Posts from the ‘Immigration’ Category

What Do We Know About Voters Who Don’t Fit Neatly Into an Ethnic Box?Americans are getting all mixed up.


  ELECTION 2012  

Huffington Post / By Leighton Woodhouse

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What Do We Know About Voters Who Don’t Fit Neatly Into an Ethnic Box?

Americans are getting all mixed up.

November 21, 2012  |  

 
 


Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

 
 

As anybody with a TV, radio or newspaper subscription can affirm, the big story coming out of the 2012 election is the long feared/eagerly awaited arrival of the Latino vote as a national political force capable of deciding a presidential contest. Latinos accounted for a record ten percent of the electorate this year, and something north of 70 percent of them cast their ballots for Obama. Meanwhile, fewer Latinos than ever before voted for the Republican candidate. With the Latino segment of the electorate poised to  continue expanding  for many election cycles to come, leaders of  both parties are tripping over each other to position themselves on immigration reform, and even in blood red states like Texas, GOP strategists are warning of  imminent doom  for their party if Republicans fail to break their cycle of addiction to racism, xenophobia and pandering to border-guarding lunatics.

The story is both accurate to a point and incomplete, as conventional wisdom is wont to be. Tavis Smiley, for instance, has highlighted the  grating irony  of black voters being left out of the punditocracy’s post-election anointing of the “new governing coalition,” following the second presidential election in a row in which African Americans broke records turning out to support Barack Obama. And when it comes to speculating about long-term electoral prospects, there’s another demographic category of Americans that’s getting glossed over in this mechanical extrapolation of the present into the future. Interestingly, it’s the one that Obama himself belongs to: multiracial Americans.

That’s not to say that mixed-race voters were a big electoral force in this election or any other national election in history. Nor is “mixed race” really much of a coherent ethnic identity in the first place (then again, neither arguably is “Latino” or “Asian”). As a demographic category, however, it’s going to be a significant factor for both parties to grapple with in future elections. It’s simply inevitable: About fifteen percent of new marriages nationally in 2010 were interracial, according to a  Pew study  published earlier this year. That’s more than double the proportion of the 1980s. Those couples are having kids, and those kids are growing up to become voters. Moreover, according to the study, quaint taboos against interracial coupling are pretty close to completely breaking down, with nearly two-thirds of Americans fine with the idea, so we can expect the phenomenon to continue and accelerate going forward: more multiracial couples, more mixed race kids. And in politics, as they say, demography is destiny.

Among the states in which interracial marriages are above twenty percent are, not surprisingly, deep blue states like California and Hawaii. But some of the most conservative states in the country are also on the 20 percent-plus list, including Alaska, Arizona and Oklahoma. Texas and Kansas aren’t far behind. Also above average are new and perennial swing states like Colorado, Virgina and Florida. The highest rates of interracial marriage skew west, where three of the  four states  with the fastest-growing populations in the country are located (or four of the four, depending on whether you consider Texas a Western or a Southern state). The bottom line is that mixed-race matrimony is a national phenomenon that cuts across the red-blue divide. As the children of those couples come into voting age, there will be more and more Americans in every part of the country who don’t fit into the tidy racial boxes that form the basis of the  long-term electoral prognostications being offered up by the dozens in the aftermath of Obama’s re-election.

Will mixed race voters help the Republicans or the Democrats? That’s a murkier question than you might assume, since Pew’s data shows sharper differences in terms of income and education  betweenvarious mixed-marriage demographic sub-groups (the parents of those voters-to-be) than between mixed couples and non-mixed couples as a whole; there’s little in the way of a uniform set of characteristics of interracial households to grasp onto.

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Former Bush Commerce secretary: Republicans ‘scaring the heck out of’ Hispanics



Former Bush Commerce secretary: Republicans ‘scaring the heck out of’ Hispanics (via Raw Story )

President Bush’s former secretary of Commerce on Sunday pointed out that Mitt Romney and the Republican Party made a mistake by pushing anti-immigrant policies like “self deportation” in the 2012 elections because it was “scaring the heck out of” Hispanic voters. “I would lay the blame […

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The Economic Case For Immigration Reform


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  • 16 Nov 2012 06:09 PM

    The Economic Case For Immigration Reform


    At this week’s presser, Obama said he wanted to introduce immigration reform “very soon after [his] inauguration.” Julia Preston sums up the president’s plan:

    Mr. Obama made clear he intends to push for broad-scope legislation that would include a program to give legal status to an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country…. Mr. Obama said he also wanted to strengthen border security, punish employers who systematically hire unauthorized workers, and make visas available for farm workers and immigrants working in science and technology. 

    The above chart is from a 2010 Center for American Progress report (pdf) that projects immigration reform could add a potential $1.5 trillion to the US GDP over 10 years. Jordan Weissmann unpacks it:

    [The report’s] calculations are based partly on the impact of the Reagan administration’s 1986 immigration reforms, which gave legal status to about 3 million undocumented individuals. That, in turn, gave those workers leverage to bargain with their employers for higher paychecks, while giving them an incentive to learn English so they could advance in the workplace. … Extrapolating from that history, CAP believes that giving today’s 11.3 million undocumented immigrants a route to citizenship could increase their collective earning power by as much $36 billion a year.

    Free Exchange highlights similar findings:

    Even a modest … easing of restrictions could be very rewarding. Lant Pritchett of Harvard University estimates that just a 3% rise in the rich-world labour force through migration would yield annual benefits bigger than those from eliminating remaining trade barriers. The incorporation of women into the rich-world workforce provides an analogy: this expanded the labour supply and the scope for specialisation without displacing the “native” male workforce.

Judge rules Arizona can enforce strict provision to immigration law – Yahoo! News


Judge rules Arizona can enforce strict provision to immigration law – Yahoo! News.

PHOENIX (Reuters) – Arizona police can begin enforcing a controversial “show-your-papers” provision of a state law aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, after a federal judge lifted an injunction against the law on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton, in a written order, lifted an injunction blocking the measure, which requires police to check the immigration status of people they stop and suspect are in the country illegally.

The measure is part of a broad clamp-down on illegal immigration in the state signed into law in 2010 by Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer, an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama’s administration over federal policies on the issue.

In approving the law, known widely as “SB 1070,” Brewer had complained that the U.S. government failed to secure Arizona’s border with Mexico.

“Today is the day we have awaited for more than two years,” Brewer said in response to Bolton’s ruling, adding that it was not enough to merely enforce the law.

“It must be enforced efficiently, effectively and in harmony with the Constitution and civil rights. I have full faith and confidence that Arizona’s State and local law enforcement officers are prepared for this task,” she said in a statement.

The measure requiring police immigration checks was one of several blocked by Bolton before the law took effect in July of 2010 and had been subject to repeated appeals by civil rights groups seeking to prevent it from going into force.

Obama’s administration challenged the Arizona immigration law in court two years ago, saying the Constitution gives the federal government sole authority over immigration policy.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the “show-your-papers” measure in a landmark ruling in June, but tossed provisions that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times, banned illegal immigrants from soliciting work in public places, and allowed police to arrest them without warrants if suspected of crimes warranting deportation.

On Tuesday, Bolton also permanently blocked these three provisions.

‘DOOR OPEN TO RACIAL PROFILING’

Opponents of the law complained that it amounted to a mandate for racial profiling of Hispanics, who make up nearly a third of Arizona’s 6.5 million people, and urged the Obama administration on Tuesday to soften its impact.

“President Obama has the moral responsibility and legal authority to protect the people of Arizona,” the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said in a statement.

“We expect he will do everything within his power to prevent the discrimination, punishment, and suffering that will escalate under … (the law’s) implementation,” it added.

The organization called on Obama to instruct the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to refuse to deport those it called “SB 1070’s victims.”

Omar Jadwat, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project said the ruling “opens the door to racial profiling, wrongful detentions and arrests, putting everyone’s civil rights at risk.”

“Law enforcement resources are wasted when people are targeted based on their skin color, and our core American values of fairness and equality are compromised,” Jadwat added in a statement.

In the Supreme Court’s majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy left open the possibility that, once the law took effect, constitutional or other challenges could proceed against the Arizona immigration status check requirement.

The ACLU has said it would challenge any instances of racial profiling that could arise following implementation from the measure.

Rights groups appeal Arizona immigration provision – Yahoo! News- The Law Is A Racist Law


Rights groups appeal Arizona immigration provision – Yahoo! News.

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PHOENIX (Reuters) – Civil and immigrant rights activists on Friday appealed a federal court decision allowing a controversial Arizona “show-your-papers” immigration provision upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court from taking effect.

The appeal, with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, was filed eight days after U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton denied a request to block the “show-your-papers” provision of the Arizona law, known as S.B. 1070, from going into effect later this month.

The coalition, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal and Educational Defense Fund, also asked the appellate court to suspend the provision for the duration of its appeal.

The provision requires police to verify the citizenship or immigration status of people arrested, stopped or detained if there is a reasonable suspicion that they are in the country unlawfully.

In June, the Supreme Court confirmed that three other key provisions of S.B. 1070 were unconstitutional, but declined to block the “show me your papers” provision. Several other parts of SB 1070 are blocked by separate injunctions issued by the district court.

Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer, a major White House foe in the battle over illegal immigration, signed the state crackdown on illegal immigrants into law in April 2010, complaining that the federal government had failed to secure the state’s border with Mexico.

The administration of President Barack Obama challenged Arizona’s tough immigration law in court two years ago, saying the U.S. Constitution gives the federal government sole authority over immigration policy.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Tom Brown and Eric Walsh)

The DNC Through the Eyes of an Illegal Immigrant | PBS NewsHour


The DNC Through the Eyes of an Illegal Immigrant | PBS NewsHour.

Gerardo Torres used to be afraid every day for his life.

“I was very careful when I was driving around not to make any mistakes or bring any attention from the police,” he said.

For the past 20 years, he has been living in Arizona after entering the country illegally from Mexico. And like the millions of undocumented immigrants estimated to be living in the country, he faces the risk of arrest and deportation.

Instead of waiting for an uncertain fate, Torres joined a group of immigrants who have decided to publicly proclaim their undocumented status. They’ve called their project “No Papers, No Fear,” and they are calling for a change to immigration policies that they say have unfairly targeted and criminalized immigrant communities. For the past six weeks, the forty riders have traveled from Arizona to North Carolina in their so-called “Undocu-bus”. Along the way, they stopped to meet with community leaders and other undocumented families — discussing rights and explaining legal strategies to families facing deportation hearings.

Ultimately, the riders’ message has been focused on their final destination: the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. where thousands of delegates, media members, and police have converged for the nomination of President Obama for a second term.

With over 50 million Latinos in America, the group represents a strong base in the Democratic constituency. As in 2008, President Obama has made immigration reform a key part of his platform, and Hispanic voters make up a critical portion of the population in three swing states: Florida, Nevada and Colorado. But members and supporters of the “No Papers, No Fear” project feel that the president hasn’t done enough to fulfill his promise to reform the immigration system.

“That was one of the promise that he made to us,” Torres said. “and we’re hoping this time he’ll listen to us and help us.”

In marches around downtown Charlotte this past week, the group has repeatedly cited the Obama administration’s record for detaining and deporting more immigrants than any other administration in U.S. history and for the implementation of the Secure Communities program, which allows federal immigration records to be shared with local law enforcement agencies to target criminal immigrants.

Several of the Undocu bus riders, including Torres, blocked the street in front of the convention site shouting the words, “undocumented and unafraid,” as an act of civil disobedience this past Wednesday. All ten were arrested for blocking traffic but were released by the next morning.

Torres says he will return to Arizona to fight against the state’s immigration laws, particularly the controversial SB-1070 law that permits police officers to ask anyone for their immigration papers if police suspect them of being undocumented.

“We have come out of the shadows,” said Torres, “and we are no longer willing to stay quiet.”

Program Offering Immigrants Reprieve Is Off to Quick Start – NYTimes.com


Program Offering Immigrants Reprieve Is Off to Quick Start – NYTimes.com.

One month after the Obama administration started a program to suspend deportations of young illegal immigrants, more than 72,000 of them have applied for the temporary reprieve, senior immigration officials said on Tuesday, and this week the first approvals have been granted.
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The figures for applications received so far — the first results the administration has released since a federal agency began receiving the documents on Aug. 15 — show that large numbers of young immigrants are ready to take the risk of coming forward, administration officials and immigrant advocates said, and that the agency in charge has been able to manage the rush of paperwork.

The immigrants requesting two-year deportation deferrals do not reach the high estimates of 250,000 that officials had said they were prepared to handle in the first month of the program, which is President Obama’s most significant immigration initiative.

But at the current rate, at least 200,000 young immigrants could have applications in the pipeline by the time of the presidential election on Nov. 6, and many thousands will probably have received deferrals and the work permits that go along with them. Officials originally predicted that it could take several months for the immigration agency, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, to issue the first deferrals.

The intense activity around the program in immigrant communities, especially among Latinos, has already yielded some political benefits to Mr. Obama, with Democrats repeatedly highlighting the initiative during their convention last week, to cheers from the floor. Initiated by an executive action, the program grants deportation deferrals that must be renewed after two years, and it does not provide any legal immigration status.

Pressure is increasing on Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, to clarify his position on the program. He has not said whether he would continue it if he is elected, although he has said he would prefer “a more permanent solution” for young illegal immigrants.

The surge of applicants has not been greater, lawyers and advocates said, because of difficulties many young immigrants have encountered in gathering the documents they need to meet the program’s requirements and in mustering the $465 application fee, a hefty sum for many. Since the program has no filing deadline, eligible young people are taking time to consult with their families, weighing the benefits for them against possible risks for parents and siblings here illegally who are not eligible.

“There has been huge interest in community programs where people can get information,” said Laura Lichter, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, who practices in Denver. “But these applications are not something you would be ready to go with in one day. They take a fair amount of work. And we have to be sure people understand the risks they are taking.”

To qualify, illegal immigrants must be under 31 years old and have come to the United States before they were 16. They must show that they have lived here continuously since June 15, 2007, and be currently in school or have earned a high school diploma or have been honorably discharged from the military. They must pass a background check to show they do not have any significant criminal record or pose a threat to national security.

The program posed a test for the immigration agency, known as U.S.C.I.S., which has not been known for brisk efficiency. According to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research group, as many as 1.2 million illegal immigrants could be immediately eligible for the program.

Given only two months to prepare, Alejandro Mayorkas, the director of the agency, worked to rally its 18,000 employees, including some 11,000 federal workers, to rise to the task. The applications — sheaves of school transcripts, utility and other bills, rental contracts or other documents immigrants can find to track their daily lives over the past five years — have to be submitted by mail.

Operating in the bureaucratic equivalent of a blitz, the agency has been issuing receipts for applications within 48 hours after they were logged in, Mr. Mayorkas said. Fingerprints and photographs are taken for background checks, generally within three weeks after an application is received.

The first applicants gave their fingerprints last Thursday, Mr. Mayorkas said, and the checks were completed by Monday. The agency is equipped to perform the criminal checks, Department of Homeland Security officials said, because those are required for most visas the agency routinely issues.

Completed applications first reached the decision-making officers on Monday. By that afternoon the first few approvals were issued, Mr. Mayorkas said, with several dozen more on Tuesday. Some immigrants were notified immediately by text message.

“If somebody submits documents that show by the preponderance of the evidence that they meet the guidelines, we are poised to move the cases as quickly as possible,” Mr. Mayorkas said.

Mr. Mayorkas said he expected the first work permits, which are approved in a separate but parallel process, to be issued in coming weeks.

Administration officials have said the program will be paid for by fees, with no taxpayer money invested. California is leading in applications, not surprisingly, followed by Texas, New York, Florida and New Jersey. By far the largest number of applicants was born in Mexico. But officials said a surprisingly large number of applications came from South Koreans, a much smaller population of immigrants.

As the deferral program expands, resistance to it has grown among Republicans in Congress, who say it is undermining the administration’s broader enforcement against illegal immigration and making it difficult for immigration agents to do their jobs.

In a letter on Tuesday to John Morton, the director of the agency in charge of enforcement, Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, wrote, “There is no question that the administration’s unilaterally decreed policy is contrary to codified federal law and places our law enforcement officers in an untenable position.”
A version of this article appeared in print on September 12, 2012, on page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: Quick Start to Program Offering Immigrants a Reprieve.