Every year tens of thousands of people leave their homes in Latin America in the hope of reaching the United States of America. Driven by grinding poverty, they travel in search of work and a more promising future.
What do the citizens and residents of the United States really understand about the role Hispanic migrants play in the US economy and their impact on the labor market? Do we understand the importance of their function? Or the injustices and challenges they face under our current system? Do we understand the interplay between our economic condition and their presence in our labor force?
As part of the social action campaign around the film “Who Is Dayani Cristal?” we aim to illuminate these issues above, create deeper knowledge of and engagement with question of Hispanic migration and its role in our economy, and shift perceptions toward fairness and justice. As one of our interactive elements, we plan to distribute a data visualization which provides a fresh perspective on the migrant experience and the realities of labor demands in the US - a perspective more in line with today’s economic and social truths - to advance justice and equity for those caught on either side of the US-Mexico border and those who journey across it.
Using the data sets provided, form a data visualization which provides a better understanding of the role of immigration in the US and creatively narrates:
-- a portrayal of labor demands in the US over time
-- the reasons behind people crossing the border
-- the contribution of migrant workers on the labor landscape and their function in the economy.
We aspire to challenge and clarify the notion that migration is a threat to the US workforce and economy. The data visualization will help establish a greater understanding of (Hispanic) migrant contribution, to further legitimize and give protection to both documented and undocumented migrant workers, as well as highlight the correlation between immigration and a healthy economy and the dysfunction which exists within immigration & labor policies as they stand.
The data visualization should provide a powerful narrative tool for Hispanic civil rights & advocacy groups and relevant non-profit organizations to use in their social action campaigns, helping them deliver data in a visually arresting style to legislators, policy makers and stakeholders including the public who have been misguided about the complexity of immigration. This tool will also be used as part of the Who Is Dayani Cristal? advocacy and action campaign.
The aim is to create an aesthetic tool that reflects the themes present in the data sets. Sophisticated, memorable design elements with strong visual cues which tell a story in a manner easily understood, and accessible to, the intended users and audience.
The content of the visualization will take into account time frames, statistics and sources, and clearly portray information and conclusions drawn from the information.
Initial tool launch: Late Fall 2012. Depending of the form of the data visualization, the objective is to create a tool that can be extended and populated with future data, by its users. (We note that we have access to a limited data set at present, therefore the tool will continue to be populated with data up until launch, if it is possible to design the tool to be flexible.)
Visualization “Users”: Users who will apply this tool in their work and populate it with data on an ongoing basis:
- Other WIDC nonprofit organization partners, relevant advocacy groups
- WIDC website / social action campaign managers
- Legislators, policy makers, stakeholders
“Audience”: Recipients of the information of this visualization
– Legislators, policy makers, migrant rights activists generally
– Workers/voters with preconceived ideas on the negative impact migrants have on the American workforce.
Narrative: The “story” of the visualization tool? What are the stories, messages and themes that will be communicated in order to reach the intended impact?
As pulled from data sets:
– Introduction of problem – present the data – provide conclusions which address problem
– The U.S. economy and the wages of all workers would be boosted substantially if Congress enacts comprehensive immigration reform. Evidence: post IRCA, formerly undocumented workers earned more, improved their language skills, acquired more education, opened bank accounts, opened businesses, bought homes.
– In order to have a strong economic recovery, we need a functional immigration system. As we have seen, when the demand for workers decreases, the number of immigrants to the U.S. decreases.
– Our immigration system is out of date and rigged for exploitation. We need to update the system to ensure that there are legal avenues for people to go through the system, not around it.
– As the American workforce ages, immigrant workers are increasingly important.
Media: Possible form and distribution of the visualization tool?
– Infographics / maps / graphs / with interactive capabilities?
– Distribute: nonprofit organization websites, WIDC media platforms, iBook, social media channels, blogs, media release to relevant influences/online media, commissioned op-eds, mail-outs to partners.
Examples of visualizations we like:
Examples of map & graphs / motion & information graphs:
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/interactive/timelines/british/index.shtml ( map historical data across a moving timeline)
- http://www.gapminder.org/ (world’s most important trends via data visualizations – health, population, conflict etc.)
- http://developmentseed.org/ (company in Washington who create data visualization to explain complex world issues – some amazing examples)
- http://www.twingly.com/screensaver (visualizing blog activity in real time (requries DL)
- http://www.wefeelfine.org/movements.html (An exploration of human emotion in 6 movements, highlighting different aspects of different populations)
- http://www.businessweek.com/europe/graphic-news-corps-tangled-web-07142011-gfx.html (visual communication of the news corp. phone hacking scandal.)
- http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/war.casualties/index.html?hpt=C2 (CNN’s war casualty map data visualization)
- http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/11/09/us/ows-grid.html (public opinion of Occupy Wallstreet movement as defined in interactive data grid)
- http://awesome.good.is/transparency/web/1102/pledge-to-be-good/flash.html (data vis. of number of hours people work on humanitarian causes)
- http://www.onlineschools.org/blog/peta/ (data vis. looking at the organisational practices of PETA)
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/jun/15/refugee-statistics-unhcr#zoomed-picture (UNHCR refugee statistic)
- http://www.hispanicvoters2012.com/?wpisrc=nl_fix Prepared by the GOP on the Latino population in the US, so you see they focus on Republicans in the politics section, but the demographic portion is pretty cool.
The visualization should be flexible to allow for additional data and input over time, as we currently only have access to some of the relevant data, and will be collecting more over the next year. The visualization should also be flexible to allow for partners and organizations with limited resources to interact with it-- and to allow for its use on multiple platforms (web, mobile, iBook).
B. The Data Sets:
Organized by “argument”:
1) The U.S. economy and the wages of all workers would be boosted substantially if Congress enacts comprehensive immigration reform. Evidence: post IRCA, formerly undocumented workers earned more, improved their language skills, acquired more education, opened bank accounts, opened businesses, bought homes.
Primary Sources: yet to be obtained.
o Dixon and Rimmer, “Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform”
o Borjas “The Labor Demand Curve Is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 118 (4): 1335–74.
o “Immigrants and the Economy: Contribution of Immigrant Workers to the Country's 25 Largest Metropolitan Areas” http://www.fiscalpolicy.org/immigration_immigrantsandtheeonomy.html
2) In order to have a strong economic recovery, we need a functional immigration system. As we have seen, when the demand for workers decreases, the number of immigrants to the U.S. decreases.
Evidence: undocumented population declines during recession.
o Visa levels over time (DHS)?
o Aaron Terrazas, MPI (presentation to hill staff)
o USCD, Mexican Migration Field Research Program has research on the decrease of workers crossing due to the economic downturn
3) Our immigration system is out of date and rigged for exploitation. We need to update the system to ensure that there are legal avenues for people to go through the system, not around it.
Evidence: There is no viable line for people to get into, visa shortages, especially in less-skilled jobs.
o 2010 DHS Yearbook of Immigration Statistics (includes only legal pathways) compared to Pew Hispanic Unauthorized Population estimates
o Bureau of Labor Statistics percentages of foreign-born workers by industry
o Upcoming Brookings report
4) As the American workforce ages, immigrant workers are increasingly important.
Evidence: as replacements for retiring Baby Boomers, in occupations to support the elderly,
as taxpayers to sustain Social Security, Medicare, and federal programs
o Population projections by age, race, Hispanic origin (no nativity data)
o Industry and occupational projections to show growth elder-support occupation growth and growth in occupations that require less-skilled workers
o Ratio of the inactive population aged 65 and over to the labour force aged 15 to 64, with projections through 2050
o Immigration Policy Center report on aging Baby Boomers and new immigrants
o Audrey Singer, “Immigrant Workers in the U.S. Labor Force”
o Selçuk Eren, Hugo Benítez-Silva, and Eva Cárceles-Poveda “Effects of Legal and Unauthorized Immigration on the US Social Security System”
Research ContactsNameTitleOrganization/InstitutionNCLR ContactExpertiseDavid Dyssegaard KallickDirector, Immigration Research InitiativeFiscal Policy InstituteCatherine Jeff Passell Pew Hispanic CenterPatricia-Undocumented immigrantsGeorge Borjas Giovanni PeriProfessor of EconomicsUC Davis -Labor demands
-Competition for low-wage jobsDoug MasseyProfessor of SociologyPrincetonPatricia-integration of immigrants; push-pull factorsGordon HansonProfessor of Economics; Director, Center on Emerging and Pacific EconomiesUCSD -macroeconomic contributions of immigrantsKaren Anderson/Adam Looney Hamilton Project at BrookingsCharles-estimating visa shortage
-contributions of immigrants to U.S. industriesMichael FixSenior Vice President and Director of StudiesMigration Policy InstituteLaura-high skilled and low-skilled immigrants
-educational and occupational profiles of immigrant workers
We intend this data visualization to be a strong element of the social impact campaign around the film, and will be a part of the film’s website, mobile app, and iBook. It will also be be used by our nonprofit partners and their extended network of rights and advocacy groups to use in their social action campaigns, helping them deliver data in a visually arresting style to legislators, policy makers and stakeholders including the public.