Since 1996, hundreds of thousands of longtime U.S. residents have been sent back to their native countries for small, non-violent infractions—and without courtroom trials.
Read more. [Image: Immigrant Justice Network]
Rep. Raul Labrador, an Idaho Republican, declared immigration reform dead, so why aren’t the opponents of a big overhaul pouring the champagne?
Because they know better than anyone that the issue could be resurrected at any time.
When President Obama declared immigration reform his top post-shutdown priority, opponents of a pathway to citizenship could have declared victory then and there. The president’s advocacy gives House Republicans an easy way to ignore the issue, much like a teenager tunes out a nagging mother. The bad blood between the White House and Speaker John Boehner got worse during the government shutdown, making bipartisan negotiations on other issues more difficult. Republicans also flinch at the thought of giving Obama another legacy victory.
All this should add up to a dead issue.
Read more. [Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr]
What’s going on in the world today? It’s hard to keep up. Some facts are familiar to anyone who reads the news. Unemployment is high. Growth is slow. Shale gas is a big deal. But beyond the caps-lock headlines, subtler, but no less significant, shifts are changing the U.S. economy and reshaping the global financial order. Here are ten that have surprised—and might surprise.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
The United Nations recently released new data showing that 232 million people, or 3.2 percent of the world’s population, live outside of their countries of birth. This global diaspora has big implications as countries try to balance growth with unease over outsiders. So where are all of these people anyway? And are they helping or hurting their new homes?
Read more. [Image: Marko Djurica]
The biggest obstacle facing immigration reform may be not opposition but inertia. Leaders of the House of Representatives have said they plan to act, but with the coming months likely to be consumed by budget drama, immigration could fall by the wayside.
If that happens, advocates of immigration reform have another idea: They’ll push Obama to press the button on the immigration-reform nuclear option.
The option commonly referred to by immigration reformers as “Plan B” would see the president take executive action to prevent undocumented immigrants from being deported — along the lines of the deferred-action program the administration created for “Dreamers” last year. It wouldn’t be a panacea, and it wouldn’t give them citizenship. But such an action could at least spare some from the constant threat of deportation. And perhaps just as important, it could exact major political revenge on Republicans, galvanizing the Hispanic electorate against them and further hurting their image with the fastest-growing segment of voters.
Read more. [Image: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]
What if immigration reform advocates used financial arguments to make their case? Ask 10 individuals how they feel about the immigration debate, and you’ll get a range of responses combining humanitarian, employment, population, or economic concerns. You probably won’t hear about the hefty price tag of the immigration control battle, nor the profits that private prisons are making off the government’s expenditures, nor the alternatives to detention that might pair more humane treatment with cost effectiveness.
Since 2003, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement was created and government crackdowns on undocumented aliens increased, private prisons have gained business, with industry profits more than doubling.
The prisons’ gain is the government’s loss - the profits are being generated from spending on immigration detention, which has also doubled over the past eight years. The National Immigration Forum reported earlier this month that the cost of detaining an immigrant averages $159 a day.
Read more. [Image: Jeff Topping/Reuters]
Activists opposed to immigration reform were all set to spend this month putting pressure on lawmakers to kill the legislation. But it hasn’t exactly been a show of force.
Last week, the Tea Party Patriots and NumbersUSA, two groups opposed to “amnesty” legislation, heavily publicized a rally in Richmond, Virginia, featuring Steve King, the firebrand Republican congressman who recently claimed most undocumented youth are physically fit drug mules. But only a few dozen people showed up — far short of the hundreds organizers had planned for.
Journalists posted photos of a lonely-looking King under a gazebo in a mostly empty public park. A reporter for Breitbart News, Matthew Boyle, tweeted, “If grassroots wants to kill #Amnesty they have to show up. #teaparty they are not here in Richmond.”
Read more. [Image: Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press]
Getty Images photographer John Moore has spent years covering stories about immigration between Mexico and the United States — border enforcement, drug smuggling, undocumented workers, and more. Earlier this year, he traveled south to the Mexico-Guatemala border, where Central American immigrants cross the Suchiate River, beginning their long and perilous journey north through Mexico. He traveled with some of the thousands of immigrants who ride atop freight trains, known as “la bestia,” or the Beast, toward the U.S. border. Riders on the Beast risk a great deal — robbery and assault by gangs who control the train tops, or the loss of life or limb in a fall. Only a fraction of the immigrants who start the journey in Central America will traverse Mexico completely unscathed — and all this before illegally entering the United States and facing the considerable U.S. border security apparatus designed to track, detain, and deport them. Moore has captured images not only of their difficult journey, but of the faces of these travelers, telling their stories through compelling portraits taken in shelters and jails along the way.
If the past week is any indication, the plight of Russia’s illegal migrants may be about to go from unenviable to impossible.
Police in Moscow in the past week arrested 1,400 immigrants from Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Syria, Morocco, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Egypt. More than 600 have been forced into a sweltering tent camp to await deportation.
Meanwhile, Russian migration authorities have called for more than 80 detention centers to be built nationwide, signaling that the battle against illegal workers is gathering steam.
Observers say the sweep is aimed at currying favor with nationalist-minded Russians ahead of regional elections next month.
But critics like Mohammad Majumder, the president of the Russian Federation of Migrants, say the move overlooks the real problem with migration — the rampant cycle of corruption and bribes that it perpetuates among police, bureaucrats, and middlemen charging exorbitant fees in exchange for legal documents.
Read more. [Image: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP]
The man behind the grassroots movement to stop immigration reform has been busy lately, preparing for the coming fight.
"No other August has been this critical," Roy Beck, the executive director of NumbersUSA, said in a recent interview in his group’s Northern Virginia office — a large but somewhat shabby suite with a panoramic view over the Potomac.
A massive, bipartisan immigration bill passed the Democrat-led Senate in June, putting major reform as close as it’s ever been to passage. There are even signs it is gaining momentum to overcome the biggest obstacle, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Beck’s mission is to halt immigration reform in its tracks.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]