“BIBLES, BADGES AND BUSINESS” UNITE FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

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A new alliance between conservative pro-reform constituencies including religious leaders, law enforcement and the business community adds momentum to the push for a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws. On a conference call Monday, leaders from the Texas Association of Business, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition and the National Immigration Forum joined former top law enforcement officials to announce the alliance, calling it “Bibles, Badges and Business.”
“For the last two years, conservative leaders who hold a Bible, wear a badge or own a business have gathered in the mountain west, the midwest, the southeast and our nation’s capital to forge a new consensus on immigrants in America, moving our nation closer to a 21th century immigration process,” Ali Noorani, the executive director of National Immigration Forum, told reporters. “And across the country and on the hill, these conversations are turning into action.”
He said “Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform” will not formally take positions on legislation but will espouse principles including creating a “road to lawful status and citizenship” for undocumented immigrants, respecting those who are waiting in line to become immigrants, modernizing laws for future flow of employment- and family-based immigration and recognizing the need for border security.

Read more: TALKING POINTS MEMO

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LEGALIZING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IS A BAD IDEA: THE OP-ED THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE PUBLISHED

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

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The Chicago Tribune published an op-ed rehashing claims about undocumented immigrants that have been widely debunked, without noting that the author is a fellow at nativist organization the Center for Immigration StudiesCIS is an anti-immigrant organization whose affiliation with hate groups has been thoroughly documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In the February 8 op-ed titled, “Legalizing Illegal Immigrants A Bad Idea,” CIS fellow David Seminara repeated the false claims that undocumented immigrants steal jobs from hard-working Americans and that they put a strain on social services. The Tribune identified Seminara simply as a former diplomat who has “issued thousands of visas during his career at the State Department.”

According to his bio on the CIS website, Seminara has been a fellow at the organization since 2009. He has written extensively for the group’s blog, including writing posts that have criticized an undocumented immigrant fearful of applying for deferred action and attacked scholarships for undocumented immigrants.

Knowing Seminara’s affiliation with CIS would have alerted readers that the op-ed was presenting a biased view of the immigration debate as it repeated many of CIS’ and other nativist groups’ talking points. Indeed, his claim that undocumented immigrants steal Americans’ jobs is not new; it has been discredited by economists and immigration experts using mountains of research: Undocumented immigrants do not generally compete with Americans for labor, and in fact have been found to boost Americans’ wages.

Immigrants given legal status under the immigration reform framework announced by the Senate are also unlikely to be a strain on the welfare system. Under the current framework, newly legalized immigrants would not be eligible for Medicaid or any government social benefit. In addition, immigrants are more likely to have jobs and over half have a high school degree or more.

In Illinois, consumer spending by undocumented immigrants already generates $5.45 billion in gross regional spending which accounts for 31,000 jobs in the Chicago area,according to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. In fact, the Immigration Policy Center reported that in 2010, undocumented immigrants in the state paid nearly half a billion dollars in taxes.

Read More: Media Matters

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HOW IMMIGRATION GOT OUT OF CONTROL

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Prior to 1965 a thriving Bracero Program was in place in which roughly 450,000 persons entered the U.S. from Mexico each year on temporary work visas.  These workers returned to Mexico regularly rather than staying in the U.S., thereby creating a circular flow of legal Mexican migrants.  The program had a lot of problems, however, so immigration reformers with a civil rights agenda successfully shut it down.  But while the program ended in 1965, the business need for this type of labor did not. The result was that Mexican workers continued to enter the country, although now without documentation.  Also in 1965, quantitative limits on immigration from the Western Hemisphere were established. Thus illegal immigration rose after 1965 not because there was a surge in Mexican migration, but because these immigration reforms rebranded legal migrants as undocumented workers and capped the number who could try to enter the country legally.

”]No longer legal guest workers but illegal immigrants, the number apprehended at the U.S.-Mexican borderincreased.  This allowed a new narrative to develop: illegal immigration was a crisis and new policies were desperately needed to stem the flow of the “alien invasion.”  The more this narrative was repeated by politicians, the more the populace supported increasingly stringent immigration and enforcement policies, setting off a chain reaction:  increased apprehensions led to increased calls and better tools for enforcement; increased enforcement led to more apprehensions; and increased apprehensions solidified in the public’s mind that illegal immigration was a growing problem that needed drastic reform.  Moreover, increased enforcement did not really deter people from entering the U.S. from Mexico, but it certainly encouraged them to stay; the conversion from legal migrant to illegal immigrant was complete.

President Kennedy and Secretary of Defense McNamara in an EXCOMM meeting, October 1962.

Second, the U.S. was involved in several Central American countries during the Cold War, which lead to further destabilization in the region and large scale migration north.  While Nicaraguan émigrés were welcome as refugees (since the U.S. disagreed with the leftist government they were fleeing), others from Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras encountered the same restrictions for legal entry as Mexicans. After the 1990s, the threat of terrorism intensified border enforcement and brought about a sharp rise in deportations from the U.S.  Deportations replaced border apprehensions as “proof” that a Latino threat loomed.

November 6, 1986: President Reagan in the Roosevelt Room signing S. 1200 Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 with Dan Lungren Strom Thurmond George Bush Romano Mazzoli and Alan Simpson looking on.

Third, Latin American legal immigration – led by Mexico—was also on the rise after 1965, and particularly after 1986.  Again, this was not a result of a conscious policy effort, but rather an unintended consequence of the various immigration reforms. Due to concerns about terrorism and a growing xenophobia, Congress began in the 1980s to strip civil, social, and economic rights away from legal immigrants.  As it became increasingly problematic to be in the U.S. but not a citizen, the numbers seeking to naturalize increased.  This happened just as millions of former undocumented migrants became eligible to naturalize after receiving permanent residence under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. Adding to the numbers was a separate policy that exempted family members (spouses, minor children and parents) of U.S. citizens from country quotas as part of a family reunification effort.

The authors end the article noting the massive demographic transformation that has resulted from these unintended consequences – a rise in the Hispanic population from 9.6 million to 50.5 million.  They offer a counterfactual scenario, in which the Bracero Program was improved, not abolished, and the U.S. stayed out of Central America; the result might have been a smaller illegal population and a less divided country when the terrorists attacked.  More might have continued to cross the border legally and for temporary stays, resulting in fewer permanent immigrants, less undocumented migration, and slower population growth.  Amazingly – almost despite ourselves—we may actually be headed that way as both illegal and legal entries have fallen while temporary guest worker entry has risen.

The next step is for the U.S. to find a way to deal with the remaining legacy of failed policies – undocumented residents who number 11 million.  Of those, 3 million entered as children.  The authors argue that they should receive amnesty – such as that would have been granted in the Dream Act—while the adults should be able to participate in an earned legalization program.  As the Massey/Pren paper shows, a large number of permanent undocumented people is not a good situation for the country—and the next policy solution should aim to solve not create more problems.

Article by Douglas S. Massey, the Wilson School’s Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, and Karen A. Pren, Project Manager, Mexican Migration Project at Princeton’s Office of Population Research, argues that the post-1965 surge in Mexican, Central American, and to a lesser extent South American immigration was not a direct result of policy reforms enacted in the mid-1960s but rather the unintended consequences that unfolded afterward.

READ MORE: Hispanically Speaking News

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HOW TO SOLVE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

SOURCE: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast

An Opinion On How to Solve Illegal Immigration. What is Your Opinion and Would

This Be Enough? You Be the Judge and Leave a Comment!

Of all the issues Congress confronts, the most solvable and the one that would do the most to help our nation grow and prosper — with the possible exception of energy — is immigration reform.

We are a nation that has always drawn much of its strength from having people come here and add to the energy and prosperity of the country. The immigrants who have chosen to make the difficult and challenging choice to move to America have often been some of the most productive citizens of the countries they left behind.

They are, by nature, driven people who were willing to take the risk of pulling up roots and moving. As a result, the United States has, for the most part, gotten the benefit of talented and committed citizens who have raised our culture and our standard of living.

Our national policy should continue to encourage immigration. This is why we need an immigration policy that deals with the reality of our times and continues to reinvigorate our nation by bringing in new people.

Yet for reasons purely political and counterproductive, a reasonable immigration policy has been sidetracked by the desire of both Democratic and Republican officeholders and candidates to score points with groups that have no interest in effective policy but simply have single-issue concerns that have turned into non-debatable hyperbole.

It is not rocket science to know how to set up an effective immigration policy. The parameters are clear. The policy needs to encourage legal immigration that helps our nation prosper.

There are five steps to doing it:

• First, we need to secure the borders. Although progress has been made, the border with Mexico where most illegal immigrants cross is still not secure. It is inexcusable that the resources and technology needed to stop the flow are not in place. All it takes is funding and commitment.

• Second, there needs to be an effective and friendly guest-worker program. This allows people who need work to come here where there are jobs not being done by Americans.

• Third, once we have an effective guest-worker program, there needs to be a dramatic increase in surveillance and prosecution of businesses that employ people who are not here legally. There should be a significant price to pay for an employer that exploits people and encourages people to enter the country illegally.

• Fourth, there needs to be a new regime for attracting talented people to come here and stay here. We should say to the best and the brightest around the world that if they wish to come to America, we are interested in having them come. If they are already studying here, we are interested in having them stay. Instead, we say the opposite.

As Bill Gates says, every time he hires a talented individual from another country to work here it benefits America two ways. First, the individual usually ends up being a center around whom jobs are created, and second, it keeps him or her from being an overseas competitor.

• Fifth, we need to deal in a humane and reasonable way with the millions of people who are already here illegally. If they have acted inappropriately while here, then we should send them back to their native lands, but obviously that would be a small number of people.

We cannot deport millions of people, most of whom are hardworking and living quiet, orderly lives. We also cannot allow them, as a result of their illegal entry, to become citizens. This would violate the basic premise of following the rule of law that is a key standard of citizenship.

But there is a logical, fair and reasonable resolution to this conundrum. It is to allow these people, after they have agreed to some reasonable action, either through community service or fines, to compensate for their violation of the law when they entered the country to obtain a “blue card.” This blue card would give them legal status but not citizenship.

(I would add that for those that are undocumented under the age of 18 or are now older but came when they were under the age of 18 should not be penalized. -JMG)

It is time to push aside those in the political arena who wish to use immigration primarily as an election tool and do not seek or tolerate rational action. It is time to move forward with a policy that will make us more competitive, add to our economy and our culture and continue to lift our nation and give us the unique strength that comes from being a country built on the character of the people who immigrate here.

Judd Gregg is a former governor and three-term senator from New Hampshire who served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and as ranking member of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Foreign Operations. He also is an international adviser to Goldman Sachs.

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Read More: http://thehill.com/opinion/columnists/judd-gregg/214011-opinion-how-to-solve-illegal-immigration

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