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Checklist for Estimating the Costs of SB 1070-Style Legislation

(Updated November 2011) - Arizona’s infamous anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, has spawned many imitators.  In a growing number of state houses around the country, bills have been passed or introduced which—like SB 1070—create new state immigration crimes and expand the power of police to enforce immigration laws.  Some state laws would make E-Verify mandatory for all businesses, require schools to check students’ immigration status, or make it a crime to “harbor or transport” unauthorized immigrants.  State legislators who are thinking of jumping on the immigration enforcement bandwagon, however, would be wise to consider the costs of such legislation.  State immigration enforcement laws impose unfunded mandates on the police, jails, and courts; drive away workers, taxpayers, and consumers upon whom the state economy depends; and invite costly lawsuits and tourist boycotts.  These are economic consequences which few states can afford at a time of gaping budget deficits. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Nov 08, 2011 | Download File

Fiscally Irresponsible: Immigration Enforcement without Reform Wastes Taxpayer Dollars

Many political pundits, GOP presidential aspirants, and Members of Congress want to have it both ways when it comes to federal spending on immigration. On the one hand, there is much talk about the need for fiscal austerity, and a Congressional “super-committee” is currently working on slashing federal spending in order to reduce the deficit. On the other hand, even though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just announced a record high number of deportations, some still want to increase federal spending on immigration enforcement; putting more Border Patrol boots on the ground, completing the border fence, and deploying an array of high-tech gadgetry. However, they miss one very important fact: piling on more immigration enforcement without immigration reform is a practical and fiscal dead-end. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Oct 19, 2011 | Download File

Locked Up Without End: Indefinite Detention of Immigrants Will Not Make America Safer

By Michael Tan, Esq.

One of the ugliest myths in the immigration debate is that immigrants are more likely to commit crime or pose a danger to society. Although studies repeatedly have shown that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans, politicians continue to exploit the public’s fear of crime to justify ever more punitive immigration measures, including the mass incarceration of immigrants for reasons that would never be permitted for U.S. citizens. A prime example of this political double standard is the “Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2011” (H.R. 1932), introduced this past spring by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. H.R. 1932 proposes a massive expansion of our immigration lock-up system that would waste millions of taxpayer dollars and violate our constitutional commitments to individual liberty and due process of law, while doing little to make America safer.

The vast scope of H.R. 1932 became clear during its committee mark-up, where members of the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement challenged the language and intent of the legislation and sought to amend its reach. During that meeting, Rep. Smith was forced to acknowledge that the bill’s detention mandates extend to immigrants who have no criminal record whatsoever, much less focus narrowly on hard-core offenders. Since that time, however, Rep. Smith has continued to misrepresent that “the bill only specifies that a small segment of criminal immigrants may be detained for extended periods.”Read more...

Published On: Thu, Oct 06, 2011 | Download File

Guns, Drugs, and Money: Tackling the Real Threats to Border Security

By Josiah McC. Heyman, Ph.D

The external borders of the United States matter to security, but how and in what ways is neither automatic nor obvious. The current assumption is that borders defend the national interior against all harms, which are understood as consistently coming from outside—and that security is always obtained in the same way, whatever the issue. Some security policies correctly use borders as tools to increase safety, but border policy does not protect us from all harms. The 9/11 terrorists came through airports with visas, thus crossing a border inspection system without being stopped. They did not cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Future terrorists would not necessarily cross a land border. U.S. citizens and residents, and nationals of Western Europe, also represent an important element of the terrorist threat, and they have unimpeded or easy passage through U.S. borders. Fortified borders cannot protect us from all security threats or sources of harm.Read more...

Published On: Mon, Sep 12, 2011 | Download File

So Close and Yet So Far: How the Three- and Ten-Year Bars Keep Families Apart

Most Americans take it for granted that marriage to a U.S. citizen and other family relationships entitle an immigrant to a green card, but there are barriers that often prevent or delay these family members from becoming lawful permanent residents, even if they are already in the United States.  Among these barriers are the “three- and ten-year bars,” provisions of the law which prohibit applicants from returning to the United States if they were previously in the U.S. illegally. Thousands of people who qualify for green cards based on their relationships to U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relatives leave the U.S. to obtain their green card are caught in a Catch-22—under current law they must leave the country to apply for their green card abroad, but as soon as they leave, they are immediately barred from re-entering the U.S. for three or ten years. Read more...

Published On: Mon, Jul 25, 2011 | Download File

The Impact of E-Verify on Ohio’s Economy

Some members of Congress have proposed making it mandatory for all employers to use E-Verify—the federal, web-based program through which U.S. businesses can verify the work authorization of new hires.  However, mandatory E-Verify without immigration reform is not a solution to the problem of unauthorized immigration.  Addressing the reality of a workforce that relies on unauthorized immigrants requires a more comprehensive package of reforms—including a legalization program that brings unauthorized workers out of the shadows, and the creation of sufficient legal visas for the immigrant workers America needs.  Mandatory E-Verify alone is likely to harm the economy and U.S. workers.

Immigrants in Ohio.
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Published On: Wed, Jul 20, 2011 | Download File

The Impact of E-Verify on Massachusetts’ Economy

Some members of Congress have proposed making it mandatory for all employers to use E-Verify—the federal, web-based program through which U.S. businesses can verify the work authorization of new hires.  However, mandatory E-Verify without immigration reform is not a solution to the problem of unauthorized immigration.  Addressing the reality of a workforce that relies on unauthorized immigrants requires a more comprehensive package of reforms—including a legalization program that brings unauthorized workers out of the shadows, and the creation of sufficient legal visas for the immigrant workers America needs.  Mandatory E-Verify alone is likely to harm the economy and U.S. workers.

Immigrants in Massachusetts
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Published On: Wed, Jul 20, 2011 | Download File

The Impact of E-Verify on Minnesota’s Economy

Some members of Congress have proposed making it mandatory for all employers to use E-Verify—the federal, web-based program through which U.S. businesses can verify the work authorization of new hires.  However, mandatory E-Verify without immigration reform is not a solution to the problem of unauthorized immigration.  Addressing the reality of a workforce that relies on unauthorized immigrants requires a more comprehensive package of reforms—including a legalization program that brings unauthorized workers out of the shadows, and the creation of sufficient legal visas for the immigrant workers America needs.  Mandatory E-Verify alone is likely to harm the economy and U.S. workers.

Immigrants in Minnesota
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Published On: Wed, Jul 20, 2011 | Download File

The Impact of E-Verify on Pennsylvania’s Economy

Some members of Congress have proposed making it mandatory for all employers to use E-Verify—the federal, web-based program through which U.S. businesses can verify the work authorization of new hires.  However, mandatory E-Verify without immigration reform is not a solution to the problem of unauthorized immigration.  Addressing the reality of a workforce that relies on unauthorized immigrants requires a more comprehensive package of reforms—including a legalization program that brings unauthorized workers out of the shadows, and the creation of sufficient legal visas for the immigrant workers America needs.  Mandatory E-Verify alone is likely to harm the economy and U.S. workers.

Immigrants in Pennsylvania.
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Published On: Wed, Jul 20, 2011 | Download File

The Impact of E-Verify on Louisiana’s Economy

Some members of Congress have proposed making it mandatory for all employers to use E-Verify—the federal, web-based program through which U.S. businesses can verify the work authorization of new hires.  However, mandatory E-Verify without immigration reform is not a solution to the problem of unauthorized immigration.  Addressing the reality of a workforce that relies on unauthorized immigrants requires a more comprehensive package of reforms—including a legalization program that brings unauthorized workers out of the shadows, and the creation of sufficient legal visas for the immigrant workers America needs.  Mandatory E-Verify alone is likely to harm the economy and U.S. workers.

Immigrants in Louisiana.
Read more...

Published On: Wed, Jul 20, 2011 | Download File