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					     Immigration
Welcoming the Stranger

          Edith Rasell
  Justice & Witness Ministries
    United Church of Christ
IMMIGRATION
                              Foreign Born Share of U.S. Population (%)
                                             1850-2006

                       16.0                              14.8          14.7
                                           14.4
                                    13.2          13.3          13.6          13.2
                                                                                                                                          12.1
                                                                                     11.6
Percent Foreign Born




                       12.0
                                                                                                                                10.4
                              9.7
                                                                                            8.8
                                                                                                                          7.9
                        8.0                                                                       6.9
                                                                                                                    6.2
                                                                                                        5.4
                                                                                                              4.7

                        4.0



                        0.0
                            50 60 70 80 90 00 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 00                                                              06
                          18 18 18 18 18 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20                                                              20
     Unauthorized Immigrants

• Currently 12 million unauthorized
• Twice as many as in 1996
• Growing by half a million each year
     Unauthorized Immigrants
• Among the undocumented,
  about 40% arrived in the
  country legally and over-
  stayed their visas.
• The other 60% entered
  through unauthorized
  channels liking traveling
  across our southern
  border.
     Unauthorized Immigrants
• There are 6.6 million
  families whose head
  of the household or a
  spouse is undocumented.
• Among undocumented families, 41% have
  children. In three-quarters of the families
  with children, at least some of the children
  are US citizens.
      Unauthorized Immigrants
• Slightly more than half (57%) are from
  Mexico and nearly one-quarter are from the
  rest of Latin America.
• One-third to
  one-half have
  not finished
  high school.
        Why Do They Come?
The Push (NAFTA)
• Some 2 million farmers have been displaced
  since NAFTA went into effect in 1994 while
  Mexico’s imports of US agricultural products and
  corn have doubled.
• Between 2000 and 2005, 900,000 rural jobs and
  700,000 in industry have been lost.
• In 2004, average household earnings were 15%
  below the level of 1994, adjusted for inflation.
       Why Do They Come?
The Pull
People come to work and they find plenty of
employers who actively seek employees
willing to work long hours in grueling jobs for
low pay.
       Why Do They Come?
There are many reasons not to come:
• Leaving their known world
• Different language, customs
• The future is unknown
• Dangers of crossing into
  the US
• Once in US, they could
  be deported or
  imprisoned at any
  time
   Hazardous Border Crossing
Since 1995:
• Militarization of the border: fences, fortified
 checkpoints, high-tech surveillance,
 thousands more border patrol agents
• Border enforcement expenditures up 5 fold

            People Crossing are
         Funneled through the Desert
   Hazardous Border Crossing
Since 1995:
• 2000 to 3000 deaths of people attempting to
  cross the border
• Annual number of deaths has doubled
• Most of the increase is occurring in the Tucson
  Sector
• US General Accountability Office finds the rise in
  deaths the direct consequence of the policy
  changes
  Hazardous Border Crossing
In nine years (1995 to 2004), more
people were killed attempting to cross
the US-Mexico border than were killed
                        attempting to
                        cross the Berlin
                        Wall during its
                        entire 28 years.
Entering Legally is not Possible
Family Reunification
• Immediate family members (spouse, child,
  parent) of citizens can get visas
• Immediate family members of legal
  permanent residents: 226,000/year but no
  country gets more than 7% of these
  (16,000)
Entering Legally is not Possible
Workers
• People with advanced degrees,
  “extraordinary ability,” religious workers,
  investors with over half a million dollars,
  “skill-shortage” workers: 140,000/year
• Unskilled worker: 5,000/year
• “Diversity Visa Lottery”: 55,000/year,
  preference for under-represented regions
              Detentions
Each year, 250-300,000 people put in
 detention; 1 million apprehended.
If someone is picked up, they can be:
• Immediately returned
   to Mexico
• Released with a date
   to appear in court
• Held until court date
   and deportation
                 Detentions
• US has 26,500 detention beds, up from 7,500
  in 1994 (expansion largely through private
  prison industry)
• 230,000 processed through system annually –
  adults and children
• Cost is $1 billion/year ($95 per day)
• One example: lights on 24 hrs/day, no
  windows, open toilets/showers, group
  punishment, allowed outside one hour per day
         What to Do

We need
fundamental,
comprehensive
immigration
reform.
     Needed Policy Changes
• Route to earned citizenship
• Right to drive
• Enforce labor protections, stop workplace
  raids
• Change trade agreements to promote
  good jobs and protect domestic agric.
• Separate local/state law enforcement from
  ICE

				
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posted:6/22/2012
language:English
pages:20