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Quick Fact: Undocumented immigrants want to have legal status

98 percent of undocumented immigrants would prefer to live and work legally in the U.S. and would do so if they could.

Gingrich plan on immigration hardly humane

Published on Fri, Dec 02, 2011

Some right-wing critics of Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich have it all wrong when they claim that his immigration plan is "amnesty" -- the code word for a path to citizenship.

Others, however, have pegged it right. The Gingrich plan would be closer to indentured servitude or semi-serfdom.

Dan Stein, president of the anti-immigration Federation for American Immigration Reform, described the Gingrich plan as a "modern-day form of slavery." The plan, he said, is an "effort to create a stratified labor force that provides wealthy employers with a way to get employees at below-market rates."

Pro-immigration groups agree. Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center, says that the Gingrich plan "virtually guarantees that we create second-class status for workers and their families -- lawful, but with no real rights."

That some are calling the Gingrich plan "humane" shows just how far this country has shifted on immigration.

The core of the Gingrich plan is privatization and expansion of the nation's guest worker program. A new path to citizenship is not part of the Gingrich plan at all.

Certainly, Gingrich has identified a real problem that cries out for solution: Current visa quotas are much lower than demand for workers.

Legal visas are limited to 66,000 a year for unskilled nonagricultural workers (H-2B); to 65,000 for high-skilled workers (H-1B) That's a joke. The U.S. government issued only 150,000 visas for farmworkers (H-1A) in 2009, a small fraction of the estimated 1.5 million foreign farmworkers in the United States.

But rather than fix that system, the Gingrich plan is to throw open the floodgates for employers to hire, on an unlimited basis, workers from other countries.Read more...

Published in the Sacramento Bee

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Immigration reform may spur economic growth, U.S. Chamber says

Published on Thu, Jan 26, 2012

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report Wednesday urging Congress to make the immigration system more "entrepreneur friendly."

Because of U.S. policies that make it difficult for immigrant entrepreneurs to make a home in the states, many are "voting with their feet" and returning to their home nations, according to a joint report from the chamber and the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council. The report suggests permitting foreign students to remain in the United States after graduation and creating a separate visa for potential entrepreneurs.

Immigrant entrepreneurs are responsible for establishing 18 percent of all Fortune 500 companies and 25.3 percent of all science and technology firms in the United States, including giants like Yahoo! and Google, according to the report.

"We should allow the world's most creative entrepreneurs to stay in our country," said Thomas J. Donehue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a speech earlier this month. "They are going to contribute and succeed somewhere — why shouldn't it be in the United States?"

Immigrants are more likely than native citizens to start their own businesses, according to the report. Five percent of naturalized citizens are self employed compared to just 3.7 percent of native-born Americans.

During his third State of the Union address Tuesday, President Barack Obama cited immigration reform as one of three important keys to boosting the nation's economy.Read more...

Published in the Deseret News

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Undocumented Workers in Georgia Prepare to File Taxes

Published on Mon, Apr 16, 2012

Midnight on Tuesday is the deadline for filing your state and federal income taxes and a portion of Georgia’s taxpayers are undocumented workers.

It’s hard to say exactly how many of the state’s workers are illegal.

Workers who don’t have social security numbers can still file a tax return, using a nine-digit Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or I-TIN. The Georgia Department of Revenue doesn’t know how many people with ITINs are here illegally. But the Immigration Policy Center says in 2010, undocumented workers in Georgia paid more than $85,000,000 in income taxes.

Grace Williams is an Atlanta accountant who filed some of those returns. She says there are two reasons why undocumented workers file tax returns. Some want a refund. But Wilson says those who owe hope paying their taxes will lead to bigger things.

“A lot of people in the community are telling them that that’s the responsible thing to do,” Williams says, “And if they aspire to become legal one day, the first thing that they’re going to look at is, ‘Did you do your taxes?” she says.

Williams says those workers hope to become U.S. citizens. But DA King, president of the Dustin Inman Society, which advocates enforcement of immigration laws, says that’s not the real motivation.

“They are getting a refund on the Additional Child Tax Credit,” King says, “Refund is not the right word. They’re getting a rebate from the government for having U.S.-born children,” he says.

King calls the segment of undocumented workers who pay taxes “microscopic.” He points to the Center for Immigration Studies. The group doesn’t have Georgia-specific numbers, but nationally, they say illegal immigrants who file tax returns receive billions more in refunds than they pay in taxes.

So, what’s next? It’s hard to say. Immigrants’ rights groups advocate a path to citizenship, while opponents want tougher enforcement.Read more...

Published in the 90.1 WABE Atlanta

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How the President's Deferred Action Initiative Will Help the U.S. Economy

Published on Fri, Jun 29, 2012

IPC head researcher Walter Ewing wrote a blog post for New American Media about the economic benefit of the Obama administration's deferred action program: Read more...

Published in the New American Media

Mohammad Akhter

Dr. Mohammad Akhter is the President and CEO of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international development and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations. InterAction's 160 members provide humanitarian and development assistance in every developing country, working to overcome poverty, exclusion and suffering by advancing social justice and basic dignity for all.

Dr. Akhter's journey to this position appears to be the epitome of the American dream. He was born into a family of farmers in India shortly before the partition that established India and Pakistan as two separate nations. His mother had an eighth-grade education. His father had completed high school on a sports scholarship. This helped them to establish a toehold in the new nation.

Dr. Akhter's grandfather couldn't write his name, but his parents made sure that all six of their children had master's degrees and the cycle of poverty was broken. He believes that health and education are the twin lights leading one away from poverty.

Dr. Akhter earned his medical degree from King Edwards Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan (1967), and his master of public health degree from Johns Hopkins University (1973). His public health residency was completed at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. In 1976, he was certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Akhter serves as clinical professor in the department of family and community medicine at Georgetown University Medical School, and as an adjunct professor of international public health at George Washington University School of Public Health. He also served as Dean of the College of Community Medicine, as well as professor and chair of the department of public and hospital administration in Lahore, Pakistan.Read more...

Council Announces Winners of the "Change in Motion" Multimedia Contest

Published on Fri, Feb 01, 2013

The American Immigration Council is pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural 2012 “Change in Motion” Multimedia Contest. The competition challenges young adults to explore the role that immigration plays in their lives and communities.  The program allows young filmmakers and artists to create projects which focus on celebrating America as a nation of immigrants and explore the impact immigration has on our everyday lives.   The contest is sponsored, in part, by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Published in the