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A Conversation with Klaas Frese

April, 2011

Congratulations to Klaas Frese, our Exchange Visitor of the Month! Klaas came to Pennsylvania from Germany to train in the area of freight forwarding. We caught up with Klaas after a recent trip to Las Vegas to learn more about his experience in the United States.

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Tennessee's Undocumented Immigrants Paid Taxes to the Tune of $157 Million

Published on Tue, Apr 19, 2011

It's a familiar refrain: Undocumented immigrants come to the United States, contribute nothing and benefit handsomely from the Nanny State. And it's dead wrong.

In fact, according to estimates by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy and the Immigration Policy Center, households headed by undocumented immigrants paid more than $157 million in sales and property taxes here in Tennessee in 2010. Nationwide, they paid an estimated $11 billion in state and local taxes.

A 2005 Economic Report to the President points out that half of all undocumented immigrants are "believed to be working on the books," meaning they contribute to the tax rolls but remain ineligible for nearly every federal public assistance program. Even if their employer withholds Social Security taxes, they'll never benefit from a system they pay into.

Tennessee lawmakers are proposing legislation this session that would seek to make every facet of life in the state even more inhospitable for undocumented immigrants (see Thursday's Scene). But they might consider the numbers, especially this one: Tennessee ranks 14th on the list of 50 for most taxes paid by those with no legal right to be here.

Published in the Nashville Scene

Court Holds Traditional Standard Applies to Stays of Removal Pending Petitions for Review

 Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418 (2009)

The Supreme Court held that a court of appeals should apply the traditional criteria governing stays when adjudicating a stay of removal pending a petition for review. In doing so, the Court rejected the government’s argument that the stringent standard in INA § 242(f)(2) (“clear and convincing evidence” that the removal order “is prohibited as a matter of law") applies. The Court’s decision reversed the Fourth and Eleventh Circuits, which had held that INA § 242(f)(2) applies to stays of removal pending petitions for review. Read more...

Gov. Deval Patrick Is Latest to Buck Obama Deportation Program

Published on Thu, Jun 09, 2011

This week Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick joined a growing chorus of governors standing up against the federal government’s immigration enforcement agenda when he announced that he would not enter his state into Secure Communities. The program, which is supposed to target immigrants who commit serious crimes for deportation, has been controversial in that it has deported streams of people, both documented and undocumented, who were convicted of minor offenses or, in some cases, none at all.

The Department of Homeland Security responded to Gov. Patrick by immediately slamming the door on the state’s efforts to keep out of the program. An anonymous DHS official told the Boston Globe that the state’s participation is not optional. Immigrant rights advocates say DHS is setting itself up for a legal fight over what’s quickly becoming its most controversial immigration enforcement program.

“The tide is turning on S‐Comm,” said Pablo Alvarado, the executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, which is coordinating a national effort to dismantle Secure Communities. “A chorus of opposition to the program is growing louder as the migrant rights movement demands a reversal of politics that criminalize immigrants.”

Under Secure Communities, local authorities mush share the fingerprints of anyone booked in a local or county jail with federal immigration authorities. People without immigration documents and documented immigrants with prior criminal convictions get marked for deportation proceedings, even if they’re never charged with or convicted of a crime. The controversial and rapidly expanding program has become the marquee immigration enforcement program of the Obama administration’s deportation agenda. It’s currently operating in 42 states, and the administration hopes to expand it to the entire country by 2013.Read more...

Published in the Colorlines Magazine

Court Broadly Defines “Misdemeanor Crime of Violence,” But Limits Applicability of Holding

United States v. Castleman, 572 U.S. ___, 134 S. Ct. 1405 (2014)

In a 9-0 judgment, the Court reversed the decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court held that a conviction pursuant to a statute which criminalizes conduct including offensive touching and bodily injury through indirect force qualifies as a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), which bars individuals with domestic violence convictions from possessing guns or ammunition. However, the Court expressly noted that its decision does not cast doubt on prior decisions of the courts of appeals and the BIA which have held that a “crime of violence” requires force beyond offensive touching, nor upon statutes, including the INA, which tie the definition of a “crime of domestic violence” to the definition of a more generic crime of violence.

Justice Kagan delivered the opinion of the Court, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan. Justice Scalia filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Justices Alito filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, joined by Justice Thomas.

The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and the Immigrant Defense Project issued a Practice Advisory addressing Castleman’s impact on immigration cases.

Quick Fact: Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes

At last count, households headed by unauthorized immigrants paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes.

 

Immigrants' ledger has two sides

Published on Sat, Aug 06, 2011

As Hazleton's ill-considered anti-immigration ordinance migrates to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals for further arguments, it continues to be based partially on a false premise.

The ordinance results partially from the notion that illegal immigrants are an economic drain and a service burden on the government.

That view, however, is rooted in only one side of the ledger. An analysis by the Immigration Policy Center recently detailed how tax-paying illegal immigrants bolster government treasuries.

In Pennsylvania alone, the analysis found, families headed by illegal immigrants pay $135 million a year in state and local taxes - nearly $35 million in state and local wage and income taxes, more than $7 million in property taxes and more than $81 million in sales taxes.

The analysis does not count another substantial contribution. The national debate over "entitlement" reform usually fails to note the huge surplus for Social Security generated by illegal immigrants. Earlier this year Stephen Goss, chief actuary for Social Security, estimated that illegal immigrant workers contribute about $12 billion a year to the trust fund.

By law illegal immigrants may not collect Social Security benefits, so their contributions are a net gain. The contribution is even more significant because of demographics: illegal immigrants generally are much younger than the average American worker.

None of that diminishes the need for rational immigration reform at the federal level. But it does call for greater context to the debate.

Published in the The Times-Tribune

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Breaking the law applies equally

Published on Fri, Oct 28, 2011

Alabama politicians told the people that illegal immigrants cost the state $112 million a year, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform. But the Immigration Policy Center also reports that illegal immigrants spend $130 million a year. Why was this not brought out?

 People say they are tired of illegal immigrants taking Alabama jobs, but how many state contracts have been awarded to out-of-state companies?

 How much money and how many teachers, farmers and other workers will lose their jobs? We get so much money per student and the state is already cutting back. How much more will they cut?

 We need to take a minute and look at Detroit and remember that that city once relied heavily on the auto industry; now some parts of the city have empty buildings. The auto industry is wonderful, but how many people do you know who are buying new cars in this economy?

 We need to protect our farmers and help our neighbors. If we are going to be immigration officers, are we going to start paying the Coast Guard and the federal employees, or are we going to let the federal government do it? They are not perfect, but if we start taking matters into our own hands, then we are no different than the immigrants. Breaking the law is the same for everyone, states included.

Published in the The Anniston Star