Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Immigrant Success Stories: Nearly Half of 2019 Rhodes Scholars are Immigrants

The Rhodes Scholarship reports that, for the third consecutive year, the class overall is majority-minority and approximately half are immigrants. One is the first transgender woman elected to a Rhodes Scholarship; two other Scholars-elect are non-binary. As CNN reports, "the winners include Kristine E. Guillaume, the first black woman President of the Harvard Crimson, Daine A. Van de Wall, Brigade Commander at West Point, and Hera Jay Brown, a Fulbright-Schuman fellow who the trust says is the first transgender woman selected for the program." The full list of biographies is here.

“This year’s American Rhodes Scholars—independently elected by 16 committees around the country meeting simultaneously—once again reflect the extraordinary diversity that characterizes and strengthens the United States," said American secretary of the Rhodes Trust Elliott Gerson.

The list from last year included the first DACA-recipient, Jin Park a South Korean immigrant who attended Harvard College.

The trend reflects an immigrant success story that research shows extends beyond the elite Rhodes scholarship. An American Immigration Council report, The Immigrant Success Story, on the upward trajectory of family-based immigarnts says: "A defining feature of immigrants coming to the United States via the family-based system is their upward economic mobility. Since 1965, when family-based immigration became the dominant means of migrating to the United States, the earnings of immigrants in general have increased dramatically during their first decade in the country." The researchers say there is an important research and policy implication from the trend. In terms of research on immigrants' economic mobility, "This [upward] trend is completely missed when economists focus only on the initial earnings of immigrants upon their entry into the U.S. labor market." In terms of policy, it demonstrates that family-based immigrants contribute to the U.S. economy despite contemporary efforts to frame them as less productive than employment-based immigrants. AIC summarizes their key finding: "We argue that the upward trajectory in earnings among family-based immigrants is the product of the high rate of investment that they make in their own human capital (education and training) in order to acquire new skills that will improve their employment prospects. From this perspective, low initial earnings by family-based immigrants cannot be dismissed as an inefficient use of their skills and abilities. Instead, it becomes apparent that family-based immigrants contribute to the long-term economic productivity of the United States."



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13.7% of Americans are immigrants. When they say that nearly half were immigrants, I assume they mean 15. The probability that 15 out of 32 people being immigrants is given by the binomial probability distribution is 0.000005. It sounds like the Rhodes committee deliberately selected for immigrants.

Posted by: robert baker | Dec 5, 2019 10:12:48 AM

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