Presentation on theme: "Robert A. Yarbrough, PhD Assistant Professor of Geography Georgia Southern University International Learning Community Lecture Columbus State University."— Presentation transcript:
Robert A. Yarbrough, PhD Assistant Professor of Geography Georgia Southern University International Learning Community Lecture Columbus State University November 18, 2010
Lecture Outline Historical Trends Current National Patterns Georgia Undocumented Immigration Immigration Myths and Facts What’s on the Horizon?
% N. Europe Ireland, England, Norway % % W. Europe Germany % S. and E. Europe Italy, Greece
Immigration in Historical Context
% % (GA—2.7%) % (GA—7.2%) Mexico, China, Philippines % (GA—9.4%*) Mexico (30%), China, Philippines, India *20 th out of 50 states
“Traditional Gateways”: CA, NY, TX, FL “Emerging/New Gateways”: The U.S. South: Particularly VA, NC, and GA Emerging Gateways: still have a much lower percentage of immigrants, but growing faster than traditional gateways—exponential growth since 1990 Suburban settlement
Legal Immigration Current U.S. Immigration System dates back to 1965 Family Reunification Preference System for those without immediate family in U.S.; hierarchy based on employment/profession and on extended family criteria
Metro Atlanta counties tend to have higher immigrant compositions than other parts of the state Some non-Atlanta counties in north and south GA also have relatively high immigrant compositions
Atlanta has a more diverse immigrant population than the rest of the state Large portions of the foreign-born population in north and south Georgia are of Latin American descent
What brings immigrants to these counties in Atlanta and north Georgia?
Undocumented (Illegal) Immigration The vast majority of immigrants in the U.S. are here legally 72% of immigrants are legal 28% are illegal Of the 310 million residents of the U.S., 11.1 million are undocumented immigrants (Undocumented immigrants account for only 3.7% of the total population) Not all undocumented immigrants enter without permission- More than 40% of enter legally, yet overstay their visas (Overstayers) Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn. “U.S. Unauthorized Immigration Flows Are Down Sharply Since Mid-Decade,” Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center (September 1, 2010).
Undocumented (Illegal) Immigration Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn. “U.S. Unauthorized Immigration Flows Are Down Sharply Since Mid-Decade,” Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center (September 1, 2010). Undocumented Immigration has Decreased since 2007 (from 12.5 mil. to 11.1 mil.) There are multiple types of Legal Status E.g. Student visa, work visas, legal permanent resident (green card), naturalized citizen
Undocumented (Illegal) Immigration Some states have higher undocumented percentages than others California, Nevada, Texas, Arizona, New Jersey Georgia has the highest percentage in the U.S. South (4.3% of the state’s population are undocumented immigrants)
GA Security and Immigration Compliance Act (2006) Requires that any illegal immigrant arrested and jailed for a felony or DUI offense be reported to federal immigration authorities. (Effective July 1, 2007) Requires all state and local government agencies to verify the legal status of any adult applying for taxpayer- provided benefits. (Effective July 1, 2007) How this law is enforced across the state is key
Immigrants don’t pay taxes. All immigrants pay taxes whether income, property, or sales. Studies find that immigrants pay between $90-$140 billion a year in federal, state, and local taxes. Each year undocumented workers pay an estimated $6-7 billion in Social Security taxes and about $1.5 billion in Medicaid taxes that they will never be able to claim. (Social Security Administration, Cato Institute, National Academy of Sciences, Urban Institute)
Immigrants use services but don’t pay for them. Since 1996, even legal immigrants are severely restricted from accessing public benefits. Undocumented people are ineligible for social welfare programs despite the fact that they are paying taxes (exception: education for their school age children and emergency health services). (American Immigration Lawyers Association, Urban Institute, Migration Policy Institute)
Undocumented immigrants are all single men Nearly 40 percent of undocumented adults are women, and the majority (54 percent) of undocumented men live in married couples or other families. Fewer than half of undocumented men are single and unattached. (Passel 2005; Passel and D’vera Cohn 2010)
What’s on the Horizon? Georgia Lawmakers preparing to write legislation modeled after Arizona’s recent immigration law (SB 1070) Arizona’s law requires police to check the legal status of anyone they detain The Arizona law has yet to be implemented, as challenges by the federal government are being heard in the federal judicial system Several immigrant and business groups have urged GA state lawmakers to refrain from passing a similar law in GA
What’s on the Horizon? Federal Immigration Reform Will Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the issue of the 11 million undocumented residents currently in the U.S.? Simplify and streamline legal processes? More Border security/enforcement? Improve tracking of those on legal visas? Pathway to Citizenship? Guest Worker Program? Other options/solutions?
Reliable Immigration Information/Data Sources Migrationinformation.org Pew Hispanic Center The Urban Institute U.S. Census Bureau Department of Homeland Security