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Five million families and children will now sleep a little easier. How will the new Latino/Hispanic immigrant status impact healthcare policy?

Being “in the shadows” has long been a healthcare access issue.  The broken healthcare system has been aggravated by a broken immigration system. Immigration and healthcare are tied together in many ways, especially for the economically disadvantaged.

According to the New York Times:

What Is President Obama’s Immigration Plan?

President Obama announced on Thursday evening a series of executive actions to grant up to five million unauthorized immigrants protection from deportation. The president is also planning actions to direct law enforcement priorities toward criminals, allow high-skilled workers to move or change jobs more easily, and streamline visa and court procedures, among others. NOV. 20, 2014 RELATED ARTICLE

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Who could be affected?

The president’s plan is expected to affect up to five million of the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population, currently 11.4 million according to the Migration Policy Institute. It would create a new program of deferrals for approximately 3.7 undocumented parents of American citizens or legal permanent residents who have been in the country for at least five years. Deferrals would include authorization to work and would be granted for three years at a time.

It would also expand a program created by the administration in 2012 called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which allows young people who were brought into the country as children to apply for deportation deferrals and work permits. The plan would extend eligibility to people who entered the United States as children before January 2010 (the cutoff is currently June 15, 2007). It would also increase the deferral period to three years from two years and eliminate the requirement that applicants be under 31 years old. About 1.2 million young immigrants are currently eligible, and the new plan would expand eligibility to approximately 300,000 more.

It would not provide a path to full legal status or benefits under the Affordable Care Act. Officials have said that the president’s plan will not provide specific protection for farm workers or parents of DACA-eligible immigrants.


Filed under: ACA and Medicaid, Blogosphere, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Family Policy, Feminization of Poverty, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, Immigration, Latinos, Maternal and Child Health, Medicaid, News, Public Health, Public Policy,

The U.S. Hispanic population has increased sixfold since 1970 | Pew Research Center

There is no larger, more monolithic group in the US with less power and with less representation at all levels of the civic and private sectors of American society.  Of the 53 million hispanics, a whopping 33 million plus are Mexican American.  This means that the current immigration impasse is largely, both internally and externally, a Mexican problem.  You can think of it as a “Mexican American Problem” or as purely a Mexican problem but in any case, Mexican Americans are a relatively monolithic community with a strong sense of their past, and an ongoing connection to the mother land (incidentally, Mexican Americans do not have to divide their loyalties between North America, i.e., the USA, and modern day Mexico, because the lands between the Rio Grande and the territories beyond the Alamo have largely been one continuous playground to a Mexican community that can easily claim to be Native American.  The so called “pilgrims” have a weaker claim.

Answering the question “Why have Hispanics/Latinos been in the US for so long and achieved so relatively little?” would go a long way towards unlocking America’s potential and promise of another American century of success.  The clock is ticking and American leadership and policy makers are asleep at the wheel.  The Latino community leadership is asleep as well…

“The Hispanic population grew to 53 million in 2012, a 50% increase since 2000 and nearly six times the population in 1970, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data. Meanwhile, the overall U.S. population increased by only 12% from 2000 to 2012. Hispanic population growth accounted for more than half of the country’s growth in this time period.

U.S. Hispanic Population in 2012

Much of the growth is occurring in a relatively small geographic area. A Pew Research Center analysis last year found that the 10 largest counties by Hispanic population accounted for 22% of the national Hispanic population growth between 2000 and 2011. Half of these counties are located in California.

Nationally, Mexicans are the largest Hispanic origin group but the composition of origin groups varies by geographic area. For example, while Mexicans represent a majority of Hispanics in all but 11 states, Puerto Ricans are the largest group in New York and New Jersey and Cubans are most populous in Florida.”

More via The U.S. Hispanic population has increased sixfold since 1970 | Pew Research Center.

Filed under: access to education, analytics, Blogosphere, consumers, Culture, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, Discrimination, Education Policy, Education Reform, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, Latin American Alliances, Latinos, Leadership, Minority Males, New American Electorate, New Electorate, News, Public Policy

A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States | Pew Hispanic Center

Immigration has always shaped the American continent.  Today, our modern American borders are increasingly defined by growing Latino communities on both sides of the border.  Whether Latinos continue to come here in big numbers or not will not lessen the impact they are already having and will continue to have.

Get the facts on immigration.   It is the single most important issue for our generation and will shape America’s future as we age and attempt to compete with industrial muscle and brains our competitors possess.

America’s greatest asset is that millions of people want to come here.  Its greatest challenge is taking advantage of that immigration.  Our current immigration policy is broken.

Get the facts:

“Unauthorized immigrants living in the United States are more geographically dispersed than in the past and are more likely than either U.S. born residents or legal immigrants to live in a household with a spouse and children. In addition, a growing share of the children of unauthorized immigrant parents—73%—were born in this country and are U.S. citizens.

These are among the key findings of a new analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, which builds on previous work estimating the size and growth of the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population. A 2008 report by the Center estimated that 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants lived in the United States; it concluded that the undocumented immigrant population grew rapidly from 1990 to 2006 but has since stabilized.1 In this new analysis, the Center estimates that the rapid growth of unauthorized immigrant workers also has halted; it finds that there were 8.3 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. labor force in March 2008.”

More via A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States | Pew Hispanic Center.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Demographic Change, Immigration

FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals

American immigration enforcement is necessary.  It’s goals and means at the present time may need reforming though.

Fueled by fear and political opportunity in the aftermath of the post 911 decade, this policy went into full force in 2010, despite the fact that so called “illegal immigration” had significantly tapered off.  The Obama administration, nevertheless, went full force ahead with this policy to appease popular fears and to give a sense of being tough on crime and of being pro national security.  It is clear that the affect of the current immigration policy is disproportionately falling on the Latino immigrants.  It is also labeling them criminals.  THIS POLICY MOST BE REASSESSED… In light of the hardships that illegal immigration causes for men and families running away from political, economic stress or toward the pull of the American dream, and the problems that it causes for an America whose labor markets have been themselves greatly stressed by the long, deep and lingering national recession, perhaps we need to take a good long look at how America is investing in its labor force and how it might better integrate and recruit needed talent from its neighbors to the south.  America will continue to age at an alarming baby boomer pace, by the time we hear all the reports of the “unintended consequences” of the current skewed immigration policy it may be too late.

The report fails to mention the nearly 12 million people who are not in the country legally.  According to the report only a fraction of this number (368,644) were removed, or deported, from our country.  The report fails to discuss the apparent problem that this policy is disproportionately affecting Hispanic immigrants.  For example, according to the PEW Foundation’s Hispanic Center:

“About three-quarters (76%) of the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population are Hispanics. The majority of undocumented immigrants (59%) are from Mexico, numbering 7 million. Significant regional sources of unauthorized immigrants include Asia (11%), Central America (11%), South America (7%), the Caribbean (4%) and the Middle East (less than 2%).” Source: 

People from Asia, for example, are underrepresented in the ICE immigration dragnet.  The connection to immigration from the Eastern European former soviet block and Russian gangs, for example, is also missing from the national security report.  Although we should not paint former Soviet block countries with a broad brush, the absence of many other groups from the demographics of this dragnet needs closer examination.

According to the most recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report, the principle investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), “ICE has prioritized its limited resources on the identification and removal of criminal aliens and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States.”

The data provided by ICE shows that most of the immigrants being affected by this policy are involved with the criminal justice system or are coming across our southern border from a handful of Latin American countries (see table 1 below).  Coming across the border without appropriate immigration paperwork is itself a violation of our national laws.

Table 1 – The Latino Immigration Dragnet (by the Policy ThinkShop)

FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals

The Policy ThinkShop provides this convenient link for easy access to the full ICE report:

“In executing these responsibilities, ICE has prioritized its limited resources on the identification and removal of criminal aliens and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States. This report provides an overview of ICE Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 civil immigration enforcement and removal operations:

In FY 2013:

ICE conducted a total of 368,644 removals.

ICE conducted 133,551 removals of individuals apprehended in the interior of the U.S.

82 percent of all interior removals had been previously convicted of a crime.

ICE conducted 235,093 removals of individuals apprehended along our borders while attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S. 1

59 percent of all ICE removals, a total of 216,810, had been previously convicted of a crime.

ICE apprehended and removed 110,115 criminals removed from the interior of the U.S.

ICE removed 106,695 criminals apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S.

98 percent of all ICE FY 2013 removals, a total of 360,313, met one or more of ICE’s stated civil immigration enforcement priorities. 2

Of the 151,834 removals of individuals without a criminal conviction, 84 percent, or 128,398, were apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S. and 95 percent fell within one of ICE’s stated immigration enforcement priorities. 3

The leading countries of origin for those removed were Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.”

More via FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals.

Filed under: Asian, Blogosphere, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, Discrimination, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, Latin American Alliances, Latinos, New American Electorate, News, Political Facts and Fiction, Public Policy, symbolic uses of politics, WeSeeReason

America is in an ideological tug of war: Can we do better?

Too often, American public policy discussions are framed in single issue debates of pros and cons which make for great media theater and water cooler conversation–but never end in solutions… only in winners and losers.  To be sure, the real losers are once again the shrinking middle-class which continues to see a broken Congress continue to destroy the country.  An American dream Hollywood built and the middle-class made  sustainable by working itself out of the working class and buying into the popular media illusion.  This “progress” now seems out of reach for much of the children of that middle-class and for recent immigrants.  So where is America going?  What will happen to an America where honest and bipartisan discussion of real public policy problems is muffled by cable show sensationalism and campaign politics?  Can we do better?

Immigration is not only about people staying in America without a proper visa or citizen status; it is also about the American continent and the millions of people that have called it home for well over a thousand years.  From the perspective of native Americans the question is: Who is the illegal immigrant, pilgrim?   This includes millions of modern day South of the border Latinos whose ancestors have roamed across the Rio Grande for thousands of years.  From the perspective of the Eurocentric 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation American the clamor is: Go back to where you came from; you are not a real American.  As America fails to sustain a middle-class and integrate new immigrants it dies a thousand deaths one broken dream at a time.  Mortgage foreclosures, drug abuse, urban decay, and dead end jobs that cannot pay for healthcare or sustain a family are but a few of the pervasive signs that America is not only divided but headed in the wrong direction.

Complex public policy issues are never about one variable, one social or economic dynamic or simple yes or no choices.  Today’s media industry continually portrays a false choice in a tug of  war  between one dimensional unilateral actions to protect the perceived interests of one side against those of another.  In reality, public policy issues are characterized by complex social and economic dynamics that impact many publics and present several choices in terms of:

  • acting or not acting,
  • who (government or the philanthropic sector, for example) should act,
  • who should pay and
  • how much it will all cost.

The outcome of those choices and the quality of that debate ultimately impacts the cultural and economic health of the country.

American is killing its life source–IMMIGRANTS.  As such, it is killing itself.  For this we can all agree President Obama has failed to lead in this most important of public policy problems.  

“AS A presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama promised to enact immigration reform during his first year in office. Although his party controlled both arms of Congress for the next two years, he barely tried. Instead, he has presided over the greatest mass deportation in American history. As our chart shows, he has tossed far more Mexicans and other illegal immigrants out of the country than his predecessors—nearly 2m so far. Spending on border security is now greater than on all other types of federal criminal-law enforcement combined. Since migrants bring youth, energy and enterprise, this is an expensive way of making America less dynamic (as our leader this week explains). And the human costs are immense (read our story here). Families are torn apart; lives ruined. Yet many House Republicans still insist that they will not back immigration reform because they cannot trust President Obama to defend the border.”

via Daily chart: Obama and aliens | The Economist.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, Latin American Alliances, Latinos, New American Electorate, News, propaganda and spin, Public Policy, symbolic uses of politics

If they could, how many unauthorized immigrants would become U.S. citizens? | Pew Research Center

One of the key constructs of American immigration policy is family.  When people request entry into our country their immediate family members are given priority.  This reflects one of the most basic values of our American community.  When it comes to people who have come here via non sanctioned immigration routes, the policy is no longer applicable.  And there in lies the rub–the policy has not worked very well over the past few decades …  Even as we try to piece together four decades of uncontrolled immigration and broken immigration policy, we are still not clear about how September 11th and the recent deep recession are transforming who we are.  Now immigration policy is tearing at our fabric…

The American dream, even “What is America?”, hangs in the balance as the Nation decides what to do with 40 million immigrants to this land.  The act of becoming a U.S. citizen is increasingly under a public microscope of political scrutiny.  The lens through which we see immigrants today is increasingly made more opaque by the currently divided American polity, and the fear and controversy brewing over our National borders.

As the country struggles with economic recessions, NSA scandals, the aftermath of homeland terrorism, and crisis in its educational, incarceration and healthcare systems, it is not in a generous mood to take in the world’s huddled masses yearning to be free.

“As Congress debates a comprehensive immigration bill, one key element under consideration is whether to offer a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants. If a bill were to pass including such a provision, how many would take advantage of the opportunity?

The answer is of course speculative. The Pew Hispanic Center has conducted surveys and analyses of government data that offer some insights – but not all of them point in the same direction.

A survey we conducted in 2012 found that more than nine-in-ten (93%) Hispanic immigrants who are not citizens said they would like to become a U.S. citizen. This was true both for those who are legal permanent residents (96%) and for those who aren’t (92%). The vast majority in the latter group is in the country illegally.

Despite this near universal expression of a desire for citizenship, our analysis of government data shows that a majority of Hispanic immigrants who are eligible to seek citizenship have not yet taken the opportunity to do so. Only 46% of Hispanic immigrants eligible to naturalize (become citizens) have, compared with 71% percent of all immigrants who are not Hispanic and are eligible to naturalize. The naturalization rate is particularly low among the largest group of Hispanic immigrants – Mexicans – among whom just 36% have naturalized.

Our 2012 survey also found that the reasons most often cited for not seeking citizenship were not speaking English (as required by a citizenship test), not being able to afford it (it costs $680 to apply for citizenship), and just not yet having gotten around to trying.”

More via If they could, how many unauthorized immigrants would become U.S. citizens? | Pew Research Center.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, Demographic Change, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, New American Electorate, News, Public Policy, WeSeeReason

A Lifeline for No-Longer-Illegal Immigrants – An interesting comment from this NYT’s comments section …

Contrary to popular belief America was not created by immigration. It was created by conquest and exploration and it was done so on top of many other “native” nations. To this day Americans have not been able to assimilate and fully include those natives into its polity or its economic success. How then can we argue that immigration has been so noble and that immigrants are naturally a part of the American way?The truth lies much closer to Plato’s “necessary untruths.” To romanticize immigration, both in terms of why people leave their native lands and in terms of why they come to America is simply false and misleading. People come to America because they hope for better than they have where they reside as they make the often courageous decision to uproot and venture into the relatively unknown. What never seems to be discussed is how few of us here in America consider leaving this country. In an important way, America was created by people leaving their homeland because they were pushed out by various political and economic factors. That is what we have in common with the new comers. They come here because it is not comfortable where they previously resided. Here then lies the central question that needs to be considered by all of us who want to be fair minded and responsible. What would have become of us and our ancestors if the then native “americans” would have had the wherewithal to keep our ancestors out? Just as many of us want to keep other people out today.

More via A Lifeline for No-Longer-Illegal Immigrants –

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, Demographic Change, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, New American Electorate, New Electorate, News, propaganda and spin, Public Policy, symbolic uses of politics, WeSeeReason, , ,

Why we can’t win the war on poverty « HealthThinkShop

Not all American’s are created equal but their status under the constitution is.  That is the most important part of the American promise and perhaps of the social contract that makes our democratic polity possible.

What is at stake here is who we are as a nation and how the rest of the world community sees us.  After our heroic role in WWII, we have enjoyed a special place in the new world order that manifested itself as east and west–Russians, their allies, and the rest of us free peoples.  But today the international community and our internal polity have become much more complex.  And we are having a difficult time moving forward.

America’s social, economic and ethnic diversity is becoming an increasing challenge to discussing, understanding and agreeing to a conception of:

what is an American,

what America stands for, and

who is eligible to partake in her bounty.

via ASPE – The Office of The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation: Facts and figures about America’s Poverty Problem – Why we can’t win the war on poverty « HealthThinkShop.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Children and Poverty, Immigration, News, waging war, WeSeeReason, ,

Most Say Immigration Policy Needs Big Changes | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

Is the our political system reflective of how most of us think?  Does it represent us?  Most Americans want immigration fixed but most politicians are uncomfortable with the issue and most pundits cloud the issue with ideological twists that further prevent us from seeing immigration as a pretty clear cut issue we all want addressed and fixed once and for all.  Again,  the Pew Foundation gives us facts and sheds light when we need it most…

“Americans overwhelmingly say the nation’s immigration policy is in need of sweeping changes. Overall, 75% say immigration policy needs at least major changes, with 35% saying it needs to be “completely rebuilt”—among the highest of seven policy areas tested.

5-9-13 #1

Yet the broad public agreement that immigration policy should be revamped is not matched by consensus on how to deal with illegal and legal immigration.”

via Most Say Immigration Policy Needs Big Changes | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Immigration, Public Policy,

Heritage Foundation Cuts Ties to Jason Richwine – from The Atlantic Wire

What do barbie dolls and the Heritage Foundation have in common?  Barbie dolls are to sexism as the heritage foundation is to racism —  they both used to be bastions of each ideology but today they appear increasingly useless and irrelevant.

The Atlantic Wire reports that the Heritage Foundation is running for cover as the facts come out about one Jason Richwine, a former Harvard student who wrote his Ph.D. thesis exploring the presumed intellectual inferiority of Hispanics in America.  The Heritage Foundation used the controversial Harvard former student to publish a recent report arguing about the so called costs of immigration for America.

The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank born in the aftermath of the Nixon era when America saw itself through the eyes of a popular media, government and academia largely of European ancestry and xenophobia towards all things not “White” or of European origin.  This world view was forged at a time when civil rights at home and Vietnam abroad crushed the former American dream which was forged in a 1950s America which was being torn asunder by hippie kids and non-White civil rights marchers.

Today the modern expression of these reactionary movements are anti immigration, states rights and anti affirmative action diatribes that fly in the face of the facts of an America that needs every once of talent and muscle from its growing “brown majority.”

Recent demographic reports show that Rodriguez is now the most numerous last name held by new born babies in our country.  Tomorrow is here and the Heritage Foundation seems to be trying to cover the overwhelming historical truth with an increasingly ineffective ideological argument about the size of a broken barbie doll umbrella.


“Jason Richwine, co-author of a controversial report from the Heritage Foundation that criticized the potential cost of immigration reform, has resigned from the organization. The resignation follows revelations that Richwine’s college dissertation argued that …”

via Heritage Foundation Cuts Ties to Jason Richwine – Philip Bump – The Atlantic Wire.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, Demographic Change, Discrimination, ethnicity in politics, ideology, Immigration, Intolerance, Latinos, New Electorate, News, propaganda and spin, symbolic uses of politics, symbols as swords, WeSeeReason, , , ,

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Donald Trump’s full inauguration speech transcript, annotated – The Washington Post

In seemingly endless times of “trash talk” that led to an improbable and unpopular political victory, the newly minted president clamors: “Now arrives the hour of action.” Fleeting relief comes to the nation as the transition […]

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