Skilled Foreign Workers,
Migration Policy Institute (MPI), April, 2013, 12 pp.
Authors: Madeleine Sumption & Demetrios
In this policy brief,
MPI lays out the concerns that policymakers must consider in drafting more effective work-based visa program. The report notes
that current policies for low-skilled work-based visas are restrictive and out of touch with labor demands: there is an annual
cap of 66,000 seasonal, non-agricultural worker visas lasting up to 1 year (H-2B) and permanent work-based visas are capped
at just 5,000 annually. As a result, some employers continue to recruit unauthorized workers, resulting in a burgeoning of
the undocumented population in the 1990s and 2000s. Along with the current thrust towards bipartisan agreement on comprehensive
immigration reform, a recent accord between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor unions on a new work-based visa category
"W" augurs well for more realistic immigration policies. These include making work-based visas "portable,"
i.e. permitting workers to move on to other employers; addressing violations of labor standards; and allowing some visas to
be convertible to permanent residence. Addressing these concerns, the policy brief suggests, would allow for a more humane
visa program that better reflects economic realities and safeguards both native-born and foreign-born workers. (Denzil
The Economic Effects of Granting Legal Status and Citizenship to Undocumented Immigrants,
Center for American Progress, March 20, 2013, 17 pp.
Robert Lynch & Patrick Oakford
The authors of this
study analyze the 10-year economic impacts of immigration reform under three scenarios: first, legal status and citizenship
are both granted to the undocumented in 2013; second, the unauthorized are provided legal status in 2013 and are able to earn
citizenship five years thereafter; and third, the unauthorized are granted legal status in 2013 but without a path to
citizenship within the 10-year time frame of the study. Under the first scenario, GDP would grow by $1.4 trillion; combined
federal, state, and local tax revenues would increase by $184 billion; and an average of 203,000 jobs would be created per
year; over the 10-year period between 2013 and 2022. Delaying citizenship would reduce economic benefits, but even legalization
alone without citizenship would yield GDP growth of $832 billion. The authors review the reasons why legalization and citizenship
produces income gains for immigrants and benefits for the economy as a whole. The study suggests that unauthorized immigrants
are currently earning far less than their potential, paying much less in taxes and contributing significantly less to the
U.S. economy than they potentially could. (Denzil Mohammed)
US Economic Competitiveness at Risk: A Midwest Call to Action
on Immigration Reform
Independent Task Force,
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 2013, 54 pp.
Lead Writer: Tamar Jacoby
Frustrated by long-term federal inaction
on immigration reform, an independent, 44-member task force assembled by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs asserts that
increased immigration is critical to the economic competitiveness of the U.S. as a whole and the Midwest region in particular.
Capping a 15-month initiative to enhance public understanding of immigration and its importance to the Midwest, the task force’s
report makes clear that “the nation’s broken immigration system is holding back the region’s economic growth
and clouding its future.” The report asserts that “the US workforce alone is not educated enough to sustain a
globally competitive knowledge economy.” Moreover, low-skilled workers are needed to fuel the industrial restructuring
happening across the region, including the depletion of native-born population in rural areas. The task force develops the
rationale and outlines the principles for sound immigration policy and concludes that, without increased immigration at both
the high- and low-skilled ends of the labor spectrum, the Midwest will continue its population and economic decline. This
need for immigrants includes a “world-class skilled workforce,” entrepreneurs, students in the STEM fields, a
seasonal workforce and legal entry for low-skilled workers, a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, immigrant integration
initiatives and better tools for employers to verify the work eligibility of new employees. (Denzil Mohammed)
The End of Farm Labor Abundance,
Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, November, 2012, 12 pp.
Authors: J. Edward Taylor, Diane
Charlton & Antonio Yunez-Naude
This paper predicts an end to American agriculture's
historic reliance on Mexican farm labor. Not only is the fertility rate of the Mexican population sharply declining, but the
percentage of Mexicans working in agriculture is also declining. As the Mexican economy generates opportunities in non-farm
employment, and as the Mexican agriculture sector itself booms, fewer Mexicans will want to cross the border, either legally
or illegally, to work on American farms. The authors see little likelihood of finding alternate sources of farm labor, mainly
because countries in Central America like Guatemala and El Salvador have small populations compared to Mexico. "Since
U.S. domestic workers are unwilling to do farm work and the United States can feasibly import farm workers from only a few
countries in close geographic proximity, the agricultural industry will eventually need to adjust production to use less labor."
Workers' Rights on ICE: How Immigration Reform Can Stop Retaliation and Advance Labor Rights,
National Employment Law Project, February, 2013, 34 pp.
Authors: Rebecca Smith & Eunice Hyunhye
Providing many examples of how employers use the threat of reporting immigration violations
to thwart union organizing campaigns and prevent the filing of workplace abuse complaints, this report suggests that all workers
in low-wage industries, both immigrant and native-born, suffer as a result. The authors detail the strategies used by employers
to evade responsibility under fair labor legislation, including I-9 "self-audits" and bringing "new players
to the retaliation game" by involving local police in immigrant enforcement. The report suggests that the mandatory use
of E-Verify "will provide employers added incentive to erroneously call their workers independent contractors or simply
pay them ‘off the books' in order to skirt their E-Verify obligations. The Congressional Budget Office estimates tax
losses at over $17.3 billion." The authors offer a number of recommendations to address these problems, including providing
8 million workers with a pathway to citizenship; updating and codifying Operation Instruction 287.3(a) to create a "firewall"
between immigration and labor enforcement; restoring equal remedies, including back pay, to undocumented workers subject to
illegal working conditions; modifying U visa provisions to ensure its availability to employees confronting criminal employer
retaliation; and ensuring that no deportations result from a labor dispute.
Designing Temporary Worker Programs,
University of Chicago Law Review, February, 2013, 26 pp.
Author: Hiroshi Motomura
This paper describes four perspectives on guest worker programs, each of which may lead to differing policy conclusions.
The author suggests that effective programs must somehow harmonize these various perspectives, in order to move from "political
impasses" to "sound compromises." The first perspective sees temporary worker programs exclusively in economic
terms; the second views such programs as a solution to the problem of unauthorized migration; the third looks at their positive
impact at international economic development; and the final perspective worries about the existence of a class of people denied
the full rights of membership in a democratic society. To reconcile these different viewpoints, the author argues that these
programs must include "some kind of path to belonging," however complex that task may be. In this context, she sees
birthright citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment as a "backstop against the marginialization caused by barriers
between temporary workers and citizenship."
How to Make Guest Worker Visas Work
Cato Institute, January 31, 2013, 17 pp.
Author: Alex Nowrasteh
paper begins with a review of guest worker programs dating back to the BraceroProgram of World War II. According
to the author, a major flaw in all such programs has been the excessive amount of governmental regulation that interfered
with the efficient flow of workers to and from the United States and in a perverse way, led to the growth of illegal migration
and the underground economy. The author recommends four major steps to address this problem: first, the elimination of numerical
quotas in all visa categories in order to allow the number of workers "to expand and contract on the basis of ebbs and
flows of the market;" second, making the length of visas variable and extendable so that employers can take advantage
of the experience and accumulated skills of guest workers; third, allowing guest workers to switch employers without penalty;
and fourth, using bonds and returnable payroll deductions to incentivize guest workers to return to their countries. In short,
Congress should not repeat the mistake of the 1986 immigration Act, which failed to create a "large and flexible guest
worker program...to stanch unauthorized immigration and grow our economy."
Are Foreign Students the ‘Best and Brightest'?
Economic Policy Institute, February 28, 2013, 28 pp.
Author: Norman Matloff
This study seeks to test the claim that foreign students graduating from American universities and granted
temporary visas under the H-1B program are the "best and brightest." The author finds that the tech industry's "genius"
claims for this group are not supported by the available data. "Compared to Americans of the same education and age,
the former foreign students turn out to be weaker than, or at most comparable to, the Americans in terms of salary, patent
applications, Ph.D. dissertation awards, and quality of the doctoral program in which they studied." Moreover, these
workers are crowding out
Americans from STEM fields, causing an "internal brain drain," as U.S. citizens
and permanent residents seek higher salaries in other fields. The author is adamantly opposed to any policy that would
grant automatic green cards to foreign STEM students studying at American universities. Instead, the author would increase
the number of visas awarded in the EB-1 category, for "foreign nationals of extraordinary ability." He would also
close loopholes in the definition of what constitutes a "qualified" worker under the existing H-1B program.
Immigrants are Makers, Not Takers,
Center for American Progress, February 8, 2013, 8 pp.
Authors: Marshall Fitz, Philip E. Wolgin,
& Patrick Oakford
This policy brief critiques two studies produced by restrictionist
groups that claim that immigrants take more out of the system than they pay into it. The first study, produced by the Heritage
Foundation in 2007, argues that legalizing undocumented immigrants would cost taxpayers "at least 2.6 trillion."
The second study, produced by the Center for Immigration Studies in 2011, claims that immigrants (both documented and undocumented)
use more in welfare benefits than native households. The first report derives its cost estimate from Social Security and Medicare
costs for legalized aliens without taking into consideration tax contributions of immigrants during their lifetimes. The report
also disregards other research showing that immigrants receive less in Social Security benefits than the native-born. The
second report, according to the authors, manipulated the data by excluding immigrant households without children and by not
controlling for differences in income levels. Indeed, other recent studies point to comparable, if not lower, rates of welfare
utilization among legal immigrants than among the native-born population. The policy brief also includes capsule summaries
of recent research showing that immigrants are "makers, not takers."
Increasing Pathways to Legal Status for Immigrant In-Home Care Workers,
Institute for Women's Policy Research & Caring Across Generations, February, 2013, 23 pp.
Cynthia Hess & Jane Henrici
Noting that immigrants currently make up 28 percent of
the in-home health workforce and that 90 percent of these workers are women, this report calls for fundamental changes in
U.S. immigration law to accommodate the growing demand for workers in the personal care and in-home care industries. The large
number of undocumented workers in these industries speaks to the absence of legal avenues for foreign workers to migrate to
the United States. Legal status, both for current and future workers, will address the challenge of low wages and poor working
conditions resulting in improved quality of in-home health care for American's growing elderly population. The Institute
for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) proposes four possible ways to improve job quality and increase pathways to legal status.
First, legalize undocumented care workers who currently reside in the U.S. and complete specified job training requirements
within a certain time frame. Second, develop a new temporary visa for women or men abroad who plan to work in the U.S.
in-home care industry. Third, implement a provisional visa that allows care workers from abroad would be able to enter
the country with a temporary visa, eventually transitioning to permanent legal status after three years of permanent or year-round
jobs. Finally, create a hybrid model in which the federal government uses a point system to assess and addresses each
state's labor shortages. In doing so, states would share authority with the federal government to determine the number
of visas given based on the number of skilled workers needed in that region. These steps would go a long way to reverse
"society's tendency to undervalue care work" and ensure the provision of quality, long-term care to the aging population.
Ripe with Change: Evolving Farm Labor Markets in the United States, Mexico, and
Central America,Wilson Center & Migration Policy Institute, February, 2013, 31 pp.
Authors: Philip Martin
& J. Edward Taylor
This report examines how changing policy, agriculture, education and economic
conditions are affecting the availability of immigrant farm labor in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America. Prepared by University
of California (Davis) researchers for the Migration Policy Institute, the report uses data from a variety of sources including
the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Department of Homeland Security and Global Agricultural Trade System
to examine changes in the volume and composition of production, the supermarket revolution in Latin America, and regional
trends in training and education. The authors find that there has been a drop in U.S. farm labor participation by Mexicans.
The economic slowdown north of the border coupled with a fast-rising agricultural sector and competitive wages south of the
border has resulted in a decrease in Mexican farm labor not only in the U.S. but also in Mexico itself, where Guatemalans
have stepped in to fill labor gaps. According to the authors, "there is evidence that the supply of farm labor in the
region is decreasing and that, in the future, farmers throughout the region will find themselves competing for a dwindling
number of local farm workers." This shortage may require that farmers cast a much wider net, perhaps recruiting for farm
labor in Asia, but in the process raising the cost of production and thereby creating incentives for further mechanization.
The American Dream Up for Sale: A Blueprint for Ending International Labor Recruitment
The International Labor Recruitment Working Group, February, 2013, 49 pp. + notes
This report details the problems, inefficiencies and abuses suffered by internationally
recruited workers in the "dizzying array" of U.S. temporary work visa categories. It also provides comprehensive
recommendations for reforming these critical areas of U.S. foreign labor policy. Among the 18 organizations comprising the
report's publisher, the International Labor Recruitment Working Group, are the AFL-CIO, Centro de Derechos del Migrante, Global
Workers Justice Alliance, and the Alliance for Ethical Recruitment. The working group finds that internationally recruited
workers, in all visa categories and wage levels, face recruitment abuse such as fraud, discrimination, economic coercion,
retaliation, blacklisting and forced labor; and in some cases, indentured servitude; debt bondage; and human trafficking.
It also finds that disparate rules and requirements for workers, employers and recruiters together with lax enforcement of
regulations allow and perhaps even incentivize recruiters and employers to engage in such abuses. The bulk of the report,
therefore, makes recommendations on eight major issues that, if implemented, could repair the "systemic" problems
that plague these programs. These include freedom from economic coercion, freedom of movement, employer accountability, access
to justice, and the right to receive a contract with fair terms and to give informed consent. (Denzil Mohammed)
Taken for A Ride: Migrant Workers in the U.S. Fair and Carnival Industry,
American University, Washington College of Law & Centro de los Derechos del Migrante,
2013, 88 pp.
The H-2B allows for the temporary admission of workers to the U.S. to complete
seasonal, non-agricultural worker when U.S. workers are unavailable or unwilling to fill those jobs. With approximately 5,000
workers, fair and amusement park workers constitute the third largest group of H-2B visa-holders, after positions in landscaping
and forestry. These workers are responsible for assembling, operating, and dismantling carnival rides. The carnival
industry's growing reliance on H-2B workers coincides with the consolidation of the industry from mom-and-pop businesses into
larger national corporations. Based on interviews with H-2B workers in Maryland, Virginia, and Mexico, the report finds serious
and widespread abuses including "deceptive recruitment practices and high pre-employment fees and costs; wage theft;
lack of access to legal and medical assistance; substandard housing; and unsafe working conditions." Efforts by the Obama
administration to tighten up on regulation of the industry have been met with resistance by trade groups who have filed suit
to block implementation. The report urges actions by Congress and the federal Department of Labor to stem the growing
tide of abuses in the industry.
Recruitment Revealed: Fundamental Flaws in the H-2 Temporary Worker Program and Recommendations
Centro de los Derechos Del Migrante (Center for Migrant Rights), January, 2013, 32 pp.
Despite the more than 100,000 temporary immigrant workers recruited annually and the centrality of the guest-worker
program to proposed immigration reform, there is minimal transparency in the recruitment, treatment and financing of these
"guest workers." Based on 220 interviews with workers, formal information requests to the U.S. and Mexican governments,
and organizational surveys, this report reveals the hidden reality of international labor recruitment for low-wage, temporary
jobs in the U.S., with special attention to Mexico, home to the largest number of temporary migrants. Recruitment
Revealed concludes that "temporary workers are routinely subjected to fraud, charged illegal fees, and threatened,
intimidated and mistreated by recruiters and employers." It finds that guest workers suffer financial hardships through
illegal recruitment fees by employers, recruiters and agents, who also fail to reimburse visa, travel and recruitment-related
expenses. Employers, recruiters and their agents often misrepresent the terms of employment. Workers consequently arrive in
the U.S. already in debt and migrant communities suffer economic harm. The authors conclude that the H-2 guest-worker program
must be overhauled in order to protect workers from recruitment abuse, and they make a series of recommendations, including
new legislation holding employers liable for all recruitment fees charged to workers, the extension of federally funded legal
services to all H-2 workers, and the amendment of anti-discrimination laws to cover guest workers. (Denzil
Citizen Gain: The Economic Benefits of Naturalization for Immigrants and the Economy,
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (University of Southern California),
December, 2012, 28 pp.
Authors: Manuel Pastor & Justin Scoggins
The purpose of this study is
to determine whether citizenship, in and of itself, leads to observed income gains for immigrants, or whether other characteristics
of naturalized immigrants, such as English-speaking ability, a "go-getter" attitude, or country of origin,
account for these gains. The authors discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various methodological approaches to answering
this question and review earlier studies seeking to unravel the economic impact of naturalization. Conducting a multivariate
regression analysis on a sample size of 183,000 drawn from the 2010 American Community Survey, the authors estimate an 8 to
11 percent gain in individual earnings resulting from naturalization alone. By reducing the number of eligible non-naturalized
by half over five years, they further estimate an indirect benefit of at least $37 billion in GDP gain. The authors review
recent efforts to promote naturalization, including microloan programs in Illinois and Maryland, and suggest a lowering of
naturalization fees to remove financial disincentives to apply. They conclude that "encouraging naturalization is not
just the right thing to do; it is an economic imperative in a nation still working to emerge from the shadow of recession."
A Labor Paradigm for Human Trafficking,
UCLA Law Review, November 6, 2012, 60 pp.
Author: Hila Shamir
This paper urges a shift from a "human rights approach" to a "labor approach" as a more
effective way to combat human trafficking. The author finds two aspects of current trafficking policies to be especially
problematic: first, the emphasis on sex trafficking (the trafficking of women and girls into the sex industry for the
purpose of prostitution) to the neglect of other labor markets prone to exploitive labor practices; and second, the dominance
of a border control and crime control framework, which obscures the needs of trafficking victims. The current human
rights approach also fails to provide help and empowerment to the great majority of victims. In 2012, fewer than 43,000
trafficking victims were identified out of an estimated 2.4 million world-wide. Moreover, the current approach helps
victims after being exploited instead of improving or preventing the conditions that lead to trafficking. According
to the author, the current approach is not only "acutely limited in its reach but in fact may also be harmful in that
it has created the illusion that the international community is taking action against severe forms of exploitation, when in
reality, little is being done to address the underlying causes." A labor approach would not only shift the focus to power
disparities between victims and traffickers but it would also address the economic and social issues that increase vulnerability
to trafficking. To implement the labor approach, the author recommends five strategies: ensure that vulnerable workers
have access to the justice system without fear of deportation or criminalization; ensure that the applicable visa regime does
not assign workers to one specific employer in a binding agreement; regulate against work contracts structured around large
debt; extend the application of protective employment law to sectors subject to trafficking; and guarantee the right to unionize
for vulnerable workers. (Lorin Mordecai)
Digital Diaspora: How Immigrants Are Capitalizing on Today's Technology,
Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, November, 2012, 37 pp.
Center describes this report as "a first-of-its-kind portrait about mobile technology usage among immigrants." The
report is based on a non-randomized sample of 118 adult immigrants in the Philadelphia area who responded to the Center's
survey on cell phone use. Their responses were compared against data on general cell phone in the U.S. as reported by the
Pew Internet & American Life Project. The report finds that immigrants "have embraced mobile technology to an extraordinary
degree." In some cases, immigrants arrive in the U.S. having greater familiarity with mobile technology than the average
American. As might be expected, international calling and Skype usage are much greater among immigrants than the general population,
but so are texting (95 percent vs. 73 percent), online purchasing (35 percent vs. 20 percent), updating social media (65 percent
vs. 59 percent), uploading videos or audios (47 percent vs. 22 percent), and uploading photos (62 percent vs. 22 percent).
The report provides many examples of how smart phones are used by immigrants to bolster small business ventures, often involving
contacts with friends or relatives in other countries. Mobile technology also enables immigrants or their relatives abroad
to participate in weddings, funerals, graduations, and other important events. In addition, immigrants are using their phones
as "creative learning tools" helping them, for example, to master English. The report offers many provocative conclusions
and implications from these findings.
Immigrants, Ethnic Identities and the Nation-State,
Institute for the Study of Labor,
November, 2012, 38 pp.
Authors: Amelie F. Constant
& Klaus F. Zimmermann
Looking at immigrants as "natural innovators," this
paper discusses the complex and malleable process of identity formation and its impact on individual adaptation, economic
outcomes, and nation building. The authors explore the relationship between national and ethnic identities and how an immigrant's
background along with the attitudes, laws, and history of host countries, combine to influence how immigrants adjust
and adapt, as well as how the identities of natives are also negotiated and influenced by these factors. The authors further
examine identity formation as it affects "the utility function of economic agents" and point to how a more complete
understanding of the process can assist in building more accurate economic models. Additionally, the paper discusses how the
ways in which states "negotiate identities" through specific policies can impact and influence the economic behavior
of individuals. The authors examine evidence from several "multicultural" nations including France, Germany, Great
Britain and the United States, contrasting the ideals and policies of these countries and their relationship to the labor
market performance and identity development of immigrants within these nations. Finally, the authors conclude by noting the
dubiousness of forming predictive models based on contextual and shifting categories of identity, and call for further research
on identity formation and its consequences. (Daniel McNulty)
U.S. Government, Heal Thyself: Immigration Restrictions and America's Growing Health
National Foundation for American Policy, November, 2012, 27 pp.
policy brief argues that the growing demand for health care services today and in the future necessitates a more efficient
and adaptive immigration system to allow for foreign-born medical personnel to fill gaps in the U.S. health care delivery
system. The report notes that "the United States is saddled with an immigration system designed to prevent, not facilitate,
the entry of highly skilled...medical personnel." A restrictive immigration policy, decades-long wait times and a dearth
of even temporary visas for a wide variety of medical professionals are leading to a shortage of workers for an industry that
will need to be expanded given the aging U.S. population and the demands of the Affordable Care Act. The author laments the
protectionism of the various professional associations that have opposed expansion of immigration opportunities for foreign-trained
doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. He also challenges the "brain drain" argument used by opponents
of increased immigration. The brief makes four recommendations: first, expand the number of employment-based green cards for
foreign-born health care workers so that wait times are reduced; second, establish a temporary visa that facilitates
the entry of foreign-born nurses; third, expand the Conrad 30 Program to include more physicians per state for underserved
communities; and fourth, streamline state licensing and other procedures for foreign-born medical personnel to help with the
nation's long-term health care needs.(Denzil Mohammed)
Growth and Immigration: A Handbook of Vital Immigration and Economic Growth Statistics,
George W. Bush Institute, November, 2012, 125 pp.
The 4% Growth Project
of the George W. Bush Institute prepared this document for its inaugural Dallas conference on immigration policy held on December
4, 2012. Written by Matthew Denhart, the Handbook paints a sweeping portrait of America's immigrants to show their contribution
to the U.S. economy and society, with special emphasis on the immigrant role in economic innovation and business creation.
Utilizing the latest Census data and drawing on research published elsewhere, the Handbook features a series of 50 attractive
charts, many of which are designed to show that "immigration reform is a key component to achieving strong and
lasting economic growth." Written in easy-to-understand language, the report also offers many surprising facts,
debunks myths and makes note of new trends in immigration. It points out, for example, that when more immigrants are present
in the population natives are more likely to complete high school; that immigrants are an important component of urban
revitalization because they help raise property values; and that recent immigrants to the U.S. have higher average levels
of education than earlier waves of immigrants. The Handbook also contains a chapter on "challenges" associated with
immigration, such as the soaring costs of border enforcement, poverty levels among immigrants, and the "anti-worker bias"
built into our current immigration system.
Help Wanted: The Role of Foreign Workers in the Innovation Economy,
Information Technology Industry Council, Partnership for a New American Economy,
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, November, 2012, 32 pp.
This report presents evidence to show that foreign-born
workers in the Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) fields are complementing - not displacing - their American
counterparts. It also shows that the American economy is facing a STEM talent shortage that foreign-born workers, particularly
those who are educated at U.S. graduate and post-graduate programs, can fill. Previous research has shown that for every
foreign-born student who stays in the U.S., 2.62 jobs on average are created for American workers. Using data from the U.S.
Census and the U.S. Department of Education Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), this report clarifies
several outstanding issues on which the U.S. Congress can take action. It also debunks many popular myths on the topic.
It shows that while STEM fields employ a far higher proportion of foreign workers than non-STEM fields, those fields with
high percentages of foreign STEM workers have low unemployment rates for U.S. workers. In fact, there is full employment
for U.S. STEM workers according to the report and, in many STEM occupations, unemployment is virtually non-existent. Furthermore,
foreign-born STEM workers are paid on par with U.S. STEM workers.(Denzil Mohammed)
Home Economics: The Invisible and Unregulated World of Domestic Work,
National Domestic Workers Alliance, Center for Urban Economic Development, University of Illinois
at Chicago, DataCenter, 2012, 53 pp.
Described as "the first large-scale, national survey of domestic workers
in the US," this report documents widespread mistreatment of domestic workers - nannies, housecleaners, and caregivers.
The number of these workers employed in private households and directly paid by their employers grew from 666,435 in 2004
to 726,437 in 2010, an increase of almost 10 percent. According to the American Community Survey, the overwhelming majority
(95 percent) are women, over half (54 percent) are from minority groups, and almost half (46 percent) are foreign-born. Noting
that "household labor, paid and unpaid, is...the work that makes all other work possible," and that such labor "carries
the long legacy of the devaluation of women's work in the household," as well as traditions dating back to slavery that
exclude household labor from coverage under worker rights and safety legislation, the authors attempt to quantify the conditions
and abuses faced by this group of workers. Between June 2011 and February 2012, the researchers, using a team of community-based
surveyors, did face-to-face interviews in nine different languages with 2,086 domestic workers in 14 metropolitan areas. They
also gleaned insights from 29 focus groups and 52 testimonies from members of domestic worker organizations. The findings
paint a bleak picture of the situation facing these workers. For example, 70 percent are paid less than $13 an hour, fewer
than 2 percent of domestic workers receive retirement or pension benefits, 60 percent spend more than half of their income
on rent or mortgage payments, and 38 percent suffered from work-related wrist, shoulder, elbow, or hip pain during the prior
12 months. The authors offer a set of recommendations that could transform the working conditions of domestic workers,
including eliminating the exclusion of domestic workers from employment and labor laws, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented
workers, and "bold solutions" to the challenges facing families with caregiving responsibilities. We need
to recognize that "household labor is a lynchpin connecting the economics of the home and the economics of the workplace."
Mal-Employment Problems among College-Educated Immigrants in the United States,
Center for Labor Markets and Policy, Drexel University, October, 2012¸ 22 pp.
Neeta P. Fogg & Paul E. Harrington
This is the fifth in a series of five research
papers examining labor force underutilization problems experienced by college-educated immigrants. Mal-employment occurs when
people are working in occupations that do not utilize the knowledge and skills gained through a college education. Unlike
unemployment numbers, mal-employment is not usually captured in official government statistics. In probing this topic, the
researchers used data from the 2003 National Survey of College Graduates which profiled 100,400 people who held bachelor's
degrees or higher at the time of the 2000 census. They found that 26 percent of all immigrants with college degrees
were mal-employed. However, the rate was twice as high (36 percent vs 18 percent) for immigrants with college degrees earned
abroad. And among this group, rates exceeded 40 percent for immigrants from the Philippines (50 percent), Africa (47
percent, and Latin America (46 percent). The report also examines variations in mal-employment by major field of study, English
language proficiency, type of visa, year of entry to the United States, and region of residence in the United States.
Then and Now: America's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs,
The Kauffman Foundation, October, 2012, 29 pp.
This report finds
that the growth rate of high-tech, immigrant-founded startups - a critical source of innovation for the U.S. economy - has
stagnated and may be on the verge of decline. This has happened despite the fact that such companies employed about 560,000
workers and generated an estimated $63 billion in sales from 2006 to 2012. The study finds that the proportion of immigrant-founded
companies nationwide has slipped from 25.3 percent to 24.3 percent since 2005. The drop is even more pronounced in Silicon
Valley, where the percentage of immigrant-founded startups declined from 52.4 percent to 43.9 percent. Defying this trend
were Indian and Chinese immigrants, whose startup rates have increased. Indian immigrants, in fact, founded more of the engineering
and technology firms than immigrants born in the next nine top countries combined. California had the highest percentage
of total immigrant-founded firms in the country (31 percent), but New Jersey had the highest state percentage of immigrant-founded
firms (45.1 percent), followed by Massachusetts (41.7 percent) and California (39.6 percent). The report also provides
a breakdown of the specific industries in which immigrant founders are active, with the three largest being innovation/manufacturing-related
services (45 percent), software (22 percent), and bioscience (11 percent). The report concludes that "high-skilled
immigrants will remain a critical asset for maintaining U.S. competitiveness in the global economy" but that the downward
trend in immigrant entrepreneurship may jeopardize future growth. (Denzil Mohammed)
The Economic Value of Citizenship for Immigrants in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, September, 2012, 19 pp.
This study suggests that there are significant economic benefits for eligible noncitizens-numbering around eight
million in the U.S.-to naturalize. These include higher salaries, a greater likelihood of employment and more access to highly
skilled jobs. This gap between foreign-born citizens and noncitizens, the report finds, may be due to higher levels of education,
English acquisition and work experience among naturalized Americans. Despite the advantages of citizenship, the cost of citizenship
($680), fear of failure in the English and U.S. history citizenship exams and a lack of knowledge about the naturalization
process inhibit Legal Permanent Residents from acquiring citizenship status. To overcome these barriers, the authors suggest
that formal immigrant integration policies, inclusive of proactive naturalization campaigns, will enable immigrants and the
country as a whole to realize the benefits of naturalization, including greater levels of economic competitiveness, innovation
and entrepreneurship. (Denzil Mohammed)
Immigrants in Risky Occupations,
Institute for the Study of Labor, June, 2012, 25 pp.
probes the variances in occupational risks for the native-born and foreign-born in the United States and other countries.
The authors Pia M. Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny find that immigrants in the U.S., particularly Hispanics, are at much greater
risk for injury or death while at work than the native-born. While overall workplace fatality rates in the U.S. decreased
between 1992 and 2005, the fatality rate for foreign-born workers increased. In particular, the fatal injury rate for Hispanics
in 2007 at 4.0 deaths per 100,000 workers was higher than for blacks and whites. The report suggests that the undocumented
status of some immigrants, lower English ability, less education, naïve perceptions of job safety in the U.S. and less
time residing in the U.S. all contribute to the concentration of immigrants in the riskiest occupational sectors, including
mining, logging, agriculture and construction. Despite these vulnerabilities, most immigrants appear to earn risk premiums
similar to natives for working in risky jobs. The authors conclude by urging further research on the impact of immigration
on working conditions. (Denzil Mohammed)
Investing in the Human Capital of Immigrants, Strengthening Regional Economies, Alice (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed): Study of Financial hardship in
United Way of Northern New Jersey, August, 2012, 109 pp.
Researched and written
by Stephanie Hoopes, Director of the New Jersey DataBank at Rutgers University, this study analyzes the near-poor or working
poor in New Jersey, described by the author as "the people...who live each day one crisis away from falling into poverty."
They make more than the official poverty level, but less than what "an individual or family needs to sustain a reasonably
healthy standard of living." The author finds that more than one-third of all households in New Jersey (1.1. million)
struggle to meet basic human needs; 769,900 are ALICE households and 312,762 are poor households (below the official poverty
level). The services that ALICE workers provide, such as health aides, security guards, and cashiers, are "vital to the
New Jersey economy." Although this study does not disaggregate immigrants as a sub-set of the ALICE population,
it does note that particular groups of immigrants, e.g. those lacking a high school diploma and those who are language isolated,
are more prone to this type of income deprivation. The study calculates that the "household survival budget" in
New Jersey is $58,500 for a family of four and $25,368 for a single individual. As low income jobs will "dominate the
economy in New Jersey now and in the future," the author observes that "the traditional formula of more education
and training to generate better and more equitable outcomes does not hold true in today's economy." Although there are
short-term steps that may alleviate the plight of ALICE households, "structural economic changes are required to make
New Jersey more affordable and provide better income opportunities."
Brookings Institution, September, 2012, 11 pp.
This paper stresses the importance
of maximizing the productivity of the existing immigrant population in order to boost short- and long-term economic growth
in the United States. The author Audrey Singer notes that immigrant workers are more likely to be underemployed, i.e. overqualified
for current jobs, than similarly educated native-born workers, especially immigrants with post-secondary education. Noting
the growing interest in reforming immigration policy to match the needs of the U.S. economy, she suggests that "the opportunity
to take advantage of the skills of incumbent immigrants, by investing in their potential" is a complementary and equally
promising strategy. The balance of the paper provides capsule summaries of innovative workforce development programs that
have successfully pursued this strategy. Many of these programs provide clear pathways to occupationally-specific credentials
and jobs, building in contextualized English language instruction along the way.
Open for Business: How Immigrants are Driving Small Business Creation in the United
The Partnership for a New American Economy, August, 2012, 37 pp.
Written by Robert
W. Fairlie, Professor of Economics at the University of California (Santa Cruz), this report focuses on the creation of new
businesses, defined as business under five years old. Fairlie reports that new businesses have been responsible for
all net job creation in the U.S. over the past three decades and that "immigrant businesses are having an enormous impact
on the U.S. economy." Immigrants are more than twice as likely as the native-born to start a business. In 2011,
they were responsible for 28 percent of all business start-ups, well in excess of their share of the population (12.9 percent).
Moreover, immigrants are active in those sectors of the economy that the U.S. government expects to grow the fastest over
the new decade, starting 25 percent of all companies in these sectors. Immigrants from all ethnic and educational backgrounds
are contributing to this economic activity. Mexicans, for example, now own more than 570,000 U.S. businesses, representing
more than 1 in every 25 businesses in the country. In addition, more than 37 percent of new immigrant business owners
lack a high school diploma. As a whole, immigrant-owned businesses employ one out of every 10 U.S. workers. The report
concludes that "any serious plan on job growth much recognize and welcome immigrant entrepreneurs, who in the coming
years will play an outsized role...in creating new businesses, creating new jobs, and driving economic growth." The report
includes many helpful tables and charts, including data on immigrant business formation by state.
Developing a Road Map for Engaging Diasporas in Development,
Migration Policy Institute and International Organization for Migration, 2012, 256 pp.
Since the first meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in 2007, governments and civil society organizations
have devoted increasing attention to the ways that diasporas - defined as "communities of emigrants and their descendants"
in this report - have contributed to development in their countries of origin. Many governments, in both countries of origin
and destination, have established partnerships with diaspora communities to facilitate the development process. This Handbook
is designed as "a user-friendly, accessible, and practical guide on the state of the art in governmental diaspora initiatives."
The authors gathered data and perspectives from an international survey of government officials, follow-up interviews,
consultations at international meetings, and a review of the literature. They recommend a planning framework ("road map")
consisting of the following elements: "identifying goals, mapping diaspora geography and skills, creating a relationship
of trust between diasporas and governments... and, ultimately, mobilizing diasporas to contribute to sustainable development."
The Handbook explores the contributions that diasporas have played in the six key areas of remittances, direct investments,
human capital transfers, philanthropic contributions, capital market investments, and tourism. It also details the policy
and program initiatives that have maximized diaspora contributions in each of these areas.
Picking Winners: Olympic Citizenship and the Global Race for Talent,
The Yale Law Journal, June 30, 2011, 52 pp.
This paper discusses
the "striking transformation of citizenship" in the modern world - a transformation that has received "scant
attention in academic circles." Written by Ayelet Shachar, Professor of Law, Political Science & Global Affairs at
the University of Toronto, the paper examines the growing willingness of governments to grant citizenship in order to attract
people of exceptional talent and ability. This practice has "turn(ed) an institution steeped with notions of collective
identity, belonging, loyalty, and perhaps even sacrifice into a recruitment tool for bolstering a nation's standing relative
to its competitors." In his analysis, the author uses the world of Olympic sports as a test case and "window"
to explore the broader implications of the practice. He uses the term "Olympic citizenship" to apply to fast-tracked,
strategic grants of citizenship to bolster the competitive standing of national teams - referred to as "talent poaching"
by some critics. He proposes a solution -- called the "Fair play mobility principle" -- that steers a middle course
between unbridled competition and abolition. This solution might require international sporting authorities to impose a one-year
residency rule before any foreign national could compete for a new country, or to impose "play-stay" rules, in which
a player who has already represented the home country in an official international competition would not be permitted to play
for another national team, even if citizenship were granted by the new country. Shachar sees his essay as raising a
host of new issues in a world where nation-states are jockeying for competitive advantage in many different economic sectors,
not just sports. The "mercantilization of the passport" could "erode something deeper - the basic social and
political relationships we hold towards one another as members of the same polity..."
Immigrant Small Business Owners: A Significant and Growing Part of the Economy,
Fiscal Policy Institute, June, 2012, 32 pp.
This compendium of data
about immigrant small business owners is drawn from the Survey of Business Owners, conducted by the Census Bureau every five
years. The immigrant share of small business owners in the U.S., at 18 percent, is higher than the immigrant share of the
U.S. population (13 percent). Defined as firms with less than 100 employees, immigrant small businesses employed an estimated
4.7 million people, and generated an estimated $776 billion in receipts in 2007. The report examines the educational background
of immigrant small business owners, reveals the industries in which they operate, and identifies their countries of origin.
"It is clear," the report concludes, "that immigrants are an important part of America's small business environment.
Immigrants bring ideas, connections to new markets, and a spirit of entrepreneurship with them to the United States."
Undocumented Workers: Crossing the Borders of Immigration and Workplace Law,
Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, May 14, 2012, 39 pp.
author, Professor Kati L. Griffith of Cornell University, suggests that a new "hybrid" field of the law has emerged
- what she describes as immployment law, a blending of immigration and employment law. She argues that this is a
"crucial field of inquiry" because of the sheer number of undocumented workers in the American economy; their concentration
in particular industries, such as agriculture and construction; the frequency with which they experience minimum wage and
overtime violations; the tendency of some employers to take retaliatory action when immigrant workers organize or file complaints;
and the spread of state and county workplace-based immigration law. The author discusses the shift in federal policy away
from workplace raids to worksite audits, and to greater cooperation between ICE with the Department of Labor. She also discusses
the implications of the Supreme Court decision in Hoffman Plastics Compounds v NLRB in 2002, which ruled that an
undocumented worker could not have access to back pay remedies available under the National Labor Relations Act. According
to the author, "the treatment of immigrant workers, documented and undocumented alike, may have broader effects on the
wages, working conditions, and collective organizing efforts of U.S.-born workers." She concludes that "scholars,
courts, and policy makers should develop comprehensive immployment law frameworks that can resolve ongoing legal
ambiguity about the workplace law remedies available to undocumented workers."
New Jersey's Supply Chain Pain: Warehouse & Logistics Work under Walmart and other
Big Box Retailers,
New Labor, 2012, 22 pp.
Based on a survey of 291 logistic workers, this report
analyzes wages, benefits and working conditions within New Jersey's logistics industry. Home to Port Newark/Elizabeth -- the
second largest container port in the U.S. -- New Jersey has an extensive network of distribution centers employing thousands
of workers, many of whom are immigrants. Responsible for the processing and sorting of goods as they make their way to retail
markets throughout the country, most workers experience job insecurity, economic hardship, and exploitation. Approximately
90 percent of workers fail to make a living wage and most lack employer based health insurance. The report notes that a majority
of logistics workers are indirectly employed through staffing agencies, a situation which exacerbates problems for these workers.
One key finding is that Walmart, the country's biggest retailer, occupies a prominent position among companies active in driving
down wages and perpetuating poor working conditions. Finally, the report points to explicit gender discrimination in hiring,
illegal payroll deductions, wage theft, and a variety of occupational health and safety issues, all of which negatively impact
the working conditions and well-being of logistics workers. The paper concludes with a call for legislative changes and suggests
action steps in order for lawmakers, enforcement bodies and civic advocates to develop a deeper understanding of the industry,
empower workers, and provide the response needed to uphold accountability and improve conditions within the sector.
Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners, and their Access to Financial Capital,
Robert W. Fairlie, Ph.D., for the Office of Advocacy, US. Small Business Administration, May,
2012, 46 pp.
Drawing on specially commissioned tabulations from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners, as well
as information from the 2010 Current Population Survey, the author of this report paints a detailed portrait of immigrant
business owners in the U.S. Not only is the business ownership rate higher for immigrants than non-immigrants (10.5 percent
for immigrants vs. 9.3 percent for the U.S. born), but the rate of business formation per month is even higher: 0.62 percent
for immigrants (or 620 out of 100,000), compared to 0.28 percent (or 280 out of 100,000) for non-immigrants. Immigrant-owned
businesses are also more likely to export than non-immigrant owned businesses (7.1 percent of immigrant firms compared with
4.4 percent of non-immigrant). The author speculates that "higher levels of exports among immigrant owned firms may help
these firms succeed in the long run and help to improve the U.S. trade imbalance with the rest of the world." The author
also observes that the rate of business formation among immigrants, as among non-immigrants, rises during periods of recession
but declines during periods of economic growth. However, "in the Great Recession there appears to be an even greater
response of starting businesses among immigrants than among non-immigrants, which may have to do with lower-skilled workers
having more difficulty in finding jobs." Finally, the author suggests that barriers to business formation and expansion
experienced by immigrants may be costly to the overall growth and productivity of the U.S. economy "especially because
immigrants represent an increasing share of the total population and have a proclivity towards entrepreneurship."
Not coming to America: Why the U.S. is Falling Behind
in the Global Race for Talent,
The Partnership for a New American Economy & The
Partnership for New York City, May, 2012, 48 pp.
This report paints a bleak picture of U.S. competitiveness
in the "global talent rush." Many nations now see immigration as an essential element in their national economic
strategy. Detailing the policy reforms implemented by major developed countries in recent years to attract highly skilled
immigrants, as well as the efforts of sending countries, such as China and India, to provide incentives to expatriates and
their children to return home to start new business ventures, the report laments the failure of the United States to develop
a strategic vision for its immigration policy and to reform an "antiquated" immigration system crafted nearly 50
years ago and no longer functional in the modern world. Noting major shortages of native-born talent in key STEM areas, low
growth in the domestic labor force coupled with an aging population, and the important role played by immigrants as innovators
and entrepreneurs, the report calls for reform of an "incoherent" and "irrational" American immigration
system. The report concludes by suggesting that six commonsense ideas should underlie future immigration policy: "any
university graduate with an advanced degree in an essential field should automatically be eligible for a green card...award
more green cards based on economic needs...scrap the limits on high-skill H1B visas...give seasonal and labor-intensive industries
access to foreign workers when they cannot fill the jobs with Americans...allow local governments to recruit more immigrants
to meet regional needs."
Immigrant Workers in the U.S. Labor Force,The Brookings Institution and Partnership for a New American
Economy, March, 2012, 18 pp.
This study examines the number and role of immigrants in four low-skilled and four
high-skilled sectors of the American economy: accommodation, agriculture, construction, food services, healthcare, high
tech manufacturing, information technology, and life science. Using data from the 2010 Current Population Survey and the 2010
American Community Survey, the author finds that "immigrants and native-born workers tend to work in different jobs within
both high- and low-skilled industries." The most striking examples of this complemtarity may be found in the agriculture,
accommodation, and construction sectors. In the accommodation sector, for example, immigrants are found in large numbers in
"back of the house" occupations such as building and housekeeping cleaners, whereas native-born workers are found
in "front of the house" occupations such as desk clerks and managers. In information technology, the two top
occupations for immigrants are computer programmers and managers, whereas the two top occupations for native-born workers
are computer support specialists and network systems and data communication analysts. According to the author, as the
native-born population continues to age, "the labor force will increasingly depend upon immigrants and their children
to replace current workers and fill new jobs."
Data Reveal High Denial Rates for L-1 and H-1B Petitions
at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,
National Foundation for
American Policy, February, 2012, 19 pp.
The author of this report analyzes and bemoans the growing denial rates
for skilled professionals in non-immigrant temporary visa categories. In the H-1B category, for example, available to foreign
nationals who have the equivalent of a college degree or higher and who are working in specialty occupations, the denial rate
increased from 11 percent in FY 2007 to 21 percent in 2010. In addition, the application process has become more burdensome
and time-consuming, with “skyrocketing” numbers of “Requests for Evidence” or RFEs slowing down
the processing time and causing employers to refrain from applying in the first place. In addition, the reports finds
that a disproportionate number of Indian professionals have been refused visas. According to the author, this situation is
“harming the competitiveness of U.S. employers and encouraging companies to keep more jobs and resources outside the
Promoting Ethnic Entrepreneurship in European Cities,
European Union, 2011, 125 pp.
attempts to map the landscape of immigrant entrepreneurship in 28 cities of the European Union. It finds wide variations
in rates of entrepreneurship depending on local conditions and circumstances. The report notes that "entrepreneurship
is not an important part of the European integration policy for migrants" but that many European cities are beginning
to experiment with innovative approaches to promoting entrepreneurship. Such approaches not only facilitate self-employment,
but also the employment of other immigrants and the native-born population. The report identifies the barriers that face immigrant
entrepreneurs, whether lying within the structures, rules or regulations of political authorities or whether related to deficits
in the skills and training of potential entrepreneurs. The authors catalogue the wide range of programs available to aspiring
entrepreneurs, whether aimed at the general population or immigrants in particular, and conclude with a series of recommendations
for policy makers at all levels of European governance designed to "close the gap" in immigrant entrepreneurship
between the EU and the United States.
Labor Standards Enforcement and Low-wage
Immigrants: Creating an Effective Enforcement System, The Future of a Generation: How New Americans Will Help Support Retiring Baby Boomers,
Immigration Policy Center, February, 2012, 7 pp.
report is a succinct review of major demographic trends that are altering the age distribution of the population, both in
the US and globally, and that will have profound implications for immigration policy for many years to come. Written by Walter
A. Ewing, the report notes that birth rates are declining all over the world, even in traditional immigrant source countries
like Mexico and India; people are living longer; and that by 2030, there will be 1 billion elderly people, constituting one-eighth
of the world's population. In the US, the retirement of the Baby Boomer generation over the course of the next two decades
will lead to a doubling of the elderly (65+) population from 40.2 million to 88.5 million in 2050. The age distribution of
the U.S. population would be even more skewed toward the elderly were it not for the arrival of new immigrants, coupled with
their higher birth rates, which tends to bolster the ranks of the working-age population. Immigration notwithstanding, the
number of working-age adults for every elderly person declined from 7.5 in 1950 to 5.0 in 2000 and is projected to drop to
2.8 in 2050. The author concludes that "policymakers would be wise to take a much more purposeful and strategic approach
to immigration: legally admitting those immigrants who can help take the place of retiring baby boomers in the labor force,
care for the growing ranks of elderly Americans, and shore up the Social Security and Medicare systems with their tax dollars."
Immigrant Professional Integration: Federal Policy Recommendations,
IMPRINT, January, 2012, 7 pp.
IMPRINT - a coalition of five nonprofit
organizations working nationally and locally to advance effective policy and practice in the emerging field of immigrant professional
integration - developed this set of 11 recommendations for consideration by the executive branch of the federal government.
The recommendations are divided into two broad areas: closing the information gap in order to help immigrant professionals
make informed decisions about available career paths, and improving access to workforce services. Recommendations in
the former area include: the creation of "an online site for newcomers to obtain accurate and timely employment
guidance" and "the development of a clearinghouse of credentialing-related information." Recommendations in
the latter area include: the issuance of a "policy guidance affirming skilled immigrants' eligibility for existing services,"
and the use of "policy guidance, regulatory authority, and/or discretionary funding to create incentives for expanded
services to this population."
Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the Economy,
Immigration Policy Center and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, January,
2012, 13 pp.
This report reviews a number of studies on immigrant entrepreneurship conducted by the Public Education
Institute of the Immigrant Learning Center and other researchers. Written by Marcia Drew Hohn, Director of the Institute,
the report finds that immigrant entrepreneurs help to "create jobs and strengthen the economy" but their pivotal
role in the economy "remain(s) largely unacknowledged in economic development policy and planning." The report
notes that immigrant entrepreneurs "come from all walks of life," and indeed "some lack significant educational
credentials" and start businesses to avoid the trap of low wage jobs. Yet they all render valuable services, whether
creating a neighborhood business or introducing a major technological innovation. The report concludes with five policy recommendations,
including the elimination of "red tape" in visa processing, and allowing graduate students in STEM fields to remain
in the U.S. to fill skilled labor positions or create startup ventures.
Monitoring International Labor Recruitment: A cross-Visa Exploration of Regulatory Challenges,
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, 2011, 39 pp
This report was
prepared as a supplemental resource for the first meeting of the International labor Recruitment Working Group that took place
at George Washington University on October 17-18, 2011. It provides a capsule summary of all the non-immigrant visa programs
used to employ temporary, foreign workers in the United States. The report focuses on weaknesses in the regulatory framework
for each program. Among the programs covered in the report are: B-1 (personal or domestic workers), H-1B (specialty occupations),
H-2A (seasonal agricultural workers), H-2B (seasonal non-agricultural workers), and J-1 (exchange visitor program).
What Do Immigrants Do When They Can't Practise Their Professions? Immigrant Professionals
in the Ontario Settlement Service Sector,
CERIS - The Ontario Metropolis Centre, December, 2011, 43 pp.
Pointing out that
three options confront foreign-trained immigrants when they are unable to practice their chosen professions: exit (returning
to home country or going to another country), de-professionalization, and professional rebuilding, the author
of this study explores how a group of 155 well-educated immigrants took the third option by taking positions within Ontario
immigrant/refugee service organizations. Through the use of a detailed survey and follow-up interviews, the author gains
insight into the motivation and experiences of this admittedly non-random sample of the immigrant professional population.
Opportunities for employment in this sector opened up as "ethnocultural affinity with the service provider" came
to be understood as an important criterion for hiring. At the same time, the sector did not raise other insurmountable barriers
to entry. If the field, however, were to become a "full-fledged profession," with the imposition of workforce
training standards and licensure requirements, then a "hardening of the boundaries" within the field would limit
access and raise again the thorny issue of immigrant access to the professions. The paper also provides a short review
of Canadian efforts to facilitate the entry of skilled immigrants into the workforce.
Our American Immigrant Entrepreneurs: The WomenImmigration and American Jobs,
Immigration Policy Center (IPC), December, 2011, 16 pp.
The contents of this IPC "special
report" are drawn from the book, Immigration and Women: Understanding the American Experience (New York University
Press, 2011). Noting that the rising rate of immigrant women entrepreneurship (9 percent in 2010) now exceeds the 6.5 percent
rate of native-born women, and that of all immigrant entrepreneurs in 2010, 40 percent were women, this report seeks to reveal
the particular experiences and challenges faced by women business owners and the contributions they are making to their communities
and to the economy as a whole. Many women started businesses "to repair their damaged self-esteem from underemployment
and exploitation." Many cited the inspiring example of women business owners in their home countries. Some sought independence
from abusive relationships. One strand of the report discusses how these women scraped together the resources to start their
businesses. Finally, the report concludes with "advice and suggestions" from women business owners themselves. This
report, and the book upon which it is based, seeks to understand the "gendered qualities" of migration.
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and the Partnership for a New American
Economy, December, 2011, 23 pp.
This study seeks to answer a question often overlooked in the economics literature,
i.e. the impact of immigration on jobs in the United States, and even more importantly, the impact of specific types of immigrants
on job formation. A simplistic "supply and demand" model might suggest that immigrants with similar skills
displace US natives. An alternative model might suggest that immigrants complement US-born workers, helping to boost employment
in sectors of the economy occupied by native-born workers. As the report suggests, this question is "ultimately
an empirical one." Using 2000 to 2010 data from the Current Population Survey of the Census Bureau, the report examines
the size of specific cohorts of immigrants within each of the states and then compares that number with the number of jobs
created in those states during the period in question. Among the findings are the following: immigrants with advanced degrees
from US universities who work in STEM fields "dramatically boost employment for US natives." For every 100
such immigrants, there are 262 additional jobs created for US natives. The study also looks at three temporary workers programs:
H-1B visas for skilled workers, H-2A visas for seasonal agricultural workers, and H-2B visas for seasonal nonagricultural
workers. All programs appear to be positively related to improved employment outcomes for US-born workers. The report explores
the policy implications of these findings. It bemoans the fact that only 14 percent of the green cards issued each year are
allocated based on employment, compared to 25 percent in Canada, 42 percent in Australia, and almost 60 percent in the United
Kingdom and Germany. Arguing that "immigration policy can help fix the economy," the report calls for "more
permanent and temporary visas for highly educated immigrants, especially those in STEM fields, and expanded programs for both
skilled and less-skilled temporary foreign workers."
Immigrant Founders and Key Personnel in America's 50 Top Venture-Funded Companies,
National Foundation for American Policy, December, 2011, 21 pp.
This study examines
the important role played by immigrants in launching and sustaining leading venture-funded companies within the U.S. The author
found that immigrants started nearly half of America's top 50 venture-backed companies, and that 76 percent of all companies
employ an immigrant in either a key management or product development position. Relying on biographical data and interviews,
the author profiles fourteen companies and the immigrant entrepreneurs and employees that have been integral to their growth
and success. Throughout, the report reflects the importance of immigrants in "driving growth and innovation in America,"
and concludes with a call for policies to attract and retain global talent within the United States. (Dan McNulty)
Adult Children of Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Memories and influences,
The Immigrant Learning Center, in collaboration with researchers at the Institute for Asian
American Studies, University of Massachusetts, November, 2011, 53 pp.
Based on a series of 10 focus groups with
36 adult children of Asian and Hispanic immigrant entrepreneurs, this study attempts to understand the family dimensions of
the entrepreneurial experience and its lasting influence in the lives of the second generation. The participants in
the study were graduate students ranging in age from 21 to 32. Many of them attributed their work ethic to the example set
by their parents. Many learned useful interpersonal skills helping out with the family business. Many felt obliged to repay
the sacrifices made by their parents to give them a better future. Among the conclusions of the report: "there is little
doubt that these children understood, respected and were often deeply affected by the struggles and accomplishments of their
Rebooting the American Dream: The Role of Immigration in a 21st Century
Immigration Policy Center (IPC),
November, 2011, 20 pp.
This "special report"
provides a digest of selected research on the economic impact of immigration on the American economy. According to these
studies, immigrants tend to complement rather than displace American workers on both the high and low ends of the immigration
skills spectrum, thereby spurring overall growth and creating opportunities for native-born workers. Moreover, immigrants
are more entrepreneurial than native-born workers, with one study finding that immigrants are more than twice as likely to
start businesses as native-born workers. However, the IPC report suggests that the current US immigration system is
antiquated and not designed to derive maximum economic advantage from the energy and talents of immigrants. Indeed,
many talented foreigners trained at American universities, frustrated by long delays in obtaining visas, are returning home
to start businesses in their home countries - businesses that may one day compete in the global market. The report concludes
with a short section on family-based immigration, which through the social capital of family relationships and networks, also
spurs economic growth.
Welcome to Canada. Now What? Unlocking the Potential of Immigrants for Business Growth
Deloitte, November, 2011, 25 pp.
This "White Paper Summary"
of Deloitte's 2011 Dialogue on Diversity is based on a series of nine roundtable discussions with employers, community organizations,
special interest groups, government agencies and immigrants across Canada. According to Canadian government statistics, immigrants
are expected to account for all net labor and population growth in years to come. Although foreign-born workers are essential
to grow the Canadian economy, the talents and skills of immigrants, according to the white paper, continue to be underutilized
while immigrants face disproportionately higher unemployment rates. The paper suggests that the foreign-born are uniquely
qualified to benefit employers by bringing greater diversity into the workplace - a development that can drive the innovation
needed to compete in a global market. Yet, despite arriving in Canada with the training and education necessary to fill market
gaps, barriers to entering the workforce keep immigrants underemployed. These include: a lack of Canadian experience, lack
of connections, language, and unrecognized foreign credentials. The paper concludes with an action plan for better integration
of immigrants into the labor market with specific recommendations in the areas of recruitment, internship opportunities, mentoring,
developing cultural connections, use of employee resource groups, and employee training programs. (Dan McNulty)
Migration and Occupational Health: Understanding the Risks,
Migration Policy Institute, October 11, 2011, 6 pp.
Adapted from an article that
appeared in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, this article by Marc B. Schenker summarizes available data on fatal
and non-fatal injuries suffered by immigrant workers in the U.S. As immigrants are over-represented in so-called ‘three
D" jobs (dirty, dangerous, and difficult), they tend to experience higher rates of injury than the native-born population.
The author, however, laments the absence of research data on the nexus between immigration and occupational injury (only 48
articles on immigrant occupational health appeared between 1990 and 2005) and reviews the methodological challenges involved
in conducting such research. The author calls for efforts to understand the nature and causes of immigrant occupational health
disparities in order to develop appropriate public policy responses.
Immigration and Poverty in America's Suburbs,
The Brookings Institution, August, 2011, 20 pp.
This paper examines the phenomenon
of suburban poverty, with particular attention to immigrant poverty. Noting that the majority of the nation's poor in the
100 largest metropolitan areas now live in the suburbs, the authors observe that "it is no longer useful to think of
central cities as the primary locations of poverty in America, surrounded by concentric suburban rings of predominantly white
and affluent populations." There are now 2.7 million foreign-born poor in the suburbs, representing ca 20% of all
suburban poor. The authors conclude that "suburbs with little or no experience with either immigration or poverty face
complex and unfamiliar public policy challenges."
The Economic Integration of Immigrants in the United States: Long- and Short-Term Perspectives,
Migration Policy Institute, July, 2011, 16 pp.
paper describes the occupational niches and contributions of diverse groups of immigrants and their children within the U.S.
economy. The author devotes special attention to the impact of the global economic crisis on the economic prospects of immigrants.
Although the workplace in the U.S., in contrast to other immigrant-receiving countries, has traditionally functioned as "one
of the country's most powerful immigrant-integrating institutions," the author suggests that the uncertain economic outlook
"could realign the economic and social forces that have historically propelled the intergenerational upward mobility
of immigrants (and natives)." In addition, budget cuts on the federal, state, and local levels, especially in the area
of public education, could weaken "the public and community-based institutions and programs that historically promote
upward intergenerational mobility among the children of immigrants."
Migration Policy Institute (MPI), July, 2011, 68 pp.
This report analyzes the labor law enforcement records of the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administration, with particular
attention to wage and hour laws and industries with high concentrations of immigrant workers. The report identifies
best practices in labor law enforcement and suggests closer coordination between federal and state agencies working in this
area. The report also presents findings from an MPI survey of state resources, priorities, and initiatives in labor
standards. Among the policy recommendations in the report are the following: deterring violators by pressuring dominant or
lead employers in an industry or geographic area; status-blind enforcement; creating new metrics less driven by complaints
filed and resolved; combating the misclassification of employees as independent contractors; and leveraging the resources
of other public and private agencies. Finally, the report recommends a study to determine whether increased labor law enforcement
would lead to a decrease in unauthorized employment and migration. If such a study showed such an effect, then immigration
enforcement resources might be diverted to labor standards enforcement.
Eight Policies to Boost the Economic Contribution of Employment-Based Immigration,
Migration Policy Institute, June, 2011, 10 pp.
The authors of this paper contend
"that successful economic-stream immigration systems are transparent and flexible, create predictable outcomes, and remain
open to constant adaptation and experimentation." In order for immigration to be a "powerful tool for supporting
a country's economic growth and prosperity," the following policies should be implemented: temporary-to-permanent
visa pathways, streamlined immigration for the most skilled workers, special policies to retain top foreign students, allowing
employers to "pierce" numerical limits or other limits through the payment of special fees, regional and local engagement
in the admission process, the use of independent research to review and adjust immigration systems, and the development of
effective immigrant integration programs because "integration outcomes are a key measure of the success of any national
immigration policy, and such outcomes can be tracked and used as a feedback mechanism for determining needed adjustments to
Measures of Immigrant Integration in Los Angeles County,
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, University
of Southern California, and Rob Paral and Associates, June, 2011, 17 pp.
Seeking to overcome the limitations
of standard point-in-time comparisons of immigrants and native-born groups, the author of this report tracks the progress
of a cohort of Los Angeles County immigrants who entered the U.S. during the 1980s and who were between the ages of 25 and
34 at the time of the 1990 census. Snapshots of this group are taken in 2000 and 2006-08. Data is also disaggregated
for the eight largest immigrant communities in the County. Among the observed variables are: educational gains (high school
and college completion rates), poverty levels, rates of home ownership, and family income. There are many positive developments
during this period, including a "sharp drop in immigrant poverty levels" and a climb in immigrant home ownership.
However, few immigrant groups were able to narrow the gap in family income between themselves and native-born whites, and
college completion rates remain low for some of the largest immigrant communities, e.g. only 5.4% of Mexicans had college
degrees by the end of the study period.
Immigration Policy and Less-Skilled Workers in the
United States: Reflections on Future Directors for Reform,
Migration Policy Institute,
January 2011, 26 pp
This study by economist Harry J. Holzer, former Chief Economist for the US Department of
Labor, reviews findings from the research literature on the benefits and costs of low-skilled immigration, i.e. immigration
by those with a high school diploma or less. His point of departure is the well-publicized debate between economists
David Card of the University of California and George Borjas of Harvard, who have differed over the extent to which immigrant
workers compete with native-born workers. Holzer finds "limited negative impact" on native-born workers, but somewhat
greater negative impact on earlier cohorts of foreign-born workers. On the other hand, benefits of less-skilled migration
accrue to employers, and to consumers in all income brackets. The paper concludes with some discussion of the implications
of research findings for future immigration reform. Among the author's conclusions: "In all, it is hard to make the case
that the current volume of unskilled immigration to the United States is too high and needs to be sharply curtailed."
Holzer also recommends charging employers who hire less-skilled immigrant workers "some modest fees to offset short-term
fiscal costs," as well as adjusting admission levels based on macroeconomic conditions. He also advocates steps to legalize
the undocumented already in the U.S., while stemming any new unauthorized flows.
All Work and No Pay: Day Laborers, Wage Theft, and
Workplace Justice in New Jersey,
Immigrants' Rights/International Human Rights
Clinic, Center for Social Justice, Seton Hall University School of Law, January, 2011, 24 pp
Building on a 2010 study
of day laborers in Newark, Seton Hall researchers have expanded the scope of the earlier study to examine the experience of
113 day laborers at pick-up sites in Elizabeth, Freehold, Morristown, Orange, and Palisades Park. Over the course of
a single year, 54% of the workers statewide were paid less money than they were promised by at least one employer, and 94%
were never paid overtime if they worked more than 40 hours per week for the same employer. Twenty-six percent were assaulted
on the job and 35% were abandoned at a work site. There were wide variations among communities in levels of noncompliance
with labor laws. In general, communities like Elizabeth, without advocacy groups championing the interest of day laborers,
had much higher violation rates. Despairing of any meaningful assistance from an understaffed and financially strapped NJ
Department of Labor, the authors of the report propose a "more robust criminal wage theft statute," which would
facilitate the filing and prosecution of complaints with local municipal courts. The report includes the text of a model statute.
Human Trafficking and Business: Good Practices to Prevent
and Combat Human Trafficking,
United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, 2010,
Noting that "human trafficking is not currently
well integrated into the Corporate Responsibility (CR)programmes of most brands, companies, and business associations,"
this report presents an overview of human trafficking, explains why trafficking is an important issue for business, and profiles
companies doing exemplary work in this area. According to data in the report, there are over 2.4 million people world-wide
who are victims of forced labor as a result of human trafficking, of whom the majority are between the ages of 18 and 24.
The ILO estimates that 43 percent work in forced commercial sexual exploitation, and 32% in forced economic exploitation.
In addition to the sex trade, the following sectors have significant rates of forced labor: agriculture; construction;
garments and textiles; hospitality; mining, logging, and forestry; food processing and packaging; transportation; and domestic
service. The publication features six detailed case studies covering the work of the following companies or trade associations:
International Cocoa Initiative (West Africa); Manpower, Inc (Colombia); the Apparel Export Trade Council (India); the tourism
industry (world-wide); Public Private Partnerships organized by the International Organization for Migration (India); and
the Body Shop International (world-wide).
The Role of Migrant Care Workers in Ageing Societies:
Report on Research Findings in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and the United States,
IOM International Organization for Migration, 2010, 79 pp.
(There is a separate study on the U.S. alone published in 2009)
This report looks at qualitative and quantitative data from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and the United States,
examining the role played by migrant workers in caring for the elderly. Due to changing demographics, i.e. growth in the aging
populations and a relative decline in the working age populations, compounded by the undervaluing of care work in general,
these developed nations have witnessed rapid growth in the demand for labor within the eldercare market. The report points
to how both skilled and unskilled migrants from developing nations are used to fill labor shortages, along with some of the
policies, conditions, and processes favoring the disproportional employment of foreign-born workers within the care economy.
The report also examines the challenges faced by both employers and migrants in the workplace; for employers, lack of certain
skill sets, limited English proficiency and cultural awareness can all lessen the ability of migrants to connect with the
elderly and perform their jobs effectively; for migrants, discrimination, poor working conditions, and isolation can present
serious problems. The report finds that the four countries under study mostly lack the legal framework needed to ensure a
steady, secure, and quality workforce within the long-term care sector. The authors conclude with a series of policy recommendations,
suggesting that improving conditions and compensation for work in eldercare is essential to retaining quality care whether
provided by migrants or natives. (Dan McNulty)
Injustice on our Plates: Immigrant Women in
the U.S. Food Industry,
Southern Poverty Law Center, 2010, 64 pp.
This report aims to shine a light on the suffering and indignities experienced by the many undocumented female workers in
the American food industry. A majority of the 150 women interviewed for this study endured sexual harassment and assaults
while working in the fields, packinghouses or food processing plants. Few are willing to report incidents to employers or
police, for fear of losing their jobs or being deported. Working for poverty wages, they have no access to government programs
to help the poor, nor do they typically receive health care coverage, sick or vacation time, or unemployment compensation.
The report also chronicles the heavy toll of work-related illnesses and injuries sustained by workers in the food and meat-processing
industries in the U.S. They are exposed to pesticides, blistering heat in the fields, and cold in the packinghouses.
The report concludes with a series of recommendations to Congress and various federal agencies to end the "shameful exploitation"
of "the most vulnerable workers in our country."
Overcoming the Barriers Faced by Immigrants
A Briefing Report by the New Jersey State Advisory Committee to the United
States Commission on Civil Rights, September 2010, 25 pp.
of 50 state advisory committees, charged with advising the federal Commission on Civil Rights about issues in their states
that fall within the Commission's jurisdiction, the NJ Advisory Committee held a hearing on May 8, 2009 "to address the
most pressing civil rights issues affecting immigrants in New Jersey." The committee convened three panels of stakeholders
and experts to give testimony in the areas of state and local enforcement of immigration laws, housing and employment discrimination,
and the immigrant experience. This report includes summaries of the testimony and concludes with seven findings and
recommendations, including the adoption of a "fair labor enforcement plan of action" to address the under-enforcement
of labor and workforce safety regulations involving immigrants.
Still an Hourglass? Immigrant workers
in Middle-Skilled Jobs
Migration Policy Institute, September, 2010, 17 pp.
report casts doubt on the depiction of the immigrant workforce as an hourglass, noting that almost a quarter (24%) of
immigrants in 2006 were working in "middle skill" jobs compared to 29% of native-born Americans. Middle-skilled
jobs are defined as "jobs that require more than a high school but less than a four-year college degree and that typically
pay a family-sustaining wage ($30,000 annually per worker). In three of four specific occupations analyzed in the report (healthcare,
IT, and hospitality), the percent of immigrants actually exceeded that of native workers. One possible reason, according to
the authors, may be the overrepresentation of immigrants with college and advanced degrees in these jobs as a result of their
inability to meet credentialing requirements in higher skilled occupations.
Ten Economic Facts About Immigration,
The Hamilton Project, Brookings, September, 2010, 16
Seeking "to provide a common ground that all participants in the policy debate (on immigration) can
agree on," the authors provide a succinct and non-technical summary of available research on 10 key economic questions,
including the impact of immigration on the living standards of native-born Americans; gains or losses to federal, state and
local budgets caused by immigration; assimilation trends among immigrants and their children; immigrant contributions to business
formation and patent filing; and whether immigrants disproportionately burden U.S. correctional facilities.
The Geography of Immigrant Skills: Educational
Profiles of Metropolitan Areas,
Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program,
June, 2011, 32 pp.
This report observes that the U.S. has reached an important milestone: the percentage of
working-age high-skilled immigrants (defined by the authors as those with a bachelor's degree or higher) now exceeds the percentage
of low-skilled working-age immigrants (defined as those without a high school diploma). However, the distribution of
high-skilled immigrants varies widely across the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. The report groups these 100 areas
into three categories: low-skill destinations, i.e. fewer than 75 high-skilled immigrants for every 100 low-skilled immigrants;
balanced-skill destinations, i.e. ratios of 75 to 125, and high-skill destinations, i.e. more than 125 high-skilled immigrants
for every 100 low-skilled immigrants. Most low-skilled destinations are located in the southwest border states of California,
Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and in the Plains States, where agricultural processing centers make heavy use of low-skill
labor. High-skill destinations are found along the coasts, in large college towns, and in older industrial areas, such as
Cleveland, Pittsburg, and St. Louis. Balanced-skill destinations, such as New York, Atlanta, and Charlotte, predominate
in Eastern and Southern states. The report notes that almost half of high-skilled immigrants, across all destinations,
appear to be over-qualified for their jobs, suggesting a systemic waste of human capital that needs to be addressed by policy
makers. The report concludes with a series of policy recommendations designed to maximize the contribution of immigrants to
economic recovery and stabilization.
Policies to Curb Unauthorized Employment,
Migration Policy Institute, May, 2011, 10 pp
by MPI policy analyst Madeleine Sumption, this policy brief offers a sobering analysis of the policy options available
to governments seeking to reduce the hiring of unauthorized workers. The author concludes that "a comprehensive approach
has the greatest potential for success." Such an approach would combine stronger sanctions against illegal hiring
with some expansion of legal flows of low-skilled workers, along with stronger enforcement of basic labor law standards. However,
fiscal and budgetary constraints may make it difficult to implement such an approach, and even if implemented, some employers,
particularly small employers operating entirely in the informal economy, may fail to comply.
Immigration Myths and Facts,
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, May, 2011, 9 pp.
an effort to counteract misinformation about the impact of immigration on American society, the Chamber's Labor, Immigration
& Employee Benefits Division prepared this pamphlet to "refute seven of the most common myths about immigrants coming
to our country." The pamphlet attempt to "summarize the facts on the relationship of immigrants to Jobs, Wages,
Taxes, Population, Crime, Integration, and Welfare." The Chamber's review "shows that immigrants significantly
benefit the U.S. economy by creating new jobs, and complementing the skills of the U.S. native workforce, with a net positive
impact on wage rates overall."
Migrant Social Networks: Vehicles for Migration,
Integration, and DevelopmentUnauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, 2010,
Migration Policy Institute, March 30, 2011, 6 pp.
short “primer” on migrant social networks is intended to enrich the “policy discourse” on this subject.
Written by Prof. Maritsa V. Poros of City University of New York, the article notes that social networks “make migration
possible” in the first place and create their own vibrant labor markets. Noting that governments are beginning to invest
in the capacity of migrant networks to foster development in home countries, she calls attention to the potential of migrant
networks to facilitate the economic and social integration of newcomers.
Pew Research Center, February 1, 2011
analysis of the undocumented population updates previous annual reports published by the Pew Research Center. At 11.2
million in 2010, Pew's estimate of the national total of undocumented immigrants remains largely unchanged from 2009. During
the previous two years (2007-2009), however, the number had declined from a high of 12 million in 2007. The 2010 numbers,
however, show significant variations among the states. The decline in unauthorized numbers was especially great in New York
and Florida, while increases occurred in Texas and Louisiana. New Jersey had an estimated 550,000 unauthorized immigrants
in 2010, including 400,000 in the workforce, representing 8.6% of the total state workforce - the 4th highest percentage in
Modeled after the influential 2004
National Day Labor Study, this report illuminates the experience of some 55 largely Ecuadorian day laborers at a "shape-up"
site in Newark. Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents had completed high school, and 54% were married. Almost all respondents
reported being victims of wage theft, with "substantial" losses ($800 or more annually ) experienced by 38% of workers.
Safety violations were also rampant. Many workers possess "a profound fear of retribution by employers," who often
threaten to report immigration problems to ICE if the workers file formal complaints against employers. The authors of the
report, echoing the sentiments of all people interviewed for the project, including public officials and the day laborers
themselves, recommend that the City of Newark establish a hiring hall for day laborers to alleviate these problems.. The report
further urges the NJ Department of Labor to "proactively" investigate the plight of day laborers in Newark and to
work with law enforcement to prosecute violators.
The Impact of Immigrants in Recession and Economic Expansion,
Migration Policy Institute
(MPI), June, 2010, 23 pp.
Written by Giovanni Peri (University of
California, Davis) for MPI's Labor Markets Initiative, this paper charts the short- and long-term effects of net immigration
on the employment and incomes of native-born workers in the United States. While most economists have shown a positive correlation
over the long-run (say ten years), few have studied the short-term effects. During periods of economic weakness, Peri finds
that net immigration over a one to two year period "seems to crowd out less-educated native workers." In order to
mitigate these negative effects, Peri suggests that our immigration system should be more responsive to labor market conditions.
Peri makes the interesting observation that some degree of adjustment already occurs, but not with family-based migration,
which remains constant even in recessionary times, but in the number of legal and unauthorized immigrants who return to their
countries during periods of recession. Indeed, over the last 20 years, he estimates that on average 1.5% of the foreign born
population, or 600,000 people, has returned to their home countries each year. Admission numbers, he suggests, should be set
to compensate for this loss and with a view toward the long-range benefits of immigration on the economy. Finally, he argues
that a sufficient number of visas, perhaps 40% of the total, should be made available for less-skilled immigrants as they
"appear(s) to bring benefits for the aggregate economy without harming the wages of less-educated natives in the long
"It's Not Just About the Economy, Stupid" - Social Remittances Revisited, The Impact of Immigration and Immigration Reform on the Wages of American Workers,
Migration Policy Institute, May 21, 2010, 6
This short paper explains the concept of social remittances, defined
as the exchange of "ideas, know-how, practice and skills" between immigrants and their home country communities
of origin. Using examples drawn from the experience of Dominican immigrants in Boston, the authors explain that social
remittances can have both positive and negative impacts. The paper concludes with the observation that "migration research
needs to span migrants' origin and destination countries and go beyond economic considerations to include the social and cultural."
New Policy Institute, May, 2010, 22 pp
Written by Dr. Robert
J. Shapiro, a former Undersecretary of Commerce in the Clinton Administration, this report includes a demographic analysis
of the immigrant population in the United States, highlighting occupational niches and educational attainment, and devoting
special attention to the position of the undocumented. The report reviews available studies exploring the economic
impact of immigration, both legal and undocumented, on the incomes of native-born immigrants and on the economy as a whole.
Among findings of note: "undocumented male immigrants have the highest labor force participation rate of any group in
America principally because, compared to the native born, undocumented immigrants are twice as likely to be in households
with spouses and children." According to the author, evidence indicates that comprehensive immigration reform would reverse
any adverse impacts of undocumented immigration on the wages of low-skilled legal workers, both native-born and immigrant.
Across the Spectrum: The Wide Range of Jobs Immigrants Do,Fiscal Policy Institute, April, 2010, 19 pp.
Looking at the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, this report examines the occupational distribution
of immigrants. Analyzing data from the 2006-2008 American Community survey, the researchers find that immigrants are distributed
"surprisingly evenly" across various occupational categories. Indeed, in 13 of the 25 metropolitan areas, there
are more immigrants working in the mostly higher-wage professional or white-collar jobs than in mostly lower-wage service
or blue-collar jobs. However, metropolitan areas with a preponderance of higher skilled immigrants, such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland,
and St. Louis, have lagged in economic performance behind cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Minneapolis, where the majority
of immigrants work in service or blue-collar jobs. Whether low-skilled immigration is a cause or consequence of economic
growth can be debated, but the notion of low-skilled workers as a drag on the economy seems flawed.
Getting Your Professional License in Ontario: The Experiences of International
and Canadian Applicants: Final ReportOffice of the Fairness Commissioner, February 11, 2010, 82 pp + appendices
In 2007, the Province of Ontario created the Office of the Fairness Commissioner to ensure that licensing procedures
for regulated professions, such as engineering and healthcare, did not discriminate against foreign-trained immigrants. In
2008, the Office undertook a comprehensive research study to understand the experiences of both native-born and foreign license
applicants. This report, based on survey responses from 3,784 people across 37 regulated professions, as well as input from
five focus groups, and a literature review, summarizes the findings. A key recommendation is that regulatory bodies need to
make their procedures clearer and more transparent, a reform that would be welcome by all applicants, whether native-born
Financial Literacy Programs for Immigrants,
Guide, National League of Cities, Winter, 2010, 3 pp
This primer explains the rationale for developing financial
literacy programs for immigrants, describes various program types, contains links to useful resources, and gives examples
of successful programs.
Immigration and Wages: Methodological Advancements
Confirm Modest Gains for Native Workers,
Economic Policy Institute, Briefing Paper,
February 4, 2010, 29 pp.
As immigration flows have surged in the U.S. in recent years, there has been great
interest in the labor market impact of immigration on native-born Americans. Although most economists agree that immigration
has had a small but positive impact on the wages of native-born Americans overall, researchers differ as to whether
specific categories of native-born Americans, e.g. those without a high school education, have been adversely affected by
immigration. Looking at data from 1994 to 2007, this study disaggregates the native-born population by age, gender, and education
level, and finds that the positive trend is fairly uniform through all sub-groups of native-born workers. The only group experiencing
a downward trend in wages is earlier immigrants, who presumably compete more directly with newer immigrants. However, the
data doesn't permit a breakdown of the immigrant population by type of status, e.g. undocumented vs. undocumented, or type
of visa, so, as the author acknowledges, key questions remain unanswered by this study.
Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits
of Comprehensive Immigration Reform,
Center for American Progress and Immigration Policy Center, January, 2010, 25 pp.
This paper makes the counter-intuitive argument that the current enforcement-only approach to irregular migration,
has failed to deter illegal migration, "wasted billions of taxpayer dollars," and created "a host of
unintended consequences," including spurring the growth of human smuggling operations, choking off "circular migration,"
and propping up low-wage labor markets "and ironically, creating a greater demand for unauthorized workers." Noting
that Mexico is undergoing "one of the fastest declines in fertility ever recorded in any nation," as evidenced by
the increasing age of apprehended immigrants, the author suggests that population pressure as a driver of migration from Mexico
will likely diminish in the future. The author also reviews research conducted on the economic impact of the 1986 legalization
program; evaluates the economic consequences of three different reform scenarios; and concludes that a comprehensive approach,
providing a pathway to legalization, will "generate an annual increase in U.S. GDP of at least 0.84 percent,"
while "boost(ing) wages for both native-born and newly legalized immigrant workers."
Immigrants and the Economy: Contribution of Immigrant
Workers to the Country's 25 Largest Metropolitan Areas,
Fiscal Policy Institute,
December, 2009, 42 pp.
Produced with support from SEIU Local 32BJ, this report finds that immigrants in major
U.S. metropolitan areas contribute to the economy in proportion to their share of the local population. The authors also
observe that "economic growth and growth in the immigrant workforce go hand in hand," although the question
of cause and effect remains unclear. The report also notes that immigrants work in jobs across the economic spectrum
and earn wages that are comparable to native-born workers in most categories. One notable exception is blue collar jobs, where
immigrants earn considerably less. In the service sector, earnings are low both for immigrants and native-born workers.
Even though immigrants make up 20% of all union members in the 25 metro areas, the unionization rate for immigrants is lower
than for native-born workers - 10% compared to 14%. In addressing these problems, the report suggests "setting a higher
standard for the earnings of workers," particularly in the service and blue collar sectors, with obvious implications
for union organizing.
The Economics and Policy of Illegal Immigration in
the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, Labor Markets Initiative, December, 2009, 16 pp.
This paper highlights the importance of unauthorized immigrant workers as
a source of low-skilled labor in the American labor market, especially in the agriculture, construction, food processing,
building cleaning and maintenance sectors. The author reviews the positive and negative impacts of illegal migration on the
American economy and its workers. Observing that such labor was "unofficially tolerated" in the United States
up to 2006, recent efforts to control illegal immigration may be undermined by renewed demand for low-skilled labor during
future periods of economic growth, a demand that cannot be easily satisfied by a better educated and less flexible domestic
labor force. Noting that sufficient legal visas are currently unavailable to satisfy the need for low-skilled workers, the
author suggests that Congress would have to "revamp entirely the manner in which employment visas are allocated"
if it is serious about reducing future illegal inflows.
Tied to the Business
Cycle: How Immigrants Fare in Good and Bad Economic Times
Migration and the
Policy Institute, September, 2009, 127 pp
This report updates an earlier MPI study seeking to gauge the impact
of the global recession on world migration trends. The authors find that people are generally staying put, i.e. not leaving
home countries, nor returning, except paradoxically in certain E.U. countries like Ireland and the United Kingdom, that permit
the free flow of migrants from countries in eastern Europe. In the U.K., for example, almost half the 1.4 million Eastern
Europeans who came during the period between May 2004 and March 2009 have returned. The report notes "a significant deterioration
in immigrant employment rates...across a wide number of countries," including among Mexicans and Central Americans in
the United States. Other sections of the report discuss the internal movement of migrants in countries like China, the results
of "pay-to-go schemes" in countries like Spain and Japan, and trends in remittances.
Human Development Report 2009, Overcoming Barriers: Human Mobility and Development,
United Nations Development Program (UNDP), 2009, 229 pp.
Since 1992, the UNDP has commissioned
annual Human Development Reports to focus global attention on key development issues. For the first time in its history, UNDP
has chosen to focus its 2009 report on the link between mobility and development. Noting that "conventional approaches
to migration tend to suffer from compartmentalization," the authors view migration in its broadest context, looking at
the roughly 1 billion people who move each year, including the estimated 740 million who are "internal migrants,"
the 214 million who are regular (legal) international migrants, and the 50 million who are irregular international migrants.
So-called "north-south migration," the authors note, is not as prevalent as many think. Nearly half of all international
migrants move within their region of origin and about 40 percent move to a neighboring country. The authors propose a "six-pillar"
package of reforms intended to "maximize the human development impact of migration," including opening up more legal
channels for international low-skilled migration, fewer barriers to internal migration, and ensuring basic rights for migrants
Broken Laws, Unprotected
Workers: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America's Cities,
for Urban Economic Development (University of Illinois at Chicago), National Employment Law Project, UCLA Institute for Research
on Labor and Employment, 2009, 65 pp.
Based on a survey conducted in 2008 with a representative sample of over
4,000 low-wage workers in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City, 70% of whom were immigrants, this report concludes that
"the core protections that many Americans take for granted - the right to be paid at least the minimum wage, the right
to be paid for overtime hours, the right to take meal breaks, access to workers' compensation when injured, and the right
to advocate for better working conditions - are failing significant numbers of workers." The authors stratify their
data by particular industries, as well as by place of birth (foreign-born or native-born), gender and ethnicity.
They also extrapolate from their data the extent of "wage theft" for the broader low-wage population, estimating
that in one week alone, more than 1 million workers in the three cities have at least one pay-related violation, resulting
in a loss of $56.4 million per week. The authors believe that conditions have likely worsened as the recession deepened
in late 2008.
Fulfilling the Promise: Integrating Immigrant Skills into
the Urban Economy,
Cities of Migration, Archived Webinar, July 28, 2009
This one-hour international webinar features
a presentation by Elizabeth McIsaac, Executive Director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, a ground-breaking
initiative to integrate skilled immigrants into the urban economy. The work of the Council is designed to make Toronto more
economically competitive in the North American environment. With over 50 corporate partners, the Council works on both the
individual and systemic level to effect change. To date, the Council has arranged over 4000 mentorship opportunities for
immigrants. Another project called "Career Bridge" provides paid immigrant internships. Samples of TV ads used
by the Council are included in the webinar. The Council's approach is now being replicated across Canada through a program
called Allies, Inc. (http://www.maytree.com/integration/allies.). Another presenter
discusses how the program is being implemented in New Zealand.
As Immigrants Move In, Americans Move Up,
Free Trade Bulletin No. 38, Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute, July 21, 2009, 9 pp.
by Daniel Griswold, the Director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies, this policy brief argues that there is a causal relationship
between immigration since 1990 and poverty reduction in the United States, particularly among native-born African-Americans.
"For every poor immigrant family we 'imported' during that time, more than three native-born families were 'exported'
from poverty." He also argues that the nature of the "underclass" has changed. "Members of
today's more immigrant and Hispanic underclass are more likely to work and less likely to live in poverty or commit crimes..."
Griswald urges Congress to reject "misguided fears about 'importing povery'" and to "pursue a policy of expanding
legal immigration for low-skilled workers.."
Massachusetts Immigrants by the Numbers: Demographic
Characteristics and Economic Footprint,
The Immigrant Learning Center, June, 2009, 51 pp.
Prepared by researchers at the Institute
for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, this report offers a sweeping view of the immigrant
population in the State of Massachusetts. Unlike other recent state-level reports on immigration, this study digs deeper into
the data by differentiating between "established" and "recent" immigrants, i.e. those in the U.S. less
than 10 years. The report analyzes the educational attainment and occupational profile of immigrants; examines income, sales,
and property tax payments by immigrants; provides data on transfer payments; and reviews rates of immigrant institutionalization
in juvenile facilities, correctional institutions, and nursing homes. Overall, the report paints a favorable picture of immigrant
contributions to the state.
Untying the Knot, Part I, The Unemployment and Immigration
Immigration Policy Center, May, 2009, 12 pp.
Untying the Knot, Part II, Immigration and Native-Born Unemployment Across
Immigration Policy Center, May, 2009, 12 pp.
In this series of special reports, the
Immigrant Policy Center finds no apparent connection between high levels of recent immigration and unemployment. Indeed, there
appears to be an inverse relationship between the two, i.e. in areas with high levels of recent migration, unemployment rates
are lower than in rural areas or in the former great industrial centers of the Midwest, where there are fewer immigrants.
Part II focuses on the impact of immigration on native-born minorities, particularly African-Americans. One noteworthy finding
is that in the ten states with the highest percentages of recent immigrants, the average unemployment rate for native-born
blacks is about 4 percentage points lower than in the 10 states with the lowest percentages of recent immigrants. The
authors conclude that the presence of immigrants is a function of the job-creating strength of the local economy, and that
the causes of unemployment should be sought elsewhere.
Assessing the Economic Impact of Immigration at the State
and Local Level,
Immigration Policy Center, April 28, 2009, 5 pp.
This brief reviews
16 studies completed since 2002 that suggest that immigrants in general - and the undocumented specifically - make a positive
net contribution to state economies, particularly if the lifetime contributions of immigrants are taken into consideration.
A Portrait of Unauthorized
Immigrants in the United States,
The Pew Hispanic Center, April 14, 2009, 42 pp.
In this comprehensive study, researchers from the Pew Hispanic
Center found that unauthorized immigrants are 4% of the U.S. population and 5.4% of its workforce. Although more widely dispersed
throughout the country than in the past, unauthorized immigrants continue to settle in high numbers in states like
New Jersey, New York, Florida, Illinois, and Texas. Pew estimates that New Jersey's unauthorized population increased from
400,000 in 2005 to 550,000 in 2008, while the unauthorized share of the state's labor force increased from 6.4% to 9.2%, or
425,000 workers. Nationally, two-thirds of unauthorized immigrants work in the service, construction, and production sectors.
In addition, 47% of unauthorized immigrants ages 25 to 64 have less than a high school education, as compared with 8% of U.S.
born-population in the same age category.
Immigrant Workers in the Massachusetts Health Care Industry:
A Report on Status and Future Prospects,
The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc., March, 2009,
This report examines
the contribution of immigrants to the Massachusetts health care industry -- "the most important employment sector of
the Massachusetts economy with almost half a million workers." The report treats immigrants not only as a source
of labor in crucial segments of the industry (the quantitative factor) but also as workers skilled in bridging the language
and cultural barriers that often impede the delivery of quality health care to diverse patient populations (the qualitative
factor). In this sense, the authors contend that foreign-born health care workers "add value to the quality of health
care for everyone." In addition, the report notes a strong correlation between the presence of immigrants in local
labor markets and the concentration of health care infrastructure in certain communities. Examining specific occupational
profiles, the authors note that immigrants tend to cluster at the upper end (e.g. 51% of medical scientists and 40% of pharmacists)
and lower end (36% of health technologists and 33% of aides) of the health care employment market in the state. Beyond official
statistics, the report also notes the importance of immigrants in the "gray market" of workers hired directly by
individuals and families. Finally, the report urges public and private investments in workforce development programs
aimed at incorporating foreign-born health care workers into the health care industry and devotes one section of the report
to "promising practices and programs" designed to achieve this goal.
Report on Port Truckers' Survey at the New Jersey Ports,
School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University,
February, 2009, 38 pp.
Through extensive interviews with 299 truck drivers operating as "independent contractors"
in the ports of Newark, Elizabeth, and Bayonne, and focus groups with another 70 truckers, the authors of this report found
general dissatisfaction with low pay, sub-standard benefits, and unsafe working conditions. Describing port trucking
in Newark as a "broken system," the authors assert that port operators are "externalizing the costs of the
port system," by forcing the public to cover the cost of health problems associated with environmental pollution from
old and poorly maintained diesel fueled trucks. The authors also contend that these practices "add billions of dollars
to the cost of doing business in New Jersey." Two-thirds of the 7,000 drivers in New Jersey are Latino immigrants.
Immigrants and the Current Economic Crisis: Research
Evidence, Policy Challenges, and Implications,
Migration Policy Institute, January,
2009, 31 pp.
This report analyzes available data, including a review of migration patterns during earlier
economic crises, to reach some preliminary conclusions about the impact of the economic downturn on future immigrant inflows
and outflows. Legal immigrants who entered the country on family reunion visas and humanitarian entrants are less likely to
leave the country than irregular migrants, although even the latter have incentives to remain, especially if tightened security
on the southern border prevents their return later and job opportunities become available elsewhere in the United States.
The report finds that low-wage immigrants may be particularly vulnerable to economic hardship, because of their disproportionate
presence in hard-hit industries like construction and their lack of eligibility for safety net services, if undocumented or
in legal status for less that five years.
Estimating the Contribution of Immigrant Business Onwers
to the U.S. Economy,
Office of Advocacy, Small Business Administration, November, 2008,
This study examines how immigrant entrepreneurs contribute to U.S. business ownership, formation, and income. It
includes national and state-level statistics, as well as data by nationality and industry category. Immigrants constitute
12.5% of all business owners in the United States, but more than 20% in the states of California, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey
and New York.
This report examines
the plight of 1.3 million college-educated immigrants who are unemployed or working in unskilled jobs. An important explanatory
factor is the non-recognition of foreign academic and professional credentials by state and local government. Contending that
this situation represents a "serious waste of human capital," and noting that the problem is most severe for Latino
and African immigrants, the report discusses model programs in other countries to address this problem. The report also proposes
a research agenda on the subject, including an effort to quantify the economic costs of underemployment, a study to determine
the impact of discrimination, and a systematic effort to catalog best practices.
Report of the Joint Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification
to Eliot Spitzer,
Governor State of New York, February 1, 2008, 29 pp.
In September 2007,
New York Governor Eliot Spitzer created an interagency strike force consisting of six agencies to address the problem
of employers who wrongly classify employees as independent contractors or pay workers off the books as part of the underground
economy, thereby depriving workers of the benefits and protections guaranteed under state and federal law. Immigrant
workers are particularly vulnerable to these practices. This report looks at the history of the task force initiative, including
research supporting the need for such a group, and discusses initial actions and prosecutions by each of the partner agencies.
The report concludes with a series of "lessons learned," along with a discussion of logistical and legal issues
hampering the work of the Task Force, including data sharing restrictions and inconsistent worker classification policies
among the partner agencies.
Unregulated Work in the Global City: Employment and Labor
Law Violations in New York City,
Brennan School of Justice,
New York University School of Law, 2007, 126 pp.
report summarizes the results a groundbreaking, multi-year study of widespread labor law violations in New York City. According
to the authors, conditions are so egregious that the Progressive/New Deal social contract "has broken down." Most
workers in this "invisible economy" are immigrants, both documented and undocumented. The report identifies 13 different
industry clusters where "unregulated work" is common and includes detailed reports on each industry. Finally, the
report defines basic principles to guide public policy reform.Principles for an Immigration Policy to Strengthen &
Expand the American Middle Class,
Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, 2007 Edition, 28 pp.
This report argues that any debate over immigration policy
must be tied to a discussion of the dilemma of the American middle class in general. A two-tiered job market exploiting the
labor of undocumented immigrants is detrimental to the interests of U.S.-born workers. The report proposes a two-part test
for evaluating current immigration reform proposals.
Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the Massachusetts Biotechnology
Immigrant Learning Center in collaboration with researchers at Boston
University, June, 2007, 15 pp.
This report argues that immigrants have been key contributors to the creation of new businesses and intellectual
capital in the Massachusetts biotechnology industry. Among the more noteworthy conclusions are: 25.7 percent of Massachusetts
companies in this industry have at least one foreign-born founder; these companies produced over $7.6 billion in sales and
employed over 4,000 workers in 2006; the founders come from nations across the globe, but with a preponderance from Europe,
Canada or Asia; and the companies are largely involved in developing disease treatments or studying the "map" of
the human genome. The immigrant entrepreneurs, therefore, tend to specialize in the most complex, risky, life science-intensive
aspects of biotechnology to seek knowledge directly applicable to human health.
(Abstract reposted through agreement
with the Immigrant Learning Center and the Immigration Research and Information web site)
Implementation of Diversity Management Programs in Public
Organizations: Lessons from Policy Implementation Research,
Andrew Young School of Policy
Studies, Georgia State University, 2006, 23 pp.
As the U.S. population changes, with more women, ethnic
and racial minorities, and people with disabilities employed in public organizations, the challenge of diversity management
within these organizations takes on increased importance. This paper, written by David W. Pitts, seeks to understand
the impact of personnel diversity on organizational outcomes. The paper discusses the history of diversity policy and
reviews the research bearing upon its effectiveness. The author concludes with five general lessons that can be learned from
the research, namely: ensuring that sufficient resources are dedicated to the effort; clearly defining program components;
framing the initiative in terms of organizational benefit, not individual benefit; maintaining clear and credible communication;
and gaining support from all levels within the organization. Noting the paucity of research on what works (and doesn't)
in diversity management, the paper concludes with a call for further research.
The Integration of Immigrants
in the Workplace,
Institute for Work and the Economy,
July, 2006, 60 pp.
report summarizes the findings of a two-year project funded by The Joyce Foundation to identify effective ways to integrate
immigrants into the workforce. Input was received from a national Advisory Committee of 41 individuals, and participants in
7 community forums. The report is organized according to the 7 major lessons learned by the project, one of which is that
"strategies directed explicitly at immigrants must be components of a broader range of initiatives that support the entire
workforce." The report is noteworthy for its attention to the diverse backgrounds and needs of immigrants, including
both lower skilled immigrants and foreign-trained professionals.
On the Corner: Day Labor in the United States (Executive
January, 2006, 36 pp.
Funded in part by two national foundations, this report is one of the first in-depth studies of day laborers
in the United States. It is based on a national survey of 2,660 day laborers randomly selected at 264 hiring sites in 20 states
and the District of Columbia. The report provides a wide range of demographic information, including wages, working conditions,
family circumstances, and occupations.
Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Neighborhood Revitalization,
Study prepared for the Immigrant Learning Center by the Mauricio
Gaston Institute and the Institute for Asian American Studies,
University of Massachusetts, Boston, December, 2005, 49
This report examines the impact of immigrant entrepreneurs on three neighborhoods in Boston: Allston Village,
East Boston, and Fields Corner, as well as on the cities of Lawrence and Lowell The study finds that immigrant
entrepreneurs contribute to the economy and quality of life of the neighborhoods they serve in the following ways: reviving
commerce and investment in areas that had declined, providing needed products and services, addressing the particular needs
of distinctive ethnic niches, expanding beyond those niches, incubating new businesses; attracting new customers, providing
some employment opportunities, improving the physical quality and appearance of buildings and surrounding areas, and enhancing
public safety (Abstract reposted through agreement with the Immigration Research and Information web site).
Worker Centers: Organizing Communities at the Edge of the
Economic Policy Institute, December 14, 2005, 24 pp.
This briefing paper by Janice Fine summarizes the findings of a major research
study on more than 100 immigrant worker centers published by Cornell University Press. Worker Centers are defined as "community-based
and community-led organizations that engage in a combination of service, advocacy, and organizing to provide support to low-wage
workers." Unlike traditional immigrant service organizations, worker centers emphasize organizing and advocacy
as lynchpin activities. The author discusses the commonalities in their operation and the challenges faced by the centers.
News and Opinion
Development, Immigrant Employment and Labor Rights
Obama's immigration plan is a game changer for undocumented construction workers
The New Republic, December 9, 2014
Organizations aim to train immigrant entrepreneurs
Associated Press, May 12, 2014
California bill would ease professional licensing rules for immigrants
The Los Angeles Times, May 11, 2014
Advocates for Workers Raise the Ire of Business,
The New York Times, January 16, 2014
Anonymous Job Applications Help Overcome Hiring Biases
Cities of Migration, November 28, 2013
New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards honor first winners
Courier News, November 24, 2013
Resetting the Way We Work on Migration
Manjula Luthria, The World Bank, September 12, 2013
Why MBAs Need to be Bilingual
Bloomberg Businessweek, July 23, 2013
Polish immigrant deported by N.J. hospital after crippling stroke
The New York Daily News, June 25, 2013
Workers claim race bias as farms rely on immigrants
The New York Times, May 6, 2013
If People Could Immigrate Anywhere, Would Poverty Be Eliminated
The Atlantic, April 25, 2013
What 'Stapling a Green Card' Portends for STEM
Science, April 5, 2013
Migrant carnival workers need protection, advocates say
USA Today, March 18, 2013
USC takes a leadership role in finding solutions to human trafficking,
USC Dornsife Magazine, February 6, 2013
Study of Home Help Finds Low Worker Pay,
The New York Times, November 27, 2012
Incubating ideas in the U.S., hatching them elsewhere,
The Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2012
Visas-for-dollars program a boon to hotel developers,
The New York Times, September 7, 2012
Brookings H-1B report draws criticism,
Computerworld, July 19, 2012
Green cards lure beef plan investors,
Aberdeen News, July 7, 2012
Princeton immigration conference focuses on keeping skilled foreign workers in the country.
The Trenton Times, July 5, 2012
Immigrant women more likely to own businesses in U.S. than women born in the country,
Daily Mail, June 14, 2012
Citizenship for Sale: Foreign Investors Flock to U.S.,
CNN, June 11, 2012
Top Immigrant-Owned Startups,
Forbes, June 1, 2012
Foreign governments seek to channel expatriates' money,
The Associated Press, May 5, 2012
U.S. Motel Industry Tells Story of Indian-American Immigrants,
Voice of America, May 2, 2012
Making Visas-for Dollars Work,
The New York Times, April 16, 2012
Many U.S. Immigrants' Children Seek American Dream Abroad,
The New York Times, April 16, 2012
Chicago promotes creation of immigrant-owned businesses,
Foxnews Latino, March 15, 2012
The Powerful Economic Case for Immigration,
Minnesota Public Radio News, February 23, 2012
Immigrant business owners get little help from the city (NewYork),
Daily News, February 16, 2012
Recession Study Finds Hispanics Hit the Hardest,
The New York Times, July 26, 2011
Report documents dramatic shift in immigrant workforce's skill level,
The Washington Post, June 8, 2011
'Brain waste' thwards immigrants' career dreams,
The Associated Press, March 26, 2011
Immigration doesn't hurt native-born workers,
The Daily Caller, March 9, 2011
Mayor Bloomberg announces three new steps to make it easier for immigrant-owned businesses to start and grow,
NYC Economic Development Corporation, March 3, 2011
U.S. schools attract smaller share of international students,
International Herald Tribune, September 12, 2010
U.S. Labor Department beefs up enforcement of wage and hour laws,
The Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2010
United Way (Morristown, NJ) funds jobs program for casual laborers,
The Star-Ledger, February 19, 2010
Town Divides over Law Aimed at Day Laborers (Oyster Bay, NY),
The New York Times, December 24, 2009
Groups call for balance in immigration enforcement and worker protection law enforcement,
The Insurance Journal, November 2, 2009
Making wage theft a crime in Los Angeles,
The Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2009
MIT President urges new immigration policies to attract and retain foreign scientists,
The Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2009
Contractor is Accused of Cheating Minority Workers Out of Wages,
The New York Times, October 15, 2009
Morris Workshops Focus on Safety for Hispanic Laborers,
Daily Record, July 26, 2009
The Great U-Turn: Global Migration Flows Reverse...,
The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2009
Job Fight: Immigrants vs. Locals,
The Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2009
The Competition for Low-Wage Jobs,
The New York Times, March 18, 2009
Street-Level Groups Enlisted to Report Labor Violations,
The New York Times, Jan. 27, 2009
Governor of Maine creates Joint Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification,
January 14, 2009
We are Bringing the World's Smartest People to our Shores, Training them, and Then Making Them Leave,
The American, July/August 2008
New Bureau for Immigrants in New York State Labor Department,
City Limits Weekly, May 29, 2007