A project of the Center for Community Change

Economy

Thursday’s Hearing on Immigration is a Big Step Forward

Tomorrow Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will hold his first hearing as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Refugees. The hearing is titled Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009, Can We Do It and How?”. The list of speakers is expansive – and promising.

The hearing will feature testimony from Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Dr. Joel Hunter of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and SEIU’s Eliseo Medina, to name a few.

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Is it me, or do these speakers resemble the broad-based coalition that is coming together to support immigration reform in 2009? We have Greenspan representing the economic and business interests, Hunter bringing the faith-based support to the table and Medina showing that the support of the labor unions is going strong.

Jackie from America’s Voice will be live-blogging the hearing, be sure to tune in at 2:00 pm and listen to what goes down. Check it out here.

The hearing is a sign that reform is really going to happen this year – this is a small step, but an extremely strong one. It shows that the momentum for reform is growing, and not just from pro-migrant advocates.

America’s Voice answers both questions posed in the hearing (“can it be done”? and “how”?):

It will be instructive to see how both parties behave during next week’s Senate Judiciary Hearing, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009, Can We Do It and How?””

With the White House recently renewing its pledge to move forward on immigration reform this year with the unified support of the nation’s largest labor coalitions, we might expect the answer to the first question to be, “Yes.”

To answer the question, “How?”

Tune into what the public- not the noisy Minuteman minority- really want. Weigh the economic benefits of legalizing twelve million underground workers and cracking down on bad-actor employers against the human and financial costs of deporting 12 million men, women, and children.

Most importantly, take the debate back from the extremists.

Not only is the hearing a great step forward, but the next day, on May 1st, hundreds of thousands of people will be taking it to the streets, showing the American public’s appetite for reform and their commitment to the issue. For more on the May Day marches, check out www.anewdayforimmigration.org.

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How Immigrants Impact the Economy

Like every other person in this country, I bet you are worried about the state of our Economy. I bet you even voted on November 4th with the Economy as one of your top issues.

I think that this report on immigrant business owners and their impact on our Nation’s economy should not be overlooked. Immigrants contribute to our economy in a multitude of ways – and immigrant-owned businesses are a great example of that.

According to Census 2000, immigrants constitute 12.2 percent of the total U.S. work force, and 12.5 percent of the total population of U.S. business owners. The total business income generated by immigrant business owners is $67 billion, representing 11.6 percent of all business income in the United States.

Check out a PDF version of the full report here.

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New “no-match” Rule is Unwelcome

Last Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security released a final administrative rule regarding “no-match” letters. “No-match” letters are sent as a result of employers using the e-verify system to confirm that employees are eligilbe to work. If an employee’s social security number shows up with “no-match” a letter is sent to the employer.

The system has been widely criticized because of errors, inaccurate databases and the high probabilty of human mistakes that lead to loss of jobs for eligible workers. Now, during a time of intense economic crisis, the administration has taken more steps that endanger workers.

Ali Noorani from the National Immigration Forum has a great post on this new development:

Given our country’s rapidly unraveling economy, measures that further weaken businesses and threaten the economic security of our nation and of legitimate workers – native and immigrant worker alike – are bizarre.

The Administration was under no legal obligation to issue these regulations. In fact, the initial rules were contested in court.

Recent news reports and Congressional hearings have uncovered scandals in the immigration enforcement agency’s handling of its charges, pointing to the need for greater accountability. Instead, both Congress and the administration are loosening the reins—Congress, by giving ICE buckets and buckets of new taxpayer dollars, and now the administration, by finalizing a policy that will be hazardous to our economic health and by dragging the Social Security Administration into the fray.

It is clear the Bush administration is determined to continue tightening the screws on immigrants with new deportation-only initiatives, using its last few months in office to put regulations in place that will make it that much more difficult for a new administration to tackle immigration in a straightforward and reasonable way.

We need reasonable and sensible solutions, not more immigrant scapegoating that puts all Americans at risk!

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