New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition
Fall, 2021
News and Views
Pursuing Bipartisan and Evidence-Based Immigration Reform

Immigrants Keep New Jersey Growing

Excerpts from the Guest Blog of Tim Evans, Director of Research at New Jersey Future
New 2020 Census populations illustrate New Jersey’s continuing reliance on immigration magnets for population growth. While data on place of birth are not yet available for 2020, places with high percentages of immigrants as of 2019 generally grew faster than the rest of the state between the 2010 and 2020 Censuses. As a group, the 84 municipalities with a foreign-born percentage of 30% or more grew by 8.9% over the decade, compared to the statewide rate of 5.7%. The 28 municipalities with the highest percentages of immigrants (40% foreign-born or more) grew by 10.1%, nearly double the state’s growth rate. The places that are most attractive to immigrants tend to be the places that have grown the fastest over the past decade.
Part of the reason for the overlap between high-growth municipalities and municipalities with high foreign-born percentages is that the same urban centers—especially in North Jersey—that have traditionally attracted people from other countries have also been attracting young adults over the last decade and a half. The trend back toward older, walkable centers has reversed several decades’ worth of outward suburban expansion and enabled many previously struggling cities and older towns to post their first big population gains in many years—aided by their continuing status as immigrant destinations.
Integration or Crisis? In the Age of Migration, Those are the Only Choices
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Contending with the Pandemic, Wealthy Nations Wage Global Battle for Migrants
The Missing Immigrant Workers
Could U.S. Immigration Help Solve Need To Recruit 1 Million New Truck Drivers Over Next Decade?
Labor Shortages during the Pandemic and Beyond: What Role Can Immigration Policy Play
Immigrants could fix the US labor shortage
Who Will Win the Global War for Talent?
What Is It That Makes Immigrants Such Good Entrepreneurs?
The ‘Third Rail of American Politics’ Is Still Electrifying
Many white Americans feel threatened by our increasingly diverse country — and their fear is dangerous
Plan Z for Immigration: Let the States Sort it Out
The U.S. needs a job-creating visa option for immigrant entrepreneurs
How Two Bipartisan Immigration Proposals Can Support Our Exhausted Healthcare Workforce
U.S. Healthcare Groups Urge Approval of International Nurse Immigration
Spotlight: The Legal Immigration Provisions of the House-Passed Budget Reconciliation Act
Although there has been much attention given to the “legalization” provisions of the “Build Back Better” Act (passed by the House of Representatives on November 18), less has been paid to the general immigration provisions of the Act. Stuart Anderson, writing in Forbes, described them as the “most significant legislative provisions for high-skilled immigrants since Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1990…”
One provision would recapture unused family or employment immigrant visa numbers going back to FY 1992 — estimated to be as many as 400,000 visas. Many of these visa numbers were lost during the pandemic as borders were closed and visa processing stalled at U.S. consulates around the world. Recapturing these green cards would help restore the immigrant population in the United States to the level that Congress had originally intended and fill labor shortages crippling the U.S. economy.
Relying on these recaptured visa numbers, another provision in the Act would attempt to clear the backlog in all existing legal immigration categories. A green card applicant, who has an approved petition that is more than two years old and meets other requirements, can pay a supplemental fee of $1,500 to adjust status to permanent resident. This provision would especially benefit people from populous countries such as India and China who have been waiting in long queues because of statutory limits on the number of people that can be granted permanent residence from any one country during a single fiscal year. A final provision would allow winners of the Diversity Visa Lotteries from FY 2017 to FY 2021 to reclaim their visas if they were denied entry to the U.S. because of the pandemic.
The “legalization” provisions would cover roughly 7 million of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. To qualify, immigrants must have arrived in the U.S. before Jan. 1, 2011, and have lived in the country continuously since then. They would be granted “parole” – a form of Congressional authority to admit people into the U.S. who would not otherwise qualify under existing immigration law. Parole, in and of itself, does not provide a pathway to permanent residence or citizenship, unless the paroled immigrant could qualify for “adjustment of status” through an existing family preference or employment category. However, parole would enable them to work legally in the U.S. Their work permits would be valid for five years, and could be renewed one time, extending protections through September 2031. It remains to be seen whether these provisions will survive or be amended in the Senate.
Studies Examine the Core Beliefs of Immigration Advocates and Skeptics
Although the Coalition believes that evidence-based research should guide the development of immigration policy, there are disturbing signs that “facts” don’t always matter in the immigration debate. Strong and deep-seated fears and emotions, often disconnected from facts, very often impede the search for bipartisan solutions.
In a recently released public opinion study by the American Immigration Council, researchers found that rigidity existed on both sides of the immigration debate, with a large number of immigration issues considered “sacred” by both left and right. On the left, for example, stopping family separation is a non-negotiable goal. On the right, withholding public benefits from unauthorized immigrants and stopping illegal immigration have similar holding power. The study concluded that attempts to counter these deeply entrenched beliefs will likely backfire, and that the better approach is to try to find consensus in other policy areas, while not directly challenging these core beliefs. Indeed, the authors go so far as to say that “sacred values must be acknowledged with respect.”
Another recent study done by researchers at the CATO Institute explored the underlying motivation behind these deeply held beliefs. It found, for example, that 69 percent of immigration “restrictionists” worry about becoming a minority in this country, and 82 percent fear greater discrimination against whites over time. How does one deal with these powerful underlying beliefs? Clearly, arguments stressing the value of diversity would not sway immigration skeptics. Rather, as another recent study concluded, if people were told (and convinced) that immigrants were adapting to the American way of life, they would have fewer objections to continued immigration.
This experiment aligns with a growing body of work showing that messages emphasizing common bonds between natives and immigrants may be more effective than those arguing the economic value of immigrants or the value of diversity in general. Although the Coalition will continue to emphasize the economic importance of immigration, we recognize that our arguments may not carry weight with everyone, and that we must find ways to reach people whose values and concerns lie elsewhere.
Time for a Start-Up Visa
for Immigrant Entrepreneurs?
The National Venture Capital Association is urging the creation of a “start-up visa” for immigrant entrepreneurs. In a paper released earlier this year, the Association put forth a number of arguments for creating such a visa. More than 25 countries, including Canada, the UK, Australia, and Germany, have already introduced their versions of such a visa. U.S. inaction in this area, according to the Association, has led to a drop in the U.S. share of global venture capital from 84% in 2004 to 52% in 2010. The paper also points out that startups are “responsible for virtually all net new jobs in the last couple of decades” and that immigrants founded one-third of U.S. venture capital-companies that went public between 2006 and 2012. The paper also cites research showing that startups create more than four times as many jobs as mature firms, i.e. firms operating for 11 years or more. Although the H-1B visa enables aspiring entrepreneurs to gain job experience in the U.S. before launching their own firms, such a visa does not give entrepreneurs the opportunity to start their own firms right away, nor the security of permanent status in the U.S. Bipartisan legislation to create a start-up visa was introduced into the Senate in 2021 by Senators Moran, Warner, Klobuchar, and Blunt.
In 2019, New Jersey surpassed New York to become the state with the 2nd highest percentage of immigrants to total population (23%) behind California (27%).
Click here for more information
With such a large per capita immigrant population, New Jersey has many other distinctions. It has, for example, more Asian Indian immigrants as a percentage of total population than any other state; it also has more Peruvian immigrants as a percentage of total population of any other state.
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The college-educated immigrant population has increased dramatically over the last couple of decades. As of 2018, 32% of all immigrants in the U.S. had at least a bachelor’s degree.
Click here for more information
The Migration Policy Institute estimates that there are 247,000 unauthorized immigrants in New Jersey who would benefit from the “parole” provisions of the “Build Back Better” Act
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Click on the “Register” link for additional information on program content and speakers. Events are arranged in chronological order from the earliest to the latest.
Effects of Migration on Institutions: Five Centuries of Evidence, Center for Migration and Development, Princeton University, December 2, 2021, 12 Noon to 1:15 pm ET. Register
Immigrant Essential Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Webinar, Public Education Institute, Immigrant Learning Center, December 8, 2021, 2:00 to 3:00 pm ET. Register
Immigration and Metropolitan Revitalization in Philadelphia and Nationwide, Athenaeum of Philadelphia, December 16, 2021, 6:00 to 7:00 pm ET (In-person event). Register
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NJ Business Immigration Coalition
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