This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending March 25

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Week Ending March 25

This week in immigration: New report shows 6.1 million U.S citizens live with a DAPA-eligible family member; USCIS provides updated statistics on DACA recipients; and the American Action Forum looks at the costly proposal required to remove all undocumented immigrants within two years.

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This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending August 21

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Week Ended August 21

This week in immigration reform: We highlight new resources out this week; Migration Policy Institute releases a report on the most recent unauthorized immigration trends; The Pew Charitable Trusts examines states issuing driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants; The Center for American Progress determines how much it would cost to deport all 11.3 unauthorized individuals. NCLR kept the community informed with staff quoted in Politico, NBC News, CNN, and La Opinión.

Migration Policy Institute releases report on unauthorized immigration trends: This week, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) released a new report entitledAn Analysis of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States by Country and Region of Birth.” The report, looking at unauthorized immigration as a whole, found that unauthorized immigrants have shown more diffuse settlement trends in the past decade, as 41 states now have a “significant” population of unauthorized immigrants. Mexico is still the largest originating nation with 6.1 million unauthorized immigrants, followed by Guatemala (704,000), El Salvador (436,000), and Honduras (317,000). However, the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico has only increased by 29 percent since 2000, down from 136 percent growth during the 1990’s. MPI also notes that over 80 percent of unauthorized immigrants originating from Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras who were immediately eligible for DACA have applied for enrollment, which is attributed to strong outreach by consulates and extensive Spanish-language media and services. A new report looks at DACA’s economic benefit to Illinois and the critical role that service providers play in the success of the implementation of DACA.

Pew report looks at how states are handling driver’s licenses for unauthorized immigrants:  A new report released by The Pew Charitable Trusts examines the different policies and procedures of the ten states (plus the District of Columbia) that allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. In their report, Pew identifies four key areas for consideration for policymakers to decide whether and how to issue driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants: scope, eligibility standards, issuance procedures, and outreach and education. Pew also found that 37 percent of all unauthorized immigrants live in a state which allows them to obtain driver’s licenses.

The Center for American Progress puts price tag on deporting all unauthorized immigrants at $114 billion: Using an average cost of $10,070 per person, analysis by the Center for American Progress estimates that a mass deportation strategy for all 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants would be $114 billion. This includes costs to find each individual, detain individuals while waiting for removal, processing these individuals through the immigration courts, and transportation costs. Factoring in the cost to the overall economy, however, and that number swells to between $420 billion and $620 billion over the span, according to the American Action Fund (AAF).

The Bipartisan Policy Center calculates that deporting all 11.3 unauthorized immigrants would shrink the labor force by over 6 percent during those 20 years, and the AAF estimates that the US GDP would shrink by $1.6 trillion.

This Week in Immigration Reform – Week Ending June 19

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Week Ending June 19

This week in immigration reform: celebration of DACA’s anniversary; economic and electoral impact of deferred action; and lessons learned on how to appeal to the Latino community.

NCLR, Members of Congress, and Community Activists Celebrate three-year anniversary of live-changing DACA program: This Monday marked the third anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that has helped over 650,000 aspiring Americans work toward the American dream. Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza), highlighted the success of the program, saying, “Living without the constant fear of deportation empowers more people to pursue higher education, enter the workforce, contribute to our economy and create a brighter future for this nation. DACA has been one of the only successful and sensible immigration policies to come out of Washington in decades.”

NCLR has been producing a blog series titled “Living the American DREAM,” telling the stories of hard-working DREAMers. In celebration of DACA, we compiled the series into a publication to show the human element of immigration and the need for reform. This week, Congressman Cuellar (D-Texas) and Congressman Tonko (D-N.Y.) tweeted our blog sharing the story of DREAMer Katherine Perez.

Many Members of Congress shared DACA stories on the floor this week, including Senator Kaine (D-Va.), who shared the story of Hareth Andrade (included in our publication), and Senator Schumer (D-N.Y.). Congressmen Costa (D-Calif.), Polis (D-Colo.), Hoyer (D-Md.), and Cardenas (D-Calif.) spoke on the House floor and their colleagues in the Senate joined them with speeches by Senators Heinrich (D-N.M.), Murray (D-Wash.), Durbin (D-Ill.), Reid (D-Nev.), and Menendez (D-N.J.).

Follow NCLR on Twitter @NCLR and on Facebook for updates on congressional floor speeches, DACA facts, shareable graphics, and informative videos.

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New reports demonstrate economic and electoral impact of deferred action programs: This week the Center for American Progress updated a previous report on the national economic benefits of expanded DACA and DAPA that showed DACA, expanded DACA, and DAPA would grow the US economy by $230 billion over 10 years. The new interactive report posted this week shows state-level benefits for 37 states and Washington, DC. Texas, which is currently leading the charge to end the deferred action programs, would benefit the most from the programs, with an estimated $38,271,000,000 cumulative increase in state GDP. Of all 26 states who are suing the Obama Administration to eliminate expanded DACA and DAPA, CAP has state-level data for 18 of them. In total, those 18 states would see a cumulative increase in GDP of almost $92 billion.

President Obama’s deferred action programs would have a significant economic impact on states, but they also have political and electoral implications. A piece written by Latino Decisions outlines the impact of DACA, including its rise as a litmus test for candidates on immigration reform and the boost original DACA gave to President Obama en route to reelection.

Former Romney campaign staffer warns GOP of past missteps: In a piece published in Politico, Katie Packer Gage, deputy campaign manager of Mitt Romney’s bid for the presidency in 2012, reflects on how rhetoric on immigration during the GOP primary harmed the party in the general election. Gage cites research from her firm that found hardline immigration positions cost more general elections votes for a candidate than they earn in the primary. Gage writes:

Voters under age 35 and college-educated white women are most turned off by the hottest anti-immigrant rhetoric. Since Hillary Clinton has the clearest path to the Democratic nomination, Republicans can’t afford to surrender a single vote in these groups, which President Barack Obama won handily, without a fight. They will be pivotal to winning the White House next year.

The numbers don’t lie. To grow our party — and win the White House in November 2016 and beyond — Republican candidates need to resist the temptation to characterize one another as soft on immigration.

Instead, they should stake out specific, realistic, pro-immigration reform plans that demonstrate to all voters the Republican Party’s commitment to making the American Dream a reality for all.

Congress Wants You to Believe Dodd-Frank is the Problem. Don’t Fall For It.

By Nancy Wilberg Ricks, Senior Policy Strategist, NCLR

At a the National Journal event this week,  experts discussed the state of sustainable homeownership, housing finance reform, and potential solutions to systemic problems in housing. Reforming Fannie and Freddie is of critical importance to the Latino community, who will comprise half of the housing market by 2020—but we wonder why the National Journal is leading the discussion and Congress isn’t. These topics should be the central focus in Washington when it comes to improving the housing market. Instead, Congress is trumpeting this misinformed notion that Dodd-Frank is the cause of all our problems.

Dodd-Frank was the comprehensive legislation that was passed to prevent total economic collapse seven years ago. It stopped the bleeding and helped lay the foundation for a better economic system for consumers and honest dealers. To build on its successes, we must now direct our attention to how the secondary housing market is managed. That is, how do Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and thus taxpayers, avoid being left with all the liability and none of the benefits should another crisis rear its head?

Congress has attempted to take on housing finance reform in several iterations only to be stymied by gridlock. We know there is a way. In its joint report with the Center for American Progress, Making the Mortgage Market Safe for America’s Families, NCLR outlined a research-based roadmap to a broad, accessible, and affordable housing market. For example, there is a dire need for a fully funded Market Access Fund (MAF) to promote broader access to mortgage credit and to foster new and safe mortgage products as a way of increasing access. The MAF would also fully fund the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF)—a state block grant program administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, designed to increase and preserve the supply of rental housing for very and extremely low-income families. We finally saw advances in this department late last year when the FHFA announced plans to fund both the NHTF and the Capital Magnet Fund. This is just the beginning, though.

Along with adequate funding, a new housing finance system needs a robust regulatory mechanism to monitor for safety and soundness, consumer protection, and access and affordability. While national experts grasp the importance of an improved housing finance reform system, Congress continues to use Dodd-Frank as a scapegoat. They are wasting time and taxpayer dollars, while never getting to the real issue at hand.

We the People: Why Congress Must Pass a Comprehensive LGBT Non-Discrimination Act

Guest blog post by Sharita Gruberg, Policy Analyst, Center for American Progress

Photo: JBrazito

Photo: JBrazito

As we celebrate our victories on marriage equality, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people continue to face discrimination in their daily lives that prevent them from being full participants in society.  LGBT people are excluded from exercising basic rights in the majority of states. In 29 states, it is still legal to fire, refuse housing, or deny service to people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  For example, in 11 states, a same-sex couple can legally marry, but they can legally be fired from their jobs for doing so.

This week, the Center for American Progress released a groundbreaking report calling on Congress to pass comprehensive nondiscrimination legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, public accommodations, housing, credit, and federal funding. Since these basic areas of life are so closely interconnected, a comprehensive approach to addressing discrimination against LGBT people is necessary. The report examines how LGBT people are excluded from explicit protections against discrimination in these core areas of life and the impact of this exclusion, such as disproportionate rates of unemployment, poverty, and homelessness.  A survey found discrimination in employment resulted in 1 in 4 of all transgender respondents and 30 percent of Latino transgender respondents being fired from a job. Workplace discrimination is not limited to being fired from a job, 43 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers reporting discrimination or harassment on the job. LGBT people face discrimination in other areas of life as well, with 1 in 4 same sex couples experiencing discrimination when trying to buy a home and 1 in 5 transgender people being denied equal treatment in hotels and restaurants.

As the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization, NCLR believes all people deserve equal treatment. When it comes to LGBT equality, NCLR sees it as one part of the larger fight for civil rights and has said that “[e]nsuring fairness and equality while protecting people from discrimination is at the heart of NCLR’s mission.” No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love. A report by the Human Rights Campaign and League of United Latin American Citizens found that LGBT Latino youth are twice as likely as non-LGBT Latino youth to say they don’t “fit in.” As CAP’s report found, more than half of k-12 LGBT students feel unsafe at school. While acceptance starts at home, it is imperative that we ensure our young people grow up in a society that treats them equally, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Unbanked Households Decline, More Work Left to Do

Jar of Money --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisLast Tuesday, the Center for American Progress hosted an event that examined strategies to reach families underserved by the mainstream financial system. Lindsay Daniels, Manager of NCLR’s Wealth-Building Initiative, spoke at the event, which coincided with the release of the 2013 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households.

Releasing their latest findings on the financial experiences of people living outside the financial mainstream, the FDIC’s findings complement Banking in Color, a report released by NCLR, the National Urban League, and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development. The FDIC’s findings can help identity trends in the lives of unbanked and underbanked households, many of whom are Latino.

This year’s FDIC findings saw some good news, with the overall number of unbanked households falling to 7.7 percent in 2013 from 8.2 percent in the 2011 survey. Further, the number of unbanked Latino households also declined, from 20.1 percent in 2011 to 17.9 percent in 2013.

While it’s encouraging that the number of unbanked Latino households is shrinking, the proportion of Latinos who are unbanked is still more than double the rate of the national unbanked population. At 20.5 percent , the number of Black households that are unbanked is also much higher than the national number.

Similar to the Banking in Color results, the FDIC report shows that socioeconomic and demographic characteristics can influence whether a household is unbanked or not. For example, households in the FDIC study headed by someone who was unemployed or who was not a U.S. citizen were much more likely to be out of the mainstream banking system when compared to their employed or citizen counterparts.

It stands to reason that the unbanked households are also heavier users of alternative financial services such as payday loans, which can be more costly than those found through more traditional mainstream institutions such as banks or credit unions.

Both the FDIC’s and Banking in Color report examine reasons behind the use of particular products. When the FDIC survey asked unbanked households to identify why they were not using mainstream banking, the top three responses were not having enough money, not trusting banks, and feeling that account fees were too high or too unpredictable.

The FDIC report also examines newer products such as prepaid cards and mobile banking. Of those surveyed who used prepaid cards, unbanked and underbanked households made up the majority. The findings suggest that many of these prepaid card users are utilizing this product in the same ways people with bank accounts are using checking accounts—withdrawing cash at ATMs, purchasing goods, and depositing checks.

Our EconomyNCLR has examined the use of mobile and online platforms in Latino financial access. While reports show that Latinos are large users of the Internet via smartphones, our research has shown that many low- and moderate-income Latino consumers have not translated this into using smartphones for financial transactions.

For the first time, the FDIC survey asked consumers where they access their accounts, with most households reporting that they access accounts in multiple ways, most often a bank teller in a physical branch or via online access. The prevalence of using a bank teller to access a bank account was high across the board, with 32.3 percent of households using this as their primary means of access.

A majority of the banked households were accessing a bank account online, and 23.2 percent used mobile banking. Also similar to NCLR’s research, unbanked households had less access to mobile or smartphones than their banked and underbanked counterparts. This is important in understanding ways to engage the unbanked—many new platforms are focused on an out-of-branch experience for consumers, but reliance on an online or mobile-only access point may be leaving many consumers behind.

We are glad to see that the FDIC’s recommendations for better serving these consumers echo much of what the Banking in Color report also detailed. The report calls for targeted outreach and services in helping the unemployed to remain in the banking system, and stresses the continued importance of bank branches as a means of fostering economic inclusion.

While a reduction in unbanked households is welcome news, it’s clear we have more work to do in bringing underserved households into the financial mainstream.

Hanging in the Balance: The Ramirez Family

Hanging in the balance-01 Vicky Ramirez is a recent college graduate and a member of NCLR’s Líderes Youth Advisory Council. She is currently putting her skills and expertise to use at an international development agency in Washington, D.C. She recently spoke about what it would mean to her family if President Obama used executive authority to provide administrative relief on immigration.

Vicky’s part of a mixed-status family: different family members have different immigration statuses. Her parents were able to become legal permanent residents when their application was approved 10 years after her father applied. She has a younger sister who was born in the U.S. and is a citizen. Because of bureaucratic backlogs and delays, her older sisters were not able to become permanent residents and now have different statuses. Two of her sisters are twins; one has applied and received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, while the other has not. Her eldest sister is among the 4.5 million undocumented parents of U.S.-citizen children.

MENENDEZ-QUOTEWhen asked what it would mean if President Obama were to do everything within his authority to fix the nation’s immigration policies, Vicky said “it would be transformative.” She described the many challenges that families like hers face and the ways that they could continue contributing to the country if they were able to apply for administrative relief. Her siblings could make even bigger contributions if they were able to apply for work permits.

The more expansive the president is in his actions, the greater the economic benefit to families and to the country. According to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, establishing a deferred action policy allowing aspiring Americans to receive a work permit would result in a significant increase in revenue for the country. In the first year alone, aspiring Americans who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years, as Vicky’s sisters have, would increase payroll tax revenue by $6.08 billion and would increase revenue by $44.96 billion over five years.

For Vicky’s family and for millions of families like hers across the country, we urge President Obama to provide relief that allows millions of families to continue to live and work in the United States.

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Reform Housing Finance System

Sold Home For Sale Sign in Front of New HouseThe housing market is heating up, and so are regulatory efforts by Congress to address the fate of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that Congress essentially nationalized during the financial crisis.  This week, Senators Bob Corker (R–Tenn.) and Mark Warner (D–Va.) introduced bipartisan legislation that would reform the nation’s housing finance system by replacing the GSEs with a new government agency that would shift more of the risks of mortgage lending to the private sector.  A new housing finance system has the potential to help sustain a robust housing market, open up housing opportunities for millions of families, and bolster economic growth for the nation.

Senators Corker and Warner should be commended for their efforts to address this critical issue.  However, the proposed bill is inadequate because it focuses on the needs of lenders and investors rather than the needs of families.  The goal of a new housing finance system should be to restore balance to the housing market and provide accessible lines of credit to broad and diverse homebuyers.  Unfortunately, the Corker-Warner system would offer limited credit and housing options that would be too expensive, especially for minorities, low- and moderate-income households, and rural households.

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Mother’s Day Lessons

by Camila Gallardo and Kathy Mimberg, Communications Department, NCLR

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are few bonds stronger than motherhood.  Put two Moms in a room (or on a blog!) and it will take about a minute for them to start talking about the little people their lives revolve around as if they had known each other for years.  Up all night comforting a sick, crying baby?  Check.  Frantically turning an old pillowcase into a costume for the next day’s school play/talent show/Halloween party?  Been there, done that.  Prying a misspelled homemade Mother’s Day card trailing glitter and glue off of loving sticky little fingers?  Oh, yes, that’s the best!

We share a common nightmare, too:  being separated involuntarily from our children.  Children need their mothers.  Period.  What kind of nation are we to allow any policies AT ALL that go against this basic, simple premise of a civilized society?  Yet, mothers are separated from their children every year when they are deported from the U.S. in compliance with our broken immigration system.  According to the Center for American Progress, more than 46,000 parents of U.S. citizen children were deported in the first six months of 2011 alone.

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