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La ré-élection de Barack Obama aura eu un effet paradoxal on ne peut plus favorable pour la conscience américaine : l’analyse de leur défaite a entraîné les républicains, pragmatiques, à comprendre qu’ils n’avaient aucune chance s’ils persistaient dans leur hystérie xénophobe, tant le vote dit « hispanique » pèse déjà dans la balance. Non seulement il a assuré la ré-élection du président démocrate, et ce malgré la crise – où les électeurs tendent à remplacer les équipes, comme on sait –, mais il ne pourra peser que plus à l’avenir. La conclusion était simple : si les républicains persistaient à promouvoir la politique anti-immigration, ils n’étaient pas près de revoir le pouvoir.

Tremblement de terre, alors : la droite la plus institutionnelle, d’ordinaire pas moins ouvertement raciste que la droite française, s’est engagée dans la voie de la réforme en profondeur des politiques d’immigration. S’est rapidement constitué un groupe mixte de huit parlementaires dont quatre démocrates et quatre républicains, pour passer au plus vite une loi destinée à régulariser dix millions de sans-papiers.

Celle-ci est entre les deux chambres, et la bataille reste rude, tant l’unanimité est loin d’être faite, mais où quelques voix républicaines peuvent suffire à compléter les voix démocrates.

Parmi ces républicains en faveur de la réforme, Georges W. Bush lui-même : “The laws governing the immigration system aren’t working,” [Les lois qui gouvernent le système migratoire ne marchent pas.], dit-il. “The system is broken [Le système est cassé]. We’re now in an important debate in reforming those laws. [Nous avons engagé un important débat pour réformer ces lois.] And that’s good [Et c’est bien.].”

Le plus spectaculaire, c’est de voir comment l’ensemble du discours sur l’immigration aura ainsi muté, quittant soudainement la rhétorique xénophobe pour dresser le constat des réalités.

En quelques jours, une pluie d’articles du New York Times auront fait le tour de la question. Le bilan budgétaire d’une telle réforme ? 800 milliards de déficit en moins sur vingt ans. Et pour la sécurité sociale ? Sur dix ans, on compte 276 milliards de revenus en plus, pour des dépenses qui augmenteront de 33 milliards. Un troisième article examine attentivement plusieurs études qui portent sur la création d’emplois, et plus particulièrement d’entreprises : les immigrants ouvrent deux fois plus souvent des entreprises que les autochtones, bien qu’avec un chiffre d’affaires moyen environ 30% plus bas.

Un dernier article de cette fastueuse série d’arguments-massues relève le fait que trois brevets sur quatre sont déposés par des immigrants, ou avec la participation d’immigrants.

Parlant de brevets, cet article conclut sobrement en évoquant le cas du Dr. Ashlesh Murthy, indien, qui vient de trouver un vaccin contre les chlamydiae – la maladie sexuellement transmissible qui fait le plus de ravages –, et qui a pu se retrouver bloqué arbitrairement un mois, parce que les autorités migratoires n’étaient même pas capables de reconnaître un visa précédemment attribué. Il aura fallu l’intervention de législateurs pour que ce docteur nobelisable ne subisse pas jusqu’au bout ce qui fait le quotidien des sans-papiers.

QSP

Congressional Budget Analysts Release Positive Economic Assessment of Immigration Overhaul

By ASHLEY PARKER

Congressional budget analysts on Wednesday released a positive economic assessment of the broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws that passed the Senate last week, saying that the new legislation would cut more than $800 billion from the federal deficit over the next two decades and lead to 9.6 million new legal residents in the country.

Though the Congressional Budget Office had offered in June a similar estimate of the immigration bill that was then being debated in the Senate — in a report that found the benefits of an increase in legal residents from the immigration overhaul would outweigh the costs — the new report provides an analysis of the actual bill recently passed by the Senate.

At the time, the budget office’s report was seen as a boon for immigration advocates and Senate Democrats.

The new report on the final bill, which includes several provisions to further strengthen border security, estimates that the net effect of adding new tax-paying residents in the first decade after the immigration bill is carried out would cut the federal budget deficit by $158 billion. The deficit reduction would be even greater in the following decade, from 2024 to 2033 — an estimated $685 billion, or 0.2 percent of the gross domestic product, according to the report.

The deficit reduction figures over the first decade, however, do not account for the net discretionary spending costs of $23 billion to implement the bill, making the net savings slightly lower — $135 billion.

Though the legislation would cut the budget deficit by $843 billion over the next 20 years, that number is a fraction of the $47 trillion that the Congressional Budget Office projects will be spent in just half that time.

Perhaps more important, especially to many Republicans, the report also found that the legislation would further reduce future waves of illegal immigration — the result, in large part, of a border security amendment added by Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota, both Republicans.

Though the original report found that the bill would reduce the number of immigrants in the country illegally by just 25 percent, the analysis of the final bill estimates “that the net inflow would be reduced by between one-third and one-half compared with the projected net inflow under current law.”

The Senate-approved bill, according to a letter from the budget office to Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, “would significantly increase border security relative to the committee-approved version of the bill, and it would strengthen enforcement against those who stay in the country after their authorization has expired.”

Thus, the letter continued, “the Senate-passed act would reduce both illegal entry into the country and the number of people who stay in the country beyond the end of their authorized period.”

In a statement, Senator Charles E. Schumer, the Democrat of New York who helped write the Senate bill, said the budget office “has reaffirmed that immigration reform reduces the debt and grows the economy. It also shows that the Corker-Hoeven amendment further substantially reduces the flow of illegal immigrants, even using a methodology that underestimates how effective immigration reform will be in reducing that flow.”

[Source : New York Times]

Immigration and Social Security

2 juillet 2013

By SHAILA DEWAN

The Social Security Administration says that the immigration bill passed by the Senate would help its coffers, adding $276 billion in revenue over the next 10 years while costing only $33 billion.

But 10 years is a short time when you consider that a vast majority of the new and newly legalized immigrants would be paying into the system during that period and drawing out their Social Security benefits later. That is the problem with attempts to determine the effect of immigration on Social Security in the long haul — every study is going to have some sort of end point, after which people who have paid in are going to start drawing out.

The Social Security Administration’s chief actuary, Stephen C. Goss, says he believes that even 75 years out, there will be a net gain from immigrants, as he wrote in May. That is because their withdrawals will be offset by their children’s contributions.

Such estimates are based on a lot of assumptions, says Paul N. Van de Water, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, like how many children the newcomers are likely to have (higher birth rates among immigrants taper off with time), how many are low-skilled versus high-skilled (low-skilled workers tend to cost the system more, while high-skilled workers pay in more than they get out) and just how many new immigrants are admitted under the bill, all of which are open questions.

“It’s amazing that the actuaries have said it would be positive in the long run,” Mr. Van de Water said. “It’s a lot of moving parts.”

Economists who have studied the issue tend to agree that more immigration is better, but that the effect is small. “There are other better reasons to be for or against more immigration, besides its effect on Social Security,” Mr. Van de Water said.

James P. Smith, an expert on labor markets at the RAND Corporation, added that it was misleading to consider the effect of immigration on Social Security alone. “Immigrants contribute on net to Social Security and health care,” he said. “They’re a drain on state and local budgets, largely because of education. So isolating one program is always a mistake.” (Again, it is hard to estimate the long-term effects even of a drain on education budgets because having more educated workers helps the economy.)

There are also two separate pools to consider — unauthorized immigrants who are here already, about a third of whom pay Social Security taxes, according to government estimates, and the additional immigrants who will arrive through new legal channels. The Center for American Progress, a supporter of immigration reform, says if 70 percent of illegal immigrants are eligible for legal status under the bill, they will contribute $500 billion on net in 36 years — the period that the baby boomers will put a strain on the system.

It does not include the period in which those immigrants themselves begin to draw more heavily on the system. But Adriana Kugler, a former chief economist at the Labor Department and the lead author of that study, said it did not take into account projections that an influx of immigrants would result in higher wages for everyone, nor did it calculate the contributions of offspring. “You could look at a longer horizon, but then the benefit is even greater,” she said.

Republicans have tried to clamp down on the amount that illegal immigrants who paid into the system will be able to withdraw. The Social Security Administration estimates that in 2010 illegal immigrants paid a net contribution of $12 billion, either by working under a fraudulent Social Security number or by using a legitimate Social Security number after overstaying a visa or otherwise losing permission to work. Currently, if such immigrants obtain legal status and can prove their earnings with pay stubs or W-2 forms, they can get credit for those contributions. But the Corker-Hoeven amendment to the Senate bill, which paved the way for passage, would bar them from getting credit for the previous decade’s worth of payments even if they obtain legal status.

“To some extent, it’s a taking by the federal government,” said Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “The people who are going to be most severely impacted by this are going to be low-income immigrants.”

[Source : New York Times]

Immigration and Entrepreneurship

By CATHERINE RAMPELL

One of the key economic arguments underpinning the immigration overhaul is that immigrants create jobs — not only because they spend money, but because they tend to be unusually entrepreneurial and innovative and so create job opportunities for the people around them. Think of Silicon Valley figures like Sergey Brin, Andrew Grove or Vinod Khosla — or the designer Liz Claiborne. The bill that passed the Senate last week, under Subtitle H, even included special provisions for what is being called a “start-up visa,” to be granted to people who start companies that meet certain venture capital, hiring and revenue requirements.

So is it true that immigrants are unusually entrepreneurial ? The data available suggest that yes, immigrants are overrepresented among America’s business founders and innovators.

According to a Small Business Administration-commissioned report in 2012 by Robert W. Fairlie, an economics professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the business ownership rate is higher for immigrants than the native-born, with 10.5 percent of the immigrant work force owning a business compared with 9.3 percent of the native-born work force.

Those numbers refer to ownership of existing businesses ; immigrants are also more likely to start a business in any given month. In 2010, the business formation rate per month among immigrants was 0.62 percent, meaning that of every 100,000 non-business-owning immigrants, 620 started a business each month. The comparable rate for nonimmigrants was 0.28 percent (or 280 out of every of 100,000 non-business-owning adults). The gap in new business formation between immigrants and nonimmigrants has been growing recently, too.


Robert W. Fairlie, “Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners, and Their Access to Financial Capital,” Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, May 2012.

Higher business formation rates among the foreign-born may be driven by necessity, especially when the economy is bad.

“Because of limited job opportunities in the Great Recession there appears to be an even greater response of starting businesses among immigrants than among nonimmigrants, which may have to do with lower-skilled workers having more difficulty in finding jobs,” Mr. Fairlie writes.

Immigrant-owned businesses tend to be smaller, with an average of $435,000 in annual sales and receipts, compared with $609,000 for native-owned companies.


Robert W. Fairlie, “Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners, and Their Access to Financial Capital,” Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, May 2012.

As for job creation, companies owned by immigrants are slightly more likely to hire employees than are non-immigrant-owned companies, though they tend to take on fewer employees on average in the cases when they do hire. Among immigrant-owned businesses with employees, there are an average of eight employees and an average payroll totaling $253,000. Native-owned firms that have employees hire an average of 11.9 staff members, with an average payroll of $429,000.

The share of companies that export their goods and services is also higher for immigrant-owned than for native-owned businesses (7.1 percent versus 4.4 percent). This might be because immigrants have existing business networks within their home countries, but it’s hard to know from the data.

Immigrants’ entrepreneurship rates are especially high in the engineering and technology sector. About a quarter of engineering and technology companies founded between 2006 and 2012 had at least one founder who was born abroad, according to a 2012 Kauffman Foundation study. In Silicon Valley, the share was 43.9 percent.

Indian-born immigrants are most highly represented among entrepreneurs in the engineering and technology sector ; of all immigrant-founded companies in the Kauffman Foundation study, a third had Indian founders, up from 7 percent in 2005. The next most common nation of origin for these high-tech immigrant entrepreneurs was China.


“Then and Now : America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Part VI,” by Vivek Wadhwa, AnnaLee Saxenian and F. Daniel Siciliano. Kauffman Foundation, May 2012.

Another Kauffman follow-up paper also found that these high-tech immigrant founders were highly educated (74 percent held graduate or postgraduate degrees), and a majority had originally come to the United States to study, not specifically to found a new company or to accept a job at an existing company.

A co-author of those papers, Vivek Wadhwa, has since written a book suggesting that we may be on the verge of a decline in high-tech immigrant entrepreneurship because of legal barriers to staying in the United States and improving economic opportunities back in immigrants’ home countries.

Aside from business start-up rates, another measurement that suggests immigrants are unusually innovative is the disproportionately high number of patents awarded to the foreign-born.

A 2007 Kauffman Foundation study found that foreign nationals residing in the United States were named as inventors or co-inventors on about a quarter of international patent applications filed from the United States in 2006. This figure probably understates immigrant patent filings, too, since it excludes immigrants who have already become naturalized citizens.

A subsequent study on immigrant patent filings (conducted by the Partnership for a New American Economy, a nonprofit group of which Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is a co-founder) likewise found that immigrants were named in more than three out of four patents at America’s Top 10 research universities.

[Source : New York Times]

Immigrants Are Crucial to Innovation, Study Says

By ANDREW MARTIN

June 25, 2012

Arguing against immigration policies that force foreign-born innovators to leave the United States, a new study to be released on Tuesday shows that immigrants played a role in more than three out of four patents at the nation’s top research universities.

Conducted by the Partnership for a New American Economy, a nonprofit group co-founded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York, the study notes that nearly all the patents were in science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called STEM fields that are a crucial driver of job growth.

The report points out that while many of the world’s top foreign-born innovators are trained at United States universities, after graduation they face “daunting or insurmountable immigration hurdles that force them to leave and bring their talents elsewhere.”

The Partnership for a New American Economy released a paper in May saying that other nations were aggressively courting highly skilled citizens who had settled in the United States, urging them to return to their home countries. The partnership supports legislation that would make it easier for foreign-born STEM graduates and entrepreneurs to stay in the United States.

“Now that we know immigrants are behind more than three of every four patents from leading universities, the federal laws that send so many of them back to their home countries look even more patently wrong,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement.

But some worry that the partnership’s ideas for immigration reform would undermine similarly skilled American workers while failing to address broader problems with immigration policy.

“No one is asking what is in their best interest, the American worker,” said Eric Ruark, director of research for the Federal for American Immigration Reform, an advocacy group that is pushing for reduced immigration. “It’s what is best for the employers. What is best for the foreign workers. It’s not as if the foreign workers aren’t skilled. What’s being ignored is we already have a domestic work force that has the same skills.”

The most recent study seeks to quantify the potential costs of immigration policies by reviewing 1,469 patents from the 10 universities and university systems that had obtained the most in 2011. The schools include the University of California system, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Patents, the study maintains, are a gauge for a nation’s level of innovation and an important way for the United States to maintain an edge in STEM fields.

In one illustration of the issue, the study notes that nine out of 10 patents at the University of Illinois system in 2011 had at least one foreign-born inventor. Of those, 64 percent had a foreign inventor who was not yet a professor but rather a student, researcher or postdoctoral fellow, a group more likely to face immigration problems.

Some of the patents that were reviewed for the report have become business ventures. Wenyuan Shi, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, earned a patent for an ingredient in a lollipop he developed that works as a dental treatment for children. A native of China, Mr. Shi has created a company to commercialize his inventions.

But current immigration laws can make it difficult for foreign-born students to remain in the United States after graduation. And employers may be wary of hiring them because green cards, allowing for permanent residency status, are limited and the process of obtaining one is cumbersome and expensive.

Under the current system, foreign-born students are allowed to stay in the United States for 12 to 29 months after graduation, provided they find a job or internship in their field.

After that, more permanent visas are difficult to obtain, restricted by factors like country quotas. The study notes that China is entitled to the same number of visas as Iceland.

Dr. Ashlesh Murthy came to the United States from India in 2001 to pursue a master’s degree in molecular biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Working with his professors there, he developed a vaccine for the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia, which obtained patents in 2011 and 2012.

Nonetheless, Dr. Murthy had to negotiate a bureaucratic maze to remain in the United States, and at one point was stuck in India for an extra month because American officials in India doubted a previously approved visa.

Noting that university officials petitioned a congressman to intervene on his behalf, Dr. Murthy, said, “If I was not in a position where they really wanted me, I seriously doubt I would have gotten back.”

[Source : New York Times]