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Deportation in the Time of Cholera: DHS's Mixed Response to Haiti's Earthquake

By Royce Bernstein Murray, Esq.

The dramatic announcement on May 17, 2011 that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for another eighteen months to Haitians, including those who entered the country no later than January 12, 2011, is a welcome step forward in the saga of the Haitian earthquake. The decision to extend and redesignate Haiti for TPS has been a long time coming and reflects more than a year of solid effort on the part of advocates and the Haitian community. In many ways, DHS’s handling of the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti is emblematic of the triumphs and tribulations discussed in a recent report issued by the Immigration Policy Center, Second Annual DHS Progress Report: An Analysis of Immigration Policy in the Second Year of the Obama Administration. This critique found that the immigration agencies appear to be tackling issues affecting Haitians independently, failing to coordinate their enforcement and benefits-oriented policies. At times, critical information was disseminated in a limited and ad hoc fashion, generating confusion and unease about DHS policies. Observers have been left questioning how DHS’s priorities are ordered and whether they are integrated at the department level. DHS’s latest actions offer hope that a more coordinated, thoughtful, and humanitarian approach will prevail. 

Published On: Thu, May 26, 2011 | Download File

Debunking the Myth of "Sanctuary Cities"

By Lynn Tramonte

There is much confusion about the term “sanctuary city.”  The term is often used derisively by immigration opponents to blast what are best described as community policing policies.  Critics claim that these cities and states provide “sanctuary” to undocumented immigrants, but research shows that the opposite is true.  In fact, community policing policies are about providing public safety services, not sanctuary, to both immigrant residents and the entire community.  Crime experts, including hundreds of local police officers, have found that cities with community policing policies continue to work closely with DHS and have built bridges to immigrant communities that have improved their ability to fight crime and protect the entire community.

Historically, the federal government has enforced civil immigration law, and state and local police have focused on enforcing criminal law.  However, propelled by increased frustration with the nation’s broken immigration system and by growing anti-immigrant sentiment, politicians’ demands for state and local police to take on an increased role in immigration enforcement have grown exponentially.  This culminated in the passage of Arizona’s notorious SB1070 law in 2010, which would turn Arizona state and local police officers into deportation agents. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Apr 26, 2011 | Download File

E-Verify and the Social Security Administration: A Rocky Road Ahead for U.S. Seniors

Many who support deportation-only immigration measures want to expand the E-Verify electronic employment verification system. However, doing so would place enormous additional responsibilities on the Social Security Administration (SSA)—an already overburdened agency.  If SSA has to spend time and resources verifying Social Security numbers and fixing database errors for work authorization purposes, SSA will have less time and resources to handle its primary function: providing benefits to millions of deserving Americans.  That’s why the AARP, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and other organizations have voiced their concerns over mandatory E-Verify.  In 2007, the president of the National Council of Social Security Management Associations, Inc. testified that mandatory E-Verify could “cripple SSA’s service capabilities” and negate any progress in addressing the backlog of applications for disability benefits. Read more...

Published On: Fri, Apr 15, 2011 | Download File

Is More Getting Us Less? Real Solutions for Securing our Border

By Eric L. Olson and David Shirk

Ongoing reports about Mexico’s bloody conflict with organized crime have raised again the question of whether the United States should do more to prevent such violence from “spilling over” into the country.  While officials have documented few cases of actual “spill over,” fears of exploding violence in Mexico and concerns about illegal migration are driving a policy debate that is centered on “securing the border.”  To whit, President Barack Obama announced last May the deployment of 1,200 more National Guard troops to enhance border security, and requested an additional $500 million from Congress to further modernize southwestern border security.  In August, the U.S. Congress approved a $600 million “Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010” in near record time.  The question is whether such policy actions are effective. 

Published On: Tue, Feb 15, 2011 | Download File

Mandatory E-Verify without Legalization

Would Hamper Economic Recovery and Cost U.S. Workers Jobs

Since 1986, controlling illegal immigration by regulating who is entitled to work in the United States has been a key component of U.S. immigration policy.   The ritual of showing proof of one’s identity and work authorization and filling out an I-9 form is part of every new hire’s paperwork haze.  Read more...

Published On: Thu, Feb 10, 2011 | Download File

Deeper into the Shadows

By Jeffrey Kaye

Before the onset of the Great Recession, immigrant labor was cited as a boom to the U.S. economy.  In towns and cities across the country, immigrant labor—documented or otherwise—filled positions in growing businesses and industries where demand outpaced the supply of native-born workers.  Since the onset of the economic downturn in 2008 and the rise in U.S. unemployment, some analysts and politicians—looking for a convenient scapegoat—have turned on that immigrant workforce and their employers, arguing that deporting eight million undocumented immigrant workers will create eight million new jobs for the native-born.  This over-simplified equation ignores the complicated and inter-dependent roles that immigrants play in our economy.  A 2010 study by the Fiscal Policy Institute on the economic contributions of immigrants in the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States makes the point well:

The results were clear: immigrants contribute to the economy in direct relation to their share of the population.  In the 25 largest metropolitan areas combined, immigrants make up 20 percent of the population and are responsible for 20 percent of economic output.  Together, these metro areas comprise 42 percent of the total population of the country, 66 percent of all immigrants, and half of the country’s total Gross Domestic Product.Read more...

Published On: Wed, Feb 09, 2011 | Download File

After the Raid is Over: Marshalltown, Iowa and the Consequences of Worksite Enforcement Raids

By Jan Flora, Claudia M. Prado‐Meza, and Hannah Lewis

For many years, large-scale worksite raids constituted a major element of federal immigration enforcement.  While the large-scale and well-publicized worksite raids have tapered, immigration enforcement has continued to increase, and the number of deportations and detentions is at an all-time high. 

The ever-expanding arsenal of ICE enforcement policies, together with harsh state and local laws and policies, have harmful side effects that go far beyond the unauthorized population.  Policies meant to target unauthorized immigrants also impact their family members, employers, and neighbors.  A large number of the people affected are U.S.-citizen children.  Latinos, Asians, and others who “sound” or “appear” to be foreign may be the victims of mistakes (such as the U.S. citizens who have been mistakenly deported), or may experience civil rights violations, discrimination, or profiling.  In states and localities with anti-immigrant laws and policies, negative attitudes towards immigrants and nasty rhetoric might be enough to cause lawfully present people to leave.  Read more...

Published On: Tue, Jan 25, 2011 | Download File

A Framework for Effective Immigration Worksite Employer Enforcement

Immigration enforcement is an extremely important national priority.  Effective control of our nation’s borders is essential to our national security.  The regulation and control of those who enter the country, along with the prosecution of those who violate immigration laws once they are here, is fundamental to our integrity as a nation of laws.  Read more...

Published On: Tue, Jan 25, 2011 | Download File

E-Verify: A Resource Page


Published On: Tue, Jan 11, 2011

Reading the Morton Memo: Federal Priorities and Prosecutorial Discretion

By Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Esq.

On June 30, 2010, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton, issued a memo to the agency that reflected the Obama administration’s oft repeated intent to focus removal efforts on serious offenders.  Morton noted:

In light of the large number of administrative violations the agency is charged with addressing and the limited enforcement resources the agency has available, ICE must prioritize the use of its enforcement personnel, detention space, and removal resources to ensure that the removals the agency does conduct promote the agency's highest enforcement priorities, namely national security, public safety, and border security.  

Coupled with last year’s announcement that ICE would not engage in the kind of major worksite raids that became common during the Bush administration, the “Morton Memo” potentially marks a new phase in the enforcement of immigration law.  Moreover, the memo gives us insight into the Obama administration’s approach to prosecutorial discretion in immigration enforcement.Read more...

Published On: Wed, Dec 01, 2010 | Download File