07. December 2023 · Comments Off on Ag and Rural Caucus – December 2023 · Categories: Committee News, Recent Events

Ag and Rural Caucus for December

December Schedule

Better Practices
6:30 pm Thursday 7 December
Immigration: How to talk about it


Policy Briefing
Merry Christmas: No program for December

Paste link into browser or click heading to go to meeting.

One more short note tomorrow. Thank you for your patience with the flood of updates.

Values: Who do we want to bring in?

(8) What kind of immigrant do we, as a country, want to admit? Emma Lazarus had an answer, engraved on the pedestal of the Statute of Liberty:

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

This is the moral argument. It contains an economic bent, as well. “Huddled masses yearning to breathe free” belies an energy, a drive to succeed that we might to choose to honor. Families leaving their homes and friends to endure the deprivations of travel to a foreign land with uncertainty of success, show an initiative that we have always thought of as peculiarly American. Immigrants arriving at the border may show precisely the qualities that we value. Maybe we will not see a significant economic payoff in this generation but the future value of today’s “huddled masses” may be precisely what we need.

The counter argument is that we should select for the current generation. We should not risk a future generation’s shortcomings and instead invest in today’s economic return. This argument says that we recruit the H1B-type immigrant. We should choose the well-educated aspirant who can make a contribution to our economy today.

Whatever your choice, or your mix of choices, we need to (1) invest in the administration of current policy, (2) devise a replacement policy that regularizes the status of people residing in this country and gives potential immigrants a realistic prospect of how their attempted entry will be handled, and (3) plan for the climate-induced movement of people that we will see across the world starting tomorrow.

7 December 2023

H1B and H2A: Quite Different

(6) Two important classes of Washington’s foreign workers that do not show up in immigration numbers are H1B and H2A.

You are familiar with H2A workers. These are mostly short-term farm laborers. Numbers have increased to about 35,000. They arrive for specific employment and return after harvest. Most workers are from Mexico and the terms of their employment is strictly regulated.

H1B workers are high-skilled workers imported for three to six years. Microsoft and Amazon account for nearly a third of H1B workers in Washington. There are around 20,000 H1B workers in Washington, about the same order of magnitude as H2A workers.

Both H1B and H2A workers are legal. Curiously, for Washington State, most paper-less immigrants are skilled: “In Washington [and only in Washington], the industry with the largest number of undocumented immigrants is business services, made up of companies that provide professional, scientific and technical support to organizations operating in other industries.”

H1B workers are high-skilled workers imported for three to six years. Microsoft and Amazon account for nearly a third of H1B workers in Washington. There are around 20,000 H1B workers in Washington, about the same order of magnitude as H2A workers.

Both H1B and H2A workers are legal. Curiously, for Washington State, most paper-less immigrants are skilled: “In Washington [and only in Washington], the industry with the largest number of undocumented immigrants is business services, made up of companies that provide professional, scientific and technical support to organizations operating in other industries.”

It’s Complicated: Refugees and Asylees

(7) Start with definitions:

Refugees and asylees are individuals who are unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin or nationality because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Refugees and asylees are eligible for protection in large part based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion…Once granted U.S. protection, refugees and asylees are authorized to work and may also qualify for assistance including cash, medical, housing, educational, and vocational services to facilitate their economic and social integration.

In the United States, the major difference between refugees and asylees is the location of the person at the time of application. Refugees are usually outside the United States when they are screened for resettlement, whereas asylum seekers submit their applications while physically present in the United States or at a U.S. port of entry.How many?: More than 1.3 million asylum applications were awaiting processing as of May.
Of these, approximately 750,000 were pending in immigration courts—comprising about 40 percent of all cases in the immigration court system—and 600,000 were with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

Backlog? The average asylum case in immigration court takes more than 4.2 years to be completed.

Disposition? In fiscal year 2022, immigration judges decided 52,000 asylum cases; about 46% of people were granted asylum. The approval rate was closer to 39% for those who applied for asylum as a defense against deportation.

More definitionAffirmative vs. Defensive Asylum; USCIS v. Board of Immigration Appeal

An individual seeking entry with a visa or already present in the United States may decide to submit an asylum request through the affirmative process with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, if a foreign national has no lawful means of entering the country and asks for asylum or if they are apprehended as an unauthorized migrant and file an asylum request, the case is adjudicated in immigration court, as part of a defensive application. For both defensive and affirmative applications, the person is obligated to file for asylum within one year of entering the country.

During an affirmative asylum interview, an asylum officer will determine whether the applicant meets the definition of a refugee. An asylum application may be approved, denied, or sent to the courts for further review. If a claim is denied in immigration court, an applicant may appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals or, in some cases, the federal courts.RefugeesTakes about 18 to 24 months.

How many?: Maybe 60,000; A fraction of 1980 number.

Border out of Control? Maybe not, but Challenging

(4) Numbers arriving at the southern border under Biden are really high. Much higher than under Trump. So, Democrats are soft on immigration, right? Not so fast. Over all handling of the migrant load are roughly similar under Biden and Trump. Looking at the table below, Trump actually released a greater proportion of the migrants than has Biden.

So why the increase. You might blame Bidenomics: “most of the increase in illegal immigration can be blamed on the strength of the labor market rather than the administration’s tinkering with border enforcement policies.”

And tinkering under Biden there has been. Most of it has been to bring order to migrant processing at the border (CBP One to move migrants to ports of entry), and to tailor appropriate administrative response. Count TPS (Temporary Protected Status) and “parole” for work authorization on the plus side.




(5) Drugs and Crime: Drugs and crime thrive on the border but not from migrants.

PNAS, Comparing crime rates between undocumented immigrants, legal immigrants, and native-born US citizens in Texas

Cato Institute, Fentanyl Is Smuggled for U.S. Citizens By U.S. Citizens, Not Asylum Seekers

NPR, Who is sneaking fentanyl across the southern border? Hint: it’s not the migrants

ASU Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety. The Connection between illegal immigrants and crime

5 December 2023

Better Practices

We are falling short – Can Immigrants help?

(3) We earlier generations of immigrants, what demographers call “native-born”, are not having enough babies. We are not keeping up. We are not alone. The Baltic countries including Russia and the east Asian nations (Japan, China, Korea) are all falling behind, sometimes dramatically.

This is an economic problem. We need populations to sustain economic growth, create jobs, and take care of us old people. (This is not the conventional wisdom we grew up with. Remember Paul Ehrlich and ZPG?)

The data below show the trend of declining natural increase and its offset by immigration since 2020.

Brookings reports that immigration is essential to “growth and vitality.”

4 December 2023

Better Practices

We have met the immigrants…and they are us

(1) We are a nation of immigrants, with due respect to our neighbors who predate us by some 12,000  years.

(2) Where have we come from? Everywhere.

The large numbers of immigrants from Latin America and Asia in recent decades represent a sharp turnaround from the mid-1900s, when immigration largely came from Europe. In the 1960s, no single country accounted for more than 15 percent of the U.S. immigrant population, but Italians were the top origin group, making up 13 percent of the foreign born in 1960, followed by Germans and Canadians (about 10 percent each).

Immigrants from Mexico have been the most numerous since 1980, but the composition of new arrivals has changed since 2010. Now, immigrants are more likely to come from Asia, especially India and China. In fact, these two nations displaced Mexico as the top origin countries for new arrivals from 2013 to 2021, but amid the pandemic and related mobility restrictions Mexico has regained its position as the origin of most new arrivals.


Regions of Birth for Immigrants in the United States, 1960-Present

This bar chart displays the immigrant population in the United States, between 1960 and 2022, by region of birth. The chart demonstrates the major shift in origins—from mostly European to predominantly Latin American and Asian, and more recently African—that occurred as a result of significant changes in U.S. immigration and refugee laws, the growing U.S. economic and military presence in Asia and Latin America, and economic transformations and political instability in key sending countries.

For bar chart: https://www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/data-hub/charts/regions-immigrant-birth-1960-present

Better Practices

Immigration – the other gun debate.

Immigration is much better than gun control for MAGA partisans. Immigration explains so much more: Immigrants commit violent assault and rape on city streets, one reason every homeowner needs a firearm. They smuggle fentanyl and kill our youth. They traffic children for sexual abuse. Immigrants are part of a conspiracy to replace white-faced Christians. Immigrants are taking jobs away from “Americans.” They are scofflaws. They hitchhike from Guatemala just to storm Texas and attack deputy sheriffs.

Thursday, 7 December, we are going so share ideas on how Democrats can talk about immigration. Bring your stories about conversations you have had with your neighbors. Share your tactics about how to redirect charges that Democrats favor open borders and favor immigrants – almost always brown-faced – over real Americans.

Facts and numbers do not usually score in silo debates. Even so, I will feed you some definitions and numbers about immigrants and immigration over the next several days to help our conversation.
1 December 2023

[CD 3: Let’s hear from a winner]
[CD 4: Different strategy for Eastern v Central Washington?]
[CD 5: This is us!]
[CD 1,2,6,7,8,9,10: My, there a lot of you -need advice]

Better Practices
Ann Marie Danimus is running for Congress in CD 5.
Meet her.
Hear her ideas.
Give her advice.
Learn her election plan.
Talk policy.
Share campaign stories.

Carmela Conroy, Spokane County chair, is also running in CD 5. Meet Carmela in the new year.

31 October 2023

Our Better Practices roundtable is on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm.. Use the link above for 2023.

Our Policy Series is on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm. Use the link above for 2023. 

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