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.

Global Detroit Study: Immigrants can help revitalize Michigan’s economy

The New Economy Initiative of Southeast Michigan, the Detroit Chamber of Commerce and The Skillman Foundation recently published a report on the effects of immigrants on Michigan’s economy.  The study finds that immigrants can play an important role in revitalizing older neighborhoods and helping the region to shift to a healthier economy.

You may find more about the study here.

Michigan governor expresses support for immigration to Michigan

In his first State of the State address, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder supported the idea of encouraging entrepreneurial immigrants to come to Michigan as a way to help revitalize the state economy.   Governor Snyder’s remarks are a refreshing alternative to much of the national discourse about immigration.

In his speech, the Governor stated, “We need to be a place that openly encourages innovators and entrepreneurs that come to our state. The evidence is clear that advanced college degree immigrants can make a tremendous difference in creating a positive economic activity environment,” Snyder said. “Immigration made us a great state and country. It is a time to embrace this concept again as a way to speed our reinvention.”

You can read more about the Governor’s speech here.