Things That Matter

A New Study Shows That Children Of Migrants Are Able To Achieve The ‘American Dream’ Within A Generation

One of the foundations of the social and historical construct of the United States of America is the idea that everyone who arrives, regardless of their race, creed or life circumstances, can build a new life. Popular media is inundated with stories of people who looked for a second (or third!) chance and became financially stable and socially respectable through hard work. Many small and large businesses are owned by migrants who made America home and have contributed to the economy. Others are as hard working as it comes! (you probably know a few share of hombres y mujeres trabajadores!). 

But migrants have also been historically demonized, even more so during the Trump administration and its iron fist approach to immigration, which borderlines racism in that it targets mostly people coming from the Global South. But the idea of migrants being a threat is old and feeds hate. However, a new study proves that social mobility is still a key element of the migrant experience. 

Science doesn’t lie! A new study argues that the adult children of migrants move up the social scale.

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A study conducted by Stanford University’s Ran Abramitzky; Princeton University’s Leah Platt Boustan and Elisa Jácome; and the University of California Davis’ Santiago Pérez  reveals that particularly the most economically challenged migrants show upward social mobility down the generations. The children of migrants do better than their parents, so the huge emotional, physical and intellectual efforts of migrants pay off down the road. The researchers gathered census data, publicly available administrative data and federal income tax data. They traced the income of millions of parents and offspring, all the way dating back to 1880. 

The results highlight a revealing fact: children of migrants progress further than the children of people born in the United States.

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It might be surprising for some, but the children of migrants advance further up the social scale than the sons and daughters of people born in the United States. In particular, this trend is present in the lowest socio-economic sectors, which shows that hard work still pays off even if the economic situation in recent times (ever since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008) has been dire to say the least. 

So what is the “American Dream” anyway?

This data contradicts the Trump administration’s populist rhetoric, which asserts that rather than contributing, migrants drain the system. The paper reveals that migrants generate wealth and inject dividends into the financial system. They are living, breathing examples of the American Dream. This term was coined by historian James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book “Epic of America”. French historian Alexis de Tocqueville defined it as “The chance of anticipated success”. The idea, which is in the ethos of the foundation of the United States, has suffered a few hits along the way, but seems to remain relevant according to the data. 

So why do migrants succeed? It goes beyond mere cultural traits.

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Many people assume that having a strong work ethic is the only explanation for migrant success. But it is far more complicated than that. It has to do with location primarily, according to the researchers. Because migrants don’t have deep roots in the host country, they are willing to locate in the hubs where there are more opportunities.

As reported by Vox, Leah Platt Boustan, one of the authors said: “We don’t even have to reach for these cultural explanations. A lot of it has to do with immigrants being willing to move anywhere and choosing locations where there are growing industries and a good set of job opportunities for their kids. Those are choices that immigrants are making that are different from the US-born and that could be a feature of immigrant success.”

The trend continues regardless of the ethnic background, a push against racist notions that some migrants are better than others.

The researchers concluded that this upward mobility is present regardless of the ethnic background of the parents who arrived in the US. There are some pretty misleading notions that, for example, Asian immigration is “better” than Latin Americans or Africans.

This harmful notion has been perpetuated by popular political discourse, with even President Trump saying that some people come from “shithole countries” like El Salvador and African nations, while advocating for more migrants from Norway. But misconception is far from the truth, as Vox reports: “In fact, immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, and African nations such as Nigeria are all performing better than the US-born. And in past waves of immigration, immigrants from Norway actually performed worse than the US-born”. Wow, nothing like some good old social science to counter racist views. 

Behind On Rent, Some Undocumented Residents Are Self-Evicting Rather Than Risking The Legal System

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Behind On Rent, Some Undocumented Residents Are Self-Evicting Rather Than Risking The Legal System

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Eviction is a terrifying prospect. Even more so amid a global pandemic and economic uncertainty. Imagine losing your house – a place you’ve called home with your family for months or even years. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that millions are facing as the Coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the global economy, millions are plunged into unemployment, and millions more struggle to make ends meet – including the most basic necessity of paying the rent.

Several cities and states have enacted temporary rent freezes or holds on evictions but landlords are still threatening their renters with evictions. Some of the most vulnerable communities – such as undocumented residents – are left feeling hopeless and with no where to turn since they may be afraid to seek legal help and have less access to government-funded resources. As a result, many undocumented residents are choosing to self-evict rather than risk going up against a hostile legal system.

A new report details how many undocumented migrants are choosing to self-evict instead of fighting back.

The Texas Tribune published a feature story on a hard-to-track aspect of the coronavirus pandemic: Undocumented immigrants are “self-evicting” from apartments, even while eviction moratoriums are in place, out of fear of retribution. 

“On paper, an undocumented tenant has the same rights as anyone else during the eviction process,” the report says. “But housing attorneys and tenant and immigration advocates say undocumented immigrants are frequently hesitant to exercise those options. Their fear of the legal system and lack of access to government-funded financial help prompt many to self-evict, or prematurely leave the property.”

In some cases, undocumented immigrants don’t qualify for certain government assistance programs that could help them keep up with rent or remain in their homes, the report says. In other cases, some are afraid to seek assistance because they don’t want to attract attention from immigration officials, according to the report.

Because of that, some undocumented immigrants choose to leave their homes even before a formal eviction is filed, turning to family members and community organizations for emergency housing. Immigrants have also lost their jobs at higher rates during the pandemic than other groups.

The legal system is a hostile one towards undocumented residents and help perpetuate fear in the community.

As the Coronavirus pandemic’s economic effects began to be felt across the country, many renters found temporary relief in eviction moratoriums, federal pandemic relief payments, unemployment checks and rental assistance programs. Undocumented migrants, though, either don’t qualify for such aid or are afraid that merely seeking it will alert immigration authorities to their presence in a country whose president has called some immigrants “animals,” makes racist remarks and consistently tries to create barriers for migrants.

Meanwhile, courthouses are intimidating places. And the mere idea that ICE officials are sometimes present in them (and they have indeed arrested undocumented immigrants who have shown up for court hearings that a unrelated to their immigration status) has left many too fearful to even attempt a legal challenge to a potential eviction.

For some, it’s also a language barrier as not all legal systems provide bilingual services.

In the report, Adriana Godines, of Dallas Area Interfaith, says that “When they want to ask for help from a nonprofit, and the staff only speaks English, they feel intimidated and don’t want to go on.” She adds “Even if I tell them that there will be no problem and they won’t ask for your Social Security, they prefer not to [ask for help].”

And even people who go to the justice of the peace courts, where eviction cases are heard, face similar hurdles.

“A lot of JP courts won’t have bilingual speakers,” said Lizbeth Parra-Davila, a housing fellow at the University of Texas School of Law. “Throughout Texas, that has been the case where I’ll call JP courts and they’ll say, ‘Yeah, we don’t have any Spanish speakers. We don’t have any Spanish interpreters.”

However, there are resources out there for undocumented residents facing evictions.

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States from California to Connecticut have implemented varying degrees of aide to undocumented immigrants within their states. In Connecticut for example, the state has issued a $1 million fund aimed at supporting immigrants with rent payments. In California, the state is working to make unemployment benefits available to undocumented residents, which would go a long way in helping people pay their rent. The state has also launched a fund that provides up to $1,000 in financial assistance to undocumented residents in the state. You can learn more here.

NAKASEC’s Emergency Mutual Aid Fund will provide up to $500 in financial assistance, you can find the application here.

There are many other programs available to the community in states all across the country. Several resources are detailed further at InformedImmigrant.com.

California, Harvard, MIT File Lawsuits To Challenge Government’s International Student Visa Announcement

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California, Harvard, MIT File Lawsuits To Challenge Government’s International Student Visa Announcement

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Update: The State of California has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration against the announcement to deport international students. The Golden State filed after Harvard and MIT filed a lawsuit against the same announcement.

A judge has set the hearing date for the lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT for Tuesday.

A federal judge in Boston will start hearing the arguments for an injunction against the recent announcement from the federal government Tuesday. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ordered that all international students will be stripped of student visas if their classes go completely online.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said that he will be filing a lawsuit as well.

Attorney General Becerra argues that the decision is arbitrary and only causes undue harm to the people impacted by the decision. Part of the argument is the disregard of the health of those who would be forced to leave. The U.S. has the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the world and the health risks of making thousands of international students suddenly leave the U.S.

Original: Just as students begin to contemplate what a fall semester might look like amid a global health pandemic, the Trump Administration has thrown another curveball at foreign university students. In a new rule issued by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, foreign students must return to their home country if their school will no longer be offering in-person learning, effectively forcing students to decide between full classrooms or international travel during a health crisis.

Once again, a cruel and poorly thought out, hastily announced rule change has thrown the lives of hundreds of thousands into doubt.

The Trump Administration announced new rules that require foreign students in the U.S. to be part of in-person classes.

Despite the global pandemic that is currently spiraling out of control in the U.S., the Trump Administration has issued new immigration guidelines that require foreign students to be enrolled in in-person learning. With this new rule, foreign students attending colleges that will operate entirely online this fall semester cannot remain in the country to do so.

The new comes just as college students begin to contemplate what their upcoming semester might look like and leaves them with an uncomfortable choice: attend in-person classes during a pandemic or take them online from another country. 

And for students enrolled in schools that have already announced plans to operate fully online, there is no choice. Under the new rules, the State Department will not issue them visas, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not allow them to enter the country. 

“Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status,” read a release from ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program. “If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings

Already, several major universities have announced their intention to offer online learning because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

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The strict new rule comes as higher education institutions are releasing information on their reopening plans. Schools are preparing to offer in-person instruction, online classes or a mix of both.

Eight percent of colleges are planning to operate online, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which is tracking the reopening plans of more than 1,000 U.S. colleges. Sixty percent are planning for in-person instruction, and 23% are proposing a hybrid model, with a combined 8.5% undecided or considering a range of scenarios. 

Harvard University is one of the latest institutions to unveil its plans, announcing on Monday that all undergraduate and graduate course instruction for the academic year will be held online. Joining Harvard’s stance are other prestigious universities, including Princeton and the University of Southern California.

The U.S. has more than 1 million international students from around the world.

The U.S. is the number one destination for foreign students around the globe. More than a million foreign students are enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities, although that number has dipped slightly in recent years – largely attributed to the election of Donald Trump.

Mexico sends more than 15,000 students to the U.S. and Brazil is responsible for 16,000 foreign students in the country. By contrast, China and India send a combined almost 600,000 students to study in the U.S.

The new rule is expected to cost U.S. colleges and universities more than $4 billion.

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Putting aside the very real health implications of forcing students to decide between attending in-person classes or traveling back to their home country amid a global pandemic, the U.S. economy is also going to take a hit.

International students in the U.S. contributed nearly $41 billion to the national economy in the 2018-2019 academic year. According to the Institute of International Education, the vast majority of funding for international students comes from overseas, rather than being funded by their host institutions, meaning that international students are big business for American universities. While students will still be required pay tuition fees, it’s possible that a hostile policy towards people seeking to study in the US could discourage prospective students.

If fewer international students are able to study in this country, it could spell trouble for the colleges that bank on them. Over the last decade, deep cuts in state funding for higher education have put pressure on schools to admit more students who need less aid, which is why so many schools have come to rely on the revenue from foreign students, who typically pay top dollar. 

“Those students are also, by and large, paying full tuition to study in this country,” Lakhani said. “That’s a really valuable tuition base.”