Americans are justifiably frustrated that 11 million unauthorized immigrants now live in the United States. Yet the majority of them would have preferred to come legally; there was simply no way under current immigration laws. Moreover, most of them are working, paying taxes, and buying US goods. Other than lacking legal status, most are law-abiding residents. Many are married to US citizens, with children who are citizens.
The problem is that they are often willing to accept low wages and poor working conditions, which creates unfair competition for US workers and gives unscrupulous employers an unfair advantage over law-abiding employers.
We could continue on the same path we have pursued for two decades: spending more money on enforcement and passing increasingly harsh laws in an attempt to drive unauthorized immigrants out. But despite the billions of dollars we’ve spent building walls, hiring border patrol agents, and detaining and deporting hundreds of thousands, the unauthorized population hasn’t decreased significantly.
Instead of “enforcement only,” we should offer unauthorized immigrants a chance to come forward, register, pay a fine, learn English, pass background checks, and legalize their status.
Legalizing them would inject a new level of certainty into their lives, allowing them to invest more in themselves and their communities. Legalized immigrants will earn more, pay more taxes, consume more, buy houses, start businesses, and contribute more to the economy.
Americans want real solutions to the problem of unauthorized immigration that are practical and fair. Enforcement alone has failed. We need comprehensive immigration reform that includes a legalization program.
– Michele Waslin, senior policy analyst, American Immigration Council’s Immigration Policy Center
The LAC filed an amicus brief on behalf of AILF, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area in a petition for rehearing en banc. The panel held that the BIA does not have to reissue a decision even if the noncitizen says he or she did not receive the decision; the BIA need only show that it properly mailed the decision by regular mail. The decision places the burden on the parties to check (via the toll free hotline) to find out if the BIA has issued a decision. Amici argued that the BIA’s requirement to serve its decision must incorporate both dispatch and delivery.
“Those children can’t petition for their parents to become U.S. citizens until they are 21 years old and it most cases, the parents would be barred from getting a visa to the United States for 10 years,” said Michelle Waslin, senior policy analyst at the American Immigration Council’s Immigration Policy Center in Washington, D.C. “So that’s a 31-year plan. It doesn’t seem like it’s a very good plan to legalize your status here in the U.S. It doesn’t protect them from deportation.”
Waslin argues that such a change in the law will affect all citizens, creating a complicated bureaucracy.
“My birth certificate will no longer be proof of my U.S. citizenship, so how would anybody prove their citizenship?” she asked.
This issue highlights Supreme Court cases that will be argued this fall, judicial review of denied adjustment of status applications, challenges to the use of detainers, and updates from the LAC, including a recent victory in a naturalization delay case and favorable developments in a BIA case involving portability/Matter of Perez Vargas.
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...
Washington, D.C. - The failure of Congress and the White House to act on immigration reform last year combined with the fiery election campaigns has opened the door for political attacks on immigration and immigrants. Lost in the rhetoric is a sober analysis of the trends and facts crucial to a constructive debate. What is the real story about the importance of immigration for America's future? Two different stories are being told, and they can be compared with real data. In a soon-to-be-released report for the IPC, Myers examines trends in U.S. immigration. Among his findings: (1) rates of immigration to the U.S. are slowing down, not speeding up; (2) reliable indicators show immigrants are learning English and advancing socially and economically; and (3) the immigrant population provides important economic benefits to a U.S. society with a large, aging generation of Baby Boomers. Myers's research covers several key states including: California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, and North Carolina. 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...