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March 25, 2019
What do Democrats need to do?
Andrew Moss offers some general advice on how Democratic presidential hopefuls should address immigration in the presidential race. The core details:
[Democrats running for president will] need to show that Trump is wrong on crime and immigration. A number of recent, large-scale studies of metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. have shown no correlation between crime and the growth of immigrant communities. If anything, crime in those areas has decreased. Moreover, challengers to Trump must show that his repeated characterizations of migrants as constituting a destabilizing “invasion” are dangerously distorted. Although news reports have focused on recent migrations to our southern border of people fleeing violence and destitution in Central America, the greatest percentage of people coming to the U.S. since 2010 is from Asian countries, and many of these immigrants are college educated. The percentage of foreign-born persons in the U.S. – 13.7 percent as of 2017 – is still lower than the peak percentage of around 15 percent at the turn of the twentieth century.
Read the rest at CounterPunch here.
A Grand Compromise?
Andrew Moss’ advice is needed.
In the New York Times today, Peter King (R-NY) and Tom Souzi (D-NY) co-authored an opinion piece on immigration where they call for a “grand compromise” on immigration. There are some good things in their proposal - offering a path to citizenship for “dreamers” - children brought into the country undocumented - and holders of temporary protected status. They are also calling for increased fees for immigrants to file for these statuses, and, predictably, billions of dollars in security measures, split between wall funding at the border, and increases in the Homeland Security budget. They do offer funding for programs in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to offset pressure to migrate - but no specifics on what those programs might be.
Such measures are what is likely needed to get a bill passed - though one suspects the provisions for a path to citizenship will kill this for the hardliners in Congress. As outlined, however, it continues to draw a border around “good immigrants” and “bad,” and thus further entrenches the narrative of criminality, legitimating a policy of deterrence at the border (a program that has utterly failed to deter but has destroyed many lives).
There is, in short, little compromise here - just a bridging of partisan talking points.
ICE arrests of people with no criminal record increasing
New data released last week shows that nearly 40% of the people arrested by ICE have no criminal record. This is a huge increase from the last years of Obama’s presidency where the figure was less than 15%. From USA Today:
Trump campaigned on a promise to target "bad hombres" – including murderers, violent criminals and gang members – but after assuming office he ordered ICE to arrest all undocumented immigrants it encountered, no matter their criminal background. That has led to a consistent drop in the percentage of people arrested by ICE who have a criminal record.
According to data released Thursday, that percentage fell to 63.5 percent in December, the lowest monthly figure since ICE started categorizing arrests in 2012. That means 36.5 percent of the arrests were simply undocumented with no criminal history.