Twelve years ago, Lizbeth Ramos and her common-law husband, Juan, left their hometown near Puebla, Mexico, and set out on foot across the desert for the Arizona border, to slip into new lives as illegal immigrants.
He found work in a produce market in the Philadelphia area, she in a boutique. They saved up to start a family.
Now 30, she lies on an examination table in Pennsylvania Hospital, at a weekly obstetrics clinic for immigrant women, no status questions asked. As a doctor slides an ultrasound wand over her bulging belly, her eyes are transfixed by the monitor. She is carrying twins.
The moment they enter the world, they will be what their parents are not: U.S. citizens.
Such is their birthright, granted by the 14th Amendment to an estimated 340,000 babies born annually to undocumented immigrants.
But in the marathon fight over immigration control, that 143-year-old constitutional guarantee has become the latest target and the delivery room the new front. The pejorative anchor babies already is in the lexicon.
"Once a child is born here, the parents make the argument that they should be allowed to stay as that child's guardian. They are using that child as an anchor [to] play on our heartstrings," said Pennsylvania Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Butler County Republican who has built a national reputation as a crusader against what he calls "illegal alien invaders."
Immigrant advocates dismiss his contention as myth, and point to a recent study that found that undocumented immigrants generally "come for work and to join family members." The Washington-based nonprofit Immigration Policy Center concluded that "they do not come specifically to give birth" and game the immigration system.
Such assertions have not tempered efforts by immigration-control proponents to effectively do away with "birthright citizenship" for illegal immigrants' children.Read more...
Through two recessions, the number of Hispanics in South Carolina spiked more rapidly than anywhere else in the country in a boom that’s remaking sections of the Upstate and could soon put more Latinos into public life.
Business leaders say Hispanic small business owners now make up a key economic driver and that the growth is a likely prelude to more entering politics as the population finds its voice.
All told, the 2010 census counted nearly 236,000 Hispanics in the state, a 148 percent jump from 2000 that accounts for a quarter of the state’s total growth, though that’s partly due to a more rigorous count.
The number of Hispanic children in the state increased by 192 percent, an increase that also led the nation, according to census calculations by the Pew Hispanic Center.
Greenville County has the state’s largest Hispanic population, and it has increased by 156 percent since 2000 to 36,495 or 8 percent of the total population.
Longtime Greenville entrepreneur Ruben Montalvo believes the official census numbers are still “way, way under” the actual Hispanic population, which be believes is closer to the national average of 14 percent of the total Greenville population.
Perhaps 4 percent can vote, however, and when you add the communication challenge for many Hispanics and the national debate over immigration, he said it’s “naïve” to believe the population will be fully represented politically.
The demographic is still nowhere near the size and concentration to trigger minority voting districts under federal civil rights law, but the next likely step is more Hispanics moving into public leadership, said Dean Hybl, executive director of the regional collaborative nonprofit Ten at the Top.
It’s now the interim phase, said Wifredo Leon, publisher of Latino Newspaper, in which the population size has become substantial but hasn’t yet developed politically.Read more...
This Litigation Issue Page highlights lawsuits challenging government initiatives related to employment verification, including the Internet based E-Verify system and "no-match" letters issued by the Social Security Administration.
Several states and local governments have enacted laws regulating employment verification. These laws have prompted litigation, typically challenging whether they are preempted by federal law. The following cases are on our State and Local Law Enforcement Issue Page
Arizona Contractors Assoc., Inc. v. Napolitano, 526 F. Supp. 2d 968 (D. Ariz. 2007), aff'd sub nom. Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. v. Napolitano, 558 F.3d 856 (9th Cir. 2009), petition for cert. filed sub nom. Chamber of Commerce v. Candelaria, (July 24, 2009) (No. 09-115)
United States v. Illinois, No. 07-3261, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19533 (C.D. Ill. 2009)
Gray et al. v. City of Valley Park, No. 07-00881 (E.D. Mo. Jan. 31, 2008) appeal docketed, No. 08-1681 (8th Cir. argued Dec. 10, 2008)
Chamber of Commerce v. Henry, No. 08-109 (W.D. Okla. filed Feb. 1, 2008), appeal docketed, No. 08-6128 (10th Cir. argued May 4, 2009)
The Southern and Middle Federal Judicial Districts of Florida were among the top 10 districts in the nation in the number of criminal immigration prosecutions in the first six months of fiscal year 2011.
New data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University shows that criminal prosecution for illegal reentry was the most commonly recorded lead charge brought by federal prosecutors — accounting for nearly half of all criminal immigration prosecutions filed.
The data shows that the Florida districts have contributed more than 420 criminal immigration prosecutions, while clearly showing that the vast majority of these cases occur in the Southwest border states.
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse report notes that individuals who are not criminally prosecuted may be deported administratively. It adds that the vast majority of immigration apprehensions are dealt with via administrative actions such as “removals” and “voluntary departures.”
The data shows a steady rise of criminal prosecutions for illegal reentry, a felony offense, from 2009 through 2011. According to the authors, this charge has surpassed illegal entry as the most common federal immigration prosecution charge.
Commenting on this data, the Immigration Policy Center states that comparing the prosecution for illegal reentry data with prosecution for weapons-related offenses shows that the “federal government is prioritizing immigration enforcement over potentially far more dangerous activities, such as gun smuggling.”
According to the Policy Center, the data shows that while more than 18,500 cases of illegal reentry were prosecuted, “the number of weapons prosecutions continues to decline. In the month of January 2011 there were only 484 new weapons prosecutions—the lowest level since January 2001. Weapons prosecutions are down 7.9% from this time last year, and 28.8% from 2006.”Read more...
On January 8, 2007, the Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari, vacated the judgment, and remanded the case to Eighth Circuit for further consideration in light of Lopez v. Gonzales. The case is Tostado-Tostado v. Carlson, No. 06-6766.
Congratulations to Klaas Frese, our Exchange Visitor of the Month! Klaas came to Pennsylvania from Germany to train in the area of freight forwarding. We caught up with Klaas after a recent trip to Las Vegas to learn more about his experience in the United States.