This week in immigration
In Speech, Romney Provides Few Details on Immigration Policy
This week, Mitt Romney gave a much-anticipated speech in which he was expected to address whether—as President—he would reverse the new Obama administration policy toward immigrant youths who would qualify for the DREAM Act. The answer? It’s still unclear. Despite adopting a noticeably softer tone toward undocumented immigrants, Romney again failed to say whether he would overturn the policy and provided few other details as to how he would tackle the most intractable problem of the immigration debate.
DHS Creates Obstacles for Small Businesses Seeking High-Skilled Immigrants
Politicians love small businesses. They also love high-skilled workers. One might assume, then, that entrepreneurs and start-up companies would have a relatively easy time hiring immigrant professionals through the H-1B program. Not so. In fact, a recently released memo confirms that far from receiving preferential treatment, small businesses are singled out for heightened fraud investigations by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
New Data Reveals Immigrants’ Voting Potential at the Local Level
Newly obtained data from the DHS Office of Immigration Statistics provide another indication that immigrants in the United States hold untapped electoral power. There are 8.1 million legal immigrants who arrived in this country between 1985 and 2005 and who are likely eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens with the power to vote. If these immigrants were already U.S. citizens, and if they registered to vote at the same rate as other naturalized citizens (61%), counties across the nation would see their voter registration rolls jump dramatically.
President Obama Issued a Memo, Not an “Executive Order” or “New Law”
Immigration hardliners were predictably quick to criticize President Obama’s recent announcement that DHS will use discretion to halt the deportations of eligible immigrant youth. Immigration restrictionists wasted no time in hurling some base-stirring claims—“administrative amnesty,” “end-runs around Congress,” “executive fiat.” However, while folks are free to criticize the President, they should at least strive for accuracy. For instance, Friday’s announcement was not an executive order. The President did not create a new law, sign an executive order or grant anyone citizenship or amnesty, he merely directed DHS to exercise discretion to grant deferred action to qualified immigrant youth—an action that is well within his power as President.
A Breakdown of DHS’s Deferred Action for DREAMers
While recent headlines assess the significance of President Obama’s deferred action announcement on Friday, many are still sorting through the news to get answers to basic questions about who is covered under the new program. Prior to President Obama’s statement that DHS would halt the deportation of immigrant youth who met criteria similar to the DREAM Act, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano released a memo and a set of questions and answers that outline eligibility and a basic timeline for implementing the new directive.
Even a Fifth Grader Realizes the Power of the American Dream
Shortly after President Obama announced that DHS will halt the deportations of eligible undocumented youth, a Chicago-area fifth grader delivered a speech of his own. Over the weekend, Alexander Tymouch was honored as the National 5th Grade Creative Writing Contest winner at the American Immigration Council’s Annual Benefit Dinner where he read his essay, “America, the Magical Land,” alongside Grammy-nominated musicians at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville.
This Week in Council Publications:
·Q&A Guide to Deferred Action for Immigrant Youth (IPC Fact Check, June 2012)
·Listen to Experts Discuss Deferred Action for Immigrant Youth (Telebriefing, June 21, 2012)
·Don’t Get Scammed: AILA’s Consumer Advisory on Deferred Action for Immigrant Youth (AILA, June 2012)
·Creating Opportunity: The Economic Benefits of Granting Deferred Action to Unauthorized Immigrants Brought to the United States as Children (IPC Fact Check, June 2012)
·Prosecturial Discretion and Executive Authority (IPC Resource Page, June 2012)
Background and Resources on Supreme Court Case Arizona v. United States (IPC Resource Page, June 2012)