Thursday Immigration Blog Roundup

This week's roundup features mayors' reactions to Arizona's immigration law, a Supreme Court ruling on deportation laws, and more...

On Tuesday, the U.S. Conference of Mayors approved a resolution condemning Arizona's new immigration law. Our own Alan Jenkins has more on that story here. Meanwhile, some Arizona lawyers are concerned that the law, which goes into effect next month, could result in an influx of new cases that might overwhelm the state's court system. And some Arizona lawmakers have proposed an additional law that would deny citizenship to children of illegal immigrants born in the United States.

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It’s Called a Safety Net for a Reason

In May, 431,000 new jobs were added to the economy.  On the surface, this seems like good news.  However, 411,000 of those jobs were temporary Census workers.  Private employers added 41,000 new jobs to the economy.  These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg in a changed employment landscape.

Although no one would argue the point that those of us who are eagerly pursuing employment should be able eventually to find work, statistics demonstrate that long-term unemployment remains high. In May, 6.8 million people had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more.  That number represents 46%, or nearly half, of all unemployed people, a number that is nearly double the highest point in the last 60 years.  “Of the 15 million unemployed in America, over 7 million have been out of work for more than six months, nearly 5 million for a year and over 1 million for two years — the worst statistics since the government started keeping count in 1948. The proportion of the unemployed out of work for more than six months has doubled in the past year, to more than 46 percent. The jobseekers-to-jobs ratio, which tells how hard positions are to get, remains around 5.6 to 1.” 

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Listening to the Mayors

By and large, mayors are pragmatists.  They've got snow to remove and potholes to fill, schools to run and crime to fight.  Literally and figuratively, they must keep the trains running on time, or hear loudly and decisively from voters and constituents.

That pragmatic spirit was evident on Monday, when the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution condemning Arizona's anti-immigrant law and calling on the Federal government to quickly pass commonsense immigration reform.  The resolution criticises the Arizona law as "unconstitutional and un-American," calls for its repeal, and opposes any copycat legislation in other parts of the country.

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Bi-Weekly Opinion Roundup: Why High Nationwide Support for S.B. 1070 Isn’t as Bad as it Seems

Since the passage of S.B. 1070, Arizona’s new immigration law, polling has consistently shown that a majority of Americans—not just Arizona residents—support the law. An April 28 Gallup poll found 51% of Americans in support of the law, versus 39% opposed, and a May 9 Pew Research Center poll had support among registered Democrats only at 45% (Sources: Gallup, Pew). On the surface, this seems like bad news for supporters of comprehensive immigration reform, who consider the law unworkable, divisive, and a violation of American values. But in fact, more in-depth polling reveals a somewhat more encouraging picture: an overall thirst for solutions and frustration with current inaction among the American public.

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Immigration Roundup: Dream Act Demonstrations Across the Nation

Three years since the U.S. Senate voted on, and rejected, the DREAM Act in 2007, young activists across the nation are creatively rallying for the Act, with the hope that this year the immigration reform act will pass.

The Act, which is drawing substantial support from high school and college-age youth, would give undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, the opportunity to gain citizenship over a six-year period, on the condition that applicants either serve in the military or pursue a degree at an institute of higher education.

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What is a Recovery Without Widespread Job Growth?

At a time like this, even modest, and potentially temporary, declines in the unemployment rate deserve a round of applause.  Well, unless the decline in the unemployment rate only brings it back to where it was for the first three months of the year.  And unless the rate remains significantly higher for people who had been stranded furthest from opportunity even before the recession.  So, maybe a golf clap?

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The Safety of U.S.-Mexico Border

A major part of the reasoning for Arizona's alarming new law, S.B. 1070, is a presumed uptick in crime from undocumented immigrants.

Politicians, including a flip-flopping John McCain, have called for border security. McCain himself articulated, "complete the danged fence."

Turns out though, government data shows that the U.S.-Mexico border is quite safe.

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At Last, Rational Plans to Assess & Stabilize the Economy

What We Can All Learn from Truckers & Poker Players

For many of us, reading the latest economic indicators has become the new masochistic pleasure in our mornings – surely other people have a tickler reminding them of the latest BLS Employment Situation Summary and the Gallup mid-month underemployment statistics? The problem with those indicators is that even when they show improvement, they still reflect a dispiriting reality. This is why a recent article about a new economic indicator holds such appeal. First, it reveals facts about our economy that are divorced from the personal impact reflected in other statistics. Second, it actually has a cautiously optimistic tale to tell.

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Spotlight on the U.S. - Mexico Border

What do our border policies say about our values as a nation?

President Obama committed to dispatching up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border and is asking Congress for $500 million for increased law enforcement in the Southwest and for other border protection tools.

The White House is calling the maneuver "a multi-layered effort to target illicit networks trafficking in people, drugs, illegal weapons and money.”  But in practice, beefing up border enforcement under existing federal programs has only drained our government resources, has put into serious jeopardy our commitment to due process under the law, and has presented serious human rights implications. 

For example, Operation Streamline, an existing Department of Homeland Security program, was instituted in 2005, and mandates the federal criminal prosecution and imprisonment of all people who cross the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully.

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A Question on CNN's New Immigration Poll Raises Concerns

CNN/Opinion Research released earlier today a new telephone survey of U.S. adults on immigration. One forced choice question asking respondents to indicate what they thought the main focus of the U.S. government ought to be with respect to the immigration issue, appears to contradict findings that a number of other public opinion surveys have reported over the past two years. Some may wrongly interpret the CNN poll as showing surprisingly high support (60%) for deportation of "illegal" immigrants and low support for a pathway to citizenship (38%). Recent surveys conducted by CBS News, AP, Pew Research and others find support for legalization or a pathway to citizenship to be in the high 50%s and support for deportation to be just above 30%.  Why does the CNN appear to be different?

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