The Immigration Policy Center think tank completed their own research on the contribution of immigrants to our Sooner state. If Arizona-style laws succeed and all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Oklahoma, the state would lose $580.3 million in economic activity, $257.8 million in gross state product, and approximately 4,680 jobs. That's $838.1million dollars lost from our state.
This issue covers a Seventh Circuit decision holding that the BIA abused its discretion in denying a continuance of an "arriving alien" seeking adjustment; a lawsuit filed by Fragomen, Del Ray, Bernsen Loewy LLP against the Department of Labor; a Second Circuit decision examining the scope of APA review; and a favorable First Circuit EAJA decision in a naturalization delay case.
Funding for the Office of Citizenship, particularly its programs to support and encourage immigrant integration, was one of the many casualties of the drastic spending cuts passed by the House before leaving for President's Day recess. As the Senate prepares to take up the Continuing Resolution, restoring the relatively tiny 11 million dollar budget of the Office of Citizenship should be something that both parties can agree on, as this is the office that works with legal permanent residents to help them prepare for the naturalization exam and overcome other obstacles to becoming U.S. citizens.
The importance of immigrant integration cannot be overstated, as a new study released this week, ranking U.S. performance in this area against European countries and Canada, makes clear. The Migration Integration Policy Index III (MIPEX) www.MIPEX.eu, a rigorous analysis of laws and policies that further immigrant integration in Europe and North America, finds that the United States is ninth among 31 countries in promoting full integration of legal residents. As the MIPEX authors note, "Our ever changing societies are also becoming ever more diverse. Whatever our individual backgrounds, we all have a stake in the shared future of the communities and countries we live in, where each, in his or her own way, contributes to its economic, social, and civic life."Read more...
While a mandatory federal deportation program headed to Montgomery County takes a more balanced approach to illegal immigration than other measures, its presence could make day-to-day law enforcement more difficult for Montgomery's police.
In September, the county is expected to begin participating in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Secure Communities program, which scans and stores the fingerprints of anyone brought to the county jail. The database is sent to the FBI and ICE, which check to see if the person is wanted for a federal crime or listed as an illegal immigrant. If he or she is found to be in the country illegally, he or she can be turned over to ICE officials and deported.
Montgomery County and Baltimore city are the only remaining Maryland jurisdictions not participating and ICE hopes to expand the program nationwide by 2013.
The program has multiple problems, not the least of which is an undetermined impact on county policing.
According to data from ICE, the Secure Communities program in Maryland has been responsible for the deportation of 293 illegal immigrants as of March 31. The bulk of those — 223 — came from Prince George's County; however, 145 people, or 65 percent, had no criminal record, and the reasons they were brought to jail were too minor for prosecutors to pursue. Nationwide, of the 248,000 database hits in fiscal 2010, 15 percent were for those accused of felonies.
The county already engages in a similar practice to Secure Communities, where police report all those arrested for serious crimes, such as murder and rape, to ICE. It is then ICE's responsibility to check the immigration status of the submitted names.
With Secure Communities' track record of deporting minor offenders or non-offenders, who might otherwise be valuable resources to police, it's difficult to see how the program is worthwhile.Read more...
Last week, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton reminded ICE officials of their duty and obligation to use good judgment in the prosecution of immigration cases in a new memo. In a culture where many people still believe that "enforcing the law" and "removing people" are exactly the same, Morton's new memo is likely to shake some things up. While Morton's memo doesn't change the law in any way or end controversial programs like Secure Communities, it does serve as a much-needed guide for ICE officials on how, when and why to exercise prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases.
In the memo, Morton reminds ICE officers and attorneys that they should never assume that they are powerless to affect the outcome of a case -- instead, that authority rests with individual officers and attorneys to determine whether or not the positive factors in a given case outweigh the value of prosecuting that case. In fact, ICE officials need to do this regardless of whether or not immigrants or their attorney have asked for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. The memo reiterates the need to triage cases based on ICE priorities, emphasizing the goal of putting limited resources into cases and activities that protect the country by going after those who seek to do it harm.Read more...