May 20, 2013
Movement in both the House and Senate on revising U.S. immigration law belies a long-running rift between business and labor that could derail the bill. After four years of negotiations, a bipartisan group of House members who struck a deal on a broader immigration bill last week have given up on finding a compromise over how many temporary workers to allow into the U.S.
As another bipartisan measure advances in the Senate, a series of amendments backed by technology and construction companies and opposed by the AFL-CIO labor federation risk upsetting a delicate balance. With Democrats and Republicans in both chambers intent this year on achieving the first major revision of immigration law in a generation, the reopening of fissures between business and labor serves as a reminder of how tough the challenge is. That divide is the one that scuttled the last attempt in 2007.
May 20, 2013
The New York Times, 5/18/2013
Becoming an American can be bad for your health. A growing body of mortality research on immigrants has shown that the longer they live in this country, the worse their rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. And while their American-born children may have more money, they tend to live shorter lives than the parents. The pattern goes against any notion that moving to America improves every aspect of life. It also demonstrates that at least in terms of health, worries about assimilation for the country’s 11 million illegal immigrants are mistaken. In fact, it is happening all too quickly.
“There’s something about life in the United States that is not conducive to good health across generations,” said Robert A. Hummer, a social demographer at the University of Texas at Austin. For Hispanics, now the nation’s largest immigrant group, the foreign-born live about three years longer than their American-born counterparts, several studies have found. Why does life in the United States — despite its sophisticated health care system and high per capita wages — lead to worse health?
May 20, 2013
The New York Times, 5/18/2013
When the Senate Judiciary Committee meets on Monday to resume marking up an immigration bill, it will have two weeks of solid achievement to build on. The bipartisan “Gang of Eight” that drafted the deal has so far held together. The full committee has rejected an array of amendments designed to cripple or kill the bill, while adopting technical fixes and other amendments to make the system fairer, smarter and more generous.
Perhaps the most encouraging victory was the crushing defeat on Tuesday of an amendment from Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, to reduce the future legal flow of immigrants — a proposal that laid bare the restrictionist intent at the heart of Mr. Sessions’s broad and tenacious opposition to bill. The other Republicans on the committee, even the border hawk Ted Cruz of Texas, balked. Mr. Cruz used the moment to profess his belief in America as a nation that welcomes immigrants, and voted with everyone else to rebuff Mr. Sessions, 17 to 1.
May 20, 2013
Los Angeles Times, 5/18/2013
Young people granted immigration relief and work permits under a new Obama administration program still won’t be able to obtain driver’s licenses in Arizona, a federal judge has ruled. Although the decision is a win for Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who issued the executive order denying driver’s licenses to this particular group, it’s just the first battle in a case that will probably be argued on constitutional grounds.
U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell on Thursday turned down a request for a preliminary injunction blocking Brewer’s order but stated that the plaintiffs — a contingent of immigrant rights groups — would probably prevail on their claim that the governor’s order violates guarantees of equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. Arizona lets some immigrants with work permits obtain driver’s licenses, the plaintiffs note, while denying the same benefits to other immigrants protected by President Obama’s program.
May 17, 2013
The Washington Post, 5/16/2013
The bipartisan Senate group behind a comprehensive immigration bill is working privately to satisfy concerns raised by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), hoping he will support the legislation and influence fellow GOP lawmakers. The bid to bring Hatch into the fold highlights the strategy of Senate immigration proponents who believe that building as much bipartisan support for the bill is crucial to improving its chances in the Republican-led House.
Negotiators in the House said late Thursday that they reached a tentative agreement on immigration reform but no details were disclosed. If the immigration bill were to pass the Senate with more than the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster, proponents say, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) would be motivated to allow a vote on the legislation even if a majority of his caucus opposed it.
To see a graphic of which amendments to the bill have been adopted, defeated or withdrawn, click here.
May 16, 2013
ABC News / Univision, 5/15/2013
Farm jobs. The pay is usually low and the work is grueling. That’s why no one should be surprised by a study released on Wednesday looking at immigration and agriculture in North Carolina. The upshot: Almost no U.S.-born workers are taking farm jobs in that state. And even during the recession, native workers weren’t more likely to seek employment in agriculture.
That means that growers need an easy-to-use guest worker program that will give them access to immigrant guest workers with too much expense or red tape. That’s the recommendation of the report, which was drafted by two pro-immigration reform groups, the Partnership for a New American Economy and the Center for Global Development.
May 13, 2013
The New York Times, 5/12/2013
Opening a satellite city office in a far-flung neighborhood is not unusual in sprawling cities like this one. But one thing sets apart Mayor Bob Filner’s newest outpost: it is in another country. When he opened San Diego’s Tijuana office this year, Mr. Filner spoke in grand terms about the future of cross-border relations. “Dos ciudades, pero una region — we are two cities, but one region,” he said, using the phrase popular among those who want more collaboration in the area. San Diego would put in a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, he said, but only to host jointly with Tijuana.
For years, this coastal city was widely viewed as a hotbed of illegal immigration. Neighbors traded stories of migrants hiding in their garages and hopping through their backyards. But now the region is considered one of the safest parts of the Mexican border, and the number of apprehensions of people crossing illegally is a tiny fraction of what it was a decade ago. The changes have helped bring an astounding shift in residents’ attitudes toward the border: far from seeing it as a threat, more are embracing it as a potential economic engine for the region. Perhaps one of the most remarkable things about Mr. Filner’s efforts to bolster Tijuana is that there has been no opposition from other politicians or organized protests from conservative critics.
May 13, 2013
Los Angeles Times, 5/12/2013
The Senate Judiciary Committee took up comprehensive immigration reform late last week. And, as expected, opponents are already rushing to derail it, arguing that any bill that legalizes the vast majority of undocumented immigrants in the United States will cost billions of dollars and place an unfair burden on taxpayers.
Such arguments are merely scare tactics. There’s no doubt that granting citizenship to millions of immigrants 13 years from now, as the Senate bill would, will carry a cost, but how much is unclear. Without it, though, the U.S. will face serious problems. In fact, demographers such as Dowell Myers of USC’s Price School of Public Policy have repeatedly warned that the country is on the verge of an epic transition as baby boomers retire en masse and birthrates decline. A 2013 report by Myers suggests that in Southern California alone, “boomers are beginning to retire from the most productive period of their lives, creating enormous replacement needs in the workforce.” In other words, the U.S. needs immigrants to help cover the retirement costs of older Americans and to fuel economic growth.
May 13, 2013
Dallas Morning News, 5/12/2013
Anatolia García, a 48-year-old Irving mother of three U.S.-born citizens, has received a one-year deportation suspension from federal authorities.
She was viewed in late 2011 as a potential beneficiary of prosecutorial discretion — a move by the Obama administration to review cases of immigrants who are in the U.S. unlawfully but have no serious criminal violations.
Critics deemed the measure as “backdoor amnesty.” Others viewed it as a break from a deportation crackdown unseen in the U.S. for five decades. Now, García is one of the few to have benefited.
May 10, 2013
By Michael J. Petrucelli and Lora Ries, Roll Call, 5/9/2013
Immigration reform is far bigger than just immigration. Comprehensive immigration reform would set off a ripple effect beyond the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, requiring several federal, state and local government agencies to prepare for a far-reaching set of activities. Creating a road map for new immigration processes and related implementation is essential. But how long is that road and how do we navigate the curves around identity?
Getting the initial registration and subsequent application process right for the 11 million to 12 million people who currently live in the U.S. in unlawful status is the first stop on the map. If we succeed there, what comes next? Experience with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applicants shows that individuals who move from unlawful to lawful status almost immediately turn their attention to other activity that was previously inaccessible to them.