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A Comparison of the DREAM Act and Other Proposals for Undocumented Youth

Each year, approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from American high schools. While many hope to pursue higher education, join the military, or enter the workforce, their lack of legal status places those dreams in jeopardy and exposes them to deportation. Over the last decade, there has been growing bipartisan consensus that Congress should provide legal immigration status for young adults who came to the country as children and graduated from American high schools. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Jun 05, 2012 | Download File

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Provides Protections for Immigrant Women and Victims of Crime

With approximately 19 million immigrant women and girls in the United States, nearly half of the foreign-born population is female. Unfortunately, many of these immigrant women, particularly those who are unauthorized, are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Immigrant women are more likely to experience exploitation while entering the country, while working, and even within their homes. For these and other reasons, federal law provides numerous forms of protection for immigrant women. This fact sheet provides basic information about three of the these forms of protections: “U” visas for victims of crime, “T” visas for victims of severe forms of trafficking, and “self-petitioning” under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Read more...

Published On: Mon, May 07, 2012 | Download File

Immigration and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): A Q&A Fact Check

Q: What is the Defense of Marriage Act?
A: In 1996, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Section 3 of DOMA defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. At the time DOMA was enacted, no state permitted same-sex marriages. Today, six states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex marriages; several other states honor out-of-state marriages and/or recognize civil unions. Read more...

Published On: Thu, Aug 18, 2011 | Download File

Rep. Lamar Smith’s “Keep Our Community Safe Act of 2011” Creates More Problems than Solutions

One of the ugliest myths in the immigration debate involves the relationship between immigrants and crime.  While studies repeatedly have shown that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans, many politicians exploit the public’s fear of crime to advance a restrictive immigration agenda.  One of the latest attempts to do so is the “Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2011,” or H.R. 1932, introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). This bill seeks to expand the authority of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to subject certain immigrants to indefinite—that is, potentially life-long—detention, even though the Supreme Court has held that such detention raises serious constitutional concerns.     Read more...

Published On: Wed, Jul 06, 2011 | Download File

Constitutional Citizenship: A Legislative History

By Garrett Epps

Attacks against the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment have picked up in recent months, with legislators at both the national and state levels introducing bills that would deny U.S. citizenship or “state citizenship” to the children born to unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.

There are two strands of attacks on birthright citizenship.  One strand arises out of simple nativist anger at the impact of immigrants, legal or otherwise, on society.  The other argues that the current interpretation of the Citizenship Clause as covering the children of “illegal” immigrants is inconsistent with the “original intent” of the Framers of the 14th Amendment.  Originalism is often used as a method to clarify unclear portions of constitutional text or to fill contextual gaps in the document. This is not, however, how originalism is being used in the context to the Citizenship Clause.  Here, originalists use clever arguments and partial quotations to eradicate the actual text of the Amendment.  In essence, they claim the Framers did not really mean what they said. Read more...

Published On: Mon, Mar 28, 2011 | Download File

Papers Please: Eliminating Birthright Citizenship Would Affect Everyone

Attacks on birthright citizenship at the federal and state level are bound to take many forms—from outright repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment to refusal by states to issue birth certificates to children of undocumented immigrants.  Whatever the tactic, attacks on birthright citizenship hurt everyone. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Jan 04, 2011 | Download File

Eliminating Birthright Citizenship Would Not Solve the Problem of Unauthorized Immigration

There is no evidence that undocumented immigrants come to the U.S. just to give birth.
Read more...

  • Unauthorized immigrants come to the U.S. to work and to join family members.  Immigrants tend to be of child-bearing age and have children while they are in the U.S.  They do not come specifically to give birth.
  • Stories about “birth tourism” point to small numbers of foreigners who come to the U.S. legally to give birth to their children.  It would be ridiculous to change the U.S. Constitution and impact every single American just to punish a few individuals.

Published On: Tue, Jan 04, 2011 | Download File

Investing in the American DREAM

By Roberto G. Gonzales Ph.D.

Each year, tens of thousands of undocumented immigrant students graduate from American high schools and embark on uncertain futures.  Their inability to legally work and receive financial aid stalls, detours, and derails their educational and economic trajectories.  Most importantly, at any time, they can be deported to countries they barely know.  The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act is a federal bill aimed at providing immigration relief to these young people.  The passage of this bill would grant many undocumented youth access to legal residency and federal financial aid—thus removing legal and economic barriers to higher education and increasing their contributions to America and the likelihood of upward mobility.

Published On: Thu, Dec 02, 2010 | Download File

The DREAM Act: Creating Economic Opportunities

There are an estimated 1.9 million undocumented children and young adults in the United States who might be eligible for legal status under the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) Act.  For many of these young people, the United States is the only home they know and English is their first language.  Each year, tens of thousands of them graduate from primary or secondary school, often at the top of their classes.  They have the potential to be future doctors, nurses, teachers, and entrepreneurs, but they experience unique hurdles to achieving success in this country.  Through no fault of their own, their lack of status may prevent them from attending college or working legally.  The DREAM Act would provide an opportunity for them to live up to their full potential and make greater contributions to the U.S. economy and society. Read more...

Published On: Thu, Nov 18, 2010 | Download File

The DREAM Act

Creating Opportunities for Immigrant Students and Supporting the U.S. Economy (Updated 05/18/11)

This fact check provides answers to basic questions about the DREAM Act, from a brief legislative history to how and how many students would benefit. To download the PDF, scroll down to the bottom of this page. Read more...

Published On: Thu, Nov 18, 2010 | Download File