Center for German and European Studies
International and Area Studies
University of California
Comparative Immigration and Integration Program
October 7, 1994
held at the Center for US-Mexican Studies
University of California at San Diego
9:00 AM Review of CIIP purposes and goals, Professor Philip Martin, Agricultural Economics,UCD and Dean Richard Buxbaum, International and Area Studies, UCB
9:15AM Introductions and 2 minute presentations on each participant's currentcomparative immigration and integration research projects.
10:00 AM Roger Waldinger, UCLA, Black/Immigrant Labor Market Competition in Los Angeles.
Discussant: Ed Taylor, UCD
10:45 AM Break
11:00 AM Jeanette Money, UCD, Comparative Perspectives on the Making of Immigration Policy.
Discussant: Manuel Griego y Garcia, UCI
11:30 AM Rafael Alarcon, UCB, Immigrants or Transnational Workers? The Settlement Process Among Mexicans in Rural California.
Discussant: Philip Martin, UCD
1:00 PM David Howell, Research Director, Commission on Immigration Reform, Washington DC, The CIR's Recommendations and Research Agenda
1:30 PM Panel Reaction: Richard Buxbaum, UCB, Wayne Cornelius, UCSD, Philip Martin,UCD, Moderator
2:00PM General Discussion
3:00 PM Adjourn
October 10, 1994
To: CGES Comparative Immigration and Integration Program(CIIP) Colleagues
From: Philip Martin
re: October 7, 1994 Fall Workshop at UCSD
The Fall Workshop brought 30 UC faculty and graduate students interested in Comparative Immigration and Integration issues to the Center for US-Mexican Studies at UCSD to discuss 3 papers and to hear a presentation on the Commission on Immigration Reform's recommendations and research agenda.
The CIIP is funded by the CGES with funds from a 10-year grant from the German government to promote German and European studies; CIIP affiliates were reminded to volunteer to present their papers at the program's Spring and Fall Workshops and to submit papers to Martin at UCD or Patricia LaHay at CGES, 254 Moses, UCB. After review by the CIIP Executive Committee, they will be issued as CIIP Working Papers.
Ed Taylor (UCD) discussed a paper by Roger Waldinger (UCLA) that asked why low-wage employers, once they begin to hire immigrant workers, permit and encourage immigrants to "take over" particular workplaces. Taylor emphasized the advantages of immigrant networks to employers: current workers know exactly what the job requires, current workers have an incentive to recruit only good workers; current workers transfer existing friendships, etc into the workplace, and networks are a cheap and efficient way to obtain new workers.
Waldinger analyzed trends in US employment, noting that many new jobs either require higher or lower skills. As the economy evolves, the job distribution develops an hourglass shape, with immigrants at both extremes. Waldinger focused on jobs filled by immigrants at the bottom of this distribution.
Using employer survey data, he described how employers ask current workers to bring friends and relatives to fill job vacancies. When the current workforce includes immigrants who can draw from a seemingly endless pool of friends and relatives here and abroad, then network hiring tends to exclude e.g., native-born Blacks and Whites, because they do not learn about job vacancies.
Why don't employers who are hiring a number of new workers try to initiate a network of Black or white workers? Many LA employers believe that immigrants work harder, complain less, and in general have the "right attitude" toward managers while "getting along" with co-workers. Interestingly, the "right attitude" was considered more important for many jobs than education or English.
Waldinger concludes that his study does not make a definitive case for the hypothesis that immigrants adversely affect Blacks, but it pushes him toward that conclusion. His survey supports the hypothesis that most of the displacement due to immigration is indirect rather than direct, a result of cumulative causation in the labor market. Non-immigrants do not learn about many job openings at the bottom of the labor market because the immigrant network assures that job vacancies are filled by immigrant friends and relatives, including those still abroad. Many do not want to learn about these jobs, since many want more than employers are willing to pay.
Such indirect displacement is a sharp distinction from the 1970s view of, among others, Labor Secretary Ray Marshall, that employers have separate queues of immigrant and Black workers. In that theory, employers select from the immigrant line, it is argued, because they believe that the immigrants will work "hard and scared."
The logical next step is to professionalize networks, as occurs when labor contractors make it their full time job to recruit a particular type of worker. This has long been the case in the farm labor market, and is increasingly the case in the nonfarm labor market for "temps" of all types. One comparative question is the extent to which the labor market deregulation being urged on the Europeans by the OECD will, in a time of high migration, also promote network recruiting and labor contracting in a manner that takes some jobs out of the public employment system. In Germany, e.g., the public ES normally makes 30 to 40 percent of annual job placements, versus 3 to 4 percent in the US.
The discussion emphasized that immigrants are diverse, and not all are unskilled and entering the US job market on the bottom rungs. Some questioned the native-born--immigrant distinction. As to whether unskilled immigrants are "necessary" for the CA economy, it was noted that many non-tradeable jobs are becoming tradable, and that, in agriculture, there is often a distinction between a short-run need or inelastic demand for unskilled workers, and a much more flexible or elastic long-run demand for labor.
Jeanette Money (UCD) linked immigration policy changes with economic variables over the 1955-85 period in the US, UK, Sweden, France and Germany. It is clear that total foreigner inflows varied from year-to-year and across countries, but the data do not permit precise counts of nor distinctions between immigrants, probationary immigrants(European guestworkers), non immigrants, and illegal aliens. For this reason, the US is pictured as having a generally lower immigration rate--the annual inflow as a percent of the population was about 2/10 of one percent in 1970, when there were about 375,000 immigrants and the pop was 200 million--while in Germany the rate was almost 10 times higher. The US immigrants could stay indefinitely, but most of the German entrants were guestworkers admitted with one year renewable work and residence permits.
Money regressed these annual immigration flows against country-specific economic indicators such as interest rates, manufacturing employment, and unemployment rates, but found none of them statistically significant. After separating out the US as a traditional country of immigration, she concluded that "nonimmigrant" European nations had higher immigration rates that immigrant US.
The paper next turns to the hypothesis that it is local reactions to immigration policy that explain changes in it. Immigrants are geographically concentrated. In thumbnail sketches of immigration policy changes in UK, F, and the US, she concludes that immigration tends to be restricted when a concentrated immigrant population is combined with high local unemployment rates. Local opposition to immigration in tough economic times generates pressure for immigration restrictions, which is most likely to lead to immigration policy changes if electoral margins are small and political competition.
Manuel Garcia y Griego (UCI) noted that it is hard to evaluate the relationship between immigration policy changes and immigration flows because of the "gap" between immigration goals and outcomes. Regression analysis implicitly assumes that there is no such gap, and that there are no or uniform lags in implementing immigration policy changes. It was also note d that, in the US, many of the most restrictionist legislators are from districts with few immigrants, while admissionist politicians often represent districts with many immigrants.
Rafael Alarcon (UCB) reported on a study tracing Mexicans who had moved from Central Mexico to several areas of CA, including Madera. These workers originally came as solo men, but more and more are settling with their families in CA. Philip Martin (UCD) noted that leakage into permanence is an inevitable side effect of temporary worker programs because of the growing mutual dependence of employers and immigrant workers, and the complex cumulative causation processes this dependence sets in motion. However, settlement rates for Mexican immigrant workers in CA seem to have been lower than were settlement rates for guestworkers in non- immigrant Europe.
The Alarcon paper also raised other issues. Was the upward mobility experienced by these workers, from seasonal to more permanent worker, atypical or likely to be repeated in the 1990s and after 2000? Most European guestworkers started higher on the job ladder than do the typical immigrants from rural Mexico--how do their mobility patterns differ? Finally, why are naturalization rates for these settled immigrants so low--Alarcon suggests that the immigrants see few advantages to US citizenship, and that some think that becoming a US citizen is being disloyal to Mexico.
During the afternoon session of the workshop, CIR senior policy analyst David Howell reviewed 2 major recommendations of the CIR issued September 30, 1994, those dealing with enforcement and benefits. The CIR's report is based on the theory that the US must above all restore credibility of immigration policy by making immigration easier for legal immigrations, making it harder to illegal aliens to enter, and locating and removing persons not authorized to be here.
CIR recommendations include support for Operation Hold the Line in El Paso and Operation Gatekeeper, efforts to put additional Border Patrol agents near the border to deter illegal entries and expedite legal entries. The most visible recommendation is to test in 5 states a registry that would combine SS and INS data. Under the proposal, an employer would request the SSN of each new hire after the person begins to work, check it, along with a personal identifier such as mother's maiden name, and then record the verification number to prove that the employer complied with IRCA's employer sanctions provisions. If there is no match, then the employee would continue to work while the apparent error is investigated. The CIR recommended that more efforts be made to educate employers to avoid discrimination, and more funds be made available for labor law enforcement.
The CIR asserted that illegal aliens should not get any more benefits than they are currently eligible for, primarily public education and emergency health care. The CIR also recommended that legal immigrants not be denied access to welfare for 3 to 5 years, as occurs under some programs today, but that sponsors who agree to support the family members they ask the US government to admit should be required to honor these commitments. Further, access to social services should be decided when new immigration categories are created. The CIR agrees that the states which have the most immigrants should obtain federal aid, but only for their actual additional expenditures due to illegal immigration.
The CIR also urged that illegal aliens convicted of crimes should be deported ASAP, and that the immigration data base be improved. The CIR is urging that an independent critique be conducted of existing benefits and costs of immigration, and is the lead agency to explore ways to cooperate with Mexico to reduce emigration push pressures.
CIIP participants expressed reservations about the registry and the denial of benefits noting, for example, that denying benefits may not reduce the incentive to come to the US illegally because relatively few illegal aliens say that they come here for such benefits. The CIR was urged to rethink the treat all countries equally in an effort to give Mexico a larger quota.
Gustavo de la Vina and Ann Summers (INS) provided several CIIP participants with an explanation of Operation Gatekeeper. Unlike EL Paso, where 70 percent of the illegal entrants were destined for the El Paso area, over 95 percent of those apprehended south of San Diego are headed for destinations outside the area, usually to Los Angeles, 120 miles north. This means the reaction to saturating the border with agents is likely to be different--in El Paso, reducing illegal entries and expediting legal entries was supported by 90 percent of EL Paso. In San Diego, most aliens pay smugglers $300 for the trip to Los Angeles, and many have a mindset that they must attempt illegal entry repeatedly until they succeed.
The goal of Operation Gatekeeper is to make it impossible for aliens to avoid capture along a 14 mile stretch of border. There is a fence, high intensity lights, and 3 lines of agents, all designed to get the message out that if you attempt illegal entry, you will be apprehended. All those apprehended are fingerprinted electronically, and between October 1 and 6, about 6 percent of the 6000 aliens apprehended were recidivists caught for the second or third time. Alien smugglers have been able to evade some past control efforts--using cellular phones to know when the Border Patrol checkpoints on Highways 5 and 15 are down, for example, to smuggle aliens through, and using juvenile drivers and nearly worthless vehicles to cope with smuggling penalties and vehicle seizure.
The Spring workshop of the CIIP will be held on a Friday in April at UCB. We will select a date and notify you of the meeting, as well as the 1995 CIIP RFP, at the beginning of the January or February Migration News. Please volunteer to present a paper at the Spring workshop, and send in your working papers.