IMMIGRATION FACTS Susan I. Nelson Waco League of Women Voters March 15, 2011
FACTS: Population • 38 million immigrants in U.S. today (12.5%) • Majority are Naturalized Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents
FACTS: Population • @11.9 million undocumented in the U.S. • @1.7 million undocumented in Texas • How: • Entered without authorization (not necessarily unlawfully) • Entered on a visa and overstayed
FACTS: Military • Over 20,000 LPRs serve in the U.S. military
FACTS: “Anchor Babies” • Children born in U.S. are U.S. Citizens (unless their parents are diplomats, etc.) • At age 21, they can petition for their parents to receive LPR status • BUT parents who entered the U.S. unlawfully must return to their home country to receive LPR and there they face BARS to re-entry
FACTS: Taxes • Undocumented immigrants pay property and sales taxes • Many undocumented persons pay into the Social Security system but receive no benefits • by 2007, the Social Security trust fund had received a net benefit of somewhere between $120 billion and $240 billion from unauthorized immigrants.
FACTS: Taxes • IRS estimated for 2005 @$9 billion in taxes were paid on @$75 billion in wages from mismatched Social Security numbers • Most of these funds go unclaimed and into the Social Security system • Many undocumented immigrants pay taxes using ITINs • reported tax liability of @$50 billion from 1996-2003
FACTS: Social Services • Undocumented persons are not eligible for most social services (food stamps, TANF, Medicaid) • Limited exceptions: immunizations, disaster relief, ER care, WIC
FACTS: Schools • Public schools are required to educate all children regardless of immigration status. Pyler v. Doe (U.S. 1982) • Students who graduate from Texas HS and have 3 years residence can attend Texas universities and pay in-state tuition
AMBER • Amber came to Texas with her family at age 6 with visitor visas. • Her grandfather filed a petition for the family, but they are still waiting for LPR status. • Amber has attended Texas schools, and graduated from a Texas H.S. with honors. • She cannot get a DL. • She cannot work legally (even after she receives a college degree). • She can attend a Texas University and pay in-state tuition BUT she cannot qualify for federal financial aid. • She will be over age 21 and will not qualify for LPR status with her family once there is a visa available.
JOHN • John came as a student but stayed beyond the time allowed on his visa. • His employer filed a Labor Certification application for him in 2002 • He has an approved petition but his priority date is not yet current • Once he has a current visa date, he must return to his home country to get his permanent residence • Once he leaves the U.S., he is barred for 10 years from applying for permanent residence
CARL • Carl came to the U.S. through the river in Texas 12 years ago. • He has 3 U.S. Citizen children. • He was stopped by the police because his inspection sticker was out of date. • He was turned over to ICE and put into removal (deportation) proceedings. • He will probably be deported because his U.S. Citizen children do not have serious medical or educational needs.
Cost of Deportation • @11.9 million undocumented in U.S. • $12,500 to deport 1 person • 393,000 people deported last year • $5 billion spent deporting people last year • $137 billion estimated cost to deport all undocumented
Secure Communities • ICE program largely responsible for dramatic increase in deportations • Local law enforcement sends info to ICE on all arrestees • ICE processes all immigrants regardless of the crime for which they were arrested (or charged) or their past record • Leads to racial profiling in arrests
Immigration Court Backlog • National backlog of cases in Immigration Courts has reached an all-time high, with nearly 248,000 cases pending nationwide. • Texas alone had 23,234 pending cases
Human Costs of Deportation • @88,000 parents of U.S. citizen children were deported between 1997 and 2007
EARNED LEGALIZATION • Alternative to mass deportation • NOT AMNESTY • Provides a path for unauthorized people living and working in the U.S. to become LPRs • Employment, education key • Good moral character
DEPORT SERIOUS CRIMINALS • ICE should concentrate its efforts on deporting serious criminals and recent border crossers • ICE should not place individuals arrested for minor things like driving without a license into removal proceedings
DREAM ACT • Provide path to legalization for children who • Came to the U.S. prior to 15 • Graduate from a U.S. high school or receive GED • 2 years college or military service • Will not be able to sponsor family members for 15+ years
Fix Dysfunctional System • Make Employment system responsive to the needs of U.S. employers for temporary and permanent workers • AgJobs • Skilled workers • Unskilled workers
Fix Dysfunctional System • Alleviate the multi-year backlogs that keep families separated. • Spouses of LPRs must wait 7-10 years for green cards to become available and be processed. • Adult children on USCs and LPRs must wait for 4-23 years. • Eliminate the BARS to relief • Prevent those otherwise eligible for LPR status from receiving their green card
TEXAS DRIVERS LICENSES • A valid SS# is required to obtain or renew a DL in Texas • Applicants must prove that they are either U.S. citizens or have legal immigration status in order to obtain a DL • Unlicensed drivers cannot get insurance • = unlicensed drivers on our roads
TEXAS: PROPOSED LAWS • Immigration is a federal function reserved to the federal government under the U.S. Constitution • Attempts by the states to regulate immigration are generally UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Texas: “Sanctuary Cities” • would prevent governmental entities from adopting policies that prohibit law enforcement from asking a person legally detained or arrested their immigration status.
Texas: Arizona-like laws • Focuses on finding and arresting undocumented immigrants • Makes it a state crime to be in the country “illegally” • UNCONSTITUTIONAL like the Arizona law
Texas: Employer Criminal Charges • Makes it a state felony to knowingly hire an undocumented worker • UNLESS household worker • UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Texas: Birth Records • Would refuse to issue birth certificates to children of undocumented • Defying 14th Amendment birthright citizenship clause • U.S. vs. Wong Kim Ark – U.S. Supreme Court resolved this issue in 1898 • UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Texas: Public Schools • Would require public schools to determine immigration status of students • Little relevancy • Public schools are required to educate all children regardless of immigration status.
Utah: Temporary Worker Law • Would allow undocumented to register with the state and receive permission to live and work in Utah • UNCONSTITUTIONAL
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