This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Reforming Our Thinking About Immigration Reform

As immigration reform legislation works its way somewhat mysteriously through the US Congress, level heads have popped up to remind us that things really aren't like they used to be when it comes to immigration, and thus when it comes to reforming the legislation. Yesterday's New York Times carries a story reminding us that the demography of Mexico has changed rather dramatically over the past several decades in which Mexicans (who are the main targets of immigration reform) have been moving north.
“It’s a new Mexico, it’s a new United States, and the interaction between them is new,” said Katherine Donato, a sociologist at Vanderbilt University who specializes in immigration. As for Congressional action spurring a surge of illegal crossings, she added: “You’re just not going to see this massive interest. You don’t have the supply of people. You have a dangerous trip that costs a lot more money, and there has been strong growth all over Latin America. So if people in Central America are disenfranchised and don’t have jobs, as was the case in Mexico three or four decades ago, they might decide to go south.”
Furthermore, there is a lot of talk about the idea that any path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently residing in the US must include them going to the "end of the line." But, it turns out that there isn't exactly a single line. It's a lot more complex than that, as a briefing from the Migration Policy Institute makes clear. If Congress does not increase the number of visas currently allowed in various categories, it could take up to 19 years to clear the current backlog of applications, even if no new applications were forthcoming. So, if this is going to be "real," the annual visa limit will have to be revised upward--perhaps substantially so.

And, in Mexico, there are proposals for the government of that country to step up more aggressively to protect the human rights of its migrating citizens, including those who are victimized trying to cross the border, and those who are victimized after crossing the border.

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