Mary Giovagnoli

How to Have a Productive Conversation on Immigration

In preparation for the August recess, the Immigration Policy Center released a new guide to answering the tough questions on immigration. This is perhaps a misnomer, as the issues we cover—the intersection of crime, the economy, integration, and immigration—aren’t so much tough as they are complicated. There is plenty of evidence available on the significant contributions immigrants make to the country, so providing that is easy. What’s tough is discussing the personal myths and misconceptions individuals carry with them on the topic.  Aren’t immigrants to blame for…?

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5 Ways Obama's Deferred Action for Dreamers Shifts the Conversation on Immigration Reform

There’s no doubt that recent implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative is the biggest thing to happen in immigration law in many years. While most of the attention is currently focused on how to make it work, how to apply and how to work out the kinks, it’s important to take a macro view at the ways this program can actually renew the entire conversation on immigration reform.

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Could Immigrant Integration Spur Economic Growth?

 Over the weekend, more than 27,000 people became American citizens during 285 naturalization ceremonies held across the country in honor of Citizenship Day (September 17). Becoming a citizen, however, is hard work. A new country, new rules, high costs, and little targeted support for new immigrants make what should be a journey of exploration and opportunity one that may be frustrating and lonely. Not surprisingly, problems such as these are a major obstacle to naturalization. Scholars note that despite the steady rise in naturalization rates over the decades, a shocking number of people do not naturalize are actually eligible to do so. In 2008, for example, while more than one million LPRs naturalized, more than eight million were eligible to do so. Developing better integration programs, however, may improve naturalization efforts and lead to economic growth.

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How Will the GOP Play its Cards on Immigration?

The predictions are already rolling in that the 112th Congress will get little done, each party miring themselves in partisan differences with the goal of a White House win in 2012. The thought of gridlock on so many pressing issues facing the country—fiscal policy, stimulating the economy, ensuring job growth—is sobering. And two more years of inaction on immigration reform—reform that would help our economy grow and respects the rights of people—well, that’s simply depressing. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If Speaker-elect John Boehner is really interested in governing, he will think long and hard about the direction he allows the House to go on immigration.

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Menendez Calls for 2010 Immigration Reform in Lame Duck Session

There can be advantages to going it alone. Despite two years of repeated attempts to get a bipartisan immigration reform bill in the Senate, Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Leahy (D-VT) finally said “enough” and introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 (CIR 2010) last week. Plenty of people have pointed out that the bill was introduced just as Congress left Washington to go into full-time campaign mode, leaving Sens. Menendez and Leahy virtually alone in Washington to promote their new bill. On a conference call Friday, however, Sen. Menendez said he aims at moving the bill during lame duck session or next Congress, but urged advocates and the media to focus on the merits of the bill, rather than the timing. (Other immigration bills passed during lame duck include the LIFE Act and NACARA.)

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Comprehensive Immigration Reform Is More Than a Piece of Legislation

Realistically, the likelihood of a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill passing before the midterm elections is pretty small. News reports indicate that many advocates are pivoting to supporting more targeted immigration measures, such as DREAM Act or AgJobs, both of which have been introduced and have numerous co-sponsors already. Inevitably, these reports talk about backtracking, moving to a piecemeal approach or abandoning CIR. And then there is usually some kind of smug, I-told-you-so comment from an immigration restrictionist—one that revels in the supposed failure of comprehensive immigration reform. But CIR is more than a piece of legislation. It’s a goal—one which requires long-term commitment and a belief in the fundamental goodness of Americans.

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Immigration Revelations Just The Tip Of The ICEberg

The irony of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s acronym—ICE—has never been lost on anyone, including the agency itself. Shortly after its formation, posters appeared in government offices of an iceberg as big as the one that sunk the Titanic with the motto: ICE—What you see is just the tip of the iceberg. The idea was to emphasize just how much ICE did and how much of it went on quietly and behind the scenes.

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Why Serious Immigration Reform Is Inevitable

For those of us who live and breathe immigration reform, it’s hard to remember that immigration isn’t everyone’s top priority. Not surprisingly, public opinion polls and headlines constantly remind us that health care and the economy consistently top the concerns of the general public. Even among Latino voters, a new study shows that health care is the most pressing issue. But this is neither a big surprise nor should it lead to the conclusion that immigration isn’t important. Polls are snapshots, taking the picture of the public psyche on a given day, at a given time, in the context of a range of political concerns.

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Napolitano Signals Reform to Come in First Major Discussion of Immigration

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s speech last week at the Center for American Progress (CAP) will probably be remembered as a key moment in the history of immigration reform. The Secretary didn’t just express support for a comprehensive overhaul of our immigration system; she made it clear that it was an imperative for the ultimate security of the United States.

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A Broken Immigration System Marks a Disastrous Failure of Government Response

This past week, ImmigrationImpact highlighted aspects of a recent Immigration Policy Center (IPC) report, Breaking Down the Problems, What’s Wrong With our Immigration System?. The report highlights the problems faced by American families, businesses, and workers, all caught in a broken immigration system. But the report also addresses the long-term effect of our broken immigration laws on government. Put simply, broken laws equal broken government.

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