HOW will the migration compass move with the Trump administration?
First, the north.
The US President-elect says “Enough of NAFTA.”
NAFTA of course stands for North America Free Trade Agreement, signed by Canada, Mexico and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994.
The agreement sucks, presidential nominees Ross Perot and Donald Trump said. Perot predicted there would be a great sucking sound of jobs moving south to Mexico. Trump, of course, is moving west of New York’s Trump Tower to the White House.
Hillary Clinton got the popular vote, but Donald became the 45th President of the United States. But that’s democracy, American-style.
Did jobs move south and to the east–outsourced?
Figures are fleeting; no one can put a finger on it. Nobody could even provide actual benefits, only estimates of the “economic impact of trade agreements” which itself was “a daunting task due to a lack of data and important theoretical and practical matters associated with generating results from economic models. In addition, such estimates provide an incomplete accounting of the total economic effects of trade agreements.”
Now, the facts
NAFTA was not a Democrat creation. The trade agreement had bipartisan support. It was negotiated by Republican President George H.W. Bush and passed through Congress. Democratic President Bill Clinton implemented it. Hillary Clinton significantly suffered from it.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued its report on April 16, 2015 that “in 2014, Canada was the leading market for US exports, while Mexico ranked second. The two countries accounted for 34 percent of total US exports in 2014. In imports, Canada and Mexico ranked second and third, respectively, as suppliers of US imports in 2014. The two countries accounted for 27 percent of US imports.”
CRS contends that “the overall net effect of NAFTA on the US economy has been relatively small, primarily because total trade with both Mexico and Canada was equal to less than 5 percent of US GDP at the time NAFTA went into effect.” In addition, the report explains that “it is also important to take into account that two-way trade with Mexico was equal to an even smaller percentage of GDP (1.4 percent) in 1994. Thus, any changes in trade patterns would not be expected to be significant in relation to the overall US economy”
While NAFTA supporters concede that “jobs in certain industries, such as cars and electronics, might have suffered, but overall, the job impact was nominal.”
To the street Joe, this is gobbledygook, nonsense, cow dung, or simply shit.
What matters is what they believe and feel. Perception rules, especially if a number of populists keep repeating claims over and over until they become part of an altered reality.
During the campaign, Bernie Sanders claimed that “NAFTA, supported by the Secretary (Clinton), cost (the US) 800,000 jobs nationwide, tens of thousands of jobs in the Midwest.”
Those who lost jobs, including their families, plus others who have not seen their income and way of living improve, while Wall Street, corporate moguls and politicians felt their pockets lined and swell, carried Donald Trump from nomination to coronation.
A billionaire representing working America. (Hey, we have a former presidential son representing security guards, don’t we?)
The Trump administration is shaping up to be what Donald promised: strongly against immigration and trade agreements with the traditional partners. Mexico and China are out. Russia is in.
Canada on the other hand is increasing its immigration targets to 300,000 permanent residents or immigrants next year. Mexico, on the other hand, is adamant that it will not pay for the Great Wall of Trump. The Donald did admit that in some areas, there will only be fences, not a great, beautiful wall.
For Filipinos who are undocumented, unlawfully present in the US–dubbed “Tago ng Tago, or Takbo ng Takbo”–what are the options?
From the post-election statements of Trump “3 million illegal immigrants will be deported from Day One”. That should be January 20 or 21, the day of his swearing-in or the day Donald Trump officially becomes the President of the Divided States of America.
But how many TNTs are there in the US, really? How many of these TNTs are criminals and should start packing?
Like NAFTA, no one can put a finger on it. The best description is that the statistics is as clear as mud.
Estimates by the Office of Immigration Statistics put the number of TNTs in the US at 270,000 or two percent of the 10.8 million unauthorized aliens in 2009. Again, the emphasis is placed on “estimates” which because of its nature I shall refer to as “factimates.”
More factimates: the US Embassy says on official videos that more than 1,000 apply for nonimmigrant visas daily.” At least 50 percent of those apply for tourist visas. The rate of approval is 80 percent. Hence, it is fair to assume that about 800 Filipinos get tourist visas daily. How many actually use their visas?
2005 – 2014
In 2014 alone, the factimates of the US Embassy are confirmed by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The agency’s 2014 Yearbook of Statistics shows visitors from the Philippines (visa holders admitted into the US as visitors for business or pleasure) were more than half of all admissions.
Visa holders who crossed into the TNT twilight zone are not just visitor visa holders. Some are students, temporary workers (H-1B, H-2B) and other classes, particularly the C-1/D (aliens in transit and crewman).
More than 6,000 Filipinos leave the country daily, according to the POEA, and this group represents only those with overseas contracts, not US tourist visa holders. If only 50 percent of 800 Filipinos granted visas make good on their purpose and go to the US each week, there would be at least 20,000 kababayans added to the Filipino-American population.
How many vanish in the immigrant community forest and lapse into legal limbo or become TNTs? Nobody can provide the facts. Factimates, yes, but actual numbers are elusive.
And this is where perception took over: imagination embellished perception. Repetition became religion. And Trump became the patron saint of “truthful hyperbole.”