Foreign-born workers make up about 15 percent of the U.S. work force today, up from 10 percent in 1994, according to a new report, The role of immigrants in the U.S. labor force, from the Congressional Budget Office. About half of those workers have been in the United States since some time before 1994, with 40 percent coming from Mexico and Central America and 25 percent coming from Asia.
People born in other countries represent a substantial and growing segment of the U.S. labor force-that is, people with a job or looking for one. In 2009, 24 million members of the labor force-more than one in seven-were foreign born, up from 21 million in 2004. However, the growth of the foreign-born labor force was much slower between 2004 and 2009 than between 1994 and 2004. In that earlier period, the size of the foreign-born labor force grew at an average annual rate of more than 5 percent, whereas from 2004 to 2009, the rate was about 2 percent. As a share of the total, the foreign-born labor force grew from 10.0 percent in 1994 to 14.5 percent in 2004 and to 15.5 percent in 2009.
The average annual growth of the immigrant labor force was 5.2 percent in 1994-2004, but slowed to 2.2 percent from 2004-2009. The rate of growth for native-born workers was less than one percent in both time periods.
Immigrant workers are not evenly distributed across the country. Six million of the 24 million foreign-born workers were in California in 2009, and another nine million were in New York, Florida, Texas, New Jersey and Illinois. One-third of California’s labor force was foreign born. In states other than these six, foreign-born workers made up less than 10 percent of the labor force.
ICE announced the launch of a new Online Detainee Locator System on July 23. According to the ICE press release:
The ODLS is located on ICE’s public website, http://www.ice.gov, and provides users with information on the location of the detention facility where a particular individual is being held, a phone number to the facility and contact information for the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations office in the region where the facility is located. A brochure explaining how to use the ODLS is also available on the website in the following languages: English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic and Somali.
According to ICE, the new program is part of its push for detention reform. An ODLS fact sheet is available here. After visiting the ICE website, I couldn’t immediately see how to find or use ODLS, but the brochure provides a specific URL – http://www.ice.gov/locator. That URL takes you to the right page, though I didn’t have a name to search for, so I can’t tell you how well it works.
Mother and child reunion – MALDEF reports that a child who was taken from its immigrant mother because she was undocumented has been ordered returned by a court in Missouri.
In the lower court ruling, the judge stated that the “[Mother’s] lifestyle, that of smuggling herself into the country illegally and committing crimes in this country is not a lifestyle that can provide any stability for a child. A child cannot be educated in this way, always in hiding or on the run.”