Friday, January 20, 2017

Rise of college-educated Asian immigrants means U.S.-Mexico border wall won't stop immigration

Building a wall along the U.S./Mexico border won't do much to stem the flow of immigrants into the U.S. and protect Americans from losing out on low-skilled jobs, reports Jed Kolko of the job-search site Indeed. He found that while half of all current immigrants in the U.S. are from Latin America—27 percent from Mexico—during the past five years there has been a shift, with 45 percent coming from Asia, and a large portion of them having college degrees.

"Among immigrants age 25 and older residing in the U.S. in 2015, 48 percent of those who arrived after 2010 have a bachelor’s degree, versus 35 percent of those who arrived between 2006 and 2010 and 27 percent of those who arrived in 2005 or earlier," Kolko writes. "By comparison, 31 percent of native-born adults have a bachelor’s degree."

"Among broad sectors, farming, forestry, and fishing remains on top," he writes. "But the next two sectors where immigrants account for the highest share of workers are computer and mathematical occupations and life, physical, and social sciences. Among specific occupations, the four in which recent immigrants are most prevalent are all professional or technical jobs: medical scientists, software developers, physical scientists, and economists. In seven of the top ten jobs with the highest share of recent immigrants, the vast majority of workers have a bachelor’s degree, compared with none of the ten jobs with the highest share of immigrants overall." (Indeed graphic: Share of workers who are immigrants in past five years)
President Donald Trump's pledge to build a wall, and have Mexico pay for it, was one of the key issues of his campaign, Ana Swanson reports for The Washington Post. "Support for Trump was stronger in areas where the local immigrant population is on the rise, as well as among those who cited immigration as one of the political issues they cared about most."

"The argument for barring immigrants is often an economic one," she writes. "Trump's supporters argued that immigrants were flooding into less-skilled jobs, working for cheaper wages and putting native workers out of a job—including the white male working-class voters who turned out strongly in favor of Trump." But Kolko found that "Recent immigrants are more educated, come from different parts of the world, and are more likely to work in professional and technical occupations than earlier immigrants."

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