Texas police chiefs oppose immigration bills

The El Paso Times reports that Texas police chiefs and sheriffs have declared their opposition to state legislators’ attempts to make them act in the role of immigration officials, saying that law enforcement officials, not politicians, know how to maintain safety in communities.

Police chiefs from many parts of Texas, including El Paso, Dallas, McAllen, San Antonio, and Austin, recently traveled to the state Capitol to denounce the Arizona-style legislation, which they say would take their deputies and officers out of neighborhoods and require more spending, at a time when legislators are already reducing funding to deal with budget deficits.

The officers said that the proposed legislation could cost taxpayers millions of dollars to detain undocumented immigrants in state jails, pay for officer training and defend any lawsuits that might arise.  The officers also said that the proposed legislation would destroy the trust that police officers have established with their local communities, making people less willing to cooperate with police.

Read the entire article here.

Report: Immigrants boost Michigan’s economy

Immigrants to Michigan provide an overall benefits to the state’s economy, according to a report published by the Michigan League for Human Services.

Highlights from the report include these key points:

• Immigrants are responsible for 33 percent of all hightech startups, making Michigan third among all states in producing new high-tech business opportunities.

• In 2006, 22 percent of the international patent applications from Michigan listed a foreign-born resident as one of their key inventors, ranking Michigan 8th in the nation.

• During the 2008-2009 year, foreign students contributed $592 million to the local economy in tuition, fees, and living expenses.

• In 2008, 37 percent of the Michigan immigrant population had a college degree, an increase of 27 percent since 2000.

• 44 percent of all engineering master’s degrees and 62 percent of engineering doctorates are awarded to foreign-born students in the state.

• Michigan stands to lose over $3.8 billion in economic activity, $1.7 billion in gross state product, and approximately 20,000 jobs with the removal of all unauthorized workers from the labor force.

Congress members discuss immigration reform

High-ranking members of the U.S. Senate, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin, and Senators Lindsey Graham, Charles Schumer, and John McCain, are setting immigration reform legislation as a priority for this session of Congress.

A spokesperson for Senator Durbin recently indicated that Democrats now plan to reintroduce the DREAM Act in this session.

Click here to read an article about the senators’ comments.

Opinion: Pass the DREAM Act

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and undocumented DREAM-Act eligible youth Gaby Pacheco present compelling arguments for the DREAM Act, a bill in Congress that, if passed, would allow certain persons who were brought to the United States unlawfully at a young age to get on a path to legalization if they attend college or serve in the U.S. military.

Trumka and Pacheco outline some of the most important reasons why the DREAM Act should be passed.  Please read their opinion piece here.

Report: Flawed implementation of immigration policies

The Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, recently published a report studying a federal law that allows the federal government to delegate enforcement of immigration laws to state and local officers.

Named for Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the so-called 287(g) Agreements allow state and local officers to ask people their immigration status, detain people for alleged violations of immigration laws until the federal government takes custody, and issue charges that begin the process of removing people from the United States.

The report concludes that under the 287(g) Agreements, many state and local officials are not focusing on finding and removing people who have committed serious crimes, but rather are spending approximately half of their resources on identifying and detaining people who have committed misdemeanors and traffic offenses.  The report further concludes that the program is implemented very differently in different parts of the United States.

The report calls for a review of the program to ensure consistent implementation of 287(g) Agreements across the United States, and to focus primarily on serious criminal offenders rather than on people who have committed minor crimes or traffic offenses.

You can read the full report here.

Editorial: We need national immigration reform

An editorial in the Houston Chronicle points out the negative effects of state-level legislation regarding immigration, and calls for comprehensive immigration reform.

Arizona, for example, has so far spent more that $1 million in taxpayer dollars for legal fees in attempts to defend its immigration-related statutes in federal court, and has lost much more than that due to boycotts of the state over its immigration policies.

Immigration policy is a national issue, and must be addressed by federal legislation.

You may find the editorial here.

Know Your Rights Meeting in Detroit, February 5

The Alliance for Immigrants Rights & Reform Michigan (AIR) and the First Latin American Baptist Church are sponsoring an Immigrants Know-Your-Rights Meeting.

The meeting will be held on Saturday, February 5, 2011, at 12:30 pm, at 6205 West Fort Street, Detroit, Michigan, 48209.  A free lunch will be provided at 12:30 pm, followed by a free presentation by immigration attorneys beginning at 1 pm.  The presentation will be in English and Spanish.

For more information, view the informational flier here.

Study: Immigration prosecutions increase sharply

The federal government has significantly increased immigration prosecutions during the past few years, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a private nonpartisan group at Syracuse University.

According to TRAC, felony immigration prosecutions in federal courts along the U.S.-Mexico border increased 259 percent from 2007 to 2010.

To read more about the TRAC reports, click here.