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Perspectives on Immigration

Perspectives offers fresh ideas and alternative viewpoints on immigration policy from writers inside and outside the immigration debate.

The Lasting Impact of Mendez v. Westminster in the Struggle for Desegregation

By Maria Blanco

Years before the U.S. Supreme Court ended racial segregation in U.S. schools with Brown v. Board of Education, a federal circuit court in California ruled that segregation of school children was unconstitutional—except this case involved the segregation of Mexican American school children.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reached this historic decision in the case of Mendez v. Westminster in 1947—seven years before Brown.  Historic in its own right, Mendez was critical to the strategic choices and legal analysis used in arguing Brown and in shaping the ideas of a young NAACP attorney, Thurgood Marshall.   Moreover, the Mendez case—which originated with LULAC but benefited from the participation of the NAACP—also symbolized the important crossover between different ethnic and racial groups who came together to argue in favor of desegregation.

From a legal perspective, Mendez v. Westminster was the first case to hold that school segregation itself is unconstitutional and violates the 14th Amendment.   Prior to the Mendez decision, some courts, in cases mainly filed by the NAACP, held that segregated schools attended by African American children violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause because they were inferior in resources and quality, not because they were segregated. Read more...

Published On: Thu, Mar 25, 2010 | Download File

The Many Facets of Effective Immigration Reform

The United States needs a new immigration policy that is based less on wishful thinking and more on realism. Spending vast sums of money trying to enforce arbitrary numerical limits on immigration that bear no relationship to economic reality is a fool’s errand. We need flexible limits on immigration that rise and fall with U.S. labor demand, coupled with strict enforcement of tough wage and labor laws that protect all workers, regardless of where they were born. We need to respect the natural human desire for family reunification, while recognizing that even family-based immigrants are unlikely to come here if jobs are not available. And we need to create a pathway to legal status for unauthorized immigrants who are already here so that they can no longer be exploited by unscrupulous employers who hang the threat of deportation over their heads.

Originally published online: 19 February 2010 © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Published On: Fri, Feb 19, 2010 | Download File

What the Bible Really Says about Immigration

by Bruce and Judy Hake

Comprehensive immigration reform is one of the most pressing problems for the United States.  This is expected to be a key issue for Congress in 2010.

Many faith-based organizations are motivated by the Bible in advocating for reform.  To counter this, the restrictionists have tried to preempt, issuing a report that purports to prove that the Bible justifies a harsh stance on immigration.

Building on an article we wrote in 1998, in a new article published on January 1, 2010 in Bender's Immigration Bulletin, we debunk the restrictionist argument and show that the Bible actually does support a generous attitude towards immigrants and immigration. Indeed, it mandates such a view.

There are both religious and non-religious people on both sides of the debate over comprehensive immigration reform.  One does not need to be religious in order to advocate for the rights of immigrants.  But religion is very important for many people involved in the debate.  That being so, it is important to have an accurate view of what the Bible really says about immigration, and we have tried our best to show that.

 

Published On: Tue, Jan 26, 2010 | Download File

Focusing on the Solutions: Key Principles of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Nearly everyone agrees that our immigration system is badly broken and in urgent need of reform. Under the existing system people are dying at the border, immigrants are living and working in abject conditions, families trying to reunite legally are separated for many years, employers are unable to hire the workers that they need, U.S. workers suffer from the unlevel playing field shared with exploited immigrant workers, and law‐abiding U.S. employers are in unfair competition with unscrupulous employers who increase profits by hiring cheap and vulnerable labor. Meanwhile, the United States continues to spend billions of dollars on enforcing these broken laws.

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Published On: Thu, Nov 05, 2009 | Download File

Made in America: Myths & Facts about Birthright Citizenship

By James C. Ho, Margaret D. Stock, Eric Ward, and Elizabeth B. Wydra

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is enshrined in U.S. history as the cornerstone of American civil rights, ensuring due process and equal protection under the law to all persons.  Equally important, however, is the Fourteenth Amendment’s affirmation that all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction are, in fact, U.S. citizens: 

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.  No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.Read more...

Published On: Tue, Sep 15, 2009 | Download File

Immigration Reform as Economic Stimulus

The public debate over immigration reform, which all too often devolves into emotional rhetoric, could use a healthy dose of economic realism. As Congress and the White House fulfill their recent pledges to craft immigration-reform legislation in the months ahead, they must ask themselves a fundamental question: can we afford any longer to pursue a deportation-only policy that ignores economic reality?

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Published On: Tue, Sep 01, 2009 | Download File

A Conversation about the Economic Effects of Immigration on African Americans

By Gerald D. Jaynes

Anti-immigrant groups have repeatedly tried to drive a wedge between African Americans and immigrants by capitalizing on the myth that immigrants take American jobs. In a new Perspectives piece for the Immigration Policy Center, Yale Professor Gerald Jaynes dispels the myth that immigrants take “black jobs” and instead suggests we find solutions on how to lift up all low-wage American workers.

Most African Americans are very conflicted about the immigration issue. African Americans, who have long espoused strong beliefs in principles of equality of opportunity, the rights of the downtrodden, and respect for humanity viewed in its broadest terms, are especially cognizant of the hypocrisy embedded within ethnocentric demands for an end to immigration. For the nation, immigration‘s economic benefits exceed its costs, but the costs are disproportionately borne by certain social groups and geographic areas. Rather than divide the public over the issue of depriving the country of the benefits to help the few who pay the highest costs, we need to be engaging in a political debate over the kinds and levels of compensatory policies that should be enacted to help low‐income citizens.

Published On: Tue, Jul 14, 2009 | Download File

Immigration Reform Cited as an Economic Necessity and a Net Gain

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has culled the words of leading economists and numerous experts who agree that immigration reform is an economic necessity and a net gain to the U.S. economy.

Published On: Tue, Apr 28, 2009 | Download File

From Denial to Acceptance: Effectively Regulating Immigration to the United States

U.S. immigration policy is based on denial. Most lawmakers in the United States have largely embraced the process of economic “globalization,” yet stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that increased migration, especially from developing nations to developed nations, is an integral and inevitable part of this process.

Published On: Sun, Mar 29, 2009 | Download File

Missing the Target: Anti-Immigrant Ordinances Backfire

If you believe Bill Chase, a member of the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors from Stevensburg, Virginia, the Latino immigrants who have moved to the county in recent years aren’t as willing to learn English as his own immigrant forefathers. “I think we all came from foreign countries and turned into English-speaking Americans,” Chase told The Washington Post on August 9. Then, apparently without appreciating the irony, he added, “But I don’t feel a willingness of this particular group to do that. I don’t see the willingness to blend into society.”

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Published On: Wed, Aug 01, 2007 | Download File