Saturday, February 2, 2008

Immigrant Crime in Texas

Dueling reports were discussed at a Texas hearing on criminality in the immigrant community. I've looked a the reports discussed, and the study by Ruben Rumbaut from UC Irvine is based on actual data, rather than anecdotes.

Dianne Solis writes in the The Dallas Morning News:

A public hearing Friday on immigrants in Texas jails and prisons shed light on holes in the criminal justice pipelines, state and local, and the lack of information on the legal status of those behind bars.
A sign cautioning people not to be disruptive was affixed to a door at Friday's public hearing at the University of Texas at Dallas, which was conducted by a pair of state House committees.

The Texas House Committee on Corrections and the Committee on County Affairs held the all-day hearing at the University of Texas at Dallas to attempt to determine:

•Whether the state has a problem in the prison system.

•What the dividing line is between state and federal authorities.

•The cost for people who are arrested and charged with felonies and convicted of felonies.

•Whether state agencies are coordinating with one another.

More than 200 people turned out Friday. And as expected, emotions ran high on illegal immigration and alleged racial profiling of Hispanics, amid readings of statistics and contradictory reports.

Some even questioned why the hearing – the first of several around the state – was held.

Others urged legislators not to be soft on crime committed by those in the U.S. illegally.

"Texas legislators must step up and become more accountable," said Jean Towell, president and co-founder of Dallas-based Citizens for Immigration Reform. Those in the U.S. illegally who have committed nonviolent crimes should not be given early release and they should be deported as well, Ms. Towell said.

"We must make Texas a safer place," she said.

Legislators were presented with two contradictory studies on crime and immigration. One study, co-authored by Ruben Rumbaut of the University of California at Irvine, looked at incarceration rates among young men and showed those rates to be the lowest for immigrants, even those who are the least educated.

Another, authored by Carl Horowitz, of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C., research center, said that criminal gangs with ties to immigrant communities are a problem "understated" in crime statistics and that immigrants are less likely to report crime, according to a presentation by one speaker.  Click here for the full story.


February 2, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

New York Electoral Profile

Interesting data on the electorate profile in New York:

The NALEO Educational Fund, the leading organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, has compiled an Electoral Profile for the 2008 New York Presidential Primary.  As a supporter of our organization, we want to continue to provide you with timely and relevant information to enhance your work on issues affecting Latino participation in our nation's civic life.  In the attached document you will find data on the Latino population and electorate in New York, and analysis regarding the potential impact of the Latino vote in the state.

To view the 2008 New York Presidential Primary Election Profile, please click here.

Arturo Vargas
Executive Director
NALEO Educational Fund


February 2, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 1, 2008

NCLR Calls for an End to Coded Hate Speech Bashing Latina/os/Immigrants


The N.Y. Times blog reports that the head of the country’s largest Latino civil rights organization called on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News to stop providing a forum for pundits who consistently disparage Latina/o immigrants. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) also asked Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to renounce the endorsement of Jim Gilchrist, a co-founder of the Minuteman Project.

Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington on Thursday, Janet Murguia, the NCLR president, said that anti-Latino remarks on the leading cable news networks are insulting. “It’s personal, it’s intolerable, and it has to end,” she said.

Besides contacting network executives and the Huckabee campaign, the NCLR has created a website to illustrate how disparaging language negatively affects race relations in America.  The site, We Can Stop the Hate, has a page on the use of code words in the immigration debate.  it includes the following:

When people acting as "experts” or “commentators” on the immigration debate demonize Latino immigrants, either legal or illegal, as a dangerous threat to American society or as subhuman and inherently inferior, they follow a tragic historical pattern which, time and again, has led to extreme civil rights abuses in American history. Such labels are used to justify extreme action, sometimes even genocide, since the people using those labels claim that the “larger public interest” is at risk. Further, if a group is widely accepted as “inhuman” or “inferior,” it allows the rest of society to suspend its normal standards of right and wrong in judging actions taken against the target group.

Race and Ethnicity

A remarkable number of commentators on immigration make explicitly race-based appeals, often accompanied by ethnic slurs or stereotypes.

War and Invasion

It is increasingly common for mainstream commentators to refer to the current immigration phenomenon as a "war" in which the U.S. is being "invaded." Frequent television commentator Pat Buchanan often spaks of an "invasion" of "illegal aliens."


A variant of this militaristic theme are references to "La Reconquista," an antiquated metaphor used by Chicano scholars in the 1960s to refer to a mythical "Aztlán," in the Southwest. Although it is difficult to find anyone in the Latino community outside of a few student groups or fringe groups that have ever espoused this idea, it appears to be gaining far more attention and notoriety in the context of the current immigration debate than it ever did as a scholarly doctrine.


References to Latino immigrants riddled with dangerous diseases are frequent.


Many commentators inaccurately suggest that immigrants in general, and Latino immigrants in particular, have a higher proclivity to commit crime.  CNN's Glenn Beck suggests that Mexicans come from an inherently lawless culture.

Economics and Welfare

There are numerous references in the debate to allegations that immigrants "steal jobs" from Americans and create other adverse economic consequences.


February 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Tensions in AZ

Miriam Jordan on the front page of today's The Wall Street Journal has a thoughtful article on the tensions that have flared in Arizona as a result of immigration.  A preview of her article "In Border Dispute: Arizona Seizes Spotlight In U.S. Immigration Debate --- State's Aggressive Stance Is Spurred by Newcomers; 'We're Being Overrun'" can be accessed at the link above.

I always wonder why the public's response to immigration varies so widely between Arizona and New Mexico (as well as California and Texas).


February 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Voters on Immigration

Immigration Daily has two stories today suggesting that -- as we have said often -- an enforcement-only approach to immigration will not help a Presidential candidate much with the voters.

A National Immigration Forum analysis of a recent CNN poll states "So pandering to the deportation-only crowd, in which Gov. Romney, Gov. Huckabee, and Sen. Thompson have all engaged in to varying degrees over the past several weeks, doesn't seem to deliver a win, even in a Republican primary." To read in full, see here.

Tamar Jacoby writes "The majority of voters - the 60 percent in the middle - are ambivalent and uncertain, undeniably anxious about the influx but also prepared to come to terms pragmatically with the 12 million illegal immigrants in the country."


February 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Release of "Made in L.A."

Announcing the release of the new film, "Made in L.A.", the focus of which is on immigration, labor, and sweatshops.

"Made in L.A."  is a film that follows the story of several immigrant women workers in Los Angeles as they embark on their three year legal battle with the garment industry to win basic labor protections from the large multinational corporation sourcing from the factories where they work. Following a series of earlier legal decisions, the appeals court ultimately reverses the decision of the district court, holding that garment workers have a right to sue retailers, who are indeed liable for infringements of labor laws by their subcontractors. More information on the film can be found on this website:

"Made in LA" serves as a powerful classroom tool and catalyst for classroom discussion on issues related to globalization and immigration, the outsourcing of production, labor rights, and women's resistance. This appears to be an important, and extremely relevant, new documentary.

Contact person:
Shawn Nichols
California Newsreel
500 Third Street, Suite 505
San Francisco, CA  94107
415- 284-7800, Ext. 304


February 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Valley Park, Missouri "Illegal Immigration Relief Act" Upheld

Water20tower Yesterday, U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber entered summary judgment for the city of Valley Park, Missouri and upheld a local ordinance denying business licenses to employers who hire undocumented immigrants. Judge Webber rejected the argument of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund challenging the ordinance.  Here is the order.  Download gray_13108.pdf   Here is the city's press release.

The ACLU issued this press release:

"Today a Missouri federal court upheld the City of Valley Park’s so-called “Illegal Immigration Relief Act” that unlawfully punishes business owners and employers who are suspected of hiring undocumented workers. The Act is the latest in a series of ordinances passed in Valley Park seeking to drive immigrants out of the City. After the first two of such laws were struck down by a Missouri state court in a separate lawsuit in March of last year, Valley Park, in an attempt to circumvent that court decision, enacted amended ordinances that punished employers and landlords for renting to or hiring undocumented immigrants. Valley Park decided to repeal the housing ordinance this past summer when faced with a lawsuit brought by a several landlords. The decision today addresses only the remaining employment ordinance.

The following can be attributed to ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project Director Lucas Guttentag: “This decision contradicts the other court rulings invalidating municipal ordinances and is at odds with the clear congressional mandate imposing a uniform federal immigration enforcement system. If every city and town across the country were allowed to enact its own immigration laws, we would end up with chaos and confusion causing discrimination and profiling against individuals based on their appearance, accent and ethnicity. The city’s attempt to force local employers to use a flawed federal database ignores the proven errors and inaccuracies in that system.”

The following can be attributed to Ricardo Meza, Midwest Regional Counsel for MALDEF: “Valley Park wisely abandoned its earlier attempt to deny housing based on suspected immigration status and should do the same with this discriminatory employment law. As Escondido, California and other cities that have rejected or repealed similar ordinances know, punishing immigrants is not only illegal but unwise. The real solution to the misguided concerns that lead localities to enact these ordinances is for Congress to fix the broken immigration system and adopt comprehensive immigration reform.”

Courts have struck down local anti-immigrant ordinances across the country. Cases include Lozano v. City of Hazleton in Hazelton, Pennsylvania; Garrett v. City of Escondido in Escondido, California; and Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch in Farmers Branch, Texas."

It looks like we may be seeing a conflict developing in the lower courts.  Might we see the Supreme Court address this issue in the future?

I do not mean to "play the race card" but here is an entry from Hispanic Tips about what the Valley Park Mayor had to say about immigrants in February 2007:

Whenever Valley Park Mayor Jeffery Whitteaker begins thinking about illegal immigration something he does quite often his mind fills with unpleasant visions of Mexicans pouring into town. “My main issue is overcrowding,” says Whitteaker, a boisterous good old boy who admires Bill Clinton (”He’s so good he could sell a blind man a pair of sunglasses”) and drives a truck for a local excavation company. “You got one guy and his wife that settle down here, have a couple kids, and before long you have Cousin Puerto Rico and Taco Whoever moving in. They say it’s their cousins, but I don’t really think they’re all related. You see fifteen cars in front of one house. That’s pretty suspicious.”  Source:

This article goes on to state:

"City attorneys warned Whitteaker not to discuss the case with Riverfront Times, for fear that he might use ethnic slurs. "Oh, they don't want me to say something that could be helpful to the other side," the mayor explains. Such as? "Oh, you know, like 'wetbacks' or 'beaners' or something." (emphasis added).

Whitteaker says the idea for the law came to him one morning last summer while listening to a radio-show interview with the mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, whose similar ordinance is the subject of an ongoing legal skirmish. "The problems they had in Hazleton, I seen the same thing here, just on a smaller scale," Whitteaker explains, citing public urination and driving without insurance. He dodges repeated requests for specific evidence as to how undocumented Mexicans have "destroyed" Valley Park, stressing only that the ordinance pertains to people of all ethnicities. "The key word," he maintains, "is 'illegal.' Why doesn't anybody get that?"" (emphasis added).

We can only wonder if race somehow influenced the passage of the Valley Park Illegal Immigration Relief Act?

Thanks to my friend Rigel Oliveri (Missouri-Columbia) for the tips about the background on the Valley Park ordinance.  She is working on a great paper looking at local immigration ordinances from a housing angle.


February 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

New Immigration Articles from SSRN

Here are some new immigration articles on

"Immigration Law, Race, and Identity" Annual Review of Law & Social Science, Vol. 3, December 2007 KITTY CALAVITA, University of California, Irvine

"Liars and Terrorists and Judges, Oh My: Moral Panic and the Symbolic Politics of Appellate Review in Asylum Cases" ERIC M. FINK, Elon University School of Law

"Gains from Green Cards: Immigrant Parents' Legal Status and Children's Scholastic Achievement" YING PAN, Brown University

"Who is the Citizen's Other? Considering the Heft of Citizenship" Theoretical Inquiries in Law, Vol. 8, pp. 333-366, 2007 AUDREY MACKLIN, University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

"The Securitization of Dual Citizenship" DUAL CITIZENSHIP IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE: FROM UNITARY TO MULTIPLE CITIZENSHIP, Thomas Faist, Peter Kivisto, eds., Palgrave, 2007 AUDREY MACKLIN, University of Toronto - Faculty of Law


February 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: Hyperborder

Check out Border Hyperborder: The Contemporary U.S./ Mexico Border and It's Future by Fernando Romero.

Here is a blurb:

Roving vigilantes, fear-mongering politicians, hysterical pundits, and the looming shadow of a seven hundred-mile-long fence: the US/Mexican border is one of the most complex and dynamic areas on the planet today. Hyperborder provides the most nuanced portrait yet of this dynamic region. Author Fernando Romero presents a multidisciplinary perspective informed by interviews with numerous academics, researchers, and organizations. Provocatively designed in the style of other kinetic large-scale studies like Rem Koolhaas's Content and Bruce Maus Massive Change, Hyperborder is an exhaustively researched report from the front lines of the border debate.

Hyperborder presents a contemporary perspective of the U.S.-Mexico border by discussing its present circumstances and provoking new thought for its future. Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, the book offers a comparative analysis of economic, political, cultural and social conditions on both sides of the border thus shedding light on the various issues that burden the region today. In an effort to address these current problems, Hyperborder presents scenarios that offer new approaches for an improved future of the U.S.-Mexico border. This investigation stemmed from a heightened awareness of the growing impact the U.S.-Mexico border has on the daily lives of Mexicans and Americans alike. Despite the current contrasting political and economic circumstances of the bordering countries, the increased levels of human, cultural and economic exchanges between the U.S. and Mexico are forging an unprecedented degree of interdependence: each nation’s future depends on that of the other. As it is the most active international divide in the world—indeed a hyperborder—it serves as a telling case study for the role played by borders in the global arena today and their potential influence on international relations, world economics, and living standards in the future.

About the Author Fernando Romero is the founder of Laboratory of Architecture (LAR), a Mexico City-based architecture firm established with the ambition of addressing contemporary society through a process of architectural translation and urban study. He worked as an architect in the office of Rem Koolhaas from 1996 to 1999 and has designed buildings around the world. Romero was born in Mexico City, where he currently resides.

And its a beautiful book with lots of cool pictures!


February 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Vanessa Branch (UK)

Celeb_poker_08_wenn1462623_2 Vanessa Lynn Branch (Born March 21, 1973 in London) is an actress, model, and Page Three girl. She is best known in North America as the Orbit Gum television commercial woman (whose catchphrase is "Fabulous!").

After graduating from Mercersburg Academy, a boarding school in Pennsylvania, Branch graduated from Middlebury College in 1994 and was Miss Vermont that year. She holds dual citizenship in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Branch has appeared in the television show "Lost." She also can be seen in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, playing Giselle. Branch also appeared in a Star Trek: Voyager episode.

In June 2006, Vanessa worked on an ad for Orbit Gum that introduced two new flavors. Lemon-Lime, and Crystal Mint. This ad was done in conjunction with Snoop Dogg.


February 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Obama. Clinton Spar on Immigration in California Debate

160pxobamabarack 160pxhillary_rodham_clinton In Los Angeles last night, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had their last debate before Super Tuesday.  With the last two Democratic candidates being an African American and a woman, it was historic debate, to say the least.  In the end, the debate did not include much in the way of fireworks as both candidates behaved in a calm, diplomatic, leader-like fashion.

There was some discuission of immigration, which is an especially important issue to many in California.  The responses were not too surprising but offer some food for thought.

The candidates were posed a question on immigration from a voter in Burnsville, Minnesota: "There's been no acknowledgement by any of the presidential candidates of the negative economic impact of immigration on the African-American community. How do you propose to address the high unemployment rates and the declining wages in the African-American community that are related to the flood of immigrant labor?"

Of course, this is a potentially explosive issue that could have led in many directions, especially by those who would want to sensationalize Black/brown tensions.    Here is Senator Obama's response: 

SEN. OBAMA: Well, let me first of all say that I have worked on the streets of Chicago as an organizer, with people who've been laid off from steel plants -- black, white, Hispanic, Asian -- and all of them are feeling economically insecure right now, and they have been for many years. Before the latest round of immigrants showed up, you had huge unemployment rates among African-American youth. And so I think to suggest somehow that the problem that we're seeing, in inner city unemployment for example, is attributable to immigrants, I think, is a case of scapegoating that I do not believe in, I do not subscribe to. (emphasis added).

This response generated applause from the audience.

When asked about driver's license eligibility for undocumented immigrants -- another issue ripe to cause conflict, Senator Obama, who has remained consistent in his position favoring licensing all drivers on our roads, responded:

"There are those who were opposed to this issue and there have been those who have flipped on the issue and have run away from the issue. This wasn't directed particularly at Senator Clinton, but the fact of the matter is, I have stood up consistently on this issue. On the driver's license issue, I don't actually want -- I don't believe that we're going to have to deal with this if we have comprehensive immigration reform because, as I said before, people don't come here to drive, they come here to work. (Applause.) And if we have signed them up -- if they have -- if we have registered them, if they have paid a fine, if they are learning English, if they are going to the back of the line, if we fix our legal immigration system, then I believe we will not have this problem of undocumented workers in this country because people will be able to actually go on pathway to citizenship. That, I think, is the right approach for African-Americans, I think it's the right approach for Latinos, I think it's the right approach for white workers here in the United States as well. (Applause.) (emphasis added).

To be fair, Senator Clinton sounded pretty even-handed in her call for comprehensive immigration reform and made an admission that none of the remaining Republican candidates would be willing to make:

SEN. CLINTON: If you want to round up and deport people, how many tens of thousands of federal law enforcement officials would that take? And how much authority would they have to be given to knock on every door of every business and every home? I don't think Americans would stand for that, so we have to get realistic and practical about this.  (emphasis added).

This sounds much more generorous than Senator Clinton's reported comments earlier in the week about the deportation of "criminal aliens."  It also stands in contrast to President Bill Clinton's very "tough on immigrant measures" in the 1990s.


February 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

A Blast from the Past: The Need for Immigration Reform to Prevent the Spread of Communism?

Robert Gittleson writes provacatively on one reason for immigration reform that is not frequently raised:  "One of the more controversial theories that I've floated on the subject of comprehensive immigration reform has been my hypothesis that anti-reform proponents would be alarmed to discover that an unforeseen, (by them), consequence of the mass deportation or attrition of millions of undocumented immigrants, would be to bolster communism in Latin America."  Check out his article    "The International Implications of Immigration Reform: Keeping Latin American Communism at Bay" at here.


February 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bilingualism and Immigrant Children

This looks like an interesting paper/presentation relevant to the education needs of immigrant children:

Bilingualism for the Children? Dual-Language Programs under Restrictive Language Policies

April Linton
Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of California, San Diego; Visiting Research Fellow, CCIS

Tuesday, February 5, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Eleanor Roosevelt College Administration Building
Conference Room 115, First Floor
Reception to follow

This paper employs qualitative data from twelve school districts to explore dual-language educators' and parents' responses to California Proposition 227 and Massachusetts Question 2.  Both laws severely restrict "bilingual" programs in which teachers use a child's native language to help them transition to reading, writing, and speaking in English.  The Massachusetts statute specifically mentions two-way bilingual programs as a possible option for parents who choose to waiver their children out of English immersion, but it certainly does not promote them. What has motivated the maintenance and further initiation of dual-language programs despite restrictive language policies?  And to what ends?  Following a description of Proposition 227 and Question 2 and their passage, we discuss how education professionals and parents have reacted to these laws, and the reasons why we now observe English immersion policies in some districts whereas in others, restrictive language policies have not impeded the establishment of more dual-language programs.

April Linton's current research topics include immigrant incorporation in the United States and global links between trade, development, and the environment. Her recent publications include "A Critical Mass Model of Bilingualism among US-Born Hispanics" (Social Forces 2004), ""A Taste of Trade Justice: Marketing Global Social Responsibility via Fair Trade Coffee" (Globalizations 2005), and "Dual-Language Education in the Wake of California Proposition 227: Five Cases" (Intercultural Education 2007).

Center for Comparative Immigration Studies
9500 Gilman Drive
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0548


January 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tax Information for Immigrants

Lipman_f Professor Francine Lipman (Chapman) has again offered this blog a great reference.  If you go to, select Legal Information and other Resources for Iowans, select Work then Taxes you will see a on a number of immigrant tax topics including ITINs, filling out W-4s, Top Ten Tax Tips for Immigrants. These are also all available in Spanish.

As April 15 gets closer by the day, this information will be all the more useful and necessary.



January 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Another Slavery Conviction: A Sign of the Times

As we have reported on this blog, slavery has been on the upswing in recent years.  Earlier this week, ICE announced that a woman was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to holding her Filipino domestic worker in forced labor  An investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Labor uncovered the crime. According to the ICE press release, ii 2001, Elizabeth Jackson arranged to have the victim brought to the United States. After the woman arrived, Jackson confiscated her passport and forced her to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week for less than $400 per month. From 2001 to 2002, Jackson used intimidation and repeated threats of deportation to keep the victim from leaving without permission. Also in federal court today, James Jackson, Elizabeth Jackson's husband, was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and assessed a fine of $5,000 for harboring the Filipino woman in the couple's Culver City, Calif., home.

On the subject of slavery, Professor MARIA ONTIVEROS (USF) wrote an interesting article that offers a Thirteenth Amendment analysis of "guest worker programs." In these visa programs, non-United States citizens may come to work in the United States for a limited period of time. Under most of these programs, the worker must leave if they get fired or quit. The article offers a historical perspective of agricultural guest worker programs from 1770 through today and concludes that poorly crafted guest worker programs may violate the Thirteenth Amendment.   To see the article, click here.


January 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

REAL ID a Pain for the States

The REAL ID Act mandates federal standards for driver's licenses.  Some states have complained about the costs and headaches of the mandatory federal standards.  According to  the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,

"About 800,000 Wisconsinites will have to renew their driver's licenses early if they want to use them to board airplanes under a federal anti-terrorism law requiring more secure IDs, according to the state Department of Transportation." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 29, 2008. The federal Real ID law requires that the new IDs and licenses be issued by December 2014 to people who have not turned 50 by then, but thousands of already-issued licenses don't expire until after that time. Those drivers will have to come in early to get the federally sanctioned IDs if they want to use them to get on an airplane or enter a federal courthouse. Most licenses in Wisconsin are good for eight years. "This really is a program that the federal government foisted on the states without any input from the states, just said this is a good idea, you guys go do it," Gov. Jim Doyle said Tuesday. "There are huge decisions to be made.""


January 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration in Super Tuesday States

Thanks to the Immigration Policy Center for this message on the possible effect of immigration issues in the primaries being held next week:

The impact of Latinos and immigrants in the voting booths and on state coffers will get increased attention as "Super Tuesday" approaches.  Poll after poll shows that a candidate's stand on immigration and the tone of the immigration debate are important to Latinos.  Florida's Republican primary is a perfect example.  The winner, Sen. John McCain, supports immigration reform; his major opponent, Gov. Mitt Romney, supports deportation-only policies. McCain easily won in Florida, and election analysts credit Latinos with the win.  The Arizona senator got 54% of the Republican Latino vote; Romney got only 14%.  All year, many candidates have tried to win elections by taking anti-immigration positions.  And all year, they have lost.

Beyond the voting booth, there are vigorous arguments over whether immigrants cost or contribute. Restrictionists argue that immigrants are bad for the state economy, but the facts prove otherwise.  Study after study documents the economic contributions of immigrants in "Super Tuesday" states.  A recent report from the Americas Majority Foundation shows that states with large immigrant populations have stronger economic health.   

Latinos Can Have a Big Impact in States with Small Margins: According to NALEO, Latinos constitute 14.2 % of the electorate in Arizona, 17.3 % in California, 5.3 % in Illinois, 8.1 % in New Jersey, 33.8 % in New Mexico, and 8.7 % in New York.
Bigger and Bigger Buying Power:  "Super Tuesday" states, California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Georgia are eight of the top ten states in terms of Hispanic buying power.  Arkansas ranks number one in growth in Hispanic buying power, followed closely by Tennessee, Georgia, and Minnesota.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 734,227 Asian-owned businesses and 851,250 Hispanic-owned businesses in the 24 "Super Tuesday" states.

Healthy States and Immigration Rates: A 2008 study by the conservative Americas Majority Foundation found that the 10 states with the highest percentage of immigrants, including "Super Tuesday" states, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, experienced the highest Growth State Product. The study found that a large immigrant population and recent increases in immigrant population are associated with elevated levels and growth rates in gross state product, personal income, per capita personal income, disposable income, per capita disposable income, median household income, and median per capita income.

Economic Impact Assessed: Below is a snapshot of some of the recent research on the impact of immigrants in a handful of "Super Tuesday" states.

    * Arizona: A 2007 study by the University of Arizona's Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy concluded that "the total state tax revenue attributable to immigrant workers was an estimated $2.4 billion-even balanced against estimated fiscal costs the net 2004 fiscal impact of immigrants in Arizona was positive by about $940 million."
    * Arkansas: A 2007 study by the Urban Institute found that "...without immigrant labor, the output of the state's manufacturing industry would likely be lowered by about $1.4 billion-or about 8 percent of the industry's $16.2 billion total contribution to the gross state product in 2004."
    * New York: A 2007 study by the Fiscal Policy Institute concludes that New York's immigrants are responsible for $229 billion in economic output in New York State or 22.4 percent of the total New York State GDP.
    * Georgia:  A 2006 study by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute estimated that an average undocumented family in Georgia contributes between $2,340 and $2,470 in state and local sales, income, and property taxes combined.

Contact: Tim Vettel
202-742-5608 (ofc), 202-281-0780 (cell)


January 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

A Nice Story from the South

From the L.A. TimesJose Luis Gutierrez, the mayor of a suburb of Mexico City, has declared Ecatepec a "sanctuary" for the undocumented immigrants from Central America who pass through here each day. He has ordered his police officers and city officials not to arrest, extort or otherwise harass the migrants. He's also ordered them not to cooperate with Mexican immigration agents.

One might wonder why this Mexican mayor feels strongly enough about migrants to declare his city a sanctuary.  "mmigration is a deeply personal issue for him, Gutierrez said. One of his cousins has lived in the Los Angeles area, "without papers," for 10 years. "We were raised together by our grandmother," Gutierrez said. Because his cousin is in the U.S. illegally, he hasn't been able to return to Mexico and the two men haven't seen each other in a decade. "All those people who have gone to the north are our blood," the mayor said."


January 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Heath Ledger (Australia)

260pxheath_ledger Born in Perth, Western Australia, Heathcliff Andrew Ledger (1979–2008) was an Academy Award-nominated actor. After appearing in television roles in the 1990s, Ledger starred in film, including 10 Things I Hate About You, The Patriot, Monster's Ball, A Knight's Tale, and Brokeback Mountain, and completed the role of the Joker in the forthcoming Batman movie The Dark Knight shortly before his death.

In 2001, Ledger won a ShoWest Award for the Male Star of Tomorrow based on his performance in The Patriot. In 2003, he was named one of Australian GQ's Men of the Year for acting. Ledger received "Best Actor of 2005" awards from both the New York Film Critics Circle and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle for his acclaimed performance in Brokeback Mountain, in which he plays Wyoming ranch hand Ennis Del Mar, who has a love affair with aspiring rodeo rider Jack Twist, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. He also received a nomination for Golden Globe Best Actor in a Drama and a nomination for Academy Award for Best Actor for this performance. At age 26, Ledger became one of the youngest performers ever nominated for the Best Actor Oscar.  In 2006, he was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Ledger died thousands of miles from home, but like hundreds of other entertainers who came before him, he left his native land to carve out a career in Hollywood. In doing so, the actor, who died last week in New York City of undetermined causes, joined a long list of expatriate entertainers that includes Spain's Antonio Banderas, Canada's Mike Myers and even the man who paid tribute to Ledger at Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Englishman Daniel Day-Lewis.


January 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The following is a statement released today by Douglas Rivlin, Communication Director of the National Immigration Forum, a non-partisan, pro-immigrant advocacy group in Washington:

"Based on exit polls provided by CNN, which included questions about immigration and ethnicity, the results of the Florida primary are further evidence that the immigration issue is not shaping up to be the wedge issue some had hoped it would be. In fact, the deportation-only approach favored by many candidates seems to be more of a liability than an asset. The exit polls show that the deportation-only approach to immigration was favored by a minority of Republican voters (40%), with the majority (58%) selecting either a temporary legal status (29%) or a path to citizenship (29%) for immigrants in the country illegally. Gov. Romney captured 38% of these deportation-only voters, compared to Sen. McCain’s 26%. Meanwhile, Sen. McCain captured a majority of the majority of voters who selected temporary or permanent legal status for immigrants here illegally. Similarly, Gov. Romney won among Republicans who identified immigration as their number one issue (43% to McCain’s 25%), but these voters were only 16% of the Republican electorate. So pandering to the deportation-only crowd, in which Gov. Romney, Gov. Huckabee, and Sen. Thompson have all engaged in to varying degrees over the past several weeks, doesn’t seem to deliver a win, even in a Republican primary. The flip-side – the harm a deportation-only approach does to a candidate – also shines through in the Florida results. While Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney split the non-Latino Republican vote (33%-33%), Sen. McCain had a big edge among Latino Republicans, winning both Cuban Republicans (54% to Romney’s 8%) and non-Cuban Latino Republicans (53% to Romney’s 21%). These results are from just one state, albeit an important one, but they lend further evidence to what we have been saying about harsh anti-immigration positions in an electoral context. The benefits to a candidate of a strict deportation-only approach to immigration are practically non-existent, while the downside with the fastest growing group of American voters – Hispanics – of wanting to deport their families and neighbors can be decisive."


January 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)