Michele Waslin

Inactive 9/11 Immigration Policies Must Finally Be Squashed

For a long time after 9/11, immigration reform was only discussed as a national security issue, and many policies were put in place aimed at stopping terrorists from entering the country. Unfortunately, some of these policies—such as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program—targeted particular ethnic groups, promoted profiling, and resulted in discrimination and civil rights violations. In recent years, the Obama administration has made efforts to end the NSEERS program, but NSEERS still exists and the impact of these policies is still being felt in immigrant communities. In fact, the Rights Working Group, a coalition of civil rights organizations, recently released a report, The NSEERS Effect: A Decade of Racial Profiling, Fear, and Secrecy, which analyzes the continuing impact of this post-9/11 policy.

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Children of Immigrant Entrepreneurs Find the American Dream

 The contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs—innovation, job creation and economic growth—are often cited by economists as strong reasons to reform our outdated immigration system.  However, the kids of immigrant entrepreneurs receive relatively little attention.  Delving into the experiences of these adult children of immigrants provides a new lens through which to witness the struggles and triumphs of parents and their children as they pursue the American Dream.

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Three Immigration Myths Meet the Facts

In response to a recent Roll Call article calling out the nativist lobby, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith wrote a letter to the editor making a series of claims -- many of which he’s been making for the last 20 years -- which simply don’t stack up to the facts. These myths also conveniently obsure the lack of any denial of ties to the nativist lobby. While many of Smith’s easy-to-swallow myths may stir the extreme end of a conservative base, they serve as a yet another distraction from having an open and honest immigration debate.

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Right-Wing Politicos Using Immigration Controversy to Create a Second Class of US Citizenship

At a press conference this morning at the National Press Club, a coalition of state legislators and immigration restrictionists known as the State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) presented their proposal to turn back the clocks to the pre-Civil War era to create a new definition of “state citizenship,” create a new second-class citizenship, and fundamentally alter the principles of the U.S. Constitution. With connections to restrictionist group FAIR and the notorious John Tanton Network, SLLI members Rep. John Kavanaugh of Arizona, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe of Pennsylvania, Kansas Secretary of State-elect Kris Kobach and others were on hand to monger more fear on “the illegal alien invasion” and, in the words of South Carolina’s state Senator Danny Verdin, cure the “malady” and “poison” of undocumented immigration.

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New Data Show Newer Immigrants Assimilating Well

We want legal permanent residents (LPRs) to become U.S. citizens and fully participate in civic life -- and research shows they are, in fact, doing just that. DHS recently presented new data on two programs for legal permanent residence (LPR) status -- one that required immigrants to learn English and U.S. history, and one that did not. They found that those who were required to learn English and history (which are also requirements for U.S. citizenship) are naturalizing at higher rates.

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28 out of 33 Recommendations for ICE Changes Have Been Overlooked

DHS’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently released an updated report on the Performance of 287(g) Agreements which provides the same dreary account of the program as the first one. The April 2010 OIG report found that ICE and its local law enforcement partners have not complied with the terms of their 287(g) Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs), that the standards by which deputized officers are evaluated are not in line with the stated objectives of the 287(g) program, that the program is poorly supervised by ICE, and that additional oversight is necessary. It included 33 recommendations to improve the program, 28 of which, the new report finds, still remain open.

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Will the Congressional Primaries Influence Immigration Reform?

As the dust is settling from last week’s primary elections, many politicians and pundits will try to interpret what the American public is thinking. The reactions and responses are likely to span the ideological and political scales. Whether Democrats aren’t Democratic enough, or Republicans aren’t Republican enough, or seats held by one party should be replaced by the other, one thing is clear: Americans are frustrated with their current leaders and want new representation.

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ICE Slip Up Casts Serious Doubt on Immigration Enforcement Strategy

Over the last week, there has been a great deal of outrage, confusion, and backtracking on the issue of who and how many people the U.S. government deports.

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Expanding Flawed E-Verify System Will Hurt Lawful Workers

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) is up to it again, releasing a new and highly misleading "report" claiming that the E-Verify employment verification program is 99.5 percent accurate. This is yet another in CIS's long series of dubious "studies" issued to stall meaningful immigration reform and push its deportation-only agenda.

By claiming that E-Verify is highly accurate, CIS believes it can convince the public and Congress that the program must be reauthorized and expanded so that it would be mandatory for every single employer. This would mean that every single U.S. worker would have to get permission from the government to work - and the impact of a single error could be devastating. CIS can continue to use statistics that make E-Verify attractive. However, nothing will change the fact that E-Verify is not a solution to our nation's serious immigration problems, and that attempts to expand the program will harm lawful U.S. workers.

The CIS report is based on misleading data coming from a small sample of 1,000 queries to the system coming from voluntary E-Verify users in 2007. Since many types of errors are possible, and some are never detected, CIS's accuracy rate is meaningless. More importantly, since only about 1 percent of employers are currently using E-Verify, the results are not useful for predicting what would happen if all 7 million U.S. employers were forced to use the system.

Even the government has disputed CIS's 99.5 percent conclusion. In fact, Richard Stana of the Government Accountability Office testified at a May 2008 Congressional hearing that it was "misleading" to claim that the E-Verify error rate is less than 1 percent. In fact, many of the tens of thousands of workers who receive final non-confirmations are actually work-authorized.

CIS also claims that businesses that participate in E-Verify are "likely to be spared the intensity of stepped-up worksite enforcement investigations." Tell that to Swift & Company and Howard Industries, Inc. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) raided both companies this year and arrested 1,000 workers even though both companies had been using E-Verify. Clearly using E-Verify doesn't guarantee that all workers will be authorized and provides no immunity from enforcement actions.

The bottom line is that the accuracy rate of E-Verify is unacceptable - each error means that a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. worker could be denied employment and a paycheck because the government database contains an error. Furthermore, no matter what the accuracy rate, E-Verify is a problematic program that has harmful consequences for U.S. workers and employers. Stronger worksite enforcement does not solve the problem of undocumented immigration. In fact, it will cause more workers to go to the underground economy, costing U.S. tax dollars and leaving workers more vulnerable. Fixing the United States' broken immigration system is a necessity, but simply expanding the problematic E-Verify would cause more problems than it would solve.

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