Reimagining the Midwest: Immigration Initiatives and the Capacity of Local Leadership

September 23, 2014

09/14 By Juliana Kerr, Paul McDaniel and Melissa Guinan                                                                                                                                                      The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the American Immigration Council

Immigration Policy Center logoElected and civic leaders throughout the Midwest are recognizing that they have a role to play in shaping immigration policy despite inaction at the federal level. Whether by launching programs to infuse the local economy with new talent or adopting strategies to socially integrate immigrants, there is an unprecedented commitment from local leaders understanding the importance of immigrant integration in the region. This report puts the range of Midwestern initiatives into context, offering a concise overview of state, city and metropolitan programs, as well as the robust non-governmental civic initiatives that sometimes operate alongside, or in place of, government-driven programs.

To read the report…


Immigrants Seen as Way to Refill Detroit Ranks

January 24, 2014

120px-A_day_without_immigrants_-_La_Raza_unida_jamás_será_vencidaThe New York Times, 01/23/2014

For Detroit, a city that has watched a population in free fall, officials have a new antidote: immigrants.

Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan on Thursday announced plans to seek federal help in bringing 50,000 immigrants to the bankrupt city over five years as part of a visa program aimed at those with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in science, business or the arts.

Under the plan, which is expected to be formally submitted to federal authorities soon, immigrants would be required to live and work in Detroit, a city that has fallen to 700,000 residents from 1.8 million in the 1950s.

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States take action on immigration as Congress stalls

January 22, 2014

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants 2 participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 2006The New York Times, 01/21/2014

Immigrants coming to the United States increasingly face a distinctive choice: Live in Red America, where laws clamping down on services to those in the country illegally are winning support, or Blue America, where life is a little easier for them. Comprehensive immigration reform languishes amid partisan sniping on Capitol Hill. But Republicans and Democrats in 45 state legislatures around the country have taken decisive action in the last year to revise their own laws relating to immigration, and how their states treat illegal immigrants.

“We are still waiting for the federal government to fix the immigration system,” said Washington State Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D), the co-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ immigration task force. “States are doing the best we can with the tools we have available to us. State legislators face fiscal challenges in education, health and law enforcement. To do nothing is not an option.”

Despite the congressional inaction, both Republicans and Democrats have taken steps in response to the federal government. Republican-controlled states acted to tighten immigration laws in response to a 2012 Supreme Court decision that struck down some law enforcement elements of Arizona’s controversial Senate Bill 1070. A handful of Democratic-controlled states acted after the Department of Homeland Security said it would offer a temporary reprieve, and permission to work, to low-priority illegal immigrants.

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Prosecutorial discretion on the rise in immigration courts

January 16, 2014

Immigration_and_Customs_Enforcement_arrestThe Los Angeles Times, 01/15/2013

Immigrants facing deportation are increasingly likely to have their cases dismissed because of mitigating factors such as having U.S. citizen children, according to an analysis by researchers at Syracuse University.

In some courts, at least 20% of case closures involved prosecutorial discretion. Of the roughly 35,000 cases closed in Los Angeles over the last two years, nearly 24% were prosecutorial discretion cases.

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Advocates Struggle to Reach Immigrants Eligible for Deferred Action

December 9, 2013

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants 2 participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 2006The New York Times, 12/8/2013

The two women had spent a couple of afternoons wandering a heavily Chinese neighborhood in Brooklyn on a seemingly straightforward quest: to find young, undocumented immigrants and enroll them in a federal program that lets them stay in the country for at least two years and work legally.

But after they canvassed bakeries and restaurants, Internet cafes and bubble tea shops, and buttonholed scores of workers and customers, who were mostly suspicious if not downright hostile, the challenge of their mission had begun to weigh on them.

“Chipping away at the ice,” sighed Susan Pan, the legal fellow at Atlas: DIY, an advocacy group for immigrant youths, as she and her colleague, Wendy Tsang, paused to drink a restorative cup of milk tea. “Trust is extremely critical.”

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Closing a Fear Gap So Children Can Achieve

December 2, 2013

The New York Times, 12/1/2013

studentsAt a time when Latinos have surpassed whites to account for a majority of public school students in Texas, Ms. Garibay is taking an unusually direct approach to one of the most deeply entrenched challenges in education: the achievement gap in test scores and low graduation rates that are plaguing schools disproportionately populated by the children of immigrants.

By focusing her seminar on helping families and children navigate the bureaucracy of the immigration system, Ms. Garibay is hoping to help schools close their achievement gaps with others.

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Mystery surrounds Tijuana border rush

November 27, 2013

San Diego Union Tribune, 11/26/2013

120px-Border_Mexico_USA Video footage, anonymous leaflets, and eyewitness accounts on Tuesday offered some insights into last weekend’s incident that saw more than 100 people rush a heavily patrolled stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in broad daylight.

But the larger questions remained unanswered: Exactly who instigated the mass action on Sunday afternoon one quarter-mile west of the San Ysidro Port of Entry? And for what purpose?

Read more…

 

 


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