The month of March marks the seventh anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its immigration agencies. It also marks the end of a sweeping internal review ordered by Secretary Janet Napolitano, a review which as not been made public. In order to assess the first year of immigration policy under the Obama Administration, the Immigration Policy Center releases the following Special Report which compare DHS's actions with the recommendations (Transition Blueprint) made to the Obama Transition Team’s immigration-policy group. How does DHS stack up? The following IPC report finds a department caught between the competing priorities of old broken policy and new reforms. While DHS has failed to meet key expectations in some areas, it has engaged thoughtfully and strategically in others, and has made some fundamental changes in how it conducts its immigration business.
The Criminal Alien Program (CAP) is a program administered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that screens inmates in prisons and jails, identifies deportable non-citizens, and places them into deportation proceedings. In this Special Report, The Criminal Alien Program: Immigration Enforcement in Travis County, Texas, author Andrea Guttin, Esq., provides a brief history and background on the CAP program. Guttin also includes a case study of CAP implementation in Travis County, Texas, which finds that the program has a negative impact on communities because it increases the community’s fear of reporting crime to police, is costly, and may encourage racial profiling. Read more...
Millions of immigrants in the U.S. send billions of dollars in remittances to friends and family members in their home countries each year. While it is easy to assume that this represents a huge loss for the U.S. economy, the relationship between remittances and the U.S. economy is much more complex than meets the eye. It’s true that remittances are an important source of income for immigrant-sending countries, but remittances are also a huge boost to U.S. exports and the U.S. economy. The following IPC Special Report reveals the economic benefits of remittances to both developing nations and the U.S. economy.
According to a new study by UCLA’s Dr. Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, legalizing undocumented workers through comprehensive immigration reform would yield $1.5 trillion to the U.S. GDP over a ten year period, generate billions in additional tax revenue and consumer spending and support hundreds of thousands of jobs. The report, which runs several different economic scenarios, finds that enacting a comprehensive immigration reform plan which creates a legalization process for undocumented workers and sets a flexible visa program dependent on U.S. labor demands not only raises the floor for all American workers, but is an economic necessity.
While some characterize our immigration crisis as solely an issue of the 11 to 12 million unauthorized immigrants living in this country, our problems extend beyond the number of undocumented people to a broader range of issues. The lack of a comprehensive federal solution has created a slew of lopsided, enforcement-only initiatives that have cost the country billions of dollars while failing to end unauthorized immigration. The first step, however, in devising solutions to our problems is understanding the scope of them. IPC’s latest report addresses several key areas, including how our current immigration system functions, the structural failure of our system, issues stemming from an inadequate federal response and long-delayed immigration reform.
From the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, immigrants have made significant contributions to the United States by serving in our military forces. Today, immigrants voluntarily serve in all branches of the U.S. military and are a vital asset to the Department of Defense. To recognize their unique contribution, immigrants serving honorably in the military who are not yet U.S. citizens are granted significant advantages in the naturalization process. Over the past eight years, Congress has amended military-related enlistment and naturalization rules to allow expanded benefits for immigrants and their families and encourage recruitment of immigrants into the U.S. Armed Forces. Without the contributions of immigrants, the military could not meet its recruiting goals and could not fill its need for foreign-language translators, interpreters, and cultural experts. This latest Special Report reflects on the vital role immigrants have and continue to play in keeping our nation safe.
The data analyzed in IPC's latest Special Report, Economic Progress via Legalization, indicates that unauthorized immigrants who gained legal status in the 1980s through the legalization provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) experienced clear improvement in their socioeconomic situation. Between 1990 and 2006, the educational attainment of IRCA immigrants increased substantially, their poverty rates fell dramatically, and their home ownership rates improved tremendously. Moreover, their real wages rose, many of them moved into managerial positions, and the vast majority did not depend upon public assistance. The findings presented in this report support the notion that legalization of unauthorized immigrants can play a role in promoting economic growth and lessening socioeconomic disparities. Reforming our immigration system is not an obstacle to getting our economy back on track—it is part of the solution.
Nearly everyone agrees that our immigration system is badly broken and in urgent need of reform. Under the existing system people are dying at the border, immigrants are living and working in abject conditions, families trying to reunite legally are separated for many years, employers are unable to hire the workers that they need, U.S. workers suffer from the unlevel playing field shared with exploited immigrant workers, and law‐abiding U.S. employers are in unfair competition with unscrupulous employers who increase profits by hiring cheap and vulnerable labor. Meanwhile, the United States continues to spend billions of dollars on enforcing these broken laws.
While some characterize our immigration crisis as solely an issue of the 11 to 12 million unauthorized immigrants living in this country, our problems extend beyond the number of undocumented people to a broader range of issues.
With Congress once again poised to consider comprehensive immigration reform, a key question confronting lawmakers is to what extent immigration and unemployment are related. Opponents of immigration reform frequently argue that immigrants “take” jobs away from many native-born workers, especially during economic hard times. Yet an analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau clearly reveals that this is not the case. In fact, there is little apparent relationship between recent immigration and unemployment rates at the regional, state, or county level.