Benjamin Johnson, a researcher with the American Immigration Institute, said the immigration debate in the United States has become entirely fixed on the issue of “securing the border.” He cited the recently signed Arizona state law that gave police greater power to enforce federal immigration laws. Fear and uncertainty about the border led to the passage of that law, Johnson insisted.
“This appetite for enforcement at the border seems almost insatiable,” he said. “The focus of legislative efforts and debate seem to always come back to this question of border enforcement.”
"Immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens," said Ben Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council.
Johnson said the share of immigrants in federal prisons may seem alarming but that only 8 percent of all U.S. prisoners are in such facilities. Most are in state and local prisons, where incarceration rates for immigrants are lower than average.
He also pointed out that many immigrants in the federal system may simply be there because they lack legal immigration status -- not for having committed flagrant criminal offenses.
"No community is immune from the ravages of drugs and sexual violence. But the overwhelming majority of those crimes are not done by immigrants," Johnson said. "We don't ask criminals about their political affiliation or their religion. So why should we focus on their immigration status?"
The nonpartisan Washington D.C.-based Immigration Policy Center, for instance, says legalizing undocumented workers is the way to go.
On its website, the center says, “Comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to legalization for undocumented workers would pay for itself through the increased tax revenue it generates, in contrast to the failed and costly enforcement-only policies that have been pursued thus far.”
According to a new report, the center says, immigration reform that includes a legalization program for unauthorized immigrants and enables a future flow of legal workers would result in a big economic benefit.
This Practice Advisory discusses how the asylum employment authorization document (EAD) clock operates, both in theory and in practice. The advisory addresses EOIR’s interpretation and implementation of the asylum clock and provides an analysis of and strategies around clock-stopping events.
Ben Johnson, the executive director of the Washington-based American Immigration Council, says Hatch’s bill is simply more of the same rhetoric that’s been tossed around for a while and does nothing to move the debate forward.
“The reality is that there too many politicians, and I think, unfortunately, Senator Hatch is beginning to fall into that category, introducing legislation not in any effort to actually get it passed but to send messages to their constituents,” Johnson said.
Johnson added some parts of Hatch’s legislation are already addressed in existing law.
“Declaring that we should deny visas to gang members and members of organized crime is like outlawing dinosaurs in Utah,” Johnson
As the Immigration Policy Center, organizers of the letter out it, “By failing to offer these young people a place in America, we are cutting them off from the very mechanisms that would allow them to contribute to our economy and society.”
Creating Heritage Boxes will allow students to obtain a cross-curricular knowledge using relevant literature and information obtained through family member interviews. Students will understand the value of becoming familiar with their heritage and culture through the research of an ancestor. (NOTE: This is a project-based learning activity that requires several months and the support of families and the school community to implement. The interconnected activities will foster an overall understanding and appreciation for the diversity in your school and our nation.)