Washington D.C. - Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held an oversight hearing with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano. The Secretary's opening statement reiterated her view that immigration enforcement is a necessity, but that enforcement alone is not a solution for our broken immigration system. Secretary Napolitano noted, "We can no longer perpetuate a status quo that is unacceptable for workers, employers, law enforcement, faith leaders, and America as a whole. We must seize this moment to build a truly effective immigration system that deters illegal immigration, provides effective and enduring enforcement tools, protects workers from exploitation and retaliation, and creates a tough but fair path to legalization for the millions of illegal immigrants already here."
As a front-page story in today's Washington Post reminds us: "Not since the last great wave of immigration to the United States around 1900 has the country's economic future been so closely entwined with the generational progress of an immigrant group." The story highlights the degree to which the children of immigrants from Latin America have become crucial to sustaining the working-age population and tax base of the nation as the 75 million Baby Boomers retire. The parents of these children most likely would not have even come to this country if not for the U.S. economy's past high demand for workers to fill less-skilled jobs; demand which was not being adequately met by the rapidly aging and better-educated native-born labor force.
A new report from the restrictionist group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), Immigration and Crime: Assessing a Conflicted Issue, attempts to overturn a century’s worth of research which has demonstrated repeatedly that immigrants are less likely than the native-born to commit violent crimes or end up behind bars.
Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY), and Russ Feingold (D-WI) have introduced the Military Families Act (S. 2757). The Military Families bill would allow immediate family members of active military service members to become lawful permanent residents even when the sponsoring solider has lost his or her life in service. Also included in the bill are the sons and daughters of Filipino World War II veterans whose immigration status has been long deferred due to numerical limitations on immigrant visas.
Newspapers are reporting today that during the official Q&A session following the Chicago bid for the Olympic Games, I.O.C. member, Syed Shahid Ali, from Pakistan, asked President Obama how smooth it would be for foreigners to enter the United States for the Olympic Games because doing so can sometimes be "a rather harrowing experience." While this I.O.C. member's concerns raise a red flag about the need for a change in our immigration policies, a litany of voices have been warning for years that the U.S. is slowly adopting an anti-visitor policy that is harming business, higher education and families.
While attempting to reform the nation's health care system, both Congress and the White House are facing considerable pressure to include immigration-related restrictions that are long on rhetoric and short on results. Faced with pressure from the right and immigration restrictionists, the new Senate mark includes over-the-top measures to exclude illegal immigrants and restrict the participation of legal immigrants. These poor policies are nonsensical, do not protect public health, and will undoubtedly result in the exclusion of U.S. citizens. Furthermore, inclusion of these provisions has failed to win support of the very critics they were trying to appease.
It would seem that the Center for Immigration Studies has decided to jump on the talk-radio bandwagon of far-right commentators who are loudly attempting to derail substantive health care reform through fear-mongering and falsehoods. Although CIS has so far steered clear of the baseless rants about "death panels" and "socialized medicine," it has issued a new report that seeks to buttress an equally farcical claim: that health care reform will leave American taxpayers footing the bill for millions of unauthorized immigrants who will receive federally subsidized health insurance.
The Immigration Policy Center has compiled research which shows that immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are an integral part of Georgia's and Tennessee's economies and tax bases and are a growing share of voters in each state. As workers, taxpayers, consumers, and entrepreneurs, immigrants and their children are an economic powerhouse.
Today, America and the immigrant-rights community have lost one of their greatest champions. Senator Edward M. Kennedy's life-long commitment to civil rights extended from African Americans to the disabled to the millions of immigrants and refugees who come to our nation in search of a better life.
The Immigration Policy Center has compiled research which shows that immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are an integral part of South Carolina's economy and tax base and are a growing share of voters in the state. As workers, taxpayers, consumers, and entrepreneurs, immigrants and their children are an economic powerhouse.