WASHINGTON - The head of U.S. immigration enforcement on Monday announced plans for an overhaul of the government's controversial detention system for people who face deportation.
The moves described by John T. Morton, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, address oversight, medical care and tracking of detainees at facilities in Arizona and across the country.
In a statement, Immigration Policy Center spokesperson Wendy Sefsaf explained the flaws in FAIR's findings. "FAIR's latest data fails to account for the property, sales, and income taxes paid by unauthorized immigrants," she said. "Nor does the data account for the consumer purchasing power of unauthorized immigrants – what they spend on goods, services, and housing – which actually creates jobs and generates additional tax revenue."
"They seem to forget that deporting workers also means deporting consumers and taxpayers," she explained.
"Migrants come here for a reason," says Michele Waslin, a senior policy analyst at the Immigration Policy Center. "They will continue to exist even if their life is made more difficult for them in the U.S. They have to weigh their lives here with their lives back home."
As of June 30, bills similar to Arizona's law had been introduced in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Michigan.
In the first half of the year, 44 state legislatures passed 191 laws and adopted 128 resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees, with governors vetoing five of the bills. This was a 21 percent increase in enacted laws and resolutions from the same time period in 2009.
Most of the state legislation addresses employment, law enforcement and identification.
In all of 2009 more than 1,500 bills were introduced in state legislatures related to immigration, compared to 300 in 2005.
Immigrants made up more than 12 percent of the U.S. population in 2008 and the foreign-born share of Arizona's population was 14.3 percent that year. In California, which is also on the border, foreign-born residents make up more than a quarter of the population. Latinos make up the biggest group.
The Latino share of Arizona's population was 30.1 percent in 2008. In neighboring Texas, Latinos made up 36.5 percent of the population and in California they made up 32.4 percent. In New Mexico, they represented nearly 45 percent of the population.
This Practice Advisory presents a short introduction to the Criminal Justice Act (CJA), which authorizes U.S. district courts to appoint counsel to represent financially eligible individuals in habeas corpus actions brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.
"We question how (ICE is) setting their priorities," said Michelle Waslin, senior policy analyst at the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center, which is against Secure Communities. "Are they truly focusing on the most dangerous criminals, or are they also picking up people who have not been convicted of any or a relatively minor crime?"