This week, Fox News is reporting on data provided to them by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) which amounts to a highly misleading fiscal snapshot of the costs allegedly imposed on U.S. taxpayers by unauthorized immigrants. However, in its rush to portray unauthorized immigrants as nothing more than a drain on the public treasury, FAIR completely discounts the economic contributions of unauthorized workers and consumers. Moreover, FAIR inflates their cost estimate by indiscriminately lumping together native-born, U.S.-citizen children with their unauthorized parents.
Ending Birthright Citizenship Would Be Unconstitutional, Impractical, Expensive, Complicated and Would Not Stop Illegal Immigration
Anti-immigrant groups and legislators have persisted in their attempts to restrict or repeal birthright citizenship in State Houses and the U.S. Congress. Several bills have been introduced that would deny U.S. citizenship to children whose parents are in the U.S. illegally or on temporary visas. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution - the cornerstone of American civil rights - affirms that, with very few exceptions, all persons born in the U.S. are U.S. citizens, regardless of the immigration status of their parents. Following the Civil War and the emancipation of the slaves, the Fourteenth Amendment restated the longstanding principle of birthright citizenship, which had been temporarily erased by the Supreme Court's "Dred Scott" decision which denied birthright citizenship to the U.S.-born children of slaves. The Supreme Court has consistently upheld birthright citizenship over the years. The following fact sheet is adapted from the Immigration Policy Center’s Made in America: Myths and Facts About Birthright Citizenship.
Over the period from 2005 to 2007, I researched the anti-immigrant movement. As I spoke with immigration restrictionists and observed their patrols and anti-immigrant rallies, I was often haunted by the question, “Are these people to be taken seriously?” At times it was hard to fathom that they amounted to anything more than a disgruntled fringe element of a society experiencing complex transformations in an increasingly interconnected world. I witnessed much hyperbole and many “colorful” characters, but at times questioned their potential broader impact.Read more...
The intent of Arizona’s SB 1070, the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” is to chase illegal immigrants out of the state. Or, as the new law puts it more formally: “to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona.” The stern new law quickly made Arizona the target of international news headlines, boycotts, demonstrations, and lawsuits—most recently by the ACLU and a coalition of civil rights groups. While the spotlight has been on Arizona, however, copycat legislation has been brewing in at least 16 other states, supported to one extent or another by two organizations that have made a cause of providing legal and political assistance to lawmakers similarly intent on “attrition through enforcement.”
The two groups, which work together, are the Washington, D.C.-based Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), an affiliate of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the lesser-known State Legislators for Legal Immigration. IRLI lawyer Kris W. Kobach, who was a chief adviser on immigration issues to Attorney General John Ashcroft following the attacks of 9/11, has consulted with lawmakers around the country, helping frame and defend state and local legislation targeting illegal immigrants. (At the Justice Department, Kobach engineered a controversial program that aimed to register visitors from certain Muslim countries).Read more...
Comprehensive immigration reform is one of the most pressing problems for the United States. This is expected to be a key issue for Congress in 2010.
Many faith-based organizations are motivated by the Bible in advocating for reform. To counter this, the restrictionists have tried to preempt, issuing a report that purports to prove that the Bible justifies a harsh stance on immigration.
Building on an article we wrote in 1998, in a new article published on January 1, 2010 in Bender's Immigration Bulletin, we debunk the restrictionist argument and show that the Bible actually does support a generous attitude towards immigrants and immigration. Indeed, it mandates such a view.
There are both religious and non-religious people on both sides of the debate over comprehensive immigration reform. One does not need to be religious in order to advocate for the rights of immigrants. But religion is very important for many people involved in the debate. That being so, it is important to have an accurate view of what the Bible really says about immigration, and we have tried our best to show that.
According to the anti-immigration group NumbersUSA, immigration to the United States is all about arithmetic: immigration increases the U.S. population, and more people presumably means more pollution, more urban sprawl, more competition for jobs, and higher taxes for Americans who must shoulder the costs of “over-population.” At first glance, this argument is attractive in its simplicity: less immigration, fewer people, a better environment, more jobs, lower taxes. However, as with so many simple arguments about complex topics, it is fundamentally flawed and misses the point. “Over-population” is not the primary cause of the environmental or economic woes facing the United States, so arbitrary restrictions on immigration will not create a cleaner environment or a healthier economy.
The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), as well as the Heritage Foundation, have recently claimed that up to 300,000 construction jobs created by the economic stimulus bill could be filled by undocumented immigrants. CIS arrives at this scary number by using a job-creation formula designed for highway expenditures in 2007, and then tacking on an estimate of the undocumented construction workforce from 2005—before the mass layoffs that have plagued the construction industry. Beyond the use of fuzzy math, CIS also suggests that the federal government’s “E-Verify” employment-verification pilot program could prevent undocumented immigrants from securing these new jobs. Yet numerous reports—from the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security Administration’s Inspector General, and a Department of Homeland Security contractor, among others—indicate that rushing to implement E-Verify on a national scale would be a costly mistake that would ensnare U.S. citizens in database errors and wouldn’t actually stop undocumented immigrants from getting jobs. “Enforcement-only” attempts to stop undocumented immigration have failed repeatedly for more than 20 years. Only a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that allows exploited undocumented immigrants to become legal workers will fix our broken immigration system in a way that benefits all workers.
Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released a report detailing the disturbing links between three immigration restrictionist groups: the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), Numbers USA, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). These groups describe themselves as "advocates of lower immigration," yet the report depicts much darker motives underlying their work. The SPLC report makes clear that they are in fact a full-throated anti-immigrant lobby and not interested in a balanced debate.
Over the past year and a half, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona has transformed his police department into an immigration-enforcement agency, gaining international publicity in the process. Yet a growing number of elected officials, media outlets, and religious and civic leaders have criticized Sheriff Arpaio’s tactics and their impact on his community. In addition, two independent reports by the East Valley Tribune and the Goldwater Institute describe a Sheriff’s department where crime-solving is down and racial profiling and budget expenditures are way up.
A new 2008 National Survey of Latinos by the Pew Hispanic Center reveals disturbing new evidence that Latinos – U.S. citizens as well as legal immigrants and undocumented immigrants—are feeling the effects of the immigration debate gone ugly. Regardless of immigration status, Latinos are feeling anxious and discriminated against amid sanctioned public immigrant-bashing and stepped-up immigration enforcement measures.