Gov. Snyder renews call for more immigrants in Michigan

Gov. Rick Snyder called for more immigrants to settle in Michigan, after reviewing recent U.S. Census data showing that Michigan is the only state that had an overall loss of population from 2000 to 2010.

Speaking recently at an annual “Michigan Muslim Capitol Day” event, Gov. Snyder said, “We need to celebrate diversity; it’s one of our strengths. One of the things I’m proud to say I’m already encouraging, that was in my state of the state message, is the idea of more immigration, particularly for advanced degree people.”

Click here to read more about Gov. Snyder’s speech.

Arizona legislature defeats anti-immigrant bills

In the Arizona state legislature, a group of state senate Republicans joined Democrats in defeating a series of anti-immigrant bills.

Leading the drive against the bills were many of Arizona’s largest employers, who signed a letter to a top Arizona legislator explaining their opposition to the bills.

“Arizona’s lawmakers and citizens are right to be concerned about illegal immigration. But we must acknowledge that when Arizona goes it alone on this issue, unintended consequences inevitably occur,” the letter states.

“It is an undeniable fact that each of our companies and our employees were impacted by the boycotts and the coincident negative image.”

Here is a link to the article.

More editorials oppose Michigan’s proposed anti-immigrant bill

The editorial opinions against House Bill 4305 continue to accumulate.

The Times Herald, a news source from Port Huron, Michigan, recently published an editorial against the proposed anti-immigrant legislation, stating, “Police resources should be devoted to upholding public safety.  Officers need to be able to make arrests when they have evidence that someone has committed a crime, not spend their time investigating whether someone is in the country illegally.”

The Holland Sentinel, a publication based in Holland, Michigan, cautioned that HB 4305 would amount to racial profiling:  “HB 4305 might be justifiable if all Americans — whether it’s someone whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower or a Somali immigrant who took the naturalization oath last week — were required to carry citizenship papers, but that’s not the case. An Arizona-style law would create a discriminatory system, effectively requiring hundreds of thousands of non-white Michigan residents — people just as American as their white neighbors — to carry papers with them proving their legal status.”

Former USCIS official criticizes Obama Administration and Congress

Roxana Bacon, a former top counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), sharply criticized the Obama Administration and Congress for failing to act on immigration reform measures while at the same time engaging in harsh enforcement of current immigration laws.

In a recent article published in an Arizona law journal, Bacon stated, referring to the nation’s capitol, “I know that D.C.’s collective ostriching is not a viable strategy. . . . The reasons — demographic, national security and economic — are all around us.”

“We need visionary thinking and incisive analysis grounded on economic truths to create the functioning immigration policy the nation needs,” Bacon wrote. “None of this is likely to come from this Congress, or from this Administration.”

Bacon criticized the enforcement of immigration laws against certain people brought into the United States illegally when they were children, through no fault of their own.  “Punishing them is like jailing a one-year-old for not wearing a seat belt,” Bacon wrote.  Referring to the failed effort in Congress to pass the DREAM Act, a proposal to create a path to legalization for these young people, Bacon stated, “Even the most reactive voices acknowledge that the Dream Act kids cannot all be deported; rather, almost all will stay here.  The only issue is whether we set them up for failure or maximize their contribution.  Remarkably, we opted for failure.”

To read Roxana Bacon’s complete article, please click here.

NY Times editorial: Push back against Arizona-style legislation

The New York Times continues its recent string of editorials regarding immigration with a piece commending the citizens of many states for resisting state-level anti-immigrant legislation.

According to the editorial, “In dozens of states considering such crackdowns — including Nebraska, Indiana, Oklahoma, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas — elected officials, law enforcers, business owners, religious leaders and regular citizens are providing the calm voices and cool judgment that are lacking in the shimmering heat of Phoenix.”

“They are reminding their representatives that replacing federal immigration policy with a crazy quilt of state-led enforcement schemes is only a recipe for more lawlessness and social disruption, for expensive lawsuits and busted budgets, lost jobs and boycotts. And all without fixing the problem.”

To access the complete editorial, click here.

Former DHS Chief calls for comprehensive immigration reform

Tom Ridge, who was appointed as the first Secretary of Homeland Security, said recently that critics of immigration reform need to “get over it,” and warned that Americans shouldn’t be so “arrogant” as to believe that “everybody that comes across the border wants to be an American citizen.”

The former secretary said that “sometime in the future” the U.S. government should take a serious look at immigration policy “in general.”  He continued:  “At some point in time you’ve got to say to yourself, ‘We’re not sending 12 million people home.’ . . . We’re not going to send them home, so let’s just figure out a way to legitimize their status, create a new system, and I think that will add more to border security than any number of fences we can put across the border.”

Many in the crowd erupted in applause.

Read more about Tom Ridge’s speech here.

Opinion: On immigration, demography is destiny

Demography is destiny, according to political commentators Steve and Cokie Roberts.  In an opinion column, they note that confronting the reality of our nation’s immigration situation requires politicians to have an “adult conversation” about some difficult issues.

Recently, two key senators — Democrat Charles Schumer of New York and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — took some early steps to “test the political will” in both parties for grappling with immigration. “Who knows,” said Schumer, “we might surprise everyone and get something done.”

Republicans would be wise to consider their own political self-interest.  In 2010, Hispanic voters provided key margins for victorious Democrats in at least three states: California, Nevada and Colorado.

If demography is destiny, the power of minority voters is only going to grow.

As Steve and Cokie Roberts write, Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who is married to a Mexican woman, told fellow Republicans last month: “It is important to realize that the Hispanic population, which is the fastest-growing population in the country, will also eventually be the fastest-growing population of voters. It would be incredibly stupid over the long haul to ignore the burgeoning Hispanic vote.”

Read the opinion piece 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.