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Today, NDN/NPI’s 21st Century Border Project is releasing a new report looking the Central American migrant crisis and reviewing the Obama Administration’s border and immigration enforcement record. The subjects covered in this new report, released in a PDF/Powerpoint format, are at the center of the current debate about how to best fix the US immigration system. You can find the report at the bottom of this post in pdf format.
Among the report’s key findings:
On Border/Immigration Enforcement – The Border is Safer, Immigration System is Better, While Trade With Mexico Is Soaring
Crime is down along the US side of the border. The two largest border cities, El Paso and San Diego, are the two safest large cities in America today.
Out of the five high-traffic migration corridors across the US-Mexico border, four are already at or near the Senate bill’s goal of 90% effectiveness rate.
The flow of undocumented immigrations is way down, at net zero today. Under Pres. Bush the undocumented immigrant population grew by over 3m, an average of almost 400,000 a year. Under Obama there has been no growth in the undocumented immigration population – a sea change from the Clinton and Bush years.
The new prioritization of removals begun by ICE director John Morton in 2011 known has “prosecutorial discretion” has brought significant changes to the immigration/border enforcement system. In 2013, all but 10,336 of those removed from the country were either criminals in the interior of the US or caught entering the country illegally. The result of these policy changes is that the threat of deportation has been lifted from the vast majority of undocumented immigrants in the US, while simultaneously providing more effective border deterrence - flow has remained low even while the US economy has recovered.
In 2012, the Obama Administration implemented Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), allowing over 1m DREAMers, unauthorized immigrants brought to US as youths, to work and study legally in the US.
Trade with Mexico has jumped from $340b in 2009 to about $550b in 2013. Mexico is America’s 3rd largest trading partner, 2nd largest export market. $1.3 billion worth of goods and 1m people cross the 2000 mile US-Mexico border each day.
On The Central American Migrant Crisis - A Review Of The Data, and Thoughts On The Path Forward
On the Central American migrant crisis, the report goes through data on the significant challenge of an overwhelmed immigration court system, and the recent increase in unauthorized arrivals in the Rio Grande Valley. It then offers recommendations of what needs to be done to stem the tide, with a particularly emphasis on passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform - the most powerful tool in the toolbox the United States government has at its disposal today to bring the crisis to a humane and rapid end.
On immigration, the House GOP has only one answer: Deport the kids
A popular immigration reform bill passed the Senate a year ago and still awaits action in the House. Meanwhile, a tragic humanitarian crisis has emerged on our doorstep, demanding a swift and humane response. Yet the House Republicans, who have long stood in the way of sensible action on immigration reform, have fashioned a single response to both: Deport the kids.
Nine years ago, Senators John McCain and Ted Kennedy introduced a thoughtful, bipartisan approach to modernizing our immigration system and strengthening border security known as “Comprehensive Immigration Reform.” From the beginning, this approach has maintained an unusually broad coalition of support, from evangelical ministers to national labor unions.
Both Democratic and Republican presidents have supported it, and in a time of intense polarization, it has passed the Senate twice with wide bipartisan margins. The current Senate bill is projected to grow the economy by 5% over 20 years, and take almost a trillion dollars off our deficit. Far from being a divisive issue, immigration reform has been something of an oasis in an unusually polarized era.
But not in the House. The only immigration-related bill the House has passed in this Congress has been the “King Amendment,” a provision that would revoke the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – a program that has given 600,000 DREAM-eligible youth temporary legal status, protection from deportation, and permission to work in the United States. Revoking DACA would strip these kids of this legal status and make them available for immediate deportation. In other words: Deport the kids.
In recent months, a crisis has unfolded along our border, providing another powerful reminder of the need to modernize our antiquated immigration system. The administration has proposed a simple, straight-forward set of actions to address the crisis, which require congressional approval. But so far, weeks after Obama outlined his plan, the only idea gaining traction in the House is a change in a Bush-era law that would make it easier to deport the minors being apprehended at the border. Again, the Republican answer is simply this: Deport the kids. (And some extra border security, too.)
The nativist response of the House Republicans to our ongoing immigration challenge is not only an incredible disappointment to all Americans who would benefit from a more modern immigration system, but should be terrifying to the national leaders of the Republican Party. In 2005-2006, the Senate passed a broad bipartisan immigration reform bill. Like today, the House Republican response was to pass a bill calling for more deportations – this time for the deportation of all 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.
The impact on the critical Hispanic vote was dramatic. In the 2006 elections, Hispanics voted 70% to 30% for the Democrats, reversing hard fought gains by President Bush, who had increased the GOP’s Hispanic vote share from 21%to 40%. This 70%-30% ratio in Democrats’ favor is where the Hispanic vote has remained for the last two presidential elections, an outcome which makes it virtually impossible for the GOP to win another national election.
But what the House GOP is doing now is even worse, and potentially far more damaging for its brand with Hispanics. Not only are Republicans responding exactly as they did in 2006 – choosing deportation over bipartisan reform – they are now cruelly fighting to change laws to strip existing legal rights available to both DACA residents and the minors at the border to make them eligible for rapid deportation.In 2005-2006, the House GOP only voted to deport unauthorized immigrants, not those with legal right under current law to be here. This is an escalation.
Add to this the fact that the House GOP is actively supporting a broader policy agenda more hostile to Hispanics than at any time in recent memory. Repealing Obamacare would hit Hispanic families harder than any other group of Americans. Estimates are that as many as 10 million Hispanic families will gain health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, a number that is perhaps greater than the number of families who will be effected by the implementation of the Senate immigration bill. The House GOP is also on record for cutting funds for public schools, blocking increases in the minimum wage and making it harder for people to vote – all things which would disproportionately affect Hispanic voters in the US.
For nine years, the anti-immigrant politics practiced by House Republicans have been irresponsible and reckless both for the country and their own political interests. It would be wise for the GOP to seize this new moment and work with the Senate to adopt comprehensive immigration reform and bring the border crisis under control. Deporting kids is not just a ridiculous response to a vexing national problem – it is a response likely to relegate Republicans to a minority party for years to come.
Simon Rosenberg runs NDN/NPI, a liberal think tank in Washington, D.C. He has worked on passing immigration reform through Congress since its introduction in 2005.
The crisis at the border has already started impacting the broader debate over immigration reform. The most interesting immediate change we are seeing is that the crisis is making it much harder for the House Republicans to maintain their current position that the status quo is preferable to some set of legislative fixes. With GOP House Members starting to introduce bills to address the border crisis, we have stumbled now back into a debate over what Congress can do to fix the broken immigration system. The White House and the Senate have a powerful answer to that question, Senate Bill 744 and other requests which will come from the President this week. What will the GOP response be?
Will the GOPs’ answer to the latest manifestation of a broken immigration system really be limited to just giving the President expedited authority to remove minors at the border? No fixes to the legal immigration system? No legalization process for undocumented immigrants here prior to 12/31/11 as the Senate bill provides? No additional money for more humane detention centers? No additional monies for the immigration courts to help remove the judicial backlog which is contributing to the crisis? No additional money for Central America to help stabilize and improve conditions there?
It is our view that the single most powerful thing Congress can do now to help bring an end to the border migrant crisis is to pass the Senate bill in the House. It will send a loud and clear signal to Central America and Mexico that our Congress, our parties and our President are united in improving our immigration system. It will make clear that those who’ve come or will come after 12/31/11 will not be able to stay. It will help alleviate the growing judicial backlog which has contributed so much to the current crisis. It will give DHS even more powerful tools to make an already improved border even safer. All of these things will be critical to bringing a rapid and humane end to the crisis.
The Obama Administration is taking prudent and smart steps to bring an end to the border migrant crisis, including making clear that passing the Senate bill is a needed and important piece of what is required. But the House GOP cannot continue to cry that the house is on fire and then prevent the Administration from using all the water we have to put the fire out. While the border migrant crisis is clearly a test for the Administration, it is also an important test for the House GOP – and our hope is that they will work with the President in the days to end the migrant crisis while bringing long needed reform to our broader immigration system. Failure to do so means that they will be acting to extend the crisis, worsen human suffering, slow our economic recovery, add to the deficit and strengthen the cartels profiting from the increased human trafficking from Central America. America deserves better than that.
Update: See our recent essay, "What Congress Can Do To Help With the Central American Migrant Crisis;" and this one from earlier this year, "GOP Attacks on Obama's Immigration Enoforcement Record Are Ridiculous."
Next Tuesday, July 15th, please join NDN/NPI for a DC based event and webinar on the border migrant crisis and the Obama Administration’s border and enforcement record. The presentation will showcase a newly updated data-driven version of our influential powerpoint on the border and immigration enforcement that has been widely seen across the country over the past year or so. The presentation will be helpful to anyone wanting to get a better understanding of these complicated and fast-changing issues. Both are free and open to the public.
Noon - 130 pm EST, Luncheon Presentation at NDN - Lunch will be provided. You can reserve your spot here, and feel free to invite others who might interested.
4 - 5 pm EST, Webinar - If you can't make the luncheon, we will be hosting a Webinar later that afternoon. To attend, register here.
For the Webinar presentation, please leave a few moments for the software to install before the event begins. Webinar can be used on either a Mac or PC. If you have any issues, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
NDN is located at 729 15th Street, NW, 1st Floor. We look forward to seeing you next week, and feel free to invite others you think might be interested.
Last Friday the Obama Administration took a series of smart and sure footed steps designed to bring an end to the Central American migrant crisis we are now experiencing on our Southern Border. While we all welcome Congress’s attention to the issue this week, the discussions should be focusing on what Congress can and should be doing to support the Administration’s aggressive actions to date. I offer up four things in particular Congress can do to help bring this crisis to a more rapid close:
Allocate necessary resources to ensure safe temporary detention facilities, expedited adjudication for unaccompanied minors and sufficient legal representation for those requiring it. Other measures which will hasten adjudication or give temporary authority to the President should be considered.
Publically support the Administration’s short and long term efforts in Central America designed to prevent reoccurrences of this recent surge. Should include short term measures to ensure repatriation is both rapid and humane, and longer term efforts to bring more economic opportunity, citizen security and rule of law to the region. A whole of government approach to combating the growing regional influence of trans-national organized crime should be developed and implemented.
The House should pass something akin to the Senate Immigration Reform bill in the next few weeks. There is no doubt at this point that confusion about our immigration system has played a role in the recent surge. The single most effective way our government has of clearing up this confusion is by passing immigration reform swiftly so it can be enacted by the end of this year. The rules of the road will be clear as day at point, ensuring that all in Central America understand that no migrants arriving here after Dec 31st, 2011 will eligible for legalization.
Speak with one voice. Again, by Congress passing a plan like the one outlined here and showing their support for the Administration, the United States government will be sending a loud and clear signal to those South of us that the US is determined to bring a swift and humane end to the crisis. This unaminity will itself be a powerful deterrent, and help us bring an immediate slowing of the northbound flow.
This week the House Republicans have spent far more energy beating up on the Administration about this crisis than acting as a responsible partner in bring the crisis to a close. In the coming weeks they and all of Congress will have an opportunity to do their part in bringing this unfortunate chapter in our immigration system to a close. The Administration has taken smart and aggressive first steps. They have done their part. It is now time for Congress to do its part. Failure to act will prolong the crisis, worsen human suffering and strengthen the cartels south of the border prospering from the enlarged flow.
The recent surge of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras is the latest challenge to an overburdened US immigration system. Here are some of the resources that we at NDN found most useful to learn more about this highly complex problem:
The policy-making committee of the Federal Reserve Board meets again tomorrow, and the news won’t be encouraging. The one-percent decline in GDP in the first quarter disposed of the Fed’s forecast for 2.9 percent growth this year, and they have to lower it to the range of 2.0 percent to 2.5 percent. That’s just what the IMF did yesterday, forecasting as well that the United States won’t reach full employment again until 2017. So the Fed will leave interest rates at rock-bottom levels through at least next year. But Fed chair Janet Yellen will also continue to wind-down the quantitative easing program, because doing otherwise would signal big troubles ahead for the U.S. economy and scare the daylights out of the markets. In short, happy days are still out of reach, and there’s little the Fed can do about it.
We know it could be a lot worse, since it was much worse not very long ago. And it is much worse in other places. Consider Argentina: On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to let the Argentine government arbitrarily void its contracts with selected American lenders. So, now Argentina – with admittedly the world’s most irrepressibly, irresponsible, freely-elected government – may face another sovereign debt default by the end of the month. And according to the ratings agencies, the place next in line for a debt default is Puerto Rico. If it happens, the Obama administration will have to swallow hard and bail out our island Commonwealth – or risk economic chaos there and new problems for important banks here and in Puerto Rico.
Across the pond, Yellen’s counterpart at the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, continues to work overtime to stave off a European financial crisis. Two years ago, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy were all teetering towards sovereign debt crises, until Draghi stepped in and pledged that the ECB would purchase as many of their bonds as it took to support their debt markets. Two years later, those debts continue to rise, though not as fast as before. But their economies are still not productive enough to attract the foreign investors they need to support their large public debt burdens. And the large European banks which hold more of those bonds than anyone except the ECB are still unprepared to weather a serious crisis. Yet, you wouldn’t know it from official pronouncements: Wolfgang Munchau reported this week in the Financial Times that the “adverse scenario” designed by the ECB to stress-test those banks’ ability to weather a big shock is, in certain respects, more optimistic than the ECB’s own forecast.
Finally, while China blusters that its renminbi should be an exchangeable, global currency on par with the dollar, the flood of credit it unleashed to maintain high growth in recent years has left much of its banking system technically insolvent. And its “shadow banking system” – the network of arrangements that many Chinese municipalities and businesses use to borrow funds outside the regular banking system – is in equally precarious shape. The only things protecting China from its own financial crisis are strict credit controls and the fact that the renminbi is not an exchangeable currency, which insulate it from the judgments of global capital markets.
The fact is, financial crises have become as common as they were in the 19th century before the rise of central banking. This new cycle started in Latin America in 1985-1986, followed by Spain, Japan and Sweden in 1990-1991, moved on to Mexico in 1995 and East Asia in 1997-1998, and then to the United States in 2008-2009. The European Union has barely skirted its own crisis for the last three years, and the strains are intensifying in China. In ways that no one understands, the ultimate source of these cascading crises almost certainly lies in the globalization of capital markets. Until we figure out how and why this is happening, everyone’s prosperity will be hostage to upheavals that governments cannot control and can only barely manage.
This post was originally published on Dr. Shapiro's blog
Please join NDN later this week for an online Webinar about the US-Mexican border, the Obama immigration and border enforcement record and the recent surge in migrants from Central America. We will be hosting two live Webinars, the first on Thursday at 3 PM and a second on Friday at 11 AM.
On the heels of Vice President Biden's trip to Guatemala, many are wondering what conditions caused a surge of people to show up at the U.S./Mexico border. NDN President Simon Rosenberg will offer his insight and provide a greater context to how our immigration system has changed in the Obama Era. Simon will walk through a newly constructed powerpoint presentation, which reviews recent data about what is happening on the US Mexican border today and review true signs of progress of late in managing this complex system. Simon will also review the recent surge at the border and discuss the best way to stem the tide. The briefing will be useful for anyone trying to learn more about the issue, whether they are writing in the media or anyone attempting to have a greater understanding of the policy options available.
Please note that it will take a few moments for the software to install before the event begins, so plan accordingly. Webinar can be used on either a Mac or PC. If you have any issues, please contact email@example.com.
Each Webinar will last for about an hour. The first 30 minutes will be devoted to Simon's powerpoint presentation, followed by 30 minutes of Q &A:
For Friday's 11 AM presentation, please rsvp here.
If you want to learn more about these issues before joining us later this week, please check out NDN's "backgrounder" that we put together with the latest news and resources on what's going on at the border.