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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What is an immigration detainer and how does it work? Are detainers only placed on unauthorized immigrants? What happens after an immigration detainer has expired? What are the consequences of immigration detainers? In order to better understand immigration detainers’ function and impact, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) provides the following Fact Check to shed much needed light on this often misunderstood immigration enforcement tool.
In The Criminal Alien Program: Immigration Enforcement in Travis County, Texas, author Andrea Guttin explores the Criminal Alien Program (CAP), which is one of the programs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to identify immigrants who may be deportable. The paper provides a history and analysis of the CAP program, as well as a case study of CAP implementation in Travis County, Texas.
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...