Posts tagged ‘Undocumented Workers’

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.

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Latin Americans love Obama – so why the ‘collective shrug’ on reelection?



Latin Americans love Obama – so why the 'collective shrug' on reelection? (via The Christian Science Monitor)

Leading up to the United States presidential election, Latin Americans, like Latinos in the US, widely favored the reelection of President Obama. In fact, while attitudes about the US are conflicted here – and often far from glowing – America’s leader is widely respected. In the latest poll from…

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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.

Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by – Powell’s Books


Rodolfo Acuña

Authored by Rodolfo Acuña, one of the most influential and highly-regarded scholars of Chicano history and Ethnic Studies, Occupied America is the leading textbook for Chicano history courses. Beginning with the Mesoamerican civilizations before the 1519 Spanish invitation, continuing through Mexico’s conquests as a developing nation, and ending with an examination of issues of immigration, labor, education, and equality during the last 100 years, this text serves as an ideal foundation for understanding and analyzing Chicano history. This extensively researched and passionately written text not only covers the major developments and incidents in Mexican history, but also explores the complicating factors of race, gender and class in forming Chicano identity.

New to the sixth edition

  • The entire text has been streamlined, to make it more concise, contextualized, and student-orientated, while still preserving its passionate voice.
  • Timelines at the beginning of chapters 8 through 15 help plot cause and effect and lend context to important events and eras in Chicano history.
  • “The Map Room” section at the end of the text gives students Web addresses for important maps that trace the migrations of peoples throughout the Americas.
  • Up-to-date references and new sources throughout the text encourage students and professors to engage in further scholarship.

Visit us at http://www.ablongman.com

Book News Annotation:

An updated edition of Acu<~n>a’s college level Chicano history text, providing extensive discussion of the role of race in forming the Chicano identity. Includes new information on early Mexican-American history, and gender issues, with greater attention paid to pre-1812 Mexico and the occupation of Middle America.
Annotation �2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Occupied America, designed to accommodate the growing number of Mexican-American or Chicano History courses, is the most comprehensive text in this market. The Sixth Edition of Occupied America has been revised to make the text more user-friendly and student-oriented, while maintaining its passionate voice.

Table of Contents

Preface

Chapter 1: Not Just Pyramids, Explorers, and Heroes

Chapter 2: The Occupation of Middle America

Chapter 3: A legacy of Hate: The Conquest of Mexico’s Northwest

Chapter 4: Remember the Alamo: The Colonization of Texas

Chapter 5: Freedom in a Cage: The Colonization of New Mexico

Chapter 6: Sonora Invaded: The Occupation of Arizona

Chapter 7: California Lost: America for Euroamericans

Chapter 8: Immigration, Labor, and Generational Change

Chapter 9: The 1920s: Transition Years and Tensions

Chapter 10: Mexican American Communities in the Making: The Depression Years

Chapter 11: World War II: The Betrayal of Promises

Chapter 12: “Happy Days”: Chicano Communities Under Siege

Chapter 13: Good-bye, America: The Chicano in the 1960s

Chapter 14: The 1970s and 1980s: Beginning the Deconstruction of the Sixties

Chapter 15: Becoming a National Minority: 1980—2001

Epilogue

Book Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780321103307
Subtitle:
A History of Chicanos
Publisher:
Prentice Hall
Author:
Acuna, Rodolfo
Author:
Acuuna, Rodolfo
Location:
New York
Subject:
History
Subject:
United States – General
Subject:
Mexican americans
Subject:
General History
Copyright:
Edition Number:
5
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
cahier no 36
Publication Date:
20061127
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
9.90×7.50x.80 in. 1.77 lbs.

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Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by – Powell’s Books.

Stop HB 56 No Juan Crow


Peterson Beadle on Feb 8, 2012 at 9:45 am

Because a portion of Alabama’s harmful immigration law makes it a felony for undocumented immigrants to enter into a “business transaction” with the state, some public utility companies have interpreted this measure so broadly that they have prevented undocumented immigrants from receiving water or power at their homes. And a library has even required people show proof of citizenship before they can sign up for a library card because of the “business transactions” provision.

Now U.S.-born children with undocumented immigrant parents even have been denied food stamps because of this portion of the anti-immigrant law. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reports that five people have called the group’s hotline to report that they were denied food stamps under the law because of their immigration status even though the benefits are for their American citizen children. SPLC President Richard Cohen said the civil rights group is considering suing the state over the denial of food stamps because of the “business transactions” portion in HB 56. Barry Spear, a spokesman for Alabama’s Department of Human Services, told Yahoo News that demanding proof of citizenship from the guardians of Americans who need food stamps is not the agency’s policy. “We are unaware of any violations of the policy,” Spear said.

But last month, Kansas changed its food aid program to deny benefits to children who are citizens if their parents are undocumented, removing more than 1,000 mixed families. “This policy not only hurts these families, it hurts us, too, especially because we’re talking about U.S. citizen children,” said Elena Morales, who works at El Center, an anti-poverty agency in Kansas City.

In the U.S., roughly 4.5 million American citizens under 18 years old have at least one undocumented parent, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. So while undocumented immigrants cannot access most welfare programs, their children are still able to access the programs as citizens. Policies like the one in Kansas and the interpretation of Alabama’s immigration law only serves to harm these American citizens who, through no fault of their own, happen to have undocumented parents.



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NEWS FLASH

50,000+ Sign Petition For Undocumented Immigrant To Receive Kidney Transplant | In less than a week, more than 54,000 people have signed a Change.org petition to push the UC San Francisco Medical Center to allow an undocumented immigrant to have a kidney transplant. ThinkProgress wrote last week about how administrators at the medical center denied Jesus Navarro’s procedure, even though his wife offered her own kidney and he will die without the procedure. “UCSF hospital has told Jesus that the only reason he would not be able to get a transplant is becuase of his immigration status,” writes Donald Kagan, who started the petition on February 2. “As I see it, this is a matter of life and death.” The petition calls on hospital officials to allow the transplant and “do the right thing.” Sign the petition here.

By Amanda Peterson Beadle on Feb 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Justice

Alabama GOPer Pushes Bills Repealing Some Of The Worst Parts Of Anti-Immigrant Law

By Amanda Peterson Beadle on Feb 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm

When Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) and Attorney General Luther Strange (R) both called for changes to the state’s anti-immigrant law last year, it was a hopeful sign that the state might roll back the law’s most harmful effects. According to one projection, the state GDP could decline by $2.3 to $10.8 billion because of HB 56, and the state could lose up to 140,000 jobs.

And state Sen. Gerald Dial (R) agreed with the governor and attorney general and other legislators who called for changes to the law. “It’s just common sense. Let’s step up and say we’ve made some mistakes,” Dial said in November. Now he has filed a bill that proposes some of the broadest changes to HB 56 that, while far from perfect, would address some of the most harmful aspects of HB 56:

  • Would Not Require Schools To Collect Data: Dial’s bill removes a provision that requires schools to collect data about the citizenship or legal resident status of newly enrolled students. Following the implementation of HB 56, schools reported a spike in absenteeism among Latino students because some current students feared that their parents could be deported if they were asked about their citizenship.
  • Redefines “Business Transaction”: HB 56 includes a measure that prevents the state from entering into a “business transaction” with undocumented immigrants. Some public utility companies took this to mean that they could not provide service to anyone who cannot prove they are a citizen or legally in the United States. It effectively made it a felony for undocumented immigrants to take a bath in their own homes. Dial’s bill redefines “business transaction” more narrowly to include issues related to driver’s licenses or non-driver identification cards, license plates, or business licenses.

Dial’s bill also repeals a provision that would deny bail to undocumented immigrants, but he does not propose any changes to a section of the law that requires Alabama police officers “to ask for immigration papers from anyone they come in contact with who looks or sounds foreign.” The Supreme Court will hold a hearing this spring on SB 1070, Arizona’s extreme immigration law with the same “papers, please” requirement as Alabama’s law.

Fully repealing the state’s immigration law — Democrats have filed bills in the Alabama House and Senate to do just that –would be the best option for Alabama. But that option is unlikely while Republicans control the Alabama legislature along with a Republican governor. Nevertheless, Dial’s bills are an important admission that the state erred when enacted HB 56′s declaration of war on immigrants — the state should not hesitate one second before rolling back as much of the law as it can.

Arizona Gov. Jane Brewer Tell Obama To Stop Joking About Immigration Crisis


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