Trump Tightens Immigration Rules  But Maintains Attraction of Foreign Labor

The U.S president kept immigration at the center of the debate in his administration. Data from the Migration Policy Institute, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) show that immigration, in general, has declined in the country in recent years. On the other hand, immigrants made up 17% of the American civilian workforce in 2018 (most current data).

Figures released by the Migration Policy Institute and the US Census and Homeland Security Departments show that the immigrant population is now at a slower pace than in recent years. The number of undocumented people living in the United States is on the decline. The composition of the foreign population in the country is also changing: newcomers are now, on average, more educated than previous generations of migrants to the United States, reveals Onevox’s research.

By 2018, the most recent official figure, 44.7 million immigrants resided in the United States. While immigration numbers generally decline, the workforce of foreigners in the United States increases. In the same year, according to the data, the share of immigrants working in the USA was already three times greater than the number registered in 1970, when only 5% of the workforce was immigrants.

Another survey by the Pew Research Center, based on data from the American government, shows that between 2007 and 2016 the unauthorized immigrant population in the United States shrank 13%. In contrast, the same survey shows that the population of legalized immigrants grew by 22% in the same period. An increase of more than 6 million people.

According to the Onevox’s researcher, Rodrigo Lins, whose professional career was recognized as extraordinary by the American Government, the data directly reflects Donald Trump’s strategy to curb unauthorized immigration and encourage the attraction of technology-skilled foreign labor, education, arts, sciences, and other key areas for the American economy.

“What we saw under the Donald Trump`s administration, was a policy of harassing the undocumented immigrant community, a more ostensible job of protecting borders, however, a greater granting of visas and green cards to foreign professionals, including from Brazil,” explains Rodrigo Lins, that is also a journalist and writer. “The American president is aware of the country’s difficulties in training at a higher and technical level, professionals capable of keeping up with the economy demand,” says Lins, who launched a book on how to lead a professional career legally from Brazil to the U.S. in 2019.

In contrast, data from the US State Department show that until 2018, Brazil was the Latin American country that received the most EB-5 visas (permits to live and work) in the USA. More than 300 green cards were awarded to Brazilians who sought to invest and live in the country. The increase was 37.5% compared to 2017 and 1,041.2% compared to 2015.

“The offer of several immigrants and non-immigrant visas by the American government for those who have a professional career abroad is making Brazilians see that it is no longer necessary to abandon life and professional career in Brazil to work in more menial services – as it happened more than 10 years ago”, explains Rodrigo Lins. “The idea is now the opposite, to seek from the US government the recognition of the career to work legally here”, says Lins.

Not only has the American government, under Trump’s administration, welcomed more petitions from foreign professionals to reside in the country, but the US Congress also appears to be engaged in attracting more qualified professional labor from abroad.

The numbers prove this intention. According to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the USA, the percentage of foreigners who integrate the American labor market and who have a bachelor’s degree or higher education is currently 36.9%. Those with a high school diploma are 25.1%, a percentage very close to that of native Americans with a high school diploma.

Of the 27.2 million foreign workers employed aged 16 or over by 2018, the majority, more than 33%, worked in administration, business, science, and the arts. A much higher percentage than the 13% that work in Natural Resources, Construction, and Maintenance (services that a little more than 10 years ago were the most attractive to immigrants).

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