Immigration policy affects all aspects of society. Regardless of status, immigrants have always played a central role in the life and growth of our nation. Immigrants contribute $10 billion a year to this country's economic growth. Unfortunately, in the wake of September 11 terrorist attacks, immigrants in the United States have increasingly been targets of discrimination and suspicion. Our country must be defended, but one must not forget this nation's commitment to the ideals of equality and freedom for all peoples.
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Pledge to Support Immigration Reform!
January 26, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
The New York Times and the ACLU recently obtained documents proving that government officials systematically covered up malicious abuse that contributed to the deaths of 107 immigration detainees being held in federal custody since late 2003.
January 15, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
Today, the Obama administration granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to undocumented Haitian immigrants living in the United States for the next 18 months.
TPS is a kind of temporary immigration status that is put in place when the homeland of immigrants are deemed unsafe or dangerous, often due to war or natural disasters like the earthquake that devastated Haiti. It gives immigrants of that country greater ability to work in the United States and travel back and forth between the U.S. and their home country.
January 8, 2010 - Posted by Jeff Miller
Enactment of comprehensive immigration reform would boost the U.S. economy, generating an additional $1.5 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP) over 10 years and raising wages for both immigrant and native-born workers, according to a new study by the Center for American Progress and the Immigration Policy Council.
The study, "Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform," examined the economic effects of three scenarios: 1) comprehensive immigration reform that creates a pathway to legal status for unauthorized immigrants in the United States and establishes flexible limits on permanent and temporary immigration to respond to U.S. labor demand, 2) a program for temporary workers that excludes a pathway to legal status and flexible immigration limits, and 3) mass deportation of all unauthorized immigrants.
The study found that comprehensive immigration reform would create the greatest benefits to the U.S. economy and to workers. Along with raising GDP and wages for immigrant and native-born workers, in the first three years comprehensive reform would also generate up to $5.4 billion in additional tax revenue and increase consumer spending to support nearly 900,000 new jobs.
December 21, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D. Ill., introduced a bill last week to reform the nation's broken immigration system. The legislation includes provisions that would provide undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship and establish a commission to determine the future flow of workers into the United States.
"Our nation's immigration policies should be pro-family, pro-job and pro-security," Gutierrez said at a press conference. "This bill accomplishes all three."
Under the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP), immigrants would have to satisfy certain requirements before legalizing their status, including learning English, passing a criminal background check, paying a fine and any back taxes, and proving they were legally present in present in the United States continuously since the day the bill was introduced. On the security front, it provides additional funding to beef up port and border security infrastructure, and to assist states fighting drug smuggling and human trafficking.
November 20, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Each year, tens of thousands of people enter the United States seeking refuge from poverty, war, political or religious persecution, or human rights abuses. Among the most vulnerable of these immigrants are children who enter the country without a parent.
In 2007, more than 8,000 unaccompanied children were held in U.S. custody, according to the Women's Refuge Commission.
The United States has long made it a priority of immigration policy to reunite families. The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 ended earlier policies that prioritized immigrants from Europe and replaced them with a system that prioritized family immigration.
However, current immigration enforcement has had devastating effects on families. Once detained, children are held in border patrol stations for weeks, often without blankets, showers or adequate nutrition. Furthermore, children are often forced to navigate through the immigration system alone, with about 50 percent appearing in court without an attorney.
September 29, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
A broad coalition of civil rights organizations is opposing the PASS ID Act, which was introduced in Congress in June in an effort to soften the REAL ID Act, a law that has drawn fierce criticism since it was enacted in 2005.
Under the REAL ID Act, all state-issued driver's licenses must include a set of standardized information, including digitized photographs and signatures. It also mandates the verification of an applicant's immigration status, background checks on documents used to prove identity, and the creation of a large interstate database of license records.
The PASS ID Act was introduced in response to widespread criticism of REAL ID, but its requirements for driver's licenses are largely the same. Civil rights groups argue that PASS ID would continue to violate basic laws of privacy, security, and to discriminate against religious minorities and immigrants.
In addition, nearly half of the states have already refused to comply with REAL ID because of the high cost of implementing its requirements. PASS ID doesn't address this concern, and could ultimately be rejected by states as well.
"This bill should repeal, not fix, the Real ID Act of 2005. The only fix in the Pass ID Act is the name. Congress might hope that the states who voted against implementing the Real ID Act will give them a pass on Pass ID, but that would be ill-advised," Chris Calabrese, counsel to the ACLU Technology and Liberty program, said in a July statement.
September 21, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
According to a recent report in the Des Moines Register, the federal Secure Communities program may not be achieving the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) original objective – to detain violent felons and fugitives.
Sixty-seven percent of those detained under the program in Iowa had no previous criminal offenses, while the number of non-fugitives arrested by the agency nearly doubled over the last three years. ICE announced the Secure Communities program in March of 2008. The plan was designed to help pursue the deportation of immigrants convicted of high-level felonies. The program allows local law enforcement to communicate with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and verify the immigration status of arrestees.
Civil rights and immigrants' rights groups are concerned that the program gives local and state authorities license to unfairly target innocent people along ethnic lines without adequately address local communities concerns about violent felons and fugitives. The National Immigration Law Center expressed apprehension (PDF) due to the absence of any requirements for audits and oversight, the inaccuracy of DHS databases, and the lack of redress for those who have been wrongly identified.
Since the program's creation, ICE has not enacted regulations to curb racial profiling or the potential for law enforcement to make arrests solely as a pretext for checking an individual's immigration status.
August 3, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Over the past two decades, the U.S. immigrant detention system has fractured, exposing people to unjustified detainment and frequent violations of their civil and human rights.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) currently holds more than 30,000 immigrant detainees—nearly five times the number held in 1992. According to "A Broken System," a new report by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the ACLU of Southern California, immigration detention facilities routinely violate detainees' basic rights, including the right to adequate access to mail and telephone, sanitary living conditions, and legal and personal visitation.
July 27, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
In a recent column on BusinessWeek.com, Rob Randhava, LCCR counsel, debates the merits of eliminating birthright citizenship in the U.S. with immigration restrictionist Roy Beck. The 14th Amendment grants U.S. citizenship to all children born in the U.S., which, in most cases, includes American territories like the Virgin Islands, except children of foreign diplomats.
But opponents claim that the 14th Amendment doesn't apply to illegal immigrants, and want to pass a law that would make kids of illegal immigrants not eligible for automatic citizenship. Randhava explains why eliminating birthright citizenship would not help the U.S. deal with illegal immigration:
"The best way to reduce illegal immigration is by addressing both its supply and demand, through realistic enforcement and better legal channels that meet business needs without causing unfair wage competition. Ending birthright citizenship would just change the subject."
June 8, 2009 - Posted by Cathy Montoya
Participants of the Reform Immigration for America Campaign Summit end their three-day conference with a motivational song. June 5, 2009.
Last week, more than 800 activists representing 200 labor, religious, and civil and human rights organizations gathered at Galludet University in Washington, D.C., for three days to launch a national campaign to push Congress to pass immigration reform this year, and commit themselves to building support in their home states. If Congress doesn't pass immigration reform legislation, states and local governments will continue to struggle with immigration.
Activists at the summit focused on creating a cohesive message and grassroots strategy for the campaign. They also met with more than 140 members of Congress and staff and sent 100,000 faxes to Capitol Hill showing support for immigration reform.
Keynote speakers included Cecilia Muñoz, White House director for intergovernmental affairs, and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D. Ill., who spoke to attendees about "workable solutions that uphold out nation's values and move us forward together."
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