This paper presents the results of a study that finds that as many as two million unauthorized immigrants in the United States could have a path to permanent legal status. However, these immigrants may not know that they are eligible for legal status or be able to afford the costs. The two million figure is drawn from an analysis of data on 4,070 screened unauthorized immigrants from 12 states. The study highlights the profound impact that a national project to screen for legal status would have on the US unauthorized population, mixed-status families, and US communities, including growth in home ownership and increased tax revenues. The paper recommends the following: (1) a massive, nationwide legal screening and legalization effort; (2) a substantial increase in high-quality, low-cost legal service providers; (3) increased legal training focused on immigration law and eligibility screening; and (4) extensive community outreach and education, especially among under-resourced populations.
In this essay, Sergio Carciotto of the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) examines South Africa’s temporary labor migration laws and how they apply to migrant workers from Zimbabwe. Carciotto makes the case that low-skilled workers, such as Zimbabweans, are not provided the benefits that high-skilled workers receive, particularly the opportunity to become permanent residents. As such, they are without leverage in the workplace and are subject to exploitation. Carciotto concludes that low-skilled workers who enter on a temporary basis should be allowed to apply for permanent residency after a certain time, in order to avoid situations of indentured servitude. In other words, the longer a worker remains, “the stronger their claim to full membership in society and to the enjoyment of the same rights as citizens.” He also states that such a policy should be included in the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, currently being negotiated by United Nations member states.