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The economic ignorance of immigration restrictionists

Published on Fri, Mar 25, 2011

By Walter Ewing

Prominent immigration restrictionists such as Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) like to pretend that federal and state governments could simply deport their way out of massive budget deficits and high unemployment. By this flawed line of economic reasoning, removing unauthorized immigrants from country would magically free up both jobs and budgets. In reality, removing millions of workers, consumers, and taxpayers would cause national and state economies to contract, resulting in fewer total jobs and less tax revenue. In addition, it would cost hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to locate, round up, detain, and deport the 11 million unauthorized men, women, and children now living in the United States.

This is not a recipe for economic recovery; it is a recipe for economic disaster.

Restrictionists who champion the deport-them-all approach to unauthorized immigrants have been relying of late on a deeply flawed 2010 report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which makes implausible claims about the costs of unauthorized immigrants. The FAIR report and the restrictionists who rely upon it overlook the fact that unauthorized immigrants are not only workers, but consumers as well. Unauthorized workers spend their wages in U.S. businesses — buying food, clothes, appliances, cars, etc. — which sustains the jobs of the workers employed by those businesses. Businesses respond to the presence of new workers and consumers by investing in new restaurants, stores, and production facilities. The end result is more jobs for more workers. For instance, a new report from the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) and the Center for American Progress (CAP) Rising Tide or a Shrinking Pie: The Economic Impact of Legalization Versus Deportation in Arizona estimates that the economic output and consumer spending of unauthorized workers in Arizona sustains 581,000 jobs.Read more...

Published in the The Hill

Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 5

This issue covers adjustment of status under INA

Published On: Wednesday, February 8, 2006 | Download File

Illinois Backs Out Of Federal Immigration Program

Published on Thu, May 05, 2011

In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, Gov. Pat Quinn said Illinois would stop participating in a federal program that requires authorities to run the fingerprints of anyone arrested through a federal immigration database.

The program, called Secure Communities, is in effect in more than 1,000 jurisdictions in 40 states. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to rollout the program nationwide by 2013.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Quinn withdrew the state from the program because he had concerns that it was veering from its stated mission to deport convicted criminals:

Nearly a third of all illegal immigrants deported out of Illinois under the program have never been convicted of any crime, the letter stated, citing federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement figures. Quinn's office suspended the state's role in the program in November amid concerns about its effectiveness.

"During the suspension, we voiced our concerns to ICE and asked them to prove that Secure Communities can and will be implemented as agreed to," the governor's office said in a statement. "After review, we were not satisfied and determined that ICE's ongoing implementation of Secure Communities is flawed."

One key thing to remember is that when a person comes into the country illegally, they are guilty of a civil infraction, not a criminal one. According to the Immigration Policy Center, one common objection to the program is that if local officers are seen as immigration officials, they'll lose the trust of their community and would make their jobs harder.

The program, however, has been popular among those who seek tougher enforcement of immigration laws.

The New York Times reported another interesting angle in March: Whether the federal government can force local jurisdictions to participate in the program is up for debate.Read more...

Published in the National Public Radio

State and Local Law Enforcement

ARCHIVED ISSUE PAGE (LAST UPDATED OCTOBER 2011)

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 clearinghouse@immcouncil.org with any new cases or information relevant to the cases summarized below.

Developments By State|Additional Resources

Alabama|Arizona|California|Georgia|Illinois|Indiana|Kentucky|
Louisiana
|Massachusetts|MichiganMissouri|Nebraska|New Jersey|
New York
|Oklahoma|Pennsylvania|Tennessee|Texas|Utah

Contact Us! Please contact the Clearinghouse at clearinghouse@immcouncil.org with any new cases or information relevant to the cases summarized below.

Developments By State

AlabamaRead more...

A Look Through Milan Simic’s Lens

June, 2009
Milan Simic

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...

Dear Mr. Smith, Our Broken Immigration System Requires Solutions That Embrace Discretion, Not Eliminate It

Published on Fri, Jul 15, 2011

Over the last six months, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), along with other members of the House Judiciary Committee, have engaged in an all-out effort to turn back the clock on our immigration laws through a series of bills that may tackle one issue at a time, but equal a comprehensive overhaul. This week, the restrictionists' Comprehensive Immigration Reform package (RCIR, as we call it) became complete with the introduction of the "Hinder the Administration's Legalization Temptation Act" (HALT Act), a bill that would suspend discretionary forms of immigration relief until January 21, 2013. Yes, until the day after the next inauguration.

Just yesterday, Congressman Smith inched a bit closer to RCIR when the full Judiciary Committee voted to advance the "Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2011" (H.R. 1932) -- a bill that authorizes indefinite detention for immigrants. Apparently Smith is not content with the current mandatory detention laws because they include some provisions for release of immigrants, such as asylum seekers and others who have committed no crimes. His bill, however, would create a penal system for immigrants far more restrictive than the current detention system, which has generally been under fire from all sides.

And it doesn't stop there. Other bills in the RCIR package include mandatory E-verify with no provisions for current undocumented workers to become legal, elimination of the diversity visa, expanded authority for the Secretary of Homeland Security to revoke visas issued by the Department of State, the elimination of review for those visas, suspension of waivers for the 3 and 10 year bars, suspension of cancellation of removal, suspension of Temporary Protective Status (TPS), suspension of virtually all parole authority, deferral powers, and work authorization, and a revocation of any such benefits that are awarded between the date of introduction of the HALT Act and its enactment.Read more...

Published in the Huffington Post

Remand Rule

Gonzales v. Tchoukhrova, 549 U.S. 801 (2006)

  • In a summary order dated April 17, 2006, the Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s decision and remanded the case “for further consideration in light of Gonzales v. Thomas, 547 U.S. ___ (2006).” In Thomas, the Court held that the Ninth Circuit should have applied the “ordinary remand rule,” and remanded the case to the BIA for further analysis.
  • The Court’s ruling in Tchoukhrova indicates that the Ninth Circuit erred by reaching issues that the BIA had not ruled on in the first instance.

A Conversation with Michael Ziegler

September, 2011

Congratulations to Michael Ziegler, our Exchange Visitor of the Month! We caught up with Michael to learn more about his J-1 experience in the United States.
Read more...

What Would Your Immigrant Ancestors Think of the I-Word?

Published on Sat, Sep 10, 2011

Ready to talk about immigration and the i-word?

In the days leading up to the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I walked around New York City with Nayana Sen and Leigh Thompson, asking people what they thought about immigration and the slurs too often used to describe immigrants today. We started out at Battery Park, where people take ferries out to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The site is part of the Immigration and Civil Rights Sites of Conscience Network, committed to use historical perspective in order to stimulate ongoing local and national conversations on immigration and its related issues, promote humanitarian and democratic values, and treat all audiences as stakeholders in the immigration dialogue.

Inspired by the Sites of Conscience’s work, we asked people what they knew about their families’ roots in the U.S., what they thought about how immigrants are treated now and whether or not they agree with use of the i-word to describe people.

In most of our pre-interviews, people wanted to be on camera—but as soon as we said “immigration,” we got confused looks, artful turn-downs and fast walkers. It was a reality check about how unprepared and uncomfortable a lot of people feel when faced with this urgent topic.Read more...

Published in the Colorlines