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Published on September 28, 2007

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Rethinking Latin American Immigration to the United States :  Rethinking Latin American Immigration to the United States MARCELO M. SUÁREZ-OROZCO, Ph.D. The Courtney Sale Ross University Professor Co-Director, Immigration Studies @ NYU www.nyu.education/immigration ISA symposium - London, March 14, 2007 Slide2:  Immigration is now a global phenomenon and the Americas are again at the forefront of a new set of world-wide dynamics. But for the first time in human history all regions of the world are involved in large scale migration -- either as sending, transit, or receiving regions. Latin America is now in the midst of the largest exodus in history with over a million people leaving each year and, alas, the United States on average is now receiving one million migrants every year The largest migratory wave in history is structured by powerful global forces. Transnational labor recruiting networks, wage differentials, and family reunification (“Love and Work”), and War, are behind new migratory practices that cannot be easily contained by the apparatus of the state Slide3:  Global Migrations 185-200 Million Immigrants & Refugees Worldwide Leicester, England, will be the first European City with non-white majority before the end of the decade. Frankfurt today is about 30% immigrant; Rotterdam is 45% immigrant. Amsterdam will by yr. 2015 be 50% immigrant. Sweden has 1 million immigrants. China alone has well over 150 million internal immigrants Since 1990 about a million new immigrants per annum have come to the US – There are now over 36 million immigrants, the largest number in history (larger than the entire Canadian population) but proportionally less than the previous eras of large scale migration. Approximately 70 million people in the US now are immigrants or second generation. The second generation is now the fastest growing sector of the immigrant origin population World Migration:  World Migration Projections Comparative Migration, 2005 Source: EuroStat:  Comparative Migration, 2005 Source: EuroStat Slide7:  Immigrants Admitted to the United States 1821-1996 Adapted from INS, 2000 Slide10:  New Americans by choice 1900-2005 Foreign Born Population :  Foreign Born Population It grew by 57 % between 1990 and 2000 A about one million new immigrants arrived each year in the US since 2000 for a total of approximately 36 million Over 19 million are now from Latin America Over 9.5 million are now from Asia By 2000, 9 of the top 10 leading countries were Latin American, Caribbean, or Asian Approximately one third of the foreign born population now is Mexican & 53% is of Latino origin Slide12:  Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2003 Percent Distribution of Foreign Born by World Region of Birth: 2003 Source: Current Population Survey Latin America 53.3% Asia 25.0% Europe 13.7% Other Regions 8.0% Slide13:  Immigrants Admitted from Top Countries of Birth: 1990-2000 Latinos: Old Americans, New Americans, Double Americans :  Latinos: Old Americans, New Americans, Double Americans Any systematic attempt to examine worldwide immigration dynamics has to look at the US experience – and Hispanics are at the center of that experience Any systematic attempt to examine the Hispanic population of the US has to have immigration at the center. In 2005, approximately 40 percent of all Latinos were foreign-born but Spanish was spoken in what is now the USA before John Harvard Founded the College Any systematic attempt to examine the US, has to focus on Latinos (S. Huntington) ; any systematic attempt to focus on Latin America has to focus on US Latinos (J. Coatsworth) Slide15:  Latinos are now the largest ethnic group in the US There are approximately 50 million Latinos (counting PR) in the US – more than there are people in Spain, Colombia, Argentina and any other Spanish speaking country – except for Mexico One in six babies born today have a Latina mother: 300th M. American was born on Oct. 17, 2006 at 7:46AM in LA -- his name? Jose, child of Mexican immigrants -- see next three data slides By 2050 the US will have over 100 Million Latinos The Latino GDP at 700 billion dollars is now larger than the GDP of Spain and Mexico. By 2010 it will reach a trillion dollars Age-Sex Pyramid for Non-Hispanic Whites in the United States, 2006 Current Population Survey:  Age-Sex Pyramid for Non-Hispanic Whites in the United States, 2006 Current Population Survey Age-Sex Pyramid for Foreign-Born Hispanics in the United States, 2006 Current Population Survey:  Age-Sex Pyramid for Foreign-Born Hispanics in the United States, 2006 Current Population Survey Age-Sex Pyramid for Native-Born Hispanics in the United States, 2006 Current Population Survey:  Age-Sex Pyramid for Native-Born Hispanics in the United States, 2006 Current Population Survey Socio-Economic Diversity:  Socio-Economic Diversity Economic Backgrounds Some are amongst the most educated and affluent Others have limited education and are the ‘working poor’ Linguistic backgrounds Over 190 countries in New York Public Schools Over 90 languages in Los Angeles Public Schools Five Top Languages: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog Ethnicity, Race, & Color Nearly 80 % are of color Economic Factors, Domestic Considerations :  Economic Factors, Domestic Considerations Competition between native workers and LA immigrants at the lower sectors of the opportunity structure -- are US high school drop outs, especially African-Americans and Latinos, hurt by large scale low-skilled immigration? The Borjas/Katz Study -- up to 8 % decline in wages. Others, Card, inter alia, contest that finding See Suarez-Orozco, Suarez-Orozco, and Qin-Hilliard, Eds. The New Immigrant and the American Economy Vol. II of Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the New Immigration. New York and London: Routledge2001 Fiscal Implications of Large Scale Immigration: Do LA immigrants consume more in services than they contribute? Tensions between States and Localities and the Federal Government Are LA immigrant workers progressing over time or is there a “declining quality” problem where “the US is importing LA poverty”? Economic Factors, Domestic & Global Considerations :  Economic Factors, Domestic & Global Considerations Are LA immigrant workers redundant in advanced post-industrial economies? We they need tomatoes in CA? Freedom of native workers to pursue their fortunes and interests in other domains of the economy where they get better returns for their labor -- Complementarity Hypothesis Human capital injected in to the US Economy -- $50 billion annual -- Drs., Computer Scientists, Nurses Brain Drain/Brain Circulation Economic Factors, Global Considerations :  Economic Factors, Global Considerations Remittances and the Post-Nationalization of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services “Remittances to developing countries have been rising steadily over time. Currently, they are almost comparable to FDI, and exceed both non-FDI private capital inflows and official aid in magnitude.” IMF, 2006 “In absolute terms, the five single largest recipients of remittances during 1990–2003 were India, Mexico, the Philippines, Egypt, and Turkey.” IMF, 2006. For Lesotho, Vanuatu, Jordan, and Bosnia and Herzegovina remittances represent nearly 25 percent of their GDP. The main sources of recorded remittances are the United States, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Germany, and France IMF, 2006 As they transform countries of immigration, immigrants emerge as powerful players in the lands they leave behind :  As they transform countries of immigration, immigrants emerge as powerful players in the lands they leave behind One million, one billion law: well over a billion a month to Mexico; India 10bn, Philippines 6.5 bn, Morocco, 3.3 bn, Egypt 2.9 bn, largest source of foreign exchange from DR (2bn), EL, Algeria, even Cuba. Back and Forth – Piore’s Birds of Passage; Since 2000, the number of returnees (to China) has increased by 13 percent per year. Whatever Happened to the Brain Drain? Berkeley’s Saxenian find: 82 percent of all Silicon Valley immigrants regularly exchange technology and information with colleagues back home and 18 percent of then invested in start-ups at home. The Chinese diaspora accounts for 60 percent of the total foreign investment. Peggy Levitt’s ‘Social Remittances’ Slide24:  STRUCTURAL FEATURES OF THE INTER-AMERICAN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM By 2000, NEARLY 80% of All Immigrants to the USA Originated in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia. THREE DOMINANT FEATURES: Uninterrupted ‘flows’ of large scale Mexican immigration--rapidly intensifying after 1980-- structured by powerful economic forces and socio-cultural practices unaffected by unilateral policy initiatives. By 2000 there were more legal immigrants from Mexico alone than from all of Europe combined. By 2005 approximately 10 million Mexican immigrants were living in the USA--constituting almost a third of the total foreign-born population of the country. More than one quarter of all Mexican immigrants arrived in the last five years. Mexican immigrants constitute about 40 percent of the Mexican-origin population of the US. About 40 percent of all undocumented immigrants in the USA today are Mexicans. Time-limited ‘waves’ of large scale immigration from Asia, Central and South America--by the 1980’s Central American replaces Cuba as the largest source of asylum seekers from the Spanish-speaking world. During the early 1980s well over a million Central Americans settled in the USA. Today one in every six Salvadoreans lives in the USA. (10 years = 1 mill. law). Large numbers of Colombians have been displaced by the war – well over 500,000 now make the US their home. Caribbean pattern of intense circular migration--driven by transnational circuits--typified by the Dominican (and Puerto Rican) experience in New York where they are now the largest immigrant group. In conclusion :  In conclusion  Structural demand for LA immigrant workers remains; indeed seems to be recession proof – in the US even after 9/11  The recent immigration momentum, the 4th largest wave over the last century, seems structured by economic forces, social practices, & cultural models that are not easily contained by unilateral policy and legal initiatives  While transforming Latin America, immigrants are deeply rooting in and changing the US. While they make huge progress (1 million, 1 billion $ law) -- there are serious concerns in regards to schooling, the transition to the labor market, and long term patterns of adaptation in all advanced post-industrial democracies. While each family is unhappy in its own way, in the US the elephant in the room is undocumented immigration -- a largely legal issue, while in Europe the elephant in the room is the limits of tolerance involving more complicated cultural issues In conclusion :  In conclusion 1) In the context of a 12 Trillion US Economy, the preponderance of evidence indicates that immigrants generate “net economic gains on the order of $1 billion to $10 billion a year” (National Research Council, 1997) 2) Values and world-view should have a more prominent role in the current debate about immigration 3) Even if immigration were massively cut back, however doubtful that is, the immigrant-origin population of the US, and especially Hispanics will again redefine who is an American via the growth of the US second generation Additional Data Slides :  Additional Data Slides Slide29:  All Countries are Countries of Immigration, Countries of Emigration and Transit Countries

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