Illegal Immigrants Are Divided Over Importance of Citizenship

November 21, 2013

immigration marchThe New York Times, 11/20/2013

Glendy Martínez is waiting anxiously to see if Congress will ever pass legislation to allow immigrants like her, without papers, to stay in the country legally. But frankly, she says, she does not care if it will include any promise of citizenship.

With the earnings from her job in a Houston hair salon, Ms. Martínez, 30, is supporting one child born in Texas and three others she left behind in her home country, Nicaragua.

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University of California president earmarks $5M to help students living in US illegally

October 31, 2013

UCLA

The Washington Post, 10/30/2013

University of California President Janet Napolitano said Wednesday she is devoting $5 million to provide special counseling and financial aid for students living in the U.S. illegally, a move aimed at disarming critics who worried she would be hostile to the small but vocal student population.

The former Homeland Security Secretary announced the initiative in her first public address since she became head of the 10-campus university system a month ago — an evening appearance in San Francisco organized by the Commonwealth Club. She also pledged $10 million for recruiting and training graduate students and post-doctoral research fellows.

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Jeb Bush: Legal Residency, Not Citizenship, For Illegal Immigrants

March 5, 2013

Gov_Jeb_BushNPR, 3/5/2013

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the son and brother of presidents, says the United States should overhaul its laws to make immigration easier and to give illegal immigrants a way to legal residence, not citizenship. Bush lays out his plan with co-author Clint Bolick in the new book Immigration Wars. Bush tells NPR’s Steve Inskeep that they propose legalizing undocumented immigrants “after there is a recognition that if people come here illegally, they have to pay a fine or do community service [and] make sure they don’t commit any serious crimes.”

“Over a period of time, they can have a legalized status that allows them to live a life of dignity,” Bush says, “but not necessarily a path to citizenship, so as to not create incentives for future people that aspire to come to our country to do so illegally when they could come legally.”

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Op-ed by Jorge G. Castañeda and Douglas S. Massey: Do-It-Yourself Immigration Reform

June 4, 2012

The New York Times, 6/1/2012
by Jorge G. Castañeda and Douglas S. Massey

In the noisy American debate over immigration reform, something important seems to have escaped notice: time, and common-sense decisions by Mexican migrants, have brought us nearly everything immigration reform was supposed to achieve.

Migration between Mexico and the United States has returned to a healthy circular pattern: large numbers of Mexicans legally cross northward to work, then return south with confidence that they can repeat the journey the next time. The reason: Even as illegal Mexican migration flattened out in recent years, legal Mexican travel north rose.

These migrants have their papers in order. So it’s time to reconsider whether the United States still faces a difficult problem with Mexican immigration.

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Op-ed: Marco Rubio’s Dream Act: A nightmare for immigrants

April 20, 2012

Los Angeles Times, Raul A. Reyes, 4/20/12

In her April 18 Times Op-Ed article, “How Romney could win over Latinos,” Tamar Jacoby urges Mitt Romney to support Sen. Marco Rubio‘s (R-Fla.) immigration bill, which she dubs “Dream 2.0,” saying it would be “good for Romney, good for Republicans, good for many hopeful young immigrants and good for America.” Yet she presents a misleading picture of this proposal, which would present a dead end for undocumented youth and betray the American values of assimilation and equality.

The original federal Dream Act was designed to allow undocumented youth who were brought here as children a path to citizenship, provided they either served in the military or attended college. The new version gives these youth only a non-immigrant visa, and it seems designed to help Republicans soften their image with Latinos.

Dream 2.0, floated by Rubio, seems conveniently timed to Romney’s search for a running mate. It is no accident, by the way, that Romney has suddenly taken an interest in Latinos, after having alienated many with his extreme views on immigration during the primaries.

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Human rights group accuses U.S. of abuses along Mexico border

March 28, 2012

Reuters, 3/28/12

U.S. policing along the Mexico border discriminates against Hispanics and Native Americans and contributes to the deaths of illegal immigrants, according to a study by the human rights group Amnesty International USA.

The report, titled “In Hostile Terrain: Human Rights Violations in Immigration Enforcement in the U.S. Southwest,” identifies what it says are systemic failures of federal, state and local authorities to enforce immigration laws without discrimination.

“Communities living along the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly Latinos, individuals perceived to be of Latino origin and indigenous communities, are disproportionately affected by a range of immigration-control measures, resulting in a pattern of human rights violations,” the study said.

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Have The Crackdowns On Immigration Gone Too Far?

November 25, 2011

NPR, 11/25/11

The architect of Arizona’s controversial immigration law has been voted out of office. That law and similar statutes are undergoing difficult court challenges. And the strictest law, in Alabama, has ignited a withering backlash expected to force major changes.

Have the crackdowns on illegal immigration finally gone too far?

“If you asked me this question about a year ago, I would tell you we were on the cusp of seeing more anti-immigration legislation,” says immigration analyst Muzaffar Chishti of the Migration Policy Institute. “Now, what’s happening is very interesting. I think there is evidence of overreach and some sobering reassessments of ‘Is this the right thing to do?’ “

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Immigrant arrests nearing 40-year low

September 4, 2011

Arizona Daily Star, 9/4/11

Arrests of illegal immigrants trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border have fallen to levels not seen since the early 1970s.

With one month left in fiscal year 2011, the Border Patrol has apprehended nearly 305,000 illegal border crossers across the Southwest border. That puts the final year total on pace to be the lowest since 1972, when 321,000 apprehensions were made.

By comparison, the agency made 852,500 to 1.6 million apprehensions each year from 1983 to 2007 along the Southwest border before the sharp downturn in the last four years.

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Texas Sheriffs Don’t Want to Enforce Immigration Laws, Say Could Lead to Profiling

January 6, 2011

Fox News, 1/6/2011

Many Texas sheriffs say they oppose plans by state legislators to push bills targeting illegal immigrants.

One of them, El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles, on Thursday was scheduled to join immigrant advocacy groups at the Capitol, where they’re expected to denounce bills targeting illegal immigrants as bad for the Texas economy and constitutionally unworkable.

More than a dozen bills targeting illegal immigration await the Legislature when it convenes on Jan. 11, when the GOP will enter with a historic conservative supermajority in the House.

One bill would require police to ask drivers without identification if they’re in the country legally. Another would cut off state funds to departments that don’t enforce immigrations laws.

“It’s split among my colleagues on whether we should be out here just stopping individuals without probable cause, and questioning them on their immigration status,” said Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton, who believes the proposals invite profiling.

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Once A Mexican Tourist Town, Now No Man’s Land

December 30, 2010

NPR, 12/30/2010

Every day, the U.S. border patrol deports thousands of men, women and children who crossed into the U.S. illegally. Already this year, the U.S. has deported more than 400,000. The scope and scale of the illegal immigration problem has so transformed border communities that even the people who grew up there now find their hometowns unrecognizable.

The poor working-class Mexican neighborhood where I was born isn’t far from the 12-foot-high fence that separates Nogales, Ariz., from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Those dusty streets of Colonia Ingenieros seem narrow now, with dozens of homes still perched miraculously on a rocky hillside.

Ilegales — men and women from all parts of Mexico — would come through here when I was a child.

They’d knock on our door to ask for food and water on their trek before vanishing into the nearby hills and gullies that people now call “Cocaine Alley.”

Today, no one dares open their doors, let alone help these people. Fear trumps charity.

Fifty years or so ago, though, my friends and I would venture unafraid into the desert hills with wads of flour tortillas in our pockets that we could trade for a story or two about where theseilegales were headed: Phoenix, Los Angeles, Chicago, Kansas City — places I knew nothing about, though I imagined them to be beautiful, fluorescent cities.

I’m sure people died trying to cross illegally back then. But the numbers today are unbelievable. Last July was especially gruesome — 59 bodies found in the desert ended up at the Pima County Medical Examiner’s office in Tucson, Ariz. It was the second deadliest month on record for the area. Cause of death? Exposure to the heat — hyperthermia in most cases.

I’ve come back to my hometown for the first time in years to once again look into the faces of these men and women. On this day, though, my only encounter is with those who have been deported.

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