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...
According to the Washington D.C. based non-profit Immigration Policy Center, when a person is arrested and booked into jail, "...his or her fingerprints are checked against the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (US-VISIT), and the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT)...This fingerprint check allows state and local law enforcement and ICE automatically and immediately to search the databases for an individual’s criminal and immigration history."
When a match between the person and an immigration violation arises, the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) and local law enforcement are notified, and a "detainer" or an order to hold the person arrested is issued, giving federal authorities jurisdiction over that individual, according to the Center's fact sheet.
Republicans like Reps. David Vitter and Mike Lee and Sens. Rand Paul and Jerry Moran all built platforms on their “pro-family” politics. So, what does it take for these men to paint childbirth as “reprehensible?” You guessed it: these GOP lawmakers are again thumping their drums against “birth tourism,” an illusory epidemic in which illegal immigrants are traveling to the United States to give birth, thus guaranteeing their child, derided by these men as “anchor babies,” national citizenship.
“It is a reprehensible practice,” said Vitter, a Louisiana Congressman whose career survived revelations that he hired hookers.
Hoping to put an end to these illegal immigrants’ life-giving ways, these Republican leaders have drafted legislation that would “correct” a misinterpretation of the 14th amendment, which clearly reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside,” and restrict citizenship to children born to at least one citizen, someone in the military or a legal resident.
Opponents of the legislation not only point out that “birth tourism” hardly represents the trend Rand Paul and company claim (only 7,670 of the 4.2 million babies born in the U.S. in 2006 were by mothers who don’t live here) but also insist that the Republican leaders are playing with constitutional fire.
“The Supreme Court has upheld birthright citizenship several times, and the leading constitutional scholars agree you would have to change the Constitution, not just the Immigration and Nationality Act as they’re trying to do here,” said Michele Waslin from the Immigration Policy Center.Read more...
This issue covers an upcoming Supreme Court argument on the aggravated felony definition; a decision in a suit challenging a state law regulating verification of employment eligibility; favorable court of appeals asylum decisions; litigation resources, and highlights from the LAC (including litigation involving federal court jurisdiction and the Child Status Protection Act, and advocacy around the asylum clock).
A piecemeal approach to immigration reform is the politically easy option, but there will be unintended negative consequences unless Congress addresses the whole problem.
An effective system to verify a job applicant's eligibility to work in the United States is an essential part of immigration reform. So are tough employer sanctions for those who hire the undocumented.
But if Congress just mandates the use of the employee-screening E-Verify system without dealing with labor demands, the job magnet will remain and the economy will suffer.
The agriculture industry is forthright in saying that up to 70 percent of its workforce is undocumented. There are no Americans to take those jobs.
"Are you raising your child to be a farmworker?" asks Tom Nassif, president of the Western Growers Association, which represents growers in California and Arizona. He says his industry has been trying to educate Congress about the simple fact that making E-Verify mandatory without addressing labor needs "wipes out agriculture."
John McClung, president of the Texas Produce Association, says E-Verify in isolation would be "the death knell" of agriculture in the United States . Without workers, farmers would move their cropland to where the labor is: Mexico and Central America. Nassif says two to three non-farm jobs are created for every farm job, so the result would be widespread job losses in the United States.
The other likely result, as Joe Sigg of the Arizona Farm Bureau points out, would be "under-the-table and off-the-books" employment.
Research bears this out. The nonpartisan Immigration Policy Center study, "Deeper Into the Shadows," found workers who lost their jobs because of enforcement tended to return to work - often at the same job - on a cash-only basis. They were generally paid less and became more vulnerable to exploitation.
E-Verify alone will create problems because it does not deal with the need for labor.Read more...
For years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the component of the Department of Homeland Security tasked with preventing illegal entries into the United States, has employed unlawful tactics that violate the rights of U.S. citizens and noncitizens alike. The public knows relatively little about CBP’s activities, and this lack of transparency has made it difficult to hold CBP officers, including Border Patrol agents, accountable for misconduct. The LAC is engaged in administrative advocacy and litigation intended to expose CBP’s unlawful practices and promote policies that safeguard the civil liberties of all persons who cross our borders.
Lawsuit Seeking Damages on Behalf of Four-Year-Old U.S. Citizen Wrongly Detained and Returned to Guatemala
Leonel Ruiz o/b/o E.R. v. U.S., No. 1:13-cv-01241 (E.D.N.Y. filed March 8, 2013)
In March, 2013, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, filed a lawsuit alleging that CBP officers at Dulles Airport in Virginia unlawfully detained a U.S. citizen child for more than twenty hours, deprived her of contact with her parents, and then effectively deported her to Guatemala. The case was one of ten complaints filed the same week to highlight CBP abuses along the northern and southern borders. (For more information, see CBP Abuse of Authority.) Read more...
The Exchange Visitor Program is pleased to announce John Patrick Leyba as April’s Exchange Visitor of the Month. Each month, we select an exchange visitor who has made an effort to get involved in his/her community and explore American Culture. Read more...