The Obama administration proposed changing federal rules to let some undocumented immigrants stay in the U.S. while seeking legal status, a move that would help Hispanics, a key voting bloc in the 2012 election.
The proposal is aimed at spouses and children of U.S. citizens who are eligible for a visa. The proposed change would let them remain in the country while applying for a green card, according to a statement by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The law now calls for immigrants who have been in the country illegally for 180 days or more to leave the U.S. to apply for legal residence, a period that can last as long as 10 years. Because of the potentially long separation from their families, immigrants who are eligible don’t apply for legal status, according to the American Immigration Council, a Washington-based pro-immigration group.
Congressional Republicans have stymied President Barack Obama’s drive to overhaul immigration laws to let temporary foreign workers enter the U.S. and to help illegal immigrants on a path toward citizenship. The proposed change doesn’t need congressional approval.
It would “provide a more predictable and transparent process and improved processing times,” according to the immigration agency’s statement.
Hispanics contributed to Obama’s margin of victory in the 2008 presidential election. Exit polls on election day showed 67 percent of Hispanic voters supported him compared with 31 percent for Arizona Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee.
States With Hispanics
That support helped Obama carry states with large Hispanic populations, including Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. The states are among the ones likely to be the most competitive in this year’s presidential race.
The illegal immigration issue has sparked disputes in the race among Republicans vying to be Obama’s opponent.Read more...
The Supreme Court Update provides information about recent Supreme Court decisions in immigration cases, immigration cases where the Supreme Court has granted a petition for certiorari, and selected pending petitions for certiorari. The site features case summaries, dates for oral argument and additional resources related to each case such as amicus briefs and practice advisories.
67% of voters said “We would be better off if people who are in the United States illegally became legal taxpayers so they pay their fair share,” vs. 28% who said “We would be better off if people who are in the United States illegally left the country because they are taking away jobs that Americans need.”
Raul Rodriguez and Alberto Ledesma live parallel lives. Both proudly claim UC Berkeley as their alma mater. Both have worked hard academically. And both have published personal essays about the stigma of being an undocumented student.
But that’s where their lives diverge. Ledesma was fortunate enough to gain amnesty via the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), federal legislation that granted amnesty to immigrants who entered the U.S. before 1986. Rodriguez, on the other hand, remains undocumented because legislation like IRCA no longer exists.
“Even now, years after amnesty, I get all tongue-tied when anyone asks me about my immigrant past. I become that undocumented immigrant Cantinflas, twisting words and phrases until nothing I say makes sense. The problem is, I don’t know where my Cantinflas and where the true me begins.”
Rodriguez says he shares that same feeling of being constantly distressed. If he were granted amnesty, he says he would take every opportunity that presented itself, the simplest of all being travel. Before discovering he was undocumented, Rodriguez had plans to move to New York City and Paris, but all of those plans disappeared upon hearing the truth about his legal status.
“Being undocumented means re-shifting your life and not doing what you love,” he notes.
Today, Rodriguez lives a life that he can only describe as “going through the motions.” He is not alone. A study conducted by the Immigration Policy Center in 2008 showed that 25 percent of all people in the U.S. are either an immigrant or the child of an immigrant. The same study concluded that 40 percent of all immigrants currently in the U.S. came to this country before 1990, which suggests that they've since established deep roots in this country. Many are like Ledesma and Rodriguez, having grown up in the U.S. yet never fully embraced as Americans. Read more...
What has the American Immigration accomplished over the years? Click here to read about what we consider to be our top yearly accomplishments.
Transparency and accountability are of the utmost importance to us when it comes to the monetary contributions from our donors. We seek to maximize and effectively use your contributions in each of our program areas. To give you a clear and unbiased understanding of our financial operations, we participate in GuideStar, an online charity rating site. Click on the icon to visit our profile.
Immigrant Youth Achievement Award Nomination Deadline February 1, 2012.
In a media fueled environment where the label “immigrant” has taken on such negative and hateful qualities, the American Immigration Council works to combat these stereotypes by holding up exemplary youth in our communities as examples of the positive contributions young immigrants are making in our country everyday. The Immigrant Youth Achievement Award recognizes a young immigrant in the United States whose accomplishments are the embodiment of the immigrant spirit and show a commitment to making a positive impact in their community or the world around them.
The Immigrant Youth Achievement Award is presented at the American Immigration Council’s annual Washington, DC Immigrant Achievement Awards each Spring. Past honorees have emigrated from countries such as Ireland, India, Cambodia, China, and Cuba and have made contributions in literature, journalism, music and politics.
In determining the selection of a nominee to receive the American Immigration Council’s Immigrant Youth Achievement Award, the selection committee will use the following criteria:Read more...
IPC's own Michele Waslin was quoted in yesterday's KQED article about the vetoed California bill that would have limited local law enforcement's ability to work with federal immigration authorities:
“The problem with [Secure Communities] is that the research that’s been done so far has shown that a lot of the people that are being held under these detainers, the people that are being identified by ICE, are not serious criminals, violent criminals,” said Michele Waslin of the Immigration Policy Center, a research and analysis group based in Washington, D.C.
Born in the barrio of Carlsbad, California in 1940, Victor Villaseñor was raised on a ranch four miles north in Oceanside. Since his parents were born in Mexico, Villaseñor spoke only Spanish until beginning school. After years of facing language and cultural barriers, heavy discrimination and a reading problem, later diagnosed as dyslexia, Mr. Villaseñor dropped out of high school his junior year and moved to Mexico. There he discovered a wealth of Mexican art, literature, music, that helped him recapture and understand the dignity and richness of his heritage.
Mr. Villaseñor returned to the U.S. at the age of 20. He began to feel the old frustration and rage return as he witnessed again the disregard toward poor and uneducated people and especially toward the Mexicans. Then a chance encounter with James Joyce’s Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man, changed his life. It awakened a desire to confront through literature the problems associated with his cultural heritage that continued to plague him.
After producing nine novels, 65 short stories, and receiving 265 rejections Villaseñor sold his first novel, Macho!, which the Los Angeles Times compared to the best of Steinbeck. This began a journey that would eventually lead to the publication of the national bestseller, Rain of Gold. Published in seven languages and used by thousands of teachers and school systems across the nation as required reading, Rain of Gold tells the story of Mr. Villaseñor’s family, taking the reader from war-torn Mexico during the Revolution to the present day.Read more...
A recent Fox News Latino article drew on a recent fact sheet released by the Immigration Policy Center in an article on the economic impact of immigrants in Texas.
"A Texas congressman wants to know what the economic impact on the Lone Star State would be if it lost its estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants.
"Rep. Pete Gallego, a Democrat, believes the cost to Texas would be much higher now than a 2006 estimate done by the state comptroller. So his office has sent a letter to the comptroller asking for a more current analysis.
"In 2006, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn concluded that a loss of the undocumented immigrant population would have resulted in 'a loss to our gross state product of $17.7 billion.'
"But a more recent report by the Immigration Policy Center this year put the economic loss at more than twice the last estimate, which Gallego’s office said was the first such comprehensive effort by a state.
"'If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Texas, the state would lose $69.3 billion in economic activity, $30.8 billion in gross state product, and approximately 403,174 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time,' said the IPC report.