Friday, October 26, 2012

Study: Undocumented Immigration From Mexico on the Rise

A finding that more Mexicans are crossing the border for low-skilled jobs is a sign of economic recovery, a study says.

A slight bump in the flow of undocumented Mexican immigrants during the first half of 2012 appears to signal a rebound of some U.S. sectors that realy on low-skilled workers, according to a two-nation study.

The population of illegal immigrants has reached prerecession levels (11.7 million). That figure led the study’s authors to argue that laws such Arizona’s SB1070 that aim to expel undocumented immigrants by making it impossible for them to live and work in the U.S. had little impact.

In a way, the study reveals a simple fact: People will move where there is work. The latest federal jobs report shows that of the 114,000 jobs added in September, most were in health, transportation, and warehousing, sectors that employ minorities, including low-skilled legal and unauthorized immigrants.

Even a small increase in the need for Mexican labor “would prompt a positive response in the migration flows despite intensified enforcement efforts by the federal government, several states, and some local governments,” according to the study.

Despite three years of unemployment levels at 8 percent or higher, “the size of the Mexican migrant population has not shrunken.” Similarly, record levels of federal deportations and state immigration laws have not curbed undocumented immigration, the study found.

The data are in direct contrast to an April Pew Hispanic Center study that revealed that net migration from Mexico to the U.S. had fallen to zero or had even reversed.

“Mexican Migration Monitor” is a joint publication of the University of Southern California’s Tom├ís Rivera Policy Institute in Los Angeles and El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana, Mexico. The study analyzed data from various sources, including unpublished data from the Border Survey of Mexican Migrants.

Key highlights of the report:

*    While the construction industry has continued to shed jobs through 2012, opportunities have been increasing in the leisure and hospitality arenas.

*    Mexican migrants still come to the U.S. primarily to work as low-skilled laborers.

*    Immigrants deported from the interior of the country, such as those caught during workplace immigration raids, are likely to be have resided in the U.S. longer, often are heads of households, and are age 35 or older. People apprehended closer to the border often are younger and have been in the U.S. for a shorter length of time.


State Cracking Down on Businesses to Verify Workers' Immigration Status

Any business -- with the exception of a few industries -- hiring a new employee must verify that person's immigration status or face potential punishment.

It's called the E-verify program, and it's one part of South Carolina's immigration reform law that was amended last year.

The state's department of labor, licensing and regulation says in the past ten months it's checked more than 3,000 businesses for compliance. In most cases, LLR says, businesses are complying.

"We've got a 92 percent compliance rate," according to Jim Knight, the administrator of the LLR's Immigrant Worker Compliance program.

But there are a handful of businesses that aren't using the electronic verification program -- likely because they're unaware of the law.

At least 16 businesses, ranging from welders to pizza shops, have been put on probation after LLR discovered the companies weren't using E-verify.

But all of them, Knight said, quickly came into compliance and now understand the law. None of the employees who weren't checked through E-verify were illegal immigrants, Knight said.

To see a list of non-compliant businesses, click here.

The verification program was one part of the state's law which was passed to make sure available jobs are going to legal US citizens, Knight said.

The director says the law is having a positive impact on ensuring illegals aren't given jobs, and he said it's sendind a message to the illegals that they won't be able to find work in this state.

A business found to be non-compliant is issued a warning and put on probation for a year where they have to send quarterly reports to LLR.

Any business which violates the law a second time within three years could have its right to conduct business suspended by the LLR.

The E-verify program was suspended in 2010 after a US Supreme Court ruling brought into question the law's constitutionality. The court made it clear state's couldn't monetarily fine businesses which violated the requirement. State lawmakers quickly amended the law in 2011 by dropping the monetary fines.


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