Hundreds of Economists from Left to Right tell Trump immigrants are good for the USofA

❝ Almost 1,500 economists across the political spectrum wrote a letter addressed to President Trump and congressional leaders that praised immigrants as an economic benefit to the United States and implored lawmakers to “modernize our immigration system.”

❝ “As Congress and the Administration prepare to revisit our immigration laws, we write to express our broad consensus that immigration is one of America’s significant competitive advantages in the global economy,” the letter stated in part. “With the proper and necessary safeguards in place, immigration represents an opportunity rather than a threat to our economy and to American workers.”

❝ The letter pointed out that immigrants have a positive effect on job creation by creating entrepreneurs who hire American workers; offsetting the retirement of the Baby Boomer population; granting diverse skill sets that help companies grow; and driving economic growth in industries like science, technology, engineering, and math.

The letter writers pointed out that immigration has economic costs, but ultimately said that “the benefits that immigration brings to society far outweigh their costs, and smart immigration policy could better maximize the benefits of immigration while reducing the costs.”…

❝ The crux of the letter — that immigrants are an economic benefit for the country — has been consistently proven true. More than half of U.S. firms that are valued at $1 billion or more, had at least one immigrant co-founder, according to a 2016 National Foundation for American Policy study. One-quarter of engineering and technology companies started in the United States between 2006 and 2012 had at least one founder who was an immigrant. And as the letter writers alluded to, the massive wave of 77 million Baby Boomers retiring between 2010 and 2030 will slow labor force growth. A 2013 Center for American Progress study found that at least two-thirds of all entrants into the workforce, including immigrants, are needed to replace today’s current workers with the additional one-third needed to grow the workforce.

The study doesn’t clarify which immigrants bring an economic boon to the economy. But studies show that all kinds of immigrants — including undocumented ones who contribute $11.74 billion in taxes annually — are integral to the economic health of this country.

I doubt Trump chumps will read any coverage of this letter – much less the letter itself, Or care much for the breadth of economics that endorse the concepts within.

Some of our Congress-critters will respond. A few will understand the economics discussed and fight to build a new understanding of immigration. Trump and his neo-con bubbas will ignore it.

The point remains this is a starting point for the broader fight to build a political fight for real independents to represent the American people in government. Democrat or Independent candidacy isn’t as important as a progressive mindset willing to fight for a future that doesn’t seem to excite or motivate the owners of the two Establishment parties. But, promises to bring American workingclass families a better life than we now have.

It’s a good time to be an immigration lawyer in Canada

Click to enlargeAnthony Maw

Gastown District, Vancouver

❝ The quaint cobblestone streets of the historic Gastown district of Vancouver belie its status as a fast-growing technology hub.

Drawing on links with nearby Seattle, and San Francisco further south, a tech boom in Canada’s third-largest city has pulled in tens of thousands of skilled workers and start-up entrepreneurs in recent years, sparking a fierce fight for the limited supply of office space.

Now the commercial centre of Canada’s most westerly province of British Columbia is braced for a fresh influx of talent — this one driven by the shifting immigration policies of the Trump administration in Washington.

❝ A month after Donald Trump entered the White House, the US tech sector is still trying to figure out how to adapt to the sweeping immigration reform promised by the new president…

The sector now fears that Mr Trump could push ahead with further legislation, including tearing up the H1B visa programme they rely upon to hire skilled foreign workers.

This has led many in Silicon Valley and beyond to consider their options, including looking further afield to more liberal Canada…

❝ Many of the world’s largest tech groups already operate in Vancouver, which regularly tops lists of the world’s most liveable cities and has the mildest climate in Canada.

Amazon is looking to add to its 700 staff in Vancouver, while Microsoft opened an office in the city last year for 750 employees. Cisco Systems, Samsung and SAP also operate there…

The tech industry and a booming construction sector have made Vancouver the fastest growing area of Canada’s economy, with GDP growth averaging 3.5 per cent in the past five years. “Resource economies historically were important, but tech now has more jobs than forestry, oil and gas, and mining combined,” says Mr Robertson.

Too bad 3rd World states like New Mexico can’t figure this out. The cost of doing business here would be a boon – if only we had an education system to match. It’s not just that we can’t supply much to incoming tech sector startups and established firms. Who wants to move somewhere where the public school system offers nothing more than a mediocre education to their children?

Our government’s commitment to for-profit prisons wants to lock up more mothers and children

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is striking deals with private prison companies to lock up a “guaranteed minimum” of mothers with their children in euphemistically-termed family detention centers.

The 2009 congressional mandate for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to keep a minimum of 34,000 people minimum locked up at any given time is already well-established. But a new report by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Detention Watch Network reveals that this federal quota rests, in part, on aggressive deals with companies in the business of locking up families…

According to the investigation, which based its findings on documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, such local quotas are “even more widespread than previously reported, covering at least 24 detention facility contracts,” accounting for at least 12,821 of the 34,000 beds established by the national quota. Ninety-three percent of those beds are in privately-run detention facilities…

Since 2014, the mass detention of families in these prison-like facilities has been a foundation of the Obama administration’s immigration policies toward refugees from Central America, many of whom are fleeing violence and poverty worsened by U.S. policies. The human rights violations at these camps have been condemned by human rights organizations and the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and some have compared them to Japanese internment camps.

❝ “Almost all guaranteed minimums are found in facilities that contract with private prison companies, and ICE actively collaborates with these companies to keep details of their contracts secret,” said Ghita Schwarz, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights…“The public should have a full understanding of how ICE rewards and incentivizes profiteering off the detention of immigrants.”…

One thing is clear: profits are soaring for GEO Group and CCA, the two largest private prison companies in the United States. Both boasted to their shareholders recently that revenues are spiking, thanks in part to the windfall from locking up families.

Cripes. Bad enough we have a government, legislative and executive alike, that maintains bullshit like crop subsidies to agribusiness giants – just because we did do for small farmers in trouble 80 years ago. To see the absurd supply-side myths of Reaganomics perpetuated by a “liberal” White House is dumber than criminal. Privatization of our prison system has achieved nothing for crime reduction or recidivism among ex-cons. It’s only made money for firms who jumped on the Republican bandwagon.

Congress reinforces the myth with our tax dollars. The White House reinforces the corruption of the whole process by maintaining deportation quotas and continuing the sleazy guarantees to provide enough detainees to keep these for-profit prisons in business.

Thanks, NikiV

Escalating enforcement along the Mexican border backfired

The rapid escalation of border enforcement over the past three decades has backfired as a strategy to control undocumented immigration between Mexico and the United States, according to new research that suggests further militarization of the border is a waste of money…

Advocated by bureaucrats, politicians and pundits, the militarization of the U.S. border with Mexico transformed undocumented Mexican migration from a circular flow of predominantly male workers going to a few states into a settled population of about 11 million in all 50 states, Douglas Massey said. From 1986 to 2010, the United States spent $35 billion on border enforcement and the net rate of undocumented population growth doubled, he said.

❝ “By the 1990s border enforcement had become a self-sustaining cycle in which rising apprehensions provided proof of the ongoing ‘illegal invasion’ to justify more resources allocated to border enforcement, which produced more apprehensions, even though the actual number of undocumented migrants seeking entry was not increasing,” Massey said…

❝ “Greater enforcement raised the costs of undocumented border crossing, which required undocumented migrants to stay longer in the U.S. to make a trip profitable,” he said. “Greater enforcement also increased the risk of death and injury during border crossing. As the costs and risks rose, migrants naturally minimized border crossing — not by remaining in Mexico but by staying in the United States.”

But, hey, if you’re one of those Americans who refuses to accept even an accounting of the size of the illegal immigrant population you’re not likely to accept any analysis of directionality much less efficiency of means and methods. Fear doesn’t make for a whole boatload of science floating down your political river.

Especially the Rio Grande.

Meanwhile, RTFA. Try to understand the conclusions from people like Mary Waters, immigration researcher at Harvard, who says — “Throwing money at militarizing the border led to the growth of undocumented immigration and if we had just done nothing, undocumented immigration would be much lower.”

Graffiti reminds people Apple founder was son of Syrian migrants

Click to enlarge

A new Banksy graffiti has appeared on a concrete bridge in the Calais migrant camp, showing late Apple founder Steve Jobs migrating from Syria.

Known as the Jungle, the makeshift town is located on what used to be a rubbish tip on the outskirts of the French port and is currently home to more than 7,000 migrants. The majority come from war-torn Syria and Afghanistan are are hoping to get to the UK to start a new life.

The timely new artwork features Jobs’ trademark spectacles, as he carries an early Apple computer in one hand a sack of belongings on his back.

Way too many Americans like to forget where we came from, how we got here, what our antecedents endured to grow and prosper.

American nativists like to forget their elected government let us in. And, of course, who they killed when they settled in.

Inequality, Immigration, and Hypocrisy

Europe’s migration crisis exposes a fundamental flaw, if not towering hypocrisy, in the ongoing debate about economic inequality. Wouldn’t a true progressive support equal opportunity for all people on the planet, rather than just for those of us lucky enough to have been born and raised in rich countries?

Many thought leaders in advanced economies advocate an entitlement mentality. But the entitlement stops at the border: though they regard greater redistribution within individual countries as an absolute imperative, people who live in emerging markets or developing countries are left out.

If current concerns about inequality were cast entirely in political terms, this inward-looking focus would be understandable; after all, citizens of poor countries cannot vote in rich ones. But the rhetoric of the inequality debate in rich countries betrays a moral certitude that conveniently ignores the billions of people elsewhere who are far worse off

By many measures, global inequality has been reduced significantly over the past three decades, implying that capitalism has succeeded spectacularly. Capitalism has perhaps eroded rents that workers in advanced countries enjoy by virtue of where they were born. But it has done even more to help the world’s true middle-income workers in Asia and emerging markets. Even though that had nothing to do with intent.

Allowing freer flows of people across borders would equalize opportunities even faster than trade, but resistance is fierce. Anti-immigration political parties have made large inroads in countries like France and the United Kingdom, and are a major force in many other countries as well.

You seem in such a hurry to live this kind of life
And you’ve caused so many pain and misery

But look around you, take a good look
Just between you and me
Are you sure that this is where you want to be

Please don’t let my tears persuade you, I had hoped I wouldn’t cry
But lately, teardrops seem a part of me

Oh, look around you, take a good look
At all the local used-to-be’s
Are you sure that this is where you want to be

Willie Nelson

Republican leadership unveils their immigration plan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled his party’s long-awaited plan on immigration on Wednesday, telling reporters, “We must make America somewhere no one wants to live.”

Appearing with House Speaker John Boehner, McConnell said that, in contrast to President Obama’s “Band-Aid fixes,” the Republican plan would address “the root cause of immigration, which is that the United States is, for the most part, habitable.”

“For years, immigrants have looked to America as a place where their standard of living was bound to improve,” McConnell said. “We’re going to change that.”

Boehner said that the Republicans’ plan would reduce or eliminate “immigration magnets,” such as the social safety net, public education, clean air, and drinkable water…

Attempting, perhaps, to tamp down excitement about the plan, McConnell warned that turning America into a dystopian hellhole that repels immigrants “won’t happen overnight.”

“Our crumbling infrastructure and soaring gun violence are a good start, but much work still needs to be done,” he said. “When Americans start leaving the country, we’ll know that we’re on the right track.”

In closing, the two congressional leaders expressed pride in the immigration plan, noting that Republicans had been working to make it possible for the past thirty years.

I have nothing to add to such a complete description of the goals of Republican politics.

Thanks, Mike

Right-wing Brits crash-and-burn in local elections – call on members to breed more voters!

The British National Party has urged its members to procreate after it lost every seat it contested in the English local elections on Thursday.

The BNP fielded 99 candidates but did not win a seat. It lost the one county council seat it held in Lancashire, leaving Nick Griffin’s party with just two councillors.

In a post on the party’s website, members are urged to have bigger families to counter large families had by non-Britons.

Northernscot claims that 51% of the US population is non-white and says that to prevent the same thing happening in Britain, “BNP members and nationalists” need to breed more.

“I know, by now you will be giggling over this suggestion. But think about it, nationalists need to buck the trend of 1.8 children per white household. We need to aim between 3 and 4 children each if not more,” he writes. “And the bonus is that making babies is fun! So fellow nationalists, less TV and more fun! Let’s do our bit for Britain and our race…”

I don’t doubt there is plenty of giggling – over the desperation of these nutballs.

“We must look at ways of building up the white population in Britain,” he said, “There are a few ways that this can be done. Firstly immigration of white Europeans, although this causes problems in jobs and housing, in the end if they stay their children will slowly become pro-British, or their children’s children will at least…”

“…Nick Griffin is always going on about being outbred and in the past he has said members need to put away their boots and go and meet women. The problem is that your typical BNP member is a social pariah who is more into pornography than starting a family…”

Sounds familiar, eh? Some of the soul-searching going on in the Republican Party after two defeats by Obama sounds like this. It pairs nicely with the anti-woman, anti-abortion, anti-birth control agitprop from the Catholic and other fundamentalist factions in the Tea Party.

Fannie and Freddie are not piggy banks for Congress

What does a U.S. immigration program have to do with the housing market? Nothing. Yet lawmakers are once again attempting to tap mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to fund unrelated legislation, this time to cover the cost of increasing the number of green cards for foreign graduates with advanced degrees. Fannie and Freddie, it seems, have become Washington’s favorite piggy bank.

Some may see this as a good thing. The U.S., after all, spent $190 billion bailing out the companies, so why not siphon some of the money back to pay for other priorities? The reality is that doing so raises mortgage costs for borrowers regardless of their credit risk, threatens to stall the housing market’s comeback and lowers the odds that Washington will ever fix the two companies.

To pay for the immigration bill it passed last month, the U.S. House voted to extend for one year higher fees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge lenders to guarantee the loans they make to home borrowers. Last year, Congress increased the so-called guarantee fee by 10 basis points (0.1 percent) through 2021 to fund a payroll-tax cut. The House bill extends the higher fees, which reflect a loan’s expected rate of return, through 2022. The measure isn’t going anywhere — it faces a presidential veto threat and was blocked this week by the Senate — but the temptation to tap Fannie and Freddie whenever Congress needs a ready supply of cash is likely to grow.

There’s no question guarantee fees should slowly increase. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac don’t make mortgage loans but guarantee them by charging lenders a fee to cover projected losses from defaults. For too long, the companies underpriced risk and charged too little for the mortgages they were agreeing to back, which is one reason they were bailed out and placed under government control.

Absent a broader effort to overhaul housing finance, raising fees with no consideration to their effect on the housing market poses new risks. The guarantee fees are passed on to borrowers, typically through higher interest rates. Raising fees too quickly could hamper the housing recovery by making it more expensive to borrow. Higher fees also thwart the Federal Reserve’s attempts to stimulate the economy by keeping interest rates low…

A new Bloomberg Government report says the mortgage giants will probably escape a major overhaul in President Barack Obama’s second term because they are no longer draining taxpayer money and instead are returning funds to the Treasury. Both reported third-quarter profits, foregoing Treasury Department cash infusions.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are finally healing, and Congress should resist the impulse to turn to them whenever it needs a ready supply of cash. The companies are supposed to smooth out the ebbs and flows of the mortgage market, not serve as ATMs.

I enjoy the way Bloomberg presents the information they do for a living, a pay-per-view service that funded Mike Bloomberg’s vast fortune. He – and most of the folks working at Bloomberg – understands straightforward communications. His company wastes little time trying to support rationales for out-of-date Republican ideology passed off as “traditional economics.

Yes, there are sufficient old school economists around to keep the bears happy; but, history and bull markets always pass them by when economies function as the whole process should. It’s only when the greed side of the profit equation takes precedence over ethics and honesty we all suffer a troubling result. Or a disaster.

Like the questions raised politely in this article about Republicans raiding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to pay for the only part of immigration House Republicans care about – imported engineers who will help high-tech corporations on the cheap.

Woman finds she’s “married” to 3 men as part of immigration scam

Anna Vargas and her real hubbie, Angel Poggi

New York City woman Anna Vargas thought she was happily married — she just did not know she was “married” to four guys, The New York Post reports.

The 37-year-old Queens mom was the victim of an identity-theft nightmare, in which a parade of mysterious creeps arranged fake marriages by using her birth certificate, which she lost some 16 years ago.

Vargas had no idea what was going on — until she tried to get married in 2004 and was heartbroken to find her application for a license rejected by the City Clerk’s Office. She was turned down after records showed she was “married” twice in 1996, once to a man from Mexico and once to a man from Ecuador…

It was not clear why the men got married to women using her identity, but often such ID theft involves immigration scams…

The ceremony was moved to Long Island, where she and fiance Angel Poggi said their “I dos” and prepared to live happily ever after.

Then out of the blue in 2009, one of her other “husbands,” a man from Ecuador, turned up and slapped her with divorce papers.

When she refused to sign those documents and hired a lawyer, the Ecuadorean man showed up at her mother-in-law’s house. “Luckily, my mother-in-law had a picture of our wedding day,” Vargas explained. “She said, ‘Is this the person you were married to?’ He said, ‘No.'”

Vargas decided to go back and clear her name with the City Clerk’s Office. On Jan. 25, Administrative Law Judge Joan Salzman ruled that Vargas was indeed the victim of fraud and nullified the two 1996 marriages.

Unfortunately, her troubles are not over, as Vargas also discovered another fake marriage in her name, on Long Island, and is fighting to erase it.

Lesson learned? Keep track of your legal documents especially those concerning your identity.