Immigrants Working for U.S. Pharmaceuticals,
Institute for Immigration Research, George Mason University, August, 2014, 6 pp.
Authors: Shaun Michel &
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
Policing Wage Theft in the Day Labor Market,
UC Irvine Law Review, 4:2, 2014, 25 pp.
Author: Stephen Lee
In 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 (Nick)
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
Urban Institute and Northeastern University, October, 2014, 287 pp.
Authors: Colleen Owens et al
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 Workers,
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.
EB-5, the 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
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.
Author: Maria Vincenza
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
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
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
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.
Author: Zara Sohail
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 of America."
The Increasing Importance of Immigrants to Science and Engineering in America,
National Foundation for American Policy, June, 2014, 21 pp.
Author: Stuart Anderson
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
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 2:2 (2014),24 pp.
Authors: 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
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 Economy,
Partnership for a New American Economy & the Latino Donor Collaborative, April, 2014, 34 pp.
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 Wang
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
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 Mohammed)
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
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 America
Center for American Progress, January, 2014, 43 pp.
Authors: Pieter Bevelander & Don J. DeVoretz
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
Immigration and Entrepreneurship,
Institute for the Study of Labor, October, 2013, 56 pp
Authors: Robert W. Fairlie & Magnus Lofstrom
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.
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,
This 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. (Denzil Mohammed)
Fatal Inequality: Workplace Safety Eludes Construction Workers of Color in New York State,
The Center for Popular Democracy, October, 2013, 14 pp.
Reviewing 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,
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
Migration Policy Institute, December, 2013, 25 pp.
Authors: Madeleine Sumption, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, &
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
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
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
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
Urban Institute, November, 2013, 20 pp.
Authors: Maria E. Enchautegui, Stephan Lindner, Erika C. Poethig
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.
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 Workforce,
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, & Stacy Villalobos
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,
September, 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
--The average immigrant who moves to a community raises the total value of housing wealth by $92,800;
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 centers alike.
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. 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 Plaza
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.
Authors: Demetrios 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.
Authors: Frederick 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 Mohammed)
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
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.
Recognizing Foreign Qualifications: Emerging Global Trends
Migration Policy Institute (MPI), July, 2013, 17 pp.
Author: Lesleyanne Hawthorne
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
countries."Skills, Professional Regulation, and International Mobility in the Engineering Workforce,
Migration Policy Institute, July, 2013, 31 pp.
Author: Matthew Dixon
This 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
Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Winter, 2012,
Author: Lori A. Nessel
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
The 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 Mohammed)Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the U.S. Economy in Growing Industries,
The Immigrant Learning Center, April, 2013, 50 pp.
Author: James Jennings
The 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
In determining 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 G. Papademetriou
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 Mohammed)
The Economic Effects of Granting Legal Status and Citizenship to Undocumented Immigrants,
Center for American Progress, March 20, 2013, 17 pp.
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
Independent Task Force, The Chicago
Council on Global Affairs, 2013, 54 pp.
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 &
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 Cho
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
This 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
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
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.
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. (Lorin Mordecai)
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.
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 Abuse
The International Labor Recruitment Working Group, February, 2013, 49 pp. + notes
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,
February, 2013, 88
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 for
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 Mohammed)
Citizen Gain: The Economic Benefits of Naturalization for Immigrants and the Economy,
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (University of Southern California),
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
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.
The 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
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.
U.S. Government, Heal Thyself: Immigration Restrictions and America's Growing Health Care Needs,
National Foundation for American Policy, November, 2012, 27 pp.
This 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
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.
Authors: 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.
Immigrants in Risky Occupations,
Institute for the Study of Labor, June, 2012, 25 pp.
This study 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
Investing in the Human Capital of Immigrants, Strengthening Regional Economies, Alice (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed): Study of Financial hardship in New Jersey,
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 States,
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.
The 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
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 United States.”
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.
This 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
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 parents."
Rebooting the American Dream: The Role of Immigration in a 21st Century Economy,
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 and Innovation,
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.
This 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
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
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.
In 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
Migrant Social Networks: Vehicles for Migration, Integration,
and DevelopmentUnauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, 2010,
Migration Policy Institute, March 30, 2011, 6 pp.
“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
This statistical 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 the country.
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 pp.
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
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,
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
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 Global
Migration 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,
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 everywhere.
Broken Laws, Unprotected
Workers: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America's Cities,
Center 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,
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,
Trade Bulletin No. 38, Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute, July 21, 2009, 9 pp.
Authored 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,
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 Disconnect,
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
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
Estimating the Contribution of Immigrant Business Onwers to the U.S.
Office of Advocacy, Small Business Administration, November, 2008, 35 pp.
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.
This 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
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
Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the Massachusetts Biotechnology Industry,
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
Institute for Work and the Economy, July,
2006, 60 pp.
This 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 Summary),
January, 2006, 36 pp.
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,
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 pp.
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 Dream,
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
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