Washington D.C. - Opponents of immigration reform are often quick to differentiate their disdain for unauthorized immigration from their alleged support of legal immigration. However, finding any evidence of that support has always been elusive and, over the past several months, the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement has conducted hearings that question the value of all forms of immigration. They continue to perpetuate the myth that all immigrants - including legal immigrants - are stealing jobs from native-born workers.
Today, the committee continues these same attacks on legal channels of immigration with a hearing on diversity visas, a program which provides 55,000 green cards annually by lottery to persons from countries that do not currently send many immigrants to the United States. The diversity visa is a relatively small program designed to increase the diversity of our immigrant flows. One prime example of a diversity visa winner is famed soccer player Freddy Adu.
In the first scenario, the proponents of SB 1070 achieve their stated goals and all current unauthorized immigrants leave the state-taking their labor, their spending power, and their tax dollars with them. In the second scenario, unauthorized immigrants are offered a pathway to legal status, thereby enabling them to earn higher wages, spend more, and pay more in taxes. The economic modeling shows that deporting all of Arizona's unauthorized workers, consumers, and taxpayers would eliminate 581,000 jobs and reduce state tax revenues by $4.2 billion. Conversely, legalizing the state's unauthorized immigrants would create 261,000 jobs and increase tax revenues by $1.7 billion.
According to Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, the report's author and founding director of the North American Integration and Development Center at UCLA: "The key issue is that bills like SB 1070 that seek to eliminate the undocumented population, if successful, would represent a severe shock to the Arizona economy and create a deep hole that the state would have to claw out of. The size of that hole is what this new report measures.
Washington D.C. - Late Friday night, the Utah Legislature passed three immigration-related bills that await Governor Herbert's signature or veto. Utah's policy discussions were guided by the principles of a much-lauded Utah Compact, which brought together leaders from political parties, business, labor, and faith-based organizations for a thoughtful dialogue about immigration policy. The Compact was a welcome relief from the angry vitriol that has often dominated the debate and was well-regarded as a rational, solution-based conversation about the complexity of effective immigration reform. It recognizes that the current unauthorized immigrant population is made up of workers, taxpayers, and consumers, and that enforcement strategies must be coupled with reform of our legal system of immigration in order to meet legitimate labor force needs. Unfortunately, the Utah state legislature was not able to realize the Compact's aspirations.
The three bills represent one state's attempt to provide solutions that go beyond the enforcement-only approach of Arizona's SB1070 and similar copycats being considered in other states. It is noteworthy that Utah's legislature acknowledged that immigration is a complex issue, and that a realistic solution involves more than asking people for their papers and deporting those who lack legal status. However, what these well-intentioned Utah legislators have created is an aggressive Arizona-style enforcement program with no counter-balance. The provisions intended to create legal work status and visas are clearly at odds with the Constitution and cannot be implemented by state action alone.
Washington D.C. – In the face of a $1.7 billion budget shortfall in fiscal year 2011, Georgia state legislators are currently pursuing anti-immigrant legislation that could further damage the state’s bottom line. House Bill 87, a copycat of Arizona’s SB1070, is currently working its way through the state legislature without the benefit of a fiscal note or other data to show the public the costs of the bill. However, other states pursuing similar proposals, like Kentucky and Utah, have measured the costs which they estimate reach into the tens of millions of dollars. Aside from the costs of implementation, the expected price tag for defending these measures in court would likely cost the state millions of dollars that it doesn’t have. Georgia legislators should consider the following evidence before final votes are taken on HB 87.
Washington D.C. - In cooperation with the Immigration Policy Center, the British Council and the Migration Policy Group release a new study today which reviews and ranks U.S. immigrant integration policies against other countries. The Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX: www.mipex.eu) contrasts and compares integration policies for legal immigrants across countries in Europe and North America. The United States is ranked ninth among 31 countries. This is the first year the United States has been part of the study, and IPC is pleased to be chosen as the U.S. partner for this important study.
The MIPEX compares and ranks countries across 148 policy indicators, providing objective and comparable data presented in a reference guide and an interactive online tool to help policymakers, advocates and researchers assess and compare integration policies around the globe. The policy indicators are divided into seven categories: employment opportunities, family reunion, education, political participation, long-term residence, access to citizenship and anti-discrimination. Countries include all 27 EU member states, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, and the USA.
Overall the U.S. ranked ninth in terms of integration policies, and first in terms of its strong anti-discrimination laws and protections. The U.S. also ranked high on the access to citizenship scale because it encourages newcomers to become citizens in order to fully participate in American public life. Compared with other countries, legal immigrants in the U.S. enjoy employment opportunities, educational opportunities, and the opportunity to reunite with close family members. However, MIPEX also acknowledges that the U.S.'s complex immigration laws, limited visa ability, high fees, and long backlogs may make it challenging for immigrants to integrate into the fabric of American life.
Washington D.C. - Today, the House Immigration Subcommittee held its second hearing of the new session. Ironically, the hearing was titled "E-Verify - Preserving Jobs for American Workers." Some members of Congress persist in their belief that expanding E-Verify and making it mandatory is a magic-bullet solution to our immigration woes. However, data and analysis demonstrate that expanding E-Verify now would actually have harmful consequences for U.S. workers, employers, and the economy.
Earlier today, the Immigration Policy Center hosted a call with a U.S. citizen who was wrongfully terminated due to an E-Verify error, an attorney who sees first hand the economic impact voluntary E-Verify is having on U.S. businesses and workers, and policy experts.
U.S. citizen Jessica St. Pierre described her experience after being rejected by E-Verify. She spent four months trying to correct the error, which originated with her employer and E-Verify. Jessica dealt with federal agencies, credit bureaus and her former employer, trying to clear her name so she could return to work. Read Jessica's story.
Washington D.C. - Today, the newly named House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement held its first hearing of the new session entitled, "ICE Worksite Enforcement - Up to the Job?" The name change seems to be a signal that Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and Subcommittee Chairman Elton Gallegly will focus on enforcement, rather than immigration reform this session. It is hardly surprising, then, that the first hearing of the year was designed to challenge the Obama administration's decision to move from the massive worksite raids of the past to the use of employer worksite audits.
Washington, D.C. - After passage of Arizona's controversial SB1070 law last year, other states threatened to introduce similar measures. South Carolina, Mississippi, and Nebraska have already begun working on SB1070-style legislation. Meanwhile, legislators seeking true solutions have begun pursuing progressive immigration policies. On a teleconference yesterday, immigration policy experts discussed the ramifications of pursuing anti-immigrant legislation as well as alternatives to SB1070, many which seek to boost economic and job growth on the state level.
Washington, D.C. - Today, State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI), a coalition of state legislators, revealed their plan to challenge the 14th Amendment and the Constitutional definition of citizenship. Claiming that they need to correct a "monumental misapplication of the 14th Amendment" and protect their states from the "illegal alien invasion," the legislators proposed model legislation intended to spark a new Supreme Court ruling to reinterpret the 14th Amendment.
Washington D.C. - Today, a group of state legislators from Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Texas, and Utah participated in a briefing to share their support for federal legislation know as the DREAM Act. The bi-partisan DREAM Act passed the House of Representatives and awaits a final vote in the Senate in the days ahead. The DREAM Act offers undocumented students the opportunity to gain legal status after completing two years of college or military service, in addition to other requirements. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that 755,000 of the 1.9 million eligible unauthorized immigrants would likely satisfy the DREAM Act's postsecondary or military requirements and obtain legal permanent status.