Immigration and Violence in American Cities

Via ImmigrationProf:

The CQ Press recently published its annual list of of most dangerous and least dangerous cities in the United States.  With the uproar over the supposed link between immigration and violence, especially on our southern border, one would expect that the most violent cities in the U.S. would be on the border and/or cities with high foreign born popolutions.  But, some of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. have small foreign born populations, incuding Detroit (4.8% foreign born), Baltimore (4.6%), Memphis (12.6%), D.C. 12.6%), Atlanta (8.7%).  And, some of the least dangerous cities have high foreign born populations, including El Paso, Texas (26.1%) and San Diego, Ca. (25.7%).  According to CQ Press, the border cities of Brownsville, El Paso, and McAllen, Texas are safer than Columbia, Missouri, Lawrence, Kansas and Lincoln, Nebraska.

DREAM Act holds Promise of Economic Stimulus for State

Illegal immigrant and UCLA student David Cho prepares for a radio message at Entravision Radio (Wally Skalij, Los Angeles Times / November 26, 2010)

Recently, Congress considers acting on the law resulting in several commentaries regarding the DREAM Act. The LA Times article focused on the fact that with Congress expected to vote soon on immigration reform, a new generation of undocumented scholars who were raised in California are shedding their secrecy and speaking about their lives. In addition, there were also some viewpoints on the The DREAMers from the National Immigration Law Center. According to the article, The DREAMers, as undocumented students are called, now want to participate as full members of society by using their education to contribute to the work force – and work legally.

DREAMers are already integral components of our colleges and universities. Recently, the nation learned that Pedro Ramirez, who was elected by his classmates to be the student body president of California State University, Fresno, was undocumented. Co-valedictorian of his high school, Ramirez has excelled in college. How many parents would dream of having their child be student body president? Having lived in this country since he was 3, Ramirez did not even know that he was an undocumented immigrant until he began the college application process.

Because of his immigration status, Ramirez has served as student body president but, to avoid violating the law, declined the customary $9,000 stipend. So much for the stereotype that undocumented immigrants are unabashed lawbreakers. The stipend would have helped Ramirez immensely. As an undocumented student, he is not eligible for federal or state financial assistance and educational loans.

Thousands of young men and women just like Pedro Ramirez have worked hard and deeply want to contribute to this – indeed, their – great nation. Unfortunately, unless Congress passes federal legislation, there is virtually no way for them to work legally. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, the federal immigration law that Congress amends in piecemeal fashion almost annually, is woefully out of sync with the nation’s current economic needs.

We all benefit by ensuring that the DREAMers can live the American dream. The DREAM Act would allow us to take a first, important step toward modernizing the U.S. immigration laws by allowing those who call this country home to be permitted to fully contribute economically to the nation’s well-being.

For Californians, the DREAM Act holds the promise of improving a sputtering economy. More than 500,000 DREAMers live in California. With a college education or military training, these young people have the skills and education to jump-start the economy and create a more prosperous work force.

Moreover, common sense dictates that college-educated workers – workers whom Californians invested in by providing a K-12 education – earn more and contribute more in taxes than those without such an education. It is irrational not to capitalize on the state’s investment in the DREAMers as well as to deny California’s employers, and tax coffers, this valuable asset. In enacting Assembly Bill 540, the California Legislature reached a similar conclusion and ensured that all graduates of California high schools would be eligible for in-state resident fees at California’s public colleges and universities, a law that the California Supreme Court recently upheld.

For more on this article, click here.

How YOU can help make history this week:

1) Tell Congress and Senate to PASS the DREAM Act today!

2) Contact your Senator by calling toll-free at: 1-866-996-5161. Contact your Congress member by calling toll-free at: 1-866-967-6018.

There is also a targeted list of Senators and Congress members, click on this link to view:

3) When the switchboard receptionist picks up, tell them where you live and ask to speak with your Senator/Congress member. You can leave them this message:

“When the DREAM act comes to the floor for a vote later this week, I urge you to please VOTE YES and support immigrant students.”  If they already are in support of it, urge your Senator/Congress member to advocate AGAINST any bad amendments that may come up in their voting discussions.

For more information and background on the DREAM Act, please see:

DREAM Act Students Defy Deportations, Tell Congress to Vote: on TruthOut Report by David Bacon

European Immigration and Asylum Law

European Immigration and Asylum Law A Commentary Edited by Kay Hailbronner The EU has usurped essential parts of the national laws of immigration and asylum. Hence, European Directives and Regulations have become more important for the immigration departments and administrative tribunals. From German Courts alone, more than five referrals on the interpretation of Directives, especially in the area of the so-called Qualification-Directive (criteria for the recognition as a refugee,) have been made to the European Court of Justice. The immigration departments, too, are obliged to interpret national law, according to European Directives and Regulations. Accordingly, in most of the European member states numerous courts are required to decide on the basis of the European law in the field of immigration and asylum. For example, the following pieces of European legislation have been dealt with in detail: Directive on the qualification and status of refugees Directive on asylum procedure Directive on the admission of students Directive on the admission of researchers Family reunion Directive Blue Card Directive Directive on the return of third-country nationals Dublin Regulation, including Dublin Implementation Regulation and Eurodac.

Professor Hailbronner is Director of the Center for International and European Immigration and Asylum Law at the University of Konstanz. Contributors:Professor Astrid Epiney, University of Fribourg Ryszard Cholewinski, International Organisation for Migration in Geneva Dr Martin Schieffer, European Commission Professor Achilles Skordas, University of Bristol Professor Thomas Spijkerboer, VU University, Amsterdam.

The DREAM Act to be Revived in Congress

From Immigration Policy Center:

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he would introduce the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act as a stand alone bill during the lame duck session of Congress.

First introduced in 2001, the DREAM Act would address the plight of young immigrants who have been raised in the U.S. and managed to succeed despite the challenges of being brought here without proper documentation. The proposal would offer a path to legal status to those who have graduated from high school, stayed out of trouble, and plan to attend college or serve in the U.S. military for at least two years.

Each year, approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school, many at the top of their classes, but cannot go on to college, join the military, work, or otherwise pursue their dreams. They belong to the 1.5 generation: immigrants brought to the United States at a young age who were largely raised in this country and therefore share much in common with second-generation Americans. These students are culturally American, growing up here and often having little attachment to their country of birth. The vast majority are bicultural and fluent in English.

Research has shown that providing a legal status for young people who have a proven record of success in the United States would be a boon to the economy and the U.S. workforce.  University presidents and educational associations, as well as military recruiters, business and religious leaders have added their voice to those calling for passage of the bill. The DREAM Act is even part of the Department of Defense’s 2010-2012 Strategic Plan to assist the military in its recruiting efforts.

Unfortunately, immigration status and the associated barriers to higher education contribute to a higher-than-average high-school dropout rate. The DREAM Act would eliminate these barriers for many students, and its high-school graduation requirement would provide a powerful incentive for students who might otherwise drop out to stay in school and go on to college.

For research and resources on the DREAM Act visit IPC’s resource page:

Obama to Push for the DREAM Act

In a recent CNN report by Kevin Bohn, several Congressional Hispanic leaders met with President Obama Tuesday to ask for his help in building support for a bill, known as the DREAM Act, which would award citizenship to illegal immigrants who have gone to college or served in the military. Advocates for comprehensive immigration reform believe the lame duck session may the best opportunity to pass one concrete immigration reform measure before Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in January.

The President sat down with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) and Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) and Nydia Velazquez (D-New Jersey) to discuss the issue. After the meeting, Gutierrez told reporters that Mr. Obama committed to make phone calls to members to push for comprehensive reform, but will ask for support on the DREAM measure “as down payment.”

In a statement, Gutierrez said the DREAM Act is “the only piece of immigration reform legislation that can get broad support from Democrats and has attracted significant Republican support in the recent past.”

The White House said in a statement following the meeting, “The President and the CHC (Congressional Hispanic Caucus) leaders believe that, before adjourning, Congress should approve the DREAM Act. This legislation has traditionally enjoyed support from Democratic and Republican lawmakers and would give young people who were brought as minors to the United States by their parents the opportunity to earn their citizenship by pursuing a college degree or through military service.” For more on this story click here.

Update: Pelosi Sets DREAM Act Vote for November 29

From the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights:

Nancy Pelosi just announced that she will bring the bipartisan DREAM Act to a vote in the house on November 29th! Now is our chance to finally make the DREAM Act a reality. Take action now!

During the campaign season, Senators Harry Reid and Dick Durbin courageously promised to introduce the DREAM Act after the election before the new representatives are sworn in, during the so-called “lame duck” session.  This is a very short session, and everyone in the Illinois delegation needs to know our top priority for the lame duck is passing the DREAM Act.

Tell your Congressman to Pass the DREAM Act during the lame duck session!

The DREAM Act allows children of undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least five years, graduated from high school, and are of good moral character the opportunity to earn citizenship through at least two years of college or military service.

We all know the DREAM Act is the right thing for the economy, for the military, and for social justice.  Why would we waste the talents of hundreds of thousands of students who simply want to contribute to the country they love?  But we also know that the best way for politicians to understand this is to talk these young people themselves. That is why we are asking each Illinois Congressman to meet with DREAM eligible students. We need your help to make sure the congressmen listen to these powerful stories.

Ask your congressman to support the DREAM Act and meet with DREAM Students!

Thank you for your leadership.

Josh Hoyt
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Patrick to Push In-State Tuition for Immigrants

According to an article from AP, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick vowed on Tuesday to adopt the rest of an advisory panel’s immigration reform recommendations, including pushing for in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students at state colleges, during his second term.

The Democratic governor made the announcement to cheers at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition’s annual Thanksgiving luncheon. The group’s executive director served as co-chair of the advisory panel that made the recommendations.

“Now, as we stand on the threshold of another four years, I want to commit to you that we will implement this report in its entirety, working with you, over the next several years,” said Patrick, who received a standing ovation from a hundred or so immigrant advocates on Tuesday.

For more on this story, click here.

Sanctuary Cities and the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program: Two Things that Do Not Go Together

Chicago immigration protest, May 2006. Jvoves, Creative Commons

According to the SCAAP website, in order to be eligible for SCAAP funding, the county or state must have incarcerated a criminal alien for “at least 4 consecutive days during the reporting period.” A “criminal alien” is defined, for the purposes of SCAAP, as a person in the country illegally who has been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors. The costs for inmates who do not meet these requirements are not reimbursed. SCAAP does not reimburse the full cost of incarcerating immigrants, and states and localities must spend their own money to cover incarceration costs.

So by definition, if these cities are getting SCAAP, they are detaining immigrants. That doesn’t sound like “sanctuary” to me. Immigrants in these cities are clearly being arrested, detained, convicted, and turned over to ICE.

The Center for Immigration Studies recently released a reportentitled Subsidizing Sanctuaries: The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which claims the federal government is giving State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) grant money to “sanctuary” cities. The problem with this argument is that the very fact these cities (San Francisco, Chicago, Arlington, VA) are receiving SCAAP money means that they are not providing sanctuary to immigrants. SCAAP money goes to localities to reimburse them for the costs of jailing immigrants.

For more on this story, click here.

ICE’S Enforcement Priorities and the Factors that Undermine Them

As part of its strategy to gain support for comprehensive immigration reform, the administration has continually touted its enforcement accomplishments.  In fact, over the last two years, the Obama administration has committed itself to a full-court press to demonstrate how committed the administration is to removing criminals and others who remain in the country without proper documentation.  They have continued to use the enforcement programs of the previous administration, including partnering with state and local law enforcement agencies to identify, detain, and deport immigrants.  However, in doing so, they have lost the ability to fully control their own enforcement priorities and enforcement outcomes, and the results have demonstrated that the state and local partners are not necessarily committed to the same priorities. Download the Special Report

For more, please go to Immigration Policy Center

Pelosi, Reid to Push DREAM Act in Lame Duck

In a recent article from Immigration Impact, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), nearing the end of his reelection campaign last month, told Univision’s Jorge Ramos that, win or lose, he would bring up the DREAM Act during lame duck session. This week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi threw her support behind Sen. Reid, also advocating for a DREAM vote during lame duck. The DREAM Act, an immigration bill that would provide legal status to young people who graduate from high school and pursue college or military service, failed to reach a vote this September after Senate Republicans blocked the Defense Authorization Act, the bill which carried the DREAM Act as an amendment. Now many immigration advocates are looking down the legislative road and say bringing DREAM to a vote during lame duck—when Democrats still have the House and Senate—is the bill’s best chance of becoming law.
According to the Arizona Republic:

If Reid can nudge the Dream Act through the Senate while Democrats are still in charge of the House, the bill has a real chance to become law, advocates say.

But it will be a tough fight, underscoring just how difficult it will be in the new Congress to reach consensus on the bigger, more complicated issue of reforming an immigration system that both sides say is broken.

Predictions for the 112th Congressional legislative agenda look as grim for immigration as they do for a lot of pressing issues. With Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) the likely Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) at the helm of the Subcommittee on Immigration, there’s likely little room for any real movement on immigration save a ‘round-the-clock immigration enforcement parade—that is, unless Speaker-elect John Boehner (R-OH) steps in.

For more click here.

Smith to push enforcement of immigrant laws

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, has criticized the Obama administration’s enforcement of immigration laws. EXPRESS-NEWS FILE PHOTO

The U.S. House of Representatives, with a Republican majority, will likely pursue enforcement-oriented immigration policies.

Immigration reform will be shelved for streamlined enforcement of current laws in the legislative priorities under a new Republican-controlled House, Rep. Lamar Smith said Tuesday.

“The enforcement of our immigration laws is critical to both our national security and economic prosperity. We need to know who is entering our country, and why,” the San Antonio Republican said.

Smith is expected to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in the next Congress. He laid out his potential priorities for the panel Tuesday.

He said the committee under his leadership would “enact policies that will better secure our border and discourage illegal immigration, human smuggling and drug trafficking.”

House Republicans are expected to select leaders and committee chiefs by mid-December.

Smith and other GOP leaders support Arizona in its crackdown on illegal immigration, and they oppose birthright citizenship and earned-citizenship proposals.

In addition to immigration enforcement, Smith said his committee would revisit plans to close the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention center, take up patent reform legislation, crack down on frivolous lawsuits and combat child pornography and exploitation.

For details about the playeres, etc., click here.

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