This week in Immigration
As a new IPC fact sheet explains, the number of removals has risen dramatically over the past decade—from an average of 180,000 in the years immediately preceding the September 11 attacks, to nearly 400,000 during each year of the Obama administration. To put these figures into historical perspective, there have been more removals in the past ten years than in the previous 110 years combined.
Ever since the horrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, political odds makers have been betting that gun safety will top the President’s list of priorities this year, despite previous statements prioritizing immigration reform. That’s an unfortunate characterization, pitting two important issues against one another and adding to the mistaken idea that immigration reform is such a momentous undertaking that nothing else can happen at the same time.
On Tuesday, the Illinois legislature passed a bill to allow state residents without legal status to obtain a three-year renewable driver’s license. The law will create tens if not hundreds of thousands of newly licensed drivers. The bill, which awaits the Governor’s promised signature, will make Illinois the third state after New Mexico and Washington to allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
Anti-immigrant activists often say that we must first enforce current U.S. immigration laws before even considering any reforms that might grant legal status to unauthorized immigrants already living in the country. However, as the Migration Policy Institute documents in a comprehensive new report, that is what we have been doing for more than a decade. Ever since 9/11, the expansion and intensification of immigration enforcement has been the one approach to immigration policy that the majority of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have whole-heartedly endorsed.
Shortly after the administration began accepting applications under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Kris Kobach—the author of Arizona SB 1070 and other notorious state immigration laws—filed a lawsuit on behalf of ten disgruntled immigration agents seeking to halt the program in its tracks. The lawsuit has largely been viewed as a politically motivated stunt, with little chance of success in court. Now, a new law review article by University of Virginia law professor David Martin, one of the nation’s premier experts on immigration law, systematically debunks Kobach’s legal arguments.
This Week at the AIC
- · A Decade of Rising Immigration Enforcement
- · Accepting Nominations for the Immigrant Youth Achievement Award and a $1000 Prize