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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

NEW EVIDENCE IMMIGRANTS LEAVING COUNTRY

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

I've reported on various studies showing the number of illegally present immigrants is dropping. And I've reported on the various explanations from pro and anti immigration groups. But there has been less reporting on legally present workers who may be leaving. Anti-immigrant groups argue that enforcement is working and the raids on work sites and tighter border security are having the intended effect. Pro-immigration groups argue that the tough economy with growing unemployment is the reason for the drop. I've opined that it is probably a combination of the two.

And now there is a very interesting new piece of evidence supporting the argument that the economy is, in fact, affecting immigration to the country. Nicaraguans, El Salvadorans and Guatemalans have been eligible for Temporary Protected Status in the US for ten years since Hurricane Mitch hit Central America, killing thousands. TPS holders from those countries have been able to work with USCIS-issued employment authorization documents that have been extended on an annual basis.

Tuesday was the deadline for TPS extension applications for the Hurricane Mitch population, estimated at around 300,000. According to USCIS, only 54% of those eligible to extend had filed the applications as of last Friday. So unless there was a fairly massive surge over the last few days, a huge percent of TPS applicants have decided to head home or have already left.

This data is very significant because the TPS population has been legally residing in the US and working legally and they have no fear of worksite raids or border security. The only logical explanation for their failing to extend their status is the economy. This does not mean that enforcement is not a factor in the decline in the illegally present immigrant population. But it likely means that the economy is, indeed, a key factor.

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Comments

  1. Dave Bennion's Avatar
    But TPS is no walk in the park, either. It's pretty tenuous in a lot of ways ... revoked for CIMTs, not on the permanent resident track, and USCIS uses pretty much any excuse to deny renewal applications. It's purgatory. Some percentage of that decrease in renewal applications might be due to enforcement efforts and "restrictive interpretation" of the laws by USCIS.
  2. USC's Avatar
    Nice Op-Ed by Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman on the Elephants in today's NY Times. Perhaps, this is why the Rs continue to impede CIR.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/02/opinion/02krugman.html

    The Rs would do well to heed Krugman's words and start on a new path. The first step of which must be CIR.
  3. George Chell's Avatar
    As I have said, pretty soon many more will leave, particularly from states such as Arizona, and Arizona will never solve the housing crisis until at least 2013 or 2014.
  4. Sid's Avatar
    George, you claim to be an economist, yet are blissfully unaware of the causes of the housing crisis. It was not caused by people leaving or entering any state. It was caused by unscrupulous lenders approving mortgage loans to people who could not pay them back. That, I believe has nothing to do with illegal or legal immigration. California and Florida are fairly pro-immigrant states where immigrants are definitely not being driven out but that hasn't made those states immune from the housing meltdown. Of course, much depends on your definition of the housing crisis. I believe that the housing crisis happened between 2003 and 2007 due to lax lending standards and what's happening now is the necessary correction to the abnormality.
  5. George Chell's Avatar
    Sid:

    What I have described is fairly unique to Arizona. While lending was a problem..large number of immigrants and foreign looking citizens leaving the state did aggravate the problem more than any other state. The issue is similar in Prince William County in VA.
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