Post-Pandemic Labor Market and the U.S Immigration Policy

Though too early to evaluate, preliminary studies show an increasing demand for a blue-collar worker in the post pandemic era in almost all Sates in the U.S. This development has been a paradox for many experts for it was unprecedented in the preceding economic recessions.

Experts were predicting the evolving job automation of robotics and artificial intelligence advancement would wipe out most of the blue-collar jobs and make human workers obsolescence. However, the current developments in labor markets make these public discourses not true, at least for the time being.  On the other hand, there are still many economists who strongly argue that the current developments are transitory that would die-out once the enhanced unemployment benefits expire, in person schools open, the fear of Covid-19 settled down, and the re-shoring of U.S manufacturing industries level off.

However, most analyses have forgotten the impact of the strict immigration policy that the U.S government has followed in recent years. According to  the study by  the Pew Research Center , the monthly migrant apprehension at the U.S- Mexico border in February 2021 was approaching the record number observed a year ago showing the tight immigration policy continuing in the current administration. If this trend continues in all fronts for a long time, it will for sure will have an impact on the imbalance of supply and demand in low-skill sectors in the U.S. Similarly, the number of people who have received a U.S green card has sharply declined in 2020 and contributing its share to the current imbalance.

The Economist has also  estimated the America’s immigrant population appears to be in sustainable decline for the first time in half a century. If this profound immigration reversal continues could affect the U.S economy in the long run for companies’ profitability will be dwindled because of increasing wage rates.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and immigrant families

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain that scientists believe is due to an interaction of multiple factors ranging from genetic conditions to substance abuse. The Autismsociety’s estimates, about 1 percent of the world’s population, and 1 in 54 births in the United States have some sort of autism, and more than 3.5 million Americans live with this disorder. The prevalence has also been alarmingly increasing from 119.4 percent during 2000 to 2010 though not clear whether the testing rate has been expanding or the ASD has expanded over time. 

Autism could affect citizens in many dimensions including economic to social. For example, autism services have costed the U.S government from $236-262 billion every year to support adult and child services. In addition, the per capita lifetime expenses for a person with autism are estimated to be $2.4 million which is almost double compared to the expense of a person without. As Shattuck et al, 2012 estimated, 35 percent of young adults who have autism spectrum have had neither the chance to pursue postgraduate education nor participate in the labor force after leaving high school.

Autism affects immigrant families in two directions. First, according to Dealberto, M. J. (2011), there is an association between maternal immigrant status and increased risk of autism. Using a multivariate analysis, the authors have found black ethnicity is associated with an increased risk of autism. The results are consistent with the maternal vitamin D inefficiency hypothesis. Though still controversial, according to this hypothesis vitamin D stimulates the gene that is responsible for the production of serotonin in the brain. And there is strong association between some cultural diets with Vitamin D deficiency. For example, from my observation, I have noticed many of my friends have been diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency, and some doctors hypothesized it could be something to do with our diets. 

On the other hand, once the incident has occurred, there is also a gap on the acceptance of autistic kids within immigrant communities. In some communities, there is a still social stigma considering autistic children as a curse instead of accepting them a a different childrent . This belief makes early surveillance and testing too difficult because according to Center for Disease Control (CDC), early intervention programs help parents and children reduce the the impact of of some autism spectrum that will be noted at later age, and minimizes the cost of the intervention at national level.

Thus, intervention program need to target such communities to make awareness on the causes, symptoms and effects of ASD before it becomes too late for intervention.


Dealberto, M. J. (2011). Prevalence of autism according to maternal immigrant status and ethnic origin. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica123(5), 339-348.

Motivating Factors that help Students be Successful in Math

As a Math and Statistics Tutor working for a community college in the U.S, I always encounter different types of students ranging from those who master Math within a short period to those who always say, “I hate Math.” The question is: what explains this difference? Is it only because the former is naturally gifted to be good at Math but not the latter, or are there other factors than the inherent factor? 

Several empirical and theoretical research tried to find out the contribution of motivation and cognitive factors for the success of students in quantitative skills. Murayama, K., Pekrun et al (2013) found out the importance of motivation and learning strategies in facilitating adult success in mathematical competencies. Learning strategies which vary by age, sex, social status, parental education, and occupational level of parents, is the most significant factor on top of the intelligence of the student. 

So the paper argued the educators need to find out the right motivating factors that help students put a focused effort on Math. Though there are several theories of motivation both in workplaces and academia ranging from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, ERG theory, McClelland’s need theory, Herzberg’s two-factor theory etc. However most of these theories mostly applicable how to motivate employees in workplaces. Victor Vroom’s expectancy theory of motivation seems the right theory that could also be applied in academia too. According to this theory, students might expect a certain outcome of behavior and performance which might be thought of as rewards or consequence of behavior. Secondly, students believe that there is a correlation between the effort they put forth, the performance they achieve, and the outcomes they receive.

For example, according to this theory, there are three interrelated concepts such as the valence, expectancy, and instrumentality. The valence is the value or importance the student has put on a particular reward such as grade. Similarly, the expectancy could be the belief that effort leads to performance (example, “If I study harder, I can do better in math tests”. etc). Instrumentality, on the other hand, could be the belief that performance is related to rewards (example, “If I get A I will get paid later ”). 

 Hence, to help students achieve their goals in subjects like math, it is good to identify the factors that could motivate them in addition to focusing on the subject matter.


Murayama, K., Pekrun, R., Lichtenfeld, S., & Vom Hofe, R. (2013). Predicting long‐term growth in students’ mathematics achievement: The unique contributions of motivation and cognitive strategies. Child development84(4), 1475-1490.

The Impact of the Pandemic on Immigrant Families

The pandemic has been affecting all low- and middle-income households economically across the board, but its impact on immigrants and their families could be disproportionately due to the preexisting conditions such as the incidence of poverty, housing conditions, and job types. In addition to the economic impacts, the social and emotional impacts might be higher due to factors such as language, culture, and parental education. For example, in the city I am living, most immigrants have been working on industries like hospitality where the pandemic has affected severely. And this problem leads to a permanent job loss which in turn has long-term implications on health of immigrants through for they lose their insurance coverages.

In addition, though most hosting countries support families through various unemployment benefits, the benefit covers only those families who had been working before the outbreak of the pandemic. However, there are a significant number of undocumented immigrants and asylum seeks had been supporting themselves by working informal jobs in their communities until they get their papers Thus, the locked-out severely affects these groups more than any other group.

The pandemic has also a long and negative impact on the quality of education of immigrant children. Though access to computers and internet connection was available in some countries including the U.S, it was not easy to most less educated immigrants to understand how to use the technology and assist their small kids during the online classes. This problem combined with the low language proficiency of immigrant parents has a lasting impact on children’s school performance vis-à-vis their native counterparts.

I have also witnessed that the language barrier was a problem to learn online for some adult immigrants who come from non-English speaking countries because getting information and comprehend the instructions through telephone conversations was not an easy thing to do vis-à-vis the face-to-face communication which has high information richness because the body language fills some communication gap. This issue was also true not only in education but also in all other services.

Finally, the lockdown time was also more stressful for immigrants who come from communal societies because such societies mostly get psychological and emotional treatment through informal institutions like churches and other community gatherings. So, each factors and their interaction could have a long-term and negative impact on immigrants and their kids.

Rethinking Learning

I have observed a significant number of nontraditional students who are 25 years or older attending community colleges as a transition to get their associate degrees and join the labor, or to go to university for further education. A significant number of these students are also immigrants who had no chance to pass through the traditional schooling system in their home countries. These have double responsibilities of supporting their immediate families and their extended families back home. Specifically, in some communal cultures supporting an extended family is not a matter of choice, it is rather a societal burden for a migrated member of the society. As a result, most of these students must work extra hours to satisfy the expectations of their families.

 As a result, some of them must stop their education and aborted their dreams of changing their lives through education. In addition, they are victims of the traditional way of thinking which knowledge is gained through repetitive exposure to build memories. As a result, they easily get frustrated and failed to meet their education goals.

However, this thought has been challenged by cognitive psychologists conducting controlled experiments on college students.  According to such research, there are several practical strategies that nontraditional immigrant students can make use of at any point in his/her life. Among these strategies, low-stake quizzing, and self-testing, spacing out practice, interleaving the practice of different but related topics, trying to solve the problem before being taught the solution, distilling the underlining principles and rules that differentiate types of problems, etc.  

Please reach me for any comment at or follow in tweeter @EndeshawEndesh1

Did the Nobel Peace Prize Winner change to War Crime Perpetrator in seven months?

The Ethiopian prime minister, Abiy Ahmed won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for ending the deadlock situation with a neighboring Eritrea that the international community failed to do so for more than two decades. The two neighbors waged a full-scale border war in 1998-2000 that claimed over seventy-thousand lives on both sides. Surprisingly Abiy Ahmed was a war veteran of the border war himself, lost many of his colleagues, and he is a living witness of the atrocity of the war. When he visited Eritrean right after he came to power in 2018, most of us were in total incredulous and tore with joy seeing families reunited after two decades of separation. 

Ethiopian and Eritrean families reunited after 20 years

Despite many people were so excited seeing the reuniting of families, the joy was not shared unanimously with the all people of Ethiopia and Eritrea across the board. Some leadership within the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) were so much suspicious of the relationship between the two leaders- Abiy and Isais. TPLF leadership was not happy with the peace process from the outset for few reasons. First TPLF had initiated the sanction by the UN against Eritrea allegedly accusing Eritrean government had supported the Al-Shabaab, the terrorist group in Somalia. The sanction that lasted for almost a decade has sacrificed many young Eritrean lives while trying to escape the country and migrate to Europe through the Mediterranean ocean. Secondly, during the 1998-2000 war, the TPLF who had controlled the political power in Ethiopia has confiscated the property of many Eritreans who create for years before Eritrea’s succession in 1993.

Thus, most TPLF leadership was afraid of the possible revenge from the Eritrean president Isais Afeworki after TPLF had been marginalized from the central government and was confined to administer the Tigray province which contributes only 6 percent of 120 million Ethiopian population.

 To reverse the peace developing between the two countries, the TPLF initiated a war against the federal government by attacking the Northern command which constituted over four-fifth of the national defense force with a tactic they called it “preemptive attack”. They also attacked Eritrea with long-range missiles thinking they could control both the the federal government and Eritrean government simultaneously. However, they did not withstand the coalition forces of Ethiopia and Eritrea and the war did not last for more than two weeks. As in any war, civilians have lost their lives in Tigray, and incidents of sexual violence and human right violation crimes were observed here and there. Now, though the full-fledged war has ended seven months ago, a few remnants of TPLF have been waging a gorilla fighting and the humanitarian crisis has continued . 

While the TPLF was in power for 30 years, they had controlled the economy of the country and flew a substantial capital in foreign banks. Currently, they are paying from these funds to expensive lobbyists to pressure the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments in the name of human rights violations and sexual abuses. The U.S government has passed a travel and financial sanction against against both Ethiopia and Eritrea. And there are many discussion from the international community to deploy foreign forces in Ethiopia.

However, in my opinion, this sanction amalgamated with the already prevailing geopolitical stress due to the Grand Renaissance Dam Ethiopia is building over Nile (Abay) river may exacerbate the crisis further. Ethiopia is the only country in the region with a population of 120 million – the second most populous country in Africa next to Nigeria. And more more populous than Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Libya, and Eritrea combined. Thus, if Ethiopia becomes failed state like the above countries due to internal and external pressure, the impact in terms of sending illegal immigration to the developed countries will be overwhelming.

Thus, instead of trying to put pressure on the current government of Ethiopia and Eritrea and create another failed state in the region, the U.S government need to see the situation holistically and focus only on resolving the humanitarian crisis in the short run and help these countries transit into a democratically elected government in the long run. I believe a dictatorial government is way better than a “no government.” 

Please reach me for any comment at or follow in tweeter @EndeshawEndesh1

The issue of job-mismatch for non-English speaking skilled immigrants in the U.S

According to Pew Research Center, more than 40 million people who live in the U.S were born in another country. This makes the United States is the top immigrant-receiving country in the world.  The number of immigrants of all categories- lawful permanent residents, temporary permanent residents, unauthorized immigrants has increased by four-fold between 1965 and 2018 entailing it demands the attention of both policy makers and the academia.

Pew estimates also shows number of immigrants from China and African has been increasing recently, and most of them have bachelors or advanced degrees. As an African immigrant myself, finding a job using a degree obtained from a developing country is not an easy thing to do.  There are so many immigrants like me who have an issue of job mismatch.  One of the factors that prohibit immigrants not to easily assimilate is the issue of English language proficiency. I believe this issue is common among immigrants who come from non-English speaking Asian, Latin American, and African immigrants.

Adapted from Pew Research Center

People may migrate to another country for several reasons ranging from pulling factors -better job security, peace, and political stability. And pushing factors poverty, political instability, war, etc. However, there are times where misinformation and disinformation could also play a role as a source of migration. For example, according to Homeland Security Report, over 10,000 people arrived in the United States from Ethiopia through the Diversity Immigrant Visa program every year . The intention of the program was to make the U.S a more diverse country in terms of nationalities. However, there are many problems immigrants encounter when they come to the United States. First, this program requires with high school and above, and most of the immigrants hold a first degree or higher due to internet access issue for the majority of high school graduates in rural areas.

On the other hand, since English is not a medium of communication in Ethiopia, most of these immigrants ended up working non-professional jobs. For example, an MSc graduate with one of the social science fields finding a job with his/her area of study is less likely unless he/she take relevant courses for the U.S market starting from scratch. Since most of these immigrants have family commitments both here and back home, chances are ended up working a job that demands only a high school graduate or lower. Thus, finding a cab driver who was Professor or manager, etc. in Ethiopia may be a common experience.

In my opinion, this job mismatch could have a negative impact on both host economies and the home economies.  For the host economy, chances are high job dissatisfaction due to high expectation . For those who are successfully assimilated, it is still costly for the sending countries for they have spent huge resources to train these people. Thus losing such people would aggravate social issues in poor countries . For example, according to this source, there are more Ethiopian doctors in U.S. than in Ethiopia showing the challenge it could pose on the home countries.


Article 2021: Frequently Requested Statistics on I.. |

Yearbook of Immigration Statistics | Homeland Security (