This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending August 14

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Week Ending August 14

This week in immigration reform: NCLR joins Bipartisan Policy Center, co-authors a report outlining needs for successful implementation of administrative relief; data shows majority support for path to citizenship; and California continues being ahead of Congress in integrating immigrants.

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NCLR talks immigration reform and writes on the implementation of administrative relief: This week, NCLR’s senior immigration legislative analyst, Laura Vazquez, participated on a panel at the Bipartisan Policy Center titled “Post-Debate: A National Conversation on Immigration.” The panelists examined recent comments made during the first GOP presidential debate on immigration and spoke to the rising influence of the Latino electorate. In response to a question from the moderator about the division in the Republican Party on how to address the undocumented population, Vazquez said “We’ve seen poll after poll consistently demonstrate that across the political spectrum, Democrats and Republicans support a path to citizenship or legal status” and noted that when an earned path to citizenship is accurately explained to voters, more Republicans support it. Vazquez explains why that’s the case: “Americans support it because they are pragmatic… and they also understand the history of our country…we have always encouraged immigrants to participate fully in American life.”

Watch video of the discussion below:

Also this week, the Journal on Migration and Human Security published an article by the Human Resources Working Group of the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation (CIRI). NCLR staff co-authored the piece, in part titled Immigration Reform and Administrative Relief for 2014 and Beyond. The article examines past immigration reform efforts and initiatives to provide a roadmap for immigant serving organizations for implementation of expanded DACA and DAPA. Specifically, the article parses out the human resources and funding necessary for successful implementation of those programs and to sustain the field in anticipation of broad legislative reform. 

Yet another poll shows Americans support a path to citizenship: A new Gallup poll finds that the majority of Americans not only believe qualified undocumented immigrants should be able to stay in the U.S., but they should also be able to earn their citizenship. Half of all Republicans, 63 percent of Independents, and 80 percent of Democrats hold that view. These views have been relatively stable over the past decade, which begs the question as to why Congress hasn’t taken on comprehensive immigration reform in alignment with overwhelming public support.

Americans believe undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay because they know the social and economic benefit of doing so. A Vice article confirms that undocumented immigrants already contribute more than they receive in federal benefits. Stephen Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration said that of the 7 million undocumented workers in the workforce, just over 3 million are paying automatic payroll taxes. In his estimate, this amounts to an annual net contribution of $12 billion into the Social Security Trust Fund.  

California leads the way on policies supporting immigrants: This week California Governor Jerry Brown decided to remove the term “alien” from the state’s Labor Code, adding to efforts to create a welcoming environment for immigrants, including issuing driver’s licenses to the undocumented and allowing in-state tuition for undocumented students. A Sacramento Bee editorial highlights these efforts and others, and urges Congress to follow California’s lead to draft a comprehensive immigration solution.

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