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Immigration

It seems for every news article trying to disclaim the rights of immigrants there is another article arguing the importance of their presence. Throughout these next few articles you will see a number of various articles which describe the state of our immigration laws, and opinions today. There are articles which show the presence of support, negative attitudes, which mainly approach their opinions by showing the “costs” of illegal immigrants. There are also articles which address what is ethical to do with the immigrants who are already living here. These articles show the oppression that illegal imigrants face, from their houses being raided, to being denyed rights to an education, to fearing seeking help. It’s hard after reading the opposing thoughts on immigration throughtout the articles to form an opinion myself so it seems reasonable that the debate on immigration reform is still going on in the govenment and between members of society today.

Board Admits Illegal Immigrants Into College Under Strict Rules

Board to admit illegal immigrants

September 18, 2009 - 9:07am.

Illegal immigrants will be allowed back into the state’s community colleges.

All but one member of the the State Board of Community Colleges voted to allow them in at out-of-state tuition rates, Kristin Collins reports.

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, a Democrat, was the only board member to vote no on the matter.

Other board members said the policy puts them in line with the UNC system policy.

"The whole economic prosperity of the United States depends on the education of the next generation," said State Treasurer Janet Cowell.

A committee of the State Board of Community Colleges recommended Thursday that undocumented students be admitted to degree programs, but they would have to pay out-of-state tuition, be denied financial aid, and be enrolled in classes only after legal students are given slots.

The full board vote today caps nearly two years of controversy over whether to allow illegal immigrants to enroll in degree programs at the state’s 58 community college campuses.

http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/board_to_admit_illegal_immigrants

NY Daily News Argues That Immigrants DO Pull Thier Weight

The boon of immigration: Newcomers to America more than pull their economic weight

Monday, November 30th 2009, 4:00 AM

What’s next on the White House's domestic agenda after health care reform and the economy? How about comprehensive immigration reform? Remember that?

The need for combining secure borders with a rational policy for admitting newcomers is as pressing today as it was when the last attempted remake went down in flames under President George W. Bush, victim largely of the myth that immigration is a drain on the economy and a threat to native-born workers.

The truth is just the opposite. As documented by the Fiscal Policy Institute, immigration has, in fact, been a vital force in the American economy. Even in tough times, immigrants boost or replenish the labor pool and inject entrepreneurial energy that opens businesses and creates jobs.

Using data from the Census Bureau, the report looks at 25 major cities, from Los Angeles to New York to Miami to Seattle, and proves that immigrants more than pull their weight.

In New York - including suburbs - immigrants make up 28% of the population and are responsible for 28% of the economic activity. Miami is 37% immigrants; they produce 38% of that’s city economic output.

In L.A., the numbers are 35% and 34%. The pattern holds even for smaller cities such as Cincinnati and Minneapolis.

With the 25 cities providing half of the U.S. gross domestic product, even in tough economic times immigrants contribute mightily to the well-being of their adopted country.

The report found that immigrants are more likely than their U.S.-born counterparts to be of working age, defined as 16 to 64. While they make up 20% of the people in those 25 big cities, they compose 24% of the labor force.

And work they do, in high-end and low-paying jobs and everything in between. One-fourth are managers or professionals - executives, doctors, attorneys, engineers, teachers, artists. Another quarter are in technical, sales and administrative support. Twenty-one percent hold service jobs, ranging from cleaners and guards to cops and firefighters. Some 30% are blue-collar workers.

Beyond that, 22% of the money brought in by people who own their own businesses was earned by immigrants. In some small cities like Pittsburgh and Cleveland, the immigrants’ share of proprietors’ income was double their proportion in the population.

Clearly, the larger the number of immigrants, the greater the economic activity. But the reverse is also true. Shutting the borders and throwing out those who have built productive lives here would do untold damage to the country. Maintaining the United States as an immigrant-friendly nation is essential to our economic health.

Providing a road to citizenship for those who are here, while fixing gaping holes in enforcement, is the way to guarantee continued economic benefit for all Americans.

Wait till next year, we hope.

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2009/11/30/2009-11-30_the_boon_of_immigration.html

Fear Deters Immigrants Getting the Help They Need

Illegal immigrants spurn benefits

Fear of immigration agents means available resources go unclaimedBy Alex Johnson and Marián AlbornozReportersmsnbc.com and Telemundoupdated 7:56 p.m. ET, Fri., July 18, 2008

Like many immigrants, Carmen Cruz of New York is having trouble making ends meet.

“Everything is very expensive,” Cruz said, speaking in her native Spanish. “How does one buy or eat anything? Everything is so expensive.”

Cruz did not know that she was eligible for food stamps — $80 a month for herself or $200 or more for her family.

At a time when the economic downturn is hitting immigrant communities especially hard, food stamps are the first line of defense against hunger for low-income families. But advocates and government officials have long known that legal immigrants are missing out on government benefit programs because of language barriers or ignorance.

And if you are an illegal immigrant, there is a third, crippling barrier — fear of arrest and deportation, especially in an anti-immigrant political climate that has fueled record numbers of arrests and deportations.

Most illegal immigrants have no idea that a limited number of benefit programs don’t exclude them, said Betsabé Pabón, director of the Food Stamps Program at the nonprofit Sunnyside Community Services in the New York borough of Queens.

By law, illegal immigrants are ineligible for food stamps — unless there is at least one U.S. citizen in their household, which describes all U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants.

In many cases, illegal immigrants can also receive emergency medical treatment, short-term government disaster relief and immunization against communicable diseases. Their children can attend public schools.

States may provide other benefits, such as driver’s licenses and worker’s compensation, In Kansas, for example, illegal immigrants can get tuition breaks at state universities and colleges.

And yet, estimates are that several million illegal immigrants — more precise figures are impossible to calculate, because illegal immigrants typically live under the radar — actively shun such support, fearing that government agents will swoop in and whisk them away.

“People are afraid, and any mail that they receive at their homes, they double-check what it is,” said Ernesto Campos, who works with the Latino community for the Arlington County, Va., public schools.

Anti-immigrant pressure builds
Activists say the fear is especially acute now, in a climate of popular attitudes against illegal immigration that have led to widespread government raids on employers and mass arrests of illegal workers:

  • In May, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials launched the largest immigration raid in the nation’s history, making nearly 400 arrests at a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa.
  • In Florida, immigration authorities deported nearly 2,000 more illegal immigrants in the first six months of this year, 5,889, than they did in the same period last year, when they deported 3,942 people.
  • Deportations for Washington, Oregon and Alaska were up by 40 percent over the same period, ICE said.
  • In Missouri, meanwhile, Gov. Matt Blunt recently signed tough legislation prohibiting Missouri business owners from hiring any illegal immigrants and requiring applicants for government benefits to prove U.S. citizenship.

    Eduardo Crespi, director of Centro Latino de Salud, a Hispanic outreach group in Columbia, said the new law would drive as many as 65,000 illegal immigrants from Missouri into neighboring states.

    The attitude was summarized by Eugene Delgaudio, who represents Sterling Park, Va., on the Loudoun Board of County Supervisors in suburban Washington. He said his community’s quality of life was at stake.

    “This is a cesspool,” Delgaudio said. “People are coming from outside of this culture, and they are dumping their crap on the streets of our town, and our town is outraged that they don’t get with the program.”

    Rep. Seth Hammett, speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, said heat was building on lawmakers to kick out any and all illegal immigrants.

    “As long as Congress fails to act,” Hammett said, “this Legislature and others around the country are going to be under pressure from our constituents to take action.”

    ‘Immigrants are now afraid to report crimes’
    Immigrants’ activists contend that the federal crackdown could lead to long-term problems for government authorities.

    All sorts of local, state and federal programs are funded according to formulae based, in part, on population data: The fewer people in a given location, the less money is available.

    Likewise, the same data govern apportionment of congressional seats. In districts with large immigrant populations, getting illegal immigrants to respond to census takers is crucial. Noting widespread fear of deportation among illegal immigrants, U.S. Census officials took the unusual step late last year of calling on authorities to end the crackdown in time for the 2010 census.

    State and local officials have made similar calls.

    In Virginia, for example, each student listed on a census card, legal or illegal, means about $2,300 for the child’s school system. The census is prohibited from asking about immigration status, but many illegal immigrants still refuse to take part.

    “That is our concern, that people, because of what is going on in other jurisdictions, will feel we’re trying to gather information for some other purpose,” said Robert Smith, superintendent of the Arlington County schools.

    Fear also hampers police, whom illegal immigrants particularly avoid, for the same reason.

    “We’ve really seen an impact in public safety, because immigrants are now afraid to report crimes because of fear of detention or deportation,” said Caroline Keating-Guerra, an organizer for the Austin, Texas, Immigrant Rights Coalition. “That goes for witnesses or victims of crimes.”

    Economic impact debated
    Employers in low-paying industries join immigrants’ activists in saying the crackdown is short-sighted and insist that, if anything, illegal immigrants should get more help from the government.

    Carol McDowell, president of McDowell Enterprises, a metal plating company in Elkhart, Ind., agreed. She said that immigrant workers were needed to keep the economy running and that the government should seek ways to help illegal immigrants survive and become naturalized.

    “There are not enough Americans to do the jobs that are being created in America today by entrepreneurial companies,” McDowell said.

    “The federal government has failed to provide a pathway to individuals who have been allowed to cross the borders to be legal so that they can fully contribute and give their tax dollars back to the nation,” she said.

    And the government does collect plenty of tax money from illegal immigrants, said Tom Roach, an immigration attorney in Pasco, Wash.

    “They pay sales taxes, federal income taxes, Social Security taxes, taken right out of their paycheck, sent right to the federal government,” Roach said. “Social Security is about to go broke, but thanks to the illegal aliens, there’s presently $345 billion in the Social Security fund, which is helping to keep it afloat.”

    But proponents of crackdowns argue that those arguments are beside the point. Illegal immigrants, by definition, are criminals, they say, and should be brought to account.

    “This is a rule-of-law issue,” said Jackie Walorski, a Republican member of the Indiana House of Representatives. “I cannot imagine that we’re going to … say to the children in this generation right now that it’s OK to pick and choose what law you want to abide by.”

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    Cold as “ICE”: The Law Tearing Families Apart.

    Advocates: Immigrant raids tear apart families

    Arrests are up 750 percent — some wonder what will become of the kidsBy Rehema EllisCorrespondentupdated 7:54 p.m. ET, Wed., March. 21, 2007

    NEW BEDFORD, Mass. - After Sept. 11, immigration officials began cracking down on undocumented workers in the name of homeland security.  Immigration advocates harshly criticize the enforcement, saying it unfairly separates families from their children — many of whom were born in the U.S.

    When hundreds of federal immigration agents descended on the Bianco leather goods plant in New Bedford, Mass., this month, 360 immigrants were arrested, many of them working mothers.

    New Bedford is the latest in a series of workplace enforcement raids nationwide, which netted more than 3,600 illegal immigrants since last year. More than 1,100 were arrested at IFCO pallet plants in 26 states, some 1,282 at Swift meatpacking plants in six states.

    With about 95 percent detained facing deportation, immigrant advocates say these raids are tearing families apart — families like Anna’s. Her arrest in New Bedford meant three days in detention and away from her U.S.-born son Diego.

    Although he was with his father, Anna was still terrified she would never see him again.

    In communities like New Bedford, people have come out to show support for families affected by the raids. At one church we visited, they have left donations of food and clothing.

    Immigration authorities insist the arrests — up 750 percent in the past four years — are mandated by law and are conducted as humanely as possible.

    "We want to ensure the safety of all children out there, and we want to ensure that they are not left without a sole caregiver," says John Torres, director of detention for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE.

    "If ICE is doing their job according to the law, it is incredibly clear that we need to change the law," says Ali Noorani, an immigrant advocate with Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy.

    Meanwhile, with Anna due in immigration court next month, her family, like so many others, is afraid they’ll be separated again by immigration law that could force her to leave the country they now call home.

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    Battle for In-State-Tuition For Undocumented Immigrants

    Mass. immigrant tuition bill to get new push

    Posted: Nov. 15, 2009

    CHELSEA, Mass. —It seemed like a given that Mario Rodas would go to college.

    The Guatemalan-born student certainly had the academic credentials, going from English as a second language classes to taking advanced placement exams for college credit his senior year at Chelsea High School.

    But paying for it was another matter. As an undocumented immigrant in 2005, Rodas would have had to pay out-of-state tuition fees to go to a public college in Massachusetts, and he couldn’t afford that. If he had lived in Texas or Utah, states that allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates, Rodas, now 22, might have graduated already.

    "Every year we have more and more students in limbo here," Rodas said. "And every year we have more and more students taking advantage (of in-state tuition) elsewhere. I don’t understand."

    Nearly three years after Massachusetts House lawmakers soundly rejected a bill that would have allowed illegal immigrants to attend college at in-state tuition rates, lawmakers are preparing to revisit the issue.

    Activists say 10 other states, some dominated by conservative lawmakers, have passed legislation with bipartisan support, and advocates see no reason why Massachusetts, a state controlled by Democrats, can’t do the same.

    That has been a frustration for advocates in this left-leaning state, which was the first to legalize gay marriage and the only so far to require health insurance for all its residents.

    "Massachusetts is out in front of so many things," said Harris Gruman, executive director of the Service Employees International Union Massachusetts State Council. "But Massachusetts is behind on this."

    Undocumented students say they plan to launch a campaign by lobbying key lawmakers and sharing their stories in face-to-face meetings. Meanwhile, activists have cultivated a broader coalition of supporters that includes union members, business leaders and academics - something lacking in 2006.

    State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston, said the state’s Higher Education Committee is expected to hold hearings on the matter later this year or early next. Chang-Diaz, a co-sponsor of the bill, says it stands a better chance this time, with increased lobbying efforts and support from Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick. Former Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, opposed the measure in 2006.

    "Time is our friend here," Chang-Diaz said. "We’ve had more time to talk to more people collectively … and get them more comfortable with it."

    On Tuesday, the governor is scheduled to release a list of recommendations from his Advisory Council for Refugees and Immigrants that is expected to include in-state tuition for undocumented students. Patrick sent the panel around the state last year to take public comment and to come up with suggestions for new immigration policy.

    Currently, 10 states - California, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin - have such in-state tuition laws for undocumented students. Oklahoma repealed its law in 2008.

    Meanwhile, four states - Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and South Carolina - have passed laws specifically banning undocumented students from being eligible for in-state tuition.

    Steve Kropper, co-director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Immigration Reform, a group that seeks immigration restrictions, said Massachusetts residents have shown to be generally sympathetic to immigration. But he said the public remains resistant to granting illegal immigrants in-state tuition or driver’s licenses.

    "It doesn’t make economic sense to us," Kropper said. "If they can’t get a job when they’re done (with college), then it doesn’t make sense for the state to invest in them."

    Gruman said advocates are optimistic in Massachusetts because some of the more vocal opponents are now gone.

    For example, former Rep. Marie Parente, D-Milford, who was an outspoken opponent of the bill in 2006, was ousted by John Fernandes later that year. Still, Fernandes has not committed to support the bill and questions whether it should also include provisions for assimilation or enforcement.

    "It only speaks to one side of the issue," said Fernandes, a Democrat. "I think we need a balanced approached that speaks to comprehensive immigration reform."

    Others who voted against the measure last time also remain opposed. Rep. Demetrius Atsalis, D-Barnstable, still opposes the bill because he believes it will make the state’s college fee structure meaningless and will take away the incentive for undocumented students to legalize their status, said spokesman Tom Bernardo.

    Rodas, who was granted asylum in the United States after becoming a poster child for the bill in 2006, said most of the immigrant students who would benefit from the proposal arrived in this country when they were young and are culturally American already.

    "Most of these students speak English better than their native language now," Rodas said.

    The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimates that 400 to 600 students might enter Massachusetts schools as a result of the bill and that it likely would result in $2.5 million of extra revenue.

    According to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, current average in-state tuition at state universities is $9,704 compared with out-of-state tuition of $22,157. Average in-state tuition at state community college is $4,305 compared with out-of-state tuition of $10,811.

    Stella Flores, a professor of public policy and higher education at Vanderbilt University, said one of the reasons the bill has struggled in Massachusetts is because the foreign-born population is younger than in other states, and because a large percentage of the state’s Latinos are Puerto Ricans who aren’t concerned about immigration issues since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory.

    She said states that have adopted in-state tuition laws have seen a small number of immigrants take advantage of the opportunities, mainly at community colleges.

    "It’s usually a small jump," Flores said, "but over time, as news spreads through word of mouth, you’ll see an increase."

    Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    http://www.wral.com/news/national_world/national/story/6423571/
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