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By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Thursday, October 19, 2017
Illegal immigrant Dreamers whose status under the Obama-era DACA status expires won’t be particular targets for deportation, Homeland Security said Thursday, trying to tamp down on fears of massive sweeps being fed by immigrant-rights advocates.
Department spokesman David Lapan said that while former DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, recipients might be scooped up in enforcement, and could be deported based on their lack of permission to be in the U.S., they aren’t priorities.
“We’re not going to proactively go after individuals whose DACA expires if they’re not an enforcement priority,” Mr. Lapan said.
He said it was unfortunate that immigrant-rights groups were stoking fears of mass deportations of DACA recipients.
“We’re not all of a sudden saying OK, [someone’s] DACA is expiring so let’s go find him and send him home,” Mr. Lapan said.
DACA is currently protecting nearly 700,000 young adult illegal immigrant Dreamers from deportation, but President Trump has announced a six-month phaseout of the legally troubled program.

Under the phaseout, any current two-year permits will be good until they expire, and those whose permits were to expire by March 5 have been allowed to apply for another two-year protection. But no new applications or renewals beyond that timeframe are allowed.
Immigrant-rights groups are blasting Mr. Trump for the phaseout, saying he should have mounted the uphill legal battle to defend the program. But they also are demanding Congress act to create a permanent solution — the same goal Mr. Trump set when he announced the phaseout.
In the meantime, they’re also warning of deportations.
“The only thing standing between individual DACA end dates and the risk of deportation is Congress,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice.
He also urged Dreamers not to rely on the suggestion, floated by a Republican senator, that Mr. Trump could extend his six-month phaseout. Homeland Security has stopped taking new applications and the Justice Department’s leadership has said the program is illegal, so re-starting it would be deeply problematic.

Timeline photos

Timeline photos


DACA Gave Thousands of Undocumented Texans Hope. Will it Survive November?
by Julián Aguilar Aug. 18, 2016
Immigrants and activists participate in press conference and rally on Nov. 19, 2015, before a 37-mile march to show support for immigration reform. The marchers planned to walk for three days, from the federal immigration detention facility in Taylor to the Texas Governor's Mansion in downtown Austin.
Though still smarting from a June decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that kept President Obama’s 2014 immigration program from being implemented, the undocumented population in Texas is taking a glass-half-full approach as it celebrates the four-year anniversary of another initiative that has benefited hundreds of thousands.

But supporters and recipients of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, are also eyeing this November with full knowledge that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has promised to end the policy should he defeat Hillary Clinton.

DACA applies to undocumented immigrants that came to the country before they were 16 years old and were 30 or younger as of June 2012. The program awards recipients a renewable, two-year work permit and a reprieve from deportation proceedings. It preceded the more-encompassing but ill-fated 2014 program, known as DAPA. More than 220,000 undocumented immigrants in Texas have applied for the 2012 policy action or a renewal of their permits, and nearly 200,000 of those have been approved, according to government statistics — the second-highest total behind California’s estimated 387,000 applications and 359,000 approvals.

Supporters say it’s a boon to the U.S. economy and has allowed undocumented immigrants with no other recourse to stay connected with their families in this country.

A July 2015 study published by the Center for American Progress, a progressive Washington-based think tank, found that 45 percent of DACA recipients reported a higher wage after receiving the benefit, while about 90 percent said they were able to get a state-issued ID. Another 90 percent said they were offered more educational opportunities with DACA than without.

As part of his hardline immigration-enforcement strategy, which also includes mass deportations and building a wall on the country’s southern border, Trump has promised to end the program if elected.

That’s led Democrats to use the program’s successes to warn immigrant rights advocates what could happen if they stay home in November.


“Unfortunately, instead of heeding the lessons of their 2012 GOP autopsy report and embracing immigrants and immigration reform, the Republican Party has nominated Donald Trump, one of the most anti-immigrant candidates in our nation’s history,” Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile, DNC Hispanic Caucus Chair Iris Martinez and DNC Vice Chair Maria Elena Durazo said in a joint statement. “Trump wants to end DACA and deport all undocumented immigrants regardless of their circumstances or their contributions to our country.”

Conservative groups are using the anniversary to call out some of their own, saying that repealing DACA isn’t just a political issue but is also about the rule of law.

In an opinion piece published in The Hill in June, Jon Feere, the legal policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative immigration research organization, laid out the reasons why U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan should fight to repeal the 2012 policy.

“At this very moment, the Obama administration is handing out work permits, Social Security accounts and other benefits to thousands of illegal aliens. At last count, over 700,000 illegal aliens have benefited. Yet Congress has done nothing to stop it,” he wrote. “Ryan clearly feels that Obama's DAPA program and the extended version of DACA exceed the powers of the presidency and run afoul of the Constitution. Logically, he must feel the same way about the 2012 DACA amnesty.”

Faye Hipsman, a policy analyst at Migration Policy Institute, said that while it’s known what Trump will do if elected a Clinton presidency is a slightly bit more nuanced. Hipsman said Clinton is on record as supporting DACA and vowing to keep it in place. But Clinton would also push for legislative action before using executive power like Obama said he was forced to do in 2012 and 2014.

“What’s initially likely is instead of resorting to executive action, a legislative push is likely. If that fails, there will undoubtedly be pressure to create a similar deferred action program,” Hipsman said. “There are few ways that President Clinton could try to create a similar program that doesn’t get struck down.”

Meanwhile, about 177,000 more Texans are currently eligible to apply, followed by another 37,000 when they turn 16. Whether they wait until after November is the big question.

“You hear that it can cut two ways, one being that, given the two candidates’ stances, people are waiting to apply,” Hipsman said. “On the other hand, the two candidates’ stances could encourage other people to apply in order to get DACA relief before the election.”


Author: Guest Blogger on 08/15/2016

On June 15, 2012, President Obama changed many lives for the better with his historic announcement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. This critical and necessary action by the President went into effect on August 15, 2012 when young people were able to take the piles of paper they had compiled to prove they were eligible and apply for DACA.

Today marks the 4th anniversary of those first applications, and is cause to celebrate, but also to push for further expansion of this program. In the face of inaction by Congress, the executive branch has been able to help thousands of young immigrants and their families. Government figures show that to date, more than 728,000 individuals have applied for DACA out of an estimated 1.16 million who are eligible. It is a good start, but much more needs to be done.

Some were critical of President Obama for this initiative, but, he used his legal authority to help young people in a system where reform is long overdue. Children, brought to America, some as young as a few months old, were growing up only to find out that the only country they have ever known is a place where they have diminished rights and are at risk of deportation. Some of the clients I have worked with didn’t figure out they weren’t U.S. citizens until they were trying to get a driver’s license or applying to college. Most of these kids didn’t have a choice to come here and never chose to violate any immigration law. President Obama recognized that they should not be punished.

DACA offers a work permit and two years of “deferred action” for those who qualify. Deferred action is a fancy way of saying that you will be safe from deportation for now. With DACA in hand, most recipients are eligible to apply for a social security number and, in most states, an ID or driver’s license. While DACA is not a permanent solution, a grant of legal status, or a pathway to citizenship, it has provided much needed temporary relief to young adults. Sadly, I was hoping that by today, DACA renewals would no longer be necessary and we would see immigration reform passed by Congress and signed into law. While the failure of meaningful progress on immigration reform is frustrating, I believe our country is definitely better off now than it was four years ago. How are we better off?

DACA has facilitated a strong economic impact for young immigrants. The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the Center for American Progress (CAP) found that post-DACA, more than two-thirds of recipients were able to secure employment with higher pay and wages rose by an average of forty-five percent. Not only is this good news for DACA recipients, it is good for the country as it translates into higher tax revenues and stimulates overall economic growth.

DACA has helped recipients with eased access to higher education. Many states and/or schools now extend in-state tuition to DACA recipients, and scholarships, such as the “Opportunity Scholarship for TheDream.US” give individuals the potential to attend school at reduced rates. Not only is DACA providing financial relief for higher education, but it has opened overall access as well. Some higher education institutions did not even allow undocumented students to enroll (regardless of their academic achievements or ability to pay tuition). DACA has opened the doors to enrollment at universities that would have been otherwise unavailable. Allowing DACA applicants to come out of the shadows and pursue their education enhances our national aptitude and continues to improve the economy.

Despite the success of DACA, there is significant work left. In November 2014, President Obama pledged to expand DACA and introduce Deferred Action to parents of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents (DAPA). This exciting announcement would have expanded DACA to eligible individuals over the age of thirty-one (removing the age requirement from the initial qualifications) and allowed for qualifying parents to apply. Unfortunately, with the recent 4-4 SCOTUS decision, plans for this expansion are on hold. If these programs are able to move forward, NILC and CAP estimate that it would have significant economic benefits, including $230 billion added to the nation’s gross domestic product over a decade, and the potential for an additional $805 million in state and local tax revenue annually.

With all of the benefits and hope DACA has given us, it remains a temporary relief. True immigration reform is still needed to place immigrants on a meaningful trajectory towards future residency and/or citizenship. NILC and CAP estimate that providing a more permanent path to these individuals would add $1.2 trillion to the United States’ cumulative GDP over a decade, raise wages for all Americans, create an average of 145,000 new jobs annually and raise an additional $2.1 billion in state and local taxes each year.

The past four years have illustrated the overwhelming benefits of providing young immigrants a chance to come out of the shadows and pursue the American dream. DACA has exemplified the enormous advantage of opening doors for immigrants and the substantial benefit the United States gains from the same. Immigrants have demonstrated their willingness to participate and contribute to a country they already know and love – they just need a chance. I hope that by DACA’s fifth anniversary, Congress will have moved forward on meaningful immigration reform that gives these families the chance they deserve.


DACA still available to many young adults-----

Written by Guillermo Cantor AUGUST 12, 2016
DACA/DAPA, Executive Action
Since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative was first implemented back in August 2012, it has positively changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young individuals in the United States. According to the most recent official statistics, as of March 2016, 820,000 individuals have applied for DACA, and 728,285 have received it. But there are still hundreds of thousands of potentially eligible individuals who have not yet applied. Some of those who have not yet applied already meet all of the eligibility requirements and there are others could become eligible if they enrolled in an adult education program.

Today, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) released a report that contributes to a better understanding of the DACA-eligible population. According to the new MPI estimates, which are based on a unique methodology that draws upon the American Community Survey, 1.3 million undocumented young adults were immediately eligible for DACA in 2016. This means that, as of March 2016, almost half a million immediately eligible individuals had not applied for the program. In addition, MPI estimates that there are approximately 400,000 young individuals who meet all the criteria except for high school graduation or current school enrollment and could therefore become eligible if they enrolled in an adult education program. In other words, approximately half of the total pool of potentially eligible applicants—which includes both those immediately eligible and those who could become eligible should they meet the education requirement—have not yet applied for DACA.

What is it that these young adults are missing out on? As previous studies have shown, by offering deportation reprieve and work authorization, DACA has positively affected the lives of its recipients in multiple ways. For example, it has allowed hundreds of thousands of young adults to attain better access to higher education, achieve better employment opportunities, and improve their earnings. With its limitations (considering that it is not a permanent solution), DACA has also fostered a sense of inclusion among its recipients, by implicitly telling them they belong in the United States.

With no legislative solution on the visible horizon and with broader deferred action initiatives suspended, DACA remains the only available large-scale initiative offering relief from deportation to undocumented immigrants. But while DACA carries a lot of promise, the MPI estimates reveal that its potential has not been fully realized. In particular, these findings provide important lessons for those involved in reaching out to the DACA-eligible population and encouraging them to apply. Specifically, outreach efforts should target not only those who are immediately eligible but also the many individuals who could become eligible if they enroll in school.

Further research is needed to determine the barriers that have prevented those who are potentially eligible from applying (or from taking the steps required to become eligible). However, one of the factors that most certainly plays a significant role in preventing individuals from applying is the political uncertainty that surrounds the program. As the MPI report points out, the two main presidential candidates have made public their opposite views regarding the continuity of the program—while Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has promised to preserve the initiative, Republican nominee Donald Trump has pledged to terminate it. The next election will be key in determining the future of DACA. And it will be key in shaping U.S. immigration policy more generally for years to come.


Reforms of ICE Detainer Program Largely Ignored by Field Officers

Figure 1. ICE Issued I-247 Requests
by Seriousness of Conviction,
FY 2016 (first two months)
Detainers—often referred to as I-247s after the government form that is used—have historically been a major method Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employs to take custody of individuals thought to be deportable. In November 2014, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced a major transformation of ICE's I-247 program as part of a newly branded initiative called the Priority Enforcement Program. Using recent case-by-case government records obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), this report examines whether the changes Secretary Johnson announced twenty months ago have been successfully implemented.

This report follows a January TRAC report that found the replacement of the Secure Communities Program with the Priority Enforcement Program or PEP has had only a modest impact on the volume of I-247s ICE issues each month. With this more recent and extensive data updated through the first two months of FY 2016, we are now able to examine ICE's I-247 program in greater detail.

Using these extensive government records, TRAC found that the two central features of Secretary Johnson's reform of ICE's I-247 program have had little impact on the day-to-day actions of ICE field officers. More specifically:

Half of the I-247s during the first two months of FY 2016 target individuals who have no criminal record ‐ up slightly from before the Secretary's announcement. See Figure 1.

Four out of every five I-247s ICE issued in the latest data ask that individuals be detained beyond their normal period, rather than the new protocol where ICE is just notified. See Figure 2.

Details for these two findings are discussed in the sections that follow.

Figure 2. Use of Notices Versus Detainers by ICE, October 2014 - November 2015
Restriction One: I-247s To Be Used Only For Noncitizens Convicted of Specific Enumerated Crimes

"The Secure Communities program, as we know it, will be discontinued," Secretary Johnson announced in November 2014 as he unveiled its replacement program dubbed PEP. PEP sought to address a central criticism of Secure Communities by restricting use of I-247s to a more narrowly focused set of individuals. "ICE should only seek the transfer of an alien in the custody of state or local law enforcement… when the alien has been … convicted of specifically enumerated crimes." These crimes were listed in a companion directive issued at the same time outlining the Secretary's new "Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants." TRAC Series on ICE Detainers
1: Number of ICE Detainers Drops by 19 Percent
2: Few ICE Detainers Target Serious Criminals
3: New Guidelines Have Little Impact
4: Variability in Detainer Trends by Gender, Nationality; Differences Also Observed by ICE Office, State and Facility
5: Targeting Varies Widely by State and by Facility
6: Immigration Detainers Decline 39 Percent
7: Further Decrease in ICE Detainer Use
8: Detainer Use Stabilizes Under Priority Enforcement Program
9: Reforms of ICE Detainer Program Largely Ignored by Field Officers
To assess whether these directives had been followed, TRAC sought ICE records on each subject of an ICE I-247 that had been issued, including detailed charge-by-charge, conviction-by-conviction criminal histories. Similar data was sought for detainers issued prior to the Secretary's announcement.

Analysis of the recorded criminal history for each individual shows that the Secretary's directive has had little impact on ICE targeting practices. In the year before the announcement only 57 percent of individuals ICE issued detainers for had been convicted of a crime. One year after PEP was announced the proportion of subjects who had been criminally convicted had actually fallen to just 49 percent. And because these figures do not restrict convictions to those on the Secretary's specifically enumerated list, they are likely to overstate the actual proportion of transfer requests ICE issued that met the Secretary's standards.[1]

Looking more closely at those that had a conviction, only one quarter met ICE's prior standards as a "level 1" offense—the most serious types of crimes.[2] Figure 1 above presents the latest figures during the first two months of FY 2016 fully a year after the new policies were announced. Table 1 shows how these figures compare for FY 2014 (before PEP), FY 2015 (during the phase in of PEP), and FY 2016 (after PEP is fully phased in). It does appear that the proportion of individuals with only misdemeanor convictions ("Level 3") has been reduced, but this drop was offset by an equal rise in those showing no convictions of any type.

Table 1. I-247 Requests to Law Enforcement Agencies to Transfer Custody of Individual to ICE, by Seriousness of Conviction
Number Per Cent
FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016* FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016*
All 159,210 95,085 13,253 100% 100% 100%
Level 1 Offense 38,917 23,133 3,262 24% 24% 25%
Level 2 Offense 13,016 6,631 814 8% 7% 6%
Level 3 Offense 38,788 18,068 2,447 24% 19% 18%
No Conviction 68,489 47,253 6,730 43% 50% 51%
* covers first two months of FY 2016
The data further allow examination of the most serious offense that these individuals were convicted for. Before PEP, the most common conviction was for drunk driving. In second place was miscellaneous assaults, and in third place was simple traffic offenses. After PEP, the line-up was similar except selling ma*****na replaced traffic offenses as the third most common offense. Table 2 provides a listing of the top 50 offenses recorded for individuals on whom I-247s were issued.

Table 2. Top 50 Offenses on I-247 Requests to Law Enforcement Agencies to Transfer Custody of Individual to ICE
Most Serious Criminal Conviction FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016* Total
Total ICE I-247 Requests 159,210 95,085 13,253 267,548
No Criminal Conviction 68,489 47,253 6,730 122,472
Driving Under Influence Liquor 11,316 6,386 907 18,609
Assault 6,652 3,833 475 10,960
Traffic Offense 5,310 1,524 197 7,031
Drug Trafficking 3,106 2,037 272 5,415
Burglary 3,067 1,686 254 5,007
Larceny 2,967 1,472 194 4,633
Illegal Re-Entry (INA SEC.101(a)(43)(O), 8USC1326 only) 2,848 1,511 145 4,504
Ma*****na - Sell 2,169 1,594 300 4,063
Co***ne - Sell 1,987 1,320 190 3,497
Domestic Violence 1,829 1,068 151 3,048
Illegal Entry (INA SEC.101(a)(43)(O), 8USC1325 only) 2,206 686 70 2,962
Drug Possession 2,004 801 115 2,920
Weapon Offense 1,645 934 119 2,698
Ma*****na - Possession 1,661 806 92 2,559
Robbery 1,444 832 116 2,392
Co***ne - Possession 1,376 816 124 2,316
Dangerous Drugs 1,328 688 130 2,146
Public Order Crimes 1,425 640 81 2,146
S*x Assault 1,272 736 116 2,124
Aggravated Assault - Weapon 1,138 669 100 1,907
Amphetamine - Sell 967 773 147 1,887
Battery 1,173 545 70 1,788
Possession Of Weapon 952 594 83 1,629
Hit and Run 1,060 485 65 1,610
Resisting Officer 1,004 531 64 1,599
Forgery 1,018 512 64 1,594
Disorderly Conduct 1,223 342 28 1,593
Fraud 901 431 57 1,389
Smuggling Aliens 774 366 46 1,186
He**in - Sell 603 460 70 1,133
Fraud - False Statement 652 324 27 1,003
Homicide 603 343 41 987
Probation Violation 604 322 39 965
Aggravated Assault - Family-Strongarm 558 332 42 932
Ma*****na - Smuggle 553 328 45 926
Fraud - Impersonating 579 237 45 861
Cruelty Toward Child 536 272 40 848
Cruelty Toward Wife 562 232 28 822
S*x Offense Against Child-Fondling 462 269 35 766
S*x Offense 485 236 35 756
Obstruct Police 465 205 31 701
Carrying Concealed Weapon 402 247 40 689
Failure To Appear 479 190 20 689
Aggravated Assault - Non-family-Weapon 370 268 48 686
Amphetamine - Possession 445 183 36 664
Identity Theft 433 201 25 659
Ma*****na 400 217 25 642
Lewd or Lascivious Acts with Minor 436 172 20 628
Carrying Prohibited Weapon 338 244 31 613
Trespassing 412 181 17 610
* covers first two months of FY 2016
Restriction Two: Use "Notices" Instead of "Detainers"

The second major reform introduced by the Secretary was to substitute the use of "notices" for actual "detainers." Detainer use was to be relatively rare and restricted to "special circumstances" where the individual was subject to a final removal order, or there is sufficient probable cause to meet Fourth Amendment constitutional requirements. Unless these "special circumstances" were met, ICE was directed to use requests for notification and not ask that the subject be further detained. The Secretary explained:

"Further, to address the increasing number of federal court decisions that hold that detainer-based detention by state and local law enforcement agencies violates the Fourth Amendment [footnote citing cases omitted], I am directing ICE to place requests for detention (i.e., requests that an agency hold an individual beyond the point at which they would otherwise be released with requests for notification (i.e., requests that state or local law enforcement notify ICE of a pending release during the time that person is otherwise in custody under state or local authority)."
To implement this portion of the directive, in July of 2015 ICE inaugurated new I-247N and I-247D forms.
Only the "D" version of the form asked the law enforcement agency to detain the subject, while the "N" version of the form simply requested notification. However, despite the choice offered by these new forms, detainers still remain the dominant type of I-247 form ICE continues to issue. Four out of five I-247s are detainers and only one out of five is a "Notice" in the latest data. See Figure 2 above, and Table 3.

Table 3. Use of Notices Versus Detainers by ICE, November 2014 - November 2015
Month All Detainer Notice Percent
2014-10 11,201 11,201 0 0%
2014-11 9,452 9,451 1 0%
2014-12 8,105 8,102 3 0%
2015-01 7,093 7,073 20 0%
2015-02 6,975 6,970 5 0%
2015-03 7,954 7,948 6 0%
2015-04 8,001 8,000 1 0%
2015-05 7,559 7,555 4 0%
2015-06 7,487 7,394 93 1%
2015-07 7,017 6,128 889 13%
2015-08 7,444 6,139 1,305 18%
2015-09 6,797 5,618 1,179 17%
2015-10 7,107 5,683 1,424 20%
2015-11 6,146 4,942 1,204 20%
ICE later augmented these forms with two parallel versions of a new I-247X form ‐ one asking merely to be notified, the second asking that the subject be detained. These two additional I-247 forms ICE announced are to be used for occasions where the subject has not been convicted of any crime and is not a security risk, but is a recent illegal border crosser, significantly abused visa or visa waiver programs, or for whom a removal order was issued on or after January 1, 2014. The latest available data indicate that only nineteen (19) 1-247X "notice" and eighty-one (81) I-247X "detainer" type forms have been issued. These I-247s are included in the report tables and figures discussed above.

Coming Soon…

TRAC is working on additional reports in this series, along with a free web query tool that will allow users to look up these details on I-247s issued by month to every state, county, and specific federal, state, and local law enforcement agency over the past decade. If you want to be sure to receive notification as soon as access to these data become available, sign up here.


[1] TRAC also sought records that would detail how ICE would determine from the information on NCIC offense codes it used to track criminal histories which convictions would be considered to "fit" under the Secretary's "specifically enumerated crimes." As yet this information has not been released to TRAC, thereby preventing us from restricting conviction counts to this more narrowly focused set of offenses or using the Secretary's updated priority levels to classify the seriousness of convictions.

[2] Classification into seriousness levels is based upon ICE's detailed implementation rules previously released to TRAC through its FOIA requests.


Group Sues For DHS, ICE Records on Immigrants' Arrests

The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to force the release of government records on the arrests of Central American immigrants in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas.

The lawsuit accuses the agencies of violating public records law by failing to promptly release documents sought by the center in a Jan. 7 open government request.

More than 100 women and children were arrested by the agencies and placed in a Dilley, Texas detention center and all but 12 families were deported. The Southern Poverty Law Center said the arrests of the women and children at their homes in the U.S. were carried out without warrants on Jan. 2 and 3.


The Facts on How Immigration Works for America
Author: Guest Blogger

This election cycle has brought about the worst immigrant bashing in decades—most of it completely unsupported by any facts. The constant barrage of blame is having an effect on many immigrant communities, and not simply the new arrivals, refugees, and unauthorized workers who are most often targeted through fearmongering. What is consistently lost in the rhetoric is how immigrants who are studying and working in the United States keep our economic engine operating at the highest level.

Oklahoman Craig Knutson, the president of Growing Global, hit the nail on the head with his fact-based discussion of the economic powerhouse that is U.S. immigration (Norman businessman: Growing weary of trade, immigration bashing). “The positive impact immigrants have had on our economy,” he notes has been demonstrated in both government and private research “using data.”

Countless foreign scientists, researchers, engineers, doctors, and innovators are in the United States contributing every day to the growth of the economy and the safety of our nation, engaging in vital activities such as curing disease, creating new companies, and discovering new and better ways of improving commerce. As they perform their work, they also put Americans to work.

How do these immigrants feel as they wait in antiquated and artificially long queues for lawful permanent resident status while raising families, paying taxes, buying homes, and shopping in stores? With all of the inflammatory back and forth, I can only imagine that they feel they are not wanted.

This negativity creates fear among all immigrants, including those who create small businesses in America. In fact, immigrants created 18 percent of new small businesses. So I was happy to see that the Partnership for a New American Economy, joined by AILA and other stakeholders, launched a campaign this week highlighting the contributions that immigrants make to every single state in the union.

The reality is that the vast majority of immigrants are in the United States because they want to create better lives for themselves and their families, in a country that encourages and rewards creativity and innovation. They are proud of their personal successes and their contributions to the economic success of the United States. Mr. Knutson is correct. The positive impact we all benefit from is fact, not rhetoric.


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