Twelve years ago, Lizbeth Ramos and her common-law husband, Juan, left their hometown near Puebla, Mexico, and set out on foot across the desert for the Arizona border, to slip into new lives as illegal immigrants.
He found work in a produce market in the Philadelphia area, she in a boutique. They saved up to start a family.
Now 30, she lies on an examination table in Pennsylvania Hospital, at a weekly obstetrics clinic for immigrant women, no status questions asked. As a doctor slides an ultrasound wand over her bulging belly, her eyes are transfixed by the monitor. She is carrying twins.
The moment they enter the world, they will be what their parents are not: U.S. citizens.
Such is their birthright, granted by the 14th Amendment to an estimated 340,000 babies born annually to undocumented immigrants.
But in the marathon fight over immigration control, that 143-year-old constitutional guarantee has become the latest target and the delivery room the new front. The pejorative anchor babies already is in the lexicon.
"Once a child is born here, the parents make the argument that they should be allowed to stay as that child's guardian. They are using that child as an anchor [to] play on our heartstrings," said Pennsylvania Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Butler County Republican who has built a national reputation as a crusader against what he calls "illegal alien invaders."
Immigrant advocates dismiss his contention as myth, and point to a recent study that found that undocumented immigrants generally "come for work and to join family members." The Washington-based nonprofit Immigration Policy Center concluded that "they do not come specifically to give birth" and game the immigration system.
Such assertions have not tempered efforts by immigration-control proponents to effectively do away with "birthright citizenship" for illegal immigrants' children.Read more...
Through two recessions, the number of Hispanics in South Carolina spiked more rapidly than anywhere else in the country in a boom that’s remaking sections of the Upstate and could soon put more Latinos into public life.
Business leaders say Hispanic small business owners now make up a key economic driver and that the growth is a likely prelude to more entering politics as the population finds its voice.
All told, the 2010 census counted nearly 236,000 Hispanics in the state, a 148 percent jump from 2000 that accounts for a quarter of the state’s total growth, though that’s partly due to a more rigorous count.
The number of Hispanic children in the state increased by 192 percent, an increase that also led the nation, according to census calculations by the Pew Hispanic Center.
Greenville County has the state’s largest Hispanic population, and it has increased by 156 percent since 2000 to 36,495 or 8 percent of the total population.
Longtime Greenville entrepreneur Ruben Montalvo believes the official census numbers are still “way, way under” the actual Hispanic population, which be believes is closer to the national average of 14 percent of the total Greenville population.
Perhaps 4 percent can vote, however, and when you add the communication challenge for many Hispanics and the national debate over immigration, he said it’s “naïve” to believe the population will be fully represented politically.
The demographic is still nowhere near the size and concentration to trigger minority voting districts under federal civil rights law, but the next likely step is more Hispanics moving into public leadership, said Dean Hybl, executive director of the regional collaborative nonprofit Ten at the Top.
It’s now the interim phase, said Wifredo Leon, publisher of Latino Newspaper, in which the population size has become substantial but hasn’t yet developed politically.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).
The Southern and Middle Federal Judicial Districts of Florida were among the top 10 districts in the nation in the number of criminal immigration prosecutions in the first six months of fiscal year 2011.
New data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University shows that criminal prosecution for illegal reentry was the most commonly recorded lead charge brought by federal prosecutors — accounting for nearly half of all criminal immigration prosecutions filed.
The data shows that the Florida districts have contributed more than 420 criminal immigration prosecutions, while clearly showing that the vast majority of these cases occur in the Southwest border states.
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse report notes that individuals who are not criminally prosecuted may be deported administratively. It adds that the vast majority of immigration apprehensions are dealt with via administrative actions such as “removals” and “voluntary departures.”
The data shows a steady rise of criminal prosecutions for illegal reentry, a felony offense, from 2009 through 2011. According to the authors, this charge has surpassed illegal entry as the most common federal immigration prosecution charge.
Commenting on this data, the Immigration Policy Center states that comparing the prosecution for illegal reentry data with prosecution for weapons-related offenses shows that the “federal government is prioritizing immigration enforcement over potentially far more dangerous activities, such as gun smuggling.”
According to the Policy Center, the data shows that while more than 18,500 cases of illegal reentry were prosecuted, “the number of weapons prosecutions continues to decline. In the month of January 2011 there were only 484 new weapons prosecutions—the lowest level since January 2001. Weapons prosecutions are down 7.9% from this time last year, and 28.8% from 2006.”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 LAC, 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 month of September brings the Health&Fitness issue of J-1 JOURNEYS. In this edition, we answer the important question, "What Is My J-1 Visa?", give advice on staying fit at the office, and talk about how to approach your supervisors for direct feedback.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Immigration Policy Center released a summary of recent data on Mexican migration to and from the United States. The data reveals an emerging new reality: fewer immigrants are coming, fewer are leaving, and a majority of the unauthorized population has been here for a decade or longer.
Although this data deals with Mexican immigrants as a whole and not just the unauthorized, it is a useful indicator of what is taking place in the unauthorized population. More than half (55 percent) of Mexican immigrants in the United States are unauthorized, and roughly three-fifths (59 percent) of all unauthorized immigrants are from Mexico.
The study comes on the heels of reports from the Pew Hispanic Center and the RAND Corporation about the state of immigration today. According to the Immigration Policy Center, the new trends suggest that U.S. immigration policies must transition away from the current efforts to drive out unauthorized immigrants with deep roots in this country, and move toward a more nuanced set of policies that help immigrants who are already contributing to the economy to more fully integrate into U.S. society.