Primaries, Immigration, and an Appetite for Change

welcome to arizona

Michele Waslin: Immigrant advocates will be asking themselves what role immigration played in the primaries. The fact is that the immigration issue probably plays a small role, if any. Quite frankly, Members don’t have much of a record on the issue for voters to base their votes on because Congress has been too scared to take on the issue and see what their constituents say about it. But the sentiments behind the immigration debate echo what we saw in the polls—the public has grown tired with inaction.

Razing Arizona: How Local, State and Federal Authorities are “Rooting Out” Arizona’s Immigration Problems

Michelle Waslin: However, the timing and tone-deafness of this action could not have been worse. ICE has a history of conducting raids just as state or local governments are contemplating critical immigration-related policies. At best, the action left the impression that ICE wants to influence those policy decisions; at worst ICE left the public with the impression that local law enforcement is the same thing as an ICE officer.

ICE Slip Up Casts Serious Doubt on Immigration Enforcement Strategy

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Michele Waslin: Until we have comprehensive immigration reform, ICE is going to be saddled with an enormous list of targets, and many people watching to see how they’re going to tackle it. If they want big numbers, they can achieve big numbers. But that won’t make us any safer or make the system any better. In any case the Administration and ICE have to figure out what their enforcement strategy is, articulate it clearly and consistently, and resist the urge to change it on a dime to please “enforcement-only” types who will never support comprehensive reform.

Immigrants, African Americans, and the Struggle for Civil Rights

1944 First Grade Class of the Mexican school (Photo from collection of Sylvia Mendez)

Michele Waslin: Today, most Americans are familiar with the Brown v. Board of Education decision. However, the link between Mexican-Americans and African-Americans in the struggle for desegregation is not well known. The Mendez case and the relationship between the two cases is an important piece of U.S. history that deserves to be more widely acknowledged.

E-Verify Gets It Wrong, Again

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Michele Waslin: Those inaccuracy rates are huge because they mean that U.S. citizens and other legal workers are losing their jobs because E-Verify made a mistake—and, consequently, that unauthorized workers are working because E-Verify made a mistake. Of course, many more unauthorized workers are working “off the books” and never getting checked by E-Verify.

The Criminal Alien Program: Big, Old, and Misunderstood

San Diego Border

Michele Waslin: Of course, identifying and removing dangerous criminal threats must be a priority for ICE. However, time and time again data show that their methods for prioritizing these individuals are flawed and have negative consequences for noncriminals who get caught in the system.

Remittances Will Help Haiti Recover and Strengthen U.S. Economy

haiti relief

Michele Wasdin: It is simplistic to argue that remittances are bad because money is leaving the U.S., but upon further analysis, it becomes clear that remittances return to the U.S. in the form of increased exports. Remittances give individuals in foreign countries the ability to buy U.S. goods and the ability to invest in themselves which, in turn, allows them to buy even more U.S. goods.

New Report Shines Light on the Economics of Illegal Immigration

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There are additional hidden costs of the status quo—a broken immigration system. Employers pay for complying with harsh enforcement strategies, illegal immigrants endure exploitation because of their lack of legal status, and state and local governments disproportionately bear the burden of any related fiscal costs.

Is Secure Communities Making our Communities Secure?

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A new IPC report, The Secure Communities Program: Unanswered Questions and Continuing Concerns, released today highlights early evidence from Secure Communities—and experience with other ICE programs—that suggests this new program may not be living up to its name and may not be effectively making our communities more safe.

House Health Care Bill a Mixed Bag for Immigrants

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)

House members, particularly Rep. Nydia Velazquez and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, were able to successfully block an immigration-related motion to recommit by House Republicans—a motion with the intention of forcing a tough vote on immigration that, if passed, may have resulted in the bill’s defeat.Health care reform now moves to the Senate, where battles over the 5-year bar, verification systems, and unauthorized immigrants’ ability to purchase health insurance are likely to continue.

New Report Details the Chilling Effects of Immigration Enforcement on Workers’ Rights

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Our broken immigration system gives unscrupulous employers an incentive to hire unauthorized workers and exploit them—often resulting in depressed wages and working conditions for all workers in that workplace.

Well-Intentioned Brookings Report Falls Short on Solutions

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If the Brookings/Kenan report proves one thing, it is that immigration policy is extremely complex, and even the best intentions could have harmful unintended consequences.

Report Details Dangers of Denying Health Care Coverage to Legal Immigrants

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Unfortunately, the majority of the debate over immigration and health care reform has taken place in a “no fact zone.” Immigrant advocates know this place well—myths and misinformation are repeated and spread, while factual information that could aid good policy is largely ignored

Does ICE’s Criminal Alien Program (CAP) Target Serious Criminals?

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While ICE claims they are targeting serious criminals, the majority of persons ICE identifies and deports do not actually have any serious criminal records.

New Report: Good Immigration Policy Creates a Stronger American Middle Class

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In the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and in anticipation of a new round of legislative debates on comprehensive immigration reform, DMI’s report makes a rational, concise argument for why comprehensive immigration reform is needed to improve the conditions for middle class Americans.

Birthright Citizenship: Myths, Facts and Why It Matters

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Normally, the issue of birthright citizenship doesn’t get much attention. However, immigration restrictionists and select politicians often use the issue to rally extremists and distract from the important issues surrounding reforming our broken immigration system.

States and Localities Critical to Immigration Policies

Photo by Whirling Phoenix

As a result of Congress’s inaction, states and localities are feeling pressure to take action on immigration, and many of the policies that directly impact immigrants’ lives—law enforcement, public benefits, driver’s licenses—are being driven by new state and local laws.

ICE Begins Immigration Detention System Overhaul

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While improvements to the detention system are necessary and welcomed, it is important to recognize that detaining immigrants is not a long-term solution to a broken immigration system.

Kicking Down Doors, Stomping on Rights: New Report Reveals Disturbing Details of ICE Raids

Photo by Richard Vallejo

The researchers also found that the ICE home raids had a negative impact on the local police departments and their ability to do community policing.

Senate Hearing on Employment Verification System Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

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While employment verification is viewed as an immigration enforcement tool, it is a program that affects every person working in the U.S.—including U.S. citizens.

Including Immigrants in Health Care Reform Makes Economic Sense

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While most in Washington have completely written off the possibility of including undocumented immigrants in any kind of coverage plan, Congress continues to be perplexed over legal permanent residents—our citizens-in-waiting.

Policy or Politics? DHS Changes and Expands 287(g) Program

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano

Nor will these changes matter if they are not properly implemented and monitored. For example, Sheriff Arpaio in Maricopa County, Arizona, has blatantly stated that he is not interested in being supervised by ICE.

Large Immigrant Populations Keep Cities Safe, Just Ask El Paso, Texas

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Many Americans believe that immigrants are associated with high levels of crime. According to criminologist Jack Levin, El Paso is safe because of its immigrant population.

Immigrant Homebuyers Play Crucial Role in Housing Market Revival

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Earlier this week, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University released a new housing report which provides a rather grim analysis of the current housing crisis.  Real home prices continue to fall and foreclosures continue to mount despite recent federal interventions.  Because of job losses, decreased home prices, and tougher credit eligibility requirements, [...]

Department of Homeland Security Suspends “Widow Penalty”

Janet Napolitano (UPI Photo/ Phil McCarten)

This week, the Obama administration took another step toward restoring fairness and humaneness to the immigration system.  On Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that she would grant a two-year reprieve to immigrants who were married to U.S. citizens but did not complete the permanent residency process because their American spouses [...]

A New Study Reinforces Growing Influence of Second Generation Latinos

Photo by the Danbury Public Library

A new study by the Pew Hispanic Center shows that Latino children now make up 22% of all children under the age of 18 in the U.S.—a huge increase from 9% in 1980. A majority of these kids (52%) are “second generation,” meaning that they are the U.S.-born children of at least one foreign-born parent. [...]

Local Police Report Makes the Case for Federal Enforcement of Immigration Laws

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This week the Police Foundation issued a long awaited report, The Role of Local Police: Striking a Balance Between Immigration Enforcement and Civil Liberties. The Police Foundation found that because Congress has failed to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform, states and localities have spent more time and resources curbing immigration themselves at the high [...]

Obama Budget Not a Replacement for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

President Barack Obama reflects during a budget meeting in the Roosevelt Room.  Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

The Obama Administration appears increasingly poised to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform, as promised. Last Thursday, the White House announced budgetary initiatives that signal a change in priorities and pave the way for immigration reform. At the same time, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, testified before the Senate yesterday about her plans to [...]

Low-Income Latinos and Immigrants Reported “Under Siege” in the South

President Barack Obama, Treasurery Secretary Tim Geitner

This week, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released a new report entitled “Under Siege: Life for Low-Income Latinos in the South.” SLPC report adds to the mounting evidence pointing to the harmful impact that the absence of a functioning immigration system is having on Latinos and immigrant communities. SPLC investigators interviewed and surveyed 500 [...]

Human Rights Organizations Say Immigrants Caught in Detention Dragnet

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On any given day, more than 30,000 immigrants are detained in the U.S. More than 300,000 men, women, and children are detained by U.S. immigration authorities each year. ICE reported that the average stay in detention was 37 days; however many immigrants and asylum seekers are detained much longer – months or even years – [...]

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