How America Fell Behind the World on Immigration – POLITICO Magazine

Justin Gest of George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government on American immigration policy:

In the world of immigration, the United States of America is a rogue state.

It wasn’t always so. There was a time in the early 20th century when the United States was viewed by the world as a paragon of immigration policy. Then a rising power that solidified its grip on a continent by settling immigrants from far and wide on disputed land, the United States established the world’s first federalized admissions restrictions in 1882. Other immigrant magnets such as Canada and Australia would follow its precedents in governance—however morally questionable—for generations. In those days, merely regulating human movement at all was pioneering.

However, thanks to decades of partisan brinkmanship and polarizing identity politics, it has now been 32 years since Congress passed a major piece of legislation governing immigration—a matter of pivotal social and economic consequence. It has been even longer since the landmark 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act abolished quotas based on national origins and focused American policy thereafter on the admission of people with family ties—principles that form the foundation of U.S. immigration policy today. Since then, other countries have put in place new regimes that admit and integrate immigrants as part of modern national strategies related to labor recruitment, business development and demographic aging. Australia’s Parliament passes tweaks to its immigration laws almost every month.

My co-author Anna Boucher and I have gathered admissions and citizenship data from 30 of the world’s most prominent destination countries. We found that the world has largely shifted to a model of immigration policy that approaches immigration more as an economic instrument than a statement of values. These policies reflect the logic of a global “gig economy” that views people as commodities to recruit, employ and dismiss at will. In contrast, U.S. regulations emphasize admissions for the purpose of family reunification, limit the admission of highly skilled migrants, limit temporary migration, and—relative to other countries—facilitate access to American citizenship.

Once the standard-bearer, the United States is now the outlier.

The U.S. military doesn’t use 1980s weaponry. The Securities and Exchange Commission doesn’t use 1980s financial software. Medicare doesn’t provide 1980s medicine. But America has settled on immigration regulations designed for an era that preceded the internet, free trade and the end of the Cold War.

Modernity, however, comes with trade-offs. Like the era before World War II, when governments crudely excluded ethnic groups in light of eugenicist ideologies about racial hierarchy, other countries’ 21st-century policies that pursue immigrants based on new ideals of merit neglect humanitarianism. They devalue family togetherness, ignore the potential for immigration to save lives and stimulate developing economies, and they treat immigrants as disposable labor. For the United States, one step forward has thus meant one step back.

By preserving anachronistic policies, American regulation both hinders our competitiveness but reflects the spirit of equality and humanity that infused the legal reforms of the late 1960s. Foolishly, new proposals from the Trump administration will only make us less economically competitive and less humane.


Our study of citizenship and immigration flows—the amount of foreigners a government admits each year—covers former settler states like the United States, but also Australia, Canada and New Zealand. We examine Japan and South Korea, the Nordic states and all continental European countries from Germany westward. We also include many countries from the developing world, where nearly half the world’s migrants go today. These include Bahrain, Brazil, China, Kuwait, Mexico, Oman, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. We have results for much of the past decade and complete data for 2011, a relatively ordinary year preceding the disruptions of the European migrant crisis.
With only a few exceptions, we find that three key trends characterize today’s immigration outcomes:

Temporary visas: Immigrants enter on more temporary visas that—while often renewable—limit their residency entitlement to a short term.

Labor migration: Most permanent visas admit immigrants for their labor or under regional free movement agreements designed to facilitate labor mobility.

Fewer naturalizations: These policies mean fewer immigrants are able to access citizenship and the full set of freedoms, rights and protections it entails.

With these priorities, other countries have evolved to recognize immigration as a crucial strategy to combat demographic aging, recruit innovators, attract highly skilled professionals and fill labor gaps with limited new membership. Some like Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom have devised points-based systems that admit migrants based on the extent to which they fulfill “merit” criteria related to language proficiency, skill, employment and recognized educational credentials. Other countries, like those on the Arabian Peninsula, have established overseas labor recruitment offices to promote and facilitate temporary migration. Many countries in Europe and Latin America have struck agreements with each other to permit the mobility of human capital.

These governments have identified the specific ways that immigration benefits their economies and their populations, and have proactively sought to design systems that deliver immigration in the manner they wish. The United States, unfortunately, has largely left immigration to the inertia around an outdated system and assumed that America’s magnetic power will override the benefits of considered strategy for recruitment, admissions and retention.

So the United States has been stuck in a sort of policy formaldehyde. Since the reforms of the 1960s, the U.S. has insisted that all foreign students at American universities take their new skills and leave within a year of graduation if they cannot find a company to sponsor them. Meanwhile, the U.S. has rigidly capped the admission of highly skilled engineers, scientists and programmers from China and India. The U.S. economy is structurally reliant on the cheap, flexible labor of undocumented immigrants, particularly in the construction, agricultural and service industries that build, nourish and comfort American society. It is costly and difficult for companies to justify the hiring of foreign people with extraordinary talent. And it is relatively easy for people to overstay their visas unbeknownst to the U.S. government. Congress has voted against laws that condition hiring on documented status checks, and refused to implement a system of exit stamps that confirm the departure of immigrants at ports. Congress has also refused to fund the agencies that process applications for citizenship and entry, as if the U.S. government is doing immigrants a favor and not redeeming any benefits of its own.

As a result, the United States stands out. About 65 percent of our permanent visas are granted for the purposes of family reunification. No other country is higher than 50 percent, and nearly all other countries are under 30 percent. The share of all visas granted to family members and refugees is higher than all other countries as well—more than 11 percentage points higher than the nearest countries, Ireland and Sweden. People who immigrate for family and refuge—non-economic reasons—are typically placed on a path to citizenship; and yet American naturalization rates are lower than numerous other countries with a greater emphasis on economic migrants, especially Canada. Further, while other countries have regularized undocumented immigrants, the United States features the highest estimates of undocumented immigrants in the world—between 10 million and 12 million people.

From the perspective of many moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats, American policies are makeshift and haphazard. We turn away millions of highly skilled professionals, patent filers and young contributors to the tax base. We are an anachronism that fails to compete at the international level for the best and the brightest and fails to manage flows responsibly. The costs are immeasurable because the counterfactual is unknown, but it is qualitatively clear that American economic admissions policies hinder high-skilled migration more than other countries.

On the other hand, many advanced countries elsewhere have devalued humanitarianism, ignored the benefits of family migration and greater diversity, and pursued economic strategies without consideration for their ethical implications. Singapore deports certain classes of immigrants if they become pregnant. Countries on the Arabian Peninsula grant almost nobody citizenship and deport immigrants’ children if they don’t get a job by the time they are adults. And European countries have refused to equally share the responsibility of resettling humanitarian migrants; the Dublin Agreement shifts all responsibility to the countries of first arrival on the Mediterranean Sea.

During the decades since its last major immigration legislation, the U.S. government vetted, resettled and promoted the integration of more refugees than any other country worldwide—until the Trump administration’s recent Muslim ban and 60 percent cut in refugee admissions. American policies provided citizens with the right to reunify with their spouses, children of any age, parents and siblings by sponsoring them for admission. Even though these migrants’ entry was not justified by the economic gains they were expected to bring, employment and entrepreneurship data do not suggest an appreciable difference between them and labor migrants. Though successive administrations have created and maintained obstacles to acquiring citizenship (such as tests, fees, bureaucratic drag and waitlists), rates of naturalization remain relatively high. The United States has also run a unique “diversity lottery” that vets and randomly selects qualified immigrants from underrepresented countries for admission—solidifying America’s reputation as a country of dreams that is open to all peoples.

From this perspective—shared by liberal and mainstream Democrats—the United States’ inability to evolve has meant that it has maintained among the more humane admissions systems in the world. Until Trump’s executive orders, the United States was a beacon of openness—a laissez-faire country that with each generation reinvents itself thanks to the infusion of innovative, intrepid, industrious newcomers.

The problem is that our failure to modernize this relatively humane system has led to unquantifiable, missed economic opportunities and gross inefficiencies that have inflamed political conflict.

When the U.S. did not facilitate temporary work permits and seasonal visas for unskilled laborers, migrants chose to meet employer demand without authorization, and employers eagerly ignored their legal status.

When Congress did not act on the plight of the innocent children who accompanied these undocumented labor migrants, President Barack Obama issued an executive order that circumvented the legislative process. Separately, scores of municipalities refused to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement agents.

When the public grew frustrated with a perceived inability to govern borders, they supported President Donald Trump and his promise of greater order.

However, the Trump administration’s draconian crackdown on undocumented immigrants and their families and its recently announced plans are retrenching the United States, when we need to be catching up.

And what about Trump’s wall? This expensive boondoggle will not prevent the visa overstays and visa violators that constitute the vast majority of the undocumented migrants. His proposed termination of the diversity lottery and limits on family migration reduce total admissions rather than creating space for highly skilled professionals. And if Democrats and moderate Republicans will agree to these measures, only then will the president agree to do the humane (and practical) thing and make the children of undocumented immigrants eligible for citizenship—albeit not for another decade.

And yet, the U.S. can be both humane and economically sensible at the same time.

It is possible to design a points-based system of admissions that identifies “merit” in economically desirable credentials, but also in American family ties, in multiple language proficiencies, in underrepresented origins, in vulnerable circumstances, in the presence of a financial guarantor, in previous visits to the United States that featured on-time exits. What if this whole package was considered the way employers holistically screen résumés, the way universities evaluate prospective students?

The United States can lead the world on immigration again. But putting up walls, metaphorical or real, is not the way to do it.

via How America Fell Behind the World on Immigration – POLITICO Magazine


Anti-Semitism Is Rising. Why Aren’t American Jews Speaking Up? – The New York Times

Valid points:

Anti-Semitic hate crimes are on the rise, up 57 percent in 2017 from 2016, the largest single-year jump on record, according to the Anti-Defamation League. That increase came on top of the rise in incidents in 2016 that coincided with a brutal presidential campaign.

I have personally seen the anti-Semitism, in online insults, threatening voice mail messages and the occasional email that makes it through my spam filter.

If not quite a crisis, it feels like a proto-crisis, something to head off, especially when the rise of anti-Semitism is combined with hate crimes against Muslims, blacks, Hispanics and immigrants. Yet American Jewish leaders — the heads of influential, established organizations like the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federations of North America — have been remarkably quiet, focused instead, as they have been for decades, on Israel, not the brewing storm in our own country.

But American Jews need to assert a voice in the public arena, to reshape our quiescent institutions and mold them in our image. And Jewish leadership must reflect its congregants, who are not sheep.

When the Anti-Defamation League, a century-old institution founded to combat anti-Semitism, released its guide to the “Alt Right and Alt Lite” last year, Ohio’s Republican state treasurer, Josh Mandel, who is Jewish, actually expressed support for two of the people on the list: Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec, conservative provocateurs who have found notoriety in the Trump era. “Sad to see @ADL_National become a partisan witch hunt group targeting people for political beliefs. I stand with @Cernovich & @JackPosobiec,” Mr. Mandel proclaimed on Twitter above a link to Mr. Cernovich’s screed charging that the league was trying to have him killed.

Mr. Cernovich advocates I.Q. tests for immigrants and “no white guilt,” and is an unapologetic misogynist. Last summer, he circulated a cartoon depicting H. R. McMaster, the White House national security adviser, as a dancing marionette with George Soros pulling his strings and a disembodied, wrinkled hand labeled “Rothschilds” controlling strings attached to Mr. Soros.

Mr. Posobiec has been one of the promulgators of fake news, including the “Pizzagate” story that claimed that Hillary Clinton helped run a child sex-trafficking ring out of a pizza parlor and the claim that a young Democratic National Committee staff member, Seth Rich, was murdered by the Clinton campaign.

For drawing attention to these men, the Anti-Defamation League was tarred as a partisan organization by an elected Jewish Republican. I did not see any organized effort to rally around the institution, one of the few major Jewish groups in the United States that is still not predominantly engaged in debate over Israel.

Institutions matter, but they do not survive on their own. At the moment, the Anti-Defamation League is an institution under concerted attack — and it is not being defended. And so far, nothing else has arisen to forcefully take a stand in the Jewish fight against bigotry.

Truth must also be defended, which is what groups like the league and the Southern Poverty Law Center try to do as they expose hate. To most of us, at least for now, the notion that Mr. Rich, who was fatally shot on a Washington street in 2016, was murdered by Democrats because he was leaking emails to WikiLeaks is absurd. Mr. Rich’s family, on Tuesday, filed a lawsuit against Fox News for promoting the conspiracy story.

But in the alternative universe of the alt-right, that theory was taken as truth, not because the ranks of the alt-right have found logic in such stories but because those stories feed the larger narrative of a debauched world of liberalism that needs cleansing by fire. The lies are too valuable to the larger movement.

For Jews, this is personal. Had ordinary Germans and Poles and Ukrainians and Austrians and Frenchmen not played along, had they continued to shop in Jewish establishments and visit Jewish doctors, the Final Solution may, just may, not have been quite so final. To stand up to creeping totalitarianism, we needn’t throw ourselves under the tank treads. We just need to not play the game.

And refusal to play that game can be collective. If the vinyl banners proclaiming “Remember Darfur” that once graced the front of many American synagogues could give way in a wave to “We Stand With Israel,” why can’t they now give way en masse to “We Stand Against Hate”?

Why can’t the domestic apparatus of the American Jewish Committee reconstitute itself at the request of Jewish donors and members, and the Anti-Defamation League assert itself, like the Southern Poverty Law Center, in the arena of bigotry without fear of being charged with partisanship?

In the early 1930s, as Hitler came to power, consolidated control and blamed the Communists for the Reichstag fire, the Brown Shirts of the Nazi movement clashed furiously with German Communists. The German people largely stayed silent, shunning both factions. That anarchic moment always comes to mind when I watch the black-clad, masked antifa protesters preparing for their showdowns with the khaki-wearing alt-right. Antifa cannot be allowed to represent the most vibrant form of resistance, not if the great mass of the American electorate is to join in.

When I was in high school in Georgia, I went to a small leadership retreat sponsored by Rotary International. Around a campfire, the other kids passed around a Bible and took turns reading — from the New Testament, of course. My dread grew as the Good Book drew nearer. Would I hide my Judaism, read a passage on the teachings of Jesus and pretend, or do something, anything, else? When the book was passed to me, I acted impulsively, slammed it shut and said, “This is a service organization, not a religious organization” and fled — to an empty cabin where I slept apart and alone.

The next day, one of the Rotarians took me aside and told me what I had done was brave, but suggested that I should have turned to my own part of the Bible — Psalms, Proverbs, Exodus or Genesis — and read something of personal significance.

Looking back, I believe he was right. What he suggested would mean embracing Judaism as a vital part of America pluralism — and finding the spiritual meaning in the religion. It’s what I should have done then and what I hope American Jews do now.

via Anti-Semitism Is Rising. Why Aren’t American Jews Speaking Up? – The New York Times

Women Of Color Are Severely Underrepresented In Newsrooms, Study Says

Long overdue for a comparable study in Canada:

People of color make nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population, and women make up more than half. But you couldn’t guess that by looking at American journalists, according to a new report by the Women’s Media Center.

Women of color represent just 7.95 percent of U.S. print newsroom staff, 6.2 percent of local radio staff and 12.6 percent of local TV news staff, according to this year’s Status of Women in the U.S. Media study, the organization’s annual audit of diverse media voices.

“Women are just 32 percent of newsrooms, but the percentage of women of color is even more dire,” Cristal Williams Chancellor, director of communications at the Women’s Media Center, told NPR. “We wanted this year’s report to take a closer look at that segment.”

The report analyzed news organizations’ responses to “professional association queries” and included dozens of interviews with female journalists of color who shared their obstacles and triumphs.

Along with American newsrooms’ low representations of female journalists of color, the report also found that compared with in previous years, newspapers’ count of minority female employees stagnated or fell and radio hired fewer minority women.

Williams Chancellor said these findings weren’t shocking, given the enormous challenges that women of color continue to face in American newsrooms. Especially troublesome, she said, are the media’s methods of recruiting, hiring and promotion. “Part of the challenges come from the plagues that have been part of society for decades, such as racism and sexism, and the old boy’s network,” she told NPR.

Amanda Terkel, Washington bureau chief at the Huffington Post, discussed the nuances of landing a prestigious job in journalism. “So much of hiring in journalism is poaching from other news outlets, which is often a great way to get talent. But when you do that, you’re often dipping from the same pool of people rather than bringing in new voices,” she said in the report.

The Women’s Media Center recommends that media organizations conduct an audit of their employees, decision-makers and candidates for promotion and that they “staff with intention.” The organization also recommended that outlets diversify their news sources.

NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson was featured in the report and recalled the difficulties she faced as a woman of color during the beginning of her 30-year career as an international reporter. ” ‘We want to hire this woman with this foreign-sounding name? How will that work?’ ” she remembers hearing. “Even sources seemed hesitant to call me back, at times. Could they pronounce my name? ‘Are you Asian, Middle Eastern? What exactly?’ ”

NPR’s 377-person news staff is 75.1 percent white, 8.8 percent black, 7.7 percent Asian, 6.1 percent Latino, 2.1 percent multiracial and 0.3 percent American Indian, according to the company’s latest report on the racial, ethnic and gender diversity of its newsroom. NPR Ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen called the numbers a “disappointing showing.” The newsroom is 56.2 percent female — the highest number in five years.

Last year’s Status of Women in the U.S. Media noted that “white men were 71 percent of NPR’s regular commentators in 2015. By comparison, in 2003, the rate was 60 percent.” NPR uses the term commentator for its opinion contributors.

The Women’s Media Center hopes that reporting on stagnating hires of female journalists of color will serve as a “wake-up call” to the media and its consumers. Featuring “diverse voices means that we have a more credible media, and a more democratic society,” said Williams Chancellor. “We need a media that’s more representative and inclusive, and looks like America.”

The Trump Appointee Behind the Move to Add a Citizenship Question to the Census

Not surprising, someone involved in redistricting (i.e., competitive advantage):

In December, the Department of Justice requested that the Census Bureau add a question to the 2020 survey that would ask respondents to reveal whether or not they are U.S. citizens. Since ProPublica first reportedthe DOJ’s letter, civil rights groups and congressional Democrats have announced their opposition, arguing that in the midst of President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown, the question will lead many people to opt out of the census, resulting in an inaccurate population count.

A lot is at stake. The once-a-decade population count determines how House seats are distributed and helps determine where hundreds of billions of federal dollars are spent.

But one question regarding the December letter remained unclear. The letter was signed by a career staffer in a division of the DOJ whose main function is handling budget and procurement matters. Who, observers wondered, was actually driving the policy change?

Emails obtained by ProPublica in response to a Freedom of Information Act request provide an answer: The letter was drafted by a Trump political appointee who is best known for his work defending Republican redistricting efforts around the country.

John Gore, who since last summer has been the acting head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, drafted the original letter to the Census Bureau, the emails show. In one email, Arthur Gary, the career official who signed the letter, noted that it was sent “at the request of leadership, working with John.”

Gore came to the Trump administration from the law firm Jones Day, where he was an appellate specialist best known for defending a range of Republican state redistricting plans that were attacked as racial gerrymandering by opponents. Gore, for example, helped defend a Virginia redistricting that was ultimately thrown out by a court which ruled that the legislators had focused too much on race.

The emails show Gore sending a draft of the census letter to Gary in early November under the subject line, “Close Hold: Draft Letter.” Gary signed and sent the letter the next month and then emailed a note to Gore confirming it was being mailed.

It’s not clear why Gore, who did not respond to a request for comment, didn’t sign the letter himself. The Justice Department press office also did not respond to requests for comment.

ProPublica previously reported that Gore wrote a filing changing the department’s position in litigation challenging Texas’ voter ID law. The Obama-era DOJ had pursued litigation claiming that the Texas statute intentionally discriminated against minority voters; the Trump administration then withdrew the claim. Gore wrote the filing largely by himself but asked career attorneys who’d long been involved in the case to sign it.

A decision on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census is expected by the end of the month and will be made by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The Census Bureau is part of the Commerce Department.

Separately, the Trump administration has taken a second step that suggests a philosophical commitment to including citizenship questions as part of the census. It selected as its first political appointee at the Census Bureau a longtime legislative aide to former Sen. David Vitter. The Louisiana Republican made headlines for years by repeatedly introducing controversial proposals for the census to ask about citizenship and immigration status.

Christopher Stanley, who left his job on Capitol Hill late last year, will take one of the Census Bureau’s three politically appointed positions, as the chief of congressional affairs. It’s not clear when Stanley will begin but a spokesman for the Commerce Department confirmed the selection to ProPublica. The position does not require confirmation by the Senate.

Stanley does not appear to have made public statements about the census. But he was Vitter’s legislative aide when the senator introduced a series of measures to change the census that elicited fierce opposition. Stanley worked as an aide to Vitter, first in the House and then in the Senate, for over 15 years, ultimately rising to be the senator’s legislative director.

Before the last census in 2010, Vitter led a legislative effort to get the bureau to add a question about citizenship. It failed. At the time Vitter criticized the system of congressional apportionment for being based on the count of all residents, not just U.S. citizens. “States that have large populations of illegals would be rewarded for that. Other states, including my home state of Louisiana, would be penalized,” he said at the time. The proposal was attacked by civil rights groups.

Vitter tried again in 2014. And in 2016, he introduced another amendment that would have required the census to ask about both citizenship and immigration status.

Since the U.S. Constitution was adopted, the full, once-a-decade census has always inquired about U.S. residents — or “free persons” as the original language put it — rather than citizens. At times in the past, the census inquired about citizenship, but last did so in 1950. The Census Bureau currently asks about citizenship on a much longer survey that goes to a small percentage of U.S. households.

Stanley did not return requests for comment.

Asked if Stanley’s selection signaled anything about the administration’s policy on the census, Department of Commerce spokesman James Rockas said: “We value Mr. Stanley’s many years of Capitol Hill experience. Legislative affairs aides implement policy, they do not decide it.”

Vitter’s stated reason for adding a citizenship question — to change congressional apportionment — contrasts with the December letter from the Department of Justice to the Census Bureau. That letter argues that more data on U.S. citizens is needed to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Source: The Trump Appointee Behind the Move to Add a Citizenship Question to the Census

Lawmaker: Closure of military immigration centers ‘shameful’ – U.S. – Stripes

Anti-immigration ideology apparently trumps the military:

Lawmakers on Tuesday slammed reports that offices for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have been closed on several large military bases in recent weeks.

The offices are a lifeline for immigrant military recruits and active members seeking citizenship, and help expedite the protracted process.

On Monday, BuzzFeed News reported that the offices at U.S. Army basic training locations in Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; and Fort Sill, Okla.; were closed Jan. 26.

“Our military is stronger because of the diversity of those who serve in it,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., a combat pilot who lost both legs in the Iraq War, said Tuesday. “No matter where you were born and what background you come from, if you are able and willing to wear the uniform of this great nation, you should have the opportunity to become an American citizen.”

The comments come in the wake of heated and controversial rhetoric over border security and the role of immigrants under President Donald Trump. He has railed against certain immigrants’ access to the U.S., saying some have fueled terrorism, hurt the national job market and created other concerns.

“This is indefensible,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., tweeted Tuesday of the closures. “These military recruits are willing to put their lives on the line for our country and fill key positions in our Armed Forces. We need to honor their service.”


Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, also pushed back against the move Tuesday.

“Yet another barrier for immigrants who were promised naturalization after service,” he tweeted.

This comes as Congress has failed to reach a deal on a fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which could force recipients known as Dreamers to be deported. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said Dreamers serving in the military would not be deported, but it’s not clear how if an executive order Trump signed last year definitively ends DACA.

For now, the fate of the program lies in a legal effort making its way through the courts. The Pentagon estimated late last year that 900 Dreamers were serving in the military.

Duckworth called out the the closure of the citizenship offices on military bases as another Trump-initiated roadblock against immigrants.

The offices are critical to the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest, or MANVI, program, which helps immigrants join the military with a fast track to citizenship.

“The closure of the offices makes it significantly harder and it violates the commitment we have made to thousands of brave men and women who signed up to defend our country through the MAVNI program,” Duckworth said. “It’s disappointing to see the Trump administration head in such a shameful direction.”

Duckworth has introduced several bills to prevent veterans and servicemembers from being deported and denied the opportunity to become citizens of the nation they swore to defend.

For example, her legislation would establish naturalization offices at military training facilities to make it easier for servicemembers to become citizens, prohibit the administration from deporting veterans and give legal permanent residents a path to citizenship through military service, her office said.

Duckworth said she has also co-sponsored legislation to protect military recruits who have enlisted through the MAVNI program from being discharged or deported due to their immigration status.

Her office estimates 1,000 to 1,800 recruits – including hundreds of Dreamers – have skills that are underrepresented in the U.S. military and are currently waiting for the chance to serve.

via Lawmaker: Closure of military immigration centers ‘shameful’ – U.S. – Stripes

ADL Says Anti-Semitism Is Rising. Students Disagree. – The Forward

Good nuanced analysis of the various campus antisemitism reports:

The Anti-Defamation League recently released the results of its annual anti-Semitism audit. The findings were staggering.

Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States surged nearly 60% this past year, driven in part by an increase in such cases in schools and on college campuses. ADL found 1,986 cases of harassment, vandalism or physical assaults against Jews and Jewish institutions in 2017, up from 1,267 in 2016.

But these results conflict with those of other surveys. Two recent reports — one from the Research Group of the Concentration in Education and Jewish Studies at Stanford and one from the Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis — found that, by and large, Jewish students do not feel threatened on campus.

This raises questions: Is anti-Semitism a perennial menace on American college and university campuses that increasingly threatens Jewish students around the country? Or is campus anti-Semitism a negligible issue that has been overhyped by overzealous Israel supporters?

The answer is, it’s anti-Semitism, but many younger Jews are reluctant to use the term in that context. And the less affiliated they are with organized Jewish life, the more that seems to be the case.

The Stanford report employed in-person interviews with 66 Jewish students on various California campuses who were either “unengaged or minimally engaged in organized Jewish life,” since these students “represent the vast majority of Jewish college students.” Most of them felt comfortable on their respective campuses, both in general and as Jews, and traced any discomfort they felt to the “strident, inflammatory, and divisive” tone of the campus discourse on Israel.

The Brandeis report grew out of a finding from a 2016 Steinhardt Institute study, which surveyed students on 50 campuses about anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment and found wide variance between students’ experiences on different campuses.

The more recent Brandeis study focused on only four schools (Brandeis, Harvard, the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania), and was distributed to both Jewish and non-Jewish respondents. The survey concluded that “the majority of Jewish and non-Jewish students… disagreed that their campus constituted a ‘hostile environment toward Jews.’” Some felt that there was a “hostile environment” toward Israel, but the majority did not agree.

Both of these studies seem to support the conclusion that campus anti-Semitism is a negligible phenomenon.

But this reading is oversimplified. One issue that affects both studies is the narrowness of the student populations surveyed. The Stanford report’s focus on unaffiliated students is particularly troubling, because removing Jewishly engaged students clearly skewed the findings. In fact, the two Brandeis studies as well as an earlier study from 2015 all agreed that those most strongly identified with the Jewish community and Israel are more likely to report hostility on campus. In other words, the Stanford study removed those most prone to experience — or, at least, to report — anti-Semitism.

The 2016 Brandeis report explained that this could be because those students are more likely to be targeted, or because they are more sensitive to the issue, or because students who experience anti-Israel sentiment might begin to feel more connected to the Jewish State, or some combination of all of these factors.

This does not mean that the Stanford survey is wrong; it merely emphasizes different data than other, earlier surveys and is thus more compelling if you feel that that campus animosity — at least when it is connected to Israel or Zionism — is not a serious issue, and less compelling if you disagree.

In other words, there’s data to reinforce your confirmation bias, whichever direction that might skew.

The focus on four randomly selected campuses in the 2017 Brandeis study also seems to indicate that campus anti-Semitism is not a serious problem. However, critics argue that four campuses are not a representative sample, and that the report merely amplifies a point from the earlier study: that there is wide variance from campus to campus in students’ perceptions of overall hostility toward Jews and Israel.

The 2016 Brandeis report found that some individual campuses and regions of the country are seen as more continually problematic on a year-to-year basis and referred to some campuses as relative “hotspots.” The report also found that one of the strongest predictors for perceiving a hostile climate toward Israel and Jews is “the presence of an active Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group on campus.”

This finding is corroborated in the later Brandeis study. “The majority of Jewish and non-Jewish students at all four schools disagreed that their campus constituted a ‘hostile environment toward Jews,’” the study found. Students were more likely to agree that there was a hostile environment toward Israel on their campus than that there was a hostile environment toward Jews, but most students — except for those at Michigan — still disagreed that there was hostility to Israel.

Perhaps not coincidentally, in November 2017, one month before the study was released, the student government at University of Michigan passed a BDS resolution, its first successful BDS campaign after 11 previous attempts dating back to 2002.

Additionally, the students addressed in the Kelman study did not deny that there was a toxic discourse connected to Israel on their campus; they acknowledged the problem but assigned equal responsibility for the issue to both the pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian camps, a natural response for those who are alienated and feel rebuffed by the political stances or tactics of both sides. They used words such as “unsafe,” “discomfort” and “threat” to describe some of their campus experiences and were concerned that their Jewishness allowed them to be stereotyped as holding certain views.

Despite these issues, students were reluctant to use the word “anti-Semitism.” The study explains that this shows the students’ “understanding of the difference between Israeli politics and Jewish people,” and this may ring true for those who agree with that distinction.

And yet, some of the behaviors that the students described witnessing, such as ascribing stereotypical “dual loyalty” to the Jewish people, or holding people who happen to be Jewish responsible for actions taken by others who are also Jewish (or Israeli), or the fear of losing social status because of support for Jewish issues (or Israel), are all classic examples of anti-Jewish animosity, regardless of the students’ reticence.

In other words, the unaffiliated students at these colleges are redefining what counts as anti-Semitism, choosing to rule out behaviors that older generations of Jews — like those who run ADL — see as anti-Semitic.

The Stanford report also refers to “exaggerated claims about the tone of campus activism and misrepresentations of student experience.” The researchers conclude, ”Such claims do far more harm than good by heightening tensions and reinforcing divisions.”

But imputing to all other studies emphasizing the presence of anti-Semitism on campus a common agenda or method is itself misleading and elides their significant differences. Moreover, despite greater emphasis on the presence of anti-Semitism, some of these other reports — including an ADL report in 2015 — also describe the daily experience of most Jewish students on American college and university campuses as largely comfortable, despite the presence of anti-Semitic incidents. The Stanford report’s conclusions are perhaps not entirely a revelation.

Research suggests that Jewish students, for the most part, feel comfortable on campus, but the story is more complex than the main findings publicized in recent surveys. It seems that there is only one issue these surveys clarify unambiguously: that we do not agree on a standard definition of anti-Semitism, and this makes assessing its overall impact on American campuses much more difficult.

via ADL Says Anti-Semitism Is Rising. Students Disagree. – The Forward

Pew Research: Race and immigration

As always, interesting data from Pew and the apparent disconnect between public attitudes and politics:

Majorities in all generations say the country needs to continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites, reflecting a public shift in these views in recent years. But Millennials are far more likely to hold this view than Boomers and Silents. The current generational gap in opinion is a relatively new one – as recently as 2015 there was not a substantial difference in these views by generation.

The divide is driven mostly by an uptick in the share of Millennials who say the U.S. needs to continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites.

In 2015, similar shares of Millennials (61%), Gen Xers (59%), Boomers (60%), and Silents (57%) said that more changes were necessary in order for blacks to achieve equal rights with whites. In 2017, 68% of Millennials say that more changes are needed, a significantly larger proportion than any other generational group.

There is a similar pattern on views of racial discrimination. In 2012, similar shares of adults in each generation (about two-in-ten) said that discrimination was “the main reason why many black people can’t get ahead these days” rather than that “blacks who can’t get ahead in this country are mostly responsible for their own condition.”

Since 2012, the share of Millennials who cite discrimination as the main reason blacks can’t get ahead these days has more than doubled (24% in 2012 to 52% in 2017), and a 24-point gap now separates the oldest and youngest generations.

The size of the generational divide on views about race is not simply attributable to the larger share of nonwhites in younger generations. White Millennials are 11-percentage points more likely than white Silents to say the country needs to continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites, similar to the 14- point generational gap in these views among all adults.

Generational gaps in views of immigrants, immigration policies

The share of adults in all generations saying immigrants strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents, rather than burden the country by taking jobs and health care, has grown in recent years as overall public sentiment has shifted

But there has long been a generational divide in these views. Millennials, in particular, stand out for their positive views of immigrants: 79% say they strengthen rather than burden the country. And while about two-thirds (66%) of Gen Xers now say this, that compares with a narrower majority of Boomers (56%) and about half (47%) of Silents.

These wide divides are seen not just among the generations overall, but also among whites across generations. Fully 76% of white Millennials say immigrants do more to strengthen than burden the country, compared with 61% of white Gen Xers, 54% of white Boomers and 45% of white Silents.

These generational divides are also evident on public views of issues at the heart of the current immigration policy debate: opinions about plans to substantially expand the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and views about granting permanent legal status to immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children.

While Boomers and Silents are roughly divided in their views about expanding the U.S.-Mexico border wall, younger generations – especially Millennials – are substantially more likely to oppose expanding the wall than favor doing so. Fully 72% of Millennials – including 70% of white Millennials – oppose expanding the wall. Among Gen Xers, 60% oppose expanding the wall, while 38% support it (white Gen Xers are divided: 49% favor, 50% oppose).

While substantial majorities – two-thirds or more – across all generations favor granting permanent legal status to immigrants who came illegally to the U.S., this sentiment is more widely held among Millennials: 82% of them favor granting permanent legal status, while just 13% are opposed.

Source: 4. Race, immigration, same-sex marriage, abortion, global warming, gun policy, marijuana legalization

What’s behind the rise of interracial marriage in the US? | Life and style | The Guardian

Waiting for Statistics Canada to update their mixed union analysis with 2016 data:

It’s been half a century since the US supreme court decriminalized interracial marriage. Since then, the share of interracial and interethnic marriages in America has increased fivefold, from 3% of all weddings in 1967 to 17% in 2015.

The Loving v Virginia ruling was a clear civil rights victory, but as Anna Holmes reflects in a recent article for the New York Times, understanding who benefits from that win and how is a much more complicated story.

For a start, there’s huge geographic variation in where intermarriage happens; it’s more common in metropolitan areas than rural places (18% compared to 11%) according to a Pew analysis of the Census Bureau’s figures. But those are just averages – US metropolitan areas vary significantly from Honolulu, Hawaii, where 42% of weddings are interracial to Jackson, Mississippi where the figure is just 3%.

Geographic patterns in intermarriage Photograph: Pew Research Center
Overall, the most common type of intermarriage is between a partner who is white and one who is Hispanic of any race – those relationships accounted for 38% of all intermarriages in 2010. White-Asian couples accounted for another 14% of intermarriages, and white-black couples made up 8%. You can find detailed maps of intermarriage patterns at a county level in this Census Bureau poster.

There are gender patterns in this data too. In 2008, 22% of black male newlyweds chose partners of another race, compared to just 9% of black female newlyweds. The gender pattern is the opposite among Asians. While 40% of Asian females married outside their race in 2008, just 20% of Asian male newlyweds did the same. For whites and Hispanics though, Pew found no gender differences.

These numbers aren’t simply a matter of love. They’re the consequence of economic, political and cultural factors. To list just a few:

Attitudes (plain racism): While 72% of black respondents said it would be fine with them if a family member chose to marry someone of another racial or ethnic group, 61% of whites and 63% of Hispanics said the same. More specifically though, Americans aren’t comfortable with specific kinds of intermarriage. A Pew survey found that acceptance of out-marriage to whites (81%) was higher than is acceptance of out-marriage to Asians (75%), Hispanics (73%) or blacks (66%).

Migration patterns: The Census Bureau provided the following examples: “the removal of many American Indian tribes from their original lands to reservation lands; historically higher proportions of Hispanics living in the Southwest; historically higher proportions of Asians living in the West” all of which shape where intermarriages happen and between whom.

Availability of partners: Systematic incarceration of young black men, together with higher death rates contribute to the fact that black women are much less likely to get married than women of any other race or ethnicity in the US. This, together with higher black unemployment rates mean that black individuals make up a relatively small share of all marriages, including intermarriages.

Education: People with a higher educational attainment are more likely to intermarry. This affects geographic patterns too – areas with higher educational attainment are more likely to have more interracial couples living there.

via What’s behind the rise of interracial marriage in the US? | Life and style | The Guardian

50 Years After a Landmark Report on Race, Inequality Remains Entrenched

Sobering study:

Barriers to equality are posing threats to democracy in the U.S. as the country remains segregated along racial lines and child poverty worsens, says a study examining the nation 50 years after the release of the landmark 1968 Kerner Report.

The new report released Tuesday blames U.S. policymakers and elected officials, saying they’re not doing enough to heed the warning on deepening poverty and inequality as highlighted by the Kerner Commission a half-century ago, and it lists a number of areas where the country has seen “a lack of or reversal of progress.”

“Racial and ethnic inequality is growing worse. We’re resegregating our housing and schools again,” former U.S. Sen. Fred Harris of Oklahoma, a co-editor of the new report and last surviving member of the original Kerner Commission created by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967. “There are few more people who are poor now than was true 50 years ago. Inequality of income is worse.”

The new study titled “Healing Out Divided Society: Investing in America Fifty Years After the Kerner Report” says the percentage of people living in deep poverty — less than half of the federal poverty level — has increased since 1975. About 46% of people living in poverty in 2016 were classified as living in deep poverty — 16 percentage points higher than in 1975.

And although there has been progress for Hispanic homeownership since the Kerner Commission, the homeownership gap has widened for African-Americans, the report found. Three decades after the Fair Housing Act of 1968 passed, black homeownership rose by almost 6 percentage points. But those gains were wiped out from 2000 to 2015 when black homeownership fell 6 percentage points, the report says.

The report blames the black homeownership declines on the disproportionate effect the subprime crisis had on African-American families.

In addition, gains to end school segregation were reversed because of a lack of court oversight and housing discrimination. The court oversight allowed school districts to move away from desegregation plans and housing discrimination forced black and Latino families to move into largely minority neighborhoods.

In 1988, for example, about 44% of black students went to majority-white schools nationally. Only 20% of black students do so today, the report says.

The result of these gaps means that people of color and those struggling with poverty are confined to poor areas with inadequate housing, underfunded schools and law enforcement that views those residents with suspicion, the report said.

Those facts are bad for the whole country, and communities have a moral responsibility to address them now, said Harris, who now lives in Corrales, New Mexico.

The new report calls on the federal government and states to push for more spending on early childhood education and a $15 minimum wage by 2024. It also demands more regulatory oversight over mortgage leaders to prevent predatory lending, community policing that works with nonprofits in minority neighborhoods and more job training programs in an era of automation and emerging technologies.

“We have to have a massive outcry against the state of our public policies,” said the Rev. William J. Barber II, a Goldsboro, North Carolina pastor who is leading a multi-ethnic “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival” next month in multiple states. “Systemic racism is something we don’t talk about. We need to now.”

The late President Johnson formed the original 11-member Kerner Commission as Detroit was engulfed in a raging riot in 1967. Five days of violence over racial tensions and police violence would leave 33 blacks and 10 whites dead, and more than 1,400 buildings burned. More than 7,000 people were arrested.

That summer, more than 150 cases of civil unrest erupted across the United States. Harris and other commission members toured riot-torn cities and interviewed black and Latino residents and white police officers.

The commission recommended that the federal government spend billions to attack structural racism in housing, education and employment. But Johnson, angry that the commission members didn’t praise his anti-poverty programs, shelved the report and refused to meet with members.

Alan Curtis, president of the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation and co-editor of the new report, said this study’s attention to systemic racism should be less startling to the nation given the extensive research that now calls the country’s discriminatory housing and criminal justice systems into question.

Unlike the 1968 findings, the new report includes input from African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and women who are scholars and offer their own recommendations.

“The average American thinks we progressed a lot,” said Kevin Washburn, a law professor at the University of New Mexico, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma and one of the people who shared his observations for the report. “But there are still some places where Native people live primitive lives. They don’t have access to things such as good water, electricity and plumbing.”

Like the 1968 report, the new study also calls out media organizations for their coverage of communities of color, saying they need to diversify and hire more black and Latino journalists.

News companies could become desensitized to inequality if they lack diverse newsrooms, and they might not view the issue as urgent or newsworthy, said journalist Gary Younge, who also gave input to the report.

“It turns out that sometimes ‘dog bites man’ really is the story,” Younge said. “And we keep missing it.”

Source: 50 Years After a Landmark Report on Race, Inequality Remains Entrenched

Remember when Republicans liked immigration, and Democrats didn’t?

Good history reminder:

Set aside what you think of guns or immigration as a matter of public policy or even morality. Instead, think of them as dye-markers of how our cultural politics and the nature of the two parties have changed over time.

In the 1990s, it was common for Democrats to fret over both illegal and legal immigration. “All Americans,” President Clinton said in his 1995 State of the Union Address, “are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country.”

Barbara Jordan, the civil rights icon and former Democratic congresswoman, headed a commission which concluded that legal immigration rates should be modestly cut.

Meanwhile countless Republicans championed immigration. “I’m hard pressed to think of a single problem that would be solved by shutting off the supply of willing and eager new Americans,” then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey said in 1994. “If anything, we should be thinking about increasing legal immigration.”

After a meeting with the National Restaurants Assn., newly elected House Speaker Newt Gingrich said, “I think we would be a very, very self-destructive country if we sent negative signals on legal immigration.”

Back then, boosting legal immigration was seen by many on the left as a sop to big business. The ruling industrial class allegedly wanted a reserve army of cheap labor. As recently as 2015, the avowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders sounded downright Bannonesque in telling that “open borders” was a “Koch brothers proposal…a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States.”

Sanders is an intriguing example of how political and cultural currents swirl around us. He won his first bid for Congress in 1990 in part because he received the full-throated endorsement of the National Rifle Assn. Sanders, then the mayor of Burlington, Vt., opposed an assault-weapon ban while his GOP opponent supported one.

“It is not about Peter Smith vs. Bernie Sanders,” the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre explained. “It is about integrity in politics.”

This history was just one reason why it was amusing to listen to LaPierre at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week railing against the “socialists” determined to grab everyone’s guns. The man who helped launch the most prominent American socialist since Norman Thomas suddenly thinks socialism is an existential threat to liberty.

On the immigration front: Democrats are increasingly invested in permissive policies in large part because they’ve bought into the theory that diverse populations are their key to electoral victories going forward. In dialectic fashion, Republicans are increasingly invested in restrictive policies in large part because they’re chasing after ever-larger segments of the white vote.

As for firearms: Democrats passed an assault-weapons ban in September 1994. Even Bill Clinton credited that decision as one of the chief reasons the GOP took back the House two months later.

True or not, the more important consequence was that gun rights increasingly became a partisan issue, and the NRA had little choice but to become an adjunct of the GOP. The dynamic became centrifugal, with Democrats and Republicans becoming ever more defined by the issue.

All of these changes were driven by facts on the ground. To listen to Democrats, Republicans support gun rights because the NRA tells them to. In reality, Republicans support gun rights because their voters tell them to, just as Democratic voters tell their representatives the opposite.

But guns and immigration are not simply drivers of polarization, they are examples of its power. Politics has become a lifestyle, part of the “big sort” driving so much in our culture. That’s why the NRA’s marketing these days has so little to do with gun policy and so much to do with smash-mouth cultural resentments.

These days, if you’re a Democrat, you’re likely to be a down-the-line Democrat on a host of unrelated issue. Same if you’re a Republican. Like our representatives, many of us won’t buck party orthodoxy on any matter of importance.

Liberals like Sanders have talked about “two Americas” for generations, but they worked on the assumption that this divide was class-based. It’s not. It’s cultural, and the divide is becoming a chasm.

Source: Remember when Republicans liked immigration, and Democrats didn’t?