Week Ending September 4
This week in immigration reform: Despite public support, immigration reform not expected to be addressed by Congress; Departments of Justice and Education offer resources to ensure every child offered an education; and immigrant labor statistics to consider while enjoying your Labor Day weekend.
Public wants immigration reform; Congress unwilling to act: Despite the countless polls showing a desire for Congress to address immigration reform (two in three U.S. adults is the latest finding, per Gallup’s August poll), analysis of the upcoming Congressional agenda following the August recess has the issue nowhere to be found. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, when asked last month about the chances of tackling comprehensive immigration reform, responded, “Not in this Congress.” Despite Congress’s unwillingness to work on a permanent solution to fix our immigration system, NCLR will monitor upcoming legislative activity to push back on anti-immigrant amendments that could be offered.
Federal agencies remind school districts that every child can earn an education, regardless of immigration status: As children head back to school this fall, federal agencies have posted resources to their respective websites to help youth of all backgrounds secure an education. The first, a guidance letter released by the Department of Education, reaffirms the rights of students who are undocumented to attend school. The second, a list of frequently asked questions posted by the Department of Justice, helps clarify some of the ways that districts can ensure their enrollment procedures follow the law and provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for all children. For those with questions about the rights of all children to attain an education, these tools are a smart place to begin.
As Labor Day weekend approaches, a reminder of the contributions of immigrant workers: As people across the country take a much-deserved day off Monday, it is worth highlighting some of the many positive contributions immigrants make to the American labor market in the midst of the anti-immigrant sentiment that has been swirling this summer. A paper by the Brookings Institute shows immigrants are a growing part of the labor force, and despite recent reports to the contrary, immigrants pay between $90 and $140 billion per year in federal, state, and local taxes. Lastly, immigrants are also entrepreneurs fueling job creating by launching more than one quarter of new businesses in 2014.