* Department of Homeland Security officials have come out in support of a Center for Immigration Studies report that claims that border control measures are the cause of a decrease in immigration to the U.S. However, the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at University of California, San Diego has rebutted those claims and determined that the border patrol apprehends fewer than half of the undocumented immigrants that come into the country through the Mexico/U.S. border. According to The Huffington Post, the Center for Immigration Studies (an anti-immigrant advocacy group) and the Department of Homeland Security failed to consider reasons other than border control measures that explain why immigration to the U.S. would naturally decline:
When citing the decrease in both apprehensions at the border and remittances sent by workers in the United States to family members in Mexico, Chertoff also failed to consider the fact that undocumented immigration naturally decreases when the U.S. economy is in recession. [Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies Dr. Wayne] Cornelius’ report shows that undocumented migration clearly responds to changing U.S. economic conditions, with significant decreases during economic downturns such as the one we are in now.
Moreover, Chertoff’s border control measures are completely inconsistent with the fundamentally positive effect immigration has on American communities. Providing opportunity for immigrants has been a core value in the U.S. since its founding. To see more immigration myths dispelled, read The Opportunity Agenda fact sheet, Immigrants and Opportunity.
* In one of last month’s blog roundups on The State of Opportunity, a story about a sheriff in Maricopa County, Arizona appeared. That same sheriff, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, is in the news once again. An editorial in The Washington Post discusses how “Sheriff Joe” and his officers have been continuing the “policing strategy” of locking up all Hispanic people they encounter, regardless of if they have any evidence that they are undocumented immigrants or have committed any crime. According to Arizona Central, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has had to resort to calling for a media mobilization against Arpaio:
“He (Arpaio) has become the false messiah,” Gordon said. “But when the light is shined on him, people will see that he isn’t helping to fight illegal immigration and he’s just making the situation worse. You’ve got an individual with a badge and a gun who’s breaking the law and abusing his authority.”
We need real solutions, ones that are brought about by comprehensive immigration reform and promote opportunity for all, not a gross miscarriage of justice carried out by a rogue officer like Arpaio.
* Thankfully, not all police officers feel the same way Arpaio does – George Gascón, a former assistant chief in the Los Angeles Police Department, has written this op-ed for The New York Times. In it he argues that using local police officers as a means to enforce federal immigration policy will ultimately lead to the public, particularly in communities of color, distrusting the police department:
Here in Arizona, a wedge is being driven between the local police and some immigrant groups. Some law enforcement agencies are wasting limited resources in operations to appease the public’s thirst for action against illegal immigration regardless of the legal or social consequences…
If we become a nation in which the local police are the default enforcers of a failing federal immigration policy, the years of trust that police departments have built up in immigrant communities will vanish. Some minority groups may once again view police officers as armed instruments of government oppression.
* The effects from the ICE raid in Postville are still being felt, reminding us just how detrimental this raid was to the Iowa community and America as a whole. The Des Moines Register is reporting that the new employees at the Agriprocessors plant have had a significant, negative effect on the local community:
The impact is evident: New laborers are changing Postville. The Agriprocessors Inc. meatpacking plant, the site of the immigration raid, once employed men and women with families. Now, its workers are mostly young, single people with no stake in the community and nothing to lose…
The rise in crime has strained Postville’s tiny police department. One night in June, the calls were so numerous that police asked the local bar to close early.
A protest rally also took place in Postville last weekend – it was documented in a video, which is now available on YouTube.