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Just the Facts

Immigration Fact Checks provide up-to-date information on the most current issues involving immigration today.

Arizona is Not the First State to Take Immigration Matters into their Own Hands

UPDATED 05/26/10 - Arizona’s controversial new immigration law (SB 1070) is the latest in a long line of efforts to regulate immigration at the state level. While the Grand Canyon State’s foray into immigration law is one of the most extreme and punitive, other states have also attempted to enforce federal law through state-specific measures and sanctions. Oklahoma and Georgia have passed measures, with mixed constitutional results, aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration through state enforcement. Legislators in 45 states introduced 1,180 bills and resolutions[i] in the first quarter of 2010 alone, compared to 570 in all of 2006. Not all state legislation relating to immigration is punitive—much of it falls within traditional state jurisdiction, such as legislation that attempts to improve high school graduation rates among immigrants or funds. The leap into federal enforcement, however, represents a disturbing trend fueled by the lack of comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level. 


Published On: Thu, May 06, 2010 | Download File

Real Enforcement with Practical Answers for Immigration Reform (REPAIR) Proposal Summary

On April 29, 2010, Democratic Senators Schumer, Reid, Menendez, Feinstein, and Leahy unveiled a proposed outline for a comprehensive immigration reform bill.  The “conceptual framework” offers a broad platform for re-inventing our immigration system and attempts to find a middle ground that may appeal to more conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans.  Consequently, details are noticeably lacking in many areas of the proposal.  Nonetheless, the underlying concept reflects a more comprehensive approach to immigration reform which attempts to balance traditional enforcement priorities with the creation of legal means for entering and working in the United States.  Read more...

Published On: Mon, May 03, 2010 | Download File

Arizona’s Punishment Doesn’t Fit the Crime: Studies Show Decrease in Arizona Crime Rates

Updated 06/22/10

Supporters of Arizona’s harsh new immigration law claim that it is, in part, a crime-fighting measure.  For instance, the bill’s author, Republican State Senator Russell Pearce of Mesa, confidently predicts that the law—which requires police to investigate the immigration status of anyone who appears to be unauthorized—will result in “less crime” and “safer neighborhoods.”  However, Sen. Pearce overlooks two salient points: crime rates have already been falling in Arizona for years despite the presence of unauthorized immigrants, and a century’s worth of research has demonstrated that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born.  While much has been made about kidnappings in Arizona, law-enforcement officials indicate that most of these involve drug smugglers and human smugglers, as well as smuggled immigrants themselves—not the general population of the state.  Combating crime related to human smuggling requires more trust between immigrants and the police, not less.  Yet the undermining of trust between police and the community is precisely what Arizona’s new law accomplishes.  In the final analysis, immigration policy is not an effective means of addressing crime because the vast majority of immigrants are not criminals.


Published On: Wed, Apr 28, 2010 | Download File

The Ones They Leave Behind: Deportation of Lawful Permanent Residents Harm U.S. Citizen Children

Many people believe that only illegal immigrants are deported.  However, thousands of long-term legal immigrants are deported each year.  While some are deported for committing serious crimes, many more are deported for committing minor, nonviolent crimes, and judges have no discretion to allow them to stay in the U.S.—even if they have U.S. citizen children.


Published On: Mon, Apr 26, 2010 | Download File

The Rise and Fall of the Secure Border Initiative’s High-Tech Solution to Unauthorized Immigration

The Secure Border Initiative (SBI), launched by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2005, is a cautionary tale of the dangers inherent in seeking a technological quick fix to the problem of unauthorized immigration.  SBI calls not only for fencing the U.S.-Mexico border in the literal sense, but constructing a “virtual fence” as well.  Since physical fencing can be climbed over, broken through, or dug under, it is complemented in SBI by a system of cameras and sensors—known as “SBInet”—that will, in theory, alert the Border Patrol whenever an unauthorized border crossing occurs. 


Published On: Thu, Apr 15, 2010 | Download File

The Fiscal Bottom Line on Immigration Reform

The Costs of Enforcement-Only and the Benefits of Comprehensive Reform

Tax Day is an appropriate time to take stock of a few fiscal bottom lines about immigration enforcement and immigration reform.  The federal government spends billions of taxpayer dollars every year on border and interior enforcement measures intended to deter unauthorized immigration.  While these efforts have failed to solve the problem of unauthorized immigration, they have had a negative impact on American families, communities, and the economy.  Were the United States to adopt a different approach by implementing comprehensive immigration reform, the legalization of currently unauthorized immigrants alone would generate billions of dollars in additional tax revenue as their wages and tax contributions increase over time. 


Published On: Tue, Apr 13, 2010 | Download File

Local Enforcement of Immigration Laws Through the 287(g) Program

Updated 04/02/10

Since 2004, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) has greatly expanded its partnerships with local police through the 287(g) program.  As of March 2010, more than 1,075 local officers have been trained and certified through the program under the 67 active Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs) in 24 states. However, while the number of MOAs has increased, the numerous problems surrounding them have also become more apparent.  Recent reports have found that 287(g) agreements are costing localities millions to implement while ICE provides little oversight and support to the program. Additionally, crime-solving activities are being compromised, the trust between police and community is eroding, and accusations of racial profiling and civil rights violations are on the rise. Furthermore 287 (g) agreements are being used as political tools that interfere with the kind of true community policing that protect and serve our communities.


Published On: Fri, Apr 02, 2010 | Download File

The 2010 Census: The Stakes of an Accurate Count

Every 10 years, as required by the U.S. Constitution, the federal government undertakes a massive nationwide effort to count the residents of the United States, who now number more than 300 million.  The results form the basis for the apportionment of congressional districts and the distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds, as well as serving to guide a wide range of community-planning decisions across the country.DD  The Census is, however, no stranger to controversy, such as the suggestion by some activists that immigrants sit out the Census this year to protest the federal government’s failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform.DD  Yet, among demographic groups like immigrants and ethnic minorities who are typically under-counted in the Census, a boycott would be self-defeating.  Moreover, anyone living in an area afflicted by a large under-count of any sort stands to lose out on political representation and federal funds.DD  For instance, an undercount of Latino immigrants would impact anyone living in a state such as California, New York, or Illinois that has a large population of Latino immigrants—meaning that everyone in those states stands to lose political representation and access to economic and educational opportunities if their residents aren’t fully counted in 2010.


Published On: Wed, Mar 03, 2010 | Download File

How Expanding E-Verify Would Hurt American Workers and Business

Expanding mandatory E-Verify would threaten the jobs of thousands of U.S. citizens and saddle U.S. businesses with additional costs—all at a time when we need to stimulate our economy.  Expanding E-Verify now would be in direct contradiction to the goal of creating jobs and would slow America’s economic recovery.


Published On: Tue, Mar 02, 2010 | Download File

Protecting Children in the Aftermath of Immigration Raids

Study Finds Significant Behavioral Changes in Children After Raids

Children of unauthorized immigrant parents are often forgotten in debates over immigration reform.  There are roughly 5.5 million children living in the United States with unauthorized immigrant parents—three-quarters of whom are U.S. born citizens.  These families live in constant fear of separation.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that over the last 10 years, more than 100,000 immigrant parents of U.S. citizen children have been deported from the United States.  


Published On: Mon, Feb 22, 2010 | Download File