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05/20/10 | U.S. Border Enforcement Prioritizes Non-Violent Migrants Over Dangerous Criminals

Washington D.C. - The Mexican President's visit to the United States allowed both he and President Obama to address the important issues of immigration, border control and crime. Both Presidents made the important point that we address and not conflate these serious issues. This approach stands in stark contrast to the drafters of Arizona law SB1070 and those members of Congress, including Senators Kyl and McCain, who continue to equate dangerous criminals and migrant workers. These legislators share either a misguided understanding of who is really perpetrating violence at the border or a willingness to do anything to win an election.

The horrific violence which currently afflicts our southern neighbor is a complex problem that requires a multi-faceted solution. This violence is driven by the flow of guns, drugs and money across the borders. Yesterday, the President reaffirmed his administration's commitment "to stem the southbound flow of American guns and money" and to develop "new approaches to reducing the demand for drugs in our country," pledging to keep up law-enforcement pressure on the criminal gangs that "traffic in drugs, guns, and people."  In practice, however, the Justice Department seems to have given in to the political rhetoric behind laws like SB1070.

Obama's pledge to focus on these serious criminal enterprises should mean that law enforcement resources are also focused there, rather than on rounding up non-criminal border crossers.  However, that's simply not the case according to recent reports that show Department of Justice prosecutions of drug and weapons violations are down while low level immigration violators are being prosecuted at record levels.

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05/20/10 | Second Grader Speaks to First Lady on behalf of 5.5 Million Children in the U.S.

Washington D.C. - In the midst of a loud, long and contentious battle over immigration, a soft voice emerged yesterday which spoke volumes about our nation's broken immigration system - and the fear and havoc it creates in the lives of million of young people in America. "My mom... she says that Barack Obama is taking everybody away that doesn't have papers," whispered a second grade girl in Silver Spring, Maryland, to Michele Obama during her visit to that school yesterday. Her honesty was powerful testimony on behalf of 5.5 million children (75% of which are U.S. Citizens) in America, who have at least one parent without proper immigration status. 


For several years a range of academics have documented the powerful effect this uncertain future is having on the lives of children in America. The Immigration Policy Center has produced fact sheets and provides links which highlight these various studies.

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05/19/10 | Disentangling Unauthorized Immigration and Border Violence

Washington, D.C. - Judging from his remarks today with President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, President Obama understands that the horrific violence which currently afflicts our southern neighbor is a complex problem that requires a multi-faceted solution.  President Obama reaffirmed his administration’s commitment “to stem the southbound flow of American guns and money” which fuel the lion’s share of Mexico’s violence, as well as to develop “new approaches to reducing the demand for drugs in our country.”  The President also pledged to keep up law-enforcement pressure on the criminal gangs that “traffic in drugs, guns, and people.”

A notable aspect of the President’s remarks is that his discussion of violence in Mexico was separate and distinct from his discussion of comprehensive immigration reform and the need to create a pathway to legal status for unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States.  The distinction reflects the fact that unauthorized immigrants are not the cause of the violence which plagues so many communities in Mexico.  This distinction stands in marked contrast to the supporters of “get tough” anti-immigrant laws, such as Arizona’s SB 1070, who frequently cite scattered episodes of violence spilling over the border from Mexico as a justification for their legislation.  But cracking down on unauthorized immigrants in the United States is not going to diminish violence in border communities because unauthorized immigrants aren’t the perpetrators, criminal cartels are.

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05/18/10 | Anti-Immigrant Group Recommends Economic Self-Destruction for Arizona

Washington D.C. - In data released "exclusively to FoxNews.com," the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) - architects of the new Arizona law SB1070 - claim that unauthorized immigrants in Arizona are costing the state's taxpayers $2.7 billion per year for education, medical care, and incarceration. The release of this "fiscal analysis" takes advantage of the absence of any legitimate economic analysis by the state on what SB1070 will cost. However, judging from FAIR's track record when it comes to these kinds of state estimates, it is likely that their numbers are virtually meaningless. In its most recent state studies on unauthorized immigration in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, for instance, FAIR has dramatically exaggerated the fiscal "costs" imposed by unauthorized immigrants by including schooling and medical care for their native-born, U.S.-citizen children in its estimate, and conveniently forgetting to account for the economic role that unauthorized workers play as consumers who help support local economies.

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05/12/10 | American Immigration Council Announces Steve and Cokie Roberts as Masters of Ceremonies for the 2010 American Heritage Awards!

The American Immigration Council is excited to announce that we have confirmed Steve and Cokie Roberts as the Masters of Ceremonies of our 2010 American Heritage Awards!


Steve Roberts, an award winning journalist and the Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, is the recent author of the book From Every End of This Earth: 13 Families and the New Lives They Made in America. His wife of more than 40 years, Cokie Roberts, is a senior news analyst for NPR News and political commentator for ABC, as well as the author of several New York Times best selling books. This year, the Library of Congress named her a "Living Legend."


The American Heritage Awards, to be held on Friday, July 2, 2010 at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel, will honor outstanding immigrant women and their allies. The honorees include Rebecca Cammisa, director and producer of the 2010 Oscar Nominated documentary Which Way Home; Nelly Rico, mother of Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo and Loula Loi Alafoyiannis, the founder and CEO of the Euro-American Women's Council. A limited number of tickets and sponsorships are available for the event; please contact Elizabeth Stinebaugh at estinebaugh@immcouncil.org for more information. Tickets may also be purchased online.

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05/10/10 | The American Immigration Council's 5th Grade National Creative Writing Contest Winners Announced

Washington, D.C. - The American Immigration Council is pleased to announce the winners of the national 5th Grade "Why I Am Glad America Is a Nation of Immigrants" creative writing contest.

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04/23/10 | Implementation Costs of SB 1070 to One Arizona County

Washington D.C. - Today, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer may sign into law a bill that has the potential to sink her state much deeper into the red than it already is. Touting a $10 million investment into local law enforcement from discretionary federal stimulus money the state received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Governor Brewer is gambling with Arizona's economy. The costs associated with SB 1070 have not been quantified by the Arizona legislature but it is safe to assume that $10 million dollars is only a drop in the bucket towards what it would actually cost to enforce this law. 

In Arizona, when a bill is introduced in the state legislature, a "fiscal note" is attached which lays out the cost of implementation. In the case of SB 1070, the accompanying fiscal note is shockingly lacking in detail, concluding that "the fiscal impact of this bill cannot be determined with certainty. We do not have a means to quantify the number of individuals arrested under the bill's provisions or the impact on the level of illegal immigration." At a time when Arizona is facing a multi-billion dollar deficit, however, enacting an enforcement program that will surely run into the hundreds of millions of dollars is fiscally irresponsible at best.

In the absence of any current fiscal data on the cost of SB 1070's implementation, some Arizonans are pointing to a fact sheet produced by Yuma County Sheriff Ralph E. Ogden in response to similar legislation proposed in 2006. Yuma County is one of Arizona's 15 counties, with a population of about 200,000.

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04/21/10 | How Much Will Arizona's Immigration Bill (SB1070) Cost?

Washington, D.C.- Frustrated by Congress' failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform, states across the country continue considering legislation that relies heavily on punitive, enforcement-only measures which not only fail to end unauthorized immigration but also have the potential to dig their state's finances deeper into a hole.

The latest example of this kind of policy nose dive is in Arizona. A recent bill, "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" (SB 1070), was passed by the Arizona State legislature and awaits the signature of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. As the Governor ponders whether or not to put her signature on SB 1070, she should consider the potential economic impact of the bill, which would require police to check a person's immigration status if they suspect that person is in the United States illegally. This bill, if it becomes law, will likely affect not only unauthorized immigrants, but all immigrants and Latinos in general. Given the vital role that immigrants and Latinos play in Arizona's economy, and considering Arizona's current budget deficit of $3 billion dollars, enacting SB 1070 could be a perilous move.

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04/09/10 | Immigration Reform with Legalization Does Help U.S. Economy and Newly Legalized

Washington D.C. - A new report from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), entitled Immigrant Legalization: Assessing the Labor Market Effects, yields both some enlightening and some potentially misleading results about the likely impact of a legalization program.  Because the PPIC report focuses on legal status acquired under current immigration law, it does not reflect the long-term benefits and gains that follow from a comprehensive immigration reform package which includes legalization.

While the PPIC report dovetails with other reports when it concludes that legalization would not have a negative impact on native workers' wages and employment, their findings on the wages and mobility of the newly legalized differ from other academic studies on how immigrants fare after legalization.  This difference can be attributed to the fact that PPIC looks at legalization only, and how the newly legalized are doing just 4-13 months after becoming legalized. Almost all other previous studies haven take a longer term view of their success.

PPIC relies upon data from the New Immigrant Survey (NIS), a sample of foreign-born individuals who acquired legal permanent resident (LPR) status between May and November 2003.  It is important to keep in mind that the NIS is not representative of the unauthorized-immigrant population as a whole.  As opposed to the individuals captured in the NIS, most unauthorized immigrants do not have a means of acquiring legal status.  Moreover, individuals in the NIS were interviewed 4-13 months after acquiring LPR status.

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04/02/10 | Enforcement Gone Wild

Washington, D.C. - Today, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a long-awaited report that offers a damning critique of the 287(g) program, confirming many of the criticisms levied against the program by community leaders, law enforcement officials, and immigration groups, including the Immigration Policy Center. Despite problems with the 287(g) program, it has recently been expanded to additional jurisdictions.

The report, The Performance of 287(g) Agreements, identifies numerous shortcomings that lead to abuse and mismanagement and raises serious questions about the wisdom of state and local immigration enforcement partnerships with ICE.

According to the report, the 287(g) program:

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