How America’s immigrant workforce is changing

5/26/2017 CNN Money

170522175603-immigration-stats-workforce-780x439.jpgAmerica’s workforce is changing.

Baby Boomers are retiring and U.S. birth rates are falling. With fewer native born workers coming into the job market, the country is becoming more reliant on immigrants than ever before to keep its labor force growing, according to the Pew Research Center.

Today, immigrants make up about 17% of the U.S. labor force — and nearly one-quarter of those immigrants are undocumented.
Without the current rate of both legal and undocumented immigration, Pew found that the total U.S. workforce would shrink dramatically over the next 20 years.

Not only would that have an impact on overall economic growth, but it would hurt certain industries that rely heavily on immigrant labor, too.

After the housing market collapsed, the construction industry lost many of its foreign born workers — many of whom moved back to Mexico and the Americas. Now, as construction ramps back up, home builders are having a difficult time staffing up.

Farmers are experiencing similar labor shortages, although many have said they’ve lost workers because of tougher enforcement of immigration laws that began during the Obama administration.

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I’m a reporter in Mexico. My life is in danger. The United States wouldn’t give me asylum.

5/25/2017 The Washington Post

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Flickr/Adrián Martínez

On Feb. 5, I walked into the United States from Mexico and turned myself over to immigration authorities for the purpose of seeking political asylum. But even though I have good reason to fear for my life, U.S. officials refused to let me stay. And now I’m in danger again.

I’m a journalist in Acapulco, Mexico. For almost a year, I have been receiving death threats from Mexican federal agents over articles I wrote in Novedades Acapulco, a newspaper there. In February 2016, I witnessed abuses by the Mexican military during a traffic accident. As a journalist, I began taking photographs. Federal agents arrived and began screaming at me. They took away my camera, my identification and my credentials and began hitting me as they told me to stop taking pictures and leave the area. I filed a complaint with the Mexican National Commission for Human Rights. Immediately afterward, I began receiving threats over the phone. A few weeks later, several men arrived at my home, pointed a gun at my forehead and told me to keep quiet. I moved to a different city, but the threatening messages and phone calls continued. Eventually, I moved across the country, hoping that these men would finally forget about me. Unfortunately, it did not take long for them to find me again. I realized that there was no place in Mexico where I could go without fearing I would be killed — the same way so many of my fellow journalists have been. Just this month, award-winning reporter Javier Valdez was killed in Sinaloa. He was the sixth journalist slain in Mexico this year.

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Amid opposition, Trump makes low budget request for Mexico border wall

5/23/2017 Reuters

Border fence by couchlearnerPresident Donald Trump is asking Congress for $1.6 billion to begin building a wall along the border with Mexico, far short of the amount needed for a project sharply criticized by Democrats and even some conservative Republicans.

An internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plan in February estimated the total cost for the wall at $21.6 billion but the White House’s budget proposal for 2018, details of which were released on Monday, included a request for just $1.6 billion.

Two Republican aides in Congress said the modest request is an acknowledgement from the White House that full funding is not realistic given opposition from Freedom Caucus conservatives in the House of Representatives as well as Democrats in the House and the Senate.

They said that unless Trump is able to rally broader support and win more funding for construction in another fiscal year, his plans for a “big beautiful wall” that he promised during his election campaign last year may not be realized.

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Mexico president heads to Guatemala to discuss migration, extradition

5/17/2017 Reuters

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Flickr/Presidencia de la República

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto will travel to Guatemala to meet its leader Jimmy Morales on June 5 and 6, the Mexican president’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.

The two presidents agreed on the date in a phone call on Wednesday, according to the statement.

The meeting comes as Mexico begins to take a larger role in the regional migration issue. The vast majority of Central American migrants heading for the United States enter Mexico by crossing the border from Guatemala, and the U.S. government has been leaning on Mexico to do more to make people stay.

A Mexican diplomatic source said the visit was in part to offer support to Morales, whose family has become embroiled in a corruption scandal, and to discuss the extradition of Javier Duarte, a former ruling party governor and Pena Nieto ally who was arrested in the Central American country after fleeing graft and organized crime charges.

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Northern Triangle Migrants: From the Frying Pan into the Fire

5/16/2017 InSight Crime

Puente Dr. Rodolfo Robles Ciudad Hidalgo Chiapas - Tecún Umán Guatemala  DSC_0914 Ernesto (2)A new report by an international humanitarian organization provides fresh statistics on the dangers that migrants from Central America’s Northern Triangle face both in their home country and during their perilous trek to the United States.

Surveys conducted by Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières – MSF) in 2015 and 2016 show that 68.3 percent of migrants from the Northern Triangle region of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala experienced some form of violence while traveling through Central America and Mexico.

In a recently-published report, MSF called the findings “appalling,” and said the situation in the Northern Triangle and along the well-worn migration routes constitute a “humanitarian crisis.”

Close to half (44 percent) of the migrants reported being hit; 40 percent said they had been pushed, grabbed or asphyxiated; and 7 percent said had been shot, according to MSF. Gender-based violence surveys found that 31.4 percent of women and 17.2 percent of men were victims of sexual abuse while traveling through Mexico.

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Border Agency Says It Has Picked Finalists to Design Wall

5/12/2017 Associated Press

Border - MexicoThe federal government said Friday that it has settled on finalists to design President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico, but it won’t identify them.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it will notify finalists over the next several days. It won’t say how many there are, but it has said previously that it would pick up to 20 for contracts expected to be valued between $200,000 and $500,000.

An agency document released last month by Senate Democrats says authorities plan to select winners by June 14 to build prototypes in San Diego on a short stretch of land near the Otay Mesa border crossing with Mexico. It picked San Diego partly because the land is federally owned and to compare the prototypes to existing fencing nearby that was breached 800 times in a single year.

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Report Paints Harrowing Picture of Central America Migration

5/11/2017 New York Times

child_immigrant_cbp_border_gettyMEXICO CITY — A report from the international medical group Doctors Without Borders paints a harrowing picture of migration from Central America’s violence-plagued Northern Triangle region through Mexico and toward the United States.

The study released Thursday is based on surveys and medical data from the last two years. Among its findings:

— Almost 40 percent of those interviewed say they left home due to attacks, threats, extortion or attempts at forced recruitment by gangs in Central America.

— Nearly 70 percent have been victims of violence during transit toward the United States, including nearly a third of women who reported being sexually abused.

The report says heightened immigration enforcement by the United States and Mexico threatens to make more refugees and migrants vulnerable to exploitation by smugglers, gangs and corrupt authorities.

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