Thursday, July 25, 2013

Immigration Article of the Day: The Effect of Immigration on Entrepreneurship by Yaron Zelekha

The Effect of Immigration on Entrepreneurship by Yaron Zelekha Ono Academic College August 2013 Kyklos, Vol. 66, Issue 3, pp. 438-465, 2013

Abstract: This research focuses on the impact of immigration on entrepreneurship. I find clear evidence that immigration has a significant impact on entrepreneurship. The paper makes three important contributions to the research of both immigration and entrepreneurship. First, it proposes unique empirical evidence using a cross‐section analysis in which the country's level of immigrants has a significantly positive affect on its level of entrepreneurship. Second, it adds to the theoretical understanding of the mechanisms and environments that characterize positive immigration effects on entrepreneurship. I suggest that country‐specific characteristics – in particular urban, open, competitive and culturally diversified (including open minded for ethnic and gender diversity) – influence significantly the positive effect of immigrants on the country's level of entrepreneurship. Furthermore, these positive effects are magnified as the flow of immigrants grows. Third, it uses for the first time in the literature a cross‐section data set of 176 countries of immigrants and entrepreneurial activity.


July 25, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Villas at Parkside v. Farmers Branch and Varied Immigration Preemption Analyses

As Dean Kevin Johnson blogged yesterday, the 5th Circuit held en banc in Villas at Parkside v. City of Farmers Branch that the city's Ordinance 2952 conflicts with federal immigration law and is thus preempted. (Download Fb_en_banc_decision).

Those who are familiar with the case know that Farmers Branch Ordinance 2952 exemplifies the extent to which property, immigration and criminal law intersect.  (AALS recently hosted a workshop on the intersection of property and immigration law). Ordinance 2952 required individuals to obtain a license before renting an apartment or single-family housing.  Under the ordinance, individuals declare whether they are US citizens or nationals; those who do not become subject to inquiries by the city in which the city's building inspector verifies with the federal government whether the individual is lawfully present in the US. Those individuals whom the federal government reports are present in the US lawfully lose their occupancy license.  Ordinance 2952 also criminalized persons for renting housing without an occupancy license and landlords from knowingly renting housing to persons without a housing license. Additionally, Ordinance 2952 established judicial review of the revocation of licenses.

There were several opinions issued in this case and each offered a different preemption analysis. I summarize a few of them here (primarily the majority and concurring opinions) and hope to blog some more about the other opinions later.

Judge Higginson, writing for the majority in Villas at Parkside v. City of Farmers Branch, relies primarily on conflict preemption to opine that Ordinance 2952 is preempted. (Judge Higginson majority opinion was joined by Chief Judge Stewart, Davis, Southwick, and Haynes). In particular, Judge Higginson wrote that Ordinance 2952 conflicts with 8 USC 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii), the federal anti-harboring law, which makes it a felony to "harbor, shield or conceal" an undocumented noncitizen. The court noted that the federal anti-harboring law has been interpreted to mean that "something is being hidden from detection." By contrast, Ordinance 2952 does not require a landlord to know or recklessly disregard a renter's violation of federal immigration law or to shield a renter from detection. Indeed, the majority commented that by criminalizing a landord's decision to rent to a removable noncitizen, Ordinance 2952 obstructs the federal anti-harboring law, which requires removable noncitizens to provide the federal government with a reliable address "to guarantee and speed the removal process." Additionally, the court emphasized other ways in which Ordinance 2952 conflicts with the federal anti-harboring law, including the fact that the federal government has sole authority under the federal statute to prosecute, convict and sentence violators of the law.  Moreover, the judicial review of the revocation of occupancy licenses (which would have included a determination of whether the occupant is lawfully present in the US) conflicted with the sole authority of federal government to "classify noncitizens."

Interestingly, Judge Higginson wrote a separate special concurrence in which he expresses the view that the ordinance was not field preempted.  He explained that, "the Ordinance regulates the ability of non-citizens to obtain rental housing, and Congress has not determined that housing of non-citizens falls within its exclusive authority."  That is, there was no specific "ousting" of historic police powers in this case. (He then cites in a footnote an article that I co-wrote with Pratheepan Gulasekaram in 2009, Sanctuary Policies & Immigration Federalism: A Dialectic Analysis, to note the complexity of applying Decanas v. Bica, 424 U.S. 351 (1976), in "sub-federal immigration regulation.")

Judge Reavley (joined by Judge Graves) concurred only in the judgment. Judge Reavley's opinion focused on field preemption.  He explained that Congress's "framework for removal provided in the INA and the discretion allowed by that framework show that Congress has occupied the field of alien removal."  What is particularly noteworthy from my perspective about Judge Reavley's opinion is that he pointed out the anti-Latino and anti-immigrant purpose of the Ordinance. He stated that "ordinance is surely offensive to immigrants and to our neighbors to the south" and noted that his "colleagues are silent about this." Indeed, he commented that the ordinance reminiscent of the "anti-Japanese fever" that existed in the 1940s. (To be sure, these comments fall squarely more under an equal protection analysis instead of preemption analysis).

Judge Dennis, joined by Judge Reavley, Prado and Graves, wrote that the "Ordinance is even more fundamentally flawed than" the majority acknowledged. Specifically, Judge Dennis opined that the the Ordinance was "preempted in all of its core provisions" (and not just the criminal offense and judicial review provisions of the Ordinance). Judge Dennis further stated the "regulat[ion of] the residence of noncitizens within the United States" is necessarily exclusive of infringement by state or local legislation."  

Overall, the foregoing opinions underscore the different views about the application of the preemption doctrine in immigration law. I'll blog about the other opinions in a later post.


July 24, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: Blueprint for an ‘All-In Nation’

All-in nation

Today the Center for American Progress and PolicyLink released the new book All-In Nation, which lays the groundwork for federal policies that would create a more equitable economy and a more equitable nation. The book examines the impact of the increasing racial and ethnic diversity of America, and lays out a progressive policy agenda in key areas: infrastructure; jobs and the economy; health care and healthy communities; education and workforce development; immigration; criminal justice; and democratic participation.

Each policy chapter is introduced with a relevant personal essay written by a public figure, among them renowned educator Geoffrey Canada, jurist Michelle Alexander, and actress America Ferrera. The book’s contributors also include Marian Wright Edelman, Ai-jen Poo, Gov. Ed Rendell, Dr. Robert Ross, and Lawrence Summers. Together they represent a spectrum of issues and settings—from the streets to the halls of government and philanthropy to the ivory tower, along with a full range of wisdom, experience, and perspective that can lead to a stronger America.

All-In Nation includes a new analysis by economist Robert Lynch showing that if racial and ethnic income gaps were closed:

• Our gross domestic product would be about $1.2 trillion higher per year

• We would have about $192 billion more in federal, state, and local tax revenues

• 13 million people would be lifted out of poverty

All-In Nation is available for free in PDF format.

July 24, 2013 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Border Deaths in Arizona



In a 9-5 ruling, an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit struck down an immigration enforcement ordinance passed by Farmers Branch, Texas that would have prohibited landlords from renting to immigrants who were deemed unlawfully present and authorized arrest and prosecution of landlords and tenants found in violation of the law. A panel of the Fifth CIrcuit had previously struck down the ordinance before the court granted en banc review.

Under the ordinance, all prospective renters would have been required to provide information about their immigration status and obtain a rental license from the city building inspector, who would be responsible for determining immigration status. The ordinance was never allowed to take effect, as federal courts have blocked its implementation before it reached the en banc Fifth Circuit.

Beginning in 2006, the City of Farmers Branch, Texas passed a series of housing ordinances designed to prevent undocumented immigrants from being able to rent apartments or homes. The ordinances were part of an effort to drive immigrants from the city by making life as difficult as possible. Each of the ordinances has been blocked by the federal courts as the result of litigation brought by MALDEF, the ACLU, and the ACLU of Texas.

In its ruling, the court said the Farmers Branch ordinance was unconstitutional because it conflicted with federal immigration law. The court based its holding on guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2012 invalidating provisions of Arizona’s S.B. 1070. The Fifth Circuit emphasized that allowing city “officers to arrest an individual whom they believe to be not lawfully present would allow the [city] to achieve its own immigration policy and could be unnecessary harassment of some aliens … whom federal officials determine should not be removed.”

As an opinion concurring in the decision noted, because the “purpose and effect” of the ordinance was “the exclusion of Latinos from the city of Farmers Branch,” “legislation of [this] type is not entitled to wear the cloak of constitutionality.”

Nine judges held the ordinance unconstitutional, while only five judges would have upheld it.

Attorneys who are working on the case include Nina Perales, Marisa Bono, and Thomas A. Saenz of MALDEF; Omar Jadwat, Jennifer Chang Newell, and Lucas Guttentag of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project; and Rebecca Robertson of the ACLU of Texas.


July 23, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Michele Bachmann on Voting by Legalized Immigrants


"The president … by executive order" could grant voting rights to illegal immigrants who are newly legalized under pending legislation, according to Michele Bachmann in a recent interview with World Net Daily.  Always the provocateur, Bachman is not alwys correct on the facts, which in this instance is especially important because there are frequent clains by Republicans that immigrants are unlawfully voting. 

Louis Jacobson on concludes that "Bachmann is wrong."


July 23, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Response to Alberto Gonzales on Same Sex Marriage under the Immigration Laws

Gary Endelman and Cyrus D. Mehta comment on the argument by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and David Strange in an op/ed in the New York Times that the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013), which struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional, does not make it clear that sex spouses may be entitled to immigration benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act.  The Obama administration, including the BIA, disagrees with Gonzales and Strange.


July 22, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Biden: Immigration Reform is about Public Safety

Understanding that CIR is about promoting community policing, Vice President Biden has spoken out in favor of reform.

From CBS News:

Meeting with law enforcement officials on Friday, Vice President Joe Biden repeatedly emphasized that immigration reform is a "public safety issue," saying the Senate's immigration bill would greatly strengthen border security and empower law enforcement officials. He called on the House of Representatives to "step up" and pass its own bill.

"This is a public safety issue," he said, pounding the table in front of him with each word to emphasize his point. "Immigration reform is going to make our communities safer and make these guys' job much easier," he added, nodding at the law enforcement officials assembled in the room.

The vice president emphasized the "unprecedented $46 billion dollars" the Senate allocated to strengthen border security, including more manpower, new technology, and new infrastructure, including an expanded border fence.

But "it extends beyond just dealing with border security," he continued, "by requiring all undocumented immigrants to come forward and register, submit to fingerprints, pass criminal background checks and a national security check."

By bringing those people out of the shadows, Biden said, law enforcement officials will finally be able to address problems among undocumented communities [unreported crimes and even domestic abuse] that too often go unreported due to a suspicion of authorities. Click here....


July 21, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Obama: We Should be Proud of Latino Immigration

From the Daily Caller:

President Barack Obama’s 2014 campaign team is spotlighting his emotional pitch to Latino voters, saying “our increasing Latino population should be a source of pride and strength.”

The Thursday tweet by Organizing For America showcased Obama’s statement from an interview with the Spanish-language Telemundo network.

“We know that 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now, there are going to be more people of Latino heritage here in the United States, and that should be a source of pride and a source of strength,” he told Telemundo’s Denver anchor, Maria Rozmán.

The interview was one of four that Obama did July 16 with Spanish-language TV shows to help build support for the controversial immigration rewrite that would double immigration to add 46 million immigrants to the country by 2033.

The praise for large-scale Latino immigration is the flip-side of Obama’s repeated suggestions that GOP opposition to low-skill immigration shows disrespect for Latinos and Latino culture.

That angle is also highlighted by amnesty-supporting pollsters. “Only 29 percent of Latinos felt the Republican Party ‘respects the Latino community’ while 67 percent said they did not,” according to a July survey by Latino Decisions.

Obama’s praise for the increased diversity caused by Latino migration reflects many progressives’ preference for creating cultural and social variety in place of the broadly-held social consensus that has evolved in many mostly-white suburban and rural communities. Read more...


July 21, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Michigan Joins Other States in Allowing Undocumented Residents and Veterans Pay In-State Fees at the University of Michigan

Joining others states, including California, the Regents of the University of Michigan voted to establish in-state tuition rates for undocumented residents of the state and all veterans regardless of residence.  Under the previous policy, undocumented immigrants living in the state of Michigan were automatically considered out-of-state students. Now all residents of Michigan will enjoy in-state tuition rates.


July 20, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

President Obama: "Trayvon Martin could have been me"


President Barack Obama gave a historic speech on Friday in an attempt to put the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case in context and offering the perspective of African Americans (and an African American President) in the United States. The President's comments have generated wide differences of opinion (including a response from Zimmerman's defense team), which should not be surprising given how deep the racial divide is in modern American society.  If you doubt the racial divisions in our society, look at some of the comments on the Youtube video of the President's remarks.

As the New York Times editorial board put it,"It is a great thing for this country to have a president who could do what Mr. Obama did on Friday. It is sad that we still need him to do it."




July 20, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Drone That Killed My Grandson

Read this powerful New York Times op/ed about the realities of drone warfare.


July 19, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Making Of America at the NCLR Conference

Watch live streaming video from nclrannualconference at

Watch this event LIVE on 7/21 at 1:30pm CST


July 19, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

House "Gang of Seven" Close to a Deal on Reform

Greg Sargent, blogging for the Washington Post

The bipartisan “gang of seven” group of House members negotiating over immigration is closing in on a plan that would include a path to citizenship, but would impose new triggers on citizenship — and new conditions on the initial legal status the undocumented would enjoy — that would put the bill significantly to the right of the Senate effort.

The details on the emerging plan — which were shared with me by an aide to one of the members of the gang — are important, because the tougher conditions it will impose could give some House Republicans a way to embrace comprehensive reform, at a time when many conservatives are still insisting on a “piecemeal” approach or are opposing any action at all. At the same time, it could conceivably be acceptable to some Dems and immigration advocates, too.

More broadly, the emerging plan could provide a test case, or an opportunity, for GOP leaders — such as John Boehner and Paul Ryan — to show they are prepared to lead on immigration by putting their weight behind a compromise proposal that has plenty both sides don’t like, and selling it to their caucus. The hope is it could be difficult for Republican leaders to flatly turn down this compromise if leading Latino Democrats — such as Reps. Luis Gutierrez and Xavier Becerra, both members of the gang — are willing to accept something to the right of the Senate bill on their side.

Here are the details, shared with me by the aide:

* The new plan would take the provisional legal status and right to work granted to the undocumented at the outset and reconfigure it as “probation.” The plan would require undocumented immigrants to admit having broken U.S. laws and admit guilt (in a civil sense), and enter into a probationary phase, during which they’d have very similar legal rights to the ones they would have under the provisional legal status in the Senate bill.

This concession is designed to help Republicans embrace comprehensive reform. It is meant to give Republicans a response to the charge of “amnesty” — the claim that a path to citizenship will reward lawbreakers — by instead requiring the undocumented to take themselves out of the shadows, admit wrongdoing, and put themselves on a species of probation.

* The plan would put in place a new trigger involving E-Verify that would be required to end that period of “probation.” The plan would stipulate that E-Verify — the system to allow businesses to determine eligibility to work in the U.S. — must be fully operational after five years. If it isn’t, all of those on probation would lose that status and revert to illegal status. This is significantly tougher than the Senate bill, which requires E-Verify to be operational for the path to citizenship to be set in motion, but would not revoke provisional legal status if it isn’t operational.

And so this, too, is meant as a way for Republicans who say they want “hard triggers” to support citizenship. This is a hard trigger. And as many immigration advocates argue, it would be a “hard trigger” that directly impacts the border. After all, the thinking goes, if it’s harder for undocumented immigrants to get jobs (as E-Verify is designed to accomplish), they will be far less likely to take the risk of entering the country illegally.

However, at the same time, if E-Verify is operational after five years, undocumented immigrants would at that point leave the “probationary” stage and enter into a temporary legal phase for another five years. At the end of this they would be able to apply for a green card, putting them on a path to citizenship that would end five years later (a total of 15 years).

I was unable to determine who gets to say whether E-Verify is fully operational. But experts following this debate fully expect there to be no problems with getting it to that point in only several years. Indeed, while the above provisions may strike some on the left as onerous, immigration advocates might be able to accept them, albeit grudgingly. That’s because this is a far more achievable trigger than the border security triggers some Republicans (such as John Cornyn) want — while it simultaneously deprives Republicans of another argument (no triggers!!!) against accepting citizenship.

“This House bill is to the right of the Senate bill — the hard trigger on E-Verify will give progressives conniptions and may well even split them,” Frank Sharry, the head of the pro-immigration America’s Voice, tells me. “But if Republicans can garner significant support for the legalization and citizenship in exchange, it will be hard for Democrats and reformers to say No, because the trigger is achievable. It might be the makings of a deal.”

I’m also told that haggling continues, because some Republicans on the gang of seven are still pushing for border triggers to be added to the bill. Thus far, however, Dems have held off that push, and the above could be what the final bill ends up looking like.

Ultimately, what this is all about is finding a way for House Republicans to get to conference negotiations with a bill that includes a path to citizenship. There is no telling whether a majority of House Republicans can bring themselves to embrace the above outline. But the thinking among Dems on the gang of seven is that even if this framework is much more onerous than the Senate bill, it provides at least a chance that Republicans will end up supporting something with citizenship in it. And getting to conference with a package that includes citizenship is preferable to the alternative, because it increases the chances of a good bill at the end.


July 19, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Limits on Attorney Use of Immigration Status in Washington

AP reports that person’s legal status in the country can’t be used in civil cases by attorneys to intimidate or coerce under a new rule approved by the Washington Supreme Court last week. The Court amended the Rules of Professional Conduct that attorneys licensed in the state must follow  Members of the Latino/a Bar Association of Washington had seen attorneys and, in some cases, judges discuss a person’s legal status in the country openly in court to intimidate.


July 18, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Baldemar Velásquez on the Need for ‘Freedom Visas’



Farmworker advocate Baldemar Velásquez tells Bill Moyers that we should treat the labor market like a commodity — allowing it to move freely over national borders with what he calls “freedom visas.” He also points out that — thanks in part to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — U.S. trade policy has displaced millions of Mexican corn farmers, encouraging them to look for opportunities in America. “We complain about these same guys coming over our border now,” Velásquez says. “If you want them to stop coming over, it’d be a good idea, but maybe we should stop displacing them, so they wouldn’t have to come here in the first place.”


July 18, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Senate Confirms New Secretary of Labor

Tom perez

The U.S. Senate voted today to confirm Thomas E. Perez as labor secretary, not long after senators reached a confirmation deal to avert changing the chamber’s rules. The Senate confirmed Perez on a party-line vote, 54-46.

Perez is the graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School. After working you years in government, President Barack Obama in 2009 nominated Perez to be Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.   On March 18, 2013, Perez was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the United States Secretary of Labor, replacing outgoing Secretary Hilda Solis.

As head of the Civil Rights Division, Perez aggressively defended civil rights, including of Latinos and immigrants.


July 18, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Blogging from Prague #7

Shifting away from the European continent in a study of comparative immigration policies leads to interesting contrasts. For example, who would think of China as being an immigrant-receiving nation? China has long been a country of emigrants. But today, even China has undocumented immigration challenges. Since the 1980s, a phenomenon of “foreign laborers” has drawn the attention of officials. Individuals enter China surreptitiously becoming engaged in an underground or grey economy and finding occupations in a variety of arenas—including as performers in night clubs and other entertainment enterprises to attract local residents.

With China’s application to reenter the World Trade Organization in the late 1990s, changes had to be made China’s approach on immigration. So major changes, especially in 2004, have led to permanent resident status for immigrant without residency limitations.

China admits refugees as well. In September 1982, China became a signatory to the UN 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, agreeing to assume international obligations and provide asylum for those with refugee status. Since then, close to half million refugees have been accepted—mainly ethnic Chinese from Indochina, but also significant numbers of ethnic Koreans from the border with North Korea.

Australia’s long and sordid history with race and immigration continues to experience some tumult. As is well known, Australia’s assimilationist policies have resulted in the suppression and disruption of Aboriginal culture and the annihilation of a large proportion of the Aboriginal  population. Australia’s race and ethnic relations had been based on the assumption of British racial and cultural superiority (that’s why Australia showed a strong preference for British immigrants and selected European countries). Fear of Asian immigration resulted in clear quotas that left Asians out.

In 1973, the white Australia policy was repealed and ethnic discrimination clauses removed from immigration requirements. But much of this was challenged immediately, with the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 and a backlash against undocumented boat people from Southeast Asia. In fact, 9/11 didn’t help either. Indefinite detention is used as a deterrent to asylum seekers---a dark side of Australia immigration policy for sure. Fear of Islam has risen in Australia as a result of 9/11 as well.

Studies do show, however, that immigrants benefit the Australian economy immensely. And although adjustment to Australian society is greatly aided if one speaks English, many Australians are protesting anti-immigrant sentiment and the image of Australia as unwelcome to and uncaring about genuine refugees and immigrants.


July 18, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Report: Is the United States Bad for Children’s Health? Risk and Resilience among Young Children of Immigrants

Nearly one-fourth of the children in the United States under the age of 18 have at least one immigrant parent, a reality that has implications for their well-being in light of a body of research that consistently finds differences in health and health risks between the children of immigrants and those of the native born. It is difficult, however, to accurately characterize the health of children of immigrants across their extremely diverse backgrounds and circumstances. While children in some national-origin groups appear to be adjusting well to the United States and may even enjoy better health outcomes than children of the US born in what is known as the epidemiological paradox, other origin groups face poorer socioeconomic circumstances, have more limited access to public benefits and services, and therefore face greater challenges in the course of their health and development. New data on the health of young children of immigrants have become available over the past decade, including the Early Childhood Longitudinal Surveys and the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study.

The research emerging from these data-collection efforts paints a considerably more nuanced picture, some of it suggesting that the health advantages observed among children of immigrants during infancy erode in early childhood. A new Migration Policy Institute report, Is the United States Bad for Children’s Health? Risk and Resilience among Young Children of Immigrants (Download ChildHealth (1)), summarizes the research, focusing in particular on the largest and most vulnerable group of children in the United States today: the children of Mexican immigrants (who in 2011 accounted for 39 percent of the 18.7 million children of immigrants).


July 18, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Rolling Stone and the Boston Marathon Bomber

Rolling stone

CNN reports that Rolling Stone magazine's decision to put Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused Boston Marathon bomber, on the cover of its latest issue has ignited a firestorm of controversy. Many have taken exception to its prominent play in Rolling Stone, where the space is more often than not reserved for rock stars and celebrities.

Tsarnaev, and his late brother, came to the United States lawfully from Chechneya.


July 18, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)