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The “Crime” of Working in America: Immigration Laws Need to Catch Up to Reality

In 2008, when I returned from trips abroad at Boston’s Logan International Airport, I was greeted by pictures of the president and the regional director for Homeland Security, Lorraine Henderson, who had the responsibility for the enforcement of immigration law in the northeastern US. In December of 2008, Lorraine Henderson was arrested. Her crime? She employed Fabiana Bitencourt to clean her house. The rub: Fabiana was a Brazilian national who didn’t have authorization to work in the United States. When Fabiana suggested she might return to Brazil for a visit, Lorraine advised that since enforcement was based only on border interdiction, Fabiana ran risks crossing the border but almost no risk in staying put. Lorraine Henderson was charged with “encouraging” and “inducing” an alien to remain in the country illegally.

This Beats Most Aid by Miles - And It’s a Migration Non-Profit

Yesterday I discovered a development organization so revolutionary, most people wouldn’t even call it a development organization. It’s a non-profit called the Independent Agricultural Worker Center (CITA).

CITA is a matchmaker between farms and seasonal agricultural workers. The farms are in the United States; almost all of the workers are in Mexico. CITA brings them together and unleashes the vast economic power of labor mobility for development.

Dubai, Magnet for Foreign Workers, Could Do Better by Easing Labor Mobility Restrictions

The story of Dubai is remarkable. In six decades it has grown from a small fishing village to a gleaming metropolis with a per capita GDP comparable to that of the United States. In many ways, Dubai must be seen to be believed. Even its skyline is unreal–rising straight out of the desert and dominated by the tallest building in the world—the 2625 ft., 160-story, silver-and-glass Burj Khalifa.

Should Natural Disaster Victims Be Offered Safe Haven and Opportunity Abroad?

(Kaci Farrell contributed to this post and preparations for the roundtable)

Last week, I hosted a roundtable here at CGD to discuss how the United States and other rich countries might better provide safe haven and opportunity to potential migrants from developing countries that are in acute need—particularly the victims of natural disasters.

This question has been at the forefront of my mind since the earthquake ravaged Haiti on January 12.

Is Your Citizenship Worth $1 Million? An Alternative to Obama’s Proposal on Immigration

President Obama spoke yesterday on overhauling U.S. immigration.  He went straight to the thorniest issue, what to do about the millions of unauthorized migrants already here. Obama wants a third path between the extremes of blanket amnesty and mass deportation.

That compromise approach, he goes on to sketch, would be a combination of sending troops to the border, cracking down on employers, and obliging unauthorized immigrants to:

Migration Is a Spectacularly Good Investment for Most: New Study from Bangladesh

Do the costs of international migration outweigh its benefits for the poor?  Many people I talk with suspect that migration should be regulated on development grounds—because it might bring large social costs, as well as private costs that the migrant is too poorly informed to account for.

A good first step is to measure the private benefits, because that gives us an idea of how large those other costs would have to be in order for international migration to be a net harm.

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