GOP Senators Accuse Obama Administration of Avoiding Immigration Enforcement (Again)

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Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Senate Republicans have long criticized the Obama administration as lax on immigration enforcement, and their argument was bolstered by news this week that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is dismissing a record-high number of cases against immigrant detainees in Houston. In response, seven pro-enforcement Republican senators sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano today demanding more information on whom ICE dismisses from deportation proceedings and how much money her agency would need to ensure deportation of all illegal immigrants it encounters. (The controversy has been played out before: Republicans made the same arguments in August when news first broke of ICE halting deportations in Houston.)

The letter claims ICE releases illegal immigrants who have been arrested for sex crimes, domestic violence and driving under the influence. ICE, though, argues it must to something to address the growing backlogs in immigration courts and that it only releases non-criminal and low-level offenders — not including misdemeanor convictions involving DWI, sex crimes or domestic violence — and those with pending applications for legal status. Napolitano and ICE Chief John Morton have claimed the agency focuses on the “worst of the worst” so it can best use its limited resources.

In response, Republicans said the agency should request more money. “[W]e have not seen any efforts by ICE, your Department, or the Administration to request an increase in ICE funding sufficient to address staffing shortages, detention capacity, and coordination of enforcement efforts nationwide to achieve a streamlined and robust immigration removal system,” the senators wrote in the letter. “As a result, it appears that your Department is doing the very thing that we have raised concerns about in several letters – allowing illegal aliens to evade the law.”

The entire controversy points to the difficult balance the Obama administration must try to reach on immigration enforcement. On one side, the administration favors comprehensive immigration reform that would allow many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country to stay here and become legal residents. This would seemingly point to an immigration enforcement policy that would deport fewer people, particularly among the non-criminal illegal immigrant population. But perhaps due to heavy pressure to seem tough on immigration, the Obama administration increased enforcement to record levels, deporting more non-citizens than Republican predecessors.

The idea, according to some immigrant rights advocates, was for the Obama administration to prove its commitment to immigration enforcement and border security so it could later broker a deal on comprehensive immigration reform with the right. By the looks of the senators’ letter, the GOP is not convinced.

Here’s the full letter:

Dear Secretary Napolitano:

Recently, media reports have revealed that pending removal proceedings are being dismissed in record numbers.  That sharp increase in dismissals is the result of a directive from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John T. Morton to all ICE attorneys to review pending cases and seek dismissal if the cases do not involve Level I offenders (aliens convicted of aggravated felonies or two or more felonies).  Specifically, ICE attorneys are directed to seek dismissal of cases involving Level II and Level III criminal aliens so long as the aliens have no felony convictions and no more than two misdemeanors.  As we understand it, cases involving aliens with misdemeanors involving domestic violence, sexual crimes, or driving while intoxicated would not be dropped.

Though the reports focused only on cases pending before Houston immigration judges, our understanding is that the ICE directive applies nationwide. Numerous criminal aliens are being released into society and are having proceedings terminated simply because ICE has decided that such cases do not fit within the Department’s chosen enforcement priorities.

The ICE directive, along with other recently announced detention and removal policies, raises serious questions about your Department’s commitment to enforce the immigration laws.  It appears that your Department is enforcing the law based on criteria it arbitrarily chose, with complete disregard for the enforcement laws created by Congress.  The repercussions of this decision extend beyond removal proceedings, because it discourages officers from even initiating new removal proceedings if they believe the case ultimately will be dismissed based on the new directive.

Even more disturbing is the fact that your Department has chosen to dismiss cases against criminal aliens, including aliens who have committed crimes involving moral turpitude, crimes of violence, assault, theft, fraud, drug offenses, driving under the influence, and illegal entry.

To be sure, ICE has cited a lack of resources as one of the reasons for its prioritization of cases and for its selective enforcement.  But to date, we have not seen any efforts by ICE, your Department, or the Administration to request an increase in ICE funding sufficient to address staffing shortages, detention capacity, and coordination of enforcement efforts nationwide to achieve a streamlined and robust immigration removal system.  As a result, it appears that your Department is doing the very thing that we have raised concerns about in several letters – allowing illegal aliens to evade the law while waiting, without much concern about removal, to one day obtain legal status. Though Congress has been slow to reach a comprehensive immigration solution, your Department is charged with enforcing the law as written and it should not be adopting a lax approach to immigration enforcement or selectively enforcing the laws against only those aliens it considers a priority.

We would like a detailed list of the number of cases that have been dismissed since January 2010 to the present.  If the case involved a criminal alien, we also would like you to identify which crimes the aliens were convicted of and in which jurisdiction.  In addition, we want you to detail exactly how much funding your Department would require to ensure that enforcement of the law occurs consistently for every illegal alien encountered and apprehended by ICE or U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Please respond by November 15th.

Sincerely,

John Cornyn, United States Senator

Jeff Sessions, United States Senator

Jon Kyl, United States Senator

Orrin Hatch, United States Senator

Chuck Grassley, United States Senator

Lindsey Graham, United States Senator

Tom Coburn, M.D., United States Senator

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[...] governments, we’d just like Rove to explain how this concerns the economy. Or how about the seven enforcement-only Republican senators who sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano accusing the Obama administration of being soft on [...]


Pat Pacer
Comment posted October 22, 2010 @ 11:35 am

It has become helping our own children vs. the spawn's of illegal aliens.

http://papundits.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/there-is-no-midterm-dilemma/


Stephan
Comment posted October 22, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 22, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

1 3

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

1 4



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.


Stephan
Comment posted October 22, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

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.”

1 0

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.

1 1

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.

1 2

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.

1 3

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

1 4



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.


CelebrityFlux.com
Trackback posted November 4, 2010 @ 11:59 am

Increase seen in dropped deportation cases…

MIAMI, Nov. 4 (UPI) — Immigration judges are dismissing deportation cases in greater numbers in Miami and around the country, but officials disagree on what is causing the increase.In August and September, judges at Miami immigrati…


How NOT to “Do No Harm”: Senator Coburn Prioritizes Deportation Over Helping Sex Trafficking Victims
Pingback posted November 22, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

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Comment posted December 2, 2010 @ 6:29 am

he idea, according to some immigrant rights advocates, was for the Obama administration to prove its commitment to immigration enforcement and border security so it could later broker a deal on comprehensive immigration reform with the right.


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