Some of the toughest bills in the nation aimed at illegal immigrants are making their way through legislatures in the South.
Proposed legislation in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, where Republicans control the legislatures and the governors’ mansions, have moved further than similar proposals in many other states, where concerns about the legality and financial impact of aggressive immigration legislation have stopped lawmakers.
Dozens of immigration-related bills showed up early in legislative sessions across the South. Some were aimed at keeping illegal immigrants from college or from marrying American citizens. Most died quickly, but three proposals designed to give police broader powers to identify and report illegal immigrants are moving forward.
The conservative political landscape, and a relatively recent and large addition of Latinos, both new immigrants and legal residents from other states, have contributed to the batch of legislation, say supporters and opponents of the proposed laws.
“The South has become a new gateway for immigrants,” said Wendy Sefsaf of the Immigration Policy Center, a research organization. “People see the culture shift, and they are a little bit freaked out.”
The Hispanic population in Alabama, for example, has increased by 144 percent since 2000, according to new census figures. In Mississippi, the numbers jumped by 106 percent, and in North Carolina by 111 percent. Over all, however, numbers remain small. Only about 4 percent of the population in Alabama is Hispanic. In South Carolina, the figure is 5 percent.
But Georgia has the seventh-largest population of illegal immigrants in the country, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center. There, a version of a law pioneered in Arizona would allow local police officers to inquire about the immigration status of people they suspect of committing crimes, including traffic violations.Read more...
IPC: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Could Generate "750,000 To 900,000 Jobs" And Increase GDP By $1.5 Trillion. In a report prepared for the American Immigration Council's Immigration Policy Center and the Center for American Progress, UCLA's Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda concluded that comprehensive immigration reform could add .84 percent to GDP each year, amounting to "at least $1.5 trillion in added GDP" over a ten-year period. He also concluded that comprehensive immigration reform could "generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue" over a three-year period. According to Hinojosa-Ojeda:
[A]n increase in personal income of this scale would generate consumer spending sufficient to support 750,000 to 900,000 jobs. [Raising The Floor For American Workers: The Economic Benefits Of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, January 2010]
Economist Cowen: "Allowing In More Immigrants, Skilled And Unskilled" Would "Create Jobs." In a New York Times opinion piece titled "How Immigrants Create More Jobs," George Mason economist Tyler Cowen wrote that "it turns out that the continuing arrival of immigrants to American shores is encouraging business activity here, thereby producing more jobs, according to a new study." Cowen cited the research of economists at the University of California, Davis and at Bocconi Uniersity in Italy. According to Cowen:Read more...
An increasing number of states and local communities have passed laws targeting non-citizens in the United States, creating obstacles to their ability to find work, secure housing, qualify for a driver’s license, and even obtain a marriage license. With increasing success, immigrant advocates have challenged many of these measures in court. A summary of the cases are below.
Contact Us! Please contact the Clearinghouse at firstname.lastname@example.org with any new cases or information relevant to the cases summarized below.
The Exchange Visitor Program is proud to announce Milan Simic as June’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. Milan is featured this month for being the winner of the EVP Photo Contest! The winning entry, Rush Hour in Times Square, is pictured above. Read more...
There's no sugarcoating the destructive effect that Rep. Lamar Smith's (R-Texas) bill will have on people's lives. H.R. 1932 imposes indefinite detention on immigrants who have been ordered removed but cannot be deported through no fault of their own.
The House Judiciary Committee has debated H.R.1932. This bill would strip individuals of the right to appear before a neutral arbiter to argue that their detention is unjustified. It directly contradicts recent Supreme Court decisions reiterating that the fundamental guarantee of due process applies to all individuals present in the United States.
A recent Physicians for Human Rights report documents the severe and long-lasting effects of holding people in indefinite detention, noting that "without any information about or ability to control the fact or terms of their confinement, detainees develop feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that lead to debilitating depressive symptoms, chronic anxiety, despair, dread of what may or may not happen in the future, as well as to [post-traumatic stress disorder] and suicidal ideation." Rep. Smith has provided no compelling justification to support subjecting thousands of individuals to such debilitating conditions of confinement.
Rep. Smith said last week: "Just because a criminal immigrant cannot be returned to their home country does not mean they should be freed into our communities." But no one is arguing that dangerous criminals may never be detained, only that categorically locking up dangerous and non-dangerous immigrants forever is legally wrong and inhumane.
Both the criminal justice system and civil commitment systems are in place to protect our communities from truly dangerous people. Instead of attempting to amend or reform these systems to achieve Rep. Smith's goals, this bill creates a new Guantanamo-esque legal limbo where immigrants are detained indefinitely without charge.Read more...