Immigration On Texas by beautifulone

VIEWS: 27 PAGES: 10

									         practical immigration policy
       is crucial to the future of texas



background
    As a border state, Texas has long been both an entry point and home to immigrants from around
    the world. Our policies should pursue the goals of public safety and regional security, while
    working to ensure a prosperous future. Texas prides itself on doing things differently. Why
    would we enact anti-immigration policies that have failed in other states?


proposals
        •   Consider the economic impact of all immigration proposals.
        •   Oppose legislation like employer sanctions that will cause necessary workers to
            flee and debilitate the Texas economy.


explanation
    More than 1.4 million undocumented immigrants live in Texas. These immigrants play a critical
    role in our economy, driving growth in the agricultural and service industries and enabling
    industries like meat processing to flourish domestically rather than moving abroad in search
    of cheap labor. Documented immigrants make significant contributions in medicine and the
    technology sector.
         Our laws should facilitate the economic contributions of immigrants, and recognize
    that the majority of undocumented immigrants are here to contribute and make a better life
    for their families.

    The Contributions of Immigrants Bolster the Texas Economy
    Although many believe undocumented immigrants take jobs from U.S. citizens, research shows
    immigrant labor has helped create new jobs and boosted the earnings of U.S. citizens.



“Our review of economic research finds immigrants not only help fuel the Nation’s economic
 growth, but also have an overall positive effect on the income of native-born workers.”
                           – White House Council of Economic Advisers Chair, Edward P. Lazear




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      Neighboring states like Arizona and Oklahoma have enacted anti-immigrant legislation
 and then watched as the flight of immigrants devastated their economy. The absence of
 undocumented immigrants in Texas would result in a tremendous loss of employment,
 ranging from 403,174 to 1,151,955 jobs. If undocumented immigrants were to withdraw
 from the economy, Texas would lose between $69 and $220 billion in consumer spend-
 ing. Immigrants are so integral to our workforce that without them, the Texas economy would
 grind to a halt.
      Like everyone else, undocumented immigrants pay state and local fees and sales and prop-
 erty taxes, either directly or indirectly as renters. In 2005, undocumented immigrants in Texas
 paid an estimated $513 million in local taxes. The majority of undocumented immigrants are
 estimated to pay federal income tax.
      Immigrants use less health care services than U.S. citizens. Undocumented immigrants and
 even immigrants with visas cannot access programs like food stamps, Supplemental Security
 Income, federal housing assistance, federal student financial aid, unemployment insurance and
 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
      On a national level, undocumented immigrants keep the Social Security Trust Fund afloat.
 Though they will never benefit from these contributions, as of October 2005, undocumented
 immigrants had paid $520 billion into the system. Over the next 50 years, new legal immigrants
 are expected to contribute in excess of $407 billion to the Social Security Fund.


conclusion
 Immigrants come to Texas to work hard and create a better future for their families. In the pro-
 cess, they contribute to the Texas economy. Our values as Texans mean giving everyone the
 opportunity to work hard, play fair and take personal responsibility. Legislation intended to
 drive immigrants from Texas has the opposite effect.


 resources

 Immigration Policy Center:
 http://immigration.server263.com/images/File/factcheck/EconomicsofImmRe-link2-12-08.pdf

 White House Council of Economic Advisers—Immigration’s Economic Impact:
 http://www.whitehouse.gov/cea/cea_immigration_062007.pdf




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               the immigration debate
             and local law enforcement
                                Public Safety Ahead of Politics



background
    Immigration continues to be a contentious issue, with state and local governments under pres-
    sure to take action in the absence of federal legislation. Since 1994, the population of undocu-
    mented immigrants has almost doubled to 12 million. During the same time period, violent crime
    in the U.S. has dropped by 34.2 percent and property crime has declined by 26.4 percent.


“The vast majority of these people are not criminal aliens; they’re economic aliens. They are
 not a threat to our public safety.”
                                                   – Chief Art Acevedo, Austin Police Department



        Local enforcement of immigration policy directs resources away from solving and prevent-
    ing violent crimes. Texas should ensure public safety by focusing on serious criminal
    activities, such as drug cartels and human trafficking rings.


proposals
        •   Recognize that local enforcement of immigration policy undermines public safety.
        •   Ensure all crime victims and witnesses have access to law enforcement without fear.
        •   Ensure that homeland security funding targets the activities of drug cartels.
        •   Allocate Byrne Grant funding to an independent state agency to investigate law
            enforcement corruption on the border.


explanation
    Local law enforcement is under increasing pressure to enforce immigration law. Local enforce-
    ment of federal immigration policy will cost taxpayers millions of dollars, with only a
    deterioration of public safety to show for the efforts. Immigration policy enforcement is
    absolutely the responsibility of the federal government.
        Along the U.S. – Mexico border, the issue of homeland security often becomes confused
    with enforcement of immigration policy. The most effective strategy to increase public safety on
    the border, however, is to target crime and corruption perpetrated by drug cartels.




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     Local Enforcement of Immigration Law Undermines Community Policing
    When undocumented immigrants are targeted by local law enforcement, an entire segment of
    the population loses trust in their local police and sheriffs. This trust is critical for local law
    enforcement to call upon immigrants to assist with investigations.


“[A] divide between local police and immigrant groups would result in increased crime against
 immigrants and in the broader community, create a class of silent victims and eliminate the
 potential for assistance from immigrants in solving crimes or preventing future terroristic acts.”
       – Major Cities Chiefs Association, Immigration Committee Recommendations, June 2006


          When local law enforcement takes on the responsibilities of immigration agents, undocu-
     mented immigrants are less likely to report crimes or come forward as witnesses. Instead of
     reporting domestic violence, families hide in the shadows and endure abuse. Documented
     immigrants and U.S. citizens who live with undocumented immigrants shy away from local law
     enforcement. Crime increases and police have more difficulty pursuing investigations. In such
     a climate, dangerous criminals—even terrorists—could operate without fear of detection.

     Immigration Enforcement is the Responsibility of the Federal Government
    Local law enforcement agencies have no obligation to enforce civil immigration policy. The law
    states clearly that cooperation is voluntary; in fact, the federal government lacks the power to
    commandeer state and local resources to implement federal law. Local law enforcement agen-
    cies should act to benefit local public safety goals, not the federal immigration agenda. Texas
    should not waste taxpayer dollars to do the job of the federal government. Nothing is
    more likely to encourage the federal government to continue the current stalemate on
    immigration policy.

    The Special Case of Public Safety on the Border
    Drug cartel violence has recently escalated in Mexican border communities, and residents of
    the border region are concerned for their safety. The biggest contribution that Texas can make
    to border security is to focus resources on dismantling these criminal organizations.
        Intelligence and investigations are the only ways to dismantle the cartels. Recent border
    security expenditures of over $140 million have increased overtime hours for local law enforce-
    ment patrols, but have not increased public safety or resulted in additional intelligence about
    criminal organizations.




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   Stop Border Corruption
   Corruption of immigration and border law enforcement by cartels continues to undermine
   border security efforts. Increasing the number of law enforcement agents without increasing
   the resources dedicated to rooting out corruption allows the bribery and coercion of our law
   enforcement to continue to grow, undermining the goals those law enforcement agents were
   hired to achieve.


“If you increase the number of people on the border, you are going to get more corruption.”
                                                                           –James “Chip” Burrus, FBI Official


       Drug cartels do not move money, drugs or people across the border without significant
   inside help on the U.S. side of the border. Corruption and insider fraud will continue to detract
   from our law enforcement goals until we acknowledge and put substantial resources into
   addressing this problem. Byrne Grant funds should be directed towards ensuring the integrity
   and accountability of the individuals who serve on the front lines, to ensure public safety and
   undermine the strength of cartels.


conclusion
   Texas cannot afford to alienate the immigrant community from law enforcement agencies. The
   most effective strategy to strengthen public safety is to ensure that immigrants feel safe coming
   forward as victims and as witnesses to crimes. Drug cartels present a large threat to public safety
   in Texas. Policymakers should ensure that public safety initiatives target the activities of the car-
   tels, and keep local law enforcement out of the business of enforcing immigration policy.


   resources

   Major Cities Chiefs Association, “Recommendations for Enforcement of Immigration Laws by Local Police
   Agencies,” Adopted June 2006.

   Police Executive Research Forum, “Police Chiefs and Sheriffs Speak Out On Local Immigration Enforcement,” April 2008.

   Rubén Rumbaut and Walter Ewing, “The Myth of Immigrant Criminality and the Paradox of Assimilation:
   Incarceration Rates Among Native and Foreign-Born Men,” Immigration Policy Center, Spring 2007.




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                       human trafficking
                Bring Victims Out of the Shadows and Dismantle
                  Trafficking Rings to End Modern Day Slavery




background
 Human trafficking is an international issue that has special relevance in Texas. Human traffick-
 ing is the commercial trade of human beings who, against their will, are subjected to sexual
 exploitation, involuntary servitude, sweatshop labor and other forms of severe abuse.
      An estimated 17,500 to 18,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year. About 80 percent
 of trafficking victims are women and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors. Since 2001, over 20
 percent of trafficking victims in the U.S. have been identified in Texas. With the right
 approach, Texas policymakers have the opportunity to seek justice for victims of trafficking and
 dismantle criminal trafficking rings.


proposals
     •   Enact a civil remedy to provide justice and relief for victims, while targeting the
         assets of organized trafficking rings.
     •   Provide training and resources to local law enforcement with the goal of identify-
         ing victims of human trafficking and other serious crimes.
     •   Make state law consistent with federal law by allowing applicants applying for
         Special Immigrant Juvenile Status to remain wards of the state until the conclusion
         of the child’s immigration case or his 21st birthday, whichever occurs first.


explanation
 Human trafficking cases often involve protracted investigations. Victims are afraid to come for-
 ward because they have lived with fear and humiliation. They are often not aware of resources,
 and fear being treated like criminals in a foreign country.
     A serious effort to combat human trafficking must reach out to victims and seek to dismantle
 the trafficking organizations. This is a complex call for multiple branches of law enforcement,
 and it will involve special training.
     Survivors of trafficking—especially minors—should be afforded the opportunity to become
 contributing members of society. Ending human trafficking must involve targeting traffickers
 and rehabilitating victims.




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    Dismantle Trafficking Organizations with a Civil Remedy
    Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world. Accounting
    for the sale of individuals and the value of their labor, the human trafficking industry is con-
    servatively estimated to generate $32 billion each year. Unlike drugs or arms, trade in humans
    is particularly lucrative because people can be sold again and again. The International Labor
    Organization estimates that profits from sex trafficking total $217.8 billion each year, or
    $23,000 per victim.
         A civil remedy for trafficking offers a way to dismantle trafficking organizations by pur-
    suing the assets that permit their proliferation. Civil suits will generate negative media
    attention, and act as a deterrent for both trafficking organizations and potential consumers
    of sex work and debt labor.

    Train Law Enforcement to Identify and Assist Unique Crime Victims
    Because of their fear of retaliation by traffickers, lack of familiarity with U.S. law enforcement
    practices and because to law enforcement they often seem indistinguishable from the larger
    population of recent immigrants, trafficking victims are particularly difficult for law enforce-
    ment to identify and therefore treat as crime victims. Both local and state law enforcement would
    benefit from state-wide training in the identification of trafficking victims, as well as familiarity
    with resources available to victims.
         One instance in which traffickers and their victims are frequently misidentified is in the
    detection and raids of so-called “safe houses” along the border. These safe houses frequently
    host drug trafficking and human trafficking activities. Federal law enforcement is generally the
    first responder when these safe houses are detected. When a local investigation is bypassed,
    victims are frequently deported alongside their traffickers. Both the chance to prosecute violent
    criminals and the opportunity to assist victims are lost.
         Texas has spent over $140 million with the goal of ensuring public safety on the border.
    Local law enforcement agencies that accept this funding should be accountable for how the
    money is spent. Using these funds to target criminal organizations, conduct human trafficking
    investigations and reach out to victims will make Texas safer. Accessing testimony from victims
    will fuel strong cases against traffickers.


“Victims hidden in the shadows of complex, insidious manipulation will be afraid to come
 forward and seek help—afraid to be treated themselves as criminals and illegal aliens…”
                                           – Ambassador Mark P. Lagon, U.S. Department of State




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 Promote Enforcement of Current Laws for Juveniles
 Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is a federal congressionally created form of protection
 for minors under the age of 21 who have experienced abuse, abandonment or neglect and are
 wards of the state. Young trafficking victims, for example, fall into this category. By the time
 that these victims come into contact with legal services, they may be close to turning 18 and will
 either no longer be eligible to become wards of the state or will no longer be wards of the state.
 This glitch in federal and state law means that these young people are not protected as the gov-
 ernment intended, and remain in the shadows of society.
      Allowing Texas to retain jurisdiction over these young people that are over 18 but under 21
 affords time for the legal process—a fundamental right of everyone in the U.S.—to run its course.
 Expanding Texas’s jurisdiction over these juveniles would not only promote their fair treatment
 in accordance with our existing laws, but would also produce contributing members of society
 who can apply for driver’s licenses, apply for credit and contribute to the economy.


conclusion
 Awareness about human trafficking is increasing, but much remains to be done to assure that
 victims are protected. Dismantling trafficking organizations, identifying victims and enforcing
 current laws are important steps to end human trafficking in Texas and to assure that victims
 become contributing members of society.


 resources

 National Resource Center for Youth Development: http://www.abanet.org/child/empowerment/improveoutcomes.pdf




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