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Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

MPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide.

Chilling Effects: The Expected Public-Charge Rule and Its Impact on Immigrant Families

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration by migrationpolicy on June 12th, 2018

The audio from this webinar highlights findings from a Migration Policy Institute report examining the potential impacts of expected changes to the public charge rule by the Trump administration. Leaked draft versions indicate that the rule could allow the administration to make changes to the legal immigration system, in part by making it more difficult for legally present noncitizens to acquire a green card or visa if they or their family members have used public benefits. The rule likely would discourage millions from accessing health, nutrition, and social services for which they or their U.S.-citizen dependents are eligible.

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Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on June 5th, 2018

There may be no story today with a wider gap between fact and fiction than the relationship between the United States and Mexico. Deeply intertwined social, economic, cultural, and family relationships make the U.S.-Mexico border more seam than barrier, weaving together two economies, societies, and cultures. Mexico has undergone a remarkable transformation over the past two decades that has made it a more educated, prosperous, and innovative nation than most Americans realize. And this emerging Mexico increasingly influences our daily lives in the United States in surprising ways—the jobs we do, the goods we consume, and even the new technology and entertainment we enjoy. 

At this discussion, marking the release of MPI President Andrew Selee's latest book, speakers explore the emerging trends in migration, economic interdependence, technology innovation, and cultural exchange that are transforming the relationship between the United States and Mexico, and the policy implications of these changes for our future.

INTRODUCTION:
Andrew Selee, President, MPI
Duncan Wood, Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center
 
OPENING REMARKS
Jose Antonio Zabalgoitia, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Mexico to the United States

SPEAKERS

Alan Bersin, former Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2012-17), and former Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (2010-11)
Carla Hills, Chair and CEO, Hills & Company, and former U.S. Trade Representative (1989-93)
Antonio Ortiz-Mena, Senior Vice President, Albright Stonebridge Group, and Adjunct Professor, Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) and Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

CLOSING REMARKS
Roberta Jacobson, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico (2016-18)

 
ADJOURNMENT
Doris Meissner
, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI  
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The Changing Landscape of Interior Immigration Enforcement Under Trump

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Mobility and Security, Immigration Enforcement by migrationpolicy on May 8th, 2018

Within days of the inauguration, the Trump administration announced sweeping changes that are reshaping the immigration enforcement system in the U.S. interior by which removable noncitizens are arrested, detained, and deported. 
 
In ways big and small, the administration is reorienting the enforcement system. At the same time, there is growing pushback, particularly from states and localities unwilling to cooperate with federal enforcement. How do arrests and deportations under the Trump administration compare to past administrations? How are state and local governments, civil society, and consulates responding? What are the impacts of new policies on federal enforcement, federal-state-local enforcement relationships, and immigrant communities? 
 
To assess the changes and their impacts, Migration Policy Institute researchers visited 15 jurisdictions across the United States, both those cooperating, such as Houston, and those limiting cooperation, such Los Angeles. Their findings are contained in a major MPI report. It reflects interviews across a broad spectrum including ICE field leadership, senior local law enforcement and elected officials, immigration attorneys, community service providers, immigrant-rights advocates, consular officials, and former immigration judges. The report also provides analysis of national ICE data obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests. 
 
This discussion examinining the operation of today’s interior enforcement system features remarks by:

Randy Capps, Director of Research, U.S. Programs, MPI

Muzaffar Chishti, Director, MPI's office at NYU School of Law

J. Thomas Manger, Chief of Police, Montgomery County, Maryland, and President, Major Cities Chiefs Association

Gary Mead, former Executive Associate Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 

Rafael Laveaga, Head of Consulate of Mexico in Washington, DC (responsible for DC, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia) 

Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI  

   

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Responding to Early Childhood Education and Care Needs of Children of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Europe and North America

As asylum seekers and refugees have arrived in significant numbers in Europe and North America in recent years, many countries have struggled to address the newcomers’ basic reception needs and provide effective integration services. Young children comprise a substantial share of these arrivals, and many have experienced significant trauma and stress that pose serious risks to their cognitive, psychosocial, and physical development. Early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs present an important opportunity to mitigate many risks these children may face, improving their education trajectories and supporting longer-term success. They can also play a critical role in the integration of refugee parents and families more broadly. In many countries, however, services for young refugee children are highly limited and lack the capacity to meet their learning and development needs.

This webinar marks the release of an Migration Policy Institute report examining the challenges and successes major host countries in Europe and North America are experiencing in providing high-quality ECEC services. The report draws on fieldwork conducted in nine countries: Belgium, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States. It is an initiative of the Transatlantic Forum on Inclusive Early Years, a consortium of European and U.S. foundations convened by the Brussels-based King Baudouin Foundation.

During the webinar, authors, Maki Park and Margie McHugh discuss the report’s findings, highlighting promising policies and practices identified in field research, as well as key areas in which ECEC services for this population need to be strengthened. They are joined by Anna Österlund, from the Swedish National Agency for Education, who highlights innovative national and local policies in Sweden that support young refugee children in their early learning experiences.

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Family Immigration Policy and Trends: How the United States Compares to Other Countries

Posted in US Immigration Policy, International Migration, European Migration by migrationpolicy on April 10th, 2018

All immigrant-receiving countries grapple with the rights and requirements surrounding family reunification and how to balance them with other immigration priorities. 

Deciding which family members should be eligible to join their relatives in the United States, and under what conditions, has become a hot button political issue. The Trump administration has proposed restricting family-based immigration severely, prompting a wave of responses arguing that family-based immigration should remain at the heart of the U.S. immigration system. On this webinar, MPI analysts Julia Gelatt, Kate Hooper, and Demetrios G. Papademetriou, compare U.S. policy on family migration to that of other significant immigrant-receiving countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Specifically, do these countries define "family" for the purpose of immigrant admissions and how does the proportion of family admissions compare to the other admission streams, especially to the admissions of the economic/labor market stream? This conversation, moderated by MPI Senior Fellow and Director of MPI's U.S. Immigration Policy Program Doris Meissner, highlights findings from MPI's issue brief examining family migration trends in nine countries and marks the launch of a data tool that models potential U.S. legal immigration cuts, by category and top countries. 

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Supporting DLLs in Superdiverse PreK-3 Programs: Findings from Two Studies

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration by migrationpolicy on March 22nd, 2018

Across many early childhood education and care (ECEC) and K-12 school systems in the United States, the diversity of languages spoken, countries of origin, and other characteristics of the young child population is rapidly rising. An increasing number of communities in the United States are experiencing conditions of “superdiversity,” creating learning environments that require different instructional strategies and approaches than those used in more homogeneous or bilingual settings to support Dual Language Learners’ access to high-quality early childhood services that can support their healthy development and future academic success.

This webinar marks the release of two research reports that illustrate the challenges and opportunities related to teaching and learning in a superdiverse environment, pointing to promising approaches to work effectively in multilingual, multicultural classrooms. The reports focus on patterns of home language use across different ECEC program types, and the potential of the Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) model to improve instruction and outcomes for Dual Language Learners in superdiverse settings. During the webinar, authors present findings and highlights from their work, and key implications for policy and practice will be discussed.

The reports discussed are:

The Language of the Classroom: Dual Language Learners in Head Start, Public Pre-K, and Private Preschool Programs

Supporting Dual Language Learner Success in Superdiverse PreK-3 Classrooms: The Sobrato Early Academic Language Model

 

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Immigration Data Matters: How to Find the Most Accurate Resources

With immigration increasingly visible in the news and the political space in the United States and internationally, getting access to accurate, high-quality data is essential for publics and policymakers to understand immigration’s demographic effects and impacts on the economy, education and labor systems, and the communities in which immigrants and their families live and work.

This event marks the release of an updated version of the popular Immigration Data Matters guide, which directs users to more than 220 international and U.S. data sources, and explains how to navigate sometimes complex datasets issued by government statistical agencies, international organizations, and reputable research organizations. This handy online guide includes data sources covering everything from the size of foreign-born population stocks and flows to citizenship applications, children in immigrant families, refugee admissions, migrant deaths, international student enrollment, global remittance flows, enforcement activities, and much more. 

At a time of proliferating data sources on immigration and immigrants, the presenters (Jeanne Batalova, MPI Senior Policy Analyst and Data Hub Manager, MPI; Mark Mather, Population Reference Bureau Associate Vice President for U.S. Programs; Elizabeth M. Grieco, Pew Research Center Senior Writer/Editor and former U.S. Census Bureau Foreign-Born Population Branch Chief; and Marc Rosenblum, Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of the Office of Immigration Statistics at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) discuss where some of the most user-friendly data can be accessed, including MPI’s own Migration Data Hub. They share their insights on how to avoid common pitfalls in using existing immigration data and highlight relevant data sources available from international organizations and national governments, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  

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State and Local Labor Standards Enforcement in Immigrant-Dense Industries

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration by migrationpolicy on March 15th, 2018

Immigrants, who account for 17 percent of the U.S. labor force, are twice as likely as native-born workers to work in industries where core labor and safety standard violations are widespread. Many immigrants have been driven into low-wage, under-regulated work by a confluence of immigration policies and economic transformations in which companies now routinely contract out for their labor needs, such as occurs in the cleaning, warehousing, food preparation, construction, and transportation sectors. In these sectors, it is commonplace for employers to misclassify workers as independent contractors to avoid paying employer-related taxes and workers compensation, and to evade responsibility for compliance with labor standards. Pushing back against the deterioration of labor standards in these sectors requires robust and strategic enforcement, but both government and private-sector driven enforcement are stymied by limited resources and disincentives for workers to file complaints.

State and local governments, with their broad enforcement powers, access to tax and insurance data, and their role in regulating unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation, are uniquely positioned to respond. As a Migration Policy Institute report outlines, state innovations in enforcement can benefit both native-born and immigrant workers alike, increase state tax revenue, and level competition in the marketplace for law-abiding employers. However, since states also contend with limited resources, strategic enforcement of workplace statutes that change employer behavior is key. 

At this report release discussion, the authors, Muzaffar Chishti, Director, MPI's office at New York University (NYU) School of Law, and Andrew Elmore, NYU School of Law Acting Assistant Professor and former New York Office of Attorney General Labor Bureau Section Chief, discuss the dynamics in low-wage workplaces and immigration law that have contributed to systematic violations of labor standards. They also highlight the new and effective enforcement strategies that state and local governments across the United States are utilizing. And California Labor Commissioner Julie Su and Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Administrator Abbie Hudgens discuss how they have leveraged existing resources to more effectively enforce labor laws. 

 

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Are States Recognizing and Responding to the Needs of Their Dual Language Learner Children?

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on October 13th, 2017

Dual Language Learners (DLLs) now make up nearly one-third of all children ages 8 and under in the United States. Despite many strengths that these young children and their parents possess, the DLL population faces significant risk factors. And although DLLs stand to benefit disproportionately from high-quality early learning opportunities, they are significantly less likely than their native, English-only peers to be enrolled in pre-K programs.

 

The Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy on October 12 released a set of state and national demographic and policy profiles to highlight characteristics of DLLs and their families and the policy context they encounter in state early childhood education and care (ECEC) systems. This series, with profiles for the United States and 30 states, aims to provide stakeholders with an understanding of the substantial and growing DLL population across the United States and the level of program and policy responsiveness by states to the needs of these young children.

 

In this webinar, MPI analysts outline key findings from the national demographic and policy profile and discuss their implications for ECEC programs and systems that seek to provide equitable access and quality for DLLs and support them in building a strong foundation for their future success.

 

The fact sheet series discussed in this webinar is available here: https://t.co/X7HtuxBlPI

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2017 Immigration Law and Policy Conference – Panel: A Standoff on Immigration Enforcement: Federal vs. Local, State vs. State, State vs. Local

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigration Enforcement by migrationpolicy on October 5th, 2017

In a highly polarized atmosphere on immigration where federal lawmakers are largely paralyzed on policy change, states and localities in recent years have increasingly taken on a larger role in challenging Washington’s immigration authority. With the Trump administration focused on cracking down on “sanctuary” cities and enticing law enforcement agencies to take a greater role in immigration enforcement, politicians and policymakers in communities across the United States are lining up on opposing sides of the issue. Even as some states and cities are declaring themselves sanctuaries, others are rushing to bar jurisdictions from noncooperation with federal immigration authorities. In this panel, the President of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and the President of the National Sheriffs’ Association discuss immigration enforcement on a panel with immigration attorneys. Themes include the growing patchwork of stances on immigration from states, counties, cities, and even universities and local school boards; what is driving the pattern of increasingly active and litigious states in the immigration space; what the legal landscape is for state/local action; and how the administration may seek to further engage state and local jurisdictions in immigration enforcement.

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2017 Immigration Law and Policy Conference – Panel: Mapping Fast-Changing Trends in Immigration Enforcement and Detention

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigration Enforcement by migrationpolicy on October 5th, 2017

During the first six months of the Trump administration, arrests of noncitizens identified for removal rose nearly 40 percent over the same period a year earlier. At the border, apprehensions fell by nearly 50 percent from the first half of 2016, as fewer people sought to enter without authorization. And the White House announced plans to seek funding for thousands of Border Patrol agents and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel, and build new immigrant detention facilities. In this panel, a high-ranking ICE official, the Deputy Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, and a senior Department of Homeland Security official discuss the many immigration law enforcement and detention policy changes that have been occurring under the Trump administration.

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2017 Immigration Law and Policy Conference – Panel: Humanitarian Relief Under Threat Across the Board

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response by migrationpolicy on October 5th, 2017

More than 1 million people in the United States receive temporary forms of humanitarian relief. Additionally, each year, tens of thousands are granted asylum or admitted as refugees. The Trump administration has sought to reduce these protections, by temporarily halting refugee admissions and reducing the number of refugee admissions to less than half of the prior level. Other forms of humanitarian relief, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS), are under threat from the administration, the courts, and Congress. In this panel, the Presidents of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and HIAS, joined by the head of Hispanic and Migration Affairs at the Mexican Embassy, discuss the current state of humanitarian relief and the implications of the administration's policy decisions for the most vulnerable immigrants, including refugees, TPS recipients, and children.

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2017 Immigration Law and Policy Conference – Panel: A New Age: Immigration Policy Under a New Administration

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on October 5th, 2017

Within days of taking office, President Trump ordered sweeping changes to immigration enforcement both at the border and within the United States, kicking off dramatic changes in how unauthorized immigrants, would-be refugees, and international travelers are handled. In this discussion, a high-ranking former Bush administration Department of Homeland Security official, former Mexican Ambassador to the United States, and Brookings Institution scholar examine the administration’s initiatives, ranging from the contested travel ban and reductions in refugee resettlement to changes in enforcement policy and practice, repointing the legal immigration system into one focused on “merit-based” admissions, building a border wall, and more. This fast-paced panel, moderated by MPI’s Doris Meissner, discusses the policies and ideas, challenges in their implementation, and responses from states, Congress, the judicial branch, and other actors.

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The International Migration System: Reflections on the Challenges and Opportunities Ahead

Posted in US Immigration Policy, International Migration, European Migration by migrationpolicy on July 13th, 2017

An estimated 244 million people—or about 3.2 percent of the world’s population—were international migrants in 2015. Migration will only grow both in size and complexity, partly in response to the inexorable aging and persistent low fertility of a growing number of wealthy and middle-income countries. It has become increasingly unclear, however, whether the migration system can be managed well enough so that all actors—immigrants, members of the communities they leave and in which they settle, and sending and receiving societies—can fully draw its many benefits. 

As Migration Policy Institute co-founder, President (2002-2014), and since then, Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus Demetrios G. Papademetriou steps down from his day-to-day work at the Institute, he provides a far-ranging presentation of what migration's challenges and opportunities are likely to look like in the next couple of decades. His presentation is followed by a conversation with Andrew Selee, MPI's incoming President. Drawing from his decades of experience as a thought leader on migration policy around the globe, Papademetriou sets forth his views on the immediate and long-term challenges governments face as they grapple with the economic, social, and political impacts of aging populations and low fertility—and the proper role for migration as one of the responses to it. He offers suggestions on how governments on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond might better manage migration and thus capitalize on the opportunities it presents while reducing its negative effects on those who lose from the process.  

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Recognizing Changing Enforcement and Crossing Trends at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on May 4th, 2017

In the midst of efforts to further ramp up enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border even as illegal crossings are a fraction of what they were at their peak in 2000, MPI research sketches the changing realities at the border and offers data that should help inform the policy debate.

  

This discussion features the release of two MPI publications that provide a comprehensive analysis of U.S. immigration enforcement at the border and the Consequence Delivery System used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to analyze the effectiveness of its efforts, as well as map the significant changes in Mexican crossing trends and intent to re-enter the United States after deportation. 

   

MPI speakers, along with former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske and former Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan discuss the contemporary border enforcement picture and progress in achieving “operational control” of the Southwest border; the next steps for the U.S.-Mexico border management relationship that has been built over the past two decades; and what policy responses by the United States, Mexico, and Northern Triangle would be most responsive to the changing nature of migrant flows in the region.

   

As the Trump administration and Congress consider the future of border policy and funding proposals for a border wall, this discussion evaluates the state of the border, the effectiveness of various enforcement strategies, current trends in apprehensions and the flows of migrants, and what the changing realities mean for the migration policies and agendas of the United States, Mexico, and the region.

  

The related reports are: 

A Revolving Door No More? A Statistical Profile of Mexican Adults Repatriated from the United States

Advances in U.S.-Mexico Border Enforcement: A Review of the Consequence Delivery System

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The First 100 Days: Immigration Policy in the Trump Administration

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on April 24th, 2017

April 29, 2017 will mark Donald Trump's 100th day in office. As a candidate, Mr. Trump laid out an ambitious plan on immigration for his first 100 days and provided greater detail in his immigration blueprint than on many other priorities for his administration. His promises included building a border wall paid for by Mexico, curtailing federal funding for sanctuary cities, deporting more criminal aliens, ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, "extreme vetting" for refugee admissions, and suspending immigration from terror-prone regions. This Migration Policy Institute discussion, with MPI's Doris Meissner and Muzaffar Chishti, former ICE Director Julie Myers Wood, and former DHS Assistant Seceretary for Policy and Planning C. Stewart Verdery, examines the administration's track record on immigration in its first months, the policies articulated in its executive orders, legal challenges, reactions by publics and policymakers, and what the long-term effects of these policies might mean.

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Reducing Integration Barriers Facing Foreign-Trained Immigrants: Policy and Practice Lessons from Across the United States

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration by migrationpolicy on February 28th, 2017

Nearly 2 million college-educated immigrants in the United States are unemployed or working in low-skilled jobs, resulting in both a waste of the education and training they obtained as well as billions in forgone earnings and lost tax revenue. Foreign-trained doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers, and other professionals face diverse barriers to accessing skilled employment, including difficulty gaining recognition for education and training completed abroad, filling gaps in academic or work experience, building professional-level English proficiency, and navigating the U.S. job search and application process. Unnecessary licensing requirements also frequently prevent individuals with years of experience in their home countries from practicing in the United States.

 

This webinar marks the release of a Migration Policy Institute report examining programs and initiatives that ease the barriers to credential recognition, employment, and relicensure facing foreign-trained immigrants, as well as recent policy developments and ongoing challenges in the field. Speakers talk about lessons from policies and practices being pioneered across the United States to overcome obstacles to career re-entry, and discuss recommendations for community-based organizations, employers, and state and local governments to expand successful efforts aimed at preventing brain waste. They also examine recent initiatives launched by Michigan’s Office for New Americans that are designed to improve immigrants’ access to professional English-language instruction, employment services, and licensing guidance. 

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Hanging in the Balance: The Future of DACA and the Dreamers

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on January 27th, 2017

Since 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has provided a two-year renewable reprieve from deportation and eligibility for work authorization to more than 750,000 unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children. Known as Dreamers, many are studying at U.S. colleges and universities or working legally in jobs throughout the U.S. labor market, and what will happen to these individuals is unclear as Donald Trump takes office. 

 

On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump pledged to terminate DACA on day one of his presidency. Since then, he has said he would “work something out” because Dreamers have worked and attended school in the United States but face an uncertain future. Meanwhile, leaders in a number of sectors have mobilized strong opposition to a possible rollback. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers from both parties have reintroduced the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act to maintain protection from deportation and work authorization to DACA recipients. In communities across the United States, officials are declaring or reaffirming their intent to limit their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. In higher education, administrators are declaring their campuses will be sanctuaries for students who may fear immigration enforcement. 

 

As the Trump administration assumes office and the impacts of rescinding DACA are under review, MPI hosts a discussion with University of California President Janet Napolitano; Donald Graham, former Chairman of The Washington Post Co. and cofounder of TheDream.Us, which is funding scholarships for thousands of unauthorized immigrant students; and Ike Brannon, Visiting Senior Fellow at the CATO Institute, and author of the just released study “The Economic and Fiscal Impact of Repealing DACA.”

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Doctors as Taxi Drivers: The Costs of Brain Waste among Highly Skilled Immigrants in the United States

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration by migrationpolicy on December 7th, 2016

The United States has long attracted some of the world’s best and brightest, drawn by the strong U.S. economy, renowned universities, and reputation for entrepreneurship and innovation. But because of language, credential-recognition, and other barriers many of these highly skilled, college-educated immigrants cannot fully contribute their academic and professional training and skills once in the United States. As a result they work in low-skilled jobs or cannot find a job—a phenomenon known as brain waste.

 

On this podcast, MPI experts give a presentation of the first-ever U.S. estimates on the economic costs of this skill underutilization for immigrants, their families, and the U.S. economy, along with estimates on forgone earnings and tax payments for: California, Florida, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Washington. The panel discusses the factors linked to immigrant skill underutilization; highlight the potential for current city, state, and U.S. labor policy (including implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) to reduce this brain waste; and offer an employer-based view of skill underutilization and how it can be addressed.

 

The report and related state research can be found here: https://bit.ly/mpiuntappedtalent

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Farm to Table: The Role of Immigrants in U.S. Farm Labor in 2016

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration by migrationpolicy on October 20th, 2016

The slowdown in migration from Mexico since the 2008-09 recession has had a little-noted effect on farm labor in the United States: Increased use of the H-2A guestworker program. The H-2A program, long criticized by employers for cumbersome regulations, has doubled in size since 2007 and now provides workers to fill more than 150,000 farm jobs. Since agriculture relies on newcomers from abroad to replace farm workers who exit for nonfarm jobs, farm labor markets are ideal for observing employer adjustments to the reduction in the arrival of immigrant labor. Often identified as the source for unauthorized migration from Mexico because of the Bracero program, agriculture may also provide the template for future immigration reforms that involve legalizing currently unauthorized workers and making it easier to hire guestworkers in the future. 

This discussion features data that could help inform future reform debates. It also focuses on some of the adjustments that farm employers are making, including increased mechanization, improved wages and benefits, and the increased use of the H-2A program.  

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