This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending August 7


Week Ending August 7

This week in immigration reform: candidates in the first GOP presidential debate miss the mark on immigration; additional polls find Americans support immigration reform; and an NCLR Affiliate urges elevating the immigration debate beyond inflammatory rhetoric.

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First GOP presidential debate for 2016, a missed opportunity: Last night was the first GOP presidential debate for the 2016 election and 10 candidates took the stage. While immigration was a hot topic, few of the candidates chose to outline responsible policies that would garner broad support from the American public, like comprehensive reform. Instead, they suggested building a fence with a “big beautiful door,” getting control of the border, and Donald Trump doubled-down on his claims that immigrants are criminals. Watch NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía respond to those comments on MSNBC below.

Read more in a CBS News article, watch brief clips of statements in a NBC News video, or read the entire annotated transcript of the debate.

Additional polls reiterate Americans’ support for immigration reform: Not only do a majority of Americans support a path to legal status for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, but a majority of Republicans do as well. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that 36 percent of Republican respondents favored reform that would eventually lead to citizenship, and an additional 17 percent favored a path that offered legal status, totaling 53 percent. Overall, 47% of respondents favored a path to citizenship, with a total of 64 percent supporting legal status of some kind.

Another poll found a majority of Americans believe immigrants contribute to society rather than cause problems (59 percent). In light of recent legislation in Congress that would punish cities for refusing to compromise community safety for controversial immigration policies, the poll found “most Americans think illegal immigrants are just as likely to commit crimes as U.S. citizens. Republicans, however, are somewhat more inclined to say illegal immigrants are more likely to commit crimes (33 percent) than U.S. citizens (11 percent).” Americans clearly know what statistics show: that first generation immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than their native-born peers, and second generation children of immigrants don’t commit crimes any more frequently than their non-Hispanic white peers. Current rhetoric from 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls flies in the face of these numbers, with front-runners supporting deportation policies and decrying “amnesty.”

NCLR Affiliate brings attention to economic and human dimensions of  immigration: Ricardo Sánchez, founder of the Latino/a Educational Achievement Project at Sea Mar Community Health Centers, an NCLR Affiliate, co-authored an op-ed outlining the importance of undocumented workers in the agriculture sector. The authors write: “We should appreciate and not vilify undocumented workers for the value they bring to state and national economies and the world’s food stream. In large part, because of undocumented workers, the U.S. agricultural system is lauded internationally for its productivity and quality, and we all benefit as consumers.

This should be the context from which immigration reform is debated and reformed, and Donald Trump should be dismissed as an attention-seeking, bellicose guy with bad hair and money who will never be president.”

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