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, September 4, 2014

Estimating the Impact of Executive Action on Immigrants

The Migration Policy Institute in Washington DC has just published a report in which they lay out their estimates of how many of the currently 11.7 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. might be affected by President Obama's executive actions--to be taken in lieu of any Congressional movement on immigration reform.
Using an innovative methodology to analyze the most recent U.S. Census data to determine unauthorized status, MPI examines scenarios for expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that has provided a temporary grant of relief from deportation as well as eligibility for work authorization to more than 587,000 unauthorized immigrants who came to the United States as children, as well as extension of deferred action to other populations.
With respect to expansion of the DACA program, MPI finds that:
1. Eliminating the current education requirement (high school diploma or equivalent or current enrollment in school) would expand the DACA-eligible population by about 430,000. Last month, MPI estimated that 1.2 million unauthorized immigrant youth met all DACA eligibility criteria at the program’s announcement in June 2012. Eliminating the education requirement would bring the immediately eligible population to nearly 1.7 million.
2. Extending eligibility to those who arrived in the U.S. before age 18 (from the current age 16) would expand the population by about 180,000.
3. Moving forward the length of residence to 2009 (from the current 2007) would add about 50,000 youth.
"Our work makes clear that the reach of potential changes to expand the DACA program or refine immigration enforcement priorities would be even greater if multiple changes were to be implemented at the same time — for example eliminating the DACA educational requirement and changing the age at arrival criteria," said Randy Capps, MPI's director of research for U.S. programs.
Note that these measures are not related to the issue of what to do with unaccompanied minor immigrants. The number of such immigrants has slowed substantially, but it has not stopped. Josh Voorhees of Slate reports that:
According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, 37,477 of the child migrants have been released to a relative, family friend, or other adult sponsor already living in the United States. Several thousand more are currently living in one of a number of longer-term shelters spread across the country.
Even if most of these kids are no longer stuck in overcrowded shelters near the border, the government still has a massive problem on its hands. Under federal law, those children are eligible to attend public school while they remain in the United States, regardless of their immigration status. Communities that receive only a handful of children will likely be able to absorb the extra costs. But others—states like California, Florida, and Texas with large Central American communities—won’t have it so easy.
People in Washington, DC may have been just as happy to see this issue disappear from the headlines, but it will be back... 

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