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Immigration and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): A Q&A Fact Check

Q: What is the Defense of Marriage Act?
A: In 1996, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Section 3 of DOMA defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. At the time DOMA was enacted, no state permitted same-sex marriages. Today, six states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex marriages; several other states honor out-of-state marriages and/or recognize civil unions. Read more...

Published On: Thu, Aug 18, 2011 | Download File

The Diversity Visa System: A Fact Sheet

What is the diversity visa lottery?

The diversity visa lottery was created to encourage legal immigration to the U.S. from countries other than the major immigrant sending countries.  The current immigration system favors individuals who have close relationships with family members or employers in the U.S.  People who do not have close family or employment in the U.S. have very few opportunities for permanent, legal immigration to the U.S. Read more...

Published On: Mon, Apr 04, 2011 | Download File

Employment-Based Immigration to the United States: A Fact Sheet

U.S. law provides employers with several limited ways to bring foreign workers into the U.S. on a temporary or permanent basis. Employment-based immigration visa categories generally have limited and static numerical caps. In addition, before petitioning for a foreign worker, an employer is often required to obtain certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) that there are no U.S. workers available, willing, and qualified to fill the position at a wage that is equal to or greater than the prevailing wage generally paid for that occupation in the geographic area where the position is located. The purpose of this restriction is to demonstrate that the admission and hiring of foreign workers will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages, and working conditions of U.S. workers.    Read more...

Published On: Tue, Mar 29, 2011 | Download File

The Unauthorized Population Today

Number Holds Steady at 11 million, Three-Fifths Have Been Here More Than a Decade

Recent estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicate that the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has remained unchanged at roughly 11 million since 2009.  This comes after a two-year decline of approximately one million that corresponded closely to the most recent recession, which ran from December 2007 to June 2009.  Despite that decline, the new data make clear that the current population of unauthorized immigrants is very much part of the social and economic fabric of the country.  Three-fifths of unauthorized immigrants have been in the United States for more than a decade.  Unauthorized immigrants comprise more than one-quarter of the foreign-born population and roughly 1-in-20 workers.  Approximately 4.5 million native-born U.S.-citizen children have at least one unauthorized parent.  While the largest numbers of unauthorized immigrants are concentrated in California and Texas, there also are sizable unauthorized populations in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, and Maryland.  In short, unauthorized immigrants who are already in the country have become integral to U.S. businesses, communities, and families.

The size of the unauthorized population has remained unchanged at roughly 11 million since 2009.Read more...

Published On: Tue, Mar 22, 2011 | Download File

Immigration Detainers: A Comprehensive Look

What is an immigration detainer and how does it work? Are detainers only placed on unauthorized immigrants? What happens after an immigration detainer has expired?  What are the consequences of immigration detainers?  In order to better understand immigration detainers’ function and impact, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) provides the following Fact Check to shed much needed light on this often misunderstood immigration enforcement tool.

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Published On: Wed, Feb 17, 2010 | Download File

Breaking Down the Problems: What's Wrong with our Immigration System

While some characterize our immigration crisis as solely an issue of the 11 to 12 million unauthorized immigrants living in this country, our problems extend beyond the number of undocumented people to a broader range of issues. The lack of a comprehensive federal solution has created a slew of lopsided, enforcement-only initiatives that have cost the country billions of dollars while failing to end unauthorized immigration. The first step, however, in devising solutions to our problems is understanding the scope of them. IPC’s latest report addresses several key areas, including how our current immigration system functions, the structural failure of our system, issues stemming from an inadequate federal response and long-delayed immigration reform.

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Published On: Fri, Jan 01, 2010 | Download File

Citizenship by the Numbers

Citizenship Day (September 17) is an appropriate time to take stock of the growing number of U.S. citizens who are immigrants to this country—or who are the children of immigrants.  Roughly one-in-seventeen U.S. citizens are foreign-born, and tens of millions of native-born U.S. citizens have immigrant parents.  This demographic reality has important political ramifications.  A rising share of the U.S. electorate has a direct personal connection to the immigrant experience, and is unlikely to be favorably swayed by politicians who employ anti-immigrant rhetoric to mobilize supporters.  This is particularly true among the two fastest-growing groups of voters in the nation: Latinos and Asians.  The majority of Latinos and Asians are either immigrants or the children of immigrants, and they comprised one out of every ten voters in the 2008 election.

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Published On: Wed, Sep 16, 2009 | Download File

Facts about Farmworkers

AgJOBS is a bipartisan, compromise bill that is the result of years of negotiations among farmworkers, growers, and Members of Congress. The Immigration Policy Center has produced a Fact Check on Farmworkers.

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Published On: Wed, May 13, 2009 | Download File

De-Romanticizing Our Immigrant Past: Why Claiming "My Family Came Legally" Is Often a Myth

Many people assume that their family immigrated to the U.S. legally, or did it “the right way.”  In most cases, this statement does not reflect the fact that the U.S. immigration system was very different when their families arrived, and that their families might not have been allowed to enter had today’s laws been in effect.  In some cases, claiming that a family came “legally” is simply inaccurate—undocumented immigration has been a reality for generations.

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Published On: Tue, Nov 25, 2008 | Download File

Basic Pilot / E-Verify: Not a Magic Bullet

Background on the Basic Pilot/E-Verify program and its weaknesses.

Published On: Sat, Mar 01, 2008 | Download File