- David McIntyre
- Every third Thursday, Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Episcopal Church in Kingston hosts a food and clothing giveaway for asylum seekers and their families.
From 2017 to the fall of 2019, the Trump administration has instituted a broad crackdown on immigrants, documented as well as undocumented, according to Syracuse University’s massive database (TRAC) that quantifies and counts arrests, incarcerations, and deportations. Since Trump took office, new court filings to begin deportation proceedings have spiked: They were up 23 percent to 340,000 last year, and 2019 will easily crest 400,000.
Regionally, ICE has heavily targeted people coming in and out of courthouses, or appearing to testify on behalf of defendants on trial, with arrests up 1,700 percent since 2016 through 2018, according to an early 2019 report by the Immigrant Defense Project. This is a policy that a regional ICE official, Thomas Decker, defended recently, saying ICE is targeting felons.
However, Syracuse’s TRAC shows that despite Trump’s repeated rhetoric of going after gang members, through June 2019, arrests of immigrants with criminal records is a minuscule 2.8 percent, compared with over 16 percent a decade ago, and 25 percent back in 1999. Locally and nationally, ICE is arresting mostly non-criminals, and ICE is armed with high-tech tools to track people and deceptive tactics to apprehend them.
If all the above is simply carrying out the law, the result is straining the regional economy.
According to a 2017 Fiscal Policy Institute Study, there are roughly 105,000 undocumented immigrants over the age of 16 in the region, generating $3.4 billion in spending power and $1.5 billion in taxes, according to New American Economy’s estimate of the 18th and 19th Congressional districts.
That economic engine is stalling, however, because the Brookings Institution finds that the foreign-born population in the United States in 2017-2018 grew by only 203,000, the slowest rate since 2007, while they also find that the native-born birthrate is at an 80-year low. An economy withers without workers, and another study by Brookings found that the nation is on the cusp of having more seniors than children for the first time in 240 years.
According to a 2019 report by the Economic Innovation Group (EIC), the Hudson Valley is at ground zero for this crisis, with some of the weakest population growth in the nation across the New York region. EIC suggests nothing short of the exact opposite of Trump’s policies, vouching to bring in vastly more foreign-born workers to rural areas to reverse this slide, because, for the most part, in addition to a zero or negative birthrate, young people are fleeing rural America at an accelerating pace.
Original article: https://therivernewsroom.com/2019/10/27/a-helping-hand/