- Immigration Reform for Nevada
- Mi Familia Vota
- United Latino Community
- Justice for Immigrants
- St Teresa of Avila Catholic Community, a member of ACTIONN
- Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada, a member of ACTIONN
Campaign for Citizenship launch and public assembly
Wednesday May 29, 2013, 6:30 pm-8:15 pm
Little Flower Catholic Church, 875 East Plumb Lane, Reno, NV 89502
RSVP and INFO:
- Cory Hernandez …… 775-560-2233
- Elvira Diaz ………….. 775-203-5759
The Campaign for a Path to Citizenship is launching a public assembly to lay out the Campaign and ask U.S. Senator Heller and Congressman Amodei to support the plan. This event will include Nevada State Senator Majority Leader Mo Denis speech about Why Immigration is a Justice Issue, testimonies from immigrants and prayers for unity.
The Path to Citizenship is a partnership of community organizations throughout Nevada launching an immigration reform campaign with a path to citizenship. This includes citizenship in seven years, including all eleven million undocumented immigrants, first phase of legal residency benefits, reducing detentions/deportations, and avoiding third class citizens. The Coalition includes: St Teresa of Avila Catholic Community, a member of ACTIONN; the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada, a member of ACTIONN; ; Mi Familia Vota; United Latino Community, and Justice for Immigrants.
The U.S. is now facing a third generation of children growing up in homes with undocumented family members. The Path to Citizenship reforms proposed by the coalition promotes citizenship for all as an American value that is good for our families, communities and economy. Seven years is consistent with current law and is considered a reasonable amount of time for a person to successfully go through the process of taking on the responsibility and rights of becoming an American citizen.
The Campaign calls on Congress to establish a straightforward and well organized process that allows all undocumented immigrants residing in the country to come out of the shadows to receive legal residency. After two years of legal residency, immigrants should be able to apply for Green Cards, which generally lead five years later to the ability to apply for full citizenship, making the entire path to citizenship no longer than seven years. DREAMers who have received Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status should be eligible for Green Cards immediately, or within two years of approval of their applications under the DREAM Act provisions of the new law. Fees should be reasonable for working families, and workers in the informal economy should be able to apply for temporary residency and citizenship. Individuals should not be excluded from citizenship based on minor crimes, including those related to undocumented status and border crossing.
People approved for the first phase of legal residency should be able to work, drive, attend school, and travel out-of-country for family or educational purposes. Congress should build on the highly successful DACA policy. Legal residency should make it possible for immigrants to begin to fully integrate in to the community.
Massive spending on border security combined with economic changes in Mexico and the U.S. have resulted in zero net flow of undocumented immigrants into the country. It does not make sense to make a path to citizenship contingent on border security measures that are already underway. Instead as we maintain border security and enable people to apply for legal residency, we need to reform enforcement policies that are unnecessarily detaining hundreds of thousands of immigrants who pose no danger to the community. Our goal should be a smarter system that makes families safer by prioritizing prevention of violent crime, while sharply reducing federal spending on detention centers.
Increasing the opportunity for immigrants to legally enter the U.S. is important to the social fabric and long-term economy of our country, and to sustain a coherent immigration system. Federal policy should promote the value of family unity. The current backlog of immigration cases should be processed expeditiously. Any temporary worker programs should include labor and civil rights protections to prevent the exploitation of immigrant workers and to ensure that job access, quality and pay for all workers is strengthened, not undermined, and should not create a class of residents without access to a path to citizenship.
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Even though the 2012 presidential election put an end to Mitt Romney’s idea that 47 percent of Americans were moochers “who are dependent upon government,” the Heritage Foundation on Monday doubled down on that thinking, releasing a report that claimed that immigration reform could cost the country $6.3 trillion.
But to believe the Heritage Foundation is to believe—as they say on page 10—that just under 70 percent of all Americans are moochers, taking more from the American economy than they pay in. Only from a starting point that claims 70 percent of Americans “take” from the economy rather than pay into it, can Heritage claim that legalized immigrants would also cost the government trillions of dollars:
Unsurprisingly, a bevy of conservative voices, including Paul Ryan, Doug Holtz-Eakin, Grover Norquist, the Cato Institute, and the Bi-Partisan Policy Institute’s Immigration Task Force (co-chaired by former governor Haley Barbour) have all come out against the study.
The fact of the matter is that Heritage’s study is fatally flawed, failing to account for any changes that might occur after legalization. Here are three examples of how Heritage misses the mark:
1. They do not account for increases in wages after legalization: Previous empirical studies of legalized immigrants (particularly the seminal 1996 Department of Labor study of the nearly 3 million unauthorized immigrants who gained legal status under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986,) have found that legalized workers see a 15.1 percent increase in their wages within 5 years. Recent research has also found that citizenship leads to an addition 10 percent increase in earnings. And yet the Heritage study only includes a 5 percent increase. Higher wages and citizenship means more tax revenue, and a lower fiscal cost because immigrants will pay more taxes on their increased earnings and their increased earnings will lower the need and likelihood of using social programs.
2. They count children only in the “benefits-received” column: Heritage includes even native-born U.S. citizen children of unauthorized immigrants in their calculations, leading to large expenditures on things like public K-12 education. And yet they fail to consider any taxes that these children will pay, simply noting that “the odds that the children of unlawful immigrant, on average, will become strong net taxpayers are minimal.” But all children are “costly” when it comes to getting a public education—the implicit bargain is they pay back into the system once they graduate and become taxpayers. By discounting any of these future payments Heritage artificially inflates their overall costs.
3. They undercount current and future education levels: The Heritage Foundation report is premised on the idea that people with lower levels of education use more in benefits than they pay in taxes. So the percentage of people that Heritage counts as less educated matters. But they do not account for the fact that once legal, people have a strong incentive to get more education and training, now that they can legally work in better jobs. So even if the current undocumented population is skewed more toward people without a high school degree, the incentives to get more education in the future (especially for people who might need this education to qualify for things like the DREAM Act provision) will mean a more-educated future immigrant population. Past experience indicates that these aspiring Americans would likely take the steps needed to invest in their education. For example, a Department of Labor study that followed the cohort of immigrants that gained legal status in 1986 found that just five years later, immigrants at all levels had made investments in their education.
Taking each of these changes into account would significantly raise the amount of tax revenue paid by legalized immigrants, and minimize their costs. By failing to account for them, Heritage gives a skewed picture of the ‘cost’ to Americans from immigration reform, one that defies logic and believability.
And beyond just the direct costs and benefits from immigration, the report casually discards any possibility of indirect benefits from immigrants, as the newly legalized take their higher wages and spend them in the economy, growing demand for goods and services, helping grow businesses, and creating more economic value — all of which helps the economy. In fact providing legalization will boost the U.S. GDP by a cumulative $832 billion over ten years, creating on average 121,000 new jobs in each of those years. These are benefits Heritage does not even begin to consider, instead attempting to resurrect the divisive “moochers and makers” arguments of Romney.
Our guest bloggers are Marshall Fitz, Philip E. Wolgin, and Patrick Oakford, who study immigration at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.
By Robert Lynch and Patrick Oakford
On April 16, 2013, the Senate’s “Gang of 8”—a bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators—filed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. At the core of the bill is a provision that will provide a pathway to earned legalization and citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America.
Undocumented immigrants are currently earning far less than their potential and therefore paying much less in taxes than they otherwise would be. Overall, they are contributing significantly less to the U.S. economy than they potentially could. With legalization and citizenship, undocumented immigrants will produce and earn more, pay more in taxes, boost the American economy, increase the incomes of all Americans, and promote job growth.
This analysis of the economic impact on 24 states, many with the largest undocumented populations, demonstrates that it is not just the nation but also each individual state that will benefit from immigration reform. The sooner we grant legal status and provide a pathway to citizenship to undocumented immigrants, the sooner all Americans will be able to reap these benefits.
Mar 8, 2013 | By ThinkProgress War Room
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed
- Republicans demand Obama expand Obamacare. (Yet Paul Ryan is forging ahead to KILL it)
- Colorado approved in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants.
- Marco Rubio threatens to shut down the government over Obamacare funding.
- James O’Keefe to pay a $100,000 settlement for ACORN pimp sting.
- Study: states with most guns laws have fewest gun deaths.
- Four important policies that could help women’s health around the world.
- Beltway bubble insulated from real effect of sequester.
- Unemployment hit a four-year low.
- Republicans whine about canceled White House tours as Army suspends tuition assistance program.
This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.
America’s immigration system is broken. Too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers and there are 11 million people living in the shadows. Neither is good for the economy or the country.
It is time to act to fix the broken immigration system in a way that requires responsibility from everyone —both from the workers here illegally and those who hire them—and guarantees that everyone is playing by the same rules.
Read the full article at http://ramirezgroup.com/key-points-of-obama-immigration-reform-proposals
Despite the rhetoric from immigration hardliners, we are indeed securing our borders.
Senator John Cornyn recently discussed immigration reform at a meeting of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “I think there have to be some conditions satisfied. One is that people know we’ve done everything we can to secure the border,” the Republican said at the Austin event.
The Texan lawmaker warned that a “porous” border could leave the country “vulnerable to the sorts of attacks that we sustained on 9/11.”
Cornyn and other Republicans just don’t get it. Although securing the border is important, studies show that we’ve already done that. The biggest problem facing our immigration system isn’t border security. It’s what to do with the undocumented immigrants who are already here. The solution is to create a path to citizenship for them, and the time to do it is now.
Regarding immigrants and the threat of terrorism, recall that all 19 of the 9/11 hijackers had valid tourist visas. Increased border security alone wouldn’t have prevented them from entering the country.
GOP lawmakers like Cornyn have long favored an enforcement-first approach to immigration. A new study conducted by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute shows that this is already in place. Consider that the U.S. spends more on immigration enforcement than on all other law enforcement agencies combined. Last year, we spent nearly $18 billion on immigration enforcement, roughly 24 percent more than the total spending on the FBI, Secret Service, Drug Enforcement Agency, and other agencies.
Meanwhile, government statistics show that deportations hit a record high in 2012, and the Pew Center reports that illegal immigration is at “net zero” or even lower. So despite the rhetoric from immigration hardliners, we are indeed securing our borders.
Still, Representative Phil Gingrey (R-GA) told The New York Times that the Obama administration was weak on enforcement. He pledged to “continue working to secure our borders and enforce existing immigration law.” However, the Center for American Progress notes that the border security benchmarks set by Republicans during the 2007 immigration debate have largely been met. In fact, the goals for increasing border agents, increasing border barriers, and increasing penalties for illegal crossings have all been surpassed. More than 80 percent of the border meets one of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) three highest standards for control.
Cornyn, Gingrey, and other conservatives are stuck on the notion that we need more and more immigration enforcement, and they ignore the reality of what’s already in place and clear signs that undocumented immigration is declining. We can further militarize the border and throw more money at programs like Secure Communities — yet we will still have 11 million undocumented people living among us.
The American public recognizes that this is unacceptable; 62 percent of registered voters favor a path to citizenship for the undocumented, according to a December poll by Politico. Although Republicans may dislike the idea of citizenship for the undocumented, which they incorrectly term “amnesty,” it’s an essential component of immigration reform.
By the way, no one is proposing amnesty for the undocumented. Amnesty is a free pass. Comprehensive reform would require undocumented immigrants to pay fines, back taxes, and undergo background checks before they qualify for any adjustment in their immigration status. That’s not amnesty. That’s earned citizenship.
True, our border is not 100 percent sealed. But Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano is correct in her opinion that people who want the border totally secured are misguided. “There’s no border in the world that doesn’t have some form of migration, legal and illegal,” she told NPR. “So saying it has to be zero is like saying we have to put the United States under some sort of Tupperware container and seal it off. That’s not how our country operates.”
The calls for border security have become little more than an excuse to defer comprehensive immigration reform again and again. Enough already. Good sense and sound policy dictate that lawmakers craft a path to citizenship for our undocumented population — and finally solve our immigration mess.
Raul A. Reyes is an attorney and columnist. He lives in New York City.
Distributed via OtherWords (OtherWords.org)
A new “gang of 8″ in the Senate, who’ve assembled to deal with immigration reform, introduced their “framework” for addressing various immigration-related issues. We need to be vigilant as their discussions continue and as formal legislation is introduced to ensure it fairly addresses issues of importance to us, the American public. Will they create more problems than they intend to solve, will they make us safer, or will we be forced to live in fear of drones and the collateral damage produced by trigger happy drone-drivers? Right now, drones being used to patrol our southern border are supposedly unarmed. Will they start arming them in the future as a means to bolster defense contractor profits, and at the expense of some teacher and a classroom of kids out on a field -trip?
With all the emphasis in this framework placed on the US-Mexican border, we need to ensure that all of our borders are treated equally with similar forms of surveillance, not just our southern border. We need to ensure that this bill isn’t just a means to burden people with brown skin with burdens not confronted by potential white immigrants.
Four members from each party — Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado, plus Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain of Arizona and Jeff Flake of Arizona — put together the framework that will ultimately need to be fleshed out. Here’s a copy of the framework they released today that they hope to be able to actually introduce by some time in March:
Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Senators Schumer, McCain, Durbin, Graham, Menendez, Rubio, Bennet, and Flake
We recognize that our immigration system is broken. And while border security has improved significantly over the last two Administrations, we still don’t have a functioning immigration system. This has created a situation where up to 11 million undocumented immigrants are living in the shadows. Our legislation acknowledges these realities by finally committing t he resources needed to secure the border, modernize and streamline our current legal immigration system, while creating a tough but fair legalization program for individuals who are currently here. We will ensure that this is a successful permanent reform to our immigration system that will not need to be revisited.
Four Basic Legislative Pillars:
- Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;
- Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;
- Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,
- Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.
I. Creating a Path to Citizenship for Unauthorized Immigrants Already Here that is Contingent Upon Securing the Border and Combating Visa Overstays
- Our legislation will provide a tough, fair, and practical roadmap to address the status of unauthorized immigrants in the United States that is contingent upon our success in securing our borders and addressing visa overstays.
- To fulfill the basic governmental function of securing our borders, we will continue the increased efforts of the Border Patrol by providing them with the latest technology, infrastructure, and personnel needed to prevent, detect, and apprehend every unauthorized entrant.
- Additionally, our legislation will increase the number of unmanned aerial vehicles and surveillance equipment, improve radio interoperability and increase the number of agents at and between ports of entry. The purpose is to substantially lower the number of successful illegal border crossings while continuing to facilitate commerce.
- We will strengthen prohibitions against racial profiling and inappropriate use of force, enhance the training of border patrol agents, increase oversight, and create a mechanism to ensure a meaningful opportunity for border communities to share input, including critiques.
- Our legislation will require the completion of an entry-exit system that tracks whether all persons entering the United States on temporary visas via airports and seaports have left the country as required by law.
- We recognize that Americans living along the Southwest border are key to recognizing and understanding when the border is truly secure. Our legislation will create a commission comprised of governors, attorneys general, and community leaders living along the Southwest border to monitor the progress of securing our border and to make a recommendation regarding when the bill’s security measures outlined in the legislation are completed.
- While these security measures are being put into place, we will simultaneously require those who came or remained in the United States without our permission to register with the government. This will include passing a background check and settling their debt to society by paying a fine and back taxes, in order to earn probationary legal status, which will allow them to live and work legally in the United States. Individuals with a serious criminal background or others who pose a threat to our national security will be ineligible for legal status and subject to deportation. Illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes face immediate deportation.
- We will demonstrate our commitment to securing our borders and combating visa overstays by requiring our proposed enforcement measures be complete before any immigrant on probationary status can earn a green card
- Current restrictions preventing non-immigrants from accessing federal public benefits will also apply to lawful probationary immigrants.
- Once the enforcement measures have been completed, individuals with probationary legal status will be required to go to the back of the line of prospective immigrants, pass an additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, demonstrate a history of work in the United States, and current employment, among other requirements, in order to earn the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency. Those individuals who successfully complete these requirements can eventually earn a green card.
- Individuals who are present without lawful status – not including people within the two categories identified below – will only receive a green card after every individual who is already waiting in line for a green card, at the time this legislation is enacted, has received their green card. Our purpose is to ensure that no one who has violated America’s immigration laws will receive preferential treatment as they relate to those individuals who have complied with the law.
- Our legislation also recognizes that the circumstances and the conduct of people without lawful status are not the same, and cannot be addressed identically.
- For instance, individuals who entered the United States as minor children did not knowingly choose to violate any immigration laws. Consequently, under our proposal these individuals will not face the same requirements as other individuals in order to earn a path to citizenship.
- Similarly, individuals who have been working without legal status in the United States agricultural industry have been performing very important and difficult work to maintain America’s food supply while earning subsistence wages. Due to the utmost importance in our nation maintaining the safety of its food supply, agricultural workers who commit to the long term stability of our nation’s agricultural industries will be treated differently than the rest of the undocumented population because of the role they play in ensuring that Americans have safe and secure agricultural products to sell and consume. These individuals will earn a path to citizenship through a different process under our new agricultural worker program.
II. Improving our Legal Immigration System and Attracting the World’s Best and Brightest
- The development of a rational legal immigration system is essential to ensuring America’s future economic prosperity. Our failure to act is perpetuating a broken system which sadly discourages the world’s best and brightest citizens from coming to the United States and remaining in our country to contribute to our economy. This failure makes a legal path to entry in the United States insurmountably difficult for well-meaning immigrants. This unarguably discourages innovation and economic growth. It has also created substantial visa backlogs which force families to live apart, which incentivizes illegal immigration.
- Our new immigration system must be more focused on recognizing the important characteristics which will help build the American economy and strengthen American families. Additionally, we must reduce backlogs in the family and employment visa categories so that future immigrants view our future legal immigration system as the exclusive means for entry into the United States.
- The United States must do a better job of attracting and keeping the world’s best and brightest. As such, our immigration proposal will award a green card to immigrants who have received a PhD or Master’s degree in science, technology, engineering, or math from an American university. It makes no sense to educate the world’s future innovators and entrepreneurs only to ultimately force them to leave our country at the moment they are most able to contribute to our economy.
III. Strong Employment Verification
- We recognize that undocumented immigrants come to the United States almost exclusively for jobs. As such, dramatically reducing future illegal immigration can only be achieved by developing a tough, fair, effective and mandatory employment verification system. An employment verification system must hold employers accountable for knowingly hiring undocumented workers and make it more difficult for unauthorized immigrants to falsify documents to obtain employment. Employers who knowingly hire unauthorized workers must face stiff fines and criminal penalties for egregious offenses.
- We believe the federal government must provide U.S. employers with a fast and reliable method to confirm whether new hires are legally authorized to work in the United States. This is essential to ensure the effective enforcement of immigration laws.
- Our proposal will create an effective employment verification system which prevents identity theft and ends the hiring of future unauthorized workers. We believe requiring prospective workers to demonstrate both legal status and identity, through non-forgeable electronic means prior to obtaining employment, is essential to an employee verification system; and,
- The employee verification system in our proposal will be crafted with procedural safeguards to protect American workers, prevent identity theft, and provide due process protections.
IV. Admitting New Workers and Protecting Workers’ Rights
- The overwhelming majority of the 327,000 illegal entrants apprehended by CBP in FY2011 were seeking employment in the United States. We recognize that to prevent future waves of illegal immigration a humane and effective system needs to be created for these immigrant workers to enter the country and find employment without seeking the aid of human traffickers or drug cartels.
- Our proposal will provide businesses with the ability to hire lower-skilled workers in a timely manner when Americans are unavailable or unwilling to fill those jobs.
- Our legislation would:
- Allow employers to hire immigrants if it can be demonstrated that they were unsuccessful in recruiting an American to fill an open position and the hiring of an immigrant will not displace American workers;
- Create a workable program to meet the needs of America’s agricultural industry, including dairy to find agricultural workers when American workers are not available to fill open positions;
- Allow more lower-skilled immigrants to come here when our economy is creating jobs, and fewer when our economy is not creating jobs;
Protect workers by ensuring strong labor protections; and,
Permit workers who have succeeded in the workplace and contributed to their communities over many years to earn green cards.