This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending July 1


Week Ending July 1

This week in immigration: Resources to help understand the Supreme Court’s decision; NCLR releases paper examining USCIS naturalization fee; Bipartisan Policy Center finds immigration positively effects U.S. economy; and non-citizen Latinos are politically engaged.

Resources regarding the Supreme Court decision available: Following the Supreme Court’s stalemate on President Obama’s executive action, the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation (CIRI) released a number of resources to help explain the effects on stakeholders and community groups. The materials are posted on and include: a Q&A on administrative relief, and an FAQ for the community in both English and Spanish. CIRI hosted a webinar discussing the decision and its effects on the community.

Raising naturalization fees adversely affects Latinos: NCLR released a new paper examining the naturalization fee as a barrier to citizenship. The Department of Homeland Security estimates 2.7 million eligible lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are from Mexico, and these immigrants are postponing citizenship due to the cost. Research shows Latino LPRs have lower incomes than others, as 40% of Mexican LPRs have incomes less than 150% of the federal poverty level and many lack access to safe and reliable credit. As a result, the paper recommends keeping fees low to the extent practicable and expanding an existing fee waiver. In addition, Congress could supplement USCIS’ budget to ease pressure on fee accounts. As USCIS finalizes a new proposed fee schedule that raises the naturalization fee by $45, NCLR encourages the Administration to find ways to make citizenship affordable and accessible.

New study shows immigrant workers enhance, expand the U.S. economy: A new report released by the Bipartisan Policy Center this week shows yet again the positive effects immigrants have on the national economy. “Culprit or Scapegoat? Immigration’s Effect on Employment and Wages” finds that immigrants play a vital role in supplementing the labor force by filling jobs that would otherwise remain vacant or disappear. The report also disputes the claim that immigrants “take” jobs from native-born citizens, finding increases in non-labor force activities (retirement, enrollment in school, or entering disability) explain the majority of declining native-born employment. A flyer on the report’s key findings is available here.

Non-citizen Latinos politically engaged, study finds: Despite a lack of “official” involvement in the political process, non-citizen Latinos remain active in shaping the country’s future, according to a new study published by the Russell Sage Foundation. While stressing that non-citizen Latinos are not engaged in fraudulent voting, the study finds that about one in three non-citizen Latino immigrants attend rallies and marches, help gather signatures for causes, post political bumper stickers or political signs, or have political discussions with friends, families, and neighbors. “This premise might strike some people as odd, but we had the idea that people who live in the U.S. might participate in some way or another in our democratic process,” co-author James McCann said. “Exclusion from the ballot box is not tantamount to civic silence.”

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