“”Millions of people moved during the pandemic, driven by the opportunity to work remotely, the desire for more space, and better affordability,” Nadia Evangelou, senior economist for the National Association of Realtors, wrote January 30. “Twenty-six states experienced an influx of people, with more people moving in than out, while twenty-five states lost movers … California (-343,230), New York (-299,557), and Illinois (-141,656) experienced the largest net domestic outmigration.”
California, New York, and Illinois lost the greatest number of people in raw numbers during 2022, but they were also all in the top ten in terms of the net percentage of population that left each state. New York lost 0.9 percent, Illinois lost 0.8 percent, and California lost 0.3 percent (tying with Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and Rhode Island).
These states all have something else in common: high tax burdens. “Tax burden measures the proportion of total personal income that residents pay toward state and local taxes,” notes WalletHub, which ranks states by the measure. Using an assessment based on property taxes, individual income taxes, and sales and excise taxes, WalletHub ranks New York as the most highly taxed state in the country, puts California in ninth position, and Illinois at 10.”
“California lost 114,000. This is the third year in a row that California—with its can’t quite reach 40-million population—has lost people. This isn’t slowing growth, but actual losses (although the rate of decline slowed this year).
Those Census net domestic migration numbers show that 343,000 Californians left for other states. Immigration and births made up for most of the losses. People always are going to have babies and flee impoverished nations, but the true indicator of success or failure involves people voting with their feet—or their U-Hauls. Californians aren’t fleeing our weather or economy, but our bad public policy.
Let’s quickly recap the many ways California’s progressive-dominated government is failing California residents: endless regulations, punitive tax rates, untouchable public-sector unions that are ransacking budgets and opposing reforms, shoddy school systems and decrepit (but pricey) public services, traffic congestion, absurd housing prices, growing crime rates, failing efforts to provide basic infrastructure and a sprawling homelessness crisis.
Don’t count me among those who describe California as a dystopia. It’s far from it, but because of a lack of political competition this presumably innovative and free-thinking state is remarkably immune to new ideas. We endure the same tired rut: “Here’s a problem. Hey, why don’t we raise taxes and create a new agency?” Did I mention that no one ever holds old agencies accountable?”
“The framework will triple refugee resettlement from Latin America and the Caribbean in 2023 and 2024, for an annual cap of 20,000. Each month, up to 30,000 migrants combined from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Cuba may come to live and work in the U.S. on a two-year status if they secure an American sponsor and pass background checks.
Meanwhile, the White House says “individuals who irregularly cross the Panama, Mexico, or U.S. border after the date of this announcement will be ineligible for the parole process and will be subject to expulsion to Mexico,” which will accept up to 30,000 migrants monthly from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Cuba who have been expelled. Mexico will do so under an expansion of the pandemic-era Title 42 order, which allows for the immediate expulsion of border crossers. Previously, Mexico only accepted Mexicans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, and Salvadorans removed under Title 42. (It recently began accepting expelled Venezuelans as well.) Unauthorized migrants “will be increasingly subject to expedited removal to their country of origin and subject to a five-year ban on reentry,” according to the White House.
Certain aspects of the framework will likely help reduce the number of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, which has been a great challenge for the Biden administration so far. Under the new parole pathway, migrants can begin the process to secure legal passage to the U.S. from their home countries rather than doing so through an asylum claim (which can only be initiated at a port of entry or on U.S. soil). This could help save them a dangerous northward journey and reduce overcrowding at the border.”
“The pathway for Nicaraguans, Cubans, and Haitians mirrors similar programs established for Ukrainians and Venezuelans last year. Those programs helped reduce unlawful crossings among those groups, says Bier: “The Ukrainian parole program eliminated migration to the U.S.-Mexico border by Ukrainians. Venezuela’s program has already turned migration to be mostly legal.” Last summer, Customs and Border Protection reopened ports of entry to Haitians, which “basically ended illegal immigration by Haitians,” Bier explains.”
“it’s inaccurate to say that undocumented immigrants crossing an open border are chiefly responsible for fentanyl arriving at the country’s doors. In reality, U.S. citizens carrying the drug through legal ports of entry are primarily to blame.”
“Biden administration officials are now working to undo some of the harmful legal policies put in place by Trump-era attorneys general—less visible than controversial measures like the border wall and family separation, but nonetheless damaging to due process and punitive toward the people who seek asylum on American soil. Last June, Attorney General Merrick Garland scrapped rules that made it difficult for victims of domestic violence or gang violence, as well as family members of threatened individuals, to qualify for asylum.”
“The median home value in San Francisco in 2022 is above $1.5 million, according to the Zillow Home Value Index, which shows home values rising by more than 10 percent in the past year alone. In nearby San Jose, Redfin reports a median home price of $1.45 million—but home values have risen by a staggering 24 percent in the last year. Today’s Bay Area is simply unaffordable for most people, in part because California regulations hinder new construction and in part because natural geographical constraints reduce the total amount of buildable space; San Francisco has a huge housing supply shortage that shows no signs of being remedied soon.
Pair this with complaints that the city has failed to handle its homelessness problem, leading to open-air drug scenes and massive tent encampments in neighborhoods like the Tenderloin. One in every 100 San Franciscans is homeless, and California is a national outlier in terms of what proportion of the homeless population is actively “unsheltered,” as in, sleeping on the streets or under highway overpasses. In San Francisco, 73 percent of the city’s homeless population is considered unsheltered. That’s not normal, even for a big city: In New York City, the figure is about 3 percent.
And then there was the pandemic, which made many big tech offices obsolete: Twitter, Yelp, and Airbnb attempted to sublease their expensive Bay Area office spaces. Pinterest paid almost $90 million in the third quarter of 2020 to break the lease of their almost 500,000-square-foot office space. For many workers, the value of living in San Francisco dropped. Why pay a premium to live near an office you aren’t going to?
Finally, there was the broader sense, especially among high-value tech workers, that San Francisco and its neighbors were uninterested and unresponsive, focused only on extracting from their most productive citizens in the form of high taxes, which fund poor city services. In the last few years, many have simply grown tired of paying exorbitant taxes for the privilege of living in California—one that now bestows little in return.
Hence the Golden State exodus. In 2021, for the first time ever, California lost a congressional seat. The state didn’t technically lose population, but it didn’t have the same growth rate as the rest of the country.”
“the shift also owes something to responsive governance. Leaders of other cities have actively courted the movers. In December 2020, venture capitalist Delian Asparouhov tweeted “ok guys hear me out, what if we move silicon valley to miami.” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez responded promptly, “How can I help?”
Yet as Bay Area tech workers depart, it remains an open question whether those new pastures will truly be greener. The city of Austin has faced rising housing costs, stemming in part from restrictions on development. Miami has struggled with corruption and policing problems. San Francisco’s urban competitors are cheaper, for now, but there are already worrying signs that the cities luring tech’s highly mobile, highly desirable workers are already poised to repeat many of the same mistakes that drove so many Californians away.”
“In 2012, Austin city officials saw the writing on the wall and proactively tried to remedy these problems by moving toward a zoning code rewrite. The 30-year-old code had outlasted its usefulness, and with massive population growth, city planners needed to allow for much more density.
The city’s newly proposed zoning code was dubbed CodeNEXT, as part of a forward-looking urban revitalization plan, Imagine Austin. The new code aimed to reduce the strict separations between Austin’s residential and commercial corridors, allowing for more mixed-use buildings and more housing overall.
It would’ve scrapped single-family zoning restrictions in many areas, allowing for duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and apartment buildings to be built in their stead; it would’ve allowed for urban in-fill instead of forcing newcomers to gravitate toward far-flung suburbs; it would’ve reduced or eliminated minimum parking requirements in some places too. It wasn’t exactly an urbanist’s dream—some criticized it for not going far enough with regard to density—but it was a reasonable step toward that ideal.”
“By 2018, the project was dead in the water, having been met with fierce opposition primarily from neighborhood preservationists and homeowners, who had seen their homes double in price over the last five or 10 years.”
“Facing pressure to find ways to limit the number of migrants requesting entry to the United States, Mexican immigration authorities will not permit the migrants to leave the city unless they have some form of legal immigration status allowing them to move freely through the country, such as asylum. Hundreds tried to escape last month, but were intercepted and detained by Mexican immigration authorities.
Many of Tapachula’s migrants have already applied for legal status so that they can travel north to the US border. Mexican immigration authorities are supposed to process those applications within 90 business days. But some migrants have been waiting for more than a year due to a surge in applications that has led to backlogs. In 2021, nearly 90,000 people applied for asylum in Tapachula, more than triple the number who did so the year before. Applications from vulnerable groups — including children, pregnant people, victims of crimes, people with disabilities, older adults, and their immediate family members — are currently being prioritized.”
“Migrants are being kept from entering the US under a pandemic-related border restriction first implemented by the Trump administration, known as the Title 42 policy, which allows the federal government to bar noncitizens from entering the US for health reasons. Although public health experts have said Title 42 doesn’t help to stop the spread of Covid-19, the Biden administration has embraced it. That has allowed the Biden administration to carry out 1.1 million expulsions to Mexico in the past year, including to the state of Chiapas, where Tapachula is located.
In 2019, the Mexican government agreed to ramp up immigration enforcement on its southern border in order to avert US tariffs Trump had threatened. Though the Biden administration hasn’t continued to threaten those tariffs, it has dangled carrots of vaccine doses and development funds in exchange for Mexico’s cooperation on limiting migration to the US border.
The effect of those policies has been to keep migrants away from US borders and out of mind for most Americans. And it’s been largely successful in silencing migrants unless they go to extreme lengths to be heard.”
“But the kind of care provided to migrants in Tapachula isn’t adequate. The city simply doesn’t have the infrastructure to support a sudden influx of people. For months, some 3,000 migrants were living at a campsite at Tapachula’s Olympic Stadium, where they had no access to clean water, food, health care, and other basic services, and shared only a few portable toilets.
That camp was disbanded in December, but there still isn’t enough affordable housing and room in local shelters to support the migrant population and it’s not clear whether or when the Mexican government will build more shelters. Many are sleeping on the streets near INM’s local offices and don’t have work permits, meaning that they can’t secure stable employment that would allow them to support themselves while they wait. And they have reported being mistreated, arrested in violent and arbitrary manners, and robbed of their money and their phones by Mexican authorities.
Though Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard has promised to reduce wait times by streamlining the bureaucracy around the asylum process, he has also acknowledged that the government simply doesn’t have the staffing and resources to meet the explosion in need.
The US could share the load by resuming processing of migrants at its own borders and allowing them to pursue claims to humanitarian protection, as is their legal right. Instead, it has offloaded its immigration responsibilities onto its neighbor.”