Monday, May 16, 2016

Great visual of origins of US immigrants since 1820

This map shows the origins of US immigrants since 1820--very cool! The recent drop in the number of immigrants from Mexico is particularly interesting. Note that these are data on legal entrants (new legal permanent residents), not all in-migrants.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Great video about immigrants in Utica, NY

Chapter 14 profiles Utica, NY, an old industrial town that has been revitalized as a result of receiving large numbers of immigrants. PBS NewsHour did a great segment on the town.

New international migration data from the UN

The United Nations has posted its estimates of the migrant stock for most countries for 2015. Highlights include:
- 44 million people were outside their country of birth for a year or more in 2015, up from 222 million in 2010 and 173 million in 2000
- About 3.3 percent of the world's 7.3 billion people are international migrants
- The largest number of international migrants (47 million) are in the United States, or about a fifth (19 per cent) of the world’s total. Germany and the Russian Federation hosted the second and third largest numbers of migrants worldwide (12 million each), followed by Saudi Arabia (10 million).

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016 released by World Bank

The World Bank has released its updated Migration and Remittances Factbook. It is chock full of data. It also updates estimates of the global number of immigrants to more than 247 million people, or 3.4% of the world population, in 2013.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The refugee crisis in the EU

Refugees surging into the EU have dominated the headlines in recent weeks. The situation has been building over time and recently reached crisis point, with thousands of migrants streaming into Greece and Hungary every day. The current situation is largely rooted in continued unrest and desperate conditions in Syria; earlier this summer, the influx was largely due to instability in Libya that is resulting in large numbers of migrants setting off from there to Greece and Italy. The latest wave is also setting off for the EU from Turkey.

A set of EU rules called the Dublin Regulation requires that asylum seekers--people asking to be declared refugees and granted the right to stay in the EU--apply for asylum in the first EU country they reach. This means huge numbers of applicants in Greece, Hungary and other countries in southern and eastern Europe. Those ports of entry are relatively poor and offer few government-funded benefits to refugees. Many migrants therefore want to go to Germany and other relatively wealthy countries in northern and western Europe. Some countries in northern and western Europe are welcoming the asylum seekers, most notably Germany, while others are trying to discourage them, such as Denmark. Indeed, Germany's non-enforcement of the Dublin Regulation and its relatively generous benefits to refugees may be contributing to the influx. 

Important economic issues related to the crisis include: Are the migrants refugees or economic migrants? How do the policies of the EU or its member states affect the inflow of migrants? How should the EU and its member states respond?

Here's a great graphic on the current scale of the migration crisis in the EU. The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) has lots of information about the crisis. The EU is discussing whether to adopt quotas to distribute refugees across member states. The Common European Asylum System explains much of the EU rules regarding asylum seekers.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Fiscal Cost of Protecting the Border

As Chapters 10 and 13 discuss, the US has spent literally billions of dollars protecting the US border. On the southern US border, we witnessed several different variations of the ‘fence’, which are pictured below.  Some of them are very tall and nearly impassible (which are located near large urban centers), while others (in more remote areas) represent only a marker of the border and would be extremely easy to cross.  Our ride-along with the US Border Patrol highlighted how the fence is mostly symbolic- that if people (migrants, drug smugglers, human traffickers) really want to get across it, they can.  In fact, we saw a section of the fence that was cut and then patched up by border patrol, indicating just how easy it is to get through much of the fencing.  However, technology is doing most of the work in protecting the US-Mexico border.  The Department of Homeland Security is employing video surveillance, drones, and motion sensors as their primary line of defense, along with 21,000 border patrol agents in 2014 (up from 4,000 in 1992, according to the US Customs and Border Protection website). The cost of this protection is $3.6 billion in recent years.  The technology exists along the border, but also in the interior with border checkpoints sometimes several miles away from the actual border.  A recent book entitled Border Patrol Nation  by Todd Miller discusses recent trends in border militarization.