Monday, February 28, 2022

Free American Immigration Council Webinar on the Mendez Rojas Settlement

The Mendez Rojas case successfully challenged the government’s failure to give adequate notice of the one-year filing deadline for asylum applications to two separate classes of persons encountered shortly after crossing the border. Class members have until April 22, 2022 to seek relief under the settlement agreement.

Join experts from the American Immigration Council, National Immigration Project, and Immigrant Rights Clinic at the Duke University School of Law for a webinar highlighting new resources and answers to frequently asked questions about how to assess and assert class membership and seek relief before the deadline. 

Attorneys and pro se applicants can download the necessary templates with guides in English and Spanish on how to complete the filings with the court or USCIS. These resources are available at or (in Spanish).


February 28, 2022 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Freedom in the World 2022 Report Briefing

Freedom House Logo - Torch next to words Freedom HouseOn Friday February 25, 2022 at 10:00 AM Eastern, Freedom House will be holding a briefing on its new report, Freedom in the World 2022. This new edition of the flagship annual report will assess the condition of political rights and civil liberties globally. The new report includes numerical ratings and supporting descriptive texts for 195 countries and 15 territories.

To listen to the Webinar, register here.


February 24, 2022 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

RAND Report on Climate Migration Policies

Tens of millions to one billion people could become climate migrants by 2050, according to a recent report from the RAND Corporation. The number varies so widely depending on the definition used and whether immigration or international laws contemplate the cause: rapid events like extreme storms and earthquakes or slow-onset and gradual stressors, such as drought or heat. The consequences of being covered makes a difference when it comes to the privileges, rights and respect for the migrants. The report compares national policies in Bangladesh, Kiribati, Kenya, Norway, Vanuatu and the United States.

The report author explains, "Movement isn't inherently bad. It can be good or it can be bad. But what makes it good is the policy that facilitates it, that ensures that it happens in a safe and just way, and in a way that doesn't impact host communities too much, either." A full interview with NPR Ari Shapiro and the author is here.

Here is the report abstract:

One of the most consequential human responses to climate change is and will continue to be the mass movement of people. As the environmental impacts of climate change increase in scope and severity, more and more people will move to new places to preserve or enhance their lives and livelihoods. As individuals, families, and entire communities facing the fallout of a changing climate decide to relocate, it will transform the human geography of the planet. Some places that are thriving population centers today could become entirely uninhabitable, and other places may become better suited for large-scale human settlement.

In this paper, RAND researchers provide a framework for understanding how nation-states are developing policies to respond to climate migration and mobility. They review related policies in six countries: Bangladesh, Kiribati, Kenya, Norway, the United States, and Vanuatu. Each country has different means and faces different climate mobility pressures. By evaluating these case studies, the authors identify a variety of policies and programs that governments are undertaking to prepare for, enable, channel, assist, or prevent the climate-induced human movement that is already ongoing in some places and is expected to increase significantly in both number and geographic scope in the coming decades. They use this analysis to identify the reasons that states pursue climate mobility policies, and they identify categories of policy responses that countries are enacting. These findings can provide policymakers with high-level options when considering the broad needs of climate migrants and their host communities and when designing their own policies.


February 23, 2022 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Immigration Article of the Day: The Dehumanizing Work of Immigration Law by Jennifer M. Chacón


The Dehumanizing Work of Immigration Law is an analysis piece authored by immprof Jennifer M. Chacón (Berkeley) for the Brennan Center for Justice. It was part of a series of articles examining the "punit­ive excess that has come to define Amer­ica’s crim­inal legal system."

In her article, Chacón acknowledges that "our immig­ra­tion laws are excep­tion­ally harsh in ways that frequently defy common sense." She notes that for many migrants "the notion that there is a 'right way' to immig­rate is just not true." Moreover, "our coun­try has not always honored its own legal processes when immig­rants are doing things 'the right way.'” And, for those "long-time lawful perman­ent resid­ents who have contact with the crim­inal legal system are often denied the chance to do things 'the right way.'”

"Again and again," Chacón writes, "notions of the rule of law are invoked to justify the sunder­ing of famil­ies and communit­ies that would, in other circumstances, seem unthink­able."


February 22, 2022 in Data and Research, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

New Resource on Refugee Cases in Europe --

Immprof Craig Mousin (DePaul) introduced me to this excellent resource on refugee cases in Europe: It's a "digital case tool on asylum" in Europe that includes:

  • rules: legal provisions and guidelines
  • cases: case law and summaries of: ECtHR, CJEU, CtRC, CtAT and HRC (no national case law)
  • topics: glossary of concepts

This is obviously a tool that will be of great use to those immprofs doing comparative or EU-focused work!


February 9, 2022 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 5, 2022

WaPo Debunks JD Vance Talking Points on Biden & Unlawful Migration

Let's start with JD Vance. Actual author and would-be Ohio Senator, Vance recently opined that there are many reasons to impeach President Joe Biden. Among those, Vance said: "The thing that I think Biden has done that is genuinely unprecedented in the history of this country is to sanction, encourage and pay for an invasion of this country."

Photo of JD Vance by Gage Skidmore

Phillip Bump, a WaPo analyst, examined this statement, concluding Vance's argument is "not the strongest."

One thing Bump considers is how Biden's numbers compare to those of President Bill Clinton. Why? Well, Vance brought Clinton up, saying: "A lot of negative things I could say about Bill Clinton, but Bill Clinton did not allow an invasion on this scale.” Here's what Bump concludes:

"The number of apprehensions in fiscal 2021 was 1.1 percent higher than the number of apprehensions in 2000, the highest year of Clinton’s two terms. [But] Biden wasn’t president for all of fiscal 2021. The government’s fiscal years begin in October, so more than 200,000 of the apprehensions in that fiscal year cannot be attributed to Biden. If we extract the Trump-era portion of those apprehensions, Biden’s numbers are lower than four years of Clinton’s administration. If we then adjust for the country’s population, the first nine months of Biden’s term (even giving him full credit for January 2021!) saw fewer apprehensions relative to the country’s population than six of Clinton’s eight years. (Maybe seven — we don’t have monthly splits on 1993, when Clinton would have been divvying up apprehensions with George H.W. Bush.)."

If you love charts like me, you might be interested in seeing the charts that accompanies this narrative.


February 5, 2022 in Current Affairs, Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

MPI Releases Report on Immigration Policy Changes During Trump Administration

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) published a new capstone report examining executive orders issued and actions taken by the Trump administration that affect immigration. 

From the introduction of the report:

The Trump administration set an unprecedented pace for executive action on immigration. In four years, it completed 472 executive actions affecting U.S. immigration policy, with 39 more proposed but unimplemented when the administration ended. Some of these changes were sweeping—undoing the priorities of the entire interior enforcement apparatus, for example—while others were smaller, more technical adjustments—such as lengthening the amount of time an asylum seeker had to wait to receive a work permit, or requiring more extensive information on visa applications. Donald Trump was the only presidential candidate in modern U.S. history to run and win on an immigration-centered platform. And while his administration may not have delivered on his most extreme promises, such as deporting millions of unauthorized immigrants or building a wall along the entire, 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, changes to the immigration system during his tenure—some of which are likely to remain on the books for years to come—successfully narrowed grants of humanitarian protection, increased enforcement, and made legal immigration more difficult. These actions were often carried out in the name of protecting U.S. national security and promoting economic advancement for U.S. workers.

The authors of the report go on to say:

While it may be possible for subsequent administrations to rescind many of these changes, others cannot simply be unwound. Many are likely to remain on the books for years to come, with a lasting impact on the U.S. immigration system.

Report available here:

Austin Kocher

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February 2, 2022 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 31, 2022

WES: Canada’s Enduring Appeal to Prospective Immigrants in the Face of COVID-19

In 2017, I became fascinated by the question of how the election of Donald Trump would affect our country's ability to attract and retain international students. My empirical paper on the topic (Opportunities & Anxieties: A Study of International Students in the Trump Era) came out the following year.

At the time of researching and writing that piece, I was living in North Dakota, and a significant percentage of my law students were Canadian citizens. Thus, it was very apparent to me that migrants dissatisfied with our country's political climate had a very real and very nearby alternative option: Canada.

With this background, you can understand my absolute fascination with this recent report from World Education Services--Canada’s Enduring Appeal to Prospective Immigrants in the Face of COVID-19. Because while Trump has come and gone in the years since my 2018 article, U.S. immigration hasn't exactly normalized. One big and continuing monkey in the works has been Covid. And you know what else hasn't changed? Canadian awesomeness.

Here are some of the report's key findings:

Interest in immigrating to Canada remains high. Survey results show no decrease since 2020 in respondents’ interest in immigrating. Between 2020 and 2021, the proportion of respondents who indicated that the pandemic would have no impact on their immigration plans rose from 48.3% to 51.5%. In both years, the proportion of respondents who indicated that the pandemic would either have “no impact” or make them “more interested” was over 90%.

Respondents anticipate a positive impact on the availability of jobs in their occupation/sector in Canada.The proportion of respondents who expected that the pandemic would negatively impact job availability in Canada decreased from 45% to 33% year over year, while those who expected a positive impact rose from 27% in 2020 to 35% in 2021.

A positive perception of the ability of the government and health care system in Canada to manage the pandemic is having a positive impact on interest in immigrating. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of respondents indicated that they were more interested in immigrating to Canada because of the ability of the CanadianGovernmentandhealthcaresystemtomanagethepandemicandcareforCOVID-19patients.


January 31, 2022 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 28, 2022

TRAC Updates Immigrant Detention Quick Facts Tools

(28 Jan 2022) New data available in TRAC's immigrant detention Quick Facts tool shows that the number of people enrolled in ICE's 'alternatives to detention' program has reached nearly 165,000 people, nearly double the number of people from the beginning of the Biden administration when that number stood at 87,000. This is related, in part, to the fact that the total number of people ICE detains on a daily basis has not increased, but remained steady at around 22,000 since the start of the fiscal year in October 2021.

The Transactional Research Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) a research organization at Syracuse University created 'Quick Facts' tools to provide a user-friendly way to see the most updated data available on immigrant detention and the immigration courts. The tools include easy-to-understand data in context and provide quotable descriptions.

Highlights from data updated today on the immigration detention system provided by show that:

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement held 20,886 in ICE detention according to data current as of January 16, 2022.
  • 15,502 out of 20,886—or 74.2%—held in ICE detention have no criminal record, according to data current as of January 16, 2022. Many more have only minor offenses, including traffic violations.
  • ICE relied on detention facilities in Texas to house the most people during FY 2022, according to data current as of January 10, 2022.
  • ICE arrested 3,683 and CBP arrested 26,776 of the 30,459 people booked into detention by ICE during December 2021.
  • Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia held the largest number of ICE detainees so far in FY 2022, averaging 1,183 per day (as of January 2022).
  • ICE Alternatives to Detention (ATD) programs are currently monitoring 164,391 families and single individuals, according to data current as of January 15, 2022.
  • San Francisco's area office has the highest number in ICE's Alternatives to Detention (ATD) monitoring programs, according to data current as of January 15, 2022.

For more information, see TRAC's Quick Facts tools here or click here to learn more about TRAC's entire suite of immigration tools.

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January 28, 2022 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

MPI Honors the Life of Dr. Demetrios Papademetriou


Dr. Demetrios G. Papademetriou, president emeritus and co-founder of Migration Policy Institute, and founding president of MPI Europe,  died Wednesday, January 26, at the age of 75. He was one of the world's pre-eminent scholars and lecturers on international migration, with a rich body of scholarship shared in more than 275 books, research reports, articles and other publications. He also advised numerous governments, international organizations, civil society groups and grant-making organizations around the world on immigration and immigrant integration issues.

Papademetriou began his career as Executive Editor of the International Migration Review. After stints at Population Associates International and the U.S. Labor Department, he served as Chair of the Migration Group of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. He then joined the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's International Migration Policy Program, which in 2001 was spun off to create the freestanding Migration Policy Institute.

He co-founded Metropolis: An International Forum for Research and Policy on Migration and Cities, which he led as International Chair for the initiative's first five years and then served as International Chair Emeritus. He was Chair of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Migration (2009-11) and founding Chair of the Advisory Board of the Open Society Foundations' International Migration Initiative (2010-15).

Papademetriou, who traveled the world lecturing and speaking at public conferences and private roundtables, also taught at the University of Maryland, Duke University, American University and the New School for Social Research.


January 28, 2022 in Current Affairs, Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Virtual Lecture by Jennifer Chacon, Legal Phantoms: The Haunting Power of Failed Law Reform (1/31/22)

The UC Berkeley Center for the Study of Law and Society, Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, and Center for Race and Gender present a lecture by Professor Jennifer Chacon on Monday, January 31, 2022 (12:45pm Pacific).

Chacon portrait

In late 2014, the Obama Administration announced plans to roll out an expansion of its 2012
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program (DACA+), and to add a Deferred Action
for Parents of Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. Due to intervening litigation, those
things never happened. Drawing on interviews, observations, and legal and policy texts, this
presentation explores the interstitial spaces connecting the political and legal rise and fall of
DACA+ and DAPA. The story we tell in our forthcoming book is a story about the limits of a
political imagination sharply restricted by the central logic of U.S. immigration law and policy
as it has developed in the past century – one of discretionary, racialized enforcement. But we
also tell a story about how those directly affected by the legal uncertainty withstood the
violence of state action (and inaction), drawing on deep reserves of material, spiritual, and
intellectual resources. Not only did these individuals and collectives argue for programs like
the Dream Act, and other deferred action programs, they also argued against immigration and
criminal law enforcement programs and practices that imperiled large swaths of society
irrespective of immigration status. Their transformative vision, rooted in an expansive political
imagination, still has the potential to transform immigration law and policy in the wake of the
devastation wrought by the Trump era.

PLACE Zoom – Registration link
TIME 12:45 – 2:00pm.


January 25, 2022 in Conferences and Call for Papers, Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

DHS Releases an "Enforcement Lifecycle Report" for Fiscal Year 2020

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released an Enforcement Lifecycle Report that covers DHS activities in enforcement from 2014 to 2019. A full copy of the report is available here.

The report "describes the final or most current outcomes, as of March 31, 2020, associated with the 3.5 million Southwest Border encounters occurring between 2014 and 2019."

Historically, DHS data systems have been siloed, the report explains. This means that a single immigrant can "touch a dozen or more stand-alone data systems" and the reporting of what happens to them is not integrated.

The lifecycle report changes this. Apparently, they were able to capture "how aliens flow through the immigration enforcement process" by integrating data "from 19 different source systems central to the immigration enforcement process," matching "records by using individual and event identifiers from the different source systems and assigns a new person-level identifier to each unique individual appearing in one or more of the source datasets."

They sum up their findings as follows:

This 2019 Enforcement Lifecycle Analysis describes the final or most current outcomes of about 3.5 million Southwest Border encounters occurring between 2014 and 2019 as of March 31, 2020. It offers a very different lens into the enforcement process than our usual production tables. From 2014 to 2019, the demographic characteristics of aliens encountered at the Southwest Border have shifted away from single Mexican adult non-asylum seekers to Northern Triangle FMUA and UAC asylum seekers.

Encounters with these different groups tend to lead to different paths through the enforcement system, both in terms of whether and how quickly encounters are resolved and what resolution is reached: Encounters with Mexicans tend to lead to repatriations; encounters with Central Americans tend to remain unresolved; and encounters with nationals from countries other than Mexico or the Northern Triangle tend (on average) to lead to relief. Encounters with single adults tend to quickly lead to repatriations, while encounters with FMUAs and non-contiguous UACs tend to remain unresolved. Encounters with aliens who do not claim a fear of return to their home countries tend to be repatriated, while those who claim fear are more likely to remain in the United States and some eventually get relief



January 25, 2022 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Mixed One-Year Assessments of Biden on Immigration

It has been one year since President Joe Biden took over the White House and ushered in many promises of immigration reform. On the week of the anniversary, there have been numerous retrospectives. Many reports acknowledge meaningful progress on some aspects of immigration policy reform, including executive orders to rescind or review the most damaging immigration policies from the prior administration, such as the public charge rule, and give him credit for boosting refugee admissions and lifting immigration worker bans related to COVID-19.

The most vigorous critics note disappointments on Title 42 border closures to asylum seekers and the volatile Migration Protection Protocols that keep migrants on the Mexico side of the Southern border. Many accounts note disappointment about the lack of a DREAM Act to expand on protections for undocumented immigrants, even though an actual DREAM Act is contingent on legislative reform and numerous proposals championed by President Biden failed due to Congressional inaction, missing votes, or the parliamentarian's rebuke to using reconciliation procedures (one prospect is folded into the spending bill). The Biden Administration did take direct action to strengthen protections for undocumented youth by utilizing notice and comment rulemaking to formalize the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has remained vulnerable to repeated federal court injunctions absent binding regulation. It has not expanded use of parole authority that Vice President Harris and several law professors once contemplated as a meaningful source of protection. 

Actual facts and useful graphics summarizing the effects of policies on migration since Biden took office appear in this report from Pew Research


January 23, 2022 in Current Affairs, Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 20, 2022

New Pew Research Center Report: One-in-Ten Black People Living in the U.S. Are Immigrants


Today, the Pew Research Center released a new report: One-in-Ten Black People Living in the U.S. Are Immigrants.

Here are some interesting tidbits from the introduction:

  • One in ten Black people in the U.S. were born in a different country as of 2019
  • In 1980, that number was only 3% or 3 in 100
  • Immigrants will continue to fuel the increase in the U.S. Black population
  • Roughly 9% of Black people are second-generation Americans

The other segments of the report are:

  1. The Caribbean is the largest origin source of Black immigrants, but fastest growth is among African immigrants
  2. Over half of Black immigrants arrived in U.S. after 2000
  3. A growing share of Black immigrants have a college degree or higher
  4. Most Black immigrants live in Northeast, South; New York City has largest Black immigrant population by metro area
  5. Household income, poverty status and home ownership among Black immigrants
  6. African- and Caribbean-born adults differ on measures of religiosity


January 20, 2022 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

New Office of Inspector General Report on Manual Processing by USCIS

A new report issued by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security on December 28, 2021 finds that USCIS' delivery of benefits was slowed during the pandemic as a result of reliance on manual processing. Here is a summary of the OIG's findings:

USCIS’ technology systems and infrastructure enabled some electronic processing of benefits to continue from March 2020 through May 2021, despite offices being closed or operating at reduced capacity during the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

USCIS used its Electronic Immigration System to continue electronically processing 17 of the 102 types of benefits it delivers. USCIS also relied on various operational flexibilities, such as virtual interviews and biometrics reuse, to continue benefits delivery during this time. We attribute these successes to USCIS’ recent planning efforts to ensure continuity of operations, as well as its ongoing efforts to transition to an electronic processing environment.

USCIS’ primary operational challenge, however, was its continued reliance on paper files to process and deliver benefits. USCIS had limited capability to electronically process more than 80 types of benefits, which still required some manual workflows and paper files to complete cases. Recurring technology performance issues and equipment limitations further constrained USCIS employees’ productivity. We attribute these challenges to funding cuts and lost fee revenue that limited spending during this time.

These challenges further increased processing times and resulted in a backlog of 3.8 million cases as of May 2021. Although USCIS digitized key benefits in recent years, it must further eliminate manual workflows and paper file dependency to achieve its 5-year plan to improve benefit processing times.


January 4, 2022 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Escalating Jailhouse Immigration Enforcement: A Report on Detainers Issued by ICE Against Persons held by Local Law Enforcement Agencies in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina from 2016-2018

Earlier this year, Priya Sreenivasan and Azadeh Shahshahani of Project South, together with Jason A. Cade of the University of Georgia School of Law issued a new report, titled "Escalating Jailhouse Immigration Enforcement: A Report on Detainers Issued by ICE Against Persons held by Local Law Enforcement Agencies in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina from 2016-2018." Numerous Georgia Law students also contributed to researching and writing the report while participating in the Community Health Law Partnership clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law. 

The report analyzes data data from two Freedom of Information Act requests submitted by Project South and the University of Georgia School of Law’s Community HeLP Clinic.

Here are some of the report's findings, as highlighted in the Executive Summary:

This report analyzes the 35,916 ICE detainers that were issued between Fiscal years 2016 and 2018 in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, as well as the state bills and local policies that foster cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement in these states. Between FY 2016 and FY 2018, the number of detainers issued by ICE doubled in North Carolina, nearly tripled in South Carolina, and nearly quadrupled in Georgia. At least half of these detainers (18,099) resulted in people being jailed in immigration detention facilities and the majority of detainers were issued to persons originating from Latin American countries. Almost 93% of ICE detainers were issued to local law enforcement agencies such as county jails, detention centers, or sheriff's departments, at a total cost of millions of dollars per year.

Local law enforcement agencies routinely jailed immigrants on behalf of ICE even in the absence of formal agreements to collaborate in place. Only three of the top ten local law enforcement agencies with the highest rates of detainer requests across the three states had active 287(g) agreements during the time period of the report. On average, individuals with detainers were held in local jails for a significant period of time, ranging from two weeks to one month. Individuals who were eventually transferred to ICE detention centers were held in jail for longer periods of time, ranging from an average of 19 days to 43 days. The impact of these ICE detainers on local communities was severe. Thousands of immigrants were detained as a direct result of these collaborations. According to the government’s own data, at least 189 of those for whom ICE issued detainers turned out to be not legally subject to removal proceedings, due to U.S. citizenship or other lawful immigration status. Further, the data also show that at least three individuals died while incarcerated subject to a detainer during the time period of this study.

Human rights abuses in ICE detention centers are well documented, and investigative reports have increasingly revealed poor health conditions, abuse, and other problems within local jails. As the data in this report demonstrate, ICE’s collaboration with local law enforcement has also had a costly and detrimental impact on communities in these states. For these reasons, this report closes with specific recommendations, including calls to end local law enforcement agencies’ involvement in federal immigration enforcement and to eliminate immigrant detention.


December 29, 2021 in Current Affairs, Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

National Immigration Project Explainer on United States v. Carillo Lopez

The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild has published an informative advisory on the recent decision in United States v. Carillo-Lopez by Judge Miranda Du of the District of Nevada. As we have posted previously, in Carillo-Lopez the court granted a motion to dismiss an unlawful reentry prosecution (under Section 1326) on the ground that the law is unconstitutional because it has a disparate impact and was passed with a racist intent. This advisory is a helpful update and an excellent teaching tool about the equal protection challenges being brought throughout the country by persons charged with violating Sections 1325 and 1326 of Title 8 of the U.S. Code.


December 21, 2021 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Southeast Asians underrepresented in STEM

Asian Americans are often cited in the debate over affirmative action. Sometimes the differences of opinion are philosophical. Other times they focus on the diversity within a pan-ethnic category, created by the federal government, that occludes challenges faced by Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander, and other ethnic groups whose experiences and profiles differ from East Asians more prominently featured in these debates.

This NPR article profiles Southeast Asian scientists who have sought to enter STEM-related professions and find themselves excluded from programs designed for underrepresented groups, despite the scarcity of Southeast Asians and the barriers to breaking into an increasingly prestigious, highly-paid profession.

Among their contrasting examples:

  • Hmong American ineligible for Howard Highes Medical School's Gilliam Fellowship, in party based on NIH standards that do not recognize Asians and white people as underrepresented
  • Less than 10% of Vietnamese, Filipino, Hmong, and Cambodian Americans have graduate degrees (Pew analysis of census data)

Groups like AAPI Data seek to inject data into these debates -- such as the increase of Asian American support for affirmative action (70% in 2020)-- and advocate data disaggregation to permit more nuanced understandings of challenges faced by Asian Americans as a larger group and specific to ethnic subgroups. New York state legislators have introduced bills to support more data disaggregation as well.


December 14, 2021 in Current Affairs, Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 11, 2021

EPI Report: New evidence of widespread wage theft in the H-1B visa program


Check out this new report from the Economic Policy Institute, authored by Ron Hira and Daniel Costa--New evidence of widespread wage theft in the H-1B visa program: Corporate document reveals how tech firms ignore the law and systematically rob migrant workers.

Here is the summary version:

What this report finds: Thousands of skilled migrants with H-1B visas working as subcontractors at well-known corporations like Disney, FedEx, Google, and others appear to have been underpaid by at least $95 million. Victims include not only the H-1B workers but also the U.S. workers who are either displaced or whose wages and working conditions degrade when employers are allowed to underpay skilled migrant workers with impunity. The workers in question were employed by HCL Technologies, an India- based IT staffing firm that earned $11 billion in revenue last year. HCL profits by placing workers on temporary H-1B work visas at many top companies. The H-1B statute requires that employers pay their H-1B workers no less than the actual wage paid to their similarly employed U.S. workers. But EPI analysis of an internal HCL document, released as part of a whistleblower lawsuit against the firm, shows that large-scale illegal underpayment of H-1B workers is a core part of the firm’s competitive strategy.

Why it matters: This apparent blatant lawbreaking by one of the leading H-1B outsourcing companies should finally prompt action by the federal government to curb abuses of the H-1B program. Such abuses are likely widespread among H-1B employers because the Department of Labor (DOL) has done virtually nothing to ensure program integrity by enforcing the wage rules. More broadly, DOL props up the abusive outsourcing business model by treating contractor hires differently than direct hires when enforcing the wage and other provisions in the H-1B statute that are supposed to protect H-1B and U.S. workers. This outsourcing loophole allows firms like HCL and the big tech companies that use outsourcing firms to get around those provisions. Thanks to its failure to enforce the wage laws or close the outsourcing loophole, DOL is in effect subsidizing the offshoring of high- paying U.S. jobs in information technology that once served as a pathway to the middle class, including for workers of color.

What we can do about it: The Department of Labor should launch a sweeping investigation into whether companies are systematically underpaying H-1B workers in violation of the law. If violations are found, penalties should be imposed that are significant enough to deter all H-1B employers from such behavior. DOL should also close the outsourcing loophole that supports the outsourcing business model by requiring both direct employers like HCL and the secondary employers that use H-1B staffing firms to attest that they will comply with H-1B wage rules. DOL and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should take additional measures to ensure the H-1B program achieves its purpose of filling genuine labor market gaps. Such measures include raising minimum wages to realistic market levels, allocating H-1B visas to workers with the highest skills and wages, and adopting a compliance system that ensures program accountability and integrity. Finally, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Civil Division, in conjunction with DOL and DHS, should vigorously prosecute visa fraud under the False Claims Act, consistent with a recent federal court decision applying the False Claims Act to H-1B visa fraud.


December 11, 2021 in Current Affairs, Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Dissertation Grants on Immigration and Immigrant Integration

The Russell Sage Foundation is pleased to announce a dissertation research grants (DRG) program to support innovative and high-quality dissertation research projects that address questions relevant to RSF's priority areas: Behavioral Science and Decision Making in Context; Future of Work ; Race, Ethnicity and Immigration; Immigration and Immigrant Integration; and Social, Political, and Economic Inequality. Proposed projects must be closely aligned with the funding priorities listed on the RSF website for any of these areas, contribute to RSF's mission to improve social and living conditions in the U.S., and demonstrate appropriate use of relevant theory, innovative data, rigorous research methods, and measures. The application period is January 18-February 1, 2021.

Read the full description of the dissertation research grants program, including information on how to apply.

December 7, 2021 in Data and Research, Jobs and Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)