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Is More Getting Us Less? Real Solutions for Securing our Border

By Eric L. Olson and David Shirk

Ongoing reports about Mexico’s bloody conflict with organized crime have raised again the question of whether the United States should do more to prevent such violence from “spilling over” into the country.  While officials have documented few cases of actual “spill over,” fears of exploding violence in Mexico and concerns about illegal migration are driving a policy debate that is centered on “securing the border.”  To whit, President Barack Obama announced last May the deployment of 1,200 more National Guard troops to enhance border security, and requested an additional $500 million from Congress to further modernize southwestern border security.  In August, the U.S. Congress approved a $600 million “Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010” in near record time.  The question is whether such policy actions are effective. 

Published On: Tue, Feb 15, 2011 | Download File

Mandatory E-Verify without Legalization

Would Hamper Economic Recovery and Cost U.S. Workers Jobs

Since 1986, controlling illegal immigration by regulating who is entitled to work in the United States has been a key component of U.S. immigration policy.   The ritual of showing proof of one’s identity and work authorization and filling out an I-9 form is part of every new hire’s paperwork haze.  Read more...

Published On: Thu, Feb 10, 2011 | Download File

Deeper into the Shadows

By Jeffrey Kaye

Before the onset of the Great Recession, immigrant labor was cited as a boom to the U.S. economy.  In towns and cities across the country, immigrant labor—documented or otherwise—filled positions in growing businesses and industries where demand outpaced the supply of native-born workers.  Since the onset of the economic downturn in 2008 and the rise in U.S. unemployment, some analysts and politicians—looking for a convenient scapegoat—have turned on that immigrant workforce and their employers, arguing that deporting eight million undocumented immigrant workers will create eight million new jobs for the native-born.  This over-simplified equation ignores the complicated and inter-dependent roles that immigrants play in our economy.  A 2010 study by the Fiscal Policy Institute on the economic contributions of immigrants in the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States makes the point well:

The results were clear: immigrants contribute to the economy in direct relation to their share of the population.  In the 25 largest metropolitan areas combined, immigrants make up 20 percent of the population and are responsible for 20 percent of economic output.  Together, these metro areas comprise 42 percent of the total population of the country, 66 percent of all immigrants, and half of the country’s total Gross Domestic Product.Read more...

Published On: Wed, Feb 09, 2011 | Download File

After the Raid is Over: Marshalltown, Iowa and the Consequences of Worksite Enforcement Raids

By Jan Flora, Claudia M. Prado‐Meza, and Hannah Lewis

For many years, large-scale worksite raids constituted a major element of federal immigration enforcement.  While the large-scale and well-publicized worksite raids have tapered, immigration enforcement has continued to increase, and the number of deportations and detentions is at an all-time high. 

The ever-expanding arsenal of ICE enforcement policies, together with harsh state and local laws and policies, have harmful side effects that go far beyond the unauthorized population.  Policies meant to target unauthorized immigrants also impact their family members, employers, and neighbors.  A large number of the people affected are U.S.-citizen children.  Latinos, Asians, and others who “sound” or “appear” to be foreign may be the victims of mistakes (such as the U.S. citizens who have been mistakenly deported), or may experience civil rights violations, discrimination, or profiling.  In states and localities with anti-immigrant laws and policies, negative attitudes towards immigrants and nasty rhetoric might be enough to cause lawfully present people to leave.  Read more...

Published On: Tue, Jan 25, 2011 | Download File

A Framework for Effective Immigration Worksite Employer Enforcement

Immigration enforcement is an extremely important national priority.  Effective control of our nation’s borders is essential to our national security.  The regulation and control of those who enter the country, along with the prosecution of those who violate immigration laws once they are here, is fundamental to our integrity as a nation of laws.  Read more...

Published On: Tue, Jan 25, 2011 | Download File

E-Verify: A Resource Page

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Published On: Tue, Jan 11, 2011

Reading the Morton Memo: Federal Priorities and Prosecutorial Discretion

By Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Esq.

On June 30, 2010, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton, issued a memo to the agency that reflected the Obama administration’s oft repeated intent to focus removal efforts on serious offenders.  Morton noted:

In light of the large number of administrative violations the agency is charged with addressing and the limited enforcement resources the agency has available, ICE must prioritize the use of its enforcement personnel, detention space, and removal resources to ensure that the removals the agency does conduct promote the agency's highest enforcement priorities, namely national security, public safety, and border security.  

Coupled with last year’s announcement that ICE would not engage in the kind of major worksite raids that became common during the Bush administration, the “Morton Memo” potentially marks a new phase in the enforcement of immigration law.  Moreover, the memo gives us insight into the Obama administration’s approach to prosecutorial discretion in immigration enforcement.Read more...

Published On: Wed, Dec 01, 2010 | Download File

Secure Communities: A Resource Page

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Published On: Tue, Nov 23, 2010

ICE’S Enforcement Priorities and the Factors that Undermine Them

As part of its strategy to gain support for comprehensive immigration reform, the administration has continually touted its enforcement accomplishments.  In fact, over the last two years, the Obama administration has committed itself to a full-court press to demonstrate how committed the administration is to removing criminals and others who remain in the country without proper documentation.  They have continued to use the enforcement programs of the previous administration, including partnering with state and local law enforcement agencies to identify, detain, and deport immigrants.  However, in doing so, they have lost the ability to fully control their own enforcement priorities and enforcement outcomes, and the results have demonstrated that the state and local partners are not necessarily committed to the same priorities.

At an October 6, 2010, press conference, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had removed more than 392,000 individuals in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, and presented other “record-breaking immigration enforcement statistics achieved under the Obama administration.”  In addition to record-breaking overall numbers, Napolitano also announced the “unprecedented numbers of convicted criminal alien removals” in FY 2010.  Of the 392,000 removals in FY 2010, more than 195,000 were classified as “convicted criminal aliens,” which was 81,000 more criminal removals than in FY 2008.Read more...

Published On: Tue, Nov 09, 2010 | Download File

Explaining the Recent Decline in Unauthorized Migration

Immigration Enforcement in a Time of Recession

Recent estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center indicate that the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has declined by roughly one million since 2007—bringing the total size of the unauthorized population to approximately 11.1 million.  Coming after the release of similar estimates by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in January, these figures have provoked considerable speculation as to how much of the decline is attributable to the current recession, and how much is the result of heightened immigration enforcement.  DHS, for instance, was quick to take credit for the drop, citing the money and manpower that have been poured into immigration enforcement by the Obama administration.  However, immigration researchers were just as quick to point out that unauthorized immigration has always responded to the state of the U.S. economy, and that the downward trend captured by both Pew and DHS matches up closely with the beginning of the recession in December 2007Read more...

Published On: Thu, Sep 09, 2010 | Download File