May Day March and Protest, 2010

Redefining birthright citizenship, one state at a time

By
Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 7:43 am

A child waves a flag during an immigration reform rally in Los Angeles. (Chris Lee/ZUMAPress)

In the best-case scenario, Texas state Rep. Leo Berman hopes his state will be sued. The representative for Texas’ 6th District, along with more than a dozen other Republican state legislators across the country, plans to introduce a bill in the next session calling for his state to discontinue automatic citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. Instead of a birth certificate, children born to parents illegally in the country would be issued a document they could take to the consulate of their parents’ legal country — and would not be granted the right to stay in the United States.

[Immigration1] The measure is, of course, a direct violation of the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States. According to Berman, that’s precisely the point.

“If that bill passes, we will be sued immediately. That’s the purpose of the bill,” he said. “The ACLU, La Raza, the Justice Department — someone will sue us for the bill.”

The next step in his desired outcome is a legal victory. “That lawsuit will go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where some judge is going to read the background and say there are no Supreme Court rulings affirming the 14th Amendment’s current interpretation,” he said.

That is the central argument of an effort launched Tuesday by lawmakers from around the country to redefine how states give out birth certificates and, more importantly, to whom they are given. The charge is being led by States Legislators for Legal Immigration, a national coalition of pro-enforcement, anti-illegal immigration lawmakers in 41 states. Republican immigration hawks like Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, the group’s founder, and Arizona state Rep. Russell Pearce, who wrote Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 immigration law, are pushing lawmakers in the group to join the 14th Amendment Citizens Model Committee and draft bills against citizenship for children born to illegal immigrants.

If they succeed, the lawmakers hope to see the 14th Amendment interpreted in a wildly different fashion, with citizenship only provided to children of those in the country legally.

Most legal scholars say it can’t be done, especially not at the state level. The 14th Amendment was established in 1868 to overrule the Dred Scott decision that prevented children of slaves from becoming citizens. The language of the amendment specifically refers to birthright citizenship: “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.”

But some state lawmakers argue the 14th Amendment has been misinterpreted to include the children of illegal immigrants, who they say should be citizens of their parents’ native countries instead of the United States. They claim that the amendment serves as a magnet to draw illegal immigrants to the United States — that babies are used as “anchors” so undocumented immigrants can receive benefits for their children and eventually earn legal status themselves.

“If an American citizen were to do the things to a baby that these people do to have ‘anchor baby’ status, you would probably be charged with child abuse,” Metcalfe said at a press conference in support of the State Legislators for Legal Immigration effort Tuesday. “They’re really exploiting these children. We do not let Americans who live the life of a criminal keep their children.”

There is little evidence to support claims that this happens on a large scale — most economists attribute immigration levels to employment opportunities, not hope of citizenship — and immigrant rights advocates consider the term “anchor babies” hate speech meant to make children of illegal immigrants sound less human. Even if undocumented immigrants do have children in the United States for the purpose of obtaining citizenship, they won’t have an easy time getting it: Citizens cannot petition for their family members to come to the country until they are at least 21, and even then, those who have crossed the border illegally cannot obtain legal status through a family member.

Still, a large number of children are born in the country to illegal immigrants each year. The Pew Hispanic Center found in August that babies born to undocumented immigrants made up 8 percent of the total births in the United States in 2008.

This can create problems for society, according to some lawmakers. “If we’re allowing these two cultures to compete within our society, we are sowing the seeds for our own failure,” Pennsylvania state Rep. Tom Creighton (R) said at the press conference Tuesday.

Sixteen state legislators have already indicated they plan to support the state legislation, and Metcalfe said he expects more members of the State Legislators for Legal Immigration to join the effort. They will meet in December during an American Legislative Exchange Council conference to draft legislation that members can later introduce in their states.

Metcalfe said the lawmakers would receive help in crafting the legislation from Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legislative arm of the pro-enforcement Federation for American Immigration Reform. Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for FAIR, said the organization only helps legislators that seek it out for aid in crafting bills and does not lobby state lawmakers to write specific legislation.

If state legislatures pass the bills — it remains uncertain whether they will find support from Democrats, said Berman of Texas — the lawmakers said they hope to send a message to Congress that it should act on changing the way citizenship is defined nationwide. Ninety-two House members voted for a bill to restrict birthright citizenship in 2009, and a number of Republican senators expressed interest in considering changes to citizenship law this summer.

“When you get a whole bunch of states on board with this, we’ll try to get the Congress to change the 14th Amendment back to what it should be,” said Michigan state Rep. David Agema (R).

Otherwise, the lawmakers said they would fight the issue in the courts, as Berman suggested. If it did reach the Supreme Court, legal experts disagree on how the Court would rule, and even on whether the Supreme Court has already settled the matter. Some argue the Court affirmed birthright citizenship in United States v. Wong Kim Ark in 1898, when the Court held that the U.S.-born child of Chinese immigrants was a citizen, and in INS v. Rios-Pineda in 1985, when the Court considered whether to deport the undocumented parents of a U.S. citizen child. Others, such as influential federal judge Richard Posner, claim the Supreme Court has never affirmed that children born to illegal immigrants in the country must be citizens.

But Daniel Farber, a constitutional law professor at Berkeley Law, said the 14th Amendment does not need to be interpreted by the Supreme Court because its meaning is already clear: Anyone born in the United States is a citizen.

“It also says in the Constitution the president must be over the age of 35; you don’t need the Supreme Court to tell you what that means,” Farber said. “I usually am not this emphatic about what I think the answer is because constitutional law has a lot of gray areas, but I do feel this one is pretty cut and dry. The 14th Amendment is clear about who is a citizen.”

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[...] Redefining Birthright Citizenship, One State at a TimeThe Washington IndependentThe next step in his desired outcome is a legal victory. “That lawsuit will go all the way to the US Supreme Court, where some judge is going to read the …Arizona center of citizenship birth debateYuma SunCoalition: Amendment is misusedFremont TribuneState Legislators Call for Changes to Citizenship Law, Equate 'Anchor Babies …The Washington Independentall 386 news articles » [...]


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Efforts to Revoke Birthright Citizenship Move to State Level – ColorLines magazine | Law Advice
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[...] Legislators for Legal Immigration, a coalition of immigration-restrictionist lawmakers in 41 …Redefining Birthright Citizenship, One State at a TimeThe Washington IndependentMy Mom was an anchor babyTucson CitizenArizona center of citizenship birth [...]


michael
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

It's about time that automatic citizenship is questioned. A loop hole that is being scammed, it needs to be stopped while it is still possible. Here in Florida, all the Mexican and Guadamalan foreigners are pregnant with illegitimate children whether they can provide for that child or not. They know the goverment will provide and for how much. Why should I , as an American tax payer, have to subsidize the birthing and the education of someone who is a foreign national and doesn't have permission to be in this country in the first place?


JGravelle
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

It's no surprise that the GOP move to close the anchor baby loophole is protested most loudly by those who benefit the most from illegals:
http://gravelle.us/content/gop-closing-anchor-baby-loophole

What's maddening is that it's taken them so long to get AROUND to it:
http://www.dailyscoff.com/?p=2881

This is akin to replacing the broken lock and rusty hinges on an empty safe…

-jjg


Joelwisch2
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 3:41 pm

I see it as a sign of corruption that the Obama Administration coupled to the Democratic Party have refused to do what should have been done many, many years ago, and many, many millions of dollars ago.


Think before you speak
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 3:41 pm

How can you describe the 14th Amendment as a loophole? This idea is idiotic and certain to cost the GOP dearly. Keep it up idiots. In 20 years the people who support this virulent brand of anti-immigrant tripe will be openly ridiculed and completely without any voice in public discourse.

Vayanse a la chingada!


taxpayer
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

Birthright citizenship must be repealed. The taxpayers need to be protected against those who come to steal from them. The US has provided benefits to illegals and they have abused this kindness. Now we must protect ourselves from the thieves.


McMorty
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 4:26 pm

I agree that it would be nice to get a ruling on the 14th amendment. I don't believe that the original intent was to let document challenged invaders recieve US citizenship for their children that are born in the United States.


Joejujo
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

Go Home trash, we dont want you here, the free ride is over.Go fix that craphole Messyco!!! MUCK FEXICO!!!


Joejujo
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 5:02 pm

bull..you assume that the leeches from Messyco will be in charge, you are flat wrong.You cannot even manage your own craphole country Messycant, dont think you can manage this one


Delaware Bob
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 5:08 pm

OK. Let me try to figure this out. It is against the law to enter this Country ILLEGALLY. Correct? OK. However, if you do come into this country ILLEGALLY and have a child, we will reward that child with a U.S. birth certificate and make him or her a citizen of the United States, pay for the birth and get the child on welfare so the mother can get money to stay in this country…and that's not ALL! We will school that child and the child will get food stamps, the child will get FREE school lunches, and that's not ALL! The mother and the child can have FREE healthcare and get into public housing, and that's not ALL! The more children you have, the more money you will get. But keep in mind, it is against the law to enter this country ILLEGALLY! Do I have that right? OK. How do you feel about Birth Tourism?

http://www.eturbonews.com/15529/us-birth-tourism-becoming-flourishing-business


Mary_Adams
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

President Obama hasn't even been in office two years and has had bigger issues to deal with. Besides, anything he or Democrats in Congress propose will be fought against by the party of NO!

Why didn't Bush and the Repubs take care of the problem – it would have been a cinch after 9/11.


Janilaine
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 7:50 pm

BRAVO, kudos and many thanks again to AZ (R) Senator Russell Pearce whose loyality and dedication to his State and to America continue******


original formula
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 8:03 pm

Great another illegal immigrant sympathizer who thinks this whole debate is about race and not the legal issues (and of course the tremendous costs of having 8% of our children born to illegals).
You go to hell! and if you want to insult someone, do it in their own language.


daniel
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 8:16 pm

so why don't we resort to communism where no one is allowed to leave the country without consent of the government. seriously, individual states need to open their doors to new residents. we are the land of the free and the home of the brave


Facts
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 10:27 pm

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/reagan-insider-gop-destroyed-us-economy-2010-08-10

This week, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) came out with a report entitled, The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on U.S. Taxpayers, which discusses the costs of unauthorized immigration to the United States. As usual, FAIR has put out a highly misleading fiscal snapshot of the costs allegedly imposed on U.S. taxpayers by unauthorized immigrants and completely discounts the economic contributions of unauthorized workers and consumers. Moreover, FAIR inflates their costs in a variety of ways and conveniently ignores any contributions that would offset these costs.

While the publication is long and deals with a wide range of issues that warrant more dissection by credible economic experts, the trade publication Education Week has already begun the deconstruction with an item that sheds light on their misleading claims about providing English language services in schools.

Another argument FAIR makes, which makes it hard to glean what their solution would be is the high cost of deporting undocumented workers which FAIR blames on the immigrants themselves. It's a somewhat circular argument to say that the cost of undocumented immigrants includes the cost of failing law enforcement efforts. So, in essence, FAIR is saying that the deport-them-all approach costs too much money and doesn't work. Yet their “solution” is to spend even more money on enforcement.

FAIR's data is meant only to reinforce their vision of “attrition through enforcement.” It is not rooted in an effort to move the immigration debate forward. Therefore, passing comprehensive immigration reform – which would yield a cumulative $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years – is the only sound economic decision the United States can make.

SOURCE Immigration Policy Center

Who’s behind these laws?

The Immigration Reform Law Institute, or IRLI, the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, drafted the Arizona law and most of the copycat bills. The Southern Poverty Law Center designated FAIR a hate group because of its founder’s writings, its repeated participation with white nationalist groups, and its receipt of major funding from a racist organization.

Copycat laws frequently rely on the work of attorney Kris Kobach, who works for IRLI. Kobach’s lawyering has cost localities who have hired him millions of dollars while the laws have been found unconstitutional. The Arizona law was brought forth by State Senator Russell Pearce, who the Arizona press has described as having a history of associating with neo-Nazis and sending anti-Semitic emails.


Facts
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 10:28 pm

THE FACTS ARE THAT JAN BREWER AND THE REPUBLICANS ARE DOING THIS TO GET REELECTED, HERE ARE FACTS.

AS THE GOVERNOR SHE CAN ORDER 5000 NATIONAL GUARDS TO THE BORDER. WHY IS SHE NOT DOING THIS??????????????

1, HOW MUCH MONEY $$$$$$$ IS ALLOCATED TO ENFORCE THIS LAW?? NONE.

2, HOW MANY NEW POLICEMEN / WOMEN SHES HIRED TO HOLD AND PROCESS THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS? NONE.

3, HOW MANY NEW IMMIGRATION JUDGES SHES HIRED TO PROCESS THE THOUSANDS OF DEPORTATION CASES?? NONE.

4, HOW MANY NEW JAILS SHES BUILT TO HOLD THE THOUSANDS OF UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS? NONE.

5, HOW MANY BUSES / PLANES SHES BROUGHT TO DEPORT THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF THOSE WHO ARE ORDERED BY THE IMMIGRATION JUDGES TO BE DEPORTED?? NONE.

CAN ANYONE ANSWER THESE FACTS? THE REPUBLICAN STATES ARE TRYING TO MAKE THIS THEIR PLATFORM, THEY WILL LOSE BIGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG TIME.
ALL ARE GODS CHILDREN. NO HUMAN IS ABOVE ANOTHER. ALL ARE CREATED BY ONE ALMIGHTY GOD WHO LOVES ALL HIS CHILDREN.
I AM NOT SAYING DON'T CLOSE THE BORDERS I AM SAYING STOP THE FOOLISH HATE AND IGNORANCE.

Prison Industry Ties to Anti-Immigration Bills
Tweet Reddit Facebook StumbleUpon Yahoo! Buzz By Elise Foley 9/17/10 11:06 AM

The private detention industry stands to gain substantially from a growing immigrant detention system, so it’s no accident that a lobbying group partially funded by Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, which operates some of the country’s largest private detention facilities, has had a hand in crafting both Arizona’s harsh SB 1070 immigration law and, now, the copycat bills springing up across the country.

Ties between Arizona lawmakers and CCA are not news, but Think Progress has a good run down of the key points: SB 1070 was drafted with help from the American Legislative Exchange Council, which helps the private sector write legislation for states. CCA, which is slated to receive $74 million for immigration detention centers in the 2010 fiscal year, helps fund the group.

CCA also has close, direct ties with Arizona lawmakers. Gov. Jan Brewer’s deputy chief of staff formerly worked as a lobbyist for CCA — his wife still works as a lobbyist there — and Brewer’s campaign chairman runs a lobbying firm that represents the prison corporation.

Similar ties can be found between CCA and lawmakers in other states who have pushed for anti-immigration laws, such as Tennessee and Colorado. (Read the full rundown for the states here.) And CCA routinely gives money to state lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, that have direct connections to the detention business, as The Texas Independent reported last month.

Why is it important? Think Progress explains how anti-immigration bills could help the prison industry make a profit:

http://wildcat.arizona.edu/perspectives/anti-immigration-hysteria-tied-to-the-private-prison-industry-1.1572422
Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed S.B. 1070 into law, and the legislation’s principal architect, Russell Pearce, both have extensive financial ties to the private prison industry powerhouse Corrections Corporation of America, a company which stands to profit in the sum of millions if Arizona’s “papers please” legislation is enacted.

CCA, one of the leading providers of detention and correction services in the country, holds the contract to imprison all federal detainees in the state of Arizona. S.B. 1070 would lead to more arrests on federal immigration charges, causing money to pour into the gargantuan coffers of the private prison industry and directly into the bank accounts of those who are financially tied to it.

Republican state senator Pearce submitted a draft version of S.B. 1070 to the American Legislative Exchange Council for revision months before the bill was introduced to the floor of the Arizona Senate. Pearce is one of 35 Arizona legislators who belong to this organization.

Two years prior, ALEC was the recipient of millions of dollars in contributions from CCA and Geo Group, two of the largest private prison companies in the state.

Pearce’s financial records also indicate that the political action committees funded by both CCA and Geo Group have donated the maximum amount allowable to his campaign.

Gov. Jan Brewer’s deputy chief of staff, Paul Senseman, is a former CCA lobbyist. His wife Kathryn Senseman currently lobbies the state legislature on behalf of the company.

Still more damning is the fact that the governor’s leading policy advisor, J. Charles “Chuck” Coughlin, is the president of Highground Consulting, the lobbying firm which represents CCA’s interests in Arizona.

CCA also contributed a total of $10,000 dollars to the Prop 100 campaign earlier this year, an initiative, along with S.B. 1070, which set the stage for Brewer’s reelection bid.

Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO was among the first to report on this glaring conflict of interest. In retaliation, the Brewer campaign pulled ll advertisements from the network.
—————————————————————————————————

The economics of immigration, Stephen C. Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration and someone who enjoys bipartisan support for his straightforwardness, said that by 2007, the Social Security trust fund had received a net benefit of somewhere between $120 billion and $240 billion from unauthorized immigrants.

That represented an astounding 5.4 percent to 10.7 percent of the trust fund's total assets of $2.24 trillion that year. The cumulative contribution is surely higher now. Unauthorized immigrants paid a net contribution of $12 billion in 2007 alone, Goss said.

Previous estimates circulating publicly and in Congress had placed the annual contributions at roughly half of Goss's 2007 figure and listed the cumulative benefit on the order of $50 billion.

The Social Security trust fund faces a solvency crisis that would be even more pressing were it not for these payments.

Adding to the Social Security irony is that the restrictionists are mostly OLDER AND RETIRED WHITES from longtime American families. The very people, in other words, who benefit most from the Social Security payments by unauthorized immigrants.

——————————————————-

Moments after signing Arizona's tough new immigration law in April, Gov. Jan Brewer was asked WHAT A ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT LOOKS LIKE????

The question, posed during a news conference that was broadcast live on TV, seemed to catch Brewer off guard. After a long pause, she said, “I DON'T KNOW WHAT A ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT LOOKS LIKE. I can tell you that there are people in Arizona that ASS-U-ME they know what an illegal immigrant looks like. I DON'T KNOW IF THEY KNOW THAT FOR A FACT OR NOT.”

Her answer cut to the very heart of the controversy surrounding the law, which takes effect July 29. Although there are many people who assume they know what an illegal immigrant looks like, the fact is, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to tell a person's immigration status by appearance, experts say.

So despite assurances to the contrary, some civil-rights groups and others fear that enforcement of the law will lead to racial profiling. Several lawsuits already raise worries of civil-rights violations, and a group of Arizona law professors concluded the law authorizes enforcement based on ethnicity. That, they allege, would mean officers would end up harassing and possibly detaining people who aren't illegal immigrants.

The vast majority of illegal immigrants are Hispanic. But most Hispanics in Arizona are not illegal immigrants – they are legal residents or U.S. citizens, many with roots dating back generations.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2010/07/18/20100718illegal-immigration-profiling.html#ixzz0u2wY1a1d

What both these Republicans FORGOT to Mention in their SPIN POLITICS is that

It’s all about economics! Removing undocumented workers from the U.S. would total a loss of $1.8 trillion in annual spending and $651.5 billion in annual economic output, according to a study by the economic analysis firm The Perryman Group. It would cost about $28 billion per year to apprehend illegal immigrants, $6 billion a year to detain them, $500 million for extra beds, $2 million to judicially process them and $1.6 billion to transport them home. $230 Billion is the estimated amount it would cost over the next five years to enact the scenario of the mass-deportation caucus and deport the undocumented population, according to a report by the Center for American Progress. Legalization of undocumented immigrants would significantly expand the economy—by a cumulative $1.5 trillion in gross domestic product over 10 years. A deportation approach, by contrast, would have the cumulative effect of draining $2.5 trillion over 10 years from the U.S. economy. Illegal immigrants are paying their share of taxes, they pay the same taxes as you and me when they purchase anything, They don't carry a card that says Undocumented Immigrant, DON'T CHARGE TAXES
Start looking at FACTS & NUMBERS.

Who’s behind these laws?

FOLLOW THE MONEY$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Many may want them gone, but illegal immigrants in Oklahoma can be good business.

So say county officials who handle the purse strings of some sheriff's departments in the state. Millions in revenue for transporting and detaining immigrants for the federal government have financed jobs, departments and, in some cases, entire jails.

“It's a good business plan,” said Tim Albin, chief of the services division that oversees the budget for the Tulsa County Sheriffs Department. “It allows us to bank and put money back and carry over for other things.”

Read more: http://newsok.com/jailing-immigrants-adds-funds-for-some-counties/article/3489827#ixzz0yC9uF24O

The Immigration Reform Law Institute, or IRLI, the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, drafted the Arizona law and most of the copycat bills. The Southern Poverty Law Center designated FAIR a hate group because of its founder’s writings, its repeated participation with white nationalist groups, and its receipt of major funding from a racist organization.

Copycat laws frequently rely on the work of attorney Kris Kobach, who works for IRLI. Kobach’s lawyering has cost localities who have hired him millions of dollars while the laws have been found unconstitutional. The Arizona law was brought forth by State Senator Russell Pearce, who the Arizona press has described as having a history of associating with neo-Nazis and sending anti-Semitic emails.


Facts
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

Ignorance is Bliss: Those who have NO CLUE or QUALIFICATIONS about Immigration are those who show their IGNORANCE :)

There is NO SUCH WORD AS 'ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT” in Blacks Law Dictionary, or In Merriam Websters Dictionary. Get Educated .

“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday that the claim by some conservative activists that illegal immigration is to blame for all of the state's fiscal problems is ignorant and bigoted.”

Arturo E. Ocampo of Tracy has been a practicing attorney since 1985, In the 20-plus years I have spent studying, lecturing and litigating immigration issues, two things have always amazed me. The first is the amount and intensity of hate spewed against undocumented workers. The second is the amount of misinformation that is published about them.

On this second point, the quote from Mark Twain is illustrative. “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” I suppose this may be true in part because misinformation, like a lie, requires no accuracy, validation or research; all of which are time-consuming practices.

The recent letters alleging that all undocumented workers are “criminals,” and specifically Veronica Suarez, whose plight was written about in the Tracy Press recently, is a criminal are factually incorrect.

According to the facts (as stated in Sharon Franceschi’s Sept. 7 commentary) Saurez entered the U.S. on a valid visa, overstayed her visa when it expired, resulting in her unlawful immigration status. None of these acts, as stated by Franceschi, constitute a crime under federal or state law. Overstaying a valid visa under the Immigration and Naturalization Act is a civil violation of the law, not a criminal violation. Being in the U.S. in under undocumented status is not a criminal violation, but a civil violation of the INA.

The facts, as stated by Franceschi, do not indicate that Suarez has committed any crime. To call her a criminal is erroneous at best, and libelous at worst.

Furthermore, it is an Americanism that a person is innocent until proven guilty. So until Suarez (or any other undocumented person) is charged and found guilty of a crime, it would be inappropriate to call them “criminals.”

It is important to note that there is a very large difference between civil and criminal violations of law. The distinction is so important that the law makes the erroneous allegation that one has committed a crime of slander or libel, (which means liability is automatic even without proof of damages). One who violates the civil law is no more a criminal than someone who has breached a contract or accidentally damaged another’s property.

It is true that entering the United States without inspection is a misdemeanor under the INA. The misdemeanor is completed once an individual’s entry is complete. Suarez, according to Franceschi, did not enter without inspection; she entered with a valid visa. According to U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services statistics, about 40 percent of undocumented persons enter legally and overstay their visas (which, as stated above, is not a crime). Consequently, at least 40 percent of the undocumented population has committed no crime in regards to their immigration status.

Therefore, one cannot assume that a person has committed a crime simply because they are undocumented.

Franceschi is also in error in her allegation that getting married and having children while being undocumented in the U.S. is a violation of the law. It is not. Franceschi goes on to say that Suarez “apparently bought a house illegally.” It is unlikely that Franceschi knows exactly how Suarez purchased her home. Consequently, any allegation of illegality is, at a minimum, irresponsible.

It is also important to note that the Immigration and Citizenship Services doesn’t consider all undocumented persons criminals. When the Immigration and Citizenship Services publishes information about its enforcement activities involving undocumented workers, it are always sure to make a distinction between “criminal” and noncriminal aliens.

Another myth is that the term “illegal aliens” is a term of art or is legal jargon. This term is not found anywhere in the INA or in Blacks Law Dictionary. The INA refers to undocumented persons as either an EWI (entered without inspection) or as someone who has overstayed their visa. “Illegal aliens” is a term invented by anti-immigrant groups designed to put undocumented persons in the worst possible light and to instill fear in Americans. It is intentionally designed to associate undocumented persons with criminality.

This xenophobic view that undocumented persons are “simply criminals” comes from the historical stereotype that the foreign-born, especially undocumented immigrants, are responsible for higher crime rates. This misconception has deep roots in American public opinion and popular myth. This myth, however, is not supported empirically and has repeatedly been refuted by scientific studies. Both contemporary and historical data, (including U.S. governmental studies) have shown that immigration is associated with lower crime rates.

The studies have uniformly shown that recent immigrants (including the undocumented) are less likely to be involved in violent crime, and that when there is an increase in immigration patterns, violent crime decreases. This has been shown to be true in large cities with heavy immigrant populations.

In the most recent of these studies, The Myth of Immigrant Criminality and the Paradox of Assimilation (2007), from the Immigrant Policy Institute, it was found that among men age 18 to 39 (who are the vast majority of inmates in federal and state prisons and local jails), immigrants were five times less likely to be incarcerated than the native-born in 2000.

During the Proposition 187 debate, then-Gov. Pete Wilson published statistics that stated that
12 percent to 15 percent of the state prison population had Immigration and Citizenship Services holds or potential holds. The Department of Corrections analyst who compiled these numbers said Immigration and Citizenship Services holds are placed on inmates who were born outside of the U.S. (therefore 12 percent to 15 percent of the prison population was immigrants). The immigrant population at the time in California hovered at about 25 percent, showing immigrants were much less likely to be incarcerated than the native born in California.

In short, the data shows you are much safer if your neighbor is an immigrant.

Franceschi owes Suarez an apology. I am also surprised that the Tracy Press allowed a commentary to run without checking the facts. Although commentaries are designed to allow for the expression of differing opinions, the First Amendment is not as generous with misstatements of facts — especially when the facts can be libelous.

For the immigration debate to be a healthy one, we should strive for a debate based on facts, not myth or tired stereotypes. We should also not let our position on this topic strip us of one of the great qualities we possess as people — the ability to be compassionate.

Arturo E. Ocampo of Tracy has been a practicing attorney since 1985, with an expertise in immigration rights and class action lawsuits on behalf of immigrants, including the way the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 was implemented, Border Patrol’s raids and Proposition 187. He is director of diversity and equal employment opportunity for the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District.


Facts
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 10:30 pm

I AM NOT SAYING DONT CLOSE THE BORDERS. I AM SAYING STOP THE HATE.

Before you Scream and show Ignorance and Hate at least read the Immigration Law regarding Undocumented Immigrants.

THE UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS ARE PAYING MORE TAXES THAN YOU THINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eight million Undocumented immigrants pay Social Security, Medicare and income taxes. Denying public services to people who pay their taxes is an affront to America’s bedrock belief in fairness. But many “pull-up-the-drawbridge” politicians want to do just that when it comes to Undocumented immigrants.

The fact that Undocumented immigrants pay taxes at all will come as news to many Americans. A stunning two thirds of Undocumented immigrants pay Medicare, Social Security and personal income taxes.

Yet, nativists like Congressman Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., have popularized the notion that illegal aliens are a colossal drain on the nation’s hospitals, schools and welfare programs — consuming services that they don’t pay for.

In reality, the 1996 welfare reform bill disqualified Undocumented immigrants from nearly all means tested government programs including food stamps, housing assistance, Medicaid and Medicare-funded hospitalization.

The only services that illegals can still get are emergency medical care and K-12 education. Nevertheless, Tancredo and his ilk pushed a bill through the House criminalizing all aid to illegal aliens — even private acts of charity by priests, nurses and social workers.

Potentially, any soup kitchen that offers so much as a free lunch to an illegal could face up to five years in prison and seizure of assets. The Senate bill that recently collapsed would have tempered these draconian measures against private aid.

But no one — Democrat or Republican — seems to oppose the idea of withholding public services. Earlier this year, Congress passed a law that requires everyone who gets Medicaid — the government-funded health care program for the poor — to offer proof of U.S. citizenship so we can avoid “theft of these benefits by illegal aliens,” as Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., puts it. But, immigrants aren’t flocking to the United States to mooch off the government.

According to a study by the Urban Institute, the 1996 welfare reform effort dramatically reduced the use of welfare by undocumented immigrant households, exactly as intended. And another vital thing happened in 1996: the Internal Revenue Service began issuing identification numbers to enable illegal immigrants who don’t have Social Security numbers to file taxes.

One might have imagined that those fearing deportation or confronting the prospect of paying for their safety net through their own meager wages would take a pass on the IRS’ scheme. Not so. Close to 8 million of the 12 million or so illegal aliens in the country today file personal income taxes using these numbers, contributing billions to federal coffers.

No doubt they hope that this will one day help them acquire legal status — a plaintive expression of their desire to play by the rules and come out of the shadows. What’s more, aliens who are not self-employed have Social Security and Medicare taxes automatically withheld from their paychecks.

Since undocumented workers have only fake numbers, they’ll never be able to collect the benefits these taxes are meant to pay for. Last year, the revenues from these fake numbers — that the Social Security administration stashes in the “earnings suspense file” — added up to 10 percent of the Social Security surplus.

The file is growing, on average, by more than $50 billion a year. Beyond federal taxes, all illegals automatically pay state sales taxes that contribute toward the upkeep of public facilities such as roads that they use, and property taxes through their rent that contribute toward the schooling of their children.

The non-partisan National Research Council found that when the taxes paid by the children of low-skilled immigrant families — most of whom are illegal — are factored in, they contribute on average $80,000 more to federal coffers than they consume. Yes, many illegal migrants impose a strain on border communities on whose doorstep they first arrive, broke and unemployed.

To solve this problem equitably, these communities ought to receive the surplus taxes that federal government collects from immigrants. But the real reason border communities are strained is the lack of a guest worker program.

Such a program would match willing workers with willing employers in advance so that they wouldn’t be stuck for long periods where they disembark while searching for jobs. The cost of undocumented aliens is an issue that immigrant bashers have created to whip up indignation against people they don’t want here in the first place.

With the Senate having just returned from yet another vacation and promising to revisit the stalled immigration bill, politicians ought to set the record straight: Illegals are not milking the government. If anything, it is the other way around.

The Undocumented Immigrants pay the exact same amount of taxes like you and me when they buy Things, rent a house, fill up gas, drink a beer or wine, buy appliances, play the states lottery and mega millions . Below are the links to just a few sites that will show you exactly how much tax you or the Undocumented Immigrant pays , so you see they are NOT FREELOADERS, THEY PAY TAXES AND TOLLS Exactly the same as you, Now if you take out 10% from your states /city Budget what will your city/state look like financially ?

Stop your folly thinking , you are wise USE YOUR WISDOM to see the reality. They pay more taxes than you think, Including FEDERAL INCOME TAX using a ITN Number that is given to them by the IRS, Social Security Taxes and State taxes that are withheld form their paychecks automatically.

Taxes, paid by You & the Undocumented are the same in each state check your state : http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/sales.html

GAS Taxes paid by you & the Undocumented are the same. Go to and check out your states tax; http://www.gaspricewatch.com/usgastaxes.asp

Cigarette Taxes paid by you & the Undocumented are the same, check this out in : http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/cigarett.html

Clothing Sales Taxes, are the same paid by you & the Undocumented Immigrant; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sales_taxes_in_the_United_States

City Taxes, are the same paid by you or the Undocumented, since he pays rent and the LANDLORD pays the city : http://www.town-usa.com/statetax/statetaxlist.html

Beer Taxes, are the same paid by you or the Undocumented: http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/beer.html

TAX DATA : http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/245.html


Facts
Comment posted October 20, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

The economics of immigration, Stephen C. Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration and someone who enjoys bipartisan support for his straightforwardness, said that by 2007, the Social Security trust fund had received a net benefit of somewhere between $120 billion and $240 billion from unauthorized immigrants.

That represented an astounding 5.4 percent to 10.7 percent of the trust fund's total assets of $2.24 trillion that year. The cumulative contribution is surely higher now. Unauthorized immigrants paid a net contribution of $12 billion in 2007 alone, Goss said.

Previous estimates circulating publicly and in Congress had placed the annual contributions at roughly half of Goss's 2007 figure and listed the cumulative benefit on the order of $50 billion.

The Social Security trust fund faces a solvency crisis that would be even more pressing were it not for these payments.

Adding to the Social Security irony is that the restrictionists are mostly OLDER AND RETIRED WHITES from longtime American families. The very people, in other words, who benefit most from the Social Security payments by unauthorized immigrants.


Stevejbrown
Comment posted October 21, 2010 @ 9:00 am

Have news for you Facts, that is a blatant outright lie! How can you pay into Social Security if you don't have a Social Security number? The fact is that illegal imigrants use a lot more government services than they pay into. One reason you pay so much to educate your kids is because you are paying for the kids of illegal imigrants, same with the cost of health care. Illegals can get government aid when you. a citizen can't. Oh and before you scream and show your ignorance and Hate, you need to read the immigration laws, and don't just quote the liberal socialist propaganda, do a little research,you'd be shocked what illegals are costing you, me, and this country. You're losing all your freedoms and you're to stupid to see it!


Hate group to assist lawmakers in campaign to change the US Constitution « Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy
Pingback posted October 21, 2010 @ 10:26 am

[...] addition, Reimink links to a Washington Independent article which states that lawmakers working to change the 14th Amendment would, “receive help in crafting [...]


Stevejbrown
Comment posted October 21, 2010 @ 9:40 am

One question for you Facts, are you an illegal immigrant or a lawyer representing illegal immigrants? According to you, everyone is lying about the cost of illegal immigration but you! Do you support slavery? Why would you want illegals to come here knowing that they are going to be paid lower wages? Maybe you are the one who hates illegals! Bottom line, the constitution allows immigration for one reason only, for people who want to become Americans! There is no other reason why anyone should be allowed to come here. Having hyphenated Americans does nothing but devide the country. The liberal progressives support this because their goal is to destroy the country, and it's easier to do that if the country is devided. If you're comming here to be an American, fine, come on over. If you're comming for any other reason, do us all a huge favor, STAY HOME!


Stephan
Comment posted October 21, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

It is unbelievable where the Moral, Ethics, Dignity stand of The American people the political blood sport must have an end with the bigot of Brewer or the Reps. Spiced with lies to take advantage of every undocumented. With Black hair and Braun skin color. Who sue her, for using in Arizona the money from undocumented Immigrants of 28.9 Billion ???

The two face of the law of first

the United States without legal status is a civil violation, not a crime. But take everything from undocumented. Now throw them out and take the last the rest what there was working for. Steel from the poor who try to build a new life is that the American face to the world???

It looks so bad from any tourists or Immigrant who calculate to build a business sooner or later

All statistic is shown that undocumented immigrants the most paying thru Social Security 28.9 Billion where they never can take advantage of.

Their contributions by unauthorized immigrants to Social Security — essentially, to the retirement income of everyday Americans — are much larger than previously known, raising questions about the efforts in many states and among Republicans in Congress to force these workers out.

In response to a research inquiry for a book I am writing on the economics of immigration, Stephen C. Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration and someone who enjoys bipartisan support for his straightforwardness, said that by 2007, the Social Security trust fund had received a net benefit of somewhere between $120 billion and $240 billion from unauthorized immigrants.

That represented an astounding 5.4 percent to 10.7 percent of the trust fund's total assets of $2.24 trillion that year. The cumulative contribution is surely higher now. Unauthorized immigrants paid a net contribution of $12 billion in 2007 alone, Goss said.

Previous estimates circulating publicly and in Congress had placed the annual contributions at roughly half of Goss's 2007 figure and listed the cumulative benefit on the order of $50 billion.

The Social Security trust fund faces a solvency crisis that would be even more pressing were it not for these payments.

“If for example we had not had other-than-legal immigrants in the country over the past,” Goss e-mailed me, “then these numbers suggest that we would have entered persistent shortfall of tax revenue to cover starting 2009, or six years earlier than estimated under the 2010 Trustees Report.”

Americans are faced with the difficult choice of cutting pensions, delaying the retirement age or raising taxes if we want to maintain the solvency of what has been the centerpiece of social welfare for ordinary Americans since the 1930s.

Non-citizens, for their part, contributed $28.9 billion, or eight percent of Arizona’s

economic output, resulting in 278,000 full-time equivalent jobs. Their output included

$10 billion in labor income, and $3.3 billion in other property income. The state tax

revenues resulting from this economic activity were approximately $1.08 billion.

They also looked at what would happen if the illegal workers were removed from the

workforce.

Agriculture: A fifteen percent workforce reduction in the agriculture sector would

result in direct losses of 3,300 full-time-equivalent jobs, and losses of $600.9

million in output including lost labor income of $198.6 million, and lost other

income of $116.1 million. The lost direct state tax revenue would be approximately

$24.8 million. Construction:

A fifteen percent workforce reduction in the construction

sector would result in direct losses of 55,700 full-time-equivalent jobs,

and $6.56 billion in output including lost labor income of $2.59 billion

and $450.5 million in other lost income.

The direct lost state tax revenue would be approximately $269.2 million.

Manufacturing: A ten percent reduction in the manufacturing workforce would result

in direct losses of 12,300 full-time-equivalent jobs, and

$3.77 billion in output including lost labor income of $740.8 million, and lost

other income of $286.1 million. The lost direct state tax revenue

would be approximately $104.4 million.

Service industries: In the service sectors analyzed, a sixteen percent reduction in the

labor force would translate to direct losses of 54,000 full-time equivalent-jobs,

and lost output of $2.48 billion including reduced labor income of $901.3 million,

and reductions in other income of $273.0 million. The lost direct state tax revenue

would be approximately $156.9 million.

The study concluded that the state of Arizona took in tax revenue of $1.64 billion from

immigrant workers while the amount the state spent on immigrants was

approximately $1.41billion leaving a net benefit of $222.6 million to the state coffers.

But that is only what they contribute to Arizona’s revenue.

They also pay national income taxes and social security taxes.


Stephan
Comment posted October 21, 2010 @ 3:54 pm

WHY DON’T UNAUTHORIZED IMMIGRANTS JUST COME LEGALLY?

Many Americans wonder why unauthorized immigrants do not come to the U.S. legally or simply “get in line” for permanent residency (a “green card”). In fact, the legal immigration system is grossly out of date and has not kept up with the labor demands of our economy. Our immigration laws have not been updated in 20 years, and there are only limited avenues available for legal immigration. The overly restrictive legal limits on green cards mean that virtually all unauthorized immigrants have no alternative for legal entry into the U.S.

THERE ARE VERY FEW WAYS TO COME TO THE U.S. LEGALLY

• There is no “line” for the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants: Accusations that an estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants—about 5% of the U.S. workforce—should simply “get in line” miss the point: There is no “line” and the “regular channels” do not include them.

• Unauthorized immigrants would rather come legally: Many Americans think that unauthorized immigrants want to be unauthorized. However, opinion surveys of unauthorized immigrants indicate that, if given a choice, 98% would rather live and work legally in the U.S. and would do so if they could. But most do not have the necessary family relationships to apply for legal entry, do not qualify as refugees unless they come from a handful of countries experiencing political unrest, and do not work in professions that currently qualify for a green card.

• Getting a green card is easier said than done: The ways to “come legally” to the U.S. are restricted to certain categories of people.

o The employment-based immigration system is out of sync with America’s needs: The number of green cards is limited to 5,000 per year for the entire United States for less-skilled workers such as landscapers, hotel workers, and construction workers. This grossly insufficient number of green cards for workers in these types of jobs is the crux of the unauthorized immigration problem in the U.S.

o Family immigration is highly restricted: U.S. citizens and green-card holders who meet strict eligibility requirements can petition to bring in certain eligible foreign-born family members. However, there are numerical limits on most family categories, and demand is typically higher than the number of available green cards. This results in significant backlogs for most family members hoping to enter the U.S. legally, with immigrants from some countries waiting decades for entry.

o Refugees: Persons who can prove a “well-founded fear of persecution” may, in some cases, be granted political asylum or refugee status. However, the burden of proof is high and the process is rigorous. An immigrant does not qualify as a refugee because of poverty or difficult economic conditions in his or her home country.

1 6

IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION

Many Americans are concerned that immigrants do not learn English, are living in isolated enclaves, and will not integrate into U.S. society. These are the same fears that Americans have harbored for centuries when confronted by each new wave of immigrants. However, research shows that today’s immigrants are integrating into U.S. society just as the generations of immigrants before them. They, and their children, learn English, buy homes, intermarry, become U.S. citizens, and otherwise become part of the nation’s social fabric.

IMMIGRANTS ARE INTEGRATING JUST AS THEY ALWAYS HAVE

Immigrants are learning English: The U.S. Census Bureau found that 91.4% of all people in the United States spoke English “very well” in 2008. In immigrant communities, mastery of English increases dramatically from generation to generation. According to surveys by the Pew Hispanic Center, only 48% of first-generation Latino immigrants report that they speak English “very well,” but this figure rises to 98% in the second generation. Among Latino adults who are third generation or higher, 97% speak English “very well.”

More immigrants are taking the oath and becoming U.S. citizens: According to the Office of Immigration Statistics, large and increasing numbers of immigrants are becoming U.S. citizens. The number of naturalizations has grown from an average of 120,000 per year in the 1950s and 1960s to 680,000 per year between 2000 and 2009. Roughly 570,000 immigrants applied for naturalization in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 alone. Many immigrants who applied for citizenship in the summer of 2007, hoping to vote in the November 2008 elections, were not able to do so because their applications had not been processed. However, in 2008, over 1 million persons were naturalized.

There is nothing more American than a 30-year mortgage: Homeownership is a key indicator of entry into the American middle class. Studies have shown that rates of homeownership rise among immigrants the longer they are in the country. Research by Dowell Myers, a prominent demographer at the University of Southern California, found that in 2005, Latino immigrants in California who had been in the U.S. for 30 years or more had a 65% homeownership rate, compared to 16% among those who had been here for less than 10 years.

1 7

IMMIGRATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Some commentators argue that immigration contributes to “over-population” in the U.S. and therefore causes more pollution, greater consumption of scarce resources, and more damage to the environment. This argument not only ignores the economic forces that drive immigration, but also misses the fundamental point that “over-population” is not the cause of U.S. environmental woes. Solving our environmental problems isn’t as simple as curbing immigration to the U.S. Ultimately, immigrants are not the problem—the U.S. lifestyle, our systems of production and consumption, and the policies that shape them are. We need real, rational solutions and leadership on environmental issues, not scapegoats.

IMMIGRATION IS NOT BAD FOR THE ENVIROMENT

“Over-population” is not what damages the U.S. environment: Levels of environmental destruction and resource consumption are not directly related to population size, even in countries such as the U.S. and those of the European Union (EU) that have similar standards of living. Rather, they are conditioned by a wide range of factors, such as the degree to which a society depends upon polluting and non-renewable fossil fuels; utilizes pollution-reduction technologies; develops systems of mass transit to minimize individual automobile use; uses plastics and other non-biodegradable materials in manufacturing and packaging consumer goods; recycles potentially recyclable materials; and controls agricultural run-off into waterways.

A few people can pollute a lot, or a lot of people can pollute a little: According to the World Resources Institute, the United States is home to 30% fewer people than the European nations of the EU-15, yet produces 40% more greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide and methane. In fact, U.S. emissions of GHGs on a per capita basis are more than double those of the EU-15. The problem is not the number of people in the U.S.; rather, the problem is the way the U.S. produces goods and consumes resources.

Blaming immigrants for climate change suggests that less-developed countries should stay that way: According to those who blame immigrants for our environmental woes, immigrants would ultimately produce less CO2 if they just remained in their less-industrialized (and therefore less-CO2-emitting) home countries. Based on this logic, unauthorized immigration isn’t the problem, increased wealth and international development are.

The U.S. isn’t a lifeboat with limited resources that will sink with too many people: When it comes to the global warming crisis, we’ll all sink or swim together.

1 8

SURVIVING IMMIGRATION INTERROGATIONS

Quick Responses to the Toughest Questions

SOLVING UNAUTHORIZED IMMIGRATION:

Q: “What are you going to do about illegal immigration?”

A: Immigration reform must be tough, practical, and smart. It is unacceptable to have 11 million people in our country living outside the legal system, and Americans know we can’t deport 11 million people to solve the problem.

America wins when we face reality and take action on immigration. Realistic solutions require the U.S. to do more than secure the border, crack down on employers who operate outside the law, and pursue smugglers who profit from our broken immigration system. We must address the underlying causes of unauthorized immigration. Moreover, reform won’t work unless we address the 11 million immigrants living here without legal status. We must require them to come forward to legalize their status, pay back taxes, learn English, and pass criminal background checks.

America needs a legal immigration system that enhances our security, strengthens our economy, and benefits our communities. We need a realistic, legal immigration framework that protects U.S. workers while providing needed labor to American businesses. Reasonable limits on family immigration would encourage the unification of families and the building of stable communities. The foundation for this kind of immigration system is strong and sensible enforcement that disentangles immigration from crime and national security threats, and focuses enforcement efforts on weeding out the bad actors in the workplace and our communities.

BORDER CONTROL:

Q: “How will you control the border?”

A: Securing our border is vital for national security, but we can’t deport our way to safety. We must supply adequate manpower and groundbreaking technology to secure the border, but we can’t be lulled into thinking that enforcement alone will control the border. Walls, raids, and billions of dollars spent at the border aren’t stopping unauthorized immigration. The annual budget of the U.S. Border Patrol has increased nine-fold, and the number of Border Patrol agents stationed along the southwest border has grown nearly five-fold, since Fiscal Year (FY) 1992. But the unauthorized population of the United States has tripled in size, from roughly 3.5 million in 1990 to 11 million today. America needs leaders who will move beyond the deportation-only mentality and implement real solutions to secure the border and restore the rule of law. Enacting comprehensive immigration reform and creating legal channels so that immigrants entering our borders do so lawfully will free up the Border Patrol to focus on drug smuggling, human trafficking, and other criminal activity rather than chasing busboys through the desert. 1 9

IMMIGRANTS AND THE ECONOMY:

Q: “Should we pass immigration reform while we’re in an economic downturn?”

A: In this economic downturn, many may argue that immigration reform is not a priority, but reforming our broken immigration system is an important part of our economic recovery. A recent study by Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda found that comprehensive immigration reform which includes the legalization of unauthorized immigrants already in the U.S. would yield $1.5 trillion to the U.S. GDP over a ten-year period, generate billions in additional tax revenue and consumer spending, and support hundreds of thousands of jobs. Currently, many unauthorized immigrants are working in the underground economy, and unscrupulous employers are able to exploit them and create unfair competition by violating labor laws and paying sub-minimal wages. We need to make sure everyone working in the U.S. is working legally, and we need to enforce labor laws against employers who undercut U.S. workers and exploit unauthorized immigrants. Leveling the playing field for both workers and employers will eliminate unfair competition and improve the wages and working conditions of all workers. Putting all immigrant workers in the formal economy will increase wages, tax revenues, and consumption.

IMMIGRANTS AND TAXES:

Q: “Is it true that illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes and drain our economy?”

A: As Ben Franklin said, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Like the rest of us, unauthorized immigrants pay taxes on their property and anything they buy. More than half of them have taxes taken out of their paychecks, but because our immigration system is dysfunctional, these taxes are paid under false Social Security numbers. We need a new regimen in which we know who is paying taxes and can ensure that no one is getting a free ride. The only way to do that is to pull unauthorized immigrants out of the shadows and get them on the right side of the law.

Three state-level studies have found that unauthorized immigrants pay more in taxes than they use in benefits. In Iowa, unauthorized immigrants pay an estimated $40 to $62 million in state taxes, while they and their employers contribute an additional $50 million to $77.8 million in federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes from which they will never benefit. In Oregon, unauthorized immigrants—who are not eligible for any state benefits—pay between $134 million and $187 million in taxes each year. Finally, in Texas, the State Comptroller found that, without unauthorized residents, the gross state product in 2005 would have been $17.7 billion less.

BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP:

Q: “Wouldn’t eliminating birthright citizenship resolve our immigration problems?”

A: Eliminating birthright citizenship would be unconstitutional, impractical, expensive, complicated, and would not stop unauthorized immigration. It would impose a significant burden on all Americans who would no longer have an easy and inexpensive way to prove their citizenship. All American parents—not just immigrants—would have to prove the citizenship of their children through a cumbersome process. Since children born to unauthorized immigrants would presumably be unauthorized, the size of the unauthorized population would actually increase as a result of the new policy. 2 0

STATE-LEVEL IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION:

Q: “Should my state pass legislation similar to Arizona’s SB 1070?”

A: No. Such laws are not effective at resolving the problems with our broken immigration system. Only the federal government can reform our immigration laws. Laws like SB 1070 are expensive, devote precious law-enforcement resources to questioning immigrants about their status, and divert law-enforcement resources away from investigating serious criminal activity. SB 1070-like laws can also lead to racial profiling and discriminatory behavior. Police already have the ability to arrest immigrants for any crimes they may commit, and they can already cooperate with the federal government to enforce immigration laws.

While people are genuinely frustrated over the failure of the federal government to fix our broken immigration system, creating a patchwork of potentially unconstitutional and confusing laws is not an answer. A recent poll conducted by Politico shows that people don’t necessarily want states to jump into the fray as much as they want solutions. While 23% of respondents supported states taking action, 61% supported passing comprehensive immigration reform through Congress. A CNN poll showed that while 55% of Americans favored SB 1070, an astounding 81% supported a plan that would legalize unauthorized immigrants if they had a job and paid back taxes.

IMMIGRANTS AND CRIME:

Q: “Aren’t a lot of immigrants criminals?”

A: Immigrants are less likely to be criminals than the native-born. Americans are justifiably concerned about crime in their neighborhoods, and immigration restrictionists are quick to point the spotlight at cases in which immigrants have committed horrible crimes. Anyone who commits a crime should be punished, but there is ample evidence that immigrants are less likely than the native-born to be in prison, and high rates of immigration are not associated with higher rates of crime. In fact, the incarceration rate for native-born men age 18-39 was five times higher than for immigrant men in 2000.

Recent studies in two immigrant-rich states, New Jersey and California, reached similar conclusions. In New Jersey, U.S. citizens are twice as likely to land in prison as either legal or unauthorized immigrants. And in California, foreign-born adults have lower incarceration rates than their native-born counterparts.

IMMIGRANTS AND INTEGRATION:

Q: “Why aren’t new immigrants assimilating like our ancestors did?”

A: Learning English, swearing allegiance, and buying homes—what could be more American? Roughly 92% of all people in the United States spoke English “very well” in 2008. Immigrants know the ticket to success in this country is speaking English, and that’s why sociologists have dubbed America the “language grave-yard.” Large and increasing numbers of immigrants are also becoming U.S. citizens. Roughly 570,000 immigrants applied for naturalization in 2008 alone (in the 1960s the annual average was 120,000). Finally, rates of homeownership—a key indicator of entry into the American middle class—rise among immigrants the longer they are in the country.


Stephan
Comment posted October 21, 2010 @ 3:57 pm

Even the government misuses the system: According to a January 2010 report released by the SSA Inspector General, the agency failed to use E-Verify on 19 percent of its new hires. SSA also improperly ran checks on 169 volunteers and individuals who had not yet been hired and violated program rules with respect to the timing of its verifications 49 percent of the time. The fact that one of the two agencies responsible for administering the E-Verify program misused it in direct violation of the law does not bode well for expanding the program or making it mandatory for all employers.

Proposals that tout mandatory E-Verify as a silver bullet would be prohibitively expensive: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the SAVE Act, which would make E-Verify mandatory, would decrease federal revenues by $17.3 billion from 2009 to 2018 because it would result in an increase in the number of people working in the underground cash economy, outside the tax system. At the same time, it would increase spending by over $23 billion, resulting in a whopping price tag of over $40 billion over the next 10 years. CBO also estimated that SAVE would cost U.S. employers over $136 million to comply in at least one of the first five years its mandates are in effect.

The impact of a mandatory program, without safeguards, could harm Social Security benefits: Scores of organizations, including the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), have serious concerns about overloading the Social Security Administration with new mandates. If E-Verify were suddenly mandatory, SSA would see an estimated 3.6 million extra visits or calls to SSA field offices by Americans trying to fix errors in their records so they can work. With Americans already waiting up to 500 days for a disability claim decision from SSA, and 78 million Baby Boomers soon to be eligible for retirement benefits, the SSA can’t become a required stop for millions of frustrated Americans unable to work because of government database errors.

8

IMMIGRANTS AND PUBLIC BENEFITS

Many Americans fear that immigrants disproportionately use welfare programs or public benefits. Some believe that immigrants are eligible for special benefits that Americans cannot receive. The fact is that unauthorized immigrants are not eligible for most public benefits and do not use them surreptitiously. Legal immigrants are also restricted from receiving many benefits. Immigrants pay taxes to fund welfare programs, but are not eligible to reap the benefits of many of them.

UNAUTHORIZED IMMIGRANTS AREN’T ELIGIBLE FOR PUBLIC BENEFITS

Unauthorized immigrants are not eligible for federal public benefits: This includes income supplements—e.g., Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), health care (Medicaid and Medicare), and food stamps.

Legal immigrants face tough restrictions on accessing public benefits: Federal law also imposes harsh restrictions on legal immigrants’ eligibility for public benefits. Most documented immigrants cannot receive federal Medicaid, TANF, food stamps, or SSI during their first five years or longer in the U.S., regardless of how much they have worked or paid in taxes.

Immigrants use less health care, on average, than U.S. citizens: Low-income immigrants are less likely to receive public benefits than are U.S. citizens. Immigrants do not come to the U.S. to receive public benefits, and once they are here, they do not disproportionately use public benefits. According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, immigrants do not impose a disproportionate financial burden on the U.S. health care system. The per capita total health care expenditures of immigrants are less than half those of U.S.-born persons, and immigrants are significantly less likely to use the emergency room than are citizens. Further restricting immigrants’ access to benefits is not a solution to our immigration problems. In fact, the more people paying into a healthcare system, especially healthier working-age people, the more the costs are spread out.

BUT THEY PAY ANYWAY

Immigrants pay taxes into the system that funds public services: Even the majority of unauthorized immigrants pay federal and state income taxes, Social Security taxes, and Medicare taxes. And all immigrants pay sales taxes and property taxes. Many studies have found that immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits. The National Research Council estimated in 1997 that “the average immigrant pays nearly $1,800 more in taxes than he or she costs in benefits.” Many state-level studies have also found that immigrants contribute more to the economy than they take out.

9

UNAUTHORIZED IMMIGRANTS AND TAXES

As the debate over unauthorized immigration continues to rage, some pundits and policymakers are claiming that unauthorized immigrants do not pay taxes and rely heavily on government benefits. Neither of these claims is supported by the facts. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, unauthorized men have workforce participation rates that are higher than other workers, and all unauthorized immigrants are ineligible for most government services, but pay taxes as workers, consumers, and residents.

MANY PAY BUT DON’T COLLECT

Like the rest of us, unauthorized immigrants pay taxes: Between one-half to three-quarters of unauthorized immigrants pay federal and state income taxes, Social Security taxes, and Medicare taxes. All unauthorized immigrants pay sales taxes (when they buy anything at a store, for instance) and property taxes (even if they rent housing).

Unauthorized immigrants pay into Social Security, but do not collect: The Social Security Administration (SSA) has concluded that unauthorized immigrants “account for a major portion” of the billions of dollars paid into the Social Security system under names or Social Security numbers that don’t match SSA records; payments from which immigrants cannot benefit while unauthorized. As of October 2005, the reported earnings on which these payments are based—which are tracked through the SSA’s Earnings Suspense File (ESF)—totaled $520 billion.

STATE STUDIES ANALYZE UNAUTHORIZED TAX CONTRIBUTIONS

TEXAS: A 2006 study by the Texas State Comptroller found that “the absence of the estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas in fiscal 2005 would have been a loss to our gross state product of $17.7 billion. Undocumented immigrants produced $1.58 billion in state revenues, which exceeded the $1.16 billion in state services they received.”

OREGON: A 2007 study by the Oregon Center for Public Policy estimated that unauthorized immigrants in Oregon pay state income, excise, and property taxes, as well as federal Social Security and Medicare taxes, which “total about $134 million to $187 million annually.” In addition, “taxes paid by Oregon employers on behalf of undocumented workers total about $97 million to $136 million annually.” As the report goes on to note, unauthorized workers are ineligible for the Oregon Health Plan, food stamps, and temporary cash assistance.

IOWA: A 2007 report from the Iowa Policy Project concluded that “undocumented immigrants pay an estimated aggregate amount of $40 million to $62 million in state taxes each year.” Moreover, “undocumented immigrants working on the books…and their employers also contribute annually an estimated $50 million to $77.8 million in federal Social Security and Medicare taxes from which they will never benefit. Rather than draining state resources, undocumented immigrants are in some cases subsidizing services that only documented residents can access.”

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IMMIGRANTS AND CRIME

The persistent myth that immigrants are more prone to criminality than the native-born continues to circulate viciously among politicians, commentators, and the public despite a century’s worth of contrary evidence that immigrants are less likely than the native-born to be in prison, and that high rates of immigration are not associated with higher crime rates.

IMMIGRANTS HAVE LOWER CRIME RATES THAN THE NATIVE-BORN

Immigrants are five times less likely to be in prison than the native-born: A 2007 study by University of California-Irvine sociologist Rubén G. Rumbaut found that the 3.5% incarceration rate for native-born men ages 18-39 was five times higher than the 0.7% rate for immigrant men in 2000. The lower incarceration rates of immigrants compared to natives “holds true especially for the Mexicans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans who make up the bulk of the undocumented population.”

Unauthorized immigration is NOT associated with higher crime rates: Although the unauthorized immigrant population doubled from 1994 to 2005, the violent crime rate in the United States declined by 34.2 % and the property crime rate fell by 26.4% during the same period. Border cities and other cities with large immigrant populations also experienced decreasing crime rates.

HIGHER IMMIGRATION RATES = LOWER CRIME RATES

• Crime is lowest in the states with the most immigrants: According to a 2008 report from the conservative Americas Majority Foundation, crime rates are lowest in states with the highest immigration growth rates. From 1999 to 2006, the total crime rate declined 13.6% in the 19 highest-immigration states, compared to a 7.1% decline in the other 32 states. In 2006, the 10 “high influx” states—those with the most dramatic, recent increases in immigration—had the lowest rates of violent crime and total crime.

o New Jersey: An analysis of data from the New Jersey Department of Corrections and U.S. Census Bureau by New Jersey’s Star-Ledger in April 2008 found that “U.S. citizens are twice as likely to land in New Jersey’s prisons as legal and illegal immigrants.” In fact, “non-U.S. citizens make up 10% of the state’s overall population, but just 5% of the inmates in prison.”

o California: Foreign-born adults in California have lower incarceration rates than their native-born counterparts. According to a June 2008 report from the Public Policy Institute of California, “the incarceration rate for foreign-born adults is 297 per 100,000 in the population, compared to 813 per 100,000 for U.S.-born adults. The foreign-born, who make up roughly 35% of California’s adult population, constitute 17% of the state prison population, a proportion that has remained fairly constant since 1990.”

• The argument that unauthorized immigrants are “criminals” because they are “illegal” is highly misleading. “Unlawful presence” in the United States (such as overstaying a visa) is a civil violation of immigration law, not a criminal violation. “Entry Without Inspection” (entering the United States without authorization) is a misdemeanor. More importantly, neither of these offenses constitutes a threat to public safety—unlike crimes such as murder, assault, and robbery, all of which immigrants are much less likely to commit than natives.

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LOCAL POLICE AND IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT

Recently there has been increased public attention on the role of state and local police agencies in immigration enforcement. Currently, about 67 localities have entered into memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) through the 287(g) program. The 287(g) program refers to the section of federal law created in 1996 that establishes a program for local police to be trained by ICE to enforce immigration law. Approximately 1,075 police and correctional officers had been trained as of January 2010. Even when local police officers are not deputized to perform immigration enforcement, ICE does work through the criminal justice system to identify deportable noncitizens through programs such as the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) and the Secure Communities program. Critics argue that these policies which involve local police in the enforcement of federal immigration law lead to increased discrimination and racial profiling, stretch the limited resources of law enforcement, and erode—rather than promote—trust between immigrant communities and the police, thus endangering public safety.

LOCAL COPS DON’T WANT TO BE IMMIGRATION OFFICERS

There is strong and broad-based opposition to local police enforcement of immigration laws: Advocates for victims of domestic abuse, faith-based organizations, immigrant rights groups, elected officials, and law-enforcement officials all agree that state and local police should not be enforcing federal immigration laws.

When police enforce immigration laws, or are perceived to be enforcing immigration laws, public safety decreases: When police are turned into immigration agents, immigrants (legal and unauthorized) who are victims or witnesses of crime are fearful of cooperating with the police. This puts entire communities at risk.

When police enforce immigration laws, other crimes go uninvestigated: The experience of Maricopa County, Arizona, has shown that when police are highly invested in enforcing immigration laws, other crimes do not receive the attention they deserve, and response times to emergency 911 calls increase.

Enforcing immigration law is costly: The federal government does not cover the costs incurred by localities that enforce immigration laws. After only three months, Maricopa County had a deficit of over $1 million. The Prince William County, Virginia, jail spent nearly $800,000 more than expected to hold suspected unauthorized immigrants. This money could be better spent on public safety.

When local police enforce immigration law it is likely to lead to racial profiling, discrimination, and costly litigation: When local law enforcement gets involved in immigration enforcement, particularly without proper training and oversight, people are often targeted on the basis of their accent or appearance. This can lead to serious violations of the civil rights of legal permanent residents and even U.S. citizens.

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BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP

Anti-immigrant groups and legislators have persisted in their attempts to restrict or repeal birthright citizenship in State Houses and the U.S. Congress. Several bills have been introduced that would deny U.S. citizenship to children whose parents are in the U.S. without authorization or on temporary visas. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution—the cornerstone of American civil rights—affirms that, with very few exceptions, all persons born in the U.S. are U.S. citizens, regardless of the immigration status of their parents. Following the Civil War and the emancipation of the slaves, the Fourteenth Amendment restated the longstanding principle of birthright citizenship, which had been temporarily erased by the Supreme Court's “Dred Scott” decision denying birthright citizenship to the U.S.-born children of slaves. The Supreme Court has consistently upheld birthright citizenship over the years.

ELIMINATING BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL, IMPRACTICAL, EXPENSIVE, COMPLICATED, AND WOULD NOT STOP UNAUTHORIZED IMMIGRATION

Eliminating birthright citizenship would impose a significant burden on all Americans, who would no longer have an easy and inexpensive way to prove their citizenship. If simply being born in the U.S. and having a U.S. birth certificate were not proof of citizenship, Americans would have to navigate complex laws to prove their citizenship. Other than a birth certificate, most Americans do not have government documents that establish U.S. citizenship.

All American parents—not just immigrants—would have to prove the citizenship of their children through a cumbersome process. Some Americans would have to prove they derive U.S. citizenship through one or both of their parents—a process that can be difficult for even experienced immigration attorneys. In some cases, whether one’s parents were married or unmarried at the time of one’s birth makes a difference in determining citizenship. Moreover, the gender of the U.S.-citizen parent can affect the determination.

Eliminating birthright citizenship would not solve the problem of unauthorized immigration. Since children born to unauthorized immigrants would presumably be unauthorized, the size of the unauthorized population would actually increase as a result of the new policy. While some children could acquire the citizenship of their parents, others would be left with no citizenship or nationality, leaving them stateless.

Eliminating birthright citizenship is a distraction that moves us away from fixing the real problems with our broken immigration system. Immigrants come to the U.S. to work, to reunite with their families, or to flee persecution. Denying birthright citizenship will not discourage unauthorized immigrants from coming to the U.S., and it will not encourage those already here to leave.

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STATE-LEVEL IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION

In April 2010, Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed into law SB 1070, also known as the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act—a sweeping law with the intent of eliminating unauthorized immigration in the state through state and local law-enforcement actions. However, a federal district court enjoined several of the most controversial parts of the law, including the provision that explicitly required state and local law-enforcement officials to inquire about immigration status during any lawful stop, detention, or arrest, as well as the provision making it a misdemeanor to fail to carry proper immigration documents. Despite criticism of the Arizona law from Republicans, Democrats, police officials, religious leaders, and civil rights leaders, legislators in at least 23 states—Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah—have introduced or are considering introducing similar legislation.

SB 1070-TYPE LAWS ARE NOT A REAL SOLUTION TO OUR IMMIGRATION PROBLEMS

The justification for SB 1070 doesn’t hold water. While proponents of SB 1070 claimed the law was a crime-fighting measure, data from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics show that unauthorized immigration is not associated with higher crime rates. While there is real violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, SB 1070 does nothing to address it.

The police have always had the authority to arrest immigrants for crimes they commit. If a police officer sees an immigrant commit a crime (such as theft or murder), or suspects that an immigrant has committed a crime, that police officer can arrest that immigrant for that crime. The police also have the authority to arrest immigrants for criminal violations of immigration law, such as re-entering the U.S. after being deported. Furthermore, the police have always had the ability to contact ICE and inquire about an arrestee’s immigration status, and many prisons and jails have an ICE presence, so that immigrants can be identified and placed into removal proceedings.

SB 1070-type laws would be expensive. In addition to the enormous costs of implementing the legislation, the Mayor of Phoenix estimated the loss of convention revenue to Arizona as a result of SB 1070 will be at least $90 million over 5 years due to boycotts. A study released in July 2008 by the University of Arizona’s Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy concluded that economic output would drop annually by at least $29 billion, or 8.2 percent, if all non-citizens, including unauthorized workers, were removed from Arizona's workforce. About 14 percent of the state's 2.6 million workers are foreign-born, and about two-thirds to three-fourths of non-citizens are unauthorized.

SB 1070-type laws could leave states less safe. If police spend their time detaining and questioning people they suspect of being unauthorized immigrants, it will detract from their ability to investigate and solve more serious crimes. In Arizona, Sheriff Arpaio has diverted his department’s resources to immigration enforcement, and response times to 911 calls have increased, arrest rates have dropped, and thousands of felony warrants have not been served.

SB 1070-like laws jeopardize the federal government’s ability to set priorities in immigration enforcement. SB 1070 would divert scarce federal resources away from finding dangerous criminals throughout the United States, focusing instead on detaining and deporting non-violent immigrants in one state: Arizona

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SB 1070-type laws could lead to racial profiling. Such laws open the door to intrusive questioning for anyone when there is a suspicion that the individual may be here without authorization. While most U.S. citizens do not carry their passports, lack of such documentation could subject them to lengthy questioning, and possibly arrest or detention, if they cannot persuade an officer that they are in the U.S. legally. In particular, critics fear that persons who are Hispanic or dark-skinned, who have accents, or otherwise appear “different” are more likely to face racial profiling given the demographics of unauthorized immigration.

SB 1070-type laws would result in costly litigation for states. So far, seven lawsuits have been filed to stop implementation of SB 1070 in Arizona, and the costs are yet to be seen. Other states and localities that passed anti-immigrant legislation and ordinances—such as Fremont, Nebraska; Farmers Branch, Texas; and Hazleton, Pennsylvania—have been caught up in costly litigation to defend their laws.

While people are genuinely frustrated over the failure of the federal government to fix our broken immigration system, creating a patchwork of potentially unconstitutional and confusing laws is not an answer. A recent poll conducted by Politico shows that people don’t necessarily want states to jump into the fray as much as they want solutions. While 23% of respondents supported states taking action, 61% supported passing comprehensive immigration reform through Congress. A CNN poll showed that while 55% of Americans favored SB 1070, an astounding 81% supported a plan that would legalize unauthorized immigrants if they had a job and paid back taxes.

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Stephan
Comment posted October 21, 2010 @ 4:00 pm

GIVING FACTS A FIGHTING CHANCE

ANSWERS TO THE TOUGHEST IMMIGRATION QUESTIONS

IMMIGRATION POLICY CENTER

OCTOBER 2010

ABOUT THE IMMIGRATION POLICY CENTER

The Immigration Policy Center, established in 2003, is the policy arm of the American Immigration Council. IPC's mission is to shape a national conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policymakers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers, and the media. IPC is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office. Visit our website at http://www.immigrationpolicy.org and our blog at http://www.immigrationimpact.com.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

WHY WE NEED COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM

Americans are justifiably frustrated and angry with our outdated and broken immigration system. The problem is complex, and a comprehensive, national solution is necessary. Politicians who suggest that the U.S. can deport its way out of the problem by removing 11 million people are unrealistic. The U.S. needs a fair, practical solution that addresses the underlying causes of unauthorized immigration and creates a new, national legal immigration system for the 21st century.

Immigration reform must be rational, practical, and tough: It is unacceptable to have 11 million people in our country living outside the legal system. To enhance our security, we must have smart border and interior enforcement, target the real causes of violence along the border, and prosecute those who exploit immigrant labor and those who profit from smuggling. Additionally, unauthorized immigrants should be required to come forward to legalize their status, pay back taxes, learn English, and pass criminal background checks. Finally, we must create sufficient legal channels to support the level of immigration our country needs in the future.

Efforts simply to deport are often political games, not serious policy proposals: Over the past two decade, tens of billions of dollars have been spent on immigration enforcement. The annual budget of the U.S. Border Patrol has increased nine-fold and the number of Border Patrol agents stationed along the southwest border has increased nearly five-fold since Fiscal Year (FY) 1992, yet the unauthorized population has tripled in size. Billions in taxpayer dollars are wasted every year when we attempt to spend our way out of the problem rather than solve it.

THE PUBLIC WANTS SOLUTIONS

A majority of Americans favor realistic reform over unachievable rhetoric: Polls consistently find that Americans support a tough but comprehensive solution for those here without authorization over an enforcement-only immigration policy. According to polls of likely 2010 general election voters conducted for America’s Voice by Lake Research Partners and Benenson Strategy Group, 66% of all voters and 74% of Latino voters supported comprehensive immigration reform as opposed to enforcement-only measures. This included 62% of Republicans, 67% of Independents, and 69% of Democrats. Finally, 67% of all likely voters believed that unauthorized immigrants “should be required to register, meet certain conditions, and eventually allowed to apply for citizenship,” rather than leaving the country or being allowed to stay only temporarily.

The public sees comprehensive immigration reform as consistent with, not working against, our nation’s economic recovery: Nationwide, 67% of voters said “We would be better off if people who are in the United States illegally became legal taxpayers so they pay their fair share,” vs. 28% who said “We would be better off if people who are in the United States illegally left the country because they are taking away jobs that Americans need.”

The best way to solve the problem is to face reality: Most unauthorized immigrants are integrated members of U.S. families and communities. Nationwide, unauthorized immigrants comprise 5.1% of the workforce, and in states like Arizona, the unauthorized share of the workforce is even higher. In certain sectors, like agriculture and construction, unauthorized workers comprise up to 25% of the workforce. Nationwide, there are approximately 4 million U.S.-citizen children with at least one unauthorized parent, and policies that target their parents have grave effects on the children. Approximately 53% of unauthorized immigrants have been in the U.S. ten years or more. The vast majority of unauthorized immigrants are simply here to work. Unauthorized immigrants who work,

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pay taxes, do not commit crimes, and want to be Americans should be required to come forward and register for legal status.

THE SOLUTION IS:

First and foremost, the United States needs a legal immigration system that enhances our security, strengthens our economy, and supports our communities: The most practical and realistic way to reduce unauthorized immigration dramatically is to bring U.S. immigration policy in line with economic and social realities. Lawmakers should devise immigration policies that are responsive to labor demands and ensure fair wages and good working conditions for all workers, both native-born and foreign-born, and which require unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States to apply for legal status. Lawmakers must also build a more flexible and responsive system for temporary and permanent employment-based immigration that can adapt quickly to changing economic times, supports innovation and entrepreneurship, and allows those who want to contribute their skills and talents to this country an opportunity to do so. Finally, lawmakers should address the delays and restrictions that impose unreasonably long waiting times on hardworking families seeking to join close relatives in the U.S.

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IMMIGRATION REFORM AND THE CURRENT ECONOMY

It is generally undisputed that immigration is important to America’s economic success. During an economic downturn, however, many argue that immigration reform should not be a priority, while others argue that fixing our broken immigration system and allowing unauthorized immigrants to earn legal status would be detrimental to the economy. However, reforming our broken immigration system is an important part of improving our economy. Currently, unscrupulous employers are able to exploit unauthorized workers and create unfair competition by violating labor laws and paying sub-minimal wages. This is harmful to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers. Our immigration system needs to work for all Americans, not just for those employers looking for low-cost labor. We need to recognize that it would be far better if all immigrant workers were here legally and could exercise the same rights on the job as native-born workers. Leveling the playing field for both workers and employers by legalizing unauthorized workers and enforcing labor laws against bad-apple employers will eliminate unfair competition and improve the wages and working conditions of all workers.

ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF IMMIGRATION REFORM

Legalization brings economic benefits. A 2010 report released by the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) and the Center for American Progress (CAP), Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, finds that comprehensive immigration reform which includes a legalization program for unauthorized immigrants and enables a future flow of legal workers would result in a large economic benefit—a cumulative $1.5 trillion in added U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over 10 years. In stark contrast, a deportation-only policy would result in a loss of $2.6 trillion in GDP over 10 years.

Observers across the political spectrum agree on the economic benefits of legalization. A 2009 report by the libertarian Cato Institute came to startlingly similar conclusions. Cato found that legalization would boost the incomes of U.S. households by $180 billion in 2019. Cato also concluded that tighter restrictions and a reduction in less-skilled immigration would impose large costs on native-born Americans by shrinking the overall economy and lowering worker productivity.

Leveling the playing field will benefit U.S. workers and the U.S. economy. We need to ensure that unauthorized immigrants come forward, pay a fine, undergo background checks, and get on a path to earning legal immigration status and citizenship. This will put more workers and employers on the tax rolls, and level the playing field for all workers and law-abiding employers by eliminating the pool of exploitable labor.

Legalization raises wages for all U.S. workers. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) resulted in the legalization of more than 2.7 million unauthorized immigrants within five years. A 1992 survey by the U.S. Department of Labor on the “Characteristics and Labor Market Behavior of the Legalized Population Five Years Following Legalization” found that legalized workers saw a 15% mean hourly wage increase. The mean hourly wages of U.S. workers grew by even more than that of the legalized workers. Increased wages result in increased consumption and tax revenue.

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IMMIGRANTS HELP DRIVE THE ECONOMY

The U.S. economy will eventually improve, and immigration helps to expand the economy: A 2007 report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers concluded that immigration increases GDP by roughly $37 billion each year because immigrants increase the size of the total labor force, complement the native-born workforce in terms of skills and education, and stimulate capital investment by adding workers to the labor pool.

Immigration raises wages for most Americans: A 2010 report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that the “effect of immigration from 1994 to 2007 was to raise the wages of U.S.-born workers, relative to foreign-born workers, by 0.4% (or $3.68 per week).” Even the small (and shrinking) number of “U.S.-born workers with less than a high school education saw a relative 0.3% increase in wages (or $1.58 per week)” as a result of immigration during this period.

The purchasing power of immigrant communities is enormous—and growing: According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, the purchasing power of Latinos totaled $978.4 billion in 2009 and is projected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2014. The purchasing power of Asians totaled $508.6 billion in 2009 and is projected to reach $696.5 billion by 2014.

The entrepreneurship of immigrant communities employs millions of people: The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that in 2002, 1.6 million Hispanic-owned firms provided jobs to 1.5 million employees, had receipts of $222 billion, and generated payroll of $36.7 billion. The same year, 1.1 million Asian-owned firms provided jobs to 2.2 million employees, had receipts of $326.4 billion, and generated payroll of $56 billion.

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IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT

For more than two decades, the U.S. government has tried without success to stamp out unauthorized immigration through enforcement efforts at the border and in the interior of the country, without fundamentally reforming the broken immigration system that spurs unauthorized immigration in the first place. While billions upon billions of dollars have been poured into enforcement, the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has increased dramatically. Enforcement alone will not solve our immigration problems.

ENFORCEMENT ALONE WILL NOT SOLVE OUR IMMIGRATON PROBLEMS

Taxpayer dollars are being misused to act “tough”: The annual budget of the U.S. Border Patrol stood at $3 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010—a nine-fold increase since FY 1992. The number of Border Patrol agents stationed along the southwest border grew to 17,000 in FY 2010—a nearly five-fold increase since FY 1992.

We can’t deport our way out of this problem: For years the U.S. government has attempted to use employer sanctions, border walls, worksite raids, and other deportation-only measures to stop unauthorized immigration, but the unauthorized population of the United States has tripled in size, from roughly 3.5 million in 1990 to 11.1 million in 2009.

It’s not enforcement—it’s the economy: Some are saying that increases in immigration enforcement are working because the unauthorized population of the U.S. has recently declined in size. However, most researchers agree that unauthorized immigration to the United States is driven largely by economics. According to a June 2008 report by Wayne Cornelius, Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California-San Diego, “undocumented migration clearly responds to changing U.S. economic conditions, with steep increases in the flow toward the end of expansion phases of the business cycle and significant decreases during economic downturns. Moreover, the pattern of undocumented migrants responding to economic conditions rather than policy decisions has continued during the border enforcement build-up that began in 1993.”

America needs leaders to balance good immigration policy with enforcement priorities: The most practical and realistic way to reduce unauthorized immigration dramatically is to bring U.S. immigration policy in line with economic and social realities. Such a policy must include the following elements: a realistic legal immigration framework that protects U.S. workers while providing needed labor to American businesses; controlled but reasonable limits on family immigration which encourage unification of families and stable communities; and a tough but fair legalization program for those here without authorization. The undergirding of such an immigration regimen is enforcement at the border and the workplace which is targeted at wrongdoers and genuine threats, rather than those merely seeking a better life.

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WORKSITE ENFORCEMENT AND E-VERIFY

Unauthorized immigrants primarily come to the U.S. to work, and—according to the Pew Hispanic Center—approximately 5.1% of the American labor force is unauthorized. Enforcing the law at the workplace is important because it protects vulnerable workers from exploitation, and protects U.S. workers and law-abiding employers from unscrupulous employers who hire unauthorized workers. Employers must be held accountable for employment and labor-law violations.

One enforcement measure that has been expanding is E-Verify: a largely voluntary electronic employment-verification system through which an employer verifies the work authorization of all employees—even U.S. citizens—using the databases of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA). Currently, approximately 216,000 employers of the over 7.4 million in the U.S. are signed up to use E-Verify. Making E-Verify mandatory would require running 60 million new hires through the system per year, where just over 13 million were processed in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010. Moreover, there are still some serious problems with E-Verify that must be addressed. The databases upon which E-Verify relies contain errors which could result in U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants being incorrectly denied permission to work. There are also concerns regarding potential misuse of the program by employers.

Even an improved E-Verify is not, by itself, a magic bullet and will not fix the broken immigration system. Simply expanding E-Verify will not resolve the underlying problems with our immigration system, and can have a negative impact on U.S. workers. E-Verify is part of a comprehensive solution that also includes improved enforcement of employment and labor laws, legalization of the current unauthorized workforce, and creation of sufficient legal channels for future immigration so that needed workers can come to the U.S. legally.

E-VERIFY ALONE IS NOT THE SOLUTION

We need practical and sensible solutions: We cannot expect to use raids or employer audits or E-Verify to deport 11 million people, and we cannot deny employers the workers they need until there are legal channels to bring them to the U.S. We need a new immigrant-worker program that provides visas for workers who can fill U.S. labor needs, while protecting U.S. workers and businesses from the unscrupulous employers who exploit vulnerable immigrant labor at the expense of U.S. workers.

Enforcement must include employment-law enforcement. Comprehensive reform must recognize that strong employment protections for all workers reduces the incentive for unscrupulous employers to hire and mistreat unauthorized workers, thereby improving wages and working conditions for all workers.

Despite improvements, even the government has trouble making E-verify work: The SSA estimates that 17.8 million of its records contain discrepancies related to name, date of birth, or citizenship status, with 12.7 million of those problem records pertaining to U.S. citizens. This implies that as many as 1 in 25 new hires could be erroneously flagged as ineligible to work. These errors mean that thousands of U.S. citizens could be denied work because of government errors. Even though the government has reduced the possibility of error by cleaning up databases, any kind of immediate, mandatory program is likely to overwhelm the system, resulting in problems for employers and workers. Any expansion of the program must go hand in hand with protections ensuring that employees can correct and challenge inaccurate decisions.

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Irish_Wake
Comment posted October 21, 2010 @ 10:53 pm

Interesting, if unsupported views.
This isn't a lie. Since a Social Security Number is necessary for employment, it is customary for illegals to use a real SSN, sometimes that of a deceased citizen. The employer pays into the system using the stolen identification. This is incredibly basic reality – even Fox News reports this stuff .

While Facts is rather long-winded, these claims are defended with evidence. Mr. Browns assertions are refreshingly devoid of support or evidence. I believe the ignorance is clear.


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[...] Redefining Birthright Citizenship, One State at a Time « The Washington Independent [...]


Greek9014
Comment posted October 22, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

The only people that should have citizenship should be the people that were like the founders were . Of pure European blood lines .


E V Hoff
Comment posted October 22, 2010 @ 10:19 pm

Well then just do as you want folks if you don't like a law violate it, that what Stephan is saying. We don't need to change the law if our gov. would enforce the all the laws that we have now the illegals would be gone now, or would not have had such an easy invasion into this country. It is never to late to start enforcement. It will cost lives if it not we don't stop these invaders. The USA can no long take care of the whole world or should we, I look around and see to many children of citizens going without just because the liberal left and greedy right won't obey the law. Its time to get this country back from these revisionists.


DonMan
Comment posted October 22, 2010 @ 10:19 pm

I completely disagree with this article because with political will, anything is possible. Not that long ago Operation Wetback was implemented and within two year with the use of 7,000 agents, millions of illegal aliens were removed from America. Just months ago the state of Arizona with one signature of the Governors pen, mass panic and exodus from Arizona ensued. Had other states with the same laws as Arizona and Missouri have the illegals would have had not place to go, but back across the border where they belong. The majority of American DO NOT want these people to have any sort of amnesty, to the contrary. We are sick and tired of the invasion and colonization of our country and want them and their anchor babies gone!! The above article looks like a cut and paste from the la raza of lulac websites.


don
Comment posted October 22, 2010 @ 10:58 pm

The “party of no” voted no because the bills the Democrats were trying to pass had too many earmarks in them that did not belong in a bill. When they quit trying to sneak their dirty little earmarks into a otherwise good bill, maybe they will get a few yea votes. It only shows the Republicans are sharper than the Democrats..


russell
Comment posted October 22, 2010 @ 11:53 pm

this problem is much bigger than anyone is saying. This is about people who want to change the world, no more borders, no more american , no more mexican, just one world order. its happening everywhere around the world.The only way to do this is to integrate all cultures, and society.They have pretty much gotten all the financial institutions global, business etc.. For these people to deport noncitizens goes against their plans, their beliefs.We have to fight them with our vote if that doesnt work , we might have to just fight.


Penny
Comment posted October 23, 2010 @ 1:14 am

Then change the constitution! The days of slavery are over; the amendment needs to be changed to reflect the current situation in this country where “anchor babies” are A REAL INCENTIVE for illegals to come here and remain here.


penny
Comment posted October 23, 2010 @ 1:17 am

Which part of “we don't want them here” do they not understand?


penny
Comment posted October 23, 2010 @ 1:21 am

Why don't you go live in Mexico; we don't want YOU here, either.


russell
Comment posted October 23, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

why can't our so called leaders get behind the people of this country and stop illegals coming in. We need leaders who will say if you come to this country illegally or come here legally and dont leave when you are supposed to , you WILL be caught and you will be deported.and to employers that if you hire illegals you will be caught and you will be punished. you will recieve no benifits social security, welfare,etc. if you come here.I guess thats to much to ask for from our so called leaders, since they dont really work for us.


Dkemp
Comment posted October 23, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

I think that is little over the top. Our history is made up of immigrants that came here & help form this great country. But they were either brought here or came here when invited. The key is that they were legal and then their childen would have been legal also.The illegals immigrants that are here now, are just that, “ILLEGAL!” Their children are 'ILLEGAL!. The constitution needs to be amended! This would stop this take over by people with an agenda to drain this country dry.


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Comment posted October 25, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

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Comment posted October 26, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

Odd how conservatives are strict constructionists when it suits their purposes. Imagine the shrieks were I to suggest that the 2nd Amendment was written in a time when Americans had just used personal weapons to fight the British and personal weapons were frontier communities only defense and therefore the 2nd Amendment should be repealed since personal weapons are a laughable defense against a modern army.
There are times the Constitution may make you squirm by confering rights on people you don't approve of. That's the rule of law. Polls, idiot politicians on the right or left, and demagogic harridans making tons of money – the Constitution trumps them all. That is the rule of law. And the Constitution cannot be changed on a whim – that is to prevent the morons from subverting the law.


Grumpy_old_lady
Comment posted October 27, 2010 @ 4:11 pm

these people are plan sick so full of hate


Kaceyskorner
Comment posted October 27, 2010 @ 11:29 pm

Iam just sooo sick and tired of this Illegals getting everything for Free, while my kids have to work their way through school. Everytime I turn around some judge is over turning some law that has been passed to prohibit Illegal Alieans from geeting or doing something. I don't understand it. These people are criminals, once if not twice over, they should be in jail and/or deported, but judges are giving away OUR country to them. Benefits that are for Americans, NOT INVADERS. This beyound all reasoning and against all the values I was brought up with!!!!!!!


Kacey
Comment posted October 27, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

No, they, like most of us, want our contry back and the criminals gone.


youmustbejoking
Comment posted October 28, 2010 @ 2:50 am

People here illegally do not collect social security benefits, nor do they get welfare. You have to have documents to get welfare. There is very little available to those who do not have proper documents. That is why they are known to be hard workers that take jobs that many employers have a hard time filling, especially for the wages they want to pay out.

At this time, the detention centers that are used to house detainees are over filled and they are processing hundreds of thousands every year. They have even deported US citizens (not from Mexico) because they were in too big a hurry to do the job properly. The budget for Border Patrol and ICE have increased dramatically in the past years. The are processing people out as fast as they can. They stop as many as they find from entering the country daily. It isn't like n one is doing anything about those here illegally.

The problem is how wonderful so many in the world think the US is. They all know about people who have come here and improved their lives- who have found the American dream. Even our poorest live better than a great many of those from other countries. How can you blame people for wanting a better life?


youmustbejoking
Comment posted October 28, 2010 @ 3:14 am

A little problem with racism hmm? You must be joking? Of course Greek wouldn't be included in that would they?


youmustbejoking
Comment posted October 28, 2010 @ 3:18 am

And who are you? Other than a disgusting excuse for a human being?


oh yeah
Comment posted October 28, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

While few get SS benefits there are still some who use stolen/false documents to obtain these benefits. There are however millions who get welfare in one form or the other. Some get it directly – here in WA social services workers are forbidden from inquiring about status and they administer the federal goodies. In all states anchors do get billions in freebies, paid for by taxpayers and insuring truly needy CITIZENS go without because as we are seeing the programs are getting cut/reduced when people need it the most.

Your concerns over the cost of enforcement is a false argument. The savings will more then pay for it but even more accurately if we REMOVE all the rewards (like anchors, jobs, amnesty, etc) they will self-deport at their own cost and few will come here illegally.

7 billion people on this planet. 4 billion living in abject poverty. Taking in a few million doesn't help anything and actually only props up bad governments like in Mexico. You are one of the reasons Mexico continues to be able to be so corrupt.


oh yeah
Comment posted October 28, 2010 @ 9:47 pm

Absolute lie.

Your second paragraph gives it away. If illegals are only 12 million with 7 million working (the numbers always repeated) or so then they represent less then 5% of the workers. Knowing they areuneducated, low paid, many (if not most) work under the table then how could they possibly contribute so much more then citizens who make so much more on average then illegals????

Even if every one of them paid into SS (yeah right) they would only give about 1-2% of the assests, not 5-10%. Since most estimate at least 30% to 50% or more are paid under the table we can safely say they contribute diddly squat.


youmustbejoking
Comment posted October 28, 2010 @ 11:30 pm

You have to have more then a social security number to get Social Security payments, so your claim that illegals collect Social Security and Medicare is way off. As far as welfare benefits, after welfare reform and after 9-11, no one gets anything in any state that comes from federal funds, without proper documentation. Some states may have their own funding that they put in above and beyond the match they are required to put up to the federal dollars, that allows them to give some benefits to those without proper documentation, but that is up to each state and does not carry on from state to state. A child that is born here and has a certificate of live birth may be eligible to receive some benefits that can be administered by someone else- generally medicaid, possibly WIC for those under 6 years, maybe some food stamps, but that would be an extremely low amount. When a mother with four children only gets $280.00 dollars a month if they are on TANF, a child with ineligible parents would get little. There is also a five year limit on anyone receiving benefits, so there is no long term source to get “welfare”.

I did not say that I was concerned about the cost of enforcement- I was just pointing out that, contrary to what many are saying, the federal government IS actively fighting illegal immigration. In 2009, more illegals were deported than ever before and this year is on it's way to a larger number. So the claims being batted around during an election year to justify things like the Arizona bill are false and misleading. However they have managed to get people like you stirred up and managed to get a whole bunch of you sounding like the worst kinds of people did back when it was the Irish who were considered the “dirty émigrés”, or the Chinese, or the Native Americans (who were already here before any of us but didn't stop them from being treated like the worst of the worst), whoever happened to be at the bottom of the totem pole in those days before a majority of people realized that a civil society shouldn't malign a group of people due to their nationality, race or religion. Too bad we are seeing a return of the uncivil these days.


youmustbejoking
Comment posted October 29, 2010 @ 12:05 am

You do realize, don't you, that not all illegal immigrants are not brown skinned and uneducated? There are people that have made their way here that are skilled and educated and are still illegal immigrants.

When a worker uses a social security number that is not really theirs, they are not able to get any of their money back in an income tax return, which is the place that most people get theirs back. So they are paying into a system that they get no returns on. Because getting benefits of any other kind requires a certificate of live birth along with social security card and picture ID, your other claims are not born out by facts. Just because some blow hard political mouth or bloviator TV or radio host says something- does not make it true. I have heard more lies and unproven/dis-proven statements by politicians that are trying- and succeeding- at getting their base riled up with distortions and lies.


Mike2000917
Comment posted October 30, 2010 @ 9:39 pm

Quit posting this garbage from other web sites. Nobody this junk.

Deport all illegal aliens now. Anything less is capitulation to an invading army.


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Comment posted December 2, 2010 @ 3:48 am

At this time, the detention centers that are used to house detainees are over filled and they are processing hundreds of thousands every year. They have even deported US citizens (not from Mexico) because they were in too big a hurry to do the job properly.


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homer
Comment posted May 8, 2011 @ 2:27 am

I live in Arizona and will show you by holding your little hand and taking you to see the fraud illegals using to bankrupt usa and apparantly the smear
attack is effective for useless idiots that symphatize will law breakers before
their own compatriots….any lawyer that wants to get greedy can find the loopholes and if you have any doubt come and visit Arizona and see the illegal taking over schools, hospitals, Mcdonalds, Bashas….etc it’s so blatent and they’ll have 5 or 6 kids a lot of them. Our laws are not meant
to allow fraudulent abuse by those wanting to have ANCHOR babies. AND
JUST BECAUSE someone says they THINK your racist. That’s an attorney
getting the BIG bucks to take cases. Think of ALL the class actions suits
you see ads for. IT IS A DISATSTER. If any freakin attny or Salvador Reza
and his cronies try to smear our police dept for doing the hardest jobe on the
planet, they are an AL SHARPTEN for the HISPANICS, DECENT people don’t want to see this, I WILL SHOW YOU, since you apparently buy into
some of the stuff you are reading that should sound suspect to any reasonable person. It’s always money and it’s WHY the schools suck in AZ because they don’t speak any ENGLISH and WE teach them.

WHAT FREAKIN kind of moron defends people who fraud others and ARE
killing cops by EXECUTING them.

SO cheers AMERICA and OBAMA for doing the right thing by SUING ARIZONA, your obivously TRYING harder to do this for some secretive plot. The Government is TOO lazy to normally do anything, ASK yourself, WHY
does OBAMA want to ignore boarder? IT’s TRUE though so quit yacking and let’s ALL organize together!


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