Over the next several months the Supreme Courtwill hear arguments over Arizona's state-passed immigration law. Regardless of the outcome one thing should be very clear: theanti-immigrant movement has no long-term strategy to fix our broken immigration system. All these laws have done is create an environment which has stagnated conversation about repairing the systemic problems inherent in our non-functioning immigration system. The bottom line: state-passed laws by design cannot and will not ever reform an immigration system which needs a uniform overhaul from Congress.
Any law which seeks to fix the problems associated with undocumented immigration in our country must deal with three issues on a national scale: 1) how best to enforce our immigration laws; 2) how to deal with those undocumented immigrants currently here; and 3) create a process for moving future flows of legal immigration into and out of the country.
The Obama Administration has already made significant movement on the enforcement part of this strategy. Deportations are at a record highlevel and undocumented immigration into the country is at a net zero. Most importantly, between 2009 and 2010 for the first time in decades the undocumented population actuallydropped, and has remained stagnant to date. In fact in a huge reversal, more Mexican undocumented migrants are leaving the country then are entering it. Despite the strides made, there are those who see state-passed immigration laws as a legitimate fix for our broken immigration system. Playing the devil's advocate, let us envision a scenario in which the Supreme Court upholds SB1070.
Using simple arithmetic, 36 of 51 states have attempted to pass anti-immigration laws similar to Arizona SB1070. However, only six of the thirty six proposals or around16% have actually passed. This suggests that even if the Supreme Court sets a precedent by finding these laws constitutional, it is highly unlikely that anything close to a majority of the states would pass their own immigration laws. Under this scenario removing immigrants currently in this country without documentation would be all but impossible.
A patchwork of state-passed immigration laws will not remove immigrants from the country. The evidencesuggests it merely causes them to move from one state to another. Carrying this proposed scenario out further, if states were given constitutional authority to generate mass deportations or to implement a system which compels self-deportation, they would still be reliant on federal enforcement resources and financial support.
From a basic process standpoint states do not have the legal means or resources to deport immigrants. Deportations are a controlled process with specific and expensive steps which must be adhered to. States who attempt to deport on their own would find themselves in a morass of legal red tape coupled with staggering costs. It can cost anywhere from $12,500 to $23,480 to deport one immigrant. Estimates show that deporting the population of undocumented immigrants already in this country could cost as much as $285 billion.
A patchwork of state-passed immigration laws does nothing to fix the utterly broken process of legal immigration into the country. The majority of undocumented immigrants in the country are Visa overstays who came into the country legally. The number of immigrants who apply to come in legally far outnumbers the allocations for visas currently given. Even if possible, deporting all of the undocumented immigrants in the country would accomplish nothing, if the process of legally moving people into and out of the country is not fixed. On their own states simply cannot do this. Any scenario which finds state-passed immigration laws constitutional will only bring the country right back to where we are now, dealing with an immigration system that doesn't work.
The rise of the state-passed immigration movement has been an ideological dead end for the country and a stagnation of real conversation around reforming our current system. The Supreme Court case matters, not just because of the precedent it will set, but because upholding these laws would only give Congressional Republicans the ability to continue to shirk their duty to come to the table and fix our immigration system. Regardless of whether or not the Supreme Court strikes down some or all of SB1070, the inescapable fact remains, states individually will never be able to fix the larger problems associated with our immigration system. Most assuredly, with time the Court's decision will only reinforce a simple fact: the only entity that can fix the mess we are in is Congress.
This has been cross posted on The Huffington PostHERE.
Arizona lawmaker defends immigration law in Senate: Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing opening arguments on SB1070, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the constitutionality of Arizona's papers please immigration law.
Democrats plan to force vote on Arizona immigration law if it’s upheld by court: At the hearing Senator Charles Schumer revealed that Democrats would be scheduling a vote to overturn Arizona's state passed law.
Russell Pearce: I 'Absolutely' Believe Romney Called SB 1070 A 'Model': Finally Russell Pearce, the architect and only politician in the history of Arizona to ever be recalled has said that he thinks Mitt Romney was talking about Sb1070 when he cited Arizona as a model for the country.
High court hears Arizona immigration dispute This week the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments over Arizona's controversial immigration law SB1070, the outcome of this case will have significant ramifications for the country.
Supreme Court will hear 2 strikingly different views The Supreme Court case will touch upon whether or not states have the right to enforce their own immigration laws.
More Mexicans returning home, fewer coming to U.S. Finally stepped up immigration enforcement and a deep recession has resulted in the lowest undocumented immigration statistics in ages.
The Supreme Court debate over SB1070 Arizona’s immigration law is likely to have a significant impact in the coming general election. The candidate’s stances on the law are sure to be litmus tests for many Hispanic voters. While the President is firmly against the law, Mitt Romney’s stance shines a harsh light on his ties to many of the authors of the bill, his serious problems with Hispanic voters, and further validates his reputation as a political opportunist.
By all accounts Romney was a moderate Republican Governor; however in a brutal primary in an attempt to placate Tea Party Republicans suspicious of his campaign he took hard right stances on immigration issues. A recent NBC/WSJ poll reports that Romney’s favorability gap with Hispanic is at 23 percent favorable 42 percent unfavorable. A CNN/Opinion Research Poll reports that 71 percent of Hispanic’s polled are opposed to the bill. Unsurprisingly Romney has begun toning down his rhetoric on this issue, however what he is saying and doing has been two different things. Nowhere is this more apparent than his stance on SB1070.
To his credit Romney has begun to distancehimself from immigration hardliners including Kris Kobach the author of SB1070. Despite Romney’s statements to the otherwise, Kobach claims he still advises the campaign on immigration daily. Romney has also begun to embrace more Hispanic vote, as a senior advisor to his campaign.
He has even floated Florida Senator Marco Rubio as a possible VP pick, a decision that is already paying dividends. Rubio recently gave Romney coveron a controversial statement he made in a primary debate about Arizona’s law being a model for the country. Rubio recently said that he does not believe that the law should be a model for the country. The Romney campaign then clarified his previous statement, saying that their candidate was referring to E-Verify, an employment verification tool, not SB1070 and that Romney’s views were consistent with Rubio’s.
Despite clarifying his comments on Arizona’s immigration law Romney is not shying away from his connections to the drafters of the policy. He has received the endorsements of the bills authors and main supporters in Russell Pearce, Kris Kobach and Jan Brewer. Why, because after alienating womenand Hispanic voters, he needs the conservative wing of his party if he has any chance of winning this election. In another example of actions speaking louder then his words two days before the Supreme Court was set to hear opening arguments, Romney held several fundraisers and a rally in Arizona. Since his campaign has skillfully obscured his position on the Arizona law, the real question for the general election is what roles are Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Governor Jan Brewer, Sheriff Paul Babeu and Senator Russell Pearce going to play in the national campaign this fall?
For general election voters broadly and Hispanic voters in particular this is just another instance of Mitt Romney trying to have it both ways. He accepts the endorsement of the authors of the legislation, yet attempts to muddy his views on the legislation. Who knows exactly what Romney thinks as he is only speaking through his campaign, and they are parroting another politicians stance. In the end Congressman Xavier Becerra, said it best, “There’s a saying in Spanish that says it all: Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres. Tell me with whom you walk and I will tell you who you are. We now know who Mitt Romney is.”
NDN and The New Policy Institute is proud of our report, “Realizing the Full Value of Tourism from Mexico to the United States,” which came just in time to help inform a recent Presidential executive order designed to significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States.
As part of this executive order the Department of Interior and Commerce turned in recommendations on how to increase tourism into the United States. Below please find a letter written by the United States – Mexico Border Association urging the White House to include Mexico, the Southwest and increased border infrastructure spending in the new tourism plan.
Will the right wing really let Mitt Romney `pivot’ on immigration? After a wave of polling data indicated that Mitt Romney was poisoning his chances at making in roads with Hispanic voters he has begun to moderate his stance on issues important to this group. The real question is will right wing conservatives let him.
Binational Group Seeks to Make U.S.-Mexico Border Crossing Easier Representatives from local governments in the United States and Mexico are working together to make crossing their shared border easier.
House Republicans back Homeland Security powers in border parks House Republicans are pushing legislation through congress which would allow the Border Patrol to control 50 national parks and forests.
Drawbacks Seen With Having National Guardsmen on Border A new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office highlights some of the drawbacks of having the National Guard on the Southwest Border.
Latinos Deeply Divided Over Marco Rubio: As the Republican party continues to try to soften their harsh rhetoric to the Hispanic community Florida Senator Marco Rubio continues to be mentioned as a Vice Presidential candidate. However Hispanics are raising questions about what he would actually bring to the ticket.
Romney's immigration stance may soften to appeal to Latino voters: After a series of blistering polls revealed deep fissures between the Republican Part and Hispanics Mitt Romney is seeking to soften his stance on many issues important to Hispanics.
Next week President of Mexico Felipe Calderon will be in Washington D.C. next week to receive an award for hemispheric leadership from the U.S. Mexico Chamber of commerce. Before President Calderon gets here we would like to take the time to reflect on how successful the 21st Century Border Strategy has been.
Any reasonable look at the data from the past several years makes clear that the new joint Mexican-US strategy towards the common border region is working. Deportations of criminal immigrants, southbound seizures of bulk cash and illegal guns are way up.
The number of illegal migrants crossing the border, the number of undocumented immigrants in the US, crime rates all along the US side of the border are all down. By some measures cities like El Paso and San Diego are some of the safest big cities in America today.
While the violence on the Mexican side of the border is still at unacceptable levels, there has been no measurable spillover of the cartel violence into the United States. So while the things we don't want happening along the US side of the border are decreasing, the things we do want - trade and legal traffic of people - are increasing.
Below please find some of our recent work on the 21st Century Border:
Realizing the Full Value of Tourism from Mexico to the United States NPI is proud of our report which argues that as the United States looks to increase domestic tourism, increasing tourism from Mexico should be a major priority for our new national strategy. Please read the full report here
This major report has generated significant press. Please watch 21st Century Border Policy Director Kristian Ramos on Fox News Business Live talking about the importance of Mexican tourism for the Southwest and the United States. Erik Lee, Deputy Director of the North American Center for Transborder Studies and co-writer of the report was a guest on KJZZ FM talking about the contents of the report
Realizing the Value of Cross Border Trade with Mexico” – The New Policy Institute paper explores the important and growing economic relation ship between the United States and Mexico. Among the paper’s more interesting findings is that, remarkably, 22 states now count Mexico as their first or second largest export market, including our two biggest states, California and Texas.
For those interested in learning more see this video of our event in DC discussing the paper with Michael C. Camunez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance. You can also see a video of the primary authors of the paper, Rick Van Schoik and Erik Lee of Arizona State University’s North American Center for Trans-border Studies, discussing the paper in depth here. A new Spanish language version of the paper is available here.
Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan and Commissioner Alan Bersin: A Conversation on a "21st Century Border” 5/24/2010
NDN/NPI was proud to host Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan and Chairman of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Alan Bersin as they had a discussion on the merits of the just announced 21st Century Border Initiative.
The 21st Century Border: A Declaration of Cooperation Between The United States and Mexico On The Border5/20/2010 The Declaration of the 21st Century Border Initiative is a memorandum agreement between the United States and Mexico which pledged both countries to strengthen cooperation along the southwest border. This memorandum is integral in understanding the positive steps made in creating a safer border. In this document, both countries outline ways in which they can create a more harmonious region for the economic benefit of the region.
Immigrant Tax Contributions and the Future of the U.S. Economy A new report highlights the important tax contributions of undocumented immigrants.
Alabama Digs A Deeper Hole A New York Times editorial highlights the various problems with the proposed "fixes" to Alabama's draconian state passed immigration laws.
Undoc Seeks Admission to Florida Bar An immigrant brought to the United States as a child, was a valedictorian of his high-school and has completed law school, is now attempting to be accepted to the Florida Bar so he can practice law.
Below that please find Erik Lee, Deputy Director of the North American Center for Transborder Studies and co-writer of the report talking on KJZZ FM talking about the importance of tourism to the southwest region.
The United States is missing out on tremendous untapped potential among Mexican tourists. That’s one of the findings of a recent study conducted by the North American Center for Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. KJZZ’s Al Macias reports.
AL MACIAS: The report says the recession, lengthy visa application requirements and a focus on border security have cost the U.S. The study says there is a latent demand for travel to the U.S. by Mexicans. In 2010 Mexican tourists spent $8.7 billion in the United States. Erik Lee is one of the authors of the study. He says 85 percent of the 13.5 million legal Mexican tourists who entered the United States last year came through land entries.
ERIK LEE: The major beneficiaries of that cross border flow of tourists are cities like El Paso, Nogales, Tucson, San Diego. Obviously the closer to the border that a city is, the better to benefit from that tourism flow.
AL MACIAS: The study acknowledges the need for maintaining border security but says those efforts should not prevent law-abiding tourists from visiting the United States.