While some characterize our immigration crisis as solely an issue of the 11 to 12 million unauthorized immigrants living in this country, our problems extend beyond the number of undocumented people to a broader range of issues.
With Congress once again poised to consider comprehensive immigration reform, a key question confronting lawmakers is to what extent immigration and unemployment are related. Opponents of immigration reform frequently argue that immigrants “take” jobs away from many native-born workers, especially during economic hard times. Yet an analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau clearly reveals that this is not the case. In fact, there is little apparent relationship between recent immigration and unemployment rates at the regional, state, or county level.
IPC has compiled this one-stop analysis of all the available data on the Asian, Latino and New American vote and shows how and why they voted the way they did in the 2008 election cycle. The report features a variety of early, exit and election-day polling which tells the story of not only a record rate turnout, but also provides insight into the greatest areas of concern for these voters. It also explores early signals from the new administration and congress with respect to immigration reform.
The 2008 elections clearly demonstrated the growing power of the Latino, Asian, and immigrant vote. Not only did these groups turn out in record numbers, they also overwhelmingly rejected anti-immigrant politicians who attempted to use immigration as a wedge issue through hateful campaign rhetoric that is quickly becoming an unhealthy trademark of the Republican Party.
The following report illustrates the growing electoral clout of Latinos, Asians, and New Americans; provides data on how and why they voted; and demonstrates that immigration was an issue that motivated them to the polls. Election results from races in which immigration was a hot issue show that immigrant-bashing did not work as a campaign strategy. The report also provides evidence that a majority of all voters favor comprehensive immigration reform, and details early signs from the incoming administration and Congress that point to a new direction in immigration policy.
Politicians of all stripes would be wise to listen to the voices of ethnic and New American voters and not take them for granted. The analysis provided in the following pages points to the strength and growth of what may be the most important voting bloc in 21st century politics—one that now has the power profoundly to change American elections in the years to come.
At a time when federal, state, and local elections are often decided by small voting margins—with candidates frequently locked in ferocious competition for the ballots of those “voting blocs” that might turn the electoral tide in their favor—one large and growing bloc of voters has been consistently overlooked and politically underestimated: New Americans.
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, changes in federal, state, and local law-enforcement priorities and practices have had a profound impact on America’s Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians. Some of these policy shifts applied exclusively or primarily to those communities, such as the federal “special registration” program, selective enforcement of immigration laws based on national origin or religion, and expanded federal counter-terrorism efforts that targeted these communities. At the same time, a wide range of ethnic groups have been affected by the use of state and local police agencies to enforce federal immigration law, and the aggressive use of detention and deportation authority for even minor infractions and technicalities.
Across the United States, police departments and Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities have responded with varied approaches to the new post-September 11 reality. In some cities, serious tensions between law-enforcement agencies and immigrant communities have arisen. Other cities have taken steps to alleviate these tensions and promote dialogue and cooperation with immigrant communities. This report evaluates the challenges and successes of recent trust-building efforts between immigrant communities and local police departments, and the responses of each to new and proposed policies that threaten those efforts. Using the experiences of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities, the report offers insights that apply to much broader populations. It draws attention to best practices and policy solutions such as the creation of more effective channels for public dialogue and communication, public education campaigns, officer training and recruiting programs, and forms of cooperation between police and community organizations.
This report provides an overview of SSA’s no-match letter program, a summary of DHS’s new supplemental proposed rule regarding no-match letters, and an overview of the unintended consequences of no-match letters that are sent to employers.
There are two stories now being told about immigration and the future of America. Each has some basis in fact, although one is based on newer trends and is more optimistic than the other. These stories differ in their answers to three crucial questions: whether immigration to the United States is accelerating out of control or is slowing; how much immigrants are assimilating into American society and progressing economically over time; and how important immigrants are to the U.S. economy. The pessimistic story—in which immigration is portrayed as increasing dramatically and producing a growing population of unassimilated foreigners—draws upon older evidence. But more recent data and analysis suggest a far more positive vision of our immigrant future. Immigration has not only begun to level off, but immigrants are climbing the socio-economic ladder, and will become increasingly important to the U.S. economy as workers, taxpayers, and homebuyers supporting the aging Baby Boom generation. Read more...
The mainstream media, conservative politicians, and even some police organizations continue to promote stereotypes of immigrants as insufficiently “loyal” to America to serve in law-enforcement jobs. Ironically, similar fears were expressed about earlier generations of Irish and Italian immigrants whose dedicated public service helped usher in the modern urban police department. Today, immigrants are once again a vital part of law enforcement as patrol officers and detectives, and in a wide range of police auxiliary roles. Immigrants are also making important contributions to local communities as municipal firefighters and seasonal workers contracted by the federal government to fight deadly and destructive wild fires. America’s streets are unquestionably safer and our neighborhoods more peaceful thanks to the growing number of immigrants available to serve and protect.Read more...
The current political debate over undocumented immigrants in the United States has largely ignored the plight of undocumented children. Yet children account for 1.8 million, or 15 percent, of the undocumented immigrants now living in this country. These children have, for the most part, grown up in the United States and received much of their primary and secondary educations here. But without a means to legalize their status, they are seldom able to go on to college and cannot work legally in this country. Moreover, at any time, they can be deported to countries they barely know. This wasted talent imposes economic and emotional costs on undocumented students themselves and on U.S. society as a whole. Denying undocumented students, most of whom are Hispanic, the opportunity to go to college and join the skilled workforce sends the wrong message to Hispanics about the value of a college education-and the value that U.S. society places on their education-at a time when raising the educational attainment of the Hispanic population is increasingly important to the nation's economic health. Read more...
In this IPC Special Report, author Jill Esbenshade finds that ordinance initiatives are correlated with a recent and rapid increase in the foreign-born or Latino share of the population, which creates the perception of an immigration “crisis.” But undocumented immigration will not be “solved” by the local ordinances that are unconstitutional, deny due process rights to renters and landlords, and foster anti-immigrant and anti-Latino discrimination.