Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, architect of some of the most controversial anti-illegal immigrant state laws, now is fighting a proposal in his own state that would allow undocumented immigrants to work in hard-to-fill jobs.
The proposal, by business groups, calls for undocumented immigrants to be able to remain in Kansas if they work in jobs in agriculture and other industries that are struggling through labor shortages.
Kobach, a former law professor who helped draft tough laws against illegal immigration in Alabama and Arizona, is denouncing the new Kansas proposal as "amnesty" for people who've come to the U.S. illegally. A spokeswoman said Gov. Sam Brownback, a fellow Republican, isn't supporting the measure.
But Brownback's agriculture secretary has acknowledged having several conversations with federal homeland security officials about potential labor shortages. The coalition pushing the new program includes agriculture groups with memberships that traditionally lean toward the GOP, as well as the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, another stalwart supporter of conservative Republicans.
Utah has a guest worker program, but it isn't set to start until January 2013, and its enactment was part of a legislative package that included initiatives in line with Kobach's thinking on immigration. States with large populations of undocumented immigrants -- including California, Florida and Texas -- don't have their own programs.
The Kansas proposal was described as "unprecedented" by Wendy Sefsaf, director of communications at the American Immigration Council.
State officials and supporters of the business groups' plan don't yet have hard numbers on how many jobs are in danger of going unfilled, but unemployment rates in the western half of the state were mostly less than 4 percent in December, well below the statewide figure of 5.9 percent.Read more...
A clash over immigration law will go before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday (April 25), pitting the state of Arizona against U.S. President Barack Obama in a case with election-year political ramifications for him and Republican rival Mitt Romney.
In its second-biggest case this term, the court -- fresh from hearing the Obama healthcare overhaul case -- will consider whether a tough Arizona immigration crackdown strayed too far into the federal government's powers.
A pro-Arizona decision would be a legal and political setback for Obama, who has criticized the state's law and vowed to push for immigration legislation if re-elected on November 6. Read more...
Why is our nation American beautiful? Because it is unique. America is like a multicolored bird. Eachi feather is an immigrant, giving our country beauty. Without each and every feather, there would be no bird at all. Without each color, the bird would be gray, dull, a miserable sparrow.
Why is our nation America beautiful? It is complex. America is like a field of floweres, each one unique. Each flower is an immigrant, defining our country as diverse. Without every flower, every person, America would be an old field of dry hay.
With immigrants, our beautiful nation strives and becomes something great. It becomes a room with great, wide, open windows. It allows us to see farther into what is honorable.
That is why America grows stronger. With immigrants, it allows us to see how kind it is to keep an open door for everyone. It gives our country a spark, that gives us a shine so bright, anyone anywhere can see us.
That is why America, our national is beautiful.
America needs the strong hearts brave enough to travel far into our distant land. My own great-grandfather was a refugee from Russia. He, a Jew, escaped from possibly being killed. His father worked as a bottle washer in America. He got paid very little, with bad conditions, but he was determined. We need that type of strong hearted people in America.
My ancestors also came from Ireland, a country which suffered many hardships. My ancestors were always poor, and never could waste a single penny. Their struggling left them with pure toughness. We need people who are still willing even when things are going poorly.Read more...
The White House Blog cited IPC statistics about the purchasing power of Latinos and Asians to highlight how immigrants help strengthen our economy.
Immigrants boost demand for local consumer goods. The Immigration Policy Center estimates that the purchasing power of Latinos and Asians, many of whom are immigrants, alone will reach $1.5 trillion and $775 billion, respectively, by 2015. Read more...
As money is poured into border enforcement, it is critical that lawmakers consider the facts. The following resources provide key answers to basic questions about the U.S.-Mexico Border and the issues that surround it--from the fiscal implications of policies to the struggle to fight drug cartels.Read more...
Mary Giovagnoli, the IPC's Director, was quoted in this article from the Washington Post:
“The immigration issue in a lot of ways I think is maturing in a way that simply takes time,” says Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center, who was a staffer for Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) during the 2006-07 debate. “There seems to be a much greater level of trust and cordiality. [The last time] the two sides were dragged kicking and screaming together.” A similar dynamic was at play with health-care reform—another major effort that had suffered from a spectacular defeat in Congress before finally passing. “Any major, major piece of social change is a long process,” Giovagnoli concludes.
Gustavo Villageliu was appointed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) as a Board Member in July of 1995. The BIA is the highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws. Mr. Villageliu came to the United States from Cuba as a refugee in 1962 when he was thirteen years old. He and his family lived in Miami for twelve years, then moved to Iowa, where his parents taught as University professors.
Mr. Villageliu attended law school at the University of Iowa, graduating cum laude in 1977. After serving as Johnson County Attorney Prosecutor Intern in Iowa City, Iowa, he joined the Board of Immigration Appeals as a staff attorney in January, 1978. He received numerous achievement awards for his work specializing in war criminals, investors, and criminal alien cases. In September of 1989 he moved to Miami as an Immigration Judge, where he handled cases of detained Cubans at the Krome detention center. As a BIA Board Member, Mr. Villageliu dissented in the landmark case, Matter of N-J-B. In that February 1997 decision, the BIA held that the service of an Order to Show Cause under prior law terminated the period of physical presence for purposes of applying for suspension of deportation, even though the Order was served before the 1996 Act's effective date. This ruling would have resulted in the deportation of tens of thousands of persons who may have qualified for suspension of deportation under previous law. On July 10, 1997, the Attorney General vacated the Board's decision in that case essentially adopting Mr. Villageliu's opinion. Mr. Villageliu and his wife Carmen live in Falls Church with their three children.
In a Santa Fe Reporter article titled, "American DREAMers," a recent IPC state fact sheet and infographic were used to point out the importance of immigrants in New Mexico:
"According to Congressional Budget Office estimates, for instance, the US economy would grow by $1 trillion if immigration reforms pass.
On the flip side, state-by-state data released by the Immigration Policy Center shows that removing the 5.6 percent of New Mexico’s workforce that is unauthorized would eliminate more than 12,000 jobs and cost the local economy as much as $1.8 billion a year. "