Presentation on theme: "1 Who Counts? Measurement and Policy Issues in Demographic Research on Immigration Margo Anderson Bixby Visiting Scholar Population Reference Bureau __________________________________________________."— Presentation transcript:
1 Who Counts? Measurement and Policy Issues in Demographic Research on Immigration Margo Anderson Bixby Visiting Scholar Population Reference Bureau __________________________________________________ University of WisconsinMilwaukee
2 Who Counts? …Meaning... The agencies and instrumentalities that count and analyze population patterns. That is, who actually does the counting and how. Who matters? –who is it that it is important to count? –who has the power to do the counting?
3 Issues and Questions Why does a particular state collect the kind of information it does? What is the interaction between immigration policy and the official statistical system that measures immigration and assimilation? How does immigration research" affect both immigration policy and immigration measurement.
4 Some Examples The "undocumented immigrant" is a category of immigrant created by the changes in immigration law in the 1960s. The concept of a "refugee" immigrant is an artifact of the aftermath of World War II. The shutoff of immigration after 1924 made the assimilation world of that second generation different from that of previous generations.
5 Looking Briefly at a Particular Case Examining the history of the policy development on immigration statistics illuminates larger issues of –Immigration policy –Immigrant experience The Failed Effort to Create Statistics on the Race and Ethnic Characteristics of Immigrants and the United States McCarran Walter Act (1952)
6 Standards Data collected should accurately represent the situation of the migrant. Data collected should facilitate the settlement of the migrant. Data collected should not jeopardize the legal situation of the migrant.
7 Standards, continued Data collected should facilitate the comparative analysis of the situation of the migrant in relation to other migrants, and to resident populations of the state of origin and the state of destination, and world population generally.
8 The Example of the McCarran Walter Act, 1952 Was the most comprehensive revision of American immigration and naturalization law since 1924 Integrated immigration and naturalization rules and procedures into one statute Continued the racialist logic of the 1924 national origins system of immigration quotas
9 The Example of the McCarran Walter Act, continued Abolished the race bars to naturalization whose origin went back to 1798 language reserving naturalization to whites. Exempted Western hemisphere immigration from the quotas. Limited immigration from the Asia-Pacific Triangle to a total of 2000 a year.
10 Collecting Data on Race and Ethnicity Section 222a of the Act required the alien state his race and ethnic classification on a visa application form. Congress did not define race or ethnic group. The 150 page Dictionary of Races or Peoples (1911) was the authority for the definitions used in the State Department and INS in 1952.
11 Defining a Classification The Office of Statistical Standards, Bureau of the Budget, Executive Office of the President, was responsible for approving the classification, new visa forms, and instructions. The Federal Reports Act (1942) gave the Office forms clearance responsibilities for standardized classifications and consistent data gathering procedures.
12 The Process Interagency committee created: –State Department –Census Bureau –Immigration and Naturalization Service –Office of Statistical Standards, BOB
13 The First Efforts The Racial Classification will be simple, broad, strictly anthropological classification, such as: White Negro Other…….
14 The First Efforts, continued Therefore, the Ethnic Classification, with accent on cultural and social criteria, will necessarily have to be more detailed in order to provide the statistical information desired for administrative and research purposes....The ethnic classification should, wherever possible, be based on common ties of language, religion, culture, ancestry and historical continuity and not necessarily on nationality or citizenship.
15 The Debate in the Committee Who gets on the list? Who should not be included? Congressman Emmanuel Celler objected to listing Jews as an ethnic group What was the relative authority of sociologists and anthropologists in defining the classification? Would the classification be public, that is, a list to be used by visa seekers?
16 Outcome The Committee created half a dozen classifications but could not come to agreement. The statistical series was not created.
17 Lessons The decision makers had differing agendas and authority: –Congress –Office of Statistical Standards –Immigration and Naturalization Service –State Department The racist legacy of past practice affected the process: Dictionary of Races or Peoples One category that might be harmed by the data may undermine the classification.
18 Lessons The committee attempted to translate the German language category of Volksdeutsche to American immigration law and statistical practice. Their translation was a category, Germanic ethnic origin which did not convey the proper meaning. Can categories of one national state be transferred to another?