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Our economy is very dependent on foreign labor. Indeed, most of our workforce growth since 1990 has come from immigration, a trend that is expected to continue for at least the next 20 years.?How these workers are employed, therefore, will have important implications for American economic health, as well as for national unity and social stability.

America’s employment-based immigration system is broken. The programs for admitting foreign workers for temporary and permanent jobs are rigid, cumbersome, and inefficient; do too little to protect the wages and working conditions of workers (foreign or domestic); do not respond very well to employers’ needs; and give almost no attention to adapting the number and characteristics of foreign workers to domestic labor shortages.?The United States could benefit enormously from an immigration system that is more responsive to broader economic conditions.

 

Publications

Funding a Complete Count in 2020: What Community Groups Need

The Fiscal Policy Institute details the resources community-based groups will require to maximize participation in the 2020 Census among “hard to count” residents across New York State. FPI proposes that the governor and legislature include $40 million in next year’s state budget for community-based organizations to do outreach around the 2020 Census. FPI notes that this should be in addition to whatever funds the state commits to its own outreach and media campaigns and funding to local governments. The study was first unveiled at a press conference Monday with the New York Counts 2020 Coalition.

The report notes that community-based organizations must play a big role in maximizing the participation of New Yorkers in the 2020 Census. This is the first year in which the Census Bureau asks residents to fill out Census forms online, raising issues about broadband access as well as comfort level with computers. There may be a controversial question added about the citizenship status of immigrants. And, a number of people are feeling hesitant about giving private information to the federal government.

 

“Only Wealthy Immigrants Need Apply” How a Trump Rule’s Chilling Effect Will Harm the U.S.

the Trump Administration published its proposed reinterpretation of a previously arcane rule, known as “public charge.” The new interpretation would radically restrict access to green cards and various types of visas for immigrants who do not have a high enough income, or who have used public health, food, or housing supports they are otherwise qualified to receive. Without input from Congress, the Trump Rule would fundamentally change this country’s approach to immigration, making income and use of public supports central considerations in whether or not to offer people an opportunity to make their lives in this country.

The direct effect would fall on people applying for a green card or certain visas, but the chilling effect would be vastly greater. Many families would very predictably be frightened and confused by the rule. FPI estimates that the chilling effect would extend to 24 million people in the United States, including 9 million children under 18 years old.

Refugees as Employees: Good Retention, Strong Recruitment

Employers that hire refugees see positive outcomes for their businesses, according to a report released today by the Fiscal Policy Institute and the Tent Partnership for Refugees. The study, based on over 100 interviews in four regions of the country, finds that when employers hire refugees they see lower turnover rates among refugees, and widen their pool of potential employees. In addition, many see overall improvements in the company, with their managers becoming more versatile as they adjust to working with a more diverse workforce.

These findings of positive outcomes in the workplace seem at odds with recent restrictions on the number of refugees admitted to the country. Despite record numbers of refugees around the world, the Trump Administration is currently on target to let in the lowest number of refugees resettled in recent decades.

New York State Economic and Fiscal Outlook FY 2019

  • February 15, 2018
  • Fiscal Policy Institute
  • Ron Deutsch, David Dyssegaard Kallick, Jonas Shaende, Cyierra Roldan, Shamier Settle, Melissa Krug, Brent Kramer, and Xiao Cheng

The Trump Administration’s tax law, looming federal budget cuts, multi-billion-dollar state budget deficits, glaring unmet human and physical infrastructure needs throughout the state…this year’s New York State budget negotiations are taking shape against a worrisome and uncertain backdrop. The president and congress are threatening to dismantle decades-old federal entitlement programs, make drastic cuts to programs that help millions of struggling New Yorkers, and create a hostile environment for the state’s four and a half million immigrants. The state has an important role to play to help make life better for all New Yorkers—and we must provide protections to our residents even if the federal government won’t. Based on last year’s congressional budget resolutions and what lies on the horizon in terms of cuts to federal programs, we know that things are going to change, and likely not for the better. The policy ideas advanced by Washington thus far do not bode well for New York State. While New York sends more in tax dollars to Washington than we get back, over one-third, or $57 billion, of New York State’s FY 2019 All Funds Budget is comprised of federal funds. The potential for substantial cuts in domestic spending poses gargantuan challenges for the state budget and budgets of local government entities throughout the state.