Immigration Reform Proposals  INA § 212(a)(5)

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Immigration Reform Proposals INA § 212(a)(5)

Empirics of Immigration: What Immigration in the last 15 years signifies

Where are immigrants going?

Until 1990, going to gateway states; by 2000, spreading across the country.

Including their children, foreign born pop. will make up 1/3 of the U.S. pop. by 2025

Where are immigrants coming from?

Doesn’t come from the absence of developing in other parts of the world; it is a result of development.

Immigration isn’t random:  Has a tendency to trace other international connections b/w the sending and receiving societies (e.g., connections by trade, former colonies, etc.)

Why do they migrate?

Low-skilled immigrants who enter into wealthier countries do so in response to the demand in those countries: The jobs they are coming to fill are built into the structure of post-industrial societies. Native workers only take the goods jobs; immigrants are needed to fill the bad ones.

Effects of Immigration

Economic Effects

Appears to be positive b/c immigration tends to hold down wages and prices and increase efficiency in the economy. But the positive effect isn’t very lard.

More important question is Distribution, not net dollar impact: Benefits will tend to go to immigrants, capitalists and the highly educated.

Labor Effects

Actual effects on wages are indirect and hard to determine.

Doesn’t have a sizeable impact on the earnings of est’d US workers

Tends to force native workers out of certain sectors, so no competition b/w immigrants and native workers over jobs

Fiscal Effects

Immigrants generate a lot of taxes but mostly fed. taxes, not state and local taxes, but most the services they consume are state and local (e.g., education)

Long-term economic value of an immigrant depends strongly upon the age of the person and the level of education they have upon arrival (lower education, more loss). Children are a net fiscal benefit making up for the loss incurred b/c of their parents.


Family Categories: Emphasis on Family Reunification

Eliminate the double standards that exist b/w citizens and LPRs in who and how they can bring in family members

Examples of Differences: Immediate relatives of LPRs are subject to a quota, whereas immediate relatives of citizens aren’t; No preference for parents, married children and siblings of LPRs

To close that gap would have to increase family ceilings.

Limit scope to Nuclear family, so those relatives are uncapped for LPRs but eliminate the other categories

Problem w/ this is that it makes assumptions about who matters in a family

Depends on why we want to let family members in: If it’s b/c we want people to be w/ people who are close to them, then want a broader def. of family. If it’s some other reason (e.g. for parents and children to stay together), then the need for extended relatives seems less apparent.

Stop assuming we have separate goals of family reunification and productivity b/c family reunification leads to productivity so may want to intertwine the family and employment categories

E.g., point system for married children or siblings of LPRs to demonstrate their capacity to contribute

Allows us to expand family categories w/o allowing them to spiral out of control

Categories should be cut back to get rid of the backlog

Because of the backlog not achieving the goal of family reunification, so eliminate categories for siblings and at the same time, eliminate caps on children and spouses.

Backlog has a transparency cost on our system: we’re saying one thing (you can come in b/c we want to reunify families) but doing another (have to wait forever so not really reunifying families) – sends unclear signals, so people don’t know how to structure their lives.

But hard to say who’s important to someone: Could instead say each person is entitled to a certain number of relatives, but then people w/ large families will have to leave some of their family behind and people with small families will sell off their numbers.

Employment Categories

More for highly-skilled, less for low-skilled

Problem w/ this: low-skilled don’t have opportunities back home so foreclosing any possibility for them to have opportunities to gain more skills, but this isn’t a policy priority for us.

Won’t take away jobs for low-skilled American workers, but if this is our worry, instead of decreasing this category could make the labor certification stronger so employers are reaching out to native workers. Also, don’t even know if there is competition b/w native workers and low-skilled immigrants – might not be in the same sectors.

More for low-skilled, less for highly-skilled

We have a high demand for low-skilled workers

Deals w/ our current problem of undoc. low-skilled labor

Acknowledges the free labor dimension of free trade

Helps US policy to aid in intern’l dev’t b/c their remittances represent a substantial percentage of the income of the developing world, but could argue that this isn’t helping sustainable dev’t.

Diversity Lottery Program

Not tied to any particular need – not families’, not employers’

High-volume countries don’t qualify, which means most of the developing world doesn’t qualify and instead gets people from Europe, ‘whitening’ immigration. However, also gets people from Africa, so hard to say that it reaches the goal of ‘whitening’ immigration.

Possibly is sexist b/c requires certain level of education and in the developing world, that means men will more likely qualify than women.

Many people who come through this system lack a connection to the US so hard for them to assimilate, but a lot people who are already here get the lottery, so are already assimilated.

Diploma requirement says nothing almost b/c diplomas from other countries don’t necessarily function here, so hard life for professionals who come over and have to take low-paying jobs. But that shouldn’t concern us b/c they want to come here for their kids.

Temporary Worker Program

If we assume people will come illegally anyway, makes sense.

Does it create a permanent servant class?