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Unauthorized immigrants pay billions in taxes

Published on Mon, Apr 18, 2011

To mark the tax-filing deadline, the Immigration Policy Center released a report on Monday estimating that unauthorized immigrants paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes last year, including $807 million in Florida.

The Florida total includes $69 million in property tax and $737 million in sales tax. Unauthorized immigrants also pay income taxes, but Florida has no state income tax.

The report compiled by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy estimated taxes by households headed by unauthorized immigrants in 2010.

"These figures should be kept in mind as politicians and commentators continue with the seemingly endless debate over what to do with unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States," said the Immigration Policy Center, a research group based in Washington. "In spite of the fact that they lack legal status, these immigrants -- and their family members -- are adding value to the U.S. economy; not only as taxpayers, but as workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs."

Some advocates for stricter immigration enforcement say that unauthorized foreign residents drain states and communities, in part by crowding schools and public health facilities. The report released Monday was designed to counter those complaints.

Researchers and politicians, meanwhile, continue to debate whether illegal immigration helps or hurts the economy of states like Florida. Immigrants pay taxes and provide labor while also tapping public resources.

Published in the Florida Sun Sentinel

Practice Advisory on Immigration Benefits and Pitfalls in a Post-DOMA World

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This practice advisory highlights some of the issues LGBT families will face following the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA.

Our economy needs illegal immigrants

Published on Sun, Jun 12, 2011

By STEPHEN M. NeSMITH JR.

As an immigration attorney, I highly favor immigrants coming to this country legally. There is no question illegal immigration is a major issue in this country and the United States needs a strong enforcement policy. But no matter what side of the debate you're on, Alabama's immigration law will only worsen our already struggling economy.

The authors of House Bill 56 claim illegal immigration causes economic hardship. Naturally, during tough economic times, we want to blame someone else for our problems. Illegal immigrants are an obvious target since there are negative consequences to their presence, such as increased education and medical costs. But what I don't understand is why my fellow Republicans ignore the benefits they bring.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates illegal aliens cost Alabama $112 million. However, the Immigration Policy Center estimates illegal aliens in Alabama pay a total of $130 million in taxes (personal, property and sales). So, whatever "economic hardship" illegal aliens cause by their presence, they easily offset with the money they pay back into the system.

We are a nation of laws and must enforce those laws. But the hard truth we must face is, at this moment (and until we fix the broken immigration system), our economy is dependent on illegal immigrants.

It is simple supply and demand. Before an enforcement-centric policy would be prudent, we must ensure we have a sufficient supply of workers to meet our needs. The governor of Georgia realized this, albeit too late.Read more...

Published in the Alambam.com

Supreme Court Rejects Government's Argument in Aggravated Identity Theft Case

Flores-Figueroa v. United States, 556 U.S. 646 (2009)

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court held that the aggravated identity theft statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1), requires federal prosecutors to show that a defendant knew the means of identification belonged to another person. Read more...

Ishwinder Kaur Explores the United States

January, 2010
Ishwinder Kaur

Ishwinder Kaur, 23, hails from New Delhi, India. She is currently training in Chicago in the field of business research and administration. She feels welcome in the US, and affectionately refers to Chicago as “a city of cold winds and warm hearts." Read more...

Will Obama’s deportation policy pose ‘nightmare’ for law enforcement?

Published on Fri, Aug 19, 2011

Sheriff Neil Warren, dubbed "Wild West Warren" by pro-immigration groups, has racked up nearly 15,000 immigration-related arrests in Cobb Country north of Atlanta. A new deportation policy announced Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security could mean that many of those arrested by Mr. Warren may not only get out of jail, but could go back to Cobb County with a legal work visa in hand.

Responding to criticism that the US deportation net has been cast too wide – sweeping up college kids, grandparents, and other noncriminal illegals – the Obama administration on Thursday formalized new rules that could mean release for many of the 300,000 people currently facing deportation in the US. Its goal will be to focus on deporting only the worst and most hardened criminals.

The move centers on prosecutorial discretion, with the Obama administration deciding whom it will and won't deport. Clearly, the shift has political ramifications, with Latino groups lauding the decision and conservative critics calling it a backdoor "administrative amnesty."

But perhaps more important to Main Street America is the question of how the new policy will affect police departments, primarily in the West and Southeast. Many of these departments have used federal programs as a means to arrest every illegal immigrant they come across. Now, the Department of Homeland Security's announcement introduces new uncertainty about whether many of those arrested will simply be sent back.

It is further proof that, until comprehensive immigration reform passes Congress, states and federal agencies will continue to nibble at the issue with different and often contradictory measures. In the meantime, the latest move makes for a "law enforcement nightmare," says the union that represents US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel.Read more...

Published in the Alaska Dispatch

IEC Comments on Proposed Regulatory Changes

The International Exchange Center of the American Immigration Council has respectfully submitted comments on proposed regulatory changes to Sub-Part A, General Provisions, Exchange Visitor Programs. Read the full text of our comments.


The proposed change, as published in the Federal Register, is available here.

Kris Kobach: Immigration bills likelier to pass

Published on Fri, Oct 14, 2011

LAWRENCE — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Thursday that bills targeting people living in the United States illegally may be more likely to pass this year because of the pressure conservative candidates are applying on moderate state senators.

That includes, he said, a possible repeal of in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants.

Kobach, one of the nation's most prominent advocates for tougher immigration laws, shared his opinion after a wide-ranging discussion of the impact of illegal immigration at the State of the State Kansas Economic Policy Conference on the campus of the University of Kansas.

Kobach defended the controversial laws he co-authored for Arizona and Alabama that, among other things, require law enforcement officers to check immigration status when they've stopped someone on suspicion of any other crime and are suspicious the person is here illegally.

Alabama's law allows police to detain people without bond who can't prove their residency, and it also requires schools to check residency status when kids register. Since key parts of the law were upheld by a federal judge in late September, illegal immigrants have been fleeing the state and schools have reported higher absentee rates.

Kobach acknowledged that such an exodus was an intended outcome of the law he helped write for Alabama. It may decrease population, but it has opened jobs for legal residents.

His views were fiercely challenged.

Benjamin E. Johnson, executive director of the nonprofit American Immigration Council in Washington, D.C., said those laws undercut increasingly successful community policy efforts, use up time that officers could spend on more important matters, and lead to discrimination.

The laws specifically prohibit racial profiling.Read more...

Published in the The Wichita Eagle