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CQ Press Immigration Policy Spring 2012
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1. ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
Peter Katel. From CQ Researcher.
2. IMMIGRATION DEBATE
Alan Greenblatt. From CQ Researcher.
3. AMERICA'S BORDER FENCE
Reed Karaim. From CQ Researcher.
4. CENSUS CONTROVERSY
Thomas J. Billitteri. From CQ Researcher.
5. EUROPE'S IMMIGRATION TURMOIL
Sarah Glazer. From CQ Global Researcher.
BY PETER KATEL
Excerpted from Peter Katel, CQ Researcher (May 6, 2005), pp. 393-420.
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BY PETER KATEL
The Democratic Party sees massive immigration — legal and illegal — as a massive he only future awaitsource of voters. The Reing María and Juan publican Party looks at the Gomez in their tiny issue and says, ‘Wow, that’s village in Mexico was worka lot of cheap labor coming ing the fields from sunup to across that border.’ ” sundown, living mostly on Some other politicians are tortillas and beans. So 10 years following Tancredo’s lead. In ago, when they were both late April, California Gov. 17, they crossed into the Arnold Schwarzenegger ratchUnited States illegally, near eted up his anti-illegal immiSan Diego. Now ensconced gration rhetoric. Praising antiin the large Latino commuimmigration activists monitoring nity outside Washington, D.C., the Mexican border in Arizona, they are working hard at he said, “Our federal governbuilding a life for themselves ment is not doing their job. It’s and their young son. a shame that the private citiJuan and María (not their zen has to go in there and real names) follow a simple start patrolling our borders.” Mexican immigrants in Homestead, Fla., negotiate with a strategy — staying out of trouThere are more than 10 man seeking four workers on May 7, 2004. Illegal ble and undercutting commillion immigrants living ilimmigrants make up only about 5 percent of the U.S. work petitors. Juan does landlegally in the United States, force, but critics say they are taking many Americans’ jobs scaping, charging about $600 compared with 3.5 million by offering to work for low wages and no benefits. for major yard work — only 15 years ago, accordImmigration advocates counter that immigrants do the jobs Americans don’t want and bolster the economy. about $400 less than the typing to the non-profit Pew ical legal contractor. María Hispanic Center. 2 And since cleans houses for $70; house-cleaning the real ones that employees present 2000 the illegal population has been services normally charge $85 or more. to prove they’re here legally. growing by a half-million illegal imBut Harvard economist George Borjas migrants a year — nearly 1,400 peoThey aren’t complaining, but María and Juan know they offer bargain- counters that when an American em- ple a day, according to the Census basement prices. “You walk down the ployer claims he cannot find a legal Bureau and other sources. 3 street, and every house being built, or native-born worker willing to do a While illegal immigrants make up Hispanics are building it,” María says certain job, “He is leaving out a very only about 5 percent of the U.S. work in Spanish. “This country is getting key part of that phrase. He should add force, they are rapidly making their ‘at the wage I’m going to pay.’ ” 1 more work for less money.” presence known in non-traditional areas Many Americans blame illegal im- such as the Midwest and South. WillIndeed, some sectors of the economy might have a hard time func- migrants like María and Juan not only ing to work for low wages, undocutioning without illegal workers. Bren- for depressing wages but also for a mented workers are creating a politidan Flanagan, director of legislative host of problems, including under- cal backlash among some residents in affairs for the National Restaurant As- mining U.S. security. the new states, which have seen a But the U.S. government refuses to nearly tenfold increase in illegal imsociation, insists “Restaurants, hotels, nursing homes, agriculture — a very tighten up the border, they say. migration since 1990. “The reason we do not have sebroad group of industries — are look“Immigration is now a national pheing for a supply of workers to remain cure borders is because of an insa- nomenon in a way that was less true productive,” he says, because in many tiable demand for cheap labor,” says a decade ago,” Mark Krikorian, execparts of the country, native workers Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., a lead- utive director of the nonpartisan Cenaren’t available at any price. Moreover, ing immigration-control advocate in ter for Immigration Studies said. “In lobbyists for employers insist that their Congress. “We have the ability to se- places like Georgia and Alabama, which members can’t tell false papers from cure the border; we choose not to. had little experience with immigration
Getty Images/Joe Raedle
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Most Illegal Immigrants Live in Four States
More than half of the nation’s more than 10 million illegal immigrants live in four states — California, Texas, Florida and New York. Estimated Distribution of Illegal Immigrants (average of data from 2002-2004)
Wash. Mont. N.D. S.D. Idaho Wyo. Neb. Nev. Utah Colo. Kan. Okla. Ariz. N.M. Iowa Ill. Mo. Ark.
Minn. Wis. Mich. Ind. Ohio W.Va. Ky. Tenn. Ala. Va. N.C. S.C. Ga. Pa.
N.J. Del. Md. D.C.
300,000-2.4 Million 200,000-250,000 100,000-150,000 55,000-85,000 20,000-35,000 Under 10,000
La. Texas Alaska
Source: Jeffrey S. Passel, “Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population,” Pew Hispanic Center, March 21, 2005, based on data from the March 2004 “Current Population Survey” by the Census Bureau and Department of Labor
before, people are experiencing it firsthand. Immigrants are working in chicken plants, carpet mills and construction. It’s right in front of people’s faces now.” 4 The debate has taken on populist undertones, says Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), because some in the public perceive a wide gap between policymakers’ positions and popular sentiment in affected regions. “The issue is about elites, major financial interests and global economic forces arrayed against the average American voter,” said Stein,
whose group favors strict immigration policies. “The depth of anger should not be underestimated.” 5 Grass-roots organizations have formed in seven states to push for laws denying public services for illegal immigrants and Rep. Tancredo hints he may run for president to “build a fire” around the need for immigration reform. 6 But reform means different things to different people. To Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, reform means imposing new restrictions on asylum seekers, blocking states from issuing driver’s licenses
to illegal immigrants and finishing a border fence near San Diego. “We will never have homeland security if we don’t have border security,” Sensenbrenner said in March. 7 Sensenbrenner’s tough, new Real ID bill, which has been endorsed by the Bush administration and passed by the House, appears close to passage in Congress. To Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reform means enabling illegal immigrants to stay here legally because, he contends, the nation’s economy depends on them. “As long as there are jobs to be had . . . that won’t be done by Americans [illegal immigrants] are
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going to come and fill those jobs,” he said in April. 8 Echoing McCain, President Bush has endorsed the creation of a “guest worker” program that would grant temporary legal status to illegal workers. “If there is a job opening which an American won’t do . . . and there’s a willing worker and a willing employer, that job ought to be filled on a legal basis, no matter where the person comes from,” Bush said after a meeting at his Texas ranch on March 23 with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. 9 McCain and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., are preparing a guest worker proposal — that would also allow illegal immigrants already here to apply for legal residence after six years of temporary legal status — but Bush hasn’t said yet if he’d back it. Separate legislation proposed by Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, would have applied this “earned legalization” idea to a half-million farmworkers now in the United States. Craig’s proposal failed to win enough votes in April to survive. At the state level, controversy over illegal immigration has helped build and destroy political careers. In California, for example, Schwarzenegger’s promise to repeal legislation allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses helped him topple Democrat Gray Davis in the 2003 recall election for governor. Tensions are still running high outside the political arena. Some activists go so far as to call immigration a product of organized crime. “The same people responsible for drug shipments from the south are also dealing in sex slaves and illegal labor and weapons,” claims William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration, in Raleigh, N.C. “Our businesses should not be working with these people or encouraging these people. Some companies want more Third World labor on the territory of ‘we the people’ of the USA.” But Juan Hernandez, former direc-
Majority of Immigrants in U.S. Are Legal
More than 21 million legal “permanent” immigrants live in the United States — more than twice the number of illegal immigrants.
Status of Immigrants in U.S.
Refugee Arrivals (post-1980) (2.5 million) Temporary Legal Residents (1.2 million)
Undocumented (illegal) Immigrants (10.3 million)
Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) “Arrivals” (21.7 million)
Sources: Jeffrey S. Passel, “Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population,” Pew Hispanic Center, March 21, 2005, based on data from the March 2004 “Current Population Survey” by the Census Bureau and Department of Labor
tor of the Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, says immigration opponents are simply appealing to primitive fears. “There are many jobs that would not be performed if undocumented people were not here. Why can’t we come up with ways in which individuals who want to come from Mexico to the United States can get a quick permit, come up, do a job and go back?” Immigration control has long been a hot-button issue, but the concern in previous years was largely about jobs and wages. In post-9/11 America, many observers view illegal immigration as a national security matter. “The borders are out of control,” says T. J. Bonner, president of the National
Border Patrol Council, the union representing some 10,000 border officers. He claims the patrol catches no more than a third of illegal border crossers. “We have a situation where business is controlling our immigration policy rather than sound decisions that take into account all the factors, including homeland security. While some may dismiss Bonner’s concerns as overly alarmist, others point out that stepped-up border-security spending is not stopping the growing illegal immigration. Over the past 12 years, billions of dollars have been spent on bordercontrol measures, including walls and fences in urban areas, electronic sensors and more personnel. From 1993
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Immigration Debate Moves Behind the Wheel
he tension was high in suburban Atlanta last October when protesters confronted hundreds of illegal immigrants who were marching to demand the right to obtain driver’s licenses. The peaceful, sign-waving march soon turned ugly, as angry epithets were hurled back and forth across busy Buford Highway. “This is my country! You are criminals”! You cannot have my country,” shouted D.A. King, a former insurance salesman and self-styled anti-immigrant vigilante. Boos and hisses erupted from the mostly Hispanic immigrants across the street. 1 The heated exchange, caught by a CNN television crew, captured the intensifying debate over driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. Eleven states now issue such licenses, and several others are considering permitting similar laws, but a growing grass-roots movement opposes the licenses, including groups like the American Resistance Foundation, founded by King. The immigrants’ supporters say illegal workers are the backbone of the nation’s economic success and that being able to drive legally would allow them to open bank accounts and do other tasks requiring an official identification card. It would also make America’s roads safer, the proponents say, by holding immigrants to the same driving and insurance requirements as U.S. citizens. Unlicensed drivers are nearly five times more likely to be in a fatal crash than licensed drivers, and uninsured drivers cause 14 percent of all accidents, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. 2 But King and others say uncontrolled immigration depresses wages, increases crime and causes neighborhood blight, and that granting undocumented workers driver’s licenses would only legalize illegal behavior. Until now the debate over immigrant driver’s licenses has been restricted to a few traditional border states, like California, where a new law permitting undocumented workers to get licenses helped defeat Democratic Gov. Gray Davis during the 2003 gubernatorial recall election. Lawmakers repealed the law shortly after Arnold Schwarzenegger was inaugurated as governor, and Schwarzenegger has since vetoed related bills. He wants the licenses of undocumented workers to bear a unique mark.
Now the debate has moved to states throughout the country. In Utah and Tennessee, state laws now give illegal workers so-called “driving privilege cards,” which warn in bold, red letters they cannot be used as legal identification. 3 New York state’s motor-vehicles commissioner in April denied license renewals and suspended the licenses of illegal immigrants without a Social Security card or acceptable visa. 4 The state’s Supreme Court, which made a preliminary ruling rejecting the commissioner’s action, is currently hearing the issue. Now some in Congress want to jump into the fray — even though issuing driver’s licenses has long been the domain of the states. In January, Wisconsin Republican Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. proposed the Real ID Act, which would establish national driver’s license standards, toughen asylum requirements and speed completion of a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego. But the driver’s license provision has caused the most debate. “My bill’s goal is straightforward: It seeks to prevent another 9/11-type attack by disrupting terrorist travel,” Sensenbrenner said. The bill would require states to verify that driver’s-license applicants reside legally in the United States before issuing a license that could be used for federal identification purposes, such as boarding an airplane. 5 The bill, which Sensenbrenner attached to a “must-pass” emergency military-spending bill, was approved by the House, 261161, on Feb. 10, and the Senate passed a different version, not including Real ID, on April 21. The House and the Senate are currently in conference to reconcile the two versions of the bill. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says passage is likely, and President Bush has said he will sign the measure. 6 The bill’s supporters say providing secure driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants would improve national security, because licenses are now the de facto form of identification in the United States. The 9/11 Commission, which investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, found that the attackers used driver’s licenses rather than passports to avoid creating suspicion. 7 “At many entry points to vulnerable facilities, including gates for boarding aircraft,” the commission’s 2004 report noted, “sources of identification are the last opportunity to ensure that people are who
to 2004, the federal government quintupled border enforcement spending to $3.8 billion and tripled the Border Patrol to more than 11,000 officers, according to Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego. 10 Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert Bonner (no relation to T. J. Bonner) told lawmak-
ers in March that a reorganization that combined the Border Patrol, Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Customs Service into one agency under the Department of Homeland Security had improved deterrence. “This consolidation has significantly increased our ability to execute our anti-terrorism and traditional missions at our nation’s borders more effectively than ever before,” he said.” 11
Then why have illegal border crossings been increasing? For one thing, the government has nearly stopped enforcing 1986 sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants. According to Mary Dougherty, an immigration statistician at the Homeland Security Department, in 2003 the agency levied only $9,300 in fines against employers. Dougherty cautioned that her data might be incomplete, but Time
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they say they are and to check fication of birth certificates, without providing the time or resources whether they are terrorists.” 8 needed,” says the National ConDuring House debate, ference of State Legislatures. 11 Sensenbrenner said that the Real ID bill might have preMoreover, says Joan Friedland, vented the Sept. 11 attacks bea policy attorney with the Nacause it requires that any litional Immigration Law Center, cense or ID card issued to the law is just “smoke and mirvisitors expire on the same rors” because it is “an inadequate date the person’s visa expires. and meaningless substitute for real, “Mohamed Atta, ringleader comprehensive reform and doesof the 9/11 murderers, entered n’t resolve the problem of national the United States on a six-month security.” visa [which] expired on July 9, But Martin says a national law Immigrants and community leaders in New York City 2001. He got a [six-month] drithat coordinates driver’s-license protest on April 13, 2004, against a state policy that ver’s license from the state of policies across the nation is vital denies driver’s licenses to hundreds of thousands of Florida on May 5, 2001,” Sensento security. “Right now, there is immigrants. The protest followed a crackdown on brenner said. “Had this bill been virtually a different approach in individuals without Social Security numbers. in effect at the time, that drievery state,” he says. “People ver’s license would have expired on July 9, and he would not who wish to take advantage of the system can easily target have been able to use that driver’s license to get on a plane.” 9 whichever state has the most lax requirements.” Jack Martin, special projects director for the Federation for — Kate Templin American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which seeks to halt illegal immigration, says the difficulty of distinguishing between 1 Quoted from “CNN Presents: Immigrant Nation: Divided Country,” Oct. “illegal aliens merely looking for jobs and potential terrorists 17, 2004. looking to carry out attacks” argues against granting licenses 2 www.aaafoundation.org/pdf/UnlicensedToKill2.pdf. to non-citizens. “People who have entered the country illegal- 3 T. R. Reid and Darryl Fears, “Driver’s License Curtailed as Identification,” ly — regardless of their motives — should not be able to re- The Washington Post, April 17, 2003, p. A3. 4 Nina Bernstein, “Fight Over Immigrants’ Driving Licenses Is Back in Court,” ceive a driver’s license,” he says. The New York Times, April 7, 2005, p. B6. But critics of the proposed law say denying driver’s licens- 5 www.house.gov/sensenbrenner/newsletterapril2005.pdf. es to illegal immigrants would pose a greater threat to U.S. 6 Anne Plummer, “Immigration Provisions Likely to Remain in Supplemental safety. “Allowing a driver the possibility to apply for a license Spending Bill, Reid Says,” CQ Today, April 25, 2005. to drive to work means that person’s photograph, address and 7 For background, see Kenneth Jost, “Re-examining 9/11,” The CQ Researcher, proof of insurance will be on file at the local DMV,” a recent June 4, 2004, pp. 493-516. 8 National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, p. 390. Los Angeles Times editorial argued. “And that is something to 9 Frank James, “Immigrant ID Rules Debated,” Chicago Tribune, March 12, make us all feel safer.” 10 2005, News Section, p. 1. The Real ID Act “threatens to handcuff state officials with 10 “Real ID, Unreal Expectations,” Los Angeles Times, April 6, 2005. impossible, untested mandates, such as requiring instant veri- 11 National Conference of State Legislatures, www.ncsl.org.
Getty Images/Stephen Chernin
reported in 2004 that the number of fines imposed on employers dropped 99 percent during the 1990s from 1,063 in 1992 to 13 in 2002. 12 Demetrios Papademetriou, director of the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says that illegal immigration “maintains a standard of living for everyone in America that is, in a sense, beyond what we can really afford. When you continue to have low-wage workers
streaming in, all products and services become cheaper. It has actually become a subsidy to every person in America. We have all become hooked.” For instance, at least 50 percent of the nation’s farmworkers are poorly paid illegal immigrants. Americans spend less on food than the citizens of any other industrialized country, the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service found. 13
In the final analysis, the lack of enforcement benefits employers and hurts workers, says Ana Avendaño Denier, director of the AFL-CIO Immigrant Worker Program. “Employers have a very vulnerable population to whom they can pay lower wages, and because of business control over public policy, it is OK to have this class of workers that is fully exploitable.”
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Illegal Migrants Leaving Traditional States
Eighty-eight percent of the nation’s illegal immigrants lived in the six traditional settlement states for immigrants in 1990, but the same states had only 61 percent of the total in 2004. In other words, an estimated 3.9 million undocumented migrants lived in other states — nearly a tenfold increase. Changes in Immigrant Settlement Patterns, 1990-2004
15% 11% 14% 12% 4% 4% 4% 4% 400,000 9% 9% 7%
10 0 California
New All Others Jersey
Source: Jeffrey S. Passel, “Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population,” Pew Hispanic Center, March 21, 2005, based on data from the March 2004 “Current Population Survey” by the Census Bureau and Department of Labor
But problems here are unlikely to force illegal immigrants like Juan and María to return home. “If it were just about us, yes,” she says. “But for the sake of our son, no. Here he has a chance to go to college. In Mexico, no matter how hard we work we don’t have the possibility of paying for him to go to college. What we want is that he not suffer the humiliations we have had to suffer.” As Congress, the states and citizens’ groups debate the effects of illegal immigration, here are some of the key questions being asked: Does illegal immigration hurt American workers? Virtually every immigrant comes to the United States for one reason: to work.
About 96 percent of the 4.5 million illegal immigrant men now in the country are working, concludes Jeffrey Passel, a former U.S. Census Bureau demographer who is now senior research associate at the Pew Hispanic Center. All told, some 6 million immigrants — about 5 percent of the labor force — are in the country illegally immigrants. Is the illegal work force large enough to hurt the job security of U.S. citizens? Quite the contrary, argues John Gay, co-chairman of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, a lobbying group of 34 employers — including hotels, restaurants and building firms — that depend on immigrants. “I think back to the 1990s, a decade of economic growth,” he says. “We ended with 30year lows in unemployment and a
decade of record-setting immigration, legal and illegal. That tells me immigrants didn’t displace millions of Americans; they helped employ Americans.” Gay says low-paid workers help businesses thrive, allowing them to hire the native-born and legal immigrants for higher-paying jobs. In addition, immigrants are consumers themselves, so they boost the national economy. But what helps business doesn’t necessarily help Americans who share the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder with illegal immigrants, according to Jared Bernstein, director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Living Standards Program, which has strong ties to organized labor. “There is solid evidence that a large presence of low-wage immigrants lowers wages of domestic workers in low-wage sectors,” Bernstein says. “Most economists should bristle at the notion that immigrants are filling jobs that native workers won’t take. Maybe they won’t take them because of low compensation and poor working conditions. In the absence of immigrants, the quality of some of those jobs probably would improve, and American workers probably would take them.” Bernstein favors controlling the flow of immigrant workers, rather than trying to bar them altogether. But Michael McGarry, a maintenance worker in Aspen, Colo., and spokesman for the controversial Minuteman Project, says illegals hurt the economy and that they all should be kept out. The group deployed more than 100 volunteers — some of them armed — to spot and report illegal immigrants along a stretch of the Mexican border in April. “People keep forgetting there is something called the law of supply and demand,” says McGarry, who represented the group in April when it recruited citizens to report illegal immigrants along the Mexican border in Arizona. “If you flood the country with workers, that is going to compete down wages and benefits and conditions.”
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Harvard economist Borjas, whom jobs including cleaning, packaging, child amount to schemes to provide emmany consider the leading expert on care, restaurant labor, grounds keeping ployers with a ready supply of lowthe economic effects of immigration, cal- and maintenance. Wages were de- wage workers. Once immigrants get culated that in the late 1990s immigra- pressed by an average of 22 percent legal permanent residence, they can’t tion added a modest $10 billion to the for men and 36 percent for women. be exploited as readily as illegal imeconomy — not a lot in a country with (Wages of undocumented Eastern Eu- migrants, Stein says, so the six-year lea national income in 1998 of about $8 ropean men and women were de- galization process keeps employers pressed by 20 percent.) “Attaining ad- supplied with cheap labor. trillion, Borjas wrote. 14 The key, he argues, is not the over- ditional levels of education, having “These are replacement workers for all gain but who won and who lost English proficiency and accumulating a very large swath of the American work because of illegal immigration. 15 additional years of U.S. residency do force,” he says. “I say, stop trying to “Some businesses gain quite a bit and not neutralize the negative wage effect shift the costs for cheap labor onto the are not willing to give up the privilege of working without legal status,” the re- backs of hard-working families. They — agriculture, the service industry and port said (emphasis in original). 17 try to sell us all on the idea that lowupper-middle-class Californians who hire The AFL-CIO’s Avendaño acknowl- cost, illegal labor cuts consumer costs, nannies and gardeners. People who edges that undocumented workers push but there are enormous, incalculable gain, gain an incredible amount.” wages down. “Mexican workers are costs imposed on society at large [by Borjas calculated illegal immigrants] — pubthat immigrants’ lic education, emergency work in 1998 helped medical care, housing asthose businesses gain sistance, housing itself and roughly $160 billion, criminal justice costs.” including the savings from the lower Are tougher immigrawages they were tion controls needed paying, plus their to protect national overall economic security? growth. 16 The fig“We have some people who are coming in ures don’t distinguish to kill you and your between illegal and children and your legal immigrants, grandchildren,” says but among lowRep. Tancredo, who has skilled entrants to the made immigration conUnited States, illegal trol his political misimmigrants are in the sion. “Anyone seeking majority. Members of the Minutemen activist group search for illegal immigrants to come into this counEconomist Philip crossing into the United States along a stretch of the Mexican border try without getting a lot Martin, an expert on near Douglas, Ariz., on April 4, 2005. Members of the controversial group said they wanted to aid the understaffed U.S. Border Patrol. of attention drawn to U.S.-Mexico relations him would naturally at the University of California-Davis, generally agrees with walking into a situation where an em- choose the borders and come in Borjas on the supply/demand side of ployer, with a wink and a nod, will say, under the radar screen along with the situation. “The economy would not ‘I’ll pay you less than the minimum thousands and thousands and thoucome screeching to a halt,” Martin wage.’ It is very important for the AFL- sands of others.” Tancredo worries about men like says, without illegal immigrants. At the CIO to not be put in a position where same time, he acknowledges, they are we’re choosing domestic workers over Mohamed and Mahmud Abouhalima, foreign workers. To us, the answer is a who were convicted for their roles “important to particular industries.” in the 1993 bombing of the World A detailed 2002 study of illegal Lati- reasonable immigration system.” Stein, of the Federation for Ameri- Trade Center. The two Middle Eastno immigrants in Chicago — where they made up 5 percent of the work can Immigration Reform (FAIR) argues ern terrorists illegally took advantage force — supports Martin’s analysis. Two- that “earned legalization” proposals like of one of two immigration-reform thirds of the workers held low-wage the planned McCain-Kennedy bill programs to acquire “green cards”
AFP Photo/Nicholas Roberts
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(which signify legal Sensenbrenner says the permanent resident driver’s-license prohibition in status) under the 1986 his Real ID bill would comSpecial Agricultural plicate life for terrorists who Workers Program for did manage to slip in. “If farmworkers. you read the 9/11 report, The brothers obthey highlight how al Qaeda tained the green cards studied document fraud and through flaws in the other vulnerabilities in the Immigration and Natusystem,” said Jeff Lungren, ralization Service (INS) a spokesman for the House inspection system, acJudiciary Committee. “They cording to the National undertook the risk and efCommission on Terrorfort to get valid U.S. driver’s ist Attacks Upon the licenses and state I.D. cards United States (the 9/11 . . . because they allow you Commission). The to fit in.” 22 agency’s “inability to adImmigrant-rights advojudicate applications cates argue, however, that quickly or with adeSensenbrenner’s driver’squate security checks license provisions would made it easier for tercomplicate the lives of rorists to wrongfully citizens and legal residents enter and remain in the without damaging terrorUnited States throughists’ capabilities. (See sideout the 1990s.” 18 bar, p. 398.) In a sense, that failTimothy Sparapani, legure followed logically islative counsel for the from Justice Department American Civil Liberties policy. The report conUnion (ACLU), says the bill tinues, “Attorney Gener“is not going to do anyal [Janet] Reno and her thing to deter people comdeputies, along with Coning to this country.” Instead, A group of 130 Mexicans who entered the United States illegally he argues, “the provisions gress, made their highboard a charter flight in Tucson, Ariz., to Mexico City on July . . . will make it much est priorities shoring up 12, 2004. The flight is part of a “voluntary repatriation” program run jointly by the U.S. and Mexican governments. more complicated and burthe Southwest border to densome for every Ameriprevent the migration of illegal aliens and selectively upgrading tani of Saudi Arabia was turned around can to get their first driver’s licenses technology systems,” the 9/11 commis- at Orlando International Airport be- or renewals. They will not only have sion staff concluded. 19 (The INS was cause he had a one-way ticket, little to prove they are citizens of a parmoney, couldn’t speak much English ticular state, they will have to provide then part of the Justice Department.) Unlike immigrants trekking across and couldn’t explain the reason he certified birth certificates; you’ll have the desert, the 19 9/11 terrorist at- was visiting. “The inspector relied on to go to a state birth certification agency. tackers, including 15 Saudis and a cit- intuitive experience . . . more than Some states don’t have them.” izen of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), he relied on any objective factor that Although terrorists have a track flew into the United States on airlin- could be detected by ‘scores’ or a record for finding holes in the borers, their passports stamped with legal- machine,” the commission observed. der-control system, border enforceAs a result, the commission said: ment isn’t actually targeting terrorists, ly obtained student or tourist visas. 20 To be sure, one airport immigra- “We advocate a system for screening, says Jennifer Allen, director of the tion inspector stopped a member of not categorical profiling. A screening Border Action Network, a Tucsonthe 9/11 attack team from entering system looks for particular, identifiable based immigrant-defense organization. the United States. Mohammed al Kah- suspects or indicators of risk.” 21 “A border wall is not going to deter
Getty Images/Gary Williams
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terrorists,” she argues. What steppedup enforcement is achieving, she says, is “ongoing harassment” of people on the U.S. side of the border — particularly those whose Latin features identify them as possible foreigners. Border Patrol union President Bonner acknowledges that most illegal immigrants are only looking for jobs. But he suggests that concentrating patrol forces on the 2,000-mile Southwest border is leaving the 3,145-mile Canadian border relatively unprotected. Some 9,000 officers are assigned to the Mexican border, he says, compared with only about 1,000 on the Canadian line. “We’ll get a call from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and they’ll say — ‘Sixty Koreans landed here, and they’re heading your way.’ Sometimes we see them and sometimes we don’t.” The Mexican and Canadian borders are indeed vulnerable, Papademetriou of the Migration Policy Institute acknowledges. But a 2003 institute report concludes that immigration policy is not an effective anti-terrorism tool. A report he co-authored concluded: “The government’s major successes in apprehending terrorists have not come from post-Sept. 11 immigration initiatives but from other efforts, such as international intelligence activities, law enforcement cooperation and information provided by arrests made abroad.” 23 Should illegal immigrants in the United States be allowed to acquire legal status? Legalization is one of the major dividing lines between illegal-immigrationcontrol forces and employers and other immigrants’-rights advocates. The guest worker proposal sponsored by Sens. McCain and Kennedy would allow foreigners to take jobs in the United States for a specified period, perhaps three years. Foreigners already here illegally also would be able to join the program and then apply for permanent residence after six years. Although President Bush
generally supports the temporary worker portion of the proposal, he has not said whether he favors legalization. Backers of the plan reject the term “amnesty,” which implies a mass pardon for those covered by the proposal. “For security reasons, for humanrights reasons and for labor reasons, there is a vested interest in legalizing or regularizing the status of individuals,” says a member of McCain’s staff. “Sen. McCain doesn’t believe it’s possible to round up everyone and send them home. [But] it can’t be an amnesty. With high fines, background checks [for criminal violations] and through the temporary-worker program, people will be proving their reliability.” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, is expected to introduce the similar but more limited Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. It seeks to resolve a contradiction in immigration policy that affects high school students who are in the country illegally, typically because their parents brought them as children. By law, they are required to attend school, and every year an estimated 65,000 graduate from high school. After graduation, the legal environment changes dramatically. The 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act discourages states from providing illegal immigrants with in-state tuition and other benefits at public colleges and universities. Even in the 15 states that do allow such students to pay resident tuition, they can’t get hired legally after they graduate. The DREAM Act would not only allow all states to offer in-state tuition to illegal residents but also offer young students temporary residency as well as a shot at permanent legal status if they graduate or complete military service. Supporters say the bill would help award-winning students like Julieta Garibay. She is a nursing graduate in Texas, where she paid in-state tuition — but now her illegal status bars her from working. “We have studied and
want to be productive, but we have no prospects,” she said. 24 But illegal means illegal, opponents of the DREAM Act argue. “We can’t hold taxpayers accountable to providing discounted education to people in this country illegally,” Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said. 25 Immigration-control activists make essentially the same argument about the “earned legalization” approach. “The whole supposed guest worker program is really an amnesty,” says McGarry, of the Minuteman Project. “This would be a disaster. An amnesty, by definition, is something the government forgives. Breaking into the country is a crime.” The undocumented immigrants are already here, their defenders say. And having illegal immigrants in the work force allows employers to pay them less than they’d be able to earn as legal residents. Such exploitation makes legalization “so crucial,” says the AFL-CIO’s Avendaño. She says a December 2004 decision by the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court proves that an unfair, two-tiered labor system is acquiring legal status. The court ruled an illegal immigrant who was injured while working on a construction site was entitled to lost wages — but valued only at what he would have earned in his home country. “It is our view that plaintiff, as an admitted undocumented alien, is not entitled to recover lost earnings damages based on the wages he might have earned illegally in the United States. . . . [W]e limited plaintiff’s recovery for lost earnings to the wages he would have been able to earn in his home country.” 26 In effect, Avendaño says, the ruling “legitimizes Third World labor conditions” in the United States. Immigration-control advocates say the solution lies in keeping out the bulk of illegal immigrants trying to enter while cracking down on businesses that employ illegal workers. “If
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you enforce the law against employers,” Rep. Tancredo says, “people who cannot get employment will return” to their home countries. “They will return by the millions.” That way, Tancredo says, a mass roundup would not be required. Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute favors a variant of the Tancredo approach that avoids its punitive aspects. Illegal immigrants “ought to have labor protection,” he says. “That’s not contradictory to the notion that illegals shouldn’t be here. Employers should be held accountable for labor standards for all employees. The beauty part of erasing employer advantage is that it dampens the incentive for illegal flows.” — in a wave of anti-Chinese hysteria. Other Asian groups were restricted when legislation in 1917 created “barred zones” for Asian immigrants. 28 The racist undertones of U.S. immigration policy were by no means reserved for Asians. Describing Italian and Irish immigrants as “wretched beings,” The New York Times on May 15, 1880, editorialized: “There is a limit to our powers of assimilation, and when it is exceeded the country suffers from something very like indigestion.” Nevertheless, from 1880 to 1920, the country admitted more than 23 million immigrants — first from Northern and then from Southern and Eastern Europe. In 1890, Census Bureau Director Francis Walker said the country was being overrun by “less desirable” newcomers from Southern and Eastern Europe, whom he called “beaten men from beaten races.” In the 1920s, public concern about the nation’s changing ethnic makeup prompted Congress to establish a national-origins quota system. Laws in 1921, 1924 and 1929 capped overall immigration and limited influxes from certain areas based on the share of the U.S. population with similar ancestry, effectively excluding Asians and Southern Europeans. But the quotas only swelled the ranks of illegal immigrants — particularly Mexicans, who only needed to wade across the Rio Grande. To stem the flow, the United States in 1924 created the U.S. Border Patrol, the enforcement arm of the INS, to guard the 6,000 miles of U.S. land bordering Canada and Mexico. During the early 1940s the United States relaxed its immigration policies, largely for economic and political reasons. The Chinese exclusion laws were repealed in 1943, after China became a wartime ally against Japan in 1941. And in 1942 — partly to relieve wartime labor shortages and partly to legalize and control the flow of Mexican agricultural workers into the country — the United States began the Bracero (Spanish for “laborer”) guest worker program, which allowed temporary workers from Mexico and the Caribbean to pick crops in Western states. After the war, Congress decided to codify the scores of immigration laws that had evolved over the years. The landmark Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, retained a basic quota system that favored immigrants from Northern Europe — especially the skilled workers and relatives of U.S. citizens among them. At the same time, it exempted immigrants from the Western Hemisphere from the quota system — except for the black residents of European colonies in the Caribbean.
he United States was created as a nation of immigrants who left Europe for political, religious and economic reasons. After independence, the new nation maintained an opendoor immigration policy for 100 years. Two great waves of immigrants — in the mid-1800s and the late 19th and early 20th centuries — drove the nation’s westward expansion and built its cities and its industrial base. 27 But while the Statue of Liberty says America accepts the world’s “tired . . . poor . . . huddled masses,” Americans themselves vacillate between welcoming immigrants and resenting them — even those who arrive legally. For both legal and illegal immigrants, America’s actions have been inconsistent and often racist. In the 19th century, thousands of Chinese laborers were brought here to build the railroads and then were excluded — via the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
he 1952 law also attempted to address the newly acknowledged reality of Mexican workers who crossed the border illegally. Border Patrol agents were given more power to search for illegal immigrants and a bigger territory in which to operate. “Before 1944, the illegal traffic on the Mexican border . . . was never overwhelming,” the President’s Commission on Migratory Labor noted in 1951, but in the past seven years, “the wetback traffic has reached entirely new levels. . . . [I]t is virtually an invasion.” 29 In a desperate attempt to reverse the tide, the Border Patrol in 1954 launched “Operation Wetback,” transferring nearly 500 INS officers from the Canadian perimeter and U.S. cities to join the 250 agents policing the U.S.-Mexican border and factories and farms. More than 1 million undocumented Mexican migrants were deported. Although the action enjoyed popular support and bolstered the prestige — and budget — of the INS, it exposed an inherent contradiction in U.S. immigration policy. The 1952 law contained a gaping loophole — the Texas Proviso — a blatant concession
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After waves of European immigrants are welcomed, anti-immigrant resentment builds. 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act specifically bars additional Chinese immigrants.
vivors, later raised to more than 400,000. 1952 Congress passes landmark Immigration and Nationality Act, codifying existing quota system favoring immigrants from northern Europe but exempting Mexican farmworkers in Texas. 1953 U.S. exempts refugees fleeing communist countries from quota system.
Immigration laws fail to deter illegal immigrants, creating backlash that prompts another overhaul of immigration laws; national-security concerns cloud immigration debate after two terrorist attacks on U.S. soil by Middle Eastern visitors. 1993 World Trade Center is bombed by Middle Eastern terrorists, two of whom had green cards; mastermind had applied for political asylum. 1996 Number of illegal immigrants in U.S. reaches 5 million; Congress passes major immigration-reform law beefing up border security and restricting political asylum. 1997 Most of California’s anti-illegal immigrant statute is declared unconstitutional. Sept. 11, 2001 Terrorists with visas attack World Trade Center and Pentagon; antiimmigrant backlash ensues. 2004 The 9/11 Commission points to “systemic weaknesses” in bordercontrol and immigration systems. Jan. 20, 2005 President Bush calls for a “temporary worker” program that would not include “amnesty” for illegal immigrants. May 2005 Sen. F. James Sensenbrenner’s Real ID bill, which would block states from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, appears close to passage.
Public concern about the nation’s changing ethnic makeup and hard economic times prompt Congress to limit immigration and set quotas intended to preserve the nation’s ethnic makeup. 1921-1929 Congress establishes a national-origins quota system, effectively excluding Asians and Southern Europeans. 1924 U.S. Border Patrol is created to stem the flow of illegal immigrants, primarily across the Mexican border.
Amid growing Civil Rights Movement, U.S. scraps the biased quota system and admits more Asians and Latin Americans. 1965 Major overhaul of immigration law scraps national quotas, giving preference to relatives of immigrants. 1966 Congress orders those fleeing Fidel Castro’s Cuba to be admitted automatically if they reach U.S. shores.
Labor shortages and expansion of U.S. economy during World War II attract Mexican laborers. U.S. accepts war survivors, welcomes refugees from communist countries and overhauls immigration laws. 1942 U.S. creates Bracero guest worker program, allowing immigrant Mexican farmworkers to work temporarily on American farms. 1948 Congress authorizes extra 200,000 visas for concentration camp sur-
Tide of illegal immigrants rises dramatically, prompting policy makers to act. 1986 Number of illegal immigrants apprehended on U.S.-Mexican border reaches a peak of 1.7 million. Congress again overhauls immigration law, legalizing undocumented workers and for the first time imposing sanctions on employers of illegal immigrants.
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Mexico’s Call for Reform Still Unheard
o some Americans, undocumented Mexicans are jobstealing, non-English-speaking threats to American culture, economic well-being and national security. “I’m afraid that America could become a Third World country,” Atlanta-area Realtor Jimmy Herchek told CNN. “We’re importing poverty by millions every year.” 1 To other observers, Mexicans and other illegal workers are crucial to the economy. “There are major benefits to both employers and consumers — in other words, all of us. [T]his supply of labor makes it possible to produce your goods and services more cheaply,” said Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California at San Diego. “So there are literally hundreds of thousands of employers in this country that have a major stake in continued access to this kind of labor.” And in Mexico, the 6 million illegal migrantes in the United States are viewed as heroes, often braving death in desert crossings to take tough construction and service jobs in the United States to support families back home. More than 3,000 Mexicans died trying to cross the border between 1996 and 2004, but those who arrive safely and find work in the United States sent home $16 billion last year — Mexico’s thirdlargest source of revenue. 2 However, the immigrants’ courage and dedication to their families — not to mention the benefit to the U.S. economy from their low-wage labor — haven’t earned them the right to work legally in the United States. Far from it, says Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Carlos de Icaza, who supports a program to allow migrantes to live and work legally in the United States. “Migrants are very vulnerable,” he says in an interview at his office near the White House. “The difficult situation of these hard-working people makes them subject to abuse.” Many are mistreated once they arrive in the United States — either by anti-immigrant activists, abusive border guards or unscrupulous employers, who know illegal workers are reluctant to report salary and other abuses to authorities. Indeed, stories
about U.S. mistreatment of migrants are daily fare in Mexico. El Universal, one of Mexico City’s most influential newspapers, reported in April that 4,400 Mexicans were injured or mistreated by anti-immigrant civilians or Border Patrol agents in 2004. 3 Icaza says that setting up a legal way for Mexicans to work in the United States would direct them to communities where their labor is needed and wanted, helping to dissipate the tensions that arise now when lots of Mexicans arrive suddenly in communities offering seasonal jobs. Illegal immigrants have traditionally settled in California, Florida, New York and a few other states, but in recent years enclaves have sprung up in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and other states unaccustomed to the phenomenon. 4 Often, local residents complain the new immigrants cost taxpayers money for health care, schools and social services and bring gang-related crime. “What I saw happen in California over 30 years is happening here in just a few years,” James Burke, 57, a retired ironworker from Cullman, Ala., said as he signed up volunteers to push for immigration control. 5 Burke is part of a grass-roots movement seeking tougher immigration rules and border patrols. “Our goal is to stop illegal immigration and get rid of the illegal immigrants who are here,” he said. 6 Those goals are clearly at odds with the Mexican government’s campaign to forge an immigration accord with the United States that would allow Mexicans to work here legally. Drawing on apparent friendship with George W. Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox began his presidency five years ago promising to strike an immigration deal with the United States. Shortly after taking office, Fox invited his newly elected American counterpart to his ranch. The two presidents assigned top officials to start negotiating a deal. “Geography has made us neighbors,” Bush said, standing next to Fox, both men in cowboy boots. “Cooperation and respect will make us partners.” 7 In fact, the pre-9/11 climate was so immigration-friendly that Mexico’s foreign minister confidently bragged that Mexi-
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to Texas agricultural interests that relied on cheap labor from Mexico. “The Texas Proviso said companies or farms could knowingly hire illegal immigrants, but they couldn’t harbor them,” said Lawrence Fuchs, former executive director of the U.S. Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy. “It was a duplicitous policy. We never really intended to prevent illegals from coming.”
he foundation of today’s immigration system dates back to 1965, when Congress overhauled the immigration rules. From the 1920s to the 1960s, immigration had been markedly reduced, thanks largely to the effects of the Great Depression, World War II and the quota system established in the 1920s.
From 1930 to 1950, for instance, fewer than 4 million newcomers arrived — more than a 50 percent drop from the high immigration rates of the early 20th century. The heated debates that had accompanied the earlier waves of immigration faded. “Immigration didn’t even really exist as a big issue until 1965 because we just weren’t letting that many people in,” said Peter Brimelow, author of the 1995 bestseller Alien Nation.
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“Folks here could always go co wouldn’t settle for anything out and get a construction job for less than a deal legalizing Mexa decent wage,” said Lee Bevang, icans already in the United in Covington, Ga. “But the conStates. “It’s the whole enchitractors have totally taken adlada or nothing,” Jorge G. vantage of illegal aliens, paying Castañeda said. 8 them wages no American can So far, it’s been nada. Nothlive on. My husband has been ing. For Fox the politician, the laid off. The concern about this lack of action is especially bad is just huge.” 10 news for his legacy. Mexico’s constitution allows only one 1 Quoted on “Immigrant Nation: Disix-year term, and Fox’s term vided Country,” CNN Presents, Oct. 17, ends in July 2006. Yet, com2004. prehensive immigration reform 2 The desert death figure comes from in the United States seems as Wayne Cornelius, “Controlling ‘Unwanted’ Immigraton: Lessons from the Unitdistant as ever. President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox ed States, 1993-2004,” Center for Comdiscussed immigration at Bush’s Texas ranch in March “Fox staked his presidenparative Immigration Studies, University 2004. Bush supports a guest worker program for illegal cy on getting a bilateral [imof California-San Diego, Working Paper immigrants in the U.S. but opposes legalization. No. 92, December, 2004, p. 14, www.ccismigration] agreement with the ucsd.org/PUBLICATIONS/wrkg92.pdf. United States,” says Manuel The remittances figure comes from “Las García y Griego, a specialist on U.S-Mexico relations at the Uni- Remesas Familiares en Mexico,” Banco de Mexico, noviembre, 2004, http://porversity of Texas, Arlington. On the other hand, “Mr. Bush has tal.sre.gob.mx/ime/pdf/Remesas_Familiares.pdf. In English, a study by the Inter-American Development Bank has slightly older statistics: “Sending Money spent his political capital very selectively, only on things that Home: Remittance to Latin America and the Caribbean,” May 2004, are close to his heart — making tax cuts permanent, Iraq. I www.iadb.org/miff/v2/files/StudyPE2004eng.pdf. 3 Jorge Herrera, “Impulsa Senado protecciÛn a connacionales,” p. 17, www.eludon’t see immigration in that category.” niversal.com.mx/pls/impreso/version_himprimir?p_id=124353&p_seccion=2. But Icaza insists the United States needs an accord as ur- 4 Jeffrey S. Passel, “Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocugently as Mexico. For security reasons alone, he says, the Unit- mented Population,” Pew Hispanic Center, March 21, 2005, www.pewhised States must know who is living in the country illegally — panic.org. and a legalization program would allow illegal residents to step 5 David Kelly, “Illegal Immigration Fears Have Spread; Populist calls for tougher enforcement are being heard beyond the border states,” Los Angeles Times, forward with impunity. April 25, 2005. Moreover, Icaza says, citing almost word-for-word the Coun- 6 Ibid. cil of Economic Advisers’ latest annual report to the president: 7 Mike Allen and Kevin Sullivan, “Meeting in Mexico, Presidents Agree to “The benefits to the U.S. economy are larger than the costs Form Immigration Panel,” The Washington Post, Feb. 16, p. A1. 8 Patrick J. O’Donnell, “Amnesty by Any Name is Hot Topic,” Los Angeles associated with Social Security, health and education.” 9 Times, July 22, 2001, p. A1. But the amnesty proposal may not go very far if Bush per- 9 “Economic Report of the President,” February 2005, p. 115, http://www. ceives the issue as alienating his political base in the Southern and ewic.org/documents/ERP2005-Immigration.pdf. 10 Quoted in Kelly, op. cit. Midwestern “red states” that are now attracting many migrantes.
Getty Images/Rod Aydelotte
That all changed in 1965, when Congress scrapped the national-origin quotas in favor of immigration limits for major regions of the world and gave preference to immigrants with close relatives living in the United States. The 1965 amendments to the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act capped annual immigration at 290,000 — 170,000 from the Eastern Hemisphere and 120,000 from the Western Hemisphere. By giving priority to family reunification as a
basis for admission, the amendments repaired “a deep and painful flaw in the fabric of American justice,” President Lyndon B. Johnson declared at the time. However, the law also dramatically changed the immigration landscape. Most newcomers now hailed from the developing world — about half from Latin America. While nearly 70 percent of immigrants had come from Europe or Canada in the 1950s, by the 1980s that figure had dropped to about 14 percent.
Meanwhile, the percentage coming from Asia, Central America and the Caribbean jumped from about 30 percent in the 1950s to 75 percent during the ’70s. The government had terminated the Bracero program in December 1964, bowing to pressure from unions and exposés of the appalling conditions under which the braceros were living and working. But after having allowed millions of temporary Mexican laborers into the country legally for years, the government
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Illegal Immigrants Mostly From Latin America
More than 80 percent of the more than 10 million undocumented immigrants in the United States in March 2004 were from Latin America, including 57 percent from Mexico.
favoring tighter restrictions on immigration. Pro-growth and business groups joined forces with longtime adversaries in the Hispanic and civil rights communities to oppose the legislation. After several false starts, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) in October 1986 — the most sweeping revision of U.S. immigration policy in more than two decades. Using a carrot-and-stick approach, IRCA granted a general amnesty to all undocumented aliens who were in the United States before 1982 and imposed monetary sanctions — or even prison — against employers who knowingly hired undocumented workers for the first time. The law also included a commitment to beef up enforcement along the Mexican border. IRCA allowed 3.1 million undocumented aliens to obtain legal status. Within two years, the number of wouldbe immigrants detained at the border each year fell from a peak of more than 1.7 million in 1986 to fewer than 900,000 in 1989. “Once word spreads along the border that there are no jobs for illegals in the U.S., the magnet no longer exists,” INS Commissioner Alan Nelson said in 1985. But that assessment was premature.
Illegal Immigrants in the U. S.
(March 2004) Africa and Other Europe and Canada
(0.6 million) (0.4 million)
Other Latin America
Note: Percentages do not add to 100 due to rounding. Source: Jeffrey S. Passel, “Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population,” Pew Hispanic Center, March 21, 2005, based on data from the March 2004 “Current Population Survey” by the Census Bureau and Department of Labor
found that it was now impossible to turn off the spigot. Despite beefed-up Border Patrol efforts, the number of illegal migrants apprehended at the border jumped from fewer than 100,000 in 1965 to more than 1.2 million by 1985. In 1978 the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy concluded that illegal immigration was the most pressing problem facing immigration authorities, a perception shared by the general public. 30 The number of border apprehensions peaked in 1986 at 1.7 million, driven in part by a deepening economic crisis in Mexico. Some felt the decadelong increase in illegal immigration
was particularly unfair to the tens of thousands of legal petitioners waiting for years to obtain entry visas. “The simple truth is that we’ve lost control of our own borders,” declared President Ronald Reagan, “and no nation can do that and survive.” 31 In the mid-1980s, a movement emerged to fix the illegal immigration problem. Interestingly, the debate on Capitol Hill was marked by bipartisan alliances described by Sen. Alan K. Simpson, R-Wyo., as “the goofiest ideological-bedfellow activity I’ve ever seen.” 32 Conservative anti-immigration think tanks teamed up with liberal labor unions and environmentalists
owadays, illegal migrants come not only from neighboring countries but also from the world’s far corners. Homeland Security Department officials have seized ships off the U.S. East and West coasts loaded with would-be illegal Chinese immigrants. Hundreds of others arrive on airplanes with temporary visas and simply stay past their visa-expiration dates. As it is policing the borders, the department must also determine whether those immigrants seeking political asylum are truly escaping persecution or
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by a coalition of religious are merely seeking and refugee organizagreener economic tions) agreed to reconpastures. Historically, sider the cases of tens of U.S. immigration thousands of Central law has been more Americans previously rereceptive to political jected for political asyrefugees if they come lum. A 1990 immigration from communist law created a new “temcountries. porary protected status” “It used to be clear,” shielding from immedisaid Doris Meissner, ate deportation people former INS commiswhose countries were sioner. “Mexicans torn by war or environwere economic, mental disaster. The proCubans and Vietvision was written with namese were political. Central Americans in That changed when mind. Eventually, so the Haitian boat peomany cases clogged the ple started coming in system that in 1997 the 1970s. Their reaAn immigrant works on new homes being built in Homestead, Fla., on Congress passed the sons for leaving were May 7, 2004. An estimated 337,000 undocumented immigrants live Nicaraguan Adjustment both political and in Florida, according to the Department of Homeland Security. and Central American Reeconomic.” 33 Unlike Cuban refugees arriving on crimination. From 1981 through 1986, the lief Act allowing thousands of Central boats — who are automatically ad- federal government deported nearly 18,000 Americans to bypass the backlogged mitted under the 1966 “Cuban Adjust- Salvadorans while granting permanent- asylum system and apply directly for ment Act” — Haitian “boat people” in resident status to 598. 34 During the same permanent legal residence. But the 1990 law also made broader the 1970s were routinely imprisoned period, half of the immigrants from while their applications were being Poland — then under communist rule changes. It increased the number of foreigners allowed to enter the United States processed. In 1981, the U.S. govern- — were granted asylum. “Cubans and Poles were accepted each year from 500,000 to 700,000 (dropment began intercepting Haitians’ boats on the high seas and towing without significant questioning,” said ping to 675,000 in 1995). More importhem back to Haiti. That practice con- Ernesto Rodriguez, an immigration ex- tant, it nearly tripled the annual quota tinues. As for Cubans, the Clinton ad- pert at the University of Houston, for skilled professionals from 55,000 to ministration established a “wet foot/dry “Central Americans were grilled and 144,000. To alter the 1965 law’s preferfoot” policy — still in effect — that usually not accepted, despite the fact ence for Latin American and Asian imsends fleeing Cubans who don’t actu- that lives were endangered. [Polish migrants, it set new quotas for countries ally touch U.S. soil back to Cuba; those President] Lech Walesa would never seen as having been unfairly treated by the earlier law, with newcomers from who make a case for “credible fear of have survived in Guatemala.” Responding to the unequal treatment, Europe and skilled workers receiving a persecution” in Cuba are sent on to churches and some U.S. communities greater share of entry visas. third countries. Complicating the asylum picture, in — Berkeley, Los Angeles, Chicago and the 1980s growing numbers of Central others — began offering sanctuary to Americans began fleeing non-commu- Central American refugees. By 1985, the nist regimes in war-torn countries like sanctuary movement had spread to more n the 1990s nearly 10 million newEl Salvador and Guatemala. But their than 200 parishes of all denominations. comers arrived on U.S. shores, the chances of obtaining political asylum In 1985 several leaders of the movewere slim, so many came in illegally. ment were tried for being part of an largest influx ever — with most still coming from Latin America and Asia. Human rights advocates argued that “alien-smuggling conspiracy.” Four years later, the sanctuary movePresident Bill Clinton realized early the inconsistencies in the treatment of Central American and Haitian refugees ment was vindicated when the U.S. in his presidency that the so-called amounted to racial and political dis- government (in settling a lawsuit filed “amnesty” program enacted in 1986 had
Changes in 1996
Getty Images/Joe Raedle
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not solved the illegal-immigration problem. And in the Border States, concern was growing that undocumented immigrants were costing U.S. taxpayers too much in social, health and educational services. On Nov. 8. 1994, California voters approved Proposition 187 denying illegal immigrants public education or non-essential public-health services. Immigrants’-rights organizations immediately challenged the law, which a court later ruled was mostly unconstitutional. But the proposition’s passage had alerted politicians to the intensity of anti-illegal immigrant sentiment. 35 House Republicans immediately included a proposal to bar welfare benefits for legal immigrants in its “Contract with America,” and in 1995, after the GOP won control of the House, Congress took another stab at reforming the rules for both legal and illegal immigration. But business groups blocked efforts to reduce legal immigration, so the new law primarily focused on curbing illegal immigration. The final legislation, which cleared Congress on Sept. 30, nearly doubled the size of the Border Patrol and provided 600 new INS investigators. It appropriated $12 million for new bordercontrol devices, including motion sensors, set tougher standards for applying for political asylum and made it easier to expel foreigners with fake documents or none at all. 36 The law also severely limited — and in many cases completely eliminated — non-citizens’ ability to challenge INS decisions in court. 37 But the new law did not force authorities to crack down on businesses that employed illegal immigrants even though there was wide agreement such a crackdown was vital. As the Commission on Immigration Reform had said in 1994, the centerpiece of any effort to stop illegal entrants should be to “turn off the jobs magnet that attracts them.” By 1999, however, the INS had stopped raiding work sites to round up illegal immigrant workers and was focusing on foreign criminals, immigrant-smugglers and document fraud. As for cracking down on employers, an agency district director told The Washington Post, “We’re out of that business.” The idea that employers could be persuaded not to hire illegal workers “is a fairy tale.” 38 705,827 legal immigrants in fiscal 20022003 coming from Mexico. 44 No Middle Eastern or predominantly Muslim countries have high numbers of legal immigrants, although Pakistan was 13th among the top 15 countries of origin for legal immigrants in 1998. 45
Terrorism and Immigrants
he debate over immigration heated up dramatically after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Although none of the terrorists were immigrants, all were foreigners. And some had received help in obtaining housing and driver’s licenses from members of Middle Eastern immigrant communities. 39 Nevertheless, there were no indications that Middle Eastern immigrants in general had anything to do with the attacks or with terrorism. But in the days and weeks following the attacks, federal agents rounded up more than 1,200 Middle Easterners on suspicion of breaking immigration laws, being material witnesses to terrorism or supporting the enemy. By August 2002, most had been released or deported. 40 Nevertheless, a senior Justice Department official said the jailings had “incapacitated and disrupted some ongoing terrorist plans.” 41 Whatever the effects on terrorism, there is no question that 9/11 and the government response to the attacks put a dent in legal immigration. In fiscal 2002-2003 — the latest period for which statistics are available — the number of people granted legal permanent residence (green cards) fell by 34 percent; 28,000 people were granted political asylum, 59 percent fewer than were granted asylum in fiscal 2000-2001. 42 But the growth of illegal immigration under way before 9/11 continued afterward, with 57 percent of the illegal immigrants coming from Mexico. 43 Due to the family-reunification provision in immigration law, Mexico is also the leading country of origin for legal immigrants — with 116,000 of the
n Congress, immigration hardliners are on a roll. In April, Rep. Sensenbrenner and other House Republicans demanded that the Senate take up his driver’s license/asylum/border fence legislation in a “must-pass” supplemental spending bill. Senators from both parties were reluctant to tackle immigration in that inflexible context. But Sensenbrenner had already overcome Democratic opposition in the House and wasn’t backing down. “A senator came into my office and said, ‘I want to filibuster this,’ and I said, ‘Get real,’” Senate Minority Leader Reid, told reporters on April 25. 46 Even the Senate’s senior Republican wasn’t happy about having to take up immigration as part of a must-pass spending bill. Two weeks before Reid told his anecdote, his Republican counterpart, Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said he would prefer to “address immigration in the future.” Twelve senators from both parties had formally asked Frist to keep immigration out of the supplemental-funding legislation. 47 Sensenbrenner not only held his own against other legislators but also secured White House endorsement. “This important legislation will strengthen the ability of the United States to protect
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Are today’s immigrants assimilating into U.S. society?
SENIOR FELLOW, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE; EDITOR, REINVENTING THE MELTING POT: THE NEW IMMIGRANTS AND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AMERICAN (2004)
FROM “THINK TANK,” PUBLIC BROADCASTING SERVICE, JUNE 24, 2004
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON
FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTION; AUTHOR, MEXIFORNIA: A STATE OF BECOMING (2003)
FROM WORLD MAGAZINE, APRIL 2, 2005
t’s always been true that Americans have loved the immigrants of a generation or two ago and been frightened by the immigrants of their era. They think the past worked perfectly, and they look around and exaggerate how difficult it is in the present. Your average American says, “Well, I hear all this Spanish spoken.” But in the second generation, if you grow up here you may not learn [Spanish] in school; you may learn it on the street, but you become proficient in English. By the third generation, about two-thirds of Hispanics speak only English. You can be in Mexican-American neighborhoods in California and hear all the adults speaking to each other in Spanish, and the little siblings speak to each other in English. The bulk of immigrants who are coming now are people who understand cultural fluidity, understand intermarriage [and] find that a natural, easy thing. They understand the mixing of cultures and find the binary nature of our views of race and our views of out and in very alien. And that bodes well for assimilation. One statistic tells the story. In 1960, half of American men hadn’t finished high school. Today, only 10 percent of American men have not finished high school. The people who used to drop out of high school in 1960 did a kind of job that Americans don’t want to do anymore. Immigrants don’t tend to displace American workers. They have some effect on wages — a small, temporary effect. But it’s not a zero-sum game. They help grow the economy. The key is [for immigrants to] buy into our political values and play by the rules. It’s a balance between that sense of shared values and shared political ideals — and then [doing] whatever you want to do at home. After 9/11, Americans were very frightened. Polls showed huge numbers — two-thirds or higher — thought that the borders should be closed or that we should have much lower [immigration] numbers. Some of those surface fears are ebbing, but I think people [remain] uneasy. [Yet] there’s a kind of optimism and a faith in America and in America’s power to absorb people that you could tap into. If you said we have control but we are absorbing them, I think you could get people to go for higher [immigration] numbers. And when you look at the big picture — are today’s immigrants assimilating? The evidence is: Yes.
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ith perhaps as many as 20 million illegal aliens from Mexico, and the immigration laws in shreds, we are reaching a state of crisis. Criminals abound to prey on illegal aliens because they assume their victims are afraid to call the police, carry mostly cash, don’t speak English, live as transients among mostly young males and are not legal participants in their communities. If there were not a perennial supply of cheap labor, wages would rise and would draw back workers to now despised seasonal jobs; something is terribly wrong when central California counties experience 15 percent unemployment and yet insist that without thousands of illegal aliens from Oaxaca crops won’t be picked and houses not built. At some point, some genius is going to make the connection that illegal immigration may actually explain high unemployment by ensuring employers cheap labor that will not organize, can be paid in cash and often requires little government deductions and expense. Attitudes about legality need to revert back to the pre1960s and 1970s, when immigration was synonymous with integration and assimilation. We need to dispense with the flawed idea of multiculturalism and return to the ideal of multiracialism under the aegis of a unifying Western civilization. First-generation meritocratic Asians at places like University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Los Angeles provide an example. What is the Asian community doing that its Mexican counterpart is not? Is it family emphasis on education, a sense of separation from the motherland, a tendency to stress achievement rather than victimization, preference for private enterprise rather than government entitlement? We need to discuss these taboo and politically incorrect paradoxes if we really wish to end something like four of 10 California Hispanic high-school students not graduating. Too many are profiteering and finding careers out of perpetuating the failure of others — others who will be the dominant population of the American Southwest in another decade. In all public discourse and debate, when the racial chauvinist screams “racist” in lieu of logic, we all need to quit recoiling or apologizing, and instead rejoin with “Shame on you, shame, shame, shame for polluting legitimate discussion with race.” We need to return to what is known to work: measured and legal immigration, strict enforcement of our existing laws, stiff employer sanctions, an end to bilingual documents and interpreters — in other words, an end to the disastrous salad bowl and a return to the successful melting pot.
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against terrorist entry into and activities within the United States,” Joshua B. Bolten, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in an April 25 letter to Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., House Appropriations Committee chairman. Lobbyists and congressional staffers following the immigration debate saw Bush’s backing as a bid to obtain support from immigration hardliners for future guest worker legislation, an analysis also reported in The New York Times. 48 Sensenbrenner’s office didn’t return a call seeking comment about the matter. With enactment of Sensenbrenner’s proposal virtually certain, his get-tough approach was for the moment the only game in town. Sens. McCain and Kennedy had not yet introduced their long-announced guest worker and “earned legalization” bill. A bill by Idaho’s Sen. Craig and Kennedy to create a jobs program for foreign farm workers didn’t survive as an amendment to the Senate version of the supplemental. A climate in which legislators were feeling heat from constituents about security was also evident in fact-finding hearings. “You can’t believe the numbers of times people in Oklahoma come up to me and say, ‘When are we going to control the border?’” Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said at hearing of the Immigration and Terrorism subcommittees on April 28. He added, “It’s really not about illegal immigration. It’s really about the risk of terrorism.” Coburn asked Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar, “Are people coming here illegally because we don’t have the resources with which to control the border?” “I think that is a correct statement. Yes, sir,” Aguilar replied. Another yet-to-appear immigration bill was Hatch’s DREAM Act, which a press aide says Hatch will re-introduce; in the 2003-2004 Congress it didn’t reach the full Senate for a vote. The legislation would enable youths with no criminal record to seek “conditional” legal residency, which would allow
them to attend postsecondary school or join the military. After graduation or honorable discharge, the student could apply for a green card. Currently, eight states, California and New York among them, explicitly disregard immigration status in granting instate tuition. In the rest of the country, though, illegal immigrants need not apply. Hatch’s bill — if he introduces it — aims to benefit illegal immigrants whom even conservatives like himself can admire. In a political environment in which get-tough approaches are picking up steam, how far support for the DREAM Act would extend seemed open to question. Given the atmosphere, at least one immigrant-rights advocate reported that others on her side have concluded that “earned legalization” had to be accompanied by tougher border security to have any chance at all in Congress. “Any reform worthy of the name must restore the public’s confidence in the immigration system, and . . . the only way to do that is by regaining control of our borders,” Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, wrote. “The answer to the immigration problem must be a blend: sensible laws, strictly enforced.” 49
he hard-line approach is no less evident at the state level. In Arkansas, the fate of legislation consistent with a DREAM Act-approach toward illegal immigrants in school was one indication of prevailing opinion. In April, the state Senate rejected legislation that would have made illegal immigrants eligible for in-state tuition. The state attorney general had ruled that the bill might have violated the 1996 immigration law. Similar bills are pending in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Oregon and Nebraska. Arizona voters last year approved Proposition 200, which requires proof of citizenship before voting. The new
law also requires the state and local governments to check the immigration status of anyone applying for unspecified “public benefits” and to report any illegal immigrants who apply. 50 Proponents said the law’s “benefits” provision was designed to plug a loophole that enabled illegal immigrants to obtain welfare because of holes in the system. “Such benefits are an incentive for illegal aliens to settle in Arizona and hide from federal authorities,” state Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said. 51 But the new law didn’t actually prohibit anything that wasn’t already forbidden, opponents said. Ray Ybarra, who was observing the Minuteman Project for the American Civil Liberties Union, told a reporter that the law simply restated existing prohibitions on illegal immigrants voting or getting welfare. He called the new law an outgrowth of “fear and misunderstanding.” 52 The new law has led immigration-control forces to propose legislation that would bar illegal immigrants from state colleges, adult-education classes and utility and child-care assistance. The proposed legislation, which was under consideration in early May, set off a new round of debate. Arizonans shouldn’t have to subsidize services for people in the country illegally, argued state Rep. Tom Boone, R-Glendale, the bill’s sponsor. Opponents countered that Hispanic citizens would have to suffer extra scrutiny simply because of their appearance. 53 A Democratic opponent tried to add sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants. Republicans voted that down on the first attempt. Perhaps because Arizona is on the border and its new law passed by referendum, the legislation received more national attention than a similar measure enacted in Virginia this year. As in Arizona, the Virginia law requires anyone applying for non-emergency public benefits — such as Medicaid and welfare — to be a legal U.S. resident. Democratic Gov. Mark Warner downplayed the measure’s effects, even as he
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signed it into law, saying it restated federal prohibitions against illegal immigrants receiving some public benefits. 54 Arizona’s new law is a model for immigration-control forces in other states. In Colorado, organizations that want to cut back illegal immigrants’ access to state services are planning to follow the Arizona pattern by bringing the proposal before voters in a referendum since the state legislature didn’t act on the idea. But among voters at large, organizers of the referendum drive predict they’ll have no trouble getting more than the 70,000 signatures needed to put the proposal on the 2006 election ballot. 55 The legislation is “playing to the worst fears and instincts of people,” said Democratic state Rep. Terrence Carroll, an opponent. “It has a very good chance of passing.” 56 In North Carolina, meanwhile, five proposals are designed to crack down on illegal immigration by denying driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants and forcing employers who hire them to cover some of their medical expenses. Immigration is a recent phenomenon in the state, and a big one. An estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants have settled in North Carolina — a 43 percent increase from 2000 to 2004 — driven by demand from farmers, hotels and construction companies. 57
n small communities experiencing unprecedented waves of new immigrants, many residents feel that the overwhelming numbers of Latinos showing up in their towns are changing American culture. They say that Mexican immigrants — perhaps because they need only walk across the border to return home — stick to themselves and refuse to learn English or to assimilate as readily as previous waves of immigrants. “They didn’t want to socialize with anybody,” said D.A. King, describing
the Mexicans who moved into a house across the street from his Marietta, Ga., home. “They filled their house full of people. At one time, there were 18 people living in this home.” 58 Harvard historian Samuel Huntington, in his controversial new book Who Are We: The Challenges to America’s National Identity, worries that the sheer number of Latino immigrants has created a minority with little incentive to assimilate, potentially creating an America with a split identity. “Continuation of this large immigration [without improved assimilation] could divide the United States into a country of two languages and two cultures,” writes Huntington, who heads the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. “Demographically, socially and culturally, the reconquista (reconquest) of the Southwestern United States by Mexican immigrants is well under way. Hispanic leaders are actively seeking to transform the United States into a bilingual society.” 59 But many reject Huntington’s argument. “The same thing was said about African-Americans . . . about the Irish,” a Georgia restaurant owner, who asked not to be identified, told CNN. “It’s the same old song and over time it’s proved to be a bunch of bologna. I believe these people are just like any other newcomers to this country. They can immigrate in and they’re doing a great job here. And why should they be any different?” 60 Those like Huntington and King say they are not against legal immigrants but oppose unchecked illegal immigration. King, in particular, is so furious with the government’s refusal to enforce immigration laws against what he sees as the “invasion and the colonization of my country and my state and my city” that he founded the Marietta, Ga.-based American Resistance Foundation, which pushes for stricter enforcement of immigration laws. Whenever he calls the INS to report seeing dozens of undocumented work-
ers milling on local street corners waiting for employers seeking day laborers, he says, “I have never gotten through to a person, and I’ve never gotten a return phone call.” 61 “To whom does an American citizen turn when his government will not protect him from the Third World?” King asks. “What do we do now?” Asa Hutchinson, former undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the INS, had a mixed message in addressing King’s frustration. “I would certainly agree with him that we have to enforce our law, and it’s an important part of my responsibilities,” Hutchinson told CNN last October. “But whenever you look at the family that is being very productive and has a great family life contributing to American society, but in fact they came here illegally, I don’t think you could excuse the illegal behavior. But you also recognize they’re not terrorists. They’re contributing to our society. We understand the humanitarian reasons that brought them here.” 62 Hutchinson said the dilemma for U.S. officials is particularly difficult when those illegal immigrants have had children born here, who are now U.S. citizens. “Do you jerk the parents up and send them back to their home country and leave the two children here that are U.S. citizens? “Those are the problems that we’re dealing with every day. Yes, we certainly want to enforce the law, but we have to recognize we also are a compassionate country that deals with a real human side as well.”
olitical asylum accounts for few immigrants but plays an outsized role in the immigration debate. Most legal immigrants settle in the United States because the government decides to allow them in, and illegal immigrants come
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because they can. But asylum-seekers are granted refuge because the law requires it — not just federal law but international humanitarian law as well. The Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951, which was updated in 1967, says that no one fleeing political, racial or religious persecution can be returned involuntarily to a country where he or she is in danger. 63 However, the United States and all other countries that grant asylum can determine who qualifies for that protection and who doesn’t. “Irresponsible judges have made asylum laws vulnerable to fraud and abuse,” Rep. Sensenbrenner said in promoting his “Real ID” bill, which would limit the right to asylum by raising the standard for granting asylum and allowing judges to take an applicant’s demeanor into account. “We will ensure that terrorists like Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack in 1993, no longer receive a free pass to move around America’s communities when they show up at our gates claiming asylum,” Sensenbrenner said. 64 Civil liberties advocates say terrorists today could not breeze through an immigration inspection by demanding asylum because the 1996 immigration overhaul tightened after Yousef and others abused it. Above all, the 1996 immigration act authorized immigration inspectors to refuse entry to foreigners without passports, or with illegally obtained travel documents. 65 In addition, says Erin Corcoran, a Washington-based lawyer in the asylumrights program of Human Rights First (formerly, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights), asylum seekers now get their fingerprints and photos checked at each stage in the process. “Real ID just heightens the burden of proof that a genuine applicant must meet,” Corcoran says, arguing that terrorists are more than capable of adjusting to the new security environment. “A terrorist would have everything in order.” The 1996 law tightened up the process in other ways as well. If a foreigner asks for asylum when trying to enter the United States, he must get a so-called “credible fear interview.” If an asylum officer concludes that a “significant possibility” exists for the foreigner to win asylum, a judge might rule that the foreigner shouldn’t be deported. If the asylum officer decides that foreigners haven’t met the “credible fear” standard, they are held and then deported. But those who do meet the standard may be released while they await hearings on their asylum claims. 66 And even getting to the first step of the asylum process is difficult. In fiscal 1999 through 2003, asylum was requested by 812,324 foreigners, but only 35,566 were granted credible fear interviews. 67 Of the 36,799 asylum applicants whose cases were decided during the same period, 5,891 were granted asylum or allowed to remain in the United States under the international Convention Against Torture; 19,722 applicants were ordered deported, and 1,950 withdrew their applications. Another 2,528 were allowed to become legal permanent residents. 68 migrants into the deadly desert of northern Mexico. And announced measures to step up border enforcement didn’t stop illegals from coming in — both before and after 9/11 — although legal immigration did drop. Faced with such a track record, many immigration experts say legislation and law enforcement may not be the best ways to change immigration patterns, especially where illegal immigration is concerned. “The absence of consensus on alternatives locks in the current policy mix, under which unauthorized immigrants bear most of the costs and risks of ‘control’ while benefits flow impressively to employers and consumers,” Cornelius of the University of California has concluded. “Promised future experiments with guest worker programs, highly secure ID cards for verifying employment eligibility and new technologies for electronic border control are unlikely to change this basic dynamic. 69 “The back door to undocumented immigration to the United States is essentially wide open,” he said. “And it is likely to remain wide open unless something systematic and serious is done to reduce the demand for the labor.” 70 Steven Camarota, research director of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates tougher immigration controls, agrees. “There is a fundamental political stalemate,” he says. “You have a divide in the country between public opinion and elite opinion. Elite opinion is strong enough to make sure that the law doesn’t get enforced but is not strong enough to repeal the law. Public opinion is strong enough to ensure that the law doesn’t get repealed but not strong enough to get the law enforced. For most politicians a continuation of the status quo doesn’t have a huge political downside.” Nevertheless, Stein of FAIR argues that Beltway insiders are only slowly catching on to what’s happening in
Focus on Mexico
mmigration predictions have a way of turning out wrong. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act didn’t control illegal immigration. The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement didn’t create enough jobs in Mexico to keep Mexicans from migrating. The 1996 Immigration Enforcement Improvement Act didn’t lessen the flow of illegal immigrants. Cracking down on illegal crossings in big cities like San Diego and El Paso only funneled
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the country at large. “The issue is building very rapidly in terms of public frustration,” he says. “You talk to [congressional] representatives, they’ll tell you that you go to town meeting and talk about the budget or one of the issues that the party wants to talk about, and the discussion will last five minutes. Mention immigration and two hours later you’re still on it. It’s on fire out there.” Developments in Mexico may be as important to the future of U.S. immigration policy as anything that Washington politicians do, says Martin, at the University of California. If the populist mayor of Mexico City, Manuel López Obrador, wins the presidency of Mexico in 2006, he says, the mutual distrust between the international business community and left-leaning politicians who favor government intervention in the economy could play a key role in immigration to the United States: “That will slow down foreign investment,” making it likely that illegal immigration would continue at a high level, he says. Martin doubts there is much potential for political violence and destabilization in Mexico. Nevertheless, hundreds of thousands of people turned out in Mexico City in April to protest a move to prosecute López Obrador for a minor legal violation, raising the specter of serious political conflict. 71 If that happens, immigration could be seen as a political — as well an economic — safety valve. “That may be the best rationale for letting illegal immigration be what it is,” says Borjas of Harvard, who otherwise opposes that trend. “I could see the point to that.” With little likelihood of substantial change to the immigration picture, virtually all observers agree that there is one potential exception: a major terrorist act committed in the United States by an illegal border-crosser. In that event, Borjas says, “Who knows what the outcome would be?”
Quoted in “CNN Presents: Immigrant Nation: Divided Country,” Oct. 17, 2004. 2 Jeffrey S. Passel, “Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population,” March 21, 2005, Pew Hispanic Center, www.pewhispanic.org. 3 Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2004-2005, p. 8; www.census.gov/ prod/2004pubs/04statab/pop.pdf; Office of Policy and Planning, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, “Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigration Population Residing in The United States: 1990 to 2000,” http://uscis.gov/ graphics/shared/statistics/publications/Ill_Report_ 1211.pdf; Steven A. Camarota, “Economy Slowed, But Immigration Didn’t: The Foreign-Born Population 2000-2004,” Center for Immigration Studies, November 2004, www.cis.org/articles/2004/back1204.pdf. 4 Quoted in David Kelly, “Illegal Immigration Fears Have Spread; Populist calls for tougher enforcement are being heard beyond the border states,” Los Angeles Times, April 25, 2005. 5 Ibid. 6 Ibid. 7 Seth Hettena, “Congressmen call on Senate to pass bill to fortify border fence,” The Associated Press, March 29, 2005. 8 PR Newswire, “Senator John McCain Surprises U.S. Constitutional Development Class at Annapolis . . . ,” April 21, 2005. 9 “President Meets with President Fox and Prime Minister Martin,” White House, March 23, 2005, www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/03/print/20050323-5.html. 10 Wayne Cornelius, “Controlling ‘Unwanted’ Immigration: Lessons from the United States, 1993-2004,” Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California, San
Diego, December 2004, p. 5, www.ccisucsd.org/PUBLICATIONS/wrkg92.pdf. 11 Statement, March 15, 2005; www.cbp. gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/commissioner/speech es_statements/mar17_05.xml. 12 Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele, “Who Left the Door Open,” Time, Sept. 20, 2004, p. 51. 13 Birgit Meade, unpublished analysis, Economic Research Service, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. 14 George J. Borjas, Heaven’s Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy (1999), pp. 87-104. 15 Ibid, pp. 103-104. 16 Ibid, pp. 90-91. 17 Chirag Mehta et al., “Chicago’s Undocumented Immigrants: An Analysis of Wages, Working Conditions, and Economic Contributions,” February 2002, www.uic.edu/cuppa/uicued/ npublications/recent/undocimmigrants.htm. 18 “Immigration and Border Security Evolve, 1993 to 2001,” Chapter 4 in “Staff Monograph on 9/11 and Terrorist Travel,” National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 2004, www.9-11commission.gov/ staff_statements/911_TerrTrav_Ch4.pdf. 19 Ibid. 20 Ibid. 21 The 9/11 Commission Report (2004), pp. 248, 387. 22 T. R. Reid and Darryl Fears, “Driver’s License Curtailed as Identification,” The Washington Post, April 17, 2005, p. A3. 23 Muzaffar A. Chishti et al., “America’s Challenge: Domestic Security, Civil Liberties, and National Unity After September 11,” Migration Policy Institute, 2003, p. 7. 24 Miriam Jordan, “Illegals’ New Lament: Have Degree, No Job,” The Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2005, p. B1. 25 Ibid.
About the Author
Peter Katel is a CQ Researcher staff writer who previously reported on Haiti and Latin America for Time and Newsweek and covered the Southwest for newspapers in New Mexico. He has received several journalism awards, including the Bartolomé Mitre Award for drug coverage from the Inter-American Press Association and awards for investigative and interpretive reporting from the New Mexico Press Association. He holds an A.B. in university studies from the University of New Mexico.
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26 Gorgonio Balbuena, et al. v. IDR Realty LLC, et al; 2004 N.Y. App. Div. 27 Unless otherwise noted, material in the background section comes from Rodman D. Griffin, “Illegal Immigration,” The CQ Researcher, April 24, 1992, pp. 361-384; Kenneth Jost, “Cracking Down on Immigration,” The CQ Researcher, Feb. 3, 1995, pp. 97-120; and David Masci, “Debate Over Immigration,” The CQ Researcher, July 14, 2000, pp. 569-592. 28 For background, see Richard L. Worsnop, “Asian Americans,” The CQ Researcher, Dec. 13, 1991, pp. 945-968. 29 Quoted in Ellis Cose, A Nation of Strangers: Prejudice, Politics and the Populating of America (1992), p. 191. 30 Cited in Michael Fix, ed., The Paper Curtain: Employer Sanctions’ Implementation, Impact, and Reform (1991), p. 2. 31 Quoted in Tom Morganthau et al., “Closing the Door,” Newsweek, June 25, 1984. 32 Quoted in Dick Kirschten, “Come In! Keep Out!,” National Journal, May 19, 1990, p. 1206. 33 For background, see Peter Katel, “Haiti’s Dilemma,” The CQ Researcher, Feb. 18, 2005, pp. 149-172. 34 Cose, op. cit., p. 192. 35 Ann Chih Lin, ed. Immigration, CQ Press (2002), pp. 60-61. 36 William Branigin, “Congress Finishes Major Legislation; Immigration; Focus is Borders, Not Benefits,” The Washington Post, Oct. 1, 1996, p. A1. 37 David Johnston, “Government is Quickly Using Power of New Immigration Law,” The New York Times, Oct. 22, 1996, p. A20. 38 William Branigin, “INS Shifts ‘Interior’ Strategy to Target Criminal Aliens,” The Washington Post, March 15, 1999, p. A3. 39 The 9/11 Commission, op. cit., pp. 215-223. 40 Adam Liptak, Neil A. Lewis and Benjamin Weiser, “After Sept. 11, a Legal Battle On the Limits of Civil Liberty,” The New York Times, Aug. 4, 2002, p. A1. For background, see Patrick Marshall, “Policing the Borders,” The CQ Researcher, Feb. 22, 2002, pp. 145-168. 41 Ibid. 42 Deborah Meyers and Jennifer Yau, US Immigration Statistics in 2003, Migration Policy Institute, Nov. 1, 2004, www.migrationinformation.org/USfocus/display.cfm?id=263; and Homeland Security Department, “2003 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics,” http://uscis.gov/graphics/shared/statistics/yearbook/index.htm. 43 Passel, op. cit., p. 8. 44 Meyers and Yau, op. cit. 45 Lin, op. cit., p. 20.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0548; (858) 822-4447; www.ccis-ucsd.org. Analyzes U.S. immigration trends and compares them with patterns in Europe and Asia. Center for Immigration Studies, 1522 K St., N.W., Suite 820, Washington, DC 20005-1202; (202) 466-8185; www.cis.org. A think tank that advocates reduced immigration. Civil Homeland Defense, P. O. Box 1579, Tombstone, AZ 85638; (520) 457-3008; www.civilhomelanddefense.us. An offshoot of the Minuteman Project that encourages citizens to patrol the Mexican border in Arizona against illegal immigrants. Federation for American Immigration Reform, 1666 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20009; (202) 328-7004; http://fairus.org. A leading advocate for cracking down on illegal immigration and reducing legal immigration. Migration Dialogue, University of California, Davis, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616; (530) 752-1011; http://migration.ucdavis.edu/index.php. An academic research center that focuses on immigration from rural Mexico and publishes two quarterly Web bulletins. Migration Policy Institute, 1400 16th St., N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036; (202) 266-1940; www.migrationpolicy.org. Analyzes global immigration trends and advocates fairer, more humane conditions for immigrants. National Immigration Law Center, 3435 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2850, Los Angeles, CA 90010; (213) 639.3900; http://nilc.org. Advocacy organization aimed at defending the legal rights of low-income immigrants.
Anne Plummer, “Immigration Provisions Likely to Remain in Supplemental Spending Bill, Reid Says,” CQ Today, April 25, 2005. 47 Seth Stern, “Senate Tries to Keep Immigration Proposals from Sticking to Supplemental,” CQ Today, April 12, 2005. 48 Matthew L. Wald and David D. Kirkpatrick, “U.S. May Require Closer Scrutiny to Get a License,” New York Times, May 3, 2005, p. A-1. 49 Tamar Jacoby, “Thinking Out Loud/Immigration,” Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2005, p. M-3. 50 “Proposition 200,” Arizona Secretary of State, http://www.azsos.gov/election/2004/info/PubPamphlet/english/prop200.htm. 51 Ibid. 52 Jacques Billeaud, “Congressman: Prop 200’s passage was key moment in effort to limit immigration,” The Associated Press, April 2, 2005. 53 Jacques Billeaud, “Arizona lawmakers try to add restrictions for illegal immigrants,” The Associated Press, March 24, 2005. 54 Chris L. Jenkins, “Warner Signs Limits on Immigrant Benefits,” The Washington Post, March 30, 2005, p. B5. 55 David Kelly, “Colorado Activists Push Immigration Initiative,” Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2005, p. A23. 56 Ibid.
Michael Easterbrook, “Anger rises toward illegal immigrants,” [Raleigh, N.C.] News & Observer, April 17, 2005, p. A1. 58 CNN, op. cit. 59 Samuel Huntington, “The Hispanic Challenge,” Foreign Policy, March/April 2004. 60 CNN, op. cit. 61 King’s quotes are from ibid. 62 Hutchinson’s quotes are from ibid. 63 “The Wall Behind Which Refugees Can Shelter,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, 2001; www.unhcr.org. 64 Dan Robinson, “Congress — Immigration,” Voice of America, Dec. 8, 2004, www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/news2004/12/sec-0412. 65 “Asylum Seekers in Expedited Removal,” United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, Executive Summary, pp. 1-2, Feb. 8, 2005, www.uscirf.gov/countries/global/asylum_ refugees/2005/february/index.html. 66 Ibid. 67 Ibid, p. 295. 68 Ibid. 69 Cornelius, op. cit., p. 24. 70 CNN, op. cit. 71 Ginger Thompson and James C. McKinley Jr., “Opposition Chief at Risk in Mexico,” The New York Times, April 8, 2005, p. A1.
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Borjas, George J., Heaven’s Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy, Princeton University Press, 2000. A Harvard economist who is a leading figure in the debate over immigration and the economy argues for encouraging immigration by the highly skilled while discouraging the entry of low-skilled workers. Dow, Mark, American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons, University of California Press, 2004. A freelance journalist penetrates the secretive world of immigrant detention and finds widespread abuse of prisoners who are granted few, if any, legal rights. Huntington, Samuel P., Who Are We?: The Challenges to America’s National Identity, Simon & Schuster, 2004. A Harvard professor argues that mass immigration, especially from Latin America, is flooding the United States with people who are not assimilating into mainstream society. Jacoby, Tamar, ed., Reinventing the Melting Pot: The New Immigrants and What It Means To Be An American, Basic Books, 2004. Authors representing strongly differing views and experiences on immigration contribute essays on how the present wave of immigrants is changing — and being changed by — the United States. Edited by a pro-immigration scholar at the moderately libertarian Manhattan Institute. Lin, Ann Chih, ed., and Nicole W. Green, Immigration, CQ Press, Vital Issues Series, 2002. This useful collection of information on recent immigration policy and law changes also includes steps that other countries have taken to deal with issues similar to those under debate in the United States. Kammer, Jerry, “Immigration plan’s assumption on unskilled workers contested,” San Diego Union-Tribune, March 31, 2005, p. A1. Even immigrants who once lacked legal status themselves are worried about the continued influx of illegal immigrants, because they drive down wages. Porter, Eduardo, “Illegal Immigrants are Bolstering Social Security With Billions,” The New York Times, April 5, 2005, p. A1. Government figures indicate that illegal immigrants are subsidizing Social Security by about $7 billion a year by paying taxes from which they will never benefit. Seper, Jerry, “Rounding Up All Illegals ‘Not Realistic,’ ” Washington Times, Sept. 10, 2004, p. A1. The undersecretary of homeland security acknowledges that law enforcement officials are not hunting for all illegal immigrants, something he said would be neither possible nor desirable.
Reports and Studies
Lee, Joy, Jack Martin and Stan Fogel, “Immigrant Stock’s Share of U.S. Population Growth, 1970-2004,” Federation for American Immigration Reform, 2005. The authors conclude that more than half of the country’s population growth since 1970 stems from increased immigration, raising the danger of overpopulation and related ills. Orozco, Manuel, “The Remittance Marketplace: Prices, Policy and Financial Institutions,” Pew Hispanic Center, June 2004. A leading scholar of remittances — money sent back home by immigrants — analyzes the growth of the trend and the regulatory environment in which it operates. Stana, Richard M., “Immigration Enforcement: Challenges to Implementing the INS Interior Enforcement Strategy,” General Accounting Office (now Government Accountability Office), testimony before House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, June 19, 2002. A top GAO official finds a multitude of reasons why immigration officials have not been able to deport criminal illegal immigrants, break up people-smuggling rings and crack down on employers of illegal immigrants. “Refugees, Asylum Seekers and the Department of Homeland Security: One Year Anniversary — No Time for Celebration,” Human Rights First, April 2004. Some rights of asylum-seekers are being eroded as the number of people granted asylum drops, the advocacy organization concludes, urging changes in procedures.
Cooper, Marc, “Last Exit to Tombstone,” L.A. Weekly, March 25, 2005, p. 24. A reporter visits the Mexican desert border towns where immigrants prepare to cross illegally into the United States and finds them undaunted by the dangers ahead. Jordan, Miriam, “As Border Tightens, Growers See Threat to ‘Winter Salad Bowl,’ ” The Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2005, p. A1. Lettuce farmers plead with immigration officials not to crack down on illegal immigration at the height of the harvest season in Arizona.
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The Next Step:
Additional Articles from Current Periodicals
Egan, Timothy, “Wanted: Border Hoppers. And Some Excitement, Too,” The New York Times, April 1, 2005, p. A14. The Minuteman Project is an effort to post 1,000 volunteers across 23 miles of the border led by a former teacher who accuses the government of turning a blind eye to illegal immigration. Johnson, Scott, “The Border War,” Newsweek, April 4, 2005, p. 29. While the federal government fails to effectively change immigration polcies, businesses throughout the United States have grown thoroughly dependent on Mexican laborers, while U.S.-Mexico tensions are rising to dangerous levels. Sullivan, Kevin, “An Often-Crossed Line in the Sand,” The Washington Post, March 7, 2005, p. A1. High-tech barricades help U.S. authorities catch more than 3,000 people every year along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, but despite an unprecedented investment in technology and manpower, the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. is rising. Wood, Daniel, “Private Volunteers Patrol a Porous Border,” The Christian Science Monitor, April 4, 2005, p. 1. Some 1,500 self-selected volunteers will begin manning outposts along the Arizona border in a controversial bid to help keep illegal immigrants from entering the U.S. In California, illegal immigrants and U.S. citizens are debating the Real ID Act, which opponents say would trample the rights of the 11 states that currently allow illegal immigrants to possess driver’s licenses.
Illegal Immigrants and Crime
James, Frank, “U.S. Tracks Immigrants With Device,” Chicago Tribune, April 4, 2005, News Section, p. 15. The Homeland Security Department tries to reduce the number of detained illegal immigrants by fitting some with electronic monitoring devices, but critics say the program treats them like criminals. LeDuff, Charlie, “Police Say Immigrant Policy Is Hindrance,” The New York Times, April 7, 2005, p. A16. Los Angeles police officers say that some of the most cutthroat criminals in the city are illegal immigrants, but the city’s sanctuary policy prohibits officers from asking about someone’s immigration status unless that person is being charged with a crime. Marosi, Richard, “Criminals at the Border Thwarted by Own Hands,” Los Angeles Times, Feb. 19, 2005, p. A1. The U.S. Border Patrol has arrested tens of thousands of people with criminal records since the agency installed a fingerprinting system that identifies criminals among the 1 million illegal migrants apprehended annually.
Bernstein, Nina, “Immigrants Face Loss of Licenses in ID Crackdown,” The New York Times, Aug. 19, 2004, p. B1. State legislatures have been debating whether to make it harder or easier for illegal immigrants to get licenses. The struggle to reconcile public security and the reality of illegal workers has led to fierce debate and widely different laws. Caldwell, Alicia, and Michael Riley, “Fierce Demand Drives Illegal-License Market,” The Denver Post, Jan. 30, 2005, p. A1. Colorado Department of Motor Vehicle employees are arrested for allegedly selling licenses to illegal immigrants for up to $3,000. James, Frank, “Immigrant ID Rules Debated,” Chicago Tribune, March 12, 2005, News Section, p. 1. Legislation pending in the Senate would make it impossible for the nation’s millions of undocumented workers to obtain legal driver’s licenses. Advocates say the bill is vital to America’s security. Wood, Daniel, “Driver’s License Bill Roils a Melting Pot,” The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 17, 2005, p. 3.
Gamerman, Ellen, “Parents Often Turn a Blind Eye, Hiring Nannies Illegally in U.S.,” The Baltimore Sun, Dec. 15, 2004, p. 1E. The issue of illegal nannies only seems to come up around Senate confirmation time, but, in fact, illegal nannies are commonplace in cities where affluent two-career couples are raising children. Greenhouse, Steven, “Wal-Mart to Pay U.S. $11 Million In Lawsuit on Immigrant Workers,” The New York Times, March 19, 2005, p. A1. Wal-Mart Stores agreed to pay a record $11 million to settle accusations that it used hundreds of illegal immigrants to clean some of its 3,600 U.S. stores and pledged strong action to prevent future employment of illegals. Hendricks, Tyche, “10.3 Million Immigrants in U.S. Illegally, Researcher on Latinos Says,” The San Francisco Chronicle, March 22, 2005, p. A4. An estimated 7 million people are employed in the United States without legal authorization, roughly 5 percent of the work force. Most work for low pay and lack protection from workplace exploitation.
The CQ Researcher CQ Press Custom Books - Page 26
BY ALAN GREENBLATT
Excerpted from Alan Greenblatt, CQ Researcher (February 1, 2008), pp. 97-120.
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BY ALAN GREENBLATT
Immigration has become a central concern for a significant share of the American pubohn McCain, the senior lic. Immigrants, both legal and senator from Arizona and illegal, are now 12.6 percent the leading Republican of the population — more candidate for president, than at any time since the 1920s. has been hurt politically by Not only is the number of the immigration issue. both legal and illegal immiMcCain would allow illegal grants — now a record 37.9 immigrants to find a way evenmillion — climbing rapidly but tually to become citizens. The the foreign-born are dispersing approach is seen by many Rewell beyond traditional “gatepublican politicians and voters keeper” states such as Califor(and not a few Democrats) as nia, New York and Texas, creakin to “amnesty,” in effect reating social tensions in places warding those who broke the with fast-growing immigrant law to get into this country. populations such as Georgia, Legislation that he helped craft Arkansas and Iowa. 3 with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Complaints about illegal imD-Mass., and the White House migrants breaking the law or went down to defeat in both draining public resources have 2006 and 2007. become a daily staple of talk McCain rejects the apradio programs, as well as proach taken by House ReCNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” publicans during a vote in In a high-profile speech in 2005 and favored by several August 2007, Newt Gingrich, of his rivals in the presidena former Republican House A Mexican farmworker harvests broccoli near Yuma, tial race — namely, classifySpeaker, railed about two susAriz. With the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. now over 12 million — including at least half of the ing the 12 million illegal impects in a triple murder in nation’s 1.6 million farmworkers — tougher migrants already in this New Jersey who turned out enforcement has become a dominant theme in the 2008 country as felons and seekto be illegal immigrants. He presidential campaign. Meanwhile, with Congress ing to deport them. This argued that President Bush unable to act, states and localities have passed hundreds wouldn’t be realistic, he says, should call Congress into of bills cracking down on employers and illegal immigrants seeking public benefits. noting not only the economspecial session to address the ic demands that have brought matter, calling himself “sickAs the issue of illegal immigrants reach- ened” by Congress being in recess “while the foreign-born here in the first place but also the human cost such a wide- es the boiling point, however, and as he young Americans are being massacred gains in the polls, even McCain sounds by people who shouldn’t be here.” spread crackdown would entail. On the stump, McCain talks about not quite so compassionate as before. In Gingrich said Bush should be more an 80-year-old woman who has lived il- response to political pressures, McCain serious about “winning the war here legally in the United States for 70 years now shares the point of view of hard- at home, which is more violent and and has a son and grandson serving in liners who say stronger border security more dangerous to Americans than Iraq. When challenged at Clemson Uni- must come before allowing additional Iraq or Iran.” 4 versity last November by a student who work permits or the “path to citizenship” Concerns about terrorism have also said he wanted to see all illegal immi- that were envisioned by his legislation. stoked fears about porous borders and “You’ve got to do what’s right, OK?” unwanted intruders entering the country. grants punished, McCain said, “If you’re prepared to send an 80-year-old grand- McCain told The New Yorker magazine “Whenever I’m out with a [presidenmother who’s been here 70 years back recently. “But, if you want to succeed, tial] candidate at a town hall meeting, to some other country, then frankly you’re you have to adjust to the American it’s the exception when they do not get not quite as compassionate as I am.” 1 people’s desires and priorities.” 2 a question about immigration — whether
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Getty Images/David McNew
Feb. 1, 2008
California Has Most Foreign-Born Residents
California’s nearly 10 million foreign-born residents represented about one-quarter of the national total in 2006 and more than twice as many as New York. Foreign-Born Individuals by State, 2006 *
Wash. Mont. N.D. S.D. Wyo. Neb. Nev. Calif. Okla. Ariz. N.M. Ark.
Minn. Wis. Mich. Iowa Ill. Ind. Ohio W.Va. Ky. Tenn. Ala. Pa.
N.Y. Conn. Va. Md. D.C. N.J. Del.
N.C. S.C. Ga. Fla.
Over 1 million 500,000-999,999
200,000-499,999 100,000-199,999 0-99,999
* Includes legal and illegal immigrants Source: Migration Policy Institute
it’s a Democratic event or a Republican event,” says Dan Balz, a veteran political reporter at The Washington Post. With no resolution in sight to the immigration debate in Congress, the number of immigrant-related bills introduced in state legislatures tripled last year, to more than 1,500. Local communities are also crafting their own immigration policies. (See sidebar, p. 108.) In contrast to the type of policies pursued just a few years ago, when states were extending benefits such as in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, the vast majority of current state and local legislation seeks to limit illegal immigrants’ access to public services and to crack down on employers who hire them. “For a long time, the American public has wanted immigration enforcement,” says Ira Mehlman, media director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which lobbies for stricter immigration limits.
“Is there a rhetorical consensus for the need for immigration control? The answer is clearly yes,” Mehlman says. “When even John McCain is saying border security and enforcement have to come first before the amnesty he really wants, then there is really a consensus.” While most of the Republican presidential candidates are talking tougher on immigration today than two or three years ago, Democrats also are espousing the need for border security and stricter enforcement of current laws. But not everyone is convinced a majority of the public supports the “enforcement-only” approach that treats all illegal immigrants — and the people that hire them — as criminals. “All through the fall, even with the campaign going on, the polls consistently showed that 60 to 70 percent of the public supports a path to citizenship,” says Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who
has written in favor of immigrant absorption into U.S. society. There’s a core of only about 20 to 25 percent of Americans who favor wholesale deportation, Jacoby says. “What the candidates are doing is playing on the scare ’em territory.” But over the last couple of years, in the congressional and state-level elections where the immigration issue has featured most prominently, the candidates who sought to portray themselves as the toughest mostly lost. Some analysts believe that, despite the amount of media attention the issue has attracted, anti-immigrant hard-liners may have overplayed their hand, ignoring the importance of immigrant labor to a shifting U.S. economy. “To be energized we need new workers, younger workers, who are going to be a part of the whole economy. We don’t have them here in the United States,” Sen. Kennedy told National Public Radio in 2006. “We need to have the skills of all of these people,” he continued. “The fact is, this country, with each new wave of immigrants, has been energized and advanced, quite frankly, in terms of its economic, social, cultural and political life. I don’t think we ought to fear it, we ought to welcome it.” 5 Polls have made it clear that the Republican Party, which is seen as generally tougher on the issue, is losing support among Hispanics — the fastest-growing segment of the population. “The Bush strategy — enlightened on race, smart on immigration — developed in Texas and Florida with Jeb Bush — has been replaced by the Tancredo-Romney strategy, which is demonizing and scapegoating immigrants,” said Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist, “and that is a catastrophic event for the Republican Party.” 6 Jeb Bush, the president’s brother, served two terms as governor of Florida, while Colorado Rep. Tom Tan-
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credo and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney each sought this year’s GOP presidential nomination. * There is a well-known precedent backing up Rosenberg’s argument. In 1994, Pete Wilson, California’s Republican governor, pushed hard for Proposition 187, designed to block illegal immigrants from receiving most public services. The proposition passed and Wilson won reelection, but it turned Hispanic voters in California against the GOP — a shift widely believed to have turned the state solidly Democratic. “While there might be some initial appeal to trying to beat up on immigrants in all different ways, it ultimately isn’t getting to the question of what you do with 12 million people,” says Angela Kelley, director of the Immigration Policy Center at the American Immigration Law Foundation, which advocates for immigrants’ legal rights. “It isn’t a problem we can enforce our way out of.” But it’s not a problem politicians can afford to ignore. There will be enormous pressure on the next president and Congress to come up with a package that imposes practical limits on the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States. Doing so while balancing the economic interests that immigrant labor supports will remain no less of a challenge, however. That’s in part because the immigration debate doesn’t fall neatly along partisan lines. Pro-GOP business groups, for example, continue to seek a free flow of labor, while unions and other parts of the Democratic coalition fear just that. “The Democrats tend to like immigrants, but are suspicious of immigration, while the Republicans tend to like immigration but are suspicious of immigrants,” says Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigration lobby group. “Republicans want to deport 12 mil* Tancredo dropped out in December, and Romney has been trailing McCain in the primaries.
Fastest-Growing Foreign-Born Populations
Foreign populations at least tripled in 10 states since 1990. In North Carolina foreign-born residents increased by a record 534 percent. Percentage Increases in Foreign-Born Individuals, 1990-2006
North Carolina Georgia Nevada Arkansas Tennessee Utah Nebraska South Carolina Colorado Arizona 0 200,000 400,000 600,000 800,000 353% 352% 344% 334% 1,000,000 432% 400% 359% 1990 2006 454% 534% 497%
Number of Immigrants in State
* Includes legal and illegal immigrants Source: Migration Policy Institute
lion people while starting a guest worker program,” he says. “With Democrats, it’s the reverse.” During a Republican debate in Florida last December, presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took a less draconian position, moving away from his earlier calls to deport all illegals. “Those who have come illegally, in my view, should be given the opportunity to get in line with everybody else,” he said. “But there should be no special pathway for those that have come here illegally to jump ahead of the line or to become permanent residents or citizens.” 7 One of the loudest anti-immigration voices belongs to Republican Okla-
homa state Rep. Randy Terrill, author of one of the nation’s toughest antiimmigration laws, which went into effect in December 2007. “For too long, our nation and our state have looked the other way and ignored a growing illegal immigration crisis,” he said. “Oklahoma’s working families should not be forced to subsidize illegal immigration. With passage of House bill 1804, we will end that burden on our citizens.” 8 Among other things, the law gives state and local law enforcement officials the power to enforce federal immigration law. As the immigration debate rages on, here are some of the specific issues that policy makers are arguing about:
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Feb. 1, 2008
Employers are also being heavily tar- grants were using Social Security numShould employers be penalized geted by state and local lawmakers. More bers that belonged to other people. for hiring illegal immigrants? For more than 20 years, federal pol- than 300 employment-related laws ad“Even when those numbers are run icy has used employers as a check- dressing illegal immigrants have been through the system, the computers point in determining the legal status recently passed by various levels of gov- didn’t pick up anything,” Pilcher says. of workers. It’s against the law for ernment, according to the U.S. Cham- “Until that system [of verification] is companies to knowingly hire illegal ber of Commerce. bulletproof, it doesn’t work to try to immigrants, but enforcement of this “There is still this general consensus mandate that businesses be the front law has been lax, at best. that although the current employer- line of enforcement.” Partly as a result — but also be- sanctions regime hasn’t worked, the point Concerns about the verification systems cause of the growing attention paid to of hire is the correct place to ensure in place are shared across the ideologiillegal immigrants and the opportuni- that the employee before you is legal- cal spectrum. “We’re now 21 years after ties that may attract them to this coun- ly here,” says Kelley, of the American the enactment of employer sanctions, and try — the role of business in enforc- Immigration Law Foundation. we still haven’t come up with a system ing immigration policy has become a But for all the efforts to ensure that that allows for instant verification,” says major concern. Mehlman, at the Federa“I blame 90 pertion for American Immicent on employers,” gration Reform. “If Visa says Georgia state and MasterCard can verify Sen. Chip Rogers. literally millions of trans“They’re the ones that actions a day, there’s no are profiting by reason we can’t have breaking the law.” businesses verify the legal The Immigration status of their employees.” and Customs Enforce“When you look to ment agency has employers to be the ones pledged to step up its that are going to have efforts to punish emdamages imposed for hirployers who knowing someone who is not ingly hire undocuproperly documented, A prospective employer in Las Vegas holds up two fingers indicating mented workers. In the first thing you have how many day laborers he needs. One of the few pieces of immigration response, an Electrolux to do is give me a prolegislation still considered to have a chance in Congress this year is the factory in Springfield, gram so I can make sure SAVE Act, which would require all employers to use an electronic Tenn., fired more than the person is legal for verification system to check the legal status of all workers. 150 immigrant workme to hire,” says Bryan ers in December after Immigration and businesses check the legal status of their R. Tolar, director of marketing, educaCustoms Enforcement (ICE) agents ar- workers — and to impose stiffer penal- tion and environmental programs for rested a handful of its employees. ties on those who knowingly hire ille- the Georgia Agribusiness Council. Last year, ICE levied $30 million in gal immigrants — there is still considerSo far, though, there is no such fines and forfeitures against employers, able debate about whether such measures system. The Department of Homeland but arrested fewer than 100 executives will ultimately resolve the problem. Security’s E-Verify system, which grew Critics contend there is no easy way out of a pilot program, is the new or hiring managers, compared with for employers to determine legal sta- checking point of choice. In fact, fed4,100 unauthorized workers. 9 One of the few pieces of immigra- tus. For one thing, documents often eral contractors will soon be required tion legislation still considered to have a are faked. Dan Pilcher, spokesman for to check the residency status of emchance in Congress this year is the SAVE the Colorado Association of Com- ployees using E-Verify. As of Jan. 1, a Act (Secure America With Verification En- merce and Industry, notes that during new state law requires all employers forcement), which would require all em- a high-profile ICE raid on the Swift in Arizona to use the E-Verify system. ployers to use an electronic verification meatpacking plant in Greeley in DeBut such requirements have drawn system to check the legal status of all cember 2006, many of the arrests were lawsuits from both business groups workers. The House version of the bill for identity theft, not immigration vi- and labor unions, who complain that boasts more than 130 cosponsors. olations, since so many illegal immi- E-Verify is based on unreliable dataAP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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bases. Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, complains that E-Verify is not accurate and worries therefore that the employer sanctions contained in the Arizona law could lead to serious and unfair consequences. Under the law, companies found guilty of hiring an illegal worker can lose their business licenses for 10 days; for second offenses they are at risk of forfeiting their licenses entirely. “Do you know the [power] that gives you to take out your competitors?” Clark asks. Supporters of tougher employer sanctions say the databases are getting better all the time. Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, says E-Verify needs to be made into a requirement for all American employers. Once they are handed a working tool, he says, all businesses need to follow the same rules. “Legal status is a labor standard that needs to be enforced just like other labor standards,” he says. “Holding business accountable to basic labor standards is hardly revolutionary.” The National Immigration Forum’s Sharry agrees that employers “need to be held to account for who they hire.” But he warns that imposing stiff penalties against them at a juncture when verification methods remain in doubt could create greater problems. “Until you create an effective verification system, employer sanctions will drive the problem further underground and advantage the least scrupulous employers,” Sherry says. Can guest worker programs be fixed? The United States has several different programs allowing foreigners to come into the country for a limited time, usually to work for specific “sponsoring” employers, generally in agriculture. But most of these programs have been criticized for being ineffective — both in filling labor demands and ensuring that temporary workers do not become per-
Immigration Is on the Rise
The number of foreign-born people in the United States has nearly quadrupled since 1970, largely because of changes in immigration laws and increasing illegal immigration (top). The increase has pushed the foreign-born percentage of the population to more than 12 percent (bottom). Number and Percentage of Foreign-Born Individuals in the U.S., 1900-2005
(in millions) 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0
Foreign-Born Population in United States
1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2005
(percentage) 15% 12 9 6 3
Foreign-Born as Percentage of Total Population
1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2005 Source: Audrey Singer, “Twenty-first Century Gateways: Immigrant Incorporation in Suburban America,” Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution, April 2007
manent, illegal residents. The best-known guest worker program, the H-2A visa program for visiting agricultural workers, has been derided by farmers as cumbersome and time-consuming, preventing them from timing their hiring of workers to growing and harvesting seasons. Farmers use H-2A visas only to cover an estimated 2 percent of farmworkers. Instead, growers turn to the black market for undocumented workers. At
least half of the nation’s 1.6 million farmworkers — and as many as 70 percent by some estimates — are immigrants lacking documentation. 10 Still, growers’ groups have complained about labor shortages as border security and regulation of employers are tightening. Some growers in the Northwest last fall let cherries and apples rot because of a shortage of workers, and some in North Carolina did not plant cucumbers because of
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Feb. 1, 2008
Legal Immigration Has Steadily Increased
The number of legal immigrants has risen steadily since the 1960s, from about 320,000 yearly to nearly 1 million. The largest group was from Latin America and the Caribbean. (In addition to legal entrants, more than a half-million immigrants arrive or remain in the U.S. illegally each year.) Average Annual Number of Legal U.S. Immigrants by Region of Origin, 1960-2005
Latin America and the Caribbean Asia Europe and Canada Other
41% 32% 29%
38% 18% 13% 16% 4% 9%
24% 3% 8%
* Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. Source: “Economic Mobility of Immigrants in the United States,” Economic Mobility Project, Pew Charitable Trusts, 2007
a fear they wouldn’t find the workers to harvest them. 11 Three federal agencies — Homeland Security, State and Labor — have been working in recent months to craft regulations to speed the H-2A visa process. But farmworker advocates worry that the sort of changes the administration has been contemplating could weaken labor protections for workers. Some critics of lax immigration policy complain, meanwhile, that the H-2A changes would allow employers to skirt a process designed to limit the flow of immigrant workers. Changes adopted by or expected from the administration could weaken housing and wage standards that have
traditionally been a part of temporaryworker programs, which date back to World War II, according to Bruce Goldstein, executive director of Farmworker Justice, a group that provides legal support to migrant workers. Those changes would make a bad situation for farmworkers worse, Goldstein contends. “The government has failed to adopt policies that adequately protect workers from abuses and has failed to enforce the labor protections that are on the books,” Goldstein says. The Federation for American Immigration Reform’s Mehlman criticizes the proposed changes for “trying to tip the balance in favor of employers.
“There’s no evidence that we have a labor shortage in this country,” Mehlman says. “You have businesses that have decided they don’t want to pay the kind of wages American workers want in order to do these kinds of jobs.” Whether there is an overall labor shortage or not, clearly the numbers don’t add up in agriculture. Officials with several immigration-policy groups note that the number of people coming to work in this country outnumber the visas available to new, full-time workers by hundreds of thousands per year. “The only way we can provide for the labor needs of a growing and very diverse agriculture industry is to make sure there’s an ample workforce to do it,” says Tolar, at the Georgia Agribusiness Council. “Americans have proven that they’re not willing to provide the work that needs doing at a wage agriculture can support.” Five years ago, a bipartisan group of congressmen, working with farmworkers, growers and church groups, proposed a piece of legislation known as the AgJobs bill. The attempt at a compromise between the most directly interested players has been a part of the guest worker and immigration debates ever since. The bill would allow some 800,000 undocumented workers who have lived and worked in the U.S. for several years to register, pay a fine and qualify for green cards (proof of legal residency) by working in agriculture for three to five more years. It would also streamline the H-2A visa application process. Although it won Senate passage as part of a larger immigration bill in 2006, the current version of AgJobs has not gained traction due to complaints that it would reward illegal immigrants and employers with what amounts to “get out of jail free” cards. In November 2007, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., announced that she would not seek to attach AgJobs as an amendment to a larger farm bill, due to strong opposition to legislation seen as helping illegal immigrants.
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“We know that we can win this,” Feinstein said in a statement. But, she conceded, “When we took a cleareyed assessment of the politics . . . it became clear that our support could not sustain these competing forces.” Feinstein vows to try again this year. But Krikorian, of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors reduced immigration, counters that guest worker programs in any form are not the right solution. “They still imagine there’s a way of admitting low-wage illegals and not have immigration consequences,” he says. “It’s a fantasy. “Guest worker programs don’t work anyway,” he adds. “There’s nothing as permanent as a temporary worker.” The American Immigration Law Foundation’s Kelley speaks for many on the other side of the debate who argue that it’s not enough to conclude that guest worker programs are problematic. Workers from other countries are going to continue to come into this country, she notes. “We need somehow to replace what is an illegal flow with a legal flow,” Kelley says. “We have a guest worker program now — it’s called illegal immigration.” Should illegal immigrants be allowed to attend public colleges and universities? Miami college students Juan Gomez, 18, and his brother Alex, 20, spent a week in jail in Fort Lauderdale last summer. They were both students at Miami Dade College but faced deportation as illegal immigrants. They had come to the United States from Colombia when they were toddlers. In handcuffs while riding to the detention center, Juan managed to type out a text message to a friend on his cell phone. The friend set up a Facebook group that in turn led 3,000 people to sign petitions lobbying Congress on the brothers’ behalf. In response, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-
More Immigrants Moving to Suburbs
The gap between the number of immigrants who live in inner cities and suburbs widened significantly from 1980-2005. By 2005 more than 15 million foreign-born people were in suburbs, or three times as many in 1980. The number in cities doubled during the same period. Demographers attribute the popularity of the suburbs to their relative lack of crime, lower cost and better schools.
20 15 10
Foreign-Born Individuals in Central Cities and Suburbs, 1980-2005
Central cities Suburbs
13.1 9.9 10.5 7.9
6.9 5 0 4.9 5.0
Source: Audrey Singer, “Twenty-first Century Gateways: Immigrant Incorporation in Suburban America,” Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution, April 2007
Conn., introduced legislation to prevent their deportation. As a courtesy to Congress, immigration officials delayed their deportation for two more years. 12 But the brothers may still face deportation, because Congress failed to pass the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act. The bill would protect students from deportation and allow young adults (up to age 30) to qualify for permanent legal status if they completed high school and at least two years of college or military service. On Oct. 24, 2007, the Senate voted 52-48 to end debate and move to a vote on final passage — eight votes short of the 60 needed under Senate rules to end a filibuster. Opponents of the measure claimed it was an unfair plan to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. The debate over illegal immigration has regularly and heatedly intersected with questions about education for illegal immigrants: Do young people deserve a break even if their parents skirted the law in bringing them to this country? Should illegal
immigrants be barred from publicly supported colleges? The courts have made it clear that states must provide elementary and secondary educations to all comers, including illegal immigrants. But higher education is another matter entirely. Ten states have passed legislation in recent years granting in-state tuition to children of illegal immigrants. Most passed their laws during the early years of this decade, before immigration had become such a heated political topic. Similar proposals in other states have died recently, with critics charging that it would be wrong to reward people who are in the country illegally with one of American society’s dearest prizes. “It is totally unfair if you’re going to grant in-state tuition to illegal aliens in Georgia and charge out-of-state tuition to someone from Pennsylvania,” says Phil Kent, national spokesman for Americans for Immigration Control. Katherine “Kay” Albiani, president of the California Community Colleges board, stepped down last month along
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with two other board members in re- during the Nov. 28 CNN/YouTube GOP American and are graduating in high sponse to criticism from Republican presidential debate. Huckabee says he numbers and are doing well — ‘You legislators. The board had voted unan- opposes the congressional DREAM Act, can’t advance and go any further’ — imously last year to support legislation but his opponents in the primary cam- doesn’t make sense,” Kelley says. “It that would have allowed illegal immi- paign have pointed out his former sup- would be helpful to our economy to grants to qualify for student financial port as governor for in-state tuition for have these kids get college degrees.” aid and community-college fee waivers. longtime illegal residents. “We have the best benefit package Beyond the question of whether it’s of any state for illegal immigrants, so fair to punish students for decisions they come here,” complained California their parents made, some argue it would Senate GOP leader Dick Ackerman. 13 be a mistake to deprive illegal immiSome argue that illegal immigrants grants of educational opportunities. A should be barred not only from re- college education may be an extra inceiving tuition breaks but also from ducement for them to stay in this counattending public colleges and univer- try, but the vast majority are likely to sities altogether. Public institutions of remain in this country anyway. he United States was created as higher education, after all, are subsia nation of immigrants who left “If these are people who are going dized by taxpayers, and therefore all to live here for the rest of their lives, Europe for political, religious and ecostudents — including illegal immigrants we want them to be as educated as nomic reasons. After independence, — receive an indirect form of aid from possible,” says the Manhattan Institute’s the new nation maintained an openstate or local governments. door immigration policy for 100 years. Jacoby. “Every college student is subsidized The American Immigration Law Foun- Two great waves of immigrants — in to the tune of thousands of dollars a dation’s Kelley agrees. She describes the the mid-1800s and the late-19th and year,” says Krikorian, of the Center for DREAM Act as a reasonable compro- early-20th centuries — drove the naImmigration Studies. tion’s westward expan“They are taking slots sion and built its cities and huge amounts of and industrial base. 14 public subsidies that But while the inscripwould otherwise go tion on the Statue of Libto Americans or legal erty says America accepts immigrants.” the world’s “tired . . . poor “Our view is that . . . huddled masses,” they shouldn’t be Americans themselves there in the first place, vacillate between weland they certainly coming immigrants and shouldn’t be subsiresenting them — even dized by taxpayers,” those who arrive legally. says Mehlman of For both legal and illegal FAIR. “The typical ilimmigrants, America’s aclegal immigrant isn’t tions have been inconAfter living in Clarion, Iowa, for nine years, undocumented Mexican coming to the U.S. for sistent and often racist. immigrant Patricia Castillo, right, and her family were deported for higher education. But In the 19th century, entering the country illegally. Townspeople like Doris Holmes and her once you’re here, if thousands of Chinese ladaughter Kelli threw a fund-raiser to help the Castillos pay their legal bills. the state says we’ll borers were brought subsidize your college education, that’s mise, saying it would protect students here to build the railroads and then a pretty good incentive to stay here.” but wouldn’t give illegal immigrants ac- were excluded — via the Chinese ExOthers argue that banning students cess to scholarships or grants. She ar- clusion Act of 1882 — in a wave of because their parents chose to break gues that states that do offer in-state tu- anti-Chinese hysteria. Other Asian groups the law would be a mistake. “We are ition rates to illegal immigrant students were restricted when legislation in 1917 a better country than to punish chil- have not seen “a huge influx” of them. created “barred zones” for Asian imdren for what their parents did,” for“Saying to students who have been migrants. 15 Continued on p. 108 mer Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said raised here and by all accounts are
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AP Photo/The Messenger/Cynthia Kaneshiro
Hard economic times and public concern about the nation’s changing ethnic makeup prompt Congress to limit immigration. 1921-1929 Congress establishes immigration quota system, excluding Asians and Southern and Eastern Europeans. 1924 U.S. Border Patrol is created to block illegal immigrants, primarily Mexicans.
Rising illegal immigration sparks crackdown. 1986 Apprehension of a record 1.7 million illegal Mexican immigrants prompts lawmakers to legalize undocumented workers and for the first time impose sanctions on employers.
passes bill to classify illegal immigrants as felons and deport them. 2006 On April 20, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announces a federal crackdown on employers who hire illegal aliens. . . . On May 1, hundreds of thousands of immigrants demonstrate across the country to call for legal status. . . . On Nov. 7, 69 percent of Hispanic voters support Democrats in congressional races, according to exit polls. 2007 On May 9, churches in coastal cities provide “sanctuaries” for undocumented families. . . . On May 17, President Bush and a bipartisan group of senators announce agreement on a comprehensive bill to strengthen border protection and allow illegal immigrants eventual access to citizenship. . . . On Aug. 10, the administration calls for more aggressive law enforcement, screening of new employees by federal contractors and firing of workers whose Social Security numbers don’t match government databases. . . . On Oct. 24, the Senate fails to end debate on a proposal to protect illegal immigrants who are attending college from deportation. . . . On Dec. 26, Bush signs spending bill calling for 700 miles of “reinforced fencing” along U.S.-Mexico border. Jan. 1, 2008 Arizona law holding employers responsible for checking legal status of workers is the most recent of hundreds of punitive, new state immigration laws. . . . On Jan. 22, Michigan stops issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. . . . Implementation of Real ID Act, slated to go into effect in May, is postponed.
Congress again overhauls immigration laws amid nationalsecurity concerns. 1993 Middle Eastern terrorists bomb World Trade Center; two had green cards. 1994 California voters pass Proposition 187, blocking illegal immigrants from receiving most public services; three years later it is largely declared unconstitutional. 1996 Number of illegal immigrants in U.S. reaches 5 million. Sept. 11, 2001 Attacks on World Trade Center and Pentagon focus new attention on porous U.S. borders. 2004 The 9/11 Commission points to “systemic weaknesses” in bordercontrol and immigration systems. 2005 Congress passes Real ID Act, requiring proof of identity for driver’s licenses. . . . President Bush calls for a “temporary worker” program excluding “amnesty” for illegal immigrants. . . . House
Expansion of U.S. economy during World War II attracts Mexican laborers. U.S. overhauls immigration laws, accepts war survivors and refugees from communist countries. 1942 Controversial Bracero guest worker program allows Mexicans to work on American farms. 1952 Landmark Immigration and Nationality Act codifies existing quota system favoring Northern Europeans but permitting Mexican farmworkers in Texas.
Civil Rights Movement spurs U.S. to admit more Asians and Latin Americans. 1965 Congress scraps national quotas, gives preference to relatives of immigrants.
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States Racing to Pass Restrictive Immigration Laws
Arizona, Georgia and Oklahoma seek to outdo Colorado.
ndrew Romanoff, the speaker of the Colorado House, offers a simple explanation for why his state enacted a sweeping immigration law in 2006. “The immigration system is, by all accounts, broken,” he says, “and the federal government has shown very little appetite for either enforcing the law or reforming the law.” In the absence of federal action on immigration, in 2007 every state in the nation considered legislation to address the issue, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). It released a study in November showing that states considered “no fewer than 1,562 pieces of legislation related to immigrants and immigration,” with 244 passed into law in 46 states. 1 Both the number of bills and the number of new laws were three times higher than the totals in 2006. When Colorado’s law was enacted in 2006, it was considered perhaps the toughest in the country. It requires anyone older than 18 who is seeking state benefits to show identification proving legal status and requires employers to verify the legal status of workers. But it provides exemptions for certain types of medical care and was designed to hold harmless the children of illegal immigrants. Colorado’s approach has since been superseded by states such as Arizona, Georgia and Oklahoma, which have taken an even harder line. In fact, if there’s one clear trend in state and local legislation, it’s toward a stricter approach. In Hazelton, Pa., a controversial set of laws has been held up by the courts. The ordinances would require businesses to turn employee information over to the city, which would then
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verify documents with the federal government. Prospective tenants would have to acquire a permit to rent by proving their legal right to be in the country. “It used to be that state and local activity was all over the map,” says Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for immigration Studies, which advocates reduced immigration. “Those that are loosening the rules now are the exception.” Georgia’s law touches on every facet of state policy that relates to illegal immigrants. Under its provisions, state and local government agencies have to verify the legal residency of benefit recipients. Many employers will have to do the same whenever they make a hiring decision. And law enforcement agencies are given authority to crack down on human trafficking and fake documents. Thousands of immigrants, both legal and illegal, have left Oklahoma following the November enactment of a law (HB 1804) that makes it a felony to knowingly transport illegal immigrants and requires employers to verify the immigration status of workers. It also limits some government benefits to those who can produce proof of citizenship. Employers in numerous sectors, including hotels, restaurants and agriculture, have complained about labor shortages. But Republican state Rep. Randy Terrill, who wrote the law, says it will save the state money due to the abolition of public subsidies for illegal immigrants. “There’s significant evidence that HB 1804 is achieving its intended purpose,” he said. 2 States just a few years ago were debating the expansion of benefits for illegal immigrants, such as in-state tuition rates for
The racist undertones of U.S. immigration policy were by no means reserved for Asians. Describing Italian and Irish immigrants as “wretched beings,” The New York Times on May 15, 1880, editorialized: “There is a limit to our powers of assimilation, and when it is exceeded the country suffers from something very like indigestion.” Nevertheless, from 1880 to 1920, the country admitted more than 23 million immigrants — first from Northern and then from Southern and Eastern Europe. In 1890, Census Bureau Director Francis Walker said the country was being overrun by “less desirable” newcomers from Southern and Eastern Europe, whom he called “beaten men from beaten races.”
In the 1920s, public concern about the nation’s changing ethnic makeup prompted Congress to establish a national-origins quota system. Laws in 1921, 1924 and 1929 capped overall immigration and limited influxes from certain areas based on the share of the U.S. population with similar ancestry, effectively excluding Asians and Southern and Eastern Europeans, such as Greeks, Poles and Russians. 16 But the quotas only swelled the ranks of illegal immigrants — particularly Mexicans, who needed only to wade across the Rio Grande River. To stem the flow, the United States in 1924 created the U.S. Border Patrol to guard the 6,000 miles of U.S. land bordering Canada and Mexico.
After World War II, Congress decided to codify the scores of immigration laws that had evolved over the years. The landmark Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 retained a basic quota system that favored immigrants from Northern Europe — especially the skilled workers and relatives of U.S. citizens among them. At the same time, it exempted immigrants from the Western Hemisphere from the quota system — except for the black residents of European colonies in the Caribbean.
he 1952 law also attempted to address — in the era’s racist terms — the newly acknowledged reality of
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ticularly from constituents in areas where college. But now politicians in most immigrants who had lived in Oklahoma locales who appear to be aiding illehave relocated. gal immigrants in any way are wideThe fact that there’s a sort of legly castigated. islative arms race going on, with states New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a Detrying to outdo each other on the immocrat, proposed in fall 2007 that illemigration issue, has many people worgal immigrants should be eligible for ried. A patchwork approach, with tough driver’s licenses, arguing that would make laws in scattered places driving some them more likely to buy insurance. But immigrants toward more lenient juristhe idea touched off a political firestorm dictions, is clearly not the way to renot only in his state but also within the solve a national or even international Democratic presidential campaign and issue such as immigration. he quickly backed down. “Obviously, 50 different state immiEarly this year, Maryland Democragration policies is ultimately unworktic Gov. Martin O’Malley called for his able,” says Romanoff. “All of us much state to stop issuing driver’s licenses to A demonstrator in Tucson supports prefer a federal solution. undocumented immigrants. (It’s one of Proposition 200 on Dec. 22, 2004. The “The question is, how long should seven that currently do so.) “When voter-approved Arizona law denies some we wait? In Colorado we decided we you’ve got a New York governor getpublic benefits to illegal immigrants. could wait no longer.” ting clubbed over the head for trying to institute what Maryland has . . . you realize we are out of sync with the rest of the nation,” said state House Republican 1 “2007 Enacted State Legislation Related to Immigrants and Immigration,” leader Anthony J. O’Connell. 3 National Conference of State Legislatures, Nov. 29, 2007, www.ncsl.org/print/ Legislatures in at least a dozen states are already consider- immig/2007Immigrationfinal.pdf. 2 Emily ing bills modeled on the get-tough approaches taken elsewhere. Jan. 10, Bazar, “Strict Immigration Law Rattles Okla. Businesses,” USA Today, 2008, p. 1A. Legislators in states neighboring Oklahoma, for instance, say 3 Lisa Rein, “Immigrant Driver ID Rejected by O’Malley,” The Washington that they feel pressure to introduce restrictive legislation, par- Post, Jan. 16, 2008, p. B1.
Mexican workers who crossed the border illegally. Border Patrol agents were given more power to search for illegal immigrants and a bigger territory in which to operate. “Before 1944, the illegal traffic on the Mexican border . . . was never overwhelming,” the President’s Commission on Migratory Labor noted in 1951, but in the past seven years, “the wetback traffic has reached entirely new levels. . . . [I]t is virtually an invasion.” 17 In a desperate attempt to reverse the tide, the Border Patrol in 1954 launched “Operation Wetback,” transferring nearly 500 Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officers from the Canadian perimeter and U.S. cities to join the 250 agents policing the U.S.-Mexican border and adjacent factories and farms.
More than 1 million undocumented Mexican migrants were deported. Although the action enjoyed popular support and bolstered the prestige — and budget — of the INS, it exposed an inherent contradiction in U.S. immigration policy. The 1952 law contained a gaping loophole — the Texas Proviso — a blatant concession to Texas agricultural interests that relied on cheap labor from Mexico. “The Texas Proviso said companies or farms could knowingly hire illegal immigrants, but they couldn’t harbor them,” said Lawrence Fuchs, former executive director of the U.S. Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy. “It was a duplicitous policy. We never really intended to prevent illegals from coming.”
AP Photo/John Miller
he foundation of today’s immigration system dates back to 1965, when Congress overhauled the immigration rules, scrapping national-origin quotas in favor of immigration limits for major regions of the world and giving preference to immigrants with close relatives living in the United States. By giving priority to family reunification as a basis for admission, the amendments repaired “a deep and painful flaw in the fabric of American justice,” President Lyndon B. Johnson declared at the time. However, the law also dramatically changed the immigration landscape. Most newcomers now hailed from the developing world — about half from Latin
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Are Voters Ignoring Immigration?
Iraq War, other issues, may resonate more.
mmigration has emerged as a pervasive political issue, a part of seemingly every state and local campaign and presidential debate. “No issue has dominated the Republican presidential nomination fight the way illegal immigration has,” The Washington Post reported in January. 1 A poll conducted by the Post and ABC News in December found that more Republican voters in Iowa picked immigration as the first or second most important issue to them — 30 percent — than any other issue. Only 6 percent of Iowa Democrats rated the issue so highly. 2 Yet illegal immigration has also emerged as a key concern in the Democratic contest. After Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., gave conflicting answers during an October debate about her opinion of Democratic New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s abortive plan to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, her opponents attacked her. That moment has been widely characterized as opening up the first crack in the façade of her “inevitability” as the Democratic nominee. “This is a real wedge issue that Democrats need to get right,” wrote Stan Greenberg and James Carville, two prominent Democratic Party strategists. 3 Despite the attention that the issue gets from both candidates and the media, however, there’s as yet scant evidence that illegal immigration resonates as strongly with voters as other issues such as the economy, health care or the war in Iraq. “The bottom line is, to most people it’s not a pocketbook issue,” says Arizona pollster Jim Haynes, “and the pocketbook tends to be seminal in determining how somebody’s going to end up voting.” In 2006, several House incumbents and candidates who made tough stances against illegal immigration the centerpiece of their campaigns went down to defeat, including Reps. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., and Jim Ryun, R-Kan.
The track record for gubernatorial candidates who focused their campaigns on immigration was no better that year. Len Munsil in Arizona, Ernest Istook in Oklahoma and Jim Barnett in Kansas all ran against Democratic incumbents and tried to take advantage of their opponents’ seeming vulnerability on the immigration issue. None won more than 41 percent of the vote. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., based his presidential campaign on his strong support for tougher immigration measures, but never broke out of the low single digits in polls before dropping out of the race in December. It was also difficult for candidates to make immigration decisive at the ballot box during the off-year elections of 2007. Even in contests where the issue played a prominent role, it didn’t have the influence many observers had predicted. In local contests in New York, for example, Democrats did not pay the predicted price for Spitzer’s idea of issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Instead, they fared better. In Virginia, Republicans made tough talk on immigration central to their plans for holding on to their threatened majority in the state Senate this past November. They ended up losing control of that body after a decade in power. Local Virginia elections told much the same story. In Loudoun County, where arguments about illegal newcomers have been intense for several years, Sheriff Stephen Simpson lost a primary bid for renomination but came back to win as an independent against an opponent who had accused him of being soft on immigration. “I think it was hyped up quite a bit in the election, not just in my race but in the area,” Simpson says. In numerous other local contests in Virginia, the injection of immigration as a central concern not only failed to change the outcome but barely shifted the winner’s share of the vote
America. While nearly 70 percent of immigrants had come from Europe or Canada in the 1950s, by the 1980s that figure had dropped to about 14 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage coming from Asia, Central America and the Caribbean jumped from about 30 percent in the 1950s to 75 percent during the ’70s. In 1978, the select commission concluded that illegal immigration was the most pressing problem facing immigration authorities, a perception shared by the general public. 18 The number of border apprehensions peaked in 1986 at 1.7 million, driven in part by a deepening economic crisis in Mexico. Some felt the decade-long increase in illegal
immigration was particularly unfair to the tens of thousands of legal petitioners waiting for years to obtain entry visas. “The simple truth is that we’ve lost control of our own borders,” declared President Ronald Reagan, “and no nation can do that and survive.” 19 In the mid-1980s, a movement emerged to fix the illegal-immigration problem. Interestingly, the debate on Capitol Hill was marked by bipartisan alliances described by Sen. Alan K. Simpson, R-Wyo., as “the goofiest ideological-bedfellow activity I’ve ever seen.” 20 Conservative, anti-immigration think tanks teamed up with liberal labor unions and environmentalists favoring tighter restrictions on
immigration. Pro-growth and business groups joined forces with longtime adversaries in the Hispanic and civil rights communities to oppose the legislation. After several false starts, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) in October 1986 — the most sweeping revision of U.S. immigration policy in more than two decades. Using a carrot-and-stick approach, IRCA granted a general amnesty to all undocumented aliens who were in the United States before 1982 and imposed monetary sanctions — or even prison — against employers who knowingly hired undocumented workers for the first time.
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Why hasn’t immigration, which is getfrom previous elections. ting so much attention, proved to be a There were some races where opcentral concern when voters cast their balposition to illegal immigration was an lots? For one thing, not everyone agrees effective political tactic. Tom Selders, on every proposal to make life tougher the mayor of Greeley, Colo., lost after for illegal immigrants. And the GOP’s hard expressing sympathy for illegal immiline on immigration threatens to push Hisgrants snared in a federal raid on a panic voters over to the Democratic Party. local meatpacking plant. By showcasBut illegal immigration may be failing immigration concerns, Republican ing to take off as a voting issue not beJim Ogonowski ran a surprisingly cause of opposition to the hard-line proclose race in an October special elecposals but because something like a tion in a Massachusetts congressional consensus in favor of them has already district that has long favored DemocRep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., based his emerged. It’s a simple matter for any rats, although ultimately he lost. presidential campaign on his strong candidate to communicate a belief that “This issue has real implications support for tougher immigration measures border security should be tightened and for the country. It captures all the but got little traction and dropped out that current laws should be more strictAmerican people’s anger and frusof the race in December 2007. ly enforced. tration not only with immigration but The emergence of that kind of consensus suggests that hardwith the economy,” said Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and chief strategist for liners have in fact won a good portion of their argument. In his party’s congressional candidates in 2006. “It’s self-evident. his statement announcing he was leaving the presidential race, Tancredo said, “Just last week Newsweek declared that ‘anti-imThis is a big problem.” 4 But it has become surprisingly hard to outflank most can- migrant zealot’ [Tancredo] had already won. ‘Now even Dems didates on this contentious subject. Last November’s challenger dance to his no mas salsa tune.’ ” to Charles Colgan, a Democratic state senator in Virginia, tried to paint him as soft, going so far as to distribute cartoons de- 1 Jonathan Weisman, “For Republicans, Contest’s Hallmark Is Immigration,” picting Colgan helping people over the wall at the border. But The Washington Post, Jan. 2, 2008, p. A1. 2 Colgan countered by pointing out his votes in opposition to 3 “What Iowans Care About,” The Washington Post, Jan. 3, 2008, p. A11. Perry Bacon Jr. and Anne E. Kornblut, “Issue of Illegal Immigration Is extending various benefits to illegal immigrants. “The first thing Quandary for Democrats,” The Washington Post, Nov. 2, 2007, p. A2. this nation must do is seal the border,” he says. “We cannot 4 Jonathan Weisman, “GOP Finds Hot Button in Illegal Immigration,” The Washington Post, Oct. 23, 2007, p. A7. let this influx continue.” Colgan won reelection easily.
NBC NewsWire via AP Photo/Paul Drinkwater
Changes in 1996
n the 1990s nearly 10 million newcomers — the largest influx ever — arrived on U.S. shores, with most still coming from Latin America and Asia. Bill Clinton realized early in his presidency that the so-called amnesty program enacted in 1986 had not solved the illegal-immigration problem. And in the Border States, concern was growing that undocumented immigrants were costing U.S. taxpayers too much in social, health and educational services. On Nov. 8, 1994, California voters approved Proposition 187, denying illegal immigrants pub-
lic education or non-essential public-health services. Immigrants’-rights organizations immediately challenged the law, which a court later ruled was mostly unconstitutional. But the proposition’s passage had alerted politicians to the intensity of anti-illegal immigrant sentiment. 21 House Republicans immediately included a proposal to bar welfare benefits for legal immigrants in their “Contract with America,” and in 1995, after the GOP had won control of the House, Congress took another stab at reforming the rules for both legal and illegal immigration. But business groups blocked efforts to reduce legal immigration, so the new law primarily fo-
cused on curbing illegal immigration. The final legislation, which cleared Congress on Sept. 30, 1996, nearly doubled the size of the Border Patrol and provided 600 new INS investigators. It appropriated $12 million for new border-control devices, including motion sensors, set tougher standards for applying for political asylum and made it easier to expel foreigners with fake documents or none at all. 22 The law also severely limited — and in many cases completely eliminated — non-citizens’ ability to challenge INS decisions in court. 23 But the new law did not force authorities to crack down on businesses that employed illegal immigrants, even
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though there was wide agreement that dominantly Muslim countries have Arab terrorists burrowed into Amerisuch a crackdown was vital. As the Com- high numbers of legal immigrants, al- can society to carry out the Sept. 11, mission on Immigration Reform had said though Pakistan was 13th among the 2001. Of the 19 hijackers, 13 had obin 1994, the centerpiece of any effort to top 15 countries of origin for legal tained legitimate driver’s licenses, stop illegal entrants should be to “turn immigrants in 1998. 28 said Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., off the jobs magnet that attracts them.” R-Wis., author of the legislation. The By 1999, however, amid an ecocommission called for national stannomic boom and low unemployment, dards for the basic American identithe INS had stopped raiding work fication documents: birth certificates, sites to round up illegal immigrant he combination of concerns about Social Security cards and driver’s liworkers and was focusing on foreign terrorism and the growing num- censes. In states that adopt the strict criminals, immigrant-smugglers and ber of illegal immigrants — and their requirements of the law — which bedocument fraud. As for gins to go into effect in cracking down on emMay 2008 — license apployers, an agency displicants will have to pretrict director told The sent ironclad proof of Wa s h i n g t o n P o s t , identity, which will be “We’re out of that busichecked against federal and ness.” The idea that emstate databases. 29 ployers could be perAfter the House in 2005 suaded not to hire passed a punitive bill that illegal workers “is a would have classified illefairy tale.” 24 gal immigrants as felons, Legal immigration, demonstrations in cities however, has been diacross the country drew minished by the govhundreds of thousands of ernment response to marchers during the spring the terrorist attacks of of 2006. On May 1, hunSept. 11, 2001. In fisdreds of thousands more cal 2002-2003, the numparticipated in what some billed as “the Great Ameriber of people granted can Boycott of 2006.” The legal permanent resiidea was for immigrants, dence (green cards) fell legal and illegal, to demonby 34 percent; 28,000 people were granted strate their economic conpolitical asylum, 59 pertribution to the country by cent fewer than were staying away from their granted asylum in fisjobs on May Day. cal 2000-2001. 25 But In terms of numbers alone, the demonstrations of April the growth of illegal imand May were impressive. migration under way A pro-immigrant rally in Atlanta draws a crowd on May 1, 2006. But they may also have before 9/11 continued, The nation’s rapidly rising foreign-born population is dispersing spurred a backlash among with 57 percent of the well beyond “gatekeeper” states such as California and Texas to some sectors of the public. illegal immigrants comnon-traditional destinations like Georgia, Arkansas and Iowa. “The size and magnitude of ing from Mexico. 26 Due to the family-reunification movement into parts of the country the demonstrations had some kind of provision in immigration law, Mexi- unused to dealing with foreign new- backfire effect,” John McLaughlin, a Reco is also the leading country of ori- comers — made illegal immigration a publican pollster, told reporters after the gin for legal immigrants — with top-tier issue. first round of marches. “The Republi116,000 of the 705,827 legal immiIn 2005, Congress passed the Real cans that are tough on immigration are grants in fiscal 2002-2003 coming from ID Act, which grew out of the 9/11 doing well right now.” 30 Mexico. 27 No Middle Eastern or pre- Commission investigations into how Continued on p. 114
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AP Photo/John Bazemore, file
Would tighter border security curb illegal immigration?
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES
WRITTEN FOR CQ RESEARCHER, JAN. 23, 2008
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY
PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
FROM TESTIMONY BEFORE HOUSE JUDICIARY SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION, APRIL 20, 2007
order security is one piece of the very large controllingimmigration puzzle. But policing borders, including the use of physical barriers where necessary, has been integral to the preservation of national sovereignty for centuries. In our country, some two-thirds of the illegal population has snuck across the border with Mexico; the rest entered legally — as tourists, students, etc. — and never left. As part of the development of a modern, national immigration system, Congress in 1924 created the U.S. Border Patrol. As illegal immigration grew to massive proportions in the late 1970s, the Border Patrol’s work became something of a charade, with a handful of officers returning whatever Mexican border-jumpers they could nab and then watching them immediately turn around and try again. The first step in closing that revolving door came in 1993 and 1994, when new strategies were implemented in San Diego and El Paso, where most illegal immigration occurred, to deter crossings altogether rather than simply chase after people through streets and alleys after they’d already crossed. Over the past decade-and-a-half, the enforcement infrastructure at the border has grown immensely, but it is still laughably inadequate. Although the number of agents at the Southern border has tripled, to some 12,000, that still represents an average of no more than two agents per mile per shift. Expanded fencing has also been part of this build-up. In the past, when the region on both sides of our Southern border was essentially empty, the limited fencing in place was intended simply to keep cattle from wandering off. Now, with huge metropolises on the Mexican side, serious fencing is being built — first in San Diego, where illegal crossings have plummeted as a result, and now along more than 800 additional miles of the border, though this is still a work in progress. In addition to these physical barriers, we have had for years additional security measures (deceptively labeled “virtual fencing”), such as motion sensors, stadium lighting and remote-controlled cameras. But while border enforcement is a necessary element of immigration control, it is not sufficient. There are three layers of immigration security — our visa-issuing consulates abroad, the border (including legal entry points) and the interior of the country. Improvements at the border are essential, and many are already under way. The weakest link today is the interior, where efforts to deny illegal immigrants jobs, driver’s licenses, bank accounts, etc., are being fought at every turn by the business and ethnic lobbyists who benefit from open borders.
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s envisioned under [the North American Free Trade Agreement], the economies of the U.S. and Mexico are integrating, and the rising cross-border movement of goods and services has been accompanied by migration of all sorts of people. Since 1986, the number of exchange visitors from Mexico has tripled, the number of business visitors has quadrupled and the number of intra-company transferees has grown 5.5 times. Within this rapidly integrating economy, however, U.S. policy makers have somehow sought to prevent the cross-border movement of workers. We have adopted an increasingly restrictive set of immigration and border-enforcement policies. First, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 granted $400 million to expand the size of the Border Patrol. Then the 1990 Immigration Act authorized hiring another 1,000 officers. In 1993, these new personnel were deployed as part of an all-out effort to stop unauthorized border crossing in El Paso, a strategy that was extended to San Diego in 1994. Finally, the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act provided funds to hire an additional 1,000 Border Patrol officers per year through 2001. In essence, the U.S. militarized the border with its closest neighbor, a nation to which it was committed by treaty to an ongoing process of economic integration. Rather than slowing the flow of immigrants into the U.S., however, this policy yielded an array of unintended and very negative consequences. The most immediate effect was to transform the geography of border crossing. Whereas undocumented border crossing during the 1980s focused on San Diego and El Paso, the selective hardening of these sectors after 1993 diverted the flows to new and remote crossings. Undocumented Mexican migration was thus nationalized. The migrants got wise and simply went around built-up sectors. As a result, the probability of apprehension plummeted to record low levels. American taxpayers were spending billions more to catch fewer migrants. And, rather than returning home possibly to face the gauntlet at the border again, Mexicans without documents remained longer in the U.S. The ultimate effect of restrictive border policies was to double the net rate of undocumented population growth, making Hispanics the nation’s largest minority years before Census Bureau demographers had projected. At this point, pouring more money into border enforcement will not help the situation, and in my opinion constitutes a waste of taxpayer money. We must realize that the solution to the current crisis does not lie in further militarizing the border with a friendly trading nation that poses no conceivable threat.
Available online: www.cqresearcher.com
force our borders,” That turned out Bush said. “But equally not to be the case importantly, it will treat come election-time, people with respect. This h o w e v e r. S o m e is a bill where people prominent critics of who live here in our current immigration country will be treated policy, including without amnesty, but Republican Reps. without animosity.” 34 Jim Ryun of Kansas The 380-page plan and J.D. Hayworth was worked out just in of Arizona, went time to meet a deadline down to defeat in for the beginning of November 2006. Senate debate on the Republicans in genissue. “The plan isn’t pereral paid a clear fect, but only a bipartiprice among Hissan bill will become law,” President George W. Bush announces the bipartisan compromise panics for their said Sen. Kennedy. 35 immigration deal he struck with Congress on May 17, 2007. The tough stand. Exit But immigration is the agreement would have granted temporary legal status to virtually all illegal immigrants. Despite the backing of most Democrats and several polling in 2006 sugrare issue that cuts across conservative Republicans, the package was defeated. Bush is gested that 30 perpartisan lines. Despite the flanked by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, cent of Hispanics backing of most Democleft, and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. voted for Republirats, the Bush adminiscans in congressional races that year, tration and conservative Republicans such while Democrats garnered 69 peras Kennedy’s negotiating partner, Sen. cent. President Bush had taken 40 Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the package went percent of the Hispanic vote in his down to defeat. Supporters were unable reelection race two years earlier. 31 to muster the support of 60 senators “I don’t think we did ourselves any necessary even to bring it to a vote in favors when we engaged the pubthe face of determined opposition. lic in a major topic and didn’t pass The agreement would have granted the legislation to deal with it,” said temporary legal status to virtually all ilSen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., who urrently, immigration is the sub- legal immigrants, allowing them to apply dropped out of the GOP presidential ject of countless legislative pro- for residence visas and citizenship through primary in October 2007. 32 posals at all levels of government. a lengthy process. They would have to Perhaps partly in response, Re- Congress under the new Democratic wait for eight years before applying for publicans just after the 2006 elec- majority ushered in with the 2006 elec- permanent resident status and pay fines tions selected as their new national tions has generally considered more of up to $5,000; in addition, heads of chairman Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, lenient legislation, but any proposal households would be forced to leave a prominent Cuban-American who that seems to offer any sort of aid to the country and reenter legally. had served in the Bush Cabinet. The illegal immigrants has failed to gain But the process could not begin for Federation for American Immigration traction. In states and in many local- any illegal aliens — and a new guest Reform’s Mehlman, then the outgo- ities, meanwhile, hundreds of punitive worker program would also be put on ing party chairman, told reporters bills have passed into law. hold — until after a tough border crackthat he was concerned about where Amid much fanfare, President Bush down had gone into effect. The deal the party stood with Hispanics. “His- and a bipartisan group of 10 senators called for the deployment of 18,000 panics are not single-issue voters, announced an agreement on May 17, new Border Patrol agents and extenbut GOP officials said the tone of 2007, on a comprehensive compromise sive new physical barriers, including the immigration debate hurt the party’s plan to tighten border security and ad- 200 miles of vehicle barriers, 370 miles standing with the fastest-growing mi- dress the fate of the nation’s 12 million of fencing and 70 ground-based camnority group,” The Washington Post illegal immigrants. “The agreement era and radar towers. In addition, fundreported. 33 reached today is one that will help en- ing would be provided for the detenContinued from p. 112
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tion of 27,500 illegal immigrants, and new identification tools would be developed to help screen out illegal job applicants. Conservative opponents of the package in the Senate — as well as most of the 2008 GOP presidential hopefuls — derided it as an “amnesty” bill, giving an unfair citizenship advantage to people who had come into the country illegally. But liberals and immigration advocacy groups also questioned the terms of the Senate proposal, particularly a change in visa applications. In contrast to the current system, which stresses family ties, a new, complex, point system would favor skilled, educated workers. About 50 percent of the points would be based on employment criteria, with just 10 percent based on family connections. Even if the Senate had passed the bill, its prospects in the House would have been dim. Despite the change in partisan control of Congress, there was still less sentiment in the House than in the Senate for any bill that was perceived as giving a break to illegal aliens. “Unless the White House produces 60 or 70 Republican votes in the House, it will be difficult to pass an immigration bill similar to the Senate proposal,” Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said in May 2007. 36 Those votes would have been tough to get. Some staunch critics of immigration policy were defeated in the 2006 elections, but for the most part they were replaced by newcomers who also took a hard line against illegal immigration. “This proposal would do lasting damage to the country, American workers and the rule of law,” said Lamar Smith of Texas, ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, in response to the deal between senators and the White House. “Just because somebody is in the country illegally doesn’t mean we have to give them citizenship.” 37 The House did not vote at all on comprehensive immigration legislation in 2007.
ot long after the Senate’s comprehensive bill failed, the attempt to extend legal status to immigrants attending college also failed. The DREAM Act would have protected students from deportation and allowed young adults (up to age 30) to qualify for permanent legal status if they completed high school and at least two years of college or military service. On Oct. 24, Senate supporters fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to end debate on the bill and bring it to a final vote. The following month, supporters of legislation to address the issue of temporary guest workers — the AgJobs bill — announced that the political climate had turned against them, and they would drop their efforts at least until 2008. “Amnesty for illegal immigrants is dead for this Congress,” says Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies. “When the pro-amnesty side couldn’t even pass small measures like the DREAM Act and the AgJobs bill, there’s little doubt that legalizing illegal immigrants is dead in the water at least until 2009.” Given the pressure on Congress to do something to address the topic, those lobbying for tougher restrictions remain optimistic that this year could see passage of the Secure America With Verification Enforcement Act. The SAVE Act would require all employers to use an electronic verification system to check the legal status of all workers. In the absence of successful congressional action thus far, the Bush administration last August unveiled a package designed to break the stalemate. The strategy includes stepped-up work-site raids and arrests of fugitive illegal immigrants. The administration also created a new requirement for federal contractors to use the E-Verify system for screening the legal status of new employees.
In October, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction blocking a part of the Homeland Security package that would have required employers to fire workers whose Social Security numbers do not match information in government databases. The Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency in January announced a plan to speed the deportation of foreign-born criminals. Under current law, immigrants convicted of crimes are only deported after serving their sentences. ICE intends to work with states to create parole programs that would allow for the early release of non-violent offenders if they agreed to immediate deportation. The program would place a strain on federal detention centers but provide fiscal relief and bed space to state and local governments housing such prisoners. Last year, ICE sent 276,912 people back to their home countries, including many who were not arrested for crimes but had violated civil immigration statutes. 38
mmigration will clearly remain an important part of the political conversation in this country. The factors that have made it so prominent — the record number of immigrants, both legal and illegal, and their dispersal into parts of the country that had not seen large influxes of immigrants in living memory — show little sign of abating. The course that any policy changes will take will depend on who wins the presidency. Attempts at addressing the issue in a comprehensive way in Congress failed, due to concerted opposition to the compromise package brokered between the Bush White
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House and a bipartisan group of senators. Since that time, more modest bills have not been able to advance. That means the issue will not be resolved as a policy matter until 2009, at the earliest. Instead, it will remain a major theme of the presidential campaign. Immigration has become, perhaps, the dominant issue among the Republican candidates, as well as one that Democrats have had to address in several particulars. In a December interview with The Boston Globe, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, one of the Democratic front-runners, predicted that any Republican candidate, save for McCain, would center his race on two things — fear of terrorism and fear of immigration. 39 But the immigration issue has not broken along strictly partisan lines. Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies predicts that even if the election results in a Democratic president and Congress, the broad policy trajectory will be toward further tightening of immigration policy. “I don’t care whether it’s a new Democratic or a new Republican president, they’re going to have to address it,” says Kent, of Americans for Immigration Control. “The new president will have to toughen up the border.” Politicians of all stripes indeed now pay homage to the idea that border security must be tightened and that current laws need more rigorous enforcement. But debate is still hot over questions of how much to penalize illegal immigrants and employers — and whether efforts to do just that may ultimately prove counterproductive. Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform says “the forces that have been trying to promote amnesty and lots of guest workers are not going to go away.” Mehlman says that even if current campaign rhetoric generally supports the tough approach his organization favors, the dynamic of actually changing policies in 2009 and after may not change that much. “It wouldn’t be the first time a politician said one thing during the campaign and acted differently once in office,” he says. He notes that the business groups that encourage immigration have deep pockets, but he believes that “this is an issue that the American public is making a stand on.” The National Immigration Forum’s Sharry counters that the policy debate has been hijacked by heated political rhetoric and that it’s become difficult to discuss what would be the best solutions without accusations being hurled if a proposal sounds at all “soft” on illegal immigrants. Nevertheless, he notes, most people do not support the toughest proposals that would treat illegal immigrants as felons and seek their mass deportation. “I suspect it’s going to take one or perhaps two election cycles to figure out who does it help and who does it hurt,” Sharry says. “My prediction is that the Republican embrace of the extreme antiimmigrant groups will be seen in retrospect as an act of slow-motion suicide.” Douglas S. Massey, a Princeton University sociologist, agrees that the politics of this issue may play out poorly over the long term for those proposing a serious crackdown. He notes that there have been many occasions in American history when “beating on immigrants” has been an expedient strategy, but he argues it’s never played well successfully as a sustained national issue. “It’s not a long-term strategy for political success, if you look at the future composition of America,” Massey says, alluding in particular to the growth in foreign-born populations. The political debate clearly will have a profound influence on the policy decisions made on immigration in the coming years. But the underlying demographic trends are likely to continue regardless. “With the baby boomers retiring, we will need barely skilled workers more than ever,” says Jacoby, of the Manhattan Institute, referring in part to health-care aides. She argues that growth in immigration is simply an aspect of globalization. Although people are uncomfortable with change and tend to see its downsides first, she believes that people will eventually realize large-scale migration is an inevitable part of the American future. “We’re in a bad time, and our politics are close to broken,” she says, “but eventually American pragmatism will come to the surface.”
Quoted in Ryan Lizza, “Return of the Nativist,” The New Yorker, Dec. 17, 2007, p. 46. For more on immigrant families that face being split up, see Pamela Constable, “Divided by Deportation: Unexpected Orders to Return to Countries Leave Families in Anguish During Holidays,” The Washington Post, Dec. 24, 2007, p. B1. 2 Quoted in Lizza, op. cit. 3 Ellis Cose, “The Rise of a New American Underclass,” Newsweek, Jan. 7, 2008, p. 74. 4 William Neikirk, “Gingrich Rips Bush on Immigration,” Chicago Tribune, Aug. 15, 2007, p. 3.
About the Author
Alan Greenblatt is a staff writer at Governing magazine. He previously covered elections, agriculture and military spending for CQ Weekly, where he won the National Press Club’s Sandy Hume Award for political journalism. He graduated from San Francisco State University in 1986 and received a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Virginia in 1988. His recent CQ Researcher reports include “Sex Offenders” and “Pension Crisis.”
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Jennifer Ludden, “Q&A: Sen. Kennedy on Immigration, Then & Now,” May 9, 2006, NPR.org, www.npr.org/templates/story/story. php?storyId= 5393857. 6 Lizza, op. cit. 7 “GOP Hopefuls Debate Immigration on Univision,” www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22173520/. 8 David Harper, “Terrill Leads Way on Issue,” Tulsa World, Oct. 30, 2007, www.Tulsa World.com. 9 Julia Preston, “U.S. to Speed Deportation of Criminals Behind Bars,” The New York Times, Jan. 15, 2008, p. A12. 10 “Rot in the Fields,” The Washington Post, Dec. 3, 2007, p. A16. 11 Steven Greenhouse, “U.S. Seeks Rules to Allow Increase in Guest Workers,” The New York Times, Oct. 10, 2007, p. A16. 12 Kathy Kiely, “Children Caught in the Immigration Crossfire,” USA Today, Oct. 8, 2007, p. 1A. 13 Patrick McGreevy, “Gov’s Party Blocks His College Board Choice,” Los Angeles Times, Jan. 15, 2008, p. B3. 14 Unless otherwise noted, material in the background section comes from Rodman D. Griffin, “Illegal Immigration,” April 24, 1992, pp. 361-384; Kenneth Jost, “Cracking Down on Immigration,” Feb. 3, 1995, pp. 97-120; David Masci, “Debate Over Immigration,” July 14, 2000, pp. 569-592; and Peter Katel, “Illegal Immigration,” May 6, 2005, pp. 393420, all in CQ Researcher. 15 For background, see Richard L. Worsnop, “Asian Americans,” CQ Researcher, Dec. 13, 1991, pp. 945-968. 16 For background, see “Quota Control and the National-Origin System,” Nov. 1, 1926; “The National-Origin Immigration Plan,” March 12, 1929; and “Immigration and Deportation,” April 18, 1939, all in Editorial Research Reports, available from CQ Researcher Plus Archive, http://cqpress.com. 17 Quoted in Ellis Cose, A Nation of Strangers: Prejudice, Politics and the Populating of America (1992), p. 191. 18 Cited in Michael Fix, ed., The Paper Curtain: Employer Sanctions’ Implementation, Impact, and Reform (1991), p. 2. 19 Quoted in Tom Morganthau, et al., “Closing the Door,” Newsweek, June 25, 1984. 20 Quoted in Dick Kirschten, “Come In! Keep Out!” National Journal, May 19, 1990, p. 1206. 21 Ann Chih Lin, ed., Immigration, CQ Press (2002), pp. 60-61. 22 William Branigin, “Congress Finishes Major Legislation; Immigration; Focus is Borders, Not
FOR MORE INFORMATION
American Immigration Law Foundation, 918 F St., N.W., 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20004; (202) 742-5600; www.ailf.org. Seeks to increase public understanding of immigration law and policy, emphasizing the value of immigration to American society. Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0548; (858) 822-4447; www.ccis-ucsd.org. Compares U.S. immigration trends with patterns in Europe and Asia. Center for Immigration Studies, 1522 K St., N.W., Suite 820, Washington, DC 20005-1202; (202) 466-8185; www.cis.org. The nation’s only think tank exclusively devoted to immigration-related issues advocates reduced immigration. Federation for American Immigration Reform, 25 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 330; Washington, DC 20001; (202) 328-7004; http://fairus.org. A leading advocate for cracking down on illegal immigration and reducing legal immigration. Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20036; (202) 797-6000; www.brookings.edu/metro.aspx. The think tank produces numerous reports on both immigration and broader demographics, including geographical mobility. Migration Dialogue, University of California, Davis, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616; (530) 752-1011; http://migration.ucdavis.edu/index.php. A research center that focuses on immigration from rural Mexico and publishes two Web bulletins. Migration Policy Institute, 1400 16th St., N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036; (202) 266-1940; www.migrationpolicy.org. Analyzes global immigration trends and advocates fairer, more humane conditions for immigrants. National Immigration Forum; 50 F St., N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20001; (202) 347-0040; www.immigrationforum.org. A leading advocacy group in support of immigrants’ rights.
Benefits,” The Washington Post, Oct. 1, 1996, p. A1. 23 David Johnston, “Government is Quickly Using Power of New Immigration Law,” The New York Times, Oct. 22, 1996, p. A20. 24 William Branigin, “INS Shifts ‘Interior’ Strategy to Target Criminal Aliens,” The Washington Post, March 15, 1999, p. A3. 25 Deborah Meyers and Jennifer Yau, “US Immigration Statistics in 2003,” Migration Policy Institute, Nov. 1, 2004, www.migrationinformation.org/USfocus/display.cfm?id=263; and Homeland Security Department, “2003 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics,” http://uscis.gov/graphics/shared/statistics/yearbook/index.htm. 26 Jeffrey S. Passel, “Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population,” Pew Hispanic Center, March 21, 2005, p. 8. 27 Meyers and Yau, op. cit. 28 Lin, op. cit., p. 20. 29 For background, see Peter Katel, “Real ID,” CQ Researcher, May 4, 2007, pp. 385-408. 30 David D. Kirkpatrick, “Demonstrations on Immigration are Hardening a Divide,” The New York Times, April 17, 2006, p. 16. Arian Campo-Flores, “A Latino ‘Spanking,’ ” Newsweek, Dec. 4, 2006, p. 40. 32 Rick Montgomery and Scott Cannon, “Party Shift Won’t End Immigration Debate,” The Washington Post, Dec. 17, 2006, p. A11. 33 Jim VandeHei, “Florida Senator Will Be a Top RNC Officer,” The Washington Post, Nov. 14, 2006, p. A4. 34 Karoun Demirjian, “Bipartisan Immigration Deal Reached,” Chicago Tribune, May 18, 2007, p. 1. 35 Ibid. 36 Robert Pear and Jim Rutenberg, “Senators in Bipartisan Deal on Broad Immigration Bill,” The New York Times, May 18, 2007, p. A1. 37 Demirjian, op. cit. 38 Julia Preston, “U.S. to Speed Deportation of Criminals Behind Bars,” The New York Times, Jan. 15, 2008, p. A12. 39 Foon Rhee, “Obama Says He Wants a Mandate for Change,” www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2007/12/obama_says_he _w.html.
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Massey, Douglas S., ed., New Faces in New Places: The Changing Geography of American Immigration, Russell Sage Foundation, 2008. A collection of academic pieces shows how the waves of recent immigrants have been dispersed across America by shifts in various economic sectors and how their presence in areas outside traditional “gateways” has led to social tension. Myers, Dowell, Immigrants and Boomers: Forging a New Social Contract for the Future of America, Russell Sage Foundation, 2007. A demographer suggests that rates of immigration already may have peaked and argues that rather than being stigmatized immigrants need to be embraced as a replacement workforce for an aging Anglo population. Portes, Alejandro, and Ruben G. Rumbaut, Immigrant America: A Portrait, 3rd ed., University of California Press, 2006. This updated survey by two sociologists offers a broad look at where immigrants settle, what sort of work they do and how well they assimilate. face potential deportation since the failure of a bill designed to grant permanent legal status to those who finish high school and at least two years of higher education. Lizza, Ryan, “Return of the Nativist,” The New Yorker, Dec. 17, 2007, p. 46. How a hard line on immigration became central to the GOP Republican debate, taken even by candidates who had previously favored a more conciliatory approach. Preston, Julia, “U.S. to Speed Deportation of Criminals Behind Bars,” The New York Times, Jan. 15, 2008, p. A12. A federal agency pledges to step up arrests of employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, while speeding deportation of immigrants who have committed crimes. Sandler, Michael, “Immigration: From the Capitol to the Courts,” CQ Weekly, Dec. 10, 2007, p. 3644. The lack of action on Capitol Hill has encouraged scores of state and local jurisdictions to step in with immigrant-related legislation. Weisman, Jonathan, “For Republicans, Contest’s Hallmark Is Immigration,” The Washington Post, Jan. 2, 2008, p. A1. Illegal immigration has been a dominant issue in the GOP presidential primary contests.
Bacon, Perry Jr., and Anne E. Kornblut, “Issue of Illegal Immigration Is Quandary for Democrats,” The Washington Post, Nov. 2, 2007, p. A4. Immigration is a wedge issue that can work against Democratic presidential candidates and is perhaps the strongest card in the GOP’s deck. Bazar, Emily, “Strict Immigration Law Rattles Okla. Businesses,” USA Today, Jan. 10, 2008, p. 1A. Numerous business sectors in Oklahoma are complaining about worker shortages in the wake of a new state law that makes transporting or sheltering illegal immigrants a felony. Goodman, Josh, “Crackdown,” Governing, July 2007, p. 28. States are reacting to immigration pressures largely by enacting new restrictions on illegal immigrants and the employers who hire them. Greenhouse, Steven, “U.S. Seeks Rules to Allow Increase in Guest Workers,” The New York Times, Oct. 10, 2007, p. A16. Bush administration officials say they will allow farmers to bring in more foreign labor. Kiely, Kathy, “Children Caught in the Immigration Crossfire,” USA Today, Oct. 8, 2007, p. 1A. A million young, illegal immigrants in the United States
Reports and Studies
“2006 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics,” Department of Homeland Security, Sept. 2007, www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/yearbook/2006/OIS_2006_Yearbook.pdf. A wealth of statistical information about immigrant populations is presented, as well as enforcement actions. “2007 Enacted State Legislation Related to Immigrants and Immigration,” National Conference of State Legislatures, Nov. 29, 2007, www.ncsl.org/print/immig/2007Immigrationfinal.pdf. Last year, every state considered legislation related to immigration, with more than 1,500 bills introduced and 244 enacted into law. The amount of activity “in the continued absence of a comprehensive federal reform” was unprecedented and represented a threefold increase in legislation introduced and enacted since 2006. “2007 National Survey of Latinos: As Illegal Immigration Issue Heats Up, Latinos Feel a Chill,” Pew Hispanic Center, Dec. 19, 2007; available at http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/84.pdf. The poll finds that the prominence of the illegal-immigration issue has Hispanics more concerned about deportation and discrimination but generally content with their place in U.S. society.
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The Next Step:
Additional Articles from Current Periodicals
Billeaud, Jacques, “Arizona Senate Approves Bill to Confront Illegal Hirings,” The Associated Press, May 24, 2007. The Arizona Senate has approved a bill prohibiting employers from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and requiring them to check the employment eligibility of applicants. James, Frank, “Feds Threaten More Raids on Employers,” Chicago Tribune, April 21, 2006, p. A1. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has warned of an intensified campaign to target employers whose businesses rely heavily on undocumented workers. Porter, Eduardo, “The Search for Illegal Immigrants Stops at the Workplace,” The New York Times, March 5, 2006, p. C3. The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) devotes 4 percent of its personnel to policing illegal immigrants in the workplace, down from 9 percent in 1999. Sandler, Michael, “Committing a Hiring Offense,” CQ Weekly, May 22, 2006, p. 1391. An estimated 7 million workers in the United States are here illegally, evidence that most of the nearly 12 million illegal immigrants thought to be in the country have migrated for employment.
“College Entree for Illegal Immigrants,” Los Angeles Times, July 30, 2006, p. B7. Nine states, including California, allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition while attending public universities. Craig, Tim, “Va. Republican Bill Would Bar Illegal Immigrants from College,” The Washington Post, Aug. 30, 2007, p. A1. Virginia Republicans announced legislation that would prohibit illegal immigrants from attending public universities. Silva, Cristina, “A Struggle for Higher Learning,” The Boston Globe, July 6, 2006, p. B1. As immigration laws have tightened, college is no longer an easy option for Boston-area high-school students.
Haberman, Clyde, “A Right Turn on the Road to Giuliani ’08,” The New York Times, April 27, 2007, p. B1. Rudolph Giuliani no longer speaks about accepting illegal immigrants. Hook, Janet, “Voters Vacillate on Illegal Immigrants,” Los Angeles Times, Dec. 6, 2007, p. A1. One-third of American voters want to deny social services, including emergency health care, to illegal immigrants. Wallsten, Peter, “Democrats Wrangle on Immigration,” Los Angeles Times, Nov. 11, 2007, p. A1. Many political analysts think Democratic presidential candidates can toughen their stance on border issues without straying too far from traditional positions.
Guest Worker Programs
Saunders, Debra J., “What Guest Workers Want — Temp Jobs,” The San Francisco Chronicle, March 2, 2006, p. B9. Guest worker programs are nothing but an attempt to subsidize corporations so they can sell their products at bargain prices and make larger profits. Surowiecki, James, “Be Our Guest!” The New Yorker, June 11, 2007, p. 52. The most vocal supporters of a proposed guest worker program are businesses that rely heavily on labor from illegal immigrants. Thornburgh, Nathan, “How Not to Treat the Guests,” Time, June 4, 2007, p. 42. Economists say guest worker programs may look like a solution to the country’s seasonal agricultural needs, but they inevitably fail under systems of red tape. Williams, Krissah, “Unions Split on Immigrant Workers,” The Washington Post, Jan. 27, 2007, p. D1. The Service Employees International Union backs guest worker programs while the AFL-CIO calls them exploitative and advocates allowing immigrants to enter the country as permanent residents.
CITING CQ RESEARCHER
Sample formats for citing these reports in a bibliography include the ones listed below. Preferred styles and formats vary, so please check with your instructor or professor.
Jost, Kenneth. “Rethinking the Death Penalty.” CQ Researcher 16 Nov. 2001: 945-68.
Jost, K. (2001, November 16). Rethinking the death penalty. CQ Researcher, 11, 945-968.
Jost, Kenneth. “Rethinking the Death Penalty.” CQ Researcher, November 16, 2001, 945-968.
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Updated Dec. 10, 2010
Here are key events, legislation and court rulings since publication of the CQ Researcher report by Alan Greenblatt, “Immigration Debate,” Feb. 1, 2008.
or illegal immigrants in the United States, 2010 has not been a good year, and it appears likely to end on a particularly sour note. On Dec. 8, the House passed its version of the much-vaunted Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would create a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as children. But Senate Democrats promptly tabled the bill, making its passage this year highly unlikely. Immigrants saw similar lack of support throughout the year. “People come here to have babies,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., declared on Fox News in July 2010 during a summer when immigration controversies swirled through the country. Graham introduced to the national discourse the term “drop and leave,” a practice he says is common among illegal immigrants who enter the country and proceed to the nearest emergency room to give birth to their family’s “anchor baby,” who is automatically a U.S. citizen. 40
AFP/Getty Images/Mandel Ngan Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer addresses reporters after meeting with President Obama at the White House in June 2010. Over Obama’s objections, the Republican governor signed a controversial law in April that gives police broad powers to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.
Constitutional Amendment Graham joined other Republicans who have been agitating for a consti-
tutional amendment to alter the 14th Amendment to remove “birthright citizenship” for children of immigrants. Many of them know it would be an uphill battle to change a 142-yearold amendment designed primarily to ensure freedom for children of slaves. The Supreme Court has twice rejected similar proposals. 41 Politically, however, the proposal put wind in the sails of conservatives calling for stepped-up enforcement of immigration laws to seal porous U.S. borders, restore respect for the law and reduce the financial burden they say undocumented workers impose on state and local social programs. But to immigrants’ advocates, the proposal is a xenophobic distraction. “Our nation cannot revert to the shameful ‘separate but equal’ doctrine that justified segregation in America for over 50 years,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a Washington-based group that advocates on behalf of immigrants. “By denying the right to citizenship to children born on American soil, we will not only stifle the potential of success for countless Americans, but we will be-
tray the basic principles of equality envisioned by our Founding Fathers.” 42 About 340,000 of the 4.3 million babies born in the United States in 2008 — about 8 percent of the total — have at least one undocumented immigrant as a parent, according to a study released in August by the Pew Hispanic Center. 43 The proposal to change the 14th Amendment is opposed by 56 percent of Americans, according to a national poll by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, while 41 percent favor it.
PUBLISHED BY CQ PRESS, A DIVISION OF SAGE
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Arizona’s New Law Whether or not the anchor-baby issue endures or fades, it encapsulates the national divisions over proposed crackdowns on illegal immigration. These fissures have been on noisy display this year in Arizona, where Republican Gov. Jan Brewer in April signed the nation’s toughest immigration enforcement law. as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.” 45 The controversy only intensified. Foreign governments, including Mexico, protested, and entertainers and civil rights groups began a boycott of Arizona businesses. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder filed a lawsuit to block the law, and on July 27 — two days tion legislation, prompted an uptick in proposed state immigration bills around the country. As of November 10, bills similar to Arizona’s had been introduced in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Michigan and Illinois, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 48 The political import of the issue was demonstrated in the August primary election for the Senate seat held by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. McCain in 2007 had worked with Democrats and the George W. Bush administration in an unsuccessful attempt at comprehensive immigration reform. In 2010 he moved sharply to the right in his ultimately successful re-election campaign against conservative former U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth. McCain abandoned his past support for guest worker programs and stressed the enforcement approach. 49 What is happening, according to Ira Mehlman, media director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which favors strict immigration enforcement, is that “the enforcement of immigration law has become a higher priority for the public, as evidenced by the public support for the Arizona law and opposition to” the lawsuit by Attorney General Holder. “His suit is directed at other states in an attempt to intimidate them” so they won’t follow Arizona’s path, Mehlman says. “He’s saying, ‘We don’t want immigration law enforced.’ ” Noorani of the National Immigration Forum says that what stands out from the polling is that “the country is asking why Congress hasn’t fixed the broken immigration system.” Congress, however, has been unable to muster consensus even to take up omnibus immigration reform, and the Obama administration has not offered its own bill. The only recent action of note came on August 12, when the Senate convened in a special session and passed by acclamation a bill just passed by the House providing $600 million
Critics of Arizona’s tough immigration law protest at the state capitol in Phoenix in April after Gov. Brewer signed the law. President Obama said it threatened “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans.” The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is weighing a lower court order freezing several of the law’s provisions.
It makes the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and gives police broad powers to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. “We have to trust our law enforcement,” said Brewer, responding to demands from Arizonans fearful of being overrun by illegal immigrants committing crimes in their communities while the politically stalemated federal government sits idly by. 44 “What part of illegal don’t you understand?” read countless protest signs carried by Arizonans supporting the crackdown when President Obama pounced on the law, saying it threatened “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans,
before they would have taken effect — U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton froze several of the law’s provisions. In August, Gov. Brewer filed an appeal to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 46 On November 1, the threejudge panel heard arguments and gave indications that it might reinstate — but strike down some components of — the law. 47 National polls showed a majority of Americans backing the Arizona crackdown, by 55 percent according to a July CNN/Opinion Research poll. State Immigration Bills The Arizona debate, coupled with Congress’ failure to take up immigra-
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Getty Images/John Moore
Dec. 15 — Congressional Hispanic Caucus joins 100 House cosponsors to introduce Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009. It goes nowhere.
July 6 — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder files suit challenging Arizona law. July 27 — U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocks portions of Arizona’s law. Aug. 24 — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., wins primary after moving to the right on immigration enforcement. Aug. 26 — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer appeals district court’s rejection of parts of immigration crackdown law. Judges hear appeal on Nov. 1 and give indications of a possible reinstatement.
Nov. 2 — Republicans win House in a landslide, gaining 63 seats. Anti-immigrant Tea Party candidates make huge gains. Dec. 8 — House of Representatives passes DREAM Act favoring citizenship for young immigrants. Senate tables vote amid doubts over passage.
April 23 — Arizona enacts tough immigration law, prompting worldwide protests and boycotts of state economy.
for “emergency supplemental appropriations for border security.” DREAM Act Proponents had hoped for better luck with the DREAM Act, introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif. Backed by many colleges and universities, it would help children of undocumented immigrants who have attended American public schools go on to higher education and emerge on a path to citizenship. Eligible immigrants would have to prove that they entered the United States prior to age 18 and would be required to complete at least two years of college or military training, among other requisites. The American Association of Community Colleges said in an April 26 statement: “We call upon Congress to pass the DREAM Act and to further fulfill its responsibility to enact a national immigration policy that is clear,
Jan. 5 — Republicans assume control of the House of Representatives.
that is fair and that upholds our nation’s founding principles as a land of sanctuary and opportunity.” Opponents of the bill, who are organized at the noamericandreamact.org website, call it amnesty for illegal immigrants who will compete with native-born Americans for scarce slots at public universities. Furthermore, critics say, the bill would increase illegal immigration by allowing undocumented individuals to pin their hopes on eventual citizenship for their children, as well as for themselves through sponsorships. The House passed the measure, 216 to 198, on December 9. Senate Democrats, however, tabled the DREAM Act amid a lack of support, jeopardizing its chances of passage before the lame-duck session ends in early January. 50 Moreover, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the likely chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in the new Con-
gress, has been labeled a hard-liner on immigration policy and a proponent for nationwide laws similar to the one enacted in Arizona. 51 The passage of the DREAM Act, analysts say, would become impossible after the conclusion of the lame-duck. Border Enforcement The administration, meanwhile, has stepped up border enforcement, committing in May to send several hundred Army National Guard troops to Arizona. To help employers comply with the law on hiring, the Department of Homeland Security has launched a free, voluntary program called E-Verify, an Internet-based system that allows an employer, using information reported on an employee’s Employment Eligibility Verification form, to determine the eligibility of that employee to work in the United States. More than 216,000 employers are enrolled in the program, and more than 13 million queries have
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AMERICA'S BORDER FENCE
BY REED KARAIM
Excerpted from Reed Karaim, CQ Researcher (September 19, 2008), pp. 745-768.
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America’s Border Fence
BY REED KARAIM
cent opposing it. But only 44 percent believe it will make a difference, while 55 percent n the arid landscape near do not. 1 Naco, Ariz., America’s That sentiment may partnew border fence already ly reflect skepticism about looks timeworn. A rusted the effectiveness of the efbrown the color of the disfort. The “fence” is really a tant Huachuca Mountains, melange of barriers — built spray-painted here and there along several different stretchwith directions for maintees of the border — designed nance crews, it snakes up to hamper immigrants crossand down rugged hills, dising illegally on foot and in appearing into the distance. vehicles. Some of the earliBesides its length, the most est portions are solid metal, surprising thing about the consisting of corrugated steel fence is how unimpressive it once used in Vietnam-era airappears. Our nation’s highly craft landing mats. More republicized first line of decent sections are often made fense against illegal entry, of wire mesh reinforced by now being built up and down concrete-filled poles or taller the U.S.-Mexican border, concrete-filled poles planted looks in some places like six inches apart. The height something that might guard ranges from 12 to 18 feet. a construction site. Vehicle barriers are lower But to Border Patrol and often resemble the The fence blocks illegal border crossings near Ciudad Agent Mike Scioli the fence crossed metal defenses erectJuarez (right side of fence) and El Paso, Texas. The marks a new day. “It’s a ed by the Germans on the planned 670-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexican border huge improvement,” he said beaches of Normandy durincludes a mix of pedestrian and vehicle barriers. Supporters call the fence a vital first step in securing the recently, while showing a reing World War II. U.S. border; opponents say it is a waste of money that porter the 14-foot-high fencThe longest continuous threatens wildlife and forces undocumented immigrants ing near Naco and the acsegment is 22.5 miles, acto take more dangerous desert routes into the U.S. companying new roads, lights cording to Barry Morrissey, and other improvements. “It makes a driveway. “It’s the perfect govern- a Bureau of Customs and Border Prohuge difference in our ability to do ment project.” tection (CBP) spokesman. The United The 670 miles of barriers the gov- States had constructed 338 miles of our job. It changes the game.” A few miles away, Bill Odle, a re- ernment plans to have in place along fencing as of Aug. 13, 2008. 2 Hometired Marine whose house sits only a the U.S.-Mexican border by the end land Security Secretary Michael Chertoff hundred yards or so from a stretch of of the year does more than separate has said 670 miles will be in place by fence erected last fall, views the fence two nations: It sharply divides U.S. the end of 2008 — stretching across quite differently. Odle has lived on the opinion about how we should ap- about one-third of the 1,950-mile-long border since 1997 and is familiar with proach illegal immigration and border U.S.-Mexican border. Roughly 370 the evidence and even the sight of il- security. That division becomes evi- miles of the fence will be designed to legal immigrants stealing across. He dent even in what the barricade is stop pedestrians and 300 miles of it regularly picks up the trash they leave called. The government and support- to stop vehicular traffic. 3 At least 28 behind and fixes livestock fences ers of the structure call it a “fence”; miles of the fence will consist of highthey’ve damaged. But it’s the border opponents disparagingly call it a “wall.” tech sensors and cameras that will creA March 2008 Associated Press poll ate a “virtual fence” in parts of the fence itself that raises his ire. “It’s ugly. It doesn’t work. It costs found Americans almost evenly split Arizona desert. However, Homeland too much,” Odle said, contemplat- over the Secure Border Initiative, with Security recently sent that project back ing the steel-mesh barrier from his 49 percent favoring the fence and 48 per- to the drawing board after the initial
AFP/Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla
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Border Fence Affects Four States
The U.S.-Mexican border fence is slated to span 670 miles across four states — Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California — by the end of 2008. More than half of the barricade will be designed to stop pedestrians, and the rest will block vehicular traffic. Nearly half of the fence will be located in Arizona. Length of Border Fence (in miles, by state)
200 150 100 50 0 California New Mexico
78 12 13 0
Total Mileage: 370 300
149 130 101
Source: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
effort proved neither high-tech nor particularly effective. 4 But even as National Guard engineering units and private contractors work to meet Chertoff’s ambitious completion timetable, everything about the fencing — from design to location to the very notion itself — has proven controversial. Some prefer a double layer of more formidable fencing along nearly the entire length of the border. 5 Others object to the wall on humanitarian grounds, believing it only forces illegal migrants to try crossing in more dangerous or remote desert areas or along the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts. In both cases, they say, the death toll — which has been climbing for years — is likely to rise further. 6 “The fence doesn’t stop migration along the border, it simply displaces migration,” says Nestor Rodriguez, codirector of the Center for Immigration Research at the University of Houston. The fence has attracted a widely disparate group of opponents. A coalition
of civic leaders from 19 Texas border communities has sued to halt construction, claiming the federal government has improperly seized land for the fence. The Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club are trying to halt the fence because of concern over what it will to do wildlife and environmentally sensitive habitat. “This thing might not be very effective at stopping people, but it’s stopping wildlife in its tracks,” says Matt Clark, the Southwestern representative of Defenders of Wildlife. (See sidebar, p. 758, and “Current Situation,” p. 762.) While critics attack from all directions, supporters concentrate their defense of the fence along two fronts: its important role in halting illegal immigration and bolstering border security at a time of increased threats from terrorists and drug smugglers. “It sends a message we are finally getting serious about our borders,” says Rosemary Jenks, director of governmental affairs for NumbersUSA, a group
that advocates reducing both illegal and legal immigration. Few think a fence alone will stem the tide of illegal immigrants across the Southern border, estimated by the Pew Hispanic Center at about 850,000 people annually between 2000 to 2006. 7 But supporters believe properly placed fencing, backed by more surveillance equipment and an expanded Border Patrol (projected to reach 18,319 agents by the end of 2008) can largely halt the flow of illegal human traffic. 8 The history of the economic, demographic and cultural forces that finally led America to fence off more than a third of its border with Mexico is nearly as long and serpentine as the fence itself. In fact, the fence can be viewed as the physical manifestation of two powerful political currents: heightened U.S. attention to national security after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and a rapidly integrating global economy that has left many Americans vulnerable to competition from foreign workers, both here and abroad. The forerunner of the fence building now under way began in a far more limited fashion near San Diego in the 1990s. Congress adopted the idea as a national approach to the border when it passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which called for doublelayer fencing along specific sections of the border. The law was subsequently modified to give Chertoff wide discretion in where and when to install fencing. Work is under way in all four states along the border — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. But two states will get most of the barrier: Texas will get 149 miles of pedestrian fencing by the end of 2008, according to the CBP, while Arizona will end up with 317 miles (130 miles of pedestrian fencing and 187 miles of vehicular barriers), covering 84 percent of the state’s 377mile border with Mexico.
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The CBP estimates that pedestrian fencing costs about $4 million to $5 million per mile, depending on the terrain, while vehicle fencing costs $2 million to $3 million. But the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the final costs will be higher. 9 Although the long-term price tag is difficult to estimate, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts the 25-year cost could range from $16.4 million to $70 million per mile, depending on the amount of damage done to the fence by illegal border crossers and the elements. 10 Thus the quarter-century cost to taxpayers for 670 miles of fence could reach as high as $46.9 billion, or nearly seven times the size of the annual budget of the Environmental Protection Agency. Moreover, if Chertoff’s goal is to be met, construction will have to average more than a mile a day for the rest of this year. Many supporters and opponents are skeptical, but government officials are confident they’ll meet the self-imposed deadline. “We are on track to complete this project by the end of the year,” says Jason Ahern, CBP deputy commissioner, “and then we’ll assess where we need to consider putting additional miles of fence.” Meanwhile, as the fence rises, here are some of the questions being asked: Can a border fence stem the flow of illegal immigrants? The border below San Diego was being overwhelmed by illegal immigrants in the early 1990s when the U.S. government began building pedestrian fencing in the area. The initial fence did not have the impact supporters had hoped, but when it was backed up with a second and third layer of fencing, along with surveillance equipment and an increased Border Patrol presence, the results were dramatic. At the Border Patrol’s Imperial Beach and Chula Vista stations, which had been ground zero of the illegal migrant
Undocumented Population Rose
The nation’s unauthorized migrant population increased by more than 3 million between 2000 and 2005 — a jump of nearly 33 percent, according to the 2005 Current Population Survey. The increases were among immigrants from every region in the world except the Caribbean. Mexico led the way with more than 6.2 million immigrants in 2005, more than all other regions combined.
Number (In thousands)
8,000 7,000 6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 Mexico
Unauthorized Migrant Population by Birth Region, 2000 and 2005
2000 Census 2005 Current Population Survey
Central Caribbean South America America
Europe and Canada
South Other and Eastern Asia
Source: Jeffrey S. Passel, “The Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population in the U.S.,” Pew Hispanic Center, March 2006
explosion, apprehensions plummeted from 294,740 people in 1994 to 19,035 in 2004. 11 (See graph, p. 752.) Apprehensions are considered one of the best measures of the overall number of migrants trying to cross illegally, and supporters of the fence cite these statistics, along with similar ones in the Border Patrol’s Yuma, Ariz., sector. “A fence is a clearly proven technology that, when deployed properly and used in conjunction with other enforcement strategies, clearly works,” says Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which supports even stronger measures to stop illegal immigrants. “The Yuma fence is triple fencing, and nobody gets over it. You can build a fence that’s essentially impenetrable.” Skeptics point out the increases in personnel and equipment may have had as much to do with the success
as the fencing. But Deputy Commissioner Ahern says the fence was always intended to work in conjunction with other resources. “We have what we call the three legs of our stool: tactical infrastructure [the fence], technology and personnel,” he says. “It’s that combination that’s effective.” Agent Scioli believes the fence will deter some migrants and smugglers, but he says it makes his job easier even if illegal migrants make it over the top, because catching border crossers is an equation involving time and distance. Agents are trained in “cutting sign” — following the footprints and other pieces of evidence migrants leave as they pass through the desert. If agents are late to the trail, their chances of success drop dramatically. “Yes, I’ve heard what people say. ‘Show me a 14-foot fence, and I’ll show you someone with a 15-foot ladder,’ ”
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AMERICA’S BORDER FENCE
Does the Border Fence Deter Would-be Terrorists?
Some believe terrorists are more likely to enter legally.
he Border Patrol annually rounds up a smattering of illegal entrants from nearly every country in the world, including Middle Eastern countries considered hotbeds of terrorist activity. Indeed, the Internet buzzes with reports of Korans and prayer rugs found along the U.S.-Mexican border. But so far, no one in the U.S. government has tied any terrorist act to anyone who crossed the border illegally. The 9/11 hijackers all entered the United States on temporary visas, arriving through regular ports of entry. Other foreign terrorists or wouldbe terrorists apprehended in the United States have followed similar routes into the country. Many immigration and security experts believe the Southwestern border remains an unattractive option for terrorists plotting their path into the United States. “We have lots of data on terrorist travel. They like to travel the way everybody else travels. They like predictability. They like to know what they’re going to face,” says James Jay Carafano, a senior defense and counterterrorism analyst for the conservative Heritage Foundation. “That’s not to say a terrorist can’t try to use a smuggler to get across the border, but they’re far more likely to use the legal ports of entry.” Carafano believes a border fence makes sense for immigration control in limited areas but that the cost and effort necessary to build nearly 700 miles of fence is diverting resources that could be better used to improve infrastructure and screening procedures at ports of entry. “Fixating myopically on the wall is just bad public policy,” he says. “Looking for terrorists by standing watch on the border is stupid. It’s looking for a needle in a haystack.” But Michael Cutler, a former Immigration and Naturalization Service special agent and now a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, thinks the danger of terrorists sneaking across the U.S.-Mexican border shouldn’t be discounted. “If you’re doing risk analysis, any place where somebody could reasonably expect to enter the United States is a place where you want to shore up
security,” he says. “And when you look at how many people cross that border every week, and the evidence of Islamists they’ve found there, then I think you’ve got to consider it a threat.” Cutler is concerned that Hezbollah and other terrorist groups may have a presence in the “tri-border region” in South America — the area where Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil meet, which includes an immigrant population from the Middle East. He believes the region could provide a Latin American base for Islamic terrorists who could use the Southwestern border to enter the United States. However, the credibility of such a threat is debated in security circles. Rey Koslowski, director of the Research Program on Border Control and Homeland Security at the University at Albany, in New York, says U.S. efforts to tighten security at ports of entry — particularly a new system intended to make it more difficult for those on the government’s terrorist “watch list” to board airplanes bound for the United States — could make the Southwestern border more attractive to “established terrorists.” If they did end up contemplating that route, then the border fence might help deter them, Koslowski adds, since it would make their capture — and identification — more likely. Still, he believes al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations would probably choose a different strategy: sending individuals who don’t have a criminal record and thus would be less likely to generate a “watch list” hit. “Such individuals would be in a better position to enter through ports of entry, at lower levels of risk,” Koslowski says. But Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which favors less immigration — legal or illegal — says the “general sense of chaos” along the U.S.-Mexican border created by the large number of illegal migrants makes it an attractive target for terrorists. “The fact that it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen,” he says. “The presumption ought to be that if we leave any areas unguarded, our enemies will take advantage of them.”
Scioli says. “But even if they do get over this fence, it takes time. Now, when I’m on their trail, maybe it only takes minutes to catch them, rather than hours.” The Border Patrol’s comprehensive approach sounds impregnable. But to Odle, the ex-Marine who lives along the border, the reality is different. Almost all of the new fencing around Naco, as along most of the border, is a single layer that largely stands alone — a one-legged stool he sees doing little good. The remote-controlled
cameras and motion sensors that have been in the desert for some time don’t seem particularly effective, he says, and his stretch of the border is still only lightly patrolled. “The Border Patrol, their presence has lessened considerably since they built the wall,” he says. Odle does credit the vehicle barriers with stopping smugglers from driving across the desert the way they once did. But the rest fails to impress him. If anything, he believes illegal migration may have increased slightly in the area since
the fence went up. “I’ve seen women and kids as well as guys climbing over it,” he says. “I could put up with the damn thing if it worked, but it doesn’t.” Criticism of the fence grows even stronger when its effectiveness is measured on a national scale. “It can slow down or deter migration in some areas that are very popular for border crossing, as it did in San Diego, but that doesn’t mean it stops migration along the whole border,” notes Rodriguez of the Center for Immigration Research.
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National statistics back this assertion. says. Besides, he continues, a contin- found that 91 percent of the villagers The Border Patrol made 1.2 million uous border would only create added interviewed in San Miguel Tlacotepec, apprehensions in 1992 along the entire pressure at the maritime borders, which a city in Southern Mexico, believed it Southern border and about the same is already happening. “We’ve had about is “very dangerous” to cross the border number in 2004, suggesting that in- two dozen boats washing up or in- without documents. And nearly a quarcreased enforcement in the San Diego terdicted in San Diego County since ter of the interviewees knew someone sector and other areas made little dif- last August. And those were only the who had died trying to get into the United States. ference in the overall number of im- boats that were found.” Yet such awareness didn’t make a migrants trying to cross illegally. 12 Moreover, Canada does not require The more recent squeeze in Yuma Mexicans to produce a visa when en- difference. 15 “Being aware of the also has been met with increased ac- tering Canada. 13 For a continuous physical risks, being aware of sometivity elsewhere. Fence supporters Southern-border fence to work, says one who actually died in the crosscounter that’s because much of the Rey Koslowski, director of the Re- ing, knowing about the Border Panew fencing is still inadequate. They search Program on Border Control trol’s increased efforts to interdict note that before the people — none of Secure Fence Act of these things discouraged 2006 was revised them,” says Cornelius. last year, it required In fact, Cornelius says, double layers of the interviews revealed fencing along specthat increased border ified parts of the enforcement has ended border. “They took up discouraging illegal out that language,” immigrants from returnsays NumbersUSA’s ing home because of the Jenks, “which would danger now involved. have made a big “The undocumented difference.” population has tripled durFencing and ing the period of constepped-up patrolling centrated border enforceare effective, say ment,” he says. “We were fence supporters, at 3.9 million in 1995, and when the governnow we’re over 12 milA vehicle barrier lines the south side of Interstate 8 at the Imperial ment is willing to lion. To me, that’s the most Dunes, just north of the U.S.-Mexican border near Winterhaven, Calif. commit sufficient resignificant evidence that Some 300 miles of border fencing are designed to stop vehicles. sources to the task. this approach has failed.” “We don’t argue that the fence alone is the solution,” says and Homeland Security at the Uni- Would blocking all illegal immiJenks. “The fence is one part of the versity at Albany in New York, “The grants hurt or benefit the U.S. solution. But there are vast amounts of U.S. would have to build another fence economy? land . . . where fencing is feasible and on the much longer 5,525-mile U.S.Both supporters and critics of the where it would do a tremendous amount Canadian border or persuade the Cana- border fence agree that as long as U.S. of good. We need more fence along dian government to end free travel businesses continue to hire illegal imthe border.” migrants for higher salaries than they from Mexico.” But stepped-up border enforcement But even that wouldn’t complete- can earn at home, workers will conalone is bound to fail, says Wayne ly solve the problem, because 45 per- tinue to risk their lives to enter the Cornelius, director of the Center for cent of all illegal immigrants entered United States. Comparative Immigration Studies at the the United States legally but did not But a divide quickly reemerges in University of California, San Diego, leave in accordance with the terms discussions about the impact those imwhich favors lower U.S. immigration of their visas, according to the Pew migrants have on the U.S. economy. levels. “A continuous barrier is im- Hispanic Center. 14 Some see illegal immigrants doing work The most recent study by the Cen- that U.S. citizens spurn, filling a host of possible because of the terrain; even the government recognizes that,” he ter for Comparative Immigration Studies hard, low-paying, but essential service
Getty Images/David McNew
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Arrests Shift After Border Improvements
After the U.S.-Mexican border was strengthened in San Diego in the early 1990s, arrests of illegal immigrants in the region — which includes Imperial Beach and Chula Vista — dropped dramatically. At the same time, however, apprehensions in Tucson skyrocketed to 491,000 in 2004. Because of the shift of illegal immigration to Tucson, the overall number of illegal migrants — 630,000 — apprehended in the San Diego and Tucson border regions remained about the same in 2004 as in 1992.
Kathleen Staudt, a political science professor at the University of Texas, El Paso, says immigrants make a convenient target during tough economic times. But she believes overheated rhetoric has kept many Americans from seeing the role illegal immigrants play in the economy. “If we were forced to do without this labor, I think the economies of many border towns would begin to die,” she says, “and the price of many mainstream goods and services would go up dramatically.” However, Stein, at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, says the laws of supply and demand would bring clear rewards to U.S. workers. “If the people here illegally had to leave, wages would rise, and employers would suddenly have incentives to provide things like health care again,” he says. “It would be a great windfall for the rising tide of less-skilled workers in the country, who would have a chance to reestablish their role in the middle class.” But would Americans really take jobs in meatpacking plants, janitorial services, yard care, food service, construction and other trades now dependent on illegal labor? Staudt doubts it. “I think the chamber of commerce in many cities would begin to lobby very hard for relaxed [immigration] rules allowing more people in to fill these jobs,” she says. That has already happened in Arizona, which passed a law last year imposing stiff, new sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants. Since then, the hospitality and agriculture industries have reported worker shortages. 16 Some business groups have sued to overturn the law, and some of the original sponsors are even calling for reducing penalties on businesses that violate the law. 17 Opponents of illegal immigrants say businesses’ economic distress is just the result of the economic system adjusting to new realities. “It’s not a
800,000 700,000 600,000 500,000 400,000 300,000 200,000 100,000 0
Apprehensions of Illegal Immigrants in Tucson and San Diego
Source: Blas Nuñez-Neto and Yule Kim, “Border Security: Barriers Along the U.S. International Border,” Congressional Research Service, May 2008
Tucson Imperial Beach (San Diego) Chula Vista (San Diego) Other San Diego
and trade jobs that allow the rest of us to live comfortably. That view was encapsulated in the 2004 movie “A Day Without a Mexican,” a comedy that shows the California economy grinding to a halt when the state’s immigrants mysteriously disappear. (The film attracted almost no attention in the United States but was a hit and won several awards in Mexico.) Others, however, believe illegal immigrants are driving down U.S. wages, draining state and federal treasuries by collecting government payments to which they’re not entitled and contributing to rising health-care and lawenforcement costs. These sentiments
are strong enough to have transformed CNN anchor Lou Dobbs — who proudly waves the anti-illegals flag — into a populist hero to millions of Americans. Dobbs ties the illegal immigrant surge to larger economic forces, chiefly globalization, and the “sellout” by U.S. policymakers to powerful business interests, which are all part of what he calls a “war on the middle class.” Dobbs particularly claims that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which lowered trade barriers between the United States, Mexico and Canada, has sent U.S. jobs to Mexico and lowered American wages.
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crime for employers to have to raise wages to get people to do certain jobs,” says Stein. But Gordon Hanson, an economist at the University of California, San Diego, who has studied the impact of immigrant labor on the workforce, says, “The United States has done a pretty good job of educating itself out of low-end work. Only 8 percent of the U.S. labor force lacks a high-school education. You don’t graduate from high school to go to work in a poultry plant.” America also has one of the highest incarceration rates in the developed world, Hanson adds, further reducing the low-end labor supply. 18 If illegal immigrant labor is cut off, “you’re not going to fill all those jobs with native workers,” he says. “In industries where work can be exported, you’re going to lose jobs.” Wages will rise in the service industries where jobs can’t be exported — such as maids, dishwashers, gardeners, waiters and 7-11 clerks — but so will the costs to consumers, Hanson says. While illegal labor hurts lowskilled U.S. workers, it helps higherskilled workers by providing them with cheaper goods and services, such as home and child care. “In families with two educated workers,” Hanson says, “it allows whoever would be the stay-at-home spouse to stay in the workforce at lower cost.” The question of how much illegal immigration costs taxpayers also is hotly disputed. The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that in just three areas — schooling, medical care and incarceration — illegal immigrants cost local governments $36 billion a year. 19 Other estimates are lower, but most economists agree illegal workers are a net cost to local governments, especially in communities with large illegal populations. The costs are incurred, in part, because illegal workers are less likely to have health insurance than U.S. citi-
zens and because their children are more likely to need special assistance in school. With average incomes significantly below the national average, most studies indicate illegal workers pay less in state and local taxes than they collect in services. 20 However, the impact appears limited. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that public spending for illegal immigrants generally accounts for less than 5 percent of state and local spending on law enforcement, education and health care. 21 The impact on the federal budget is less clear. A Center for Immigration Studies report put the net cost to the federal government for services provided to illegal immigrants — such as Medicare, food stamps, subsidized school lunches, federal aid to public schools and increased costs to the federal court and prison systems — at about $10 billion annually. 22 But other analysts say illegal immigrants pay more into the federal treasury in taxes and Social Security taxes — since they usually have fake Social Security cards — than they receive in benefits. A study by Standard & Poor’s, a credit-rating and research firm, noted the U.S. Social Security Administration places $6 billion to $7 billion in a special account for unclaimed benefits annually — an amount analysts believe mostly comes from illegal immigrants who pay Social Security taxes but cannot legally claim Social Security or Medicare benefits. 23 When all the economic pluses and minuses are taken into account, Hanson says, “You get something that’s close to a wash. There are distributional shifts within the economy — some employers and consumers who will be hurt, some workers and state and local governments that will benefit. But our best sense is that the net economic impact isn’t huge.”
Does the fence harm U.S relations with Mexico and other countries? About a century ago, Mexican strongman Porfirio Diaz surveyed his nation’s already long and troubled relationship with its neighbor to the north and observed, “Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States.” Much has changed in both countries since Diaz’s dictatorial reign. Mexico’s politics are far more vibrant, peaceful and democratic. America no longer interferes as bluntly as it once did in its neighbor’s affairs, and NAFTA ties the two countries together economically with Canada. But in more than one sense, Diaz’s melancholy observation feels as timeless as ever. “Mexico has never been the actor that drives the relationship,” says Tony Payan, an assistant professor of international relations and foreign policy at the University of Texas, El Paso. “It’s always been unilateral action by the United States, and then Mexico is left to react.” Mexico made its unhappiness with the border fence clear from the beginning. In 2005, then-Mexican President Vicente Fox called the idea “shameful” when it began gaining traction in Congress. “It’s not possible that in the 21st century we’re building walls between two nations that are neighbors, between two nations that are brothers,” Fox said at an event for migrants in his home state of Guanajuato. 24 Mexican officials already were distressed by the rising death toll among illegal migrants, which began after U.S. border enforcement activities were stepped up in the mid-1990s. By sealing off the areas of heaviest illegal crossing, the Border Patrol drove border crossers into more remote and deadly terrain, particularly the Arizona desert. Illegal immigrant deaths along the border have climbed steadily, according to the U.S. Border Patrol and Mexican consular offices, rising to 472 in 2005, compared to an average of about 200 in the early 1990s. 25 The totals are widely believed to be undercounted,
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however, because they reflect only bodies recovered by the U.S. and Mexican border patrols. In the rugged expanses of the Southwestern desert, many are likely never found. 26 Mexico has officially complained about the expansion of fencing. “We certainly recognize that they would prefer not to have a fence between our two countries,” says Customs Deputy Commissioner Ahern. “But they acknowledge that we need to secure our country, that it’s our responsibility and our sovereign right.” The two countries continue to cooperate along the border, with Mexican officials working with their U.S. counterparts on the International Boundary Waters Commission to ensure that fence construction along the Rio Grande River does not impede water flow or drainage. The two countries also continue to work together to battle violent crime and drug smuggling along the border. “We’ve had a great relationship with them there,” Ahern says. His comments dovetail with public statements offered by President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon during the North American Leaders Summit in Louisiana last April. Both said the relationship between the two countries remains strong and collaborative, despite Mexican concerns over U.S. immigration policy. 27 But some observers are skeptical. “I think there’s almost total disillusionment right now among Mexico’s ruling elites,” says Ed Williams, a retired political science professor from the University of Arizona. “They’ve recognized that this is the reality and that haranguing isn’t going to change anything, but there’s enormous disappointment.” The disappointment is particularly profound, he adds, because Mexico initially believed Bush’s time as governor of Texas and his close relationship with Fox signaled an era of closer ties between the two countries once he was elected. Some fence proponents acknowledge the bond between the United States and its Southern neighbor has been damaged, but they blame Mexican attitudes. “U.S.-Mexico relations are headed for hard times because they insist on respect, but what we want is a mutuality of respect,” says FAIR’s Stein, “and for some reason they seem to think it’s a one-way street. They want a special policy for Mexican nationals.” Americans often take their neighbors — both to the north and south — for granted, even though the Mexicans and Canadians are more important to the U.S. economy than is generally realized. Canada and Mexico are America’s top two trading partners as well as, respectively, the largest and third-largest suppliers of crude oil to the United States. Williams believes dismay over U.S. border policies extends to Canada, too. “The policy elites in both Canada and Mexico are increasingly exasperated with the United States, and therefore a whole host of relationships are jeopardized by a feeling of ill will that characterizes the current situation,” he says. At the end of the Louisiana summit, Bush and Calderon, along with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, issued a joint communiqué pledging, among other things, to coordinate long-term infrastructure plans along their borders and to “deepen cooperation on the development and application of technology to make our borders both smarter and more secure.” 28 Although the communiqué painted a picture of three partners marching together into the future, Payan at the University of Texas believes the real picture is different. “What you have is an elephant in the middle with two mice sleeping on either side. Canada and Mexico are always going to have to move in such a way that the elephant doesn’t squash them,” he says. “But the image is a little more complicated than it first seems because the elephant is afraid of mice. And, right now, the U.S. is viewing its neighbors as potential threats.”
ations have been building walls or fences along their borders more or less since nations began. Consider Hadrian’s Wall, built in the second century AD along Roman Britain’s frontier. The wall was made of turf and stone instead of steel and concrete, but its commonly accepted purpose sounds familiar: to keep the poorer “barbarians” of ancient Scotland from invading the civilized and more prosperous empire. The Great Wall of China built over several hundred years was a similar, even more expansive effort. Much like the U.S. border fence, it wasn’t one structure but a series of walls totaling about 4,000 miles along strategic stretches of the border, designed to keep out the Mongols and other nomadic tribes from Central Asia. More recently, the Berlin Wall appears to have been built for the opposite reason: to keep residents inside communist East Berlin. However, as former University of Arizona political science Professor Williams points out, East Germany claimed the wall was designed to protect East Berliners from the “alien influences of capitalism.” American history is replete with its own examples of walls, notes Williams, who edited an upcoming special issue of the university’s Journal of the Southwest entitled, “Fences.” 29 The Jamestown settlers and the Pilgrims built palisades — fences of pointed wooden stakes — around their small communities to keep out the Native Americans and wild animals. Through the centuries, barriers have been erected along borders “to protect ‘us’ from ‘them,’ ” Williams says.
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The U.S. restricts immigration based on race and national origin. 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act suspends immigration of Chinese laborers for 10 years — the first law in U.S. history to restrict immigration based on nationality. 1921 A rising tide of isolationism prompts the Emergency Quota Act, which limits annual immigration from any one country to 3 percent of existing U.S. population from that country. It sharply reduces immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe. 1924 Congress enacts the Johnson-Reed Act, further tightening quotas for Europeans and excluding immigrants from Asia altogether. . . . The Labor Appropriation Act establishes the Border Patrol, with 450 officers responsible for guarding both borders with Mexico and Canada. 1942 Facing labor shortages during World War II, the United States initiates the Bracero Program, which imports Mexican workers for farm labor and other jobs.
1964 Congress ends Bracero Program. 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 abolishes immigration quotas based on national origin but gives preference to relatives of U.S. citizens, permanent resident aliens, scientists and workers with skills in short supply.
construct barriers along the border and authorizes a secondary layer of fencing in San Diego.
2000-Present Congress sweeps aside legal
restrictions and directs the administration to build fencing. 2002 Congress allows Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) funds to be used to buy land for border fencing and to construct the fences. 2003 The INS is abolished, and its functions are transferred to the newly created Department of Homeland Security. 2005 Congress passes the REAL ID Act authorizing the Homeland Security secretary to waive all legal requirements in order to expedite the construction of border barriers. 2006 Border Patrol apprehends 1.2 million illegal migrants along U.S.Mexican border. . . . Secure Fence Act authorizes construction of a total of 850 miles of fencing along the border. 2007 Consolidated Appropriations Act gives the secretary of Homeland Security greater freedom to decide how much fencing to build along the Southern border and where and when to build it. 2008 Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff reaffirms 670 miles of fencing will be in place by the end of the year.
America offers amnesty to illegal aliens and begins to consider a border fence. 1986 President Ronald Reagan signs Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 giving amnesty, under certain circumstances, to illegal immigrants who have been in the United States since 1982. 1990 The Border Patrol begins erecting a 14-mile fence to deter illegal entries and drug smuggling near San Diego. 1993 A Sandia Laboratory study says a three-tiered fence along parts of the border would discourage or delay border crossers and channel others into areas the Border Patrol could more easily control. 1994 Operation Gatekeeper increases the number of Border Patrol agents near San Diego. 1996 Congress passes the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which gives the government broad authority to
America begins to deal with large-scale illegal immigration. 1954 Facing growing illegal immigration from Mexico, the government initiates “Operation Wetback.” Authorities sweep through Mexican-American barrios, and thousands of immigrants are returned to Mexico.
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Border-town Life Becomes More Difficult
Cross-border exchanges may be in jeopardy.
n clear afternoons, Tony Zavaleta sometimes stands on the porch of his home outside Brownsville, Texas, gazes across the Rio Grande and watches one of his cousins working his farm on the other side of the river. “I’ve got all kinds of family across the river,” says Zavaleta, vice president for external affairs at the University of Texas, Brownsville. “In fact, at 3 o’clock today I’m going to the bridge to pick up a cousin, and we’re going to Starbucks to have coffee.” The U.S.-Mexico border looks like a clearly drawn line on a map, but up close the delineation is blurred. The two nations are connected by history, economy and, most significantly, a border population with extensive and often deep roots in both nations. “We have family business, family dealings, intermarriages, social events on both sides of the border, and that is the case for literally hundreds of thousands of people,” says Zavaleta, whose family traces its heritage on both sides of the river back to the 18th century. These strong relationships have created what many describe as a unique border culture — one they believe is threatened by the new border fence. “We’re one community, and we’ve historically operated as one community,” says Chad Foster, mayor of Eagle Pass, Texas, about his city’s relationship with Piedras Negras, immediately across the border. “We have individuals who live in Piedras Negras but pay tuition so their kids can go to school in Eagle Pass. We have people who live in Eagle Pass and run plants in Piedras Negras. We’ve always gone back and forth.”
The border between the United States and Mexico remains the busiest in the world, with more than 220 million legal crossings a year. But casual interchange between the two nations, the lifeblood of border culture, has been growing more difficult in recent years, particularly with the beefed-up border security since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Now, many fear a further stifling of the relationship. “You wouldn’t think it would affect everyday, legal crossing,” says Zavaleta, “but it has already done that.” Foster says the fence sends a signal: “You’re not welcome.” When combined with longer waits at the legal ports of entry due to tighter security and inadequate staffing, they say, the fence creates the sense that crossing the border is best avoided — a feeling that could have serious economic implications for border communities. Tom Fullerton, an economics professor at the University of Texas, El Paso, has studied the financial relationships between cities located across from each other on the border. In El Paso, he attributes an average of $900 million annually in retail sales to Mexicans crossing the border to shop in the United States. Business also travels the other way. “I don’t know the number of people I’ve met who routinely go to the dentist in Nogales [Mexico] because it’s cheaper,” says folklorist Maribel Alvarez, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona’s Southwest Center. Betty Perez, who operates a small ranch a couple of miles from the border near Roma, Texas, says many ranchers
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“The same things are always said about the people on the other side of the fence — they’re barbarians or savages or an alien force.” The question is whether they work. After all, the Berlin Wall fell, the Romans eventually abandoned Hadrian’s Wall, the Manchu finally conquered China and even the massive fortifications of the French Maginot Line, built between the world wars, were rendered ineffectual when the Germans simply went around them — an approach critics of the U.S. border fence say illegal migrants already are taking. But such unequivocal dismissal, popular with critics of the U.S. fence, ignores the long periods during which certain fortifications proved effective.
In his book about the Roman Empire, historian Derek Williams says after Hadrian’s Wall was built, “Decades passed without emergency.” The Berlin Wall fulfilled its function for more than 40 years, he adds, and the Great Wall of China for much longer. 30 “It would be very comfortable for my liberal consciousness to say these things don’t work,” says Williams. “But that’s not the case. They do work.” But even if walls and fences work, says Maribel Alvarez, a folklorist at the University of Arizona’s Southwest Center, the U.S. barriers still create a simplistic view of the border. “It’s a view locked in an either/or perspective,” she says. “The border is treated as an untamed badlands. It assumes that in this badlands someone with higher
knowledge needs to impose an order that is lacking.” Some of the rhetoric from Washington concerning the Southwestern border certainly fits Alvarez’s description. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., a strong opponent of illegal immigration, summed up the view in an article for Human Events magazine, titled “Mexico’s Lawless Border Poses Huge Test for Washington.” 31 But history may provide an unexpected lesson, says Mary Beard, a classics scholar at Cambridge University in England. The Romans’ view of frontiers was more complex than those who cite Hadrian’s Wall as a forerunner of the U.S. fence would have it. The Romans did not see borders as clear divisions, Beard wrote
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But Alvarez, who edits the go across the border “to center’s “Borderlore” blog, notes buy a good bull or sell a the breadth of the population good bull or a horse. whose lives have been lived on There’s a lot of horse busiboth sides of the border. “You ness down there.” have the ranchers. You have the Fullerton says it’s difficult Native Americans. You have the to estimate the economic bohemians that come to the consequences of the border Patricia Escobar, left, of Los Angeles, visits through the fence desert to write and paint,” she fence, but with trade liberwith her daughter Rosa, who lives in Tijuana, Mexico. says. “You have a very groundalization, Mexicans now can ed working class that crosses find almost anything they back and forth almost daily.” might buy in the United Border towns even have shared fire departments and other States at home. “It’s possible they’ll say, ‘We’ll just stay here and not worry about going into this country where we’re not civic institutions. “Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, prior to the 1980s, was essentially like a spot on the Canadian border or between really welcome,’ ” he notes. That would be just fine for many fence supporters, includ- two Scandinavian countries,” says Fullerton. “That’s how closeing those living along the border. Ed Williams, a retired Uni- ly intertwined they were. They even shared a minor league versity of Arizona political science professor, points out the ex- baseball team.” But when people living on the border reminisce about earistence of a border culture does not imply universal mutual appreciation. “While many borderlands people have been sym- lier, less-security-conscious days, they most often cite the perpathetic to their brethren across the line, others have always sonal exchanges that built a sense of a shared land. “I rebeen suspicious,” he says. “There are people in the border member when my grandfather decided he wanted to give me a horse as a gift,” says Zavaleta. “He just had a ranch hand communities who say, ‘Build that damn wall.’ ” But opinion does not necessarily divide strictly along racial ride it across the river. I was 14, and I remember standing on lines. “You can find a lot of people with Spanish surnames the riverbank and watching that horse come across from my who will say, ‘Keep those Mexicans out,’ ” says Zavaleta. “And grandfather. You wouldn’t do that today.” a lot of Anglos feel that’s bad for business.”
in The Times of London, but rather as “frontier zones” where the empire gradually disappeared into foreign territory. 32 Contacted by e-mail, Beard notes that one connection between Hadrian’s Wall and “Bush’s wall” is that both are partly symbolic in intent. Critics of the U.S. fence have argued it is primarily a political gesture intended to appease anti-immigration sentiment. Similarly, Hadrian’s Wall was clearly designed as much to impress the Romans behind it as those on the other side, notes historian Williams. 33 But Beard’s description of the fluid nature of Roman borders, which were largely unfortified, describes the U.S.-Mexican border for much of its history.
ntil the 1990s, most of America’s border with Mexico was largely invisible. The Rio Grande provided a natural border in Texas. In the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico and inland California, an occasional stone obelisk or a few strings of barbed wire were often all that signified the transition from one nation to another. Sparsely populated and little traveled for most of its history, the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and New Mexico seemed to need little more than that. The United States did not even establish the Border Patrol until 1924,
when it hired 450 agents. In some border towns, the two countries were no more than a street apart. People from both countries moved back and forth with little government attention until World War I created a significant shortage of labor in the United States. Congress created a program allowing the temporary admission of nearly 77,000 Mexican “guest workers.” The legislation began a pattern of “recruitment in times of labor shortage followed by massive restrictions and deportations,” writes Katherine Fennelly, a member of the League of Women Voters’ Immigration Study Committee. 34 When joblessness rose during the Depression in the late 1920s, thousands of Mexican immigrants were
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Critics Say Fence Disrupts Wildlife
Border fence is ‘stopping wildlife in their tracks.’
he San Pedro River in Arizona — one of only two major rivers that flow north from Mexico into the United States — provides habitat to an astonishing variety of birds and small mammals. It also serves as a watering hole for deer, mountain lions, bobcats and possibly even jaguars as they range across the arid Sonoran Desert in Mexico and the United States. The U.S. government recognized the importance of the San Pedro and the surrounding landscape when it created the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area — a 57,000-acre refuge for the animals and plants of the region’s fragile desert riparian ecosystem, one of the few remaining in the American Southwest. But today the area is also home to a section of the new border fence, slicing the desert landscape in half as it stretches east from the riverbank. Much of America’s new fencing is being built on environmentally sensitive public lands, which critics fear could have disastrous consequences, especially for wildlife. “You can call this a fence, but to animals it’s an impenetrable barrier,” says Matt Clark, Southwest representative for Defenders of Wildlife, an organization dedicated to the preservation of wild animals and native plants. “It’s between 14 and 18 feet tall; it goes on for miles; it’s not something they can jump over or circumvent. It might not be very effective at stopping people, but it’s stopping wildlife in their tracks.” Border barriers are being built or are planned for portions of Arizona’s Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and the Organ Pipe National Monument. In Texas, new fencing is
planned near Big Bend National Park and on the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. In California, the federal government is even filling in a canyon, Smuggler’s Gulch, with more than 2 million cubic yards of dirt so it can run a fence across it. Environmental concerns differ by area, but in general the fence divides the breeding and hunting territories of many species, separating animals from food, water or potential mates, according to wildlife advocates. Sometimes the animals have already had their habitat reduced or disrupted by development, and their populations cannot afford to be split in two. “With isolation comes a lack of genetic exchange — a lack of genetic diversity, which makes these populations less fit to survive,” says Clark. The impact of new border barriers could be particularly acute in the Lower Rio Grande Valley refuge, according to Scott Nicol, a member of the Texas-based No Border Wall citizens’ coalition. The 90,000-acre refuge consists of 115 separate plots along the Rio Grande River, designed so wildlife can use the river as a corridor to move from one plot to another. But they would be blocked if the government builds new barriers along the river levees as now planned, Nicol says. “You put a wall there that keeps animals from getting to the river,” he explains, “and the individual plots are not large enough to support them.” Among the rare or endangered species threatened by the fence, says Clark, are jaguars, Sonoran pronghorn antelopes, ocelots, jaguarundi, flat-tailed horned lizards and the Cactus
deported. But when World War II left the United States with another labor shortage, the country reversed course and created the Bracero Program — Spanish for “laborer” — to bring in Mexicans, mainly to work in agriculture and on the railroads. The program brought in more than 400,000 workers a year during its 22year history. 35 But illegal immigration grew at the same time, particularly in the late-1940s and ’50s as Mexicans came north to take advantage of America’s postwar economic boom. In reaction, Immigration and Naturalization Commissioner Gen. Joseph Swing initiated “Operation Wetback” in 1954, with federal and local authorities sweeping through Mexican-
American barrios looking for illegal immigrants. Thousands were deported. 36 When the Bracero Program ended in 1965, legal entry became more difficult for Mexican farmworkers. But work in U.S. fields and orchards remained plentiful, so many Mexicans began to travel into the United States seasonally without legal documents.
‘Tortilla Curtain’ Rises
s illegal immigration grew, certain border cities became the favorites for border crossers. By 1978 the problem had become bad enough in El Paso, Texas, that the government erected 12.5 miles of chain-link fence
— the “Tortilla Curtain” — along the border. The Border Patrol has expanded infrastructure along the border since, with lighting and more agents on the ground, but the fence remains in place, says Tom Fullerton, an economist at the University of Texas, El Paso. “You can’t go more than 30 feet without finding spots where either holes have been cut or repaired,” he says. Some see the Tortilla Curtain as the primitive forerunner of today’s fence. Before the U.S. government embraced the idea, however, policy would once again veer in a different direction. During the Reagan administration, “Congress allowed people who had been in the United States illegally for a number of years to apply for citizenship,”
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The border fence is being Ferruginous Pygmy Owl. A built in several different styles. bird may seem an unlikely Some of the most recent, devictim of a 14-foot fence, scribed as “bollard” fencing, is but wildlife advocates say made of round, concrete-filled the fence threatens the poles spaced six inches apart in habitat for many birds. “You a staggered pattern. In Arizona, have barriers that can catch bollard fencing is being condebris and sediment, create structed in the washes, which artificial dams, shifting water run with water in the rainy seaflows, impacting the vegeThe ability of the jaguar and other animals to range son. Border Patrol officials betation,” Clark says. “All of between Mexico’s Sonoran Desert and the Southwestern lieve bollard fences are more this does damage.” United States may be blocked by the border fence. eco-friendly, because water can Department of Homeland flow around the poles and beSecurity Secretary Michael Chertoff has used authority granted by Congress to waive com- cause small animals and reptiles can pass between them. But pliance with environmental laws in several areas as he pro- environmentalists doubt this will be enough to prevent erosion ceeds with the fence, a move that upset local officials and led and habitat damage. The fence’s advocates point out that illegal immigrants are to a lawsuit by Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club. (See already damaging fragile desert lands. “When hundreds of thou“Current Situation,” p. 762.) Customs and Border Protection officials say they are still sands of people are hiking through pristine ecosystems, setworking to protect native plants and animals. “Even though ting fires, dumping trash and abandoning vehicles, building a the secretary used his waiver authority to keep moving this fence that can drastically reduce that destruction is a good process forward, we’re not disregarding environmental consid- thing,” says Rosemary Jenks, governmental affairs director for erations at all,” says Jason Ahern, Customs and Border Pro- NumbersUSA, which supports reducing both legal and illegal tection deputy commissioner. “We’re looking at what we need immigration. But trails and trash can be cleaned up, Clark says. “The wall to do to mitigate risk to the environment. Our goal is to make sure we leave the environment in better condition than we has significantly more impact,” he adds, “because of its magnitude and because it’s permanent.” found it.”
says Staudt, of the University of Texas, El Paso. 37 But the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 — what some call the “amnesty bill” — did little to stem the flow of illegal immigrants, so antiimmigration sentiment continued to grow in Border States. The Clinton administration reacted with operations “Hold the Line” in El Paso in 1993 and “Gatekeeper” in San Diego the following year. Border Patrol agents and technology were concentrated in these areas, and fencing was either built or reinforced. 38 Both operations dramatically reduced illegal immigration in the targeted locations, although illegal crossings did not fall significantly overall. But Con-
gress seemed to judge the approach a success. A series of bills then expanded the Border Patrol, increased money for security measures and, after 9/11, gave the new Homeland Security secretary the authority to ignore laws that might slow fence construction. Although President Bush pushed for a comprehensive immigration-reform package that would have included guest-worker and limited-amnesty programs, Congress remained focused on enforcement. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 mandated double-layer security fencing along significant parts of the border. That requirement was later modified to give Secretary Chertoff more latitude, but the message was clear: America was building a border fence.
Facing the Fence
n 2006, more than 90 percent of the 1.2 million illegal migrants apprehended by the Border Patrol were caught along the border with Mexico — nearly 88 percent of them Mexicans. But U.S. authorities also picked up nearly 150,000 people from 197 other countries. (See graphic, p. 749.) The largest number, after Mexicans, came from Central America. In 2006, there were 46,329 illegal immigrants from El Salvador, 33,365 from Honduras and 25,135 from Guatemala. Many were twice illegal, having first
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entered Mexico without papers and then the United States. The arduous and dangerous effort to enter the United States is a sign of border-crossers’ determination. In Enrique’s Journey, The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother, journalist Sonia Nazario traced the 1,600-mile crossMexico migration made by thousands of Central American children following their mothers to the United States. Many were turned back repeatedly but refused to quit. Enrique, the boy she followed, finally succeeded in making it all the way into the United States on his eighth attempt. 39 Nazario’s book also illuminated a little-noticed trend: An increasing number of women have been making the journey alone, followed by an increasing number of their children. Nazario estimates about 48,000 children a year enter the United States illegally. Mexican railroad workers report children as young as 7 trying to cross their country alone traveling to the United States. 40 With little or no knowledge of what they are facing, these illegal migrants seem unlikely to give up their journey because of the fence. The Center for Comparative Immigration Studies found similar determination. Briseida, a 24-year-old woman from Oaxaca, recounted being caught six times in a single month before making it into the United States. 41 Research also indicates that most illegal immigrants had jobs in Mexico but thought the United States offered greater opportunity. “Ninetythree percent of undocumented Mexican immigrants left jobs in Mexico,” says Robert Pastor, director of the Center for North American Studies at American University in Washington. “They’re not coming to the United States for jobs. They’re coming because they can earn six to 10 times more.”
merica’s new border fence may represent a national commitment by the Bush administration, but it’s also a matter of local politics. For many who live on the border, the fence isn’t being built along some abstract line, it’s going through their community, or neighborhood or even backyard. In the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, in particular, local concerns are sparking a battle that pits communities in President Bush’s home state against his administration. The Texas Border Coalition, made up of mayors, economists and business leaders from 19 municipalities and 10 counties in the valley, in May sued the Department of Homeland Security, alleging it is ignoring due process and abusing private property rights in its rush to put up the fence. “We didn’t want to file this lawsuit, but we felt we had no choice,” says coalition Chairman Chad Foster, the mayor of Eagle Pass, a border town of about 22,000. “We just want the government to follow the law.” The anti-fence blowback has been triggered by tactics adopted by the Department of Homeland Security to speed construction. When some property owners refused to give the Corps of Engineers permission to survey for the fence on their land, the Corps sent landowners letters threatening a lawsuit and raising the possibility of seizing their property through eminent domain. 42 Landowners responded by challenging the government in court. “I
don’t think they counted on anybody standing up to them,” says Eloisa Tamez, who lives on a three-acre plot along the Rio Grande that has been in her family for nearly 250 years. “We’re not big, powerful people here. We respect our government. But we’re not just going to lay down and let the bulldozer roll over us.” In January, a federal judge ordered 10 property owners along the border — including Tamez — to permit the surveying, but only after denying the government the right to take the land without a hearing. 43 The government’s actions against individual landowners, however, are not the only ones provoking indignation. In Eagle Pass, for example, the City Council met with Homeland Security in 2006 over the department’s plans to leave a city park and golf course south of the proposed barrier. “They were going to cede our municipal golf course and a city park to Mexico,” he says. “We had a resolution to oppose it, and they said they would allow us to delete the fence. But they came back a year later and sued us. We can’t trust them.” Because the fence is being located on or outside of flood control levees, in several Texas locations the preliminary site is inside the U.S. border. In the small town of Granjeno, for instance, about 35 landowners found they might end up on the wrong side of the border fence. 44 In Brownsville, the proposed fence will run through the University of Texas campus, leaving some facilities south of the barrier. Campus officials say they are working with Homeland Security to resolve the situation. 45 Homeland Security said it places a high priority on feedback from local residents. Since May 2007, the agency has held 100 meetings with local officials and 600 with individual property holders along the Southwest border. 46
Continued on p. 762
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Is a border fence the answer to the illegal immigration problem?
REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, R-CALIF.
WRITTEN FOR CQ RESEARCHER, SEPTEMBER 2008
REP. SILVESTRE REYES, D-TEXAS
FORMER EL PASO SECTOR CHIEF, U.S. BORDER PATROL
WRITTEN FOR CQ RESEARCHER, SEPTEMBER 2008
battle is being waged for control of the U.S.-Mexican border between the U.S. Border Patrol and criminals who utilize this largely unprotected land corridor to carry narcotics and other contraband into the United States. Citizens on both sides of the border, whose safety is seriously threatened by escalating violence, are caught in the middle. Last year drug-war violence claimed least 2,500 lives in Mexico, and numerous U.S. citizens reportedly have been kidnapped and murdered by Mexican criminals linked to the drug trade. The local sheriff in the Laredo, Texas, border community compared conditions there to a “war zone” and said his officers appear “outgunned” by the drug cartels. Border Patrol agents are also at risk, because they often are the first to encounter these criminals. Since 2001, assaults against agents have nearly tripled, from 335 to 987 in 2007. Four agents and three other border security officials were killed last year, and two agents have been killed so far in 2008. The land corridor between Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, Calif., has been overrun by smugglers and criminals. It wasn’t until my legislation mandating construction of the San Diego border fence that the armed gangs and drug cartels lost control of this smuggling route. Since then, conditions on both sides of the border have improved. Since construction of the border fence began in 1996, San Diego County has become one of the most secure and responsibly enforced border regions. Smuggling of people and narcotics in this area has decreased by more than 90 percent, and violent crime has declined by 53 percent. Such a high level of effectiveness illustrates that fencing — supported with the right mix of personnel and technology — is an excellent border enforcement tool. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is accelerating fence construction in several areas along the border, rightly utilizing its broad waiver authority to expedite completion in locations subject to unnecessary delays and litigation. DHS expects to meet its goal of 670 miles of new fence by the end of this year, but overall a lot of work remains in creating an enforceable border. Moving forward, it would be wise to extend this infrastructure to other smuggling routes and heavily transited areas of the U.S.Mexican border. Not only is it the quickest and easiest way to control the border, but it’s also proven to be the most effective.
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am acutely aware of the challenges of securing our borders, having served for more than 26 years with the U.S. Border Patrol. I have not only patrolled the U.S.-Mexican border but also supervised thousands of hard-working, dedicated Border Patrol agents and initiated a successful deterrence strategy called Operation Hold the Line. I also supported fencing certain strategic areas to augment enforcement. I strongly feel, however, that erecting nearly 700 miles of fencing on our Southern border is wasteful, irresponsible and unnecessary, and I voted against the Secure Fence Act. Hundreds of miles of fencing will do little to curb the flow of undocumented immigrants and could even increase demand for human smuggling. It will only provide a false sense of security for supporters of a hard line on immigration reform. With construction expected to exceed $1.2 billion and lifetime maintenance of up to $50 billion, the exorbitant cost of this border fence would be better invested in additional Border Patrol agents, equipment and technology. As the only member of Congress with a background in border control, I have worked to educate my colleagues that existing policies and the border fence will do little to honor our legacy as a nation of immigrants and will threaten our nation’s security. I have worked with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), hosted many leaders at annual border conferences and have emphasized that border communities must be consulted in fencing decisions. Unfortunately, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff recently made the troubling announcement that he intends to waive more than 30 federal environmental laws to expedite construction of the fence. This approach continues DHS’s continued disregard for border communities and undermines decades-old policies that have preserved many of our region’s most valuable environmental assets, cultural sites and endangered wildlife. After Secretary Chertoff’s decision, I joined 13 of my colleagues in submitting an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the justices to hear an appeal challenging the secretary’s waiver authority. Our nation needs comprehensive immigration reform with three main components: strengthened border security; an earned path to legalization along with tough, strictly enforced sanctions against employers who hire undocumented immigrants; and a guest worker program. Hundreds of miles of border fencing is not the answer.
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Continued from p. 760
CBP Deputy Commissioner Ahern says siting the fence has been a painstaking process. “We looked at enforcement data,” he says. “We looked at geography. We looked at landscape. We looked at alternatives. This was a thoughtful and detailed analysis by both local and national Border Patrol leadership.” But some Texans believe politics plays a role. The Texas Border Coalition lawsuit asserts that Homeland Security is violating the Fifth Amendment’s Equal Protection provision by “giving certain politically well-connected property owners a pass on having the border fence built on their property,” according to the coalition’s Web site. Specifically, the coalition refers to media reports the fence is being built through city and county-owned land while bypassing land owned by Dallas billionaire Ray Hunt, a close friend of President Bush who recently donated $35 million to help build the George W. Bush Memorial Library at Southern Methodist University. The coalition’s allegations brought a sharp response from Ahern. “I reject the idea out of hand,” he says. “Our analysis of where to locate the fence was based on the operational and tactical requirements in a given area, not on who owned the land or whether they were influential individuals.”
ven as construction continues, however, Chertoff faces another challenge that has the active support of several members of Congress. Last spring Chertoff used the broad authority granted him by Congress to waive more than 30 environmental-, historical- and cultural-protection laws and regulations to enable fence construction to proceed. “Criminal activity at the border does not stop for endless debate or pro-
tracted litigation,” Chertoff said in the statement announcing the decision. 47 The Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife already had sued Homeland Security over an earlier, more limited waiver allowing fence construction to continue in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Arizona, home to many rare and endangered species of plants and animals. The environmental groups feared that the fence would block migratory patterns and access to water and habitat for several endangered animals and that construction could harm certain rare plants. (See sidebar, p. 758.) A federal judge ruled against their claim, which challenged the constitutionality of the secretary’s waiver authority. The fence is now up in the conservation area. After Chertoff expanded his use of waivers to cover construction of the entire fence, the environmental groups asked the Supreme Court to hear their case; in July the court refused to take the case. Before the court’s decision, however, the lawsuit had been joined by 14 Democratic House members, including Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and several lawmakers from border districts. Their friend-of-the-court briefs argued that Congress overstepped its constitutional bounds when it allowed the secretary to ignore laws. On the other side, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., ranking minority member of the House Homeland Security Committee, backed Chertoff’s use of waivers. “He’s acting entirely within the law, and any attempts to impede the fence’s progress through frivolous litigation will only serve to lessen the security of our country,” King said. 48 Noah Kahn, an expert on federal lands at Defenders of Wildlife, says Chertoff’s decision to bypass laws intended to provide a thorough review of environmental and cultural impacts makes it impossible to determine whether there were other options, such
as better use of surveillance technology in environmentally sensitive areas. “One of the basic problems is the complete lack of transparency in the way the Department of Homeland Security has carried out this entire process,” says Kahn. “They’ve completely ignored not just communities and other public partners but even other federal agencies in their deliberations.” Cindy Alvarez, who oversaw an environmental assessment of the fence in the San Pedro conservation area, defends the agencies building the fence. “Once the waiver came into play, it took it out of our hands,” says Alvarez, assistant field manager of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Tucson office. “But that said, the Border Patrol and the Corps of Engineers are continuing to try to be good land stewards while meeting the nature of their missions. They are continuing to work with us.” Homeland Security’s critics are skeptical. “The only reason you waive the laws is because you’re planning on breaking them,” says Scott Nicol, a member of the No Border Wall Coalition, a citizens’ group in Texas. The Tohono O’odham Indian Nation, which straddles the border, has also been concerned about Chertoff’s use of waivers. The tribe has so far agreed to allow vehicle barriers, but not pedestrian fencing, on tribal lands but is weighing its options concerning the waivers, says Pete Delgado, a tribal spokesman. With more fencing planned for environmentally and culturally sensitive areas in both Texas and California, further legal challenges to Chertoff’s authority and the fence’s route seem almost inevitable.
Straddling the Fence
othing illustrates the complicated political fault lines that run through the border fence debate better
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than the way the presidential nominees have straddled the issue. By voting for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, both GOP candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Democratic contender Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., voted to authorize the dramatic expansion of border fencing now under way. A year later, presumably busy campaigning, they missed the key votes on the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which gave the Homeland Security secretary more latitude on when and where to locate the fencing. Since then, McCain and Obama have sent conflicting messages about what they think now that the fence is actually being built. Obama’s campaign Web site calls for preserving “the integrity of our borders” and says the candidate supports “additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry.” But when a question about the border fence came up during a primary campaign debate with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., in Texas, Obama struck a skeptical note about the fence now being built. After Clinton criticized the Bush administration’s approach and called for more personnel and better technology instead of a physical barrier, Obama agreed. “There may be areas where it makes sense to have some fencing,” Obama said. “But for the most part, having [the] border patrolled, surveillance, deploying effective technology, that’s going to be the better approach.” 49 McCain’s campaign Web site calls for “securing the border through physical and virtual barriers.” But the word “fence” can’t be found on McCain’s Border Security Web page. In interviews, however, McCain has said he supports building a border fence in areas where it’s necessary, while he believes technology can more effectively do the job in others. Anti-immigrant groups have criticized McCain for supporting President Bush’s failed comprehensive immi-
gration reform package, which included a path for many illegal immigrants in the United States to gain citizenship. The sensitive nature of the issue in Republican circles was clear at a town meeting in Texas, when McCain was asked how he would balance individual property rights with border security. “This meeting is adjourned,” McCain joked, before saying he would look into the issue. 50 Earlier, he said he hoped federal and local officials could work together to resolve their differences over the fence. Neither candidate’s campaign press office responded to requests for further information clarifying their candidate’s position.
hat goes up can always come down — even if it is 670 miles long and built by the U.S. government of double-layered steel. And many critics of the border fence say that’s just what will happen. “The United States eventually will have to tear down the wall they built because the forces of globalization drawing us together are much stronger than the forces trying to tear us apart,” says Payan, at the University of Texas, El Paso. Others, particularly those concerned with the fence’s impact on the environment, place their faith in technology. “Ultimately, we’re going to be a lot less dependent on physical infrastructure,” says Bob Barnes, a senior policy adviser at the Nature Conservancy. “Particularly in open country, virtual fencing — sensors, cameras and other surveillance technology — is a lot more mobile and can react to
changing patterns of immigration more easily.” Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner Ahern says the agency will continue using sensors, remote-controlled cameras, unmanned surveillance planes and other hightech hardware. But he believes there will always be a need for fencing. “No matter how good our technology is, in some of these areas of the border [illegal crossings are] going to be too easy,” he says. “So, especially in urban environments, we’re always going to need that tactical infrastructure, some kind of physical barrier.” But illegal immigration is about more than the border. It also reflects economic and political conditions in two countries, and that’s where some experts believe the most significant changes will be seen, Payan suggests. Rodriguez, at the University of Houston’s Center for Immigration Research, notes that the rapidly growing U.S. Latino population is likely to make anti-immigrant political posturing less acceptable in the future. 51 At the same, he says, a little noticed demographic trend within Mexico could also shift the equation. The Mexican birthrate has been falling for decades and, Rodriguez says, is expected to decline to the replacement rate by 2050. 52 Then, the country will no longer have the surplus labor it now exports to the United States. “If you think there are too many Mexicans,” he says, “the problem eventually is that there’s not going to be enough Mexicans to do the dirty work.” Other analysts believe further economic integration between the two nations will regularize the labor flow. “I can’t help but think that in the future there will be a time when the North American continent will resemble the European Union,” says Staudt, at the University of Texas. Meanwhile, what happens to the border fence? Back in Eagle Pass, Texas, Mayor Foster had the most cynical
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view. Given the estimates of up to $47 billion to maintain it over the next 25 years, he believes it will simply be abandoned. “I think it gets turned into barbecue grills on both sides of the border,” Foster says.
border crossers and the total illegal population vary widely. But an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center in March 2006 seems to provide the best, impartial estimate of annual illegal migration. The report, “The Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population in the United States,” also estimated the total illegal immigrant population in the United States at 11.5 million to 12 million. 8 “Homeland Security — DHS Has Taken Actions to Strengthen Border Security Programs and Operations, but Challenges Remain,” testimony before the Subcommittee on Homeland Security, House Committee on Appropriations, Government Accountability Office, pp. 16, March 6, 2008. 9 “Secure Border Initiative, The Importance of Applying Lessons Learned to Future Projects,” Government Accountability Office, testimony before House Homeland Security Subcommittees on Management, Investigations and Oversight and Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, Feb. 27, 2008, p. 2. 10 Blas Nuñez-Neto and Yule Kim, “Border Security: Barriers along the U.S. International Border, Congressional Research Service, May 13, 2008, p. 33. 11 Ibid., pp. 14-15. 12 Ibid., p. 2. 13 Ray Koslowski, “Immigration Reforms and Border Security Technologies,” Social Science Research Council, July 31, 2006. For background, see Mary H. Cooper, “Rethinking NAFTA,” CQ Researcher, June 7, 1996, pp. 481504, and David Masci, “U.S.-Mexico Relations,” CQ Researcher, Nov. 9, 2001, pp. 921-944. 14 “Modes of Entry for the Unauthorized Migrant Population,” Pew Hispanic Center, Fact Sheet, May 22, 2006, http://pewhispanic.org/ files/factsheets/19.pdf. 15 Wayne Cornelius, et al., “Controlling Unauthorized Immigration from Mexico: The Failure of Prevention through Deterrence and the Need for Comprehensive Reform,” Center for Comprehensive Immigration Studies, June 10, 2008, pp. 2-3. 16 Becky Pallack and Mariana Alvarado Avalos, “Employer-sanctions law starting to have the intended effect,” Arizona Daily Star, Dec. 23, 2007. 17 Howard Fischer, “Some who voted for sanctions seek rollback,” Arizona Daily Star, Jan. 18, 2008, p. A1. 18 For background, see Peter Katel, “Prison Reform,” CQ Researcher, April 6, 2007, pp. 289-312, and Charles S. Clark, “Prison Overcrowding,” CQ Researcher, Feb. 4, 1994, pp. 97-120. 19 “The Cost to Local Taxpayers for Illegal or ‘Guest’ Workers,” Federation for American Immigration Reform, 2006, www.fairus.org. 20 Melissa Merrell, “The Impact of Unauthorized Immigrants on the Budgets of State and Local Governments,” Congressional Budget Office, December 2007, p. 3. 21 Ibid., p. 3. 22 Steven Camarota, “The High Cost of Cheap Labor, Illegal Immigration and the Federal Budget,” Center for Immigration Studies, August 2004, p. 1. 23 Robert McNatt and Frank Benassi, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Direct, as cited in Business Week, “Econ 101 on Illegal Immigrants,” April 2006, www.businessweek.com/investor/content/apr2006/pi20060407_072803.htm. 24 “US border fence plan ‘shameful’ ” BBC News (online), Dec. 19, 2995, http://news.bbc. co.uk/2/hi/americas/4541606.stm. 25 Nuñez-Neto and Kim, op. cit., p. 40. 26 Wayne Cornelius, “Death at the Border: The Efficacy and ‘Unintended’ Consequences of U.S. Immigration Control Policy 1993-2000,” Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, Working Paper 27, December 2001. 27 “President Bush Meets with President Calderon of Mexico,” White House press release, April 21, 2008, www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/04/20080421-6.html. 28 “Joint Statement by President Bush, President Calderon, Prime Minister Harper,” White House press release, April 22, 2008, www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/04/ 20080422-4.html. 29 Journal of the Southwest, Vol. 50, No. 3, University of Arizona, autumn 2008. 30 Derek Williams, The Reach of Rome, A History of the Roman Imperial Frontier, 1st5th Centuries AD (1996), p. 111.
The Associated Press poll, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, of 1,103 adults on March 3-5, 2008. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. 2 From the Department of Homeland Security Web site, border fence update page, www.dhs.gov/xprevprot/programs/border-fencesouthwest.shtm. 3 Testimony of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff before the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security Appropriations, April 10, 2008. The text is available at www.dhs.gov/xnews/testimony/ testimony_1207933887848.shtm. 4 See Arthur H. Rotstein, “US scraps $20 million prototype of virtual fence,” The Associated Press, April 23, 2008, www.cbsnews.com/ stories/2008/04/23/tech/main4037342.shtml? source=related_story. Also see Brady McCombs, “ ‘Virtual fence’ work is halted,” Arizona Daily Star, Aug. 19, 2008, www.azstarnet.com/ metro/253456. 5 See the Border Fence Project Web site, www.borderfenceproject.com/index.shtml, one of several citizens’ groups that propose fencing the entire border. 6 See the Humane Borders Web site, www.humaneborders.org/, one of several organizations that object to the fence. 7 Estimates of the annual number of illegal
About the Author
Reed Karaim, a freelance writer living in Tucson, Arizona, has written for The Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, Smithsonian, American Scholar, USA Weekend and other publications. He is the author of the novel, If Men Were Angels, which was selected for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers series. He is also the winner of the Robin Goldstein Award for Outstanding Regional Reporting and other journalism awards. Karaim is a graduate of North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota.
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Tom Tancredo, “Mexico’s Lawless Border Poses Huge Test for Washington,” Human Events, Feb. 6, 2006. 32 Mary Beard, “Don’t Blame Hadrian for Bush’s Wall,” Times Literary Supplement, April 30, 2007, http://timesonline.typepad.com/dons_life/2007/04 /dont_blame_hadr.html. 33 Williams, op. cit., p. 108. 34 Katherine Fennelly, “U.S. Immigration, A Historical Perspective,” The National Voter, February 2007, p. 5. 35 Andorra Bruno, “Immigration: Policy Considerations Related to Guest Worker Programs,” Congressional Research Service, June 27, 2007, p. 1. 36 PBS Interactive Border Timeline, www.pbs. org/kpbs/theborder/history/timeline/20.html. 37 For background, see Hank Donnelly, “Immigration,” Editorial Research Reports, June 13, 1986, available at CQ Researcher Plus Archive. Also see Kenneth Jost, “Cracking Down on Immigration,” CQ Researcher, Feb. 3, 1995, pp. 97-120; and Alan Greenblatt, “Immigration Debate,” CQ Researcher, Feb. 1, 2008, pp. 97-120. 38 “Border Patrol History,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection, www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/border_security/border_patrol/border_patrol_ohs/ history.xml. 39 Sonia Nazario, Enrique’s Journey, The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite With his Mother (2006). 40 Ibid., pp. 5-6. 41 Cornelius, et al., op. cit., June 10, 2008, p. 2. 42 Ralph Blumenthal, “In Texas, Weighing Life with a Border Fence,” The New York Times, Jan. 13, 2008. For background, see Kenneth Jost, “Property Rights,” CQ Researcher, March 4, 2005, pp. 197-220. 43 “Opponents of Border Fence Lose Round in Court,” The Associated Press, The New York Times, Jan. 29, 2008. 44 Alicia Caldwell, The Associated Press, “Border Fence Could Cut through Backyards,” USA Today, Nov. 11, 2007. 45 See “Updated Border Fence Information,” University of Texas, Brownsville, www.utb.edu. 46 “DHS Exercises Waiver Authority to Expedite Advancement in Border Security,” Department of Homeland Security press release, April 1, 2008. 47 Ibid. 48 “Key House Democrats Join Suit Against Use of Waivers for Border Fence,” Congressional Quarterly Today, April 16, 2008. 49 A transcript of the Feb. 21, 2008, debate in Austin, Texas, is available on the CNN Web site, www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/ 21/debate.transcript/index.html.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Border Region Modeling Project, http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=2883. A research program in the Economics Department at the University of Texas, El Paso, that analyzes the economies of four urban areas that have communities that straddle both sides of the border. The Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, www.ccis-ucsd.org. An academic institute at the University of California, San Diego, devoted to the comparative analysis of the causes and effects of immigration and refugee flows throughout the world. Center for Immigration Studies, 1522 K St., N.W., Suite 820, Washington, DC 200051202; (202) 466-8185; www.cis.org. A think tank that publishes research on immigration issues; strives for “fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted.” Defenders of Wildlife, 1130 17th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20036; (202) 682-9400; www.defenders.org. National nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. Federation for American Immigration Reform, 25 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Suite 330, Washington, DC 20001; (202) 328-7004; www.fairus.org. Nonprofit citizens group that supports improved border security to stop illegal immigration and reduce legal immigration to about 300,000 people a year. Humane Borders, 740 E. Speedway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85719; (520) 628-7753; www.humaneborders.org. A faith-based citizens group that operates more than 80 emergency water stations along the border as part of an effort to offer humanitarian assistance to those in distress in the desert. National Immigration Law Center, 3435 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2850, Los Angeles, CA 90010; (213) 639-3900; www.nilc.org. Protects and promotes the rights of lowincome immigrants and their families; analyzes immigration policies. NumbersUSA, 1601 N. Kent St., Suite 1100, Arlington, VA 22209; (703) 816-8820; www.numbersusa.com. A nonprofit, activist organization that supports reducing immigration, both legal and illegal. Pew Hispanic Center, 1615 L St., N.W., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036-5610; (202) 419-3600; http://pewhispanic.org. A nonpartisan research organization supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, dedicated to improving understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population; a leading repository of statistics and studies on illegal immigration. The Southwest Center, http://web.arizona.edu/~swctr/. A research center at the University of Arizona that sponsors projects designed to enhance understanding of U.S.-Mexican trans-border culture and history. Texas Border Coalition, www.texasbordercoalition.org. A coalition of mayors and other civic leaders from communities along the U.S.-Mexican border; advocates for individuals and communities unhappy with the Department of Homeland Security’s plans for the border fence.
Michelle Roberts, “McCain sidesteps border fence, property rights question,” The Dallas Morning News, Feb. 27, 2008. 51 For background, see David Masci, “Latinos’ Future,” CQ Researcher, Oct. 17, 2003, pp. 869-892.
For past and projected Mexican birthrates by decade, see Statistical Yearbook for Latin America and the Caribbean, 2007, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
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Martinez, Ruben, Crossing Over, A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail, Picador, 2001. A writing teacher and award-winning journalist follows immigrants as they cross illegally into the United States. Nazario, Sonia, Enrique’s Journey: the Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with his Mother, Random House, 2006. A Los Angeles Times reporter won a Pulitzer prize for the articles that formed the basis for this book about a Honduran boy’s illegal journey to the United States. Williams, Derek, The Reach of Rome, A History of the Roman Imperial Frontier 1st-5th Centuries AD, St. Martin’s Press, 1996. An English writer spent 15 years researching and writing his study of Roman frontiers. Chapter 5 provides an exhaustive look at Hadrian’s Wall. Pallack, Becky, and Mariana Alvarado Avalos, “Employersanctions law starting to have the intended effect,” Arizona Daily Star, Dec. 23, 2007, www.eller.arizona.edu/docs/ press/2007/12/ArizonaDailyStar_Employer-sanctions_law_ starting_to_have_intended_effect_Dec23_2007.pdf. An Arizona law that includes stiff sanctions for employers hiring illegal immigrants leaves some employers short of workers. Wood, Daniel B., “Where U.S.-Mexico Border Fence is Tall, Border Crossings Fall,” The Christian Science Monitor, April 1, 2008, p. 1, www.csmonitor.com/2008/0401/p01s05usgn.html. Beefing up border fencing in San Diego and Yuma has reduced illegal crossings.
Reports and Studies
Cornelius, Wayne, et al., “Controlling Unauthorized Immigration From Mexico: The Failure of ‘Prevention through Deterrence’ and the Need for Comprehensive Reform,” Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, June 10, 2008, www.immigrationpolicy.org/images/File/misc/CCISbriefing061008.pdf. The study examines motivations and concerns of immigrants as they cross the border, drawn from 3,000 interviews with villagers in Mexico. Koslowski, Rey, “Immigration Reforms and Border Security Technologies,” Social Science Research Council, July 31, 2006, http://borderbattles.ssrc.org/Koslowski/. An associate professor of political science and public policy at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs in New York reviews the effectiveness of new technology along the U.S.Mexican border. Nuñez-Neto, Blas, and Yule Kim, “Border Security: Barriers Along the U.S. International Border,” Congressional Research Service, May 13, 2008, www.fas.org/sgp/crs/ homesec/RL33659.pdf. Congressional researchers examine the history of barriers built by the United States along the Southwestern border, including legislative action, construction, costs and effectiveness. Stana, Richard, et al., “Homeland Security: DHS Has Taken Actions to Strengthen Border Security Programs and Operations, but Challenges Remain,” U.S. Government Accountability Office, March 6, 2008, www.gao.gov/new. items/d08542t.pdf. The report assesses security along the U.S. border, including at ports of entry and between legal entry points.
Archibold, Randal C., and Julia Preston, “Despite Growing Opposition, Homeland Security Stands by its Fence,” The New York Times, May 21, 2008, p. A18, www.nytimes.com/ 2008/05/21/washington/21fence.html. An update on the progress of the border fence looks at the unhappiness in the Texas Rio Grande Valley over the way Homeland Security is routing the fence. Fennelly, Katherine, “U.S. Immigration, a Historical Perspective,” The National Voter, February 2007, p. 4, www.lwv. org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Immigration1&TEMPLATE=/ CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=8708. This history of U.S. immigration laws and their consequences was published in a League of Women Voters periodical. Garreau, Joel, “The Walls Tumbled by Time,” The Washington Post, Oct. 27, 2006, p. C1, www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2006/10/26/AR2006102601826.html. The reporter describes historic fences and walls and their fate, published the day after President George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006 into law. McNatt, Robert, and Frank Benassi, “Econ 101 on Illegal Immigrants,” a special report from S&P rating services, Business Week, April 7, 2006, www.businessweek.com/investor/content/apr2006/pi20060407_072803.htm. Standard & Poor’s analyzes how illegal immigrants affect government revenues and expenditures.
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BY THOMAS J. BILLITTERI
Excerpted from Thomas J. Billitteri, CQ Researcher (May 14, 2010), pp. 433-456.
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BY THOMAS J. BILLITTERI
decade (not adjusting for inflation or other changes).” 4 Yet the census has faced irst, the good news: myriad logistical and ideoWhen the Pew Relogical challenges. search Center asked Last year a government Americans in March for their report said “uncertainties” surviews about the 2010 U.S. rounded the Census Bucensus, most respondents reau’s readiness for the 2010 said they were ready to parcensus. 5 One problem conticipate in the once-everycerned a planned technical decade portrait of the nainnovation: the use of spetional population. 1 cial hand-held computers to Now the not-so-good verify addresses and conduct news: The positive public refollow-up interviews with nonsponse masked an angry deresponding households. The bate over this year’s census, devices didn’t work as hoped, including concerns about its however, and are being used accuracy. “This is probably only for address verification, the most polarized, political forcing the bureau to do census I’ve seen,” says Jacquepencil-and-paper follow-up line Byers, director of research interviews. And congressionand outreach at the National squabbling over the Obama al Association of Counties and administration’s appointment a veteran of four censuses. of a new secretary at the As the census moved into Commerce Depar tment, Census workers kick off the 2010 census at a rally in full swing this spring, the dewhich oversees the Census New York City’s Times Square on Jan. 4. Censuses have cennial ritual became a lens Bureau, and confirmation of been controversial since the first one in 1790, and this through which partisans on a new bureau director disyear’s is no exception. Partisans on the right and left both the right and left filtered rupted planning. raised questions about a range of issues, including their views on a range of polStill, census officials are opaccuracy, invasion of privacy, counting of same-sex couples and U.S. immigration policy. icy issues. Ultraconservative timistic about the 2010 count Republicans, for example, critand in late April were citing icized the census as an unan encouraging sign: 72 perconstitutional intrusion on privacy. congressional, state and local legisla- cent of census forms had been returned Evangelical Latino pastors urged un- tive districts, and, according to a new by households that received them, matchdocumented immigrants to boycott the study, allocate $447 billion in federal ing the rate in the 2000 census. 6 count to protest congressional inaction assistance to states and localities. 3 “Response rates in surveys have deThe 2010 census is the most ex- clined each year throughout the Weston immigration reform. Liberals hailed a new census policy allowing same- pensive ever at an estimated cost of ern world,” bureau director Robert M. sex couples to be counted as married; $14.5 billion, but its impact on gov- Groves wrote in his blog. “I fully exsome conservatives called it political ernment outlays will be vast. “The out- pected the census to achieve lower parpandering. 2 Even the census form’s sized influence of census statistics on ticipation rates this decade than it did question on racial background has federal funding indicates the enormous in 2000. It basically didn’t happen.” Even sparked debate. (See “At Issue,” p. 449.) return on taxpayer investment in fed- so, he added, “there is much hard work In fact, every census — going back eral statistics,” Brooking Institution fel- ahead to follow up on the approxito the first one in 1790 — has been low Andrew Reamer wrote. “One way mately 48 million households that did controversial. That’s no surprise, given to think about this is that the $14 bil- not mail back a form,” or didn’t receive the political power and money at lion life-cycle cost of the 2010 census one, “and risks remain.” 7 stake: Census counts are used to ap- will enable the fair allocation of nearThe bureau made several significant portion congressional seats, redraw ly $5 trillion in funds over the coming changes this year, in part to encourage
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Getty Images/Mario Tama
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Most Americans Support 2010 Census
Most people think the census will beneﬁt their communities and are willing to ﬁll out their forms. Nearly 90 percent of Americans consider the census important. How important is the census for the U.S.?
Somewhat or very important: Not too or not at all important: Don’t know: 0%
89% 7% 4%
20 40 60 80 100
How will ﬁlling out census forms affect your community?
Benefit community: Harm community: Neither benefit nor harm: Don’t know/other:
62% 3% 29% 6%
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
People who “deﬁnitely will” participate in the census. . . .
Total: People ages 18-29: 30-49 50-64 65+ White, non-Hispanic: Black, non-Hispanic: Hispanic: 0%
70% 45% 70% 85% 81% 73% 67% 65%
20 40 60 80 100
Source: “With Growing Awareness of Census, Most Ready to Fill Out Forms,” Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, March 2010
a stronger response. For example, after employing a paid advertising campaign for the first time in the 2000 census, the bureau increased its advertising and promotion efforts for the 2010 count to a total of $340 million — inviting criticism from budget hawks. As of May, a census official said the bureau spent $171 million for TV, radio, digital, print and outdoor advertising in 28 languages — including television ads before and during the Super Bowl. The bureau also sponsored a NASCAR race car and a 13-vehicle nationwide promotional road tour. The bureau also has used the Internet to boost response rates,
offering, among other things, an interactive map that tracks community participation rates. 8 Certain areas of the country are receiving questionnaires in both English and Spanish. 9 But perhaps the most far-reaching change has to do with the questionnaire itself. In another effort to encourage response, the bureau eliminated the traditional detailed “long form” survey on demographic, housing and economic factors sent to about a sixth of households since 1960. Instead, a brief 10-question form is being sent to every household. To replace the data collected by the old long form, the
Census Bureau is using a separate questionnaire, the American Community Survey (ACS), which is sent to about 250,000 households each month, providing researchers with a steady flow of “rolling” socioeconomic data throughout the decade rather than a once-perdecade snapshot. For demographers, statisticians and scholars, the change is huge — and not without some anxiety. In the short term, researchers say the switch will force them to learn how to use the rolling data and reconcile it with decennial statistics gathered by the old long form. Some worry the new ACS survey sample size may curtail the amount of useful data. But ultimately, many say, the change will be beneficial. The switch will be “extremely positive, even transforming,” because it will provide more timely data, asserts Kenneth Prewitt, Census Bureau director in the Clinton administration and now a professor of public affairs at Columbia University. Against the backdrop of operational challenges and technical change, the 2010 census has sparked bitter partisanship, raising concern that some Americans might not participate in the count even though federal law makes it mandatory to do so. Non-cooperation costs the taxpayers heavily. The government saves $85 million for each percentage-point increase in the mail-back response rate for this year’s census, Groves noted. When households don’t complete a form in a timely way, the bureau must send out paid “enumerators” — some 635,000 temporary workers this year — to knock on doors and collect the information firsthand. On average, it costs 42 cents when people mail back their form, but $57 for a census taker’s visit. 10 Heightening public wariness of the census has been a tide of conservative rhetoric raising the specter of unwarranted government intrusion. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachman, R-Minn., vowed not to provide any information except
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the number of people in her household, claiming last year that census questions had become “very intricate, very personal.” 11 Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, the only House member to oppose a resolution urging census participation, opined that the census “was never intended to serve as a vehicle for gathering personal information on citizens.” 12 And Republican blogger Erick Erickson, founder of the conservative website RedState.com, said he would pull out a shotgun to scare away a census worker who showed up at his house. “We are becoming enslaved by the government,” he declared. 13 But Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., warned against such anti-census rhetoric. Boycotting the census “offends me as an American patriot,” he said, warning of potential negative consequences for the GOP. Writing on RedState.com, he said he worried about “blatant misinformation coming from otherwise well-meaning conservatives” who “are helping big-government liberals by discouraging fellow conservatives from filling out their census forms.” Not responding to the census would “reduce conservatives’ power in elections, allow Democrats to draw more favorable congressional boundaries and help put more tax-hiking politicians in office,” he wrote. 14 Of course, Americans of every political persuasion sometimes balk at filling out census forms. Steven Jost, associate director of communications for the Census Bureau, said the challenges in conducting the census “go across the whole demography of our country.” In researching public attitudes toward the census, he found that “about 19 percent of the people we interviewed . . . are just cynical about government. And when we looked at the makeup of that cynical fifth, it was identical to the makeup of the population as a whole — age, race, gender, education, income levels. We’re in a tough environment in our coun-
Hispanics’ Support for Census Varies
Four-ﬁfths of foreign-born Hispanics in the United States think the census is good for their communities, compared with less than 60 percent of native-born Hispanics. What Hispanics Say About the Census’ Impact on Their Community
80% 70% 57% 33% 23% 2% 4% Native-born 17% N/A Foreign-born
80% 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
Doesn’t make much difference
Source: “Latinos and the 2010 Census: The Foreign Born Are More Positive,” Pew Hispanic Center, April 1, 2010
try now with mistrust of government, and we happen to be the face of the government right now.” 15 As this year’s census controversy heats up, here are some of the questions being asked: Will the census be accurate? A key goal of this year’s census marketing blitz has been to persuade as many people as possible to participate. But getting an accurate count isn’t easy. Undercounting is a recurring challenge for the Census Bureau, especially among minorities, low-income households, renters and immigrants. 16 The political implications of that are high, because people in those categories tend to vote Democratic. Double-counting people can be a problem, too. The 1990 census produced a net undercount — the difference between incorrect omissions and incorrect inclusions — of about 4 million people, or 1.6 percent of the population, but the rate was far higher for blacks (4.6 percent), Hispanics (5.0 percent) and children (3.2 percent). The rate for whites was 0.7 percent. 17
The 2000 census did a better job, with the undercount rate for blacks falling to 1.8 percent and for Hispanics to 0.7 percent. 18 But for the first time in history, the census had a net overcount. It double-counted nearly 5.8 million people, helping create a net overcount of 1.3 million. 19 Overcounts can happen when, for instance, a college student is tallied at a dorm and counted again by parents back home. This year’s form warns households not to count college students, soldiers or others who are living separately but may come home later. Many census experts are optimistic about this year’s count. “I think it will be very accurate,” says Brown University demographer John Logan, who directs a program on the 2010 census for the Russell Sage Foundation, a New York research center. “They’ve done a very professional job and are rolling with the punches,” he says of the Census Bureau. Still, the bureau faces several challenges in arriving at a reliable count. One is the nation’s growing immigrant population — legal and illegal — both of which the census tallies.
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To be sure, many immigrants are ing there aren’t any further problems The fragile national economy also highly supportive of the census — in terms of an anti-immigrant senti- can upset population counts in sevforeign-born immigrants all the more ment or the Department of Homeland eral ways. With unemployment in the so. The Pew Hispanic Center found in Security doesn’t have any major high- 10 percent range, some people have a March poll that 85 percent of His- profile raids” during the census count. left home in search of work and are panics said they had already sent in “Those types of things can affect hard to pin down. Others may be their census form or definitely would whether people want to cooperate or homeless or living in temporary group do so. The return rate for foreign-born not.” And as the Census Bureau sends quarters. Hispanics was 91 percent and for workers to neighborhoods to contact What’s more, many states and lonative-born Hispanics 78 percent. non-responding households, Falcón calities have been short on funds for What’s more, 69 percensus outreach. In Calcent of foreign-born ifornia, which is facing Hispanics correctly a $20 billion budget said the census can’t shortfall, money for cenbe used to determine sus outreach was slashed legal status, comto $2 million, compared pared with 57 perwith nearly $25 million cent of native-born in 2000. The state could Hispanics. 20 lose nearly $3,000 a Even so, experts year in federal assistance are concerned that for each resident not many immigrants counted. “We need to may be wary of parmake a push to make ticipating. “There’s a sure we at least stay huge fear factor,” even,” said Louis Stewsays Prewitt, the forart, deputy director of mer Census Bureau California’s census outdirector. Contributreach. “There is a lot Actress Rosario Dawson announces in Los Angeles on March 10 a ing to that fear, he riding on this count.” 23 multimedia plan by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and Voto Latino to encourage says, are such acCharities and comyoung California Latinos to fill out their census forms. At right is tions as Arizona’s munity-based groups Nancy Agosto, national census director for MALDEF. passage last month have taken up some of of a strict new law the slack left by depletaimed at identifying and deporting il- says, “it will be a test to see if the ed state budgets. The philanthropic comlegal immigrants. 21 bureau did a good job in hiring peo- munity poured some $15 million into “You can say over and over that the ple from those same neighborhoods” census-promotion efforts, much of it census is confidential, but in parts of so residents will be willing to let the directed to difficult-to-count areas and community groups serving them, acthe country that message is very hard census workers into their homes. to communicate,” says Prewitt. He exAnother roadblock to census accu- cording to Terri Ann Lowenthal, a cenpects it to be “much, much harder to racy is the difficulty of locating peo- sus consultant and former staff direccount the undocumented” this year “be- ple in certain locales. For example, in tor of the House census oversight cause of a serious change in the envi- hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, “de- subcommittee. She said the collaboronment” surrounding immigration. termining how many people live [there] ration has helped push response rates Angelo Falcón, president of the Na- will not be an easy task, given the above the national average in some tional Institute for Latino Policy, a New thousands who are still homeless or hard-to-count areas. 24 Deep-seated mistrust of governYork City-based think tank, says he is living with relatives as they await persure “there will be an undercount of manent housing,” The New York Times ment also can influence how people Latinos” — due both to the fear fac- noted. The newspaper added that the respond to the census. A new Pew tor and the difficulty of counting some Census Bureau was “allowing some Research Center survey found that demographic groups. “People are try- unconventional counting practices,” only 22 percent of respondents said ing to get the word out locally” about such as distributing forms to people they could trust the government in the census, Falcón says. “We’re hop- who are not at verified addresses. 22 Washington almost always or most of
AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
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the time, the lowest by far since at least the Kennedy administration. 25 Asked why he thought Republican opposition existed toward this year’s census, Reamer, the Brookings Institution fellow, said “some people are using the census as a symbol of big, intrusive government, seeking to stoke fear and paranoia about government in general and the Democrats in particular.” In addition, he said, “straightup political reality is that Republicans benefit from an undercount of nonwhites, who tend to vote Democratic. Democrats are the beneficiaries of a low undercount.” 26 Should the census include undocumented immigrants? Last fall, Republican Sens. Bob Bennett of Utah and David Vitter of Louisiana proposed an amendment requiring that the census include a question on citizenship, a move aimed at removing undocumented immigrants from the count. The Senate rejected their amendment, but Bennett vowed to keep pushing for it in future censuses “so we can fairly determine congressional representation and ensure that legal residents are equally represented.” 27 * But many say such a move runs counter to the historical roots of the census. The 1790 Census Act said the decennial census “should count everyone living in the country where they usually reside,” bureau director Groves told a press briefing last fall. “That applied to every census since 1790.” 28 Groves said he had “no idea how people would react” to a census question asking if a person is in the country legally or not, saying it was “really hard” to say. But experts say asking
* Bennett, a three-term, 76-year-old Senate veteran, was denied his party’s nomination for a fourth term on May 8 by the Utah GOP convention, making him one of the first congressional victims of the growing power of the conservative Tea Party movement.
Midwest Returned Most Census Forms
The 10 areas with the best records for returning 2010 census forms are in the Midwest; Livonia, Mich., held the record, at 87 percent. Nationwide, 72 percent of American households returned forms before the May 1 deadline.
Top 10 areas to return census forms
1. 2. 3. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10. Livonia, Mich. Green Township, Ohio Maple Grove, Minn. Carmel, Ind. Clay Township, Ind. Eau Claire, Wis. Lakeville, Minn. 87% 86% 86% 85% 85% 85% 85% 85% 85%
4. Appleton, Wis.
8. Frankfort Township, Ill.
Macomb Township, Mich. 85%
Top five states to return census forms
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Wisconsin Minnesota Indiana Iowa Michigan 81% 80% 78% 78% 77%
Source: “Take 10 Map: 2010 Census Participation Rates,” U.S. Census Bureau, April 27, 2010
people whether they’re citizens would lead many immigrants not to participate for fear of harassment or deportation. “I just want to know how you get somebody to respond to say they’re citizens or not,” says Byers of the National Association of Counties. Beyond that practical consideration, many argue that given the census’ key uses — to apportion congressional seats and allocate federal money — a count of all inhabitants is crucial.
“Everyone is protected by the law, so everyone should be counted in determining how many seats a state gets to write those laws,” wrote Robert J. Shapiro, a former Commerce Department official who oversaw the 2000 census. “And whether or not someone has citizenship or residency papers, they still put claims on public services, which the funding for those services should reflect.” Shapiro said the implications of using the census to identify undocumented immigrants are “enormous.” California “may have as many as 4 or 5 million undocumented inhabitants,” he wrote. “Exclude them and the state could lose perhaps a half-dozen seats in Congress and tens of billions of dollars in federal funds. Texas and other states with large Hispanic populations would lose seats and funding as well.” 29 The controversy over citizenship goes beyond the census and flows into the country’s fractious debate over immigration reform. The Rev. Miguel Rivera, leader of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, which represents 20,000 churches in 34 states, has urged undocumented immigrants to boycott the census to protest Congress’ failure to overhaul immigration laws. As explained by National Public Radio last year, Rivera realized members of Congress have a big stake in the census because their seats and federal funding for their districts depend on the count. “So if they don’t want lacking of funding for their constituents, [and] maybe losing seats at the congressional level, then what they have to do is roll [up] their sleeves and move forward with comprehensive immigration reform,” Rivera said. 30 But other Hispanic leaders who back immigration reform see it differently. “It’s sad. It’s unfortunate. Ultimately, it means more political power for the people who don’t like immigrants,” said the Rev. Luis Cortes, president of Esperanza, a faith-based network that claims more than 12,000 Hispanic congregations and other organizations. 31
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States Receive Most Census-Based Federal Funds
State governments received most of the federal funds distributed on the basis of census data (top). Four major program areas — health, housing, transportation and education — received more than 90 percent of census-based funds (bottom). Geographic Distribution of Federal Funds Based on Census Data, FY 2008
Geographic Level State Local area County Metropolitan Statistical Area School district Census tract Programs 116 75 49 45 7 7 Expenditures (in $ billions) $386.0 $78.4 $50.3 $49.4 $10.3 $76.2 % of Total* 86.4% 17.6% 11.3% 11.1% 2.3% 0.0%
Census-Guided Programs by Budget Function, FY 2008
Budget Function Health Section 8 Housing Subsidies Transportation Education, Training, Employment and Social Services Community and Regional Development Commerce and Housing Credit Energy Other Programs 24 31 11 54 34 13 4 44 Expenditures (in $ billions) $272.2 $55.3 $48.3 $40.0 $10.5 $9.8 $2.3 $8.0 % of Total 60.9% 12.4% 10.8% 9.0% 2.4% 2.2% 0.5% 1.8%
ican society. By counting them you basically include them in the process.” But Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative think tank in Washington, is “ambivalent” on whether undocumented immigrants should be counted. He would “much rather enforce the immigration laws so it is a less salient issue in the first place,” he says. A “second-best” approach would be to count everybody and use that number for dispensing federal funds, but use only a count of U.S. citizens for determining House and state legislative seats. But that would require asking about citizenship status — a step that many say would make the census count unreliable. Should the census long form be replaced by the American Community Survey? For decades, while most Americans filled out a regular census form, about one in six households received a more in-depth “long-form” questionnaire that asked about everything from education levels and commuting patterns to homeheating fuel and family income. The data served many purposes. Government officials used it, for example, to plan new roads, measure poverty and allocate federal funds. Demographers used it to spot social trends. Businesses used it to decide where to build everything from stores to power plants. The Census Bureau is still asking such questions, but starting this year it is using the ongoing American Community Survey (ACS) to do so in place of the old decennial census long form. Each month the ACS is mailed to about 250,000 households — 3 million a year — and, as with the census, recipients are legally bound to fill it out. The ACS has both pluses and minuses compared to the old long form, demographers, researchers and census scholars say. On the plus side, the flow of data will be continual and far time-
* Totals add to more than 100 percent because one program can use data for more than one geographic level. Source: “Counting for Dollars: The Role of the Decennial Census in the Distribution of Federal Funds,” Brookings Institution, March 9, 2010
In this year’s Pew Hispanic Center poll, 70 percent of Hispanics said the census is good for the Hispanic community. What’s more, foreign-born Hispanics were more positive and knowledgeable about this year’s census than were native-born Hispanics, Pew found. 32 “We should be counting everybody,” says Falcón of the National Institute for Latino Policy. “That’s what the Constitution said. . . . It’s a question of people who live here, who use the services here, who contribute here.
Whether they’re here legally or not, legally at a certain point becomes irrelevant. Even for reapportionment you can make the argument that these are people who require the political system to be responsive to them. They do contribute, and they are part of the body politic. Maybe they can’t vote, but they might be able to contribute money or participate in campaigns. . . . I’m part of that group that would like to get a lot of these people legalized and become part of Amer-
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lier than information gleaned from the once-a-decade long form. “With the [ACS], it’s no longer necessary to rely on a single snapshot of an area that becomes increasingly dated throughout the decade,” the Census Bureau says. “Instead, the survey provides a moving picture of community characteristics — a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.” 33 Five-year data will be published on areas with fewer than 20,000 residents. Three- and five-year data will be available on areas with populations between 20,000 and 65,000. And annual data, plus three- and five-year data, will be published on areas with 65,000 or more people. The Census Bureau began developing the ACS in the early 2000s and rolled it out in 2005. Three-year data are out now, and later this year the bureau will produce its first set of five-year ACS data, covering 2005 through 2009. On the downside, say census experts, the ACS samples fewer households than the old long form did, though the Obama administration is seeking additional funding to increase the sample size. What’s more, data on small communities won’t be available as quickly as for larger cities and regions. And while multiyear data are often more useful than a 10-year snapshot, they can blur sharp economic ups and downs, presenting an unreliable picture of prevailing conditions. “There are lots of rationales for what the Census Bureau is doing,” says Byers of the National Association of Counties. Areas with 65,000 or more residents make up 82 percent of the U.S. population, she notes. But “they don’t do as frequent an update of the smaller counties. And we’re a nation of smaller counties.” CQ Weekly noted in December that the ACS “has been surveying a smaller and smaller portion of the population every year because its budget has remained essentially flat.” In fiscal 2009, about $200 million was spent on the survey, which paid for interviews of
about 3 million households, roughly the same number as in prior years, the magazine said. “That used to amount to about 2.5 percent of all the households in the United States,” it said, but with population growth the same survey reaches just over 2 percent of households. Some experts say the sampling of small geographic areas or population groups, such as teen mothers or people older than 85, “is becoming too small to be statistically reliable,” noted the Weekly. 34 Cynthia Taeuber, a retired Census Bureau statistician who runs a consulting firm on census issues, said “this is a very big loss to businesses and to state, local and federal governments. It means that federal programs are distributing funds — say, for poverty within cities or population within rural areas — on shaky data.” 35 Reamer, the Brookings Institution scholar, says while the ACS data will be more timely, “the tradeoff is that it’s not an estimate of a point in time like the traditional long-form data.” That can matter in periods when the economy is in flux, such as the one the nation has been experiencing, Reamer says. “Late in 2010, we’ll get 2005-2009 data” for areas under 20,000 population, “which was the end of a boom period and the beginning and middle of recession. We’re going to get somewhat of a muddled picture of economic conditions” at the neighborhood level. For transportation planners, among the heaviest users of census data, the switch to the ACS is especially challenging. Alan Pisarski, author of a series of reports on commuting patterns published by the National Academy of Sciences, warned that the number of households surveyed in any given year will be too small to provide the kind of granular data needed to plan bus routes, traffic intersections and other needs. The old long form “gave you not only county-level detail but census tract detail — it even gave you blockgroup-level data,” he says. With the
ACS’s “very small” sample, Pisarski says, “it’s enough to give you good national stuff, but nowhere near as close as blocks. That means that a lot of the stuff [won’t] be useful.” The ACS is “a very big change,” one with “a short-term cost,” says Logan, the Brown University demographer. Noting its smaller sample size, he says, “When we get Census 2010 data, we’re not going to know as much, with as much accuracy and detail, about the population in neighborhoods of big cities or about small towns or smaller counties, even areas of 40,000 or 50,000 people. We’re going to be dependent on the ACS, which is not a substitute for that one-time, very detailed and pretty accurate picture.” Still, Logan says, researchers will get used to the ACS. “It will be a very big contribution to see trends as they are appearing. It’s something we could not do” with the 10-year snapshot provided by the long form. Indeed, many say the switch to the ACS will be a plus in the long run. Census scholar Margo J. Anderson, a professor of history and urban studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, points out that the long form had been spurring “increasing questions about privacy and its onerous length,” dragging down response rates. Because the ACS will provide a steady flow of timely data on local population characteristics, Anderson says it “will be very nice for local-government planning, allocation of federal money and so forth.” On the downside, she notes, it’ll be a different kind of data. “Users are going to have to get used to it. But in the long term it’s an improvement.” Joseph Salvo, New York City’s chief demographer, says the advantages of the switch outweigh the disadvantages, which include educating data users to learn to work with multiyear averages rather than data based on a fixed point in time. But overall, the switch is clearly “positive,” Salvo says. “If you go back
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to 2000 and look at data from the long form, a lot of it is bad,” he says. “For example, the economic data in the Bronx was compromised because a whole bunch of people did not respond.” The degree to which the Census Bureau had to substitute values for the missing data was “very high in a whole bunch of items in a whole bunch of communities.” Salvo also expects response rates on the ACS to be better because professional interviewers are following up with non-responders. “The major plus is that we get data more than once a decade,” Salvo says. “We get data — new estimates — every year.” not an idle irritation on Washington’s part,” Prewitt added. Washington “worried that a small population would tempt America’s European enemies to military action.” 38 That first census was controversial for another reason, too: politics. Washington exercised the first of his two presidential vetoes on a bill to apportion House seats. Opposing sides had formed around two competing formulas, one proposed by Alexander Hamilton of New York and the other supported by Jefferson of Virginia. Washington’s veto led Congress to adopt Jefferson’s method. 39 “This battle between North and South, between political parties, between geographic areas with large populations and those with small populations, or between urban and rural areas, is central to nearly all controversy over apportionment and districting from 1790 to the present,” wrote census expert David McMillen. 40 In the 1800s, the North-South battle was fought not only with Civil War cannons but also with census counts, and the slavery issue was at the heart of it. Under an infamous compromise made during the Constitutional Convention in 1787, only three-fifths of the slave population was to be counted when apportioning seats in the House. The result was growing political power among Republican-dominated Northern states compared with the Democrat-controlled South, where most slaves lived. But in 1865, slavery was abolished through the 13th Amendment, effectively ending the three-fifths compromise. On paper, at least, that shifted more political power to the South. Even so, slavery’s legacy and its relationship to the census remained an issue and became a factor in the push for civil rights in the postCivil War South. “Northern Republicans realized that the census and reapportionment would work to their political disadvantage after the Civil War and Reconstruction,” wrote Anderson, the University of Wisconsin historian. With the demise of the three-fifths compromise, “the Southern states would gain a windfall of increased representation in Congress. However, since few policymakers expected the freed slaves to be able to vote initially, they realized that a disfranchised free black population would strengthen the white-led Southern states and permit the Democrats to come dangerously close to gaining control of the presidency as early as 1868. The logic of population counting and apportionment, therefore, was one of the major forces driving Congress to extend further political and civil rights to the freedmen.” 41
The First Census
his spring, a first edition of the first U.S. census, signed in 1791 by then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, sold at auction for more than $122,000. 36 Jefferson’s signature helped make the 56-page document a historical prize, but that first census is notable for another reason, too: Like every U.S. census that followed, the 1790 count spurred discord and doubt. The first census, which broke out the 1790 population into free people and slaves, concluded that the new nation contained 3.9 million people. Jefferson and President George Washington both expected the count to be higher — at least 4 million if not, in Jefferson’s mind, 4 to 5 million. 37 “Washington had expected a population about 5 percent higher and blamed the ‘inaccuracy’ on avoidance by some residents as well as on negligence by those responsible for taking the census,” former Census Bureau director Prewitt wrote. “This was
ust as the census and reapportionment factored in Civil War-era racial tensions, they also formed a backdrop for another major battle — this one between cities and rural regions. As a result of the 1920 census, the government announced that most Americans now lived in urban areas, a monumental shift that, as Anderson wrote, “threatened to undermine the rural states’ domination of national politics and the rural towns’ domination of state politics.” 42 Rural legislators challenged the 1920 census count and refused to give up power, and for the only time in U.S. history Congress did not pass a reapportionment bill after a census. The rural-urban squabble had lasting effects. As part of a reapportionment bill based on the 1930 census, Congress set aside a requirement that congressional districts be roughly equal in size. “In short, Congress redistributed political power among the states but quietly permitted malapportioned districts within states in order to preserve rural and small-town dominance of Congress,” Anderson wrote. She added that malapportionment remained the norm until the 1960s. 43
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Constitution’s mandate for a decennial census sparks political conflict over how the American population is counted. 1790 First census puts population at 3.9 million, lower than the figure President George Washington and thenSecretary of State Thomas Jefferson hoped for; slaves counted as threefifths of a person; Washington vetoes apportionment bill he saw as unfair. 1865 Thirteenth Amendment abolishes slavery, ending three-fifths count for African-Americans and effectively shifting more political power to the South.
1957 Census Act allows sampling to be used in the 1960 census.
1960s-1980s Concern about undercounting
grows among civil rights groups, cities and states. 1969 Ebony magazine pushes for “accurate Black count,” telling readers that census counts are important to government and industry for apportionment, program planning and analysis. 1976 In effort to address undercount, Congress amends the Census Act to require the Commerce secretary to use sampling “if he considers it feasible.” 1980 Undercount reduced again, but some cities and states seek to force Census Bureau to adjust figures.
1996 U.S. Supreme Court, in Wisconsin v. City of New York, rejects cities’ effort to force adjustment of 1990 census. . . . Census Bureau announces “re-engineered census” plan aimed at reducing undercount and avoiding lawsuits; congressional Republicans say the plan violates the Constitution. 1999 Supreme Court rules that the Census Act bars use of statistical sampling for reapportionment but leaves door open for using it to allocate federal funds and draw state legislative districts. 2000 Census Bureau buys ads for the first time to encourage responses. 2009 Robert M. Groves chosen to head Census Bureau, says won’t use sampling to adjust the 2010 count. . . . Census Bureau cuts ties with Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) after employees of the antipoverty group are filmed appearing to give advice encouraging tax fraud and prostitution. 2010 Census Bureau replaces long-form questionnaire with American Community Survey while sending all households a short 10-question form. . . . Total cost of 2010 census estimated at $14.5 billion, including $340 million promotional campaign that includes $171 million in advertising; conservative Republicans criticize census as intrusive, and some Latino advocates try to boycott it to protest lack of immigration reform; mail-back response rate of 72 percent matches 2000 rate; bureau begins effort to contact non-responders.
1902 Congress creates Census Office.
Farm-to-city population shifts and undercounting of minorities cast new attention on census data.
1920 Census finds that most Americans live in cities; rural legislators challenge census count, and Congress fails to pass a reapportionment bill. 1940 First hard evidence of undercounting emerges as demographic analysis shows that 3 percent more draft-age men, including 13 percent more blacks, registered for the draft pool than were counted in the 1940 census. 1951 Newly invented Univac computer used in final stages of 1950 census.
1990-Present Conflict arises over use of statistical adjustment of census data to reduce undercounting. 1990 For first time since 1940 Census Bureau fails to reduce undercount; population reaches 249 million. 1991 Commerce Secretary Robert A. Mosbacher declines Census Bureau recommendation to adjust the 1990 census to deal with undercount; critics say the decision is politically driven, and several states and cities sue to force adjustment.
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Gay Couples to Be Counted for First Time
But census won’t provide complete count of gays in America.
ith eight states and Washington, D.C., recognizing same-sex marriages, the U.S. Census for the first time this year will include data about same-sex marriages nationwide, regardless of whether they are legal. In previous censuses, the Census Bureau considered samesex couples who checked the “married” box as “unmarried partners.” 1 But since the last census in 2000, five states and the district have legalized same-sex marriages, and three more recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. The Census Bureau is even encouraging same-sex couples who aren’t legally married but identify themselves as such to check the “married” box. And since the census is confidential, there will be no legal repercussions for same-sex married couples who live in states in which same-sex marriages aren’t legal. “The census is a portrait of America,” Che Ruddell-Tabisola, the manager of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender program at the Census Bureau, told The Kansas City Star. “Our job is to get an accurate count. . . . One of the most important things is for same-sex couples to know that it is 100 percent safe to participate in the census.” 2 The decision to count same-sex married couples is hailed by some gay rights advocates as an important first step in getting a complete count of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the United States. “Even in the absence of federal recognition of our relationships, we have an opportunity to say on an official form that, ‘Yes, we are married,’ ‘Yes, our relationships are every bit as equal to every-
one else’s,’ ” said Josh Friedes, executive director of the LGBT advocacy group Equal Rights Washington. 3 Some gay rights advocates, however, say more needs to be done to recognize the U.S. LGBT community in terms of data and gathering more statistics. “[At] the moment, it’s not that easy for us to answer a simple question, like ‘How many LGBT people are there,’ ” Gary Gates, a member of Our Families Count, a census campaign to count the LGBT community, told National Public Radio’s “Tell Me More” program. In data-gathering, “When a group is essentially invisible, it’s hard to make an argument that they have needs or that they are treated differently.” 4 Because the census will count only same-sex couples who live together, many say a large proportion of the community will not be counted, and the only remedy for this is to include a question on the census about sexual orientation. But the only way to add questions to the census is to get approval by Congress, so that does not appear likely anytime soon. Some conservative same-sex-marriage opponents worry that these new statistics will aid gay rights advocates in the fight for legal same-sex marriage in more states. Some have even said that counting same-sex couples violates the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. “Marriage is only for a man and woman. That’s the law they need to follow. Somebody needs to sue the federal government to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act,” said Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, a pro-family advocacy group. The Family Research Council (FRC), which promotes family,
Continued from p. 442
In 1962, in the landmark ruling Baker v. Carr, the Supreme Court held that voters could bring a constitutional challenge to a state’s legislative apportionment. The decision opened the door to a series of rulings that local and state legislative bodies as well as congressional districts must be apportioned according to what became known as the “one-person, one-vote rule” — in other words, districts had to contain a roughly equal number of people as tallied in the decennial census. “Other methods of drawing legislative districts, which might use political or geographic boundaries, were invalid if those districts were not equal in population,” Anderson noted. 44
Meanwhile, the growing focus on antidiscrimination laws was helping to spotlight the issue of census accuracy and the problem of undercounting minorities. Undercounting had been a concern ever since the first census in 1790, but for 150 years demographers and census officials had little in the way of hard proof that undercounting — particularly of African-Americans — existed to any significant degree. That changed in 1940 at the advent of World War II. As noted by the Census Bureau, demographic analysis showed that 3 percent more draft-age men, including 13 percent more blacks, registered for the World War II draft pool than were counted in the 1940 census, proving
that censuses were missing part of the population. 45 Concerns about undercounting — especially of minorities — led to major changes in modern census methods. Over the past six decades those changes have led to controversies and charges of politicization of the census — charges that persisted through the planning for Census 2010. At the heart of the controversy has been the practice of sampling — using data on part of the population to make broader conclusions about the whole. The 1950 census produced a net undercount of 4.4 percent of the population, but the undercount rate for blacks was 9.6 percent. 46 In 1957 Congress passed a new Census Act, which
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LGBT community and encourage it to marriage and human life in national be honest on its survey responses. The policy, agrees the Census Bureau’s acbureau also broadcast public service tions may violate DOMA. ads on the gay-oriented channel Logo “For the Census Bureau to actuabout counting same-sex marriages ally encourage same-sex couples to and posted them on the Census Bumark themselves as married is a clear reau Web site. violation of the Defense of Marriage “We have to reach out and engage Act,” says Peter Sprigg, a senior felthis part of the population,” a Census low for policy studies at FRC. Sprigg Bureau official said. “Anything less than says the data being collected could that is a failure.” 5 have been interesting because some states that have legalized same-sex — Julia Russell marriages don’t record data on how many marriages are performed. But, This year’s census will include data about 1 “Census Form Question Stirs Controversy, U.S. because the census will count all same-sex marriages for the first time. Census Bureau to Acknowledge Couples Differsame-sex couples who consider themRocky Galloway and Reggie Stanley, above, ently,” KCRA (Sacramento), April 1, 2010, selves married — legally or not — celebrate after applying for their marriage www.kcra.com/news/23024784/detail.html. 2 Eric Adler, “Bureau wants same-sex couples to “the data really isn’t very useful.” license in Washington, D.C., last March. check the ‘married’ box on census form,” The Because Congress mandated that Kansas City Star (Missouri), April 6, 2010, www. a marriage can be only between a man and a woman, the kansascity.com/2010/04/06/1861880/census-bureau-seeking-count-of.html. FRC believes the idea of same-sex marriage is an oxymoron, 3 Lornet Turnbull, “Census will count gay couples who check ‘husband or wife,’ ” The Seattle Times, March 30, 2010, http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/ according to Sprigg. localnews/2011483128_lgbtcensus31m.html. And while it might be one thing for the census to simply 4 “2010 Census Will Count Same-Sex Couples,” “Tell Me More,” National count same-sex married couples, he said it’s another thing for Public Radio, Nov. 25, 2009, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php? the Census Bureau to distribute messages encouraging same- storyId=120816467. 5 “Census Bureau urges same-sex couples to be counted,” USA Today, April 6, sex couples to check the “married” box. To promote its new way of counting same-sex couples, 2010, www.usatoday.com/news/nation/census/2010-04-05-census-gays_N.htm. the Census Bureau sent a task force to reach out to the
allowed sampling to be used in the 1960 census “in such form and content as” the secretary of Commerce “may determine,” but the law said sampling could not be used for reapportioning House seats. 47 By 1970, the stakes in census accuracy had grown significantly, in large part because of the passage of civil rights legislation that demanded reliable counts to monitor the application of antidiscrimination laws. In addition, big U.S. cities were under increasing financial pressure, raising the importance of census counts in the allocation of federal assistance. Judicial rulings requiring legislative districts to be equal in population also demanded accurate census counts.
In January 1969 an Ebony magazine editorial pushed “for an accurate Black count” and told readers that census counts were important to government and industry for apportionment, program planning and analysis. “And,” the magazine claimed, “the figures they use are a lie” because about 10 percent of “non-Whites (primarily Blacks)” were “missed.” The magazine noted that most census workers were white, and it advocated for black interviewers to take the census to “ghetto areas.” 48 The following year the Urban League organized a Coalition for a Black Count to monitor the 1970 census and urge participation “to assure a full and accurate minority count.” 49
AFP/Getty Images/Mandel Ngan
Undercounts persisted, though. The 1970 census produced a net undercount of 2.9 percent of the population, but 8 percent of blacks. 50 In 1957 Congress amended the Census Act to allow sampling, but not for apportionment. In 1976 the law was strengthened to allow the Commerce secretary to use sampling “if he considers it feasible,” though again not for apportionment. The change was technical in nature and not aimed at improving the undercount. 51
Litigation Over Sampling
ut over the next quarter-century, the idea of using sampling to
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statistically adjust for the undercount arose repeatedly, resulting in court fights, a landmark Supreme Court ruling and charges of politicizing the census to gain a partisan edge in the apportionment of congressional seats, drawing of legislative districts and allocation of federal money to the states. After the 1980 census, the Census Bureau stepped up its research on methods for statistically adjusting the 1990 census to correct for undercounting, but the Commerce Department subsequently decided against the idea. That led to litigation. In late 1988 New York City and a coalition of other state and local entities, joined by the NAACP and other advocacy groups, sued the Census Bureau in an effort to stop “chronic under-counting” of urban blacks and Latinos. 52 “From a civil rights point of view, it has to do with equal voting rights,” Neil Corwin, New York City’s assistant corporation counsel, explained at the time. “From the federal-funding point, there are a number of programs based on population figures. If New York has more people than the Census Bureau gives it credit for, they are going to suffer in the amount of federal funds they get.” 53 In 1990 the Census Bureau failed to reduce the undercount for the first time since 1940. The overall rate was 1.6 percent, but 4.6 percent for blacks and 5 percent for Hispanics. Renters were undercounted by 4.5 percent, and many children were missed. 54 The bureau recommended that the 1990 results be adjusted, but Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher, a Republican serving in the George H. W. Bush administration, declined. While conceding that minorities and some jurisdictions had been undercounted, he argued that the proposed adjustment methods, employing sampling, weren’t accurate enough to improve the overall census results. 55 Critics promptly tagged his decision as without merit and politically driven. New York City Mayor David Dinkins called it “nothing less than statistical grand larceny.” 56 More litigation followed. New York City and others challenged Mosbacher’s decision, but a federal district court judge ruled that it was constitutional and did not violate the Census Act. A federal appellate court overturned that decision, ruling “that because a disproportionate undercount of minorities raised concerns about equal representation, the government was required to prove that its refusal to adjust the census figures ‘was necessary to achieve some legitimate goal.’ ” 57 But in 1996, the Supreme Court upheld Mosbacher’s decision not to adjust the 1990 count. Using statistical means to deal with undercounting wasn’t dead, however. After the string of lawsuits over the 1990 count, the Census Bureau came up with a new plan for a “reengineered census” in 2000 that it thought would correct the miscounting and avoid litigation. It was “the culmination of a four-year process of discussion and review of census plans by a broad spectrum of experts, advisors and stakeholders,” according to the bureau. 58 The plan, which became public in early 1996, called again for the use of statistical sampling. As described by The New York Times, the technique “was loosely similar to that of public opinion polls in that it would extrapolate information about the population from partial data. But the bureau’s plans are more sophisticated. They involve using traditional methods to count everyone in 90 percent of the households in a census tract — a neighborhood of about 1,700 dwellings. Data from the 90 percent would be used to determine the number and characteristics of the remaining 10 percent, and the population would be further adjusted on the basis of a survey of 750,000 households.” 59 Congressional Republicans, who had gained control of both houses of Congress in the 1994 midterm elections, objected, saying the technique violated federal law and the Constitution. As The Times noted, “with House Republicans holding a razor-thin majority, both parties [were] acutely conscious of any question that might give one side an advantage.” 60 In 1998 a federal court ruled against the sampling plan, and the ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court. In 1999, in a landmark 5-4 decision, the justices barred the use of statistical sampling to arrive at population totals for the purpose of reapportionment. But the court left the door open to using sampling for other purposes, such as allocating federal funds and state districting. 61
ew controversies arose as the 2010 census approached. One involved last year’s White House nomination of Sen. Judd Gregg, a Republican from New Hampshire, to head the Commerce Department. “Obama’s pick . . . raised alarm among some minority advocates, who noted that Gregg had opposed increases to census funding and could not be trusted to do everything necessary to reduce undercounts,” Boston Globe correspondent James Burnett wrote. “To mollify those critics, White House spokesman Ben LaBolt indicated that for 2010 the census director would now ‘work closely with White House senior management.’ To some census observers — especially those observing from GOP congressional seats — this looked like a power grab.” 62 Gregg withdrew, citing the census as key among “irresolvable conflicts” with the Obama administration. 63 In picking a replacement — Washington Gov. Gary Locke, a Democrat — the White House sought to reassure critics that the census wouldn’t be politicized. But yet another controversy erupted after the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — a grassroots antipoverty group com-
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Census Leads to Power Shift in Congress
Population migration transfers House seats to Sun Belt states.
hen William Howard Taft occupied the White House in 1911, Congress set the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives at 435, the same as today. But every 10 years, when the census is conducted, an element of suspense surrounds that set-in-stone figure. House seats are distributed among the states based on population figures gathered in the census, with apportionment occurring the year following the census. With every new census, some states gain seats (and the political power that goes with them) and others lose seats. Following the 2000 census, for instance, 12 seats shifted; after the 1990 count, 19 seats transferred. 1 Political analysts often can reliably forecast winners and losers ahead of time, but some states are cliff-hangers until the Census Bureau releases its official post-census results. This year that will happen by Dec. 31. For years, House seats and political power have been shifting toward the Sun Belt — the Southern and Western states — and away from the Midwest and Northeast, a trend expected to continue in next year’s reapportionment. That trend began in earnest after World War II, spurred by the baby boom and air conditioning, says Kimball W. Brace, president of Election Data Services (EDS), a Manassas, Va., consulting firm specializing in redistricting, election administration and census analysis. Returning veterans started families, the U.S. population grew and people moved seeking jobs — not just to the suburbs but also to warm-weather states, such as California, Texas and Florida. “With the advent of air conditioning, they ended up not feeling bad going to hot places,” Brace notes. The migratory trend continues, but with some recent twists that could have a strong impact on reapportionment, he says. “If you look at the Census Bureau’s yearly studies of movement . . . since World War II, you generally find that about 17 or 18 percent of the population moves every year” whether across town or cross-country. But in the last two years, that 17 percent has dropped to 11 percent, mainly because of the housing crisis and economic upheaval, he says. With migration slow, some states may not gain as many House seats as expected before the recent recession. According to estimates by EDS, seven states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington — would each gain a seat, and Texas would gain three, based on 2009 Census Bureau population estimates, the latest available until the 2010 census is counted. 2 Before the economy soured, Brace says, Florida was on track to gain two seats but will now be “lucky to gain one.”
Texas, on the other hand, has held steady, and in fact could gain a fourth seat, depending on the 2010 census, Brace says. The migration of people to Texas from Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 may have boosted Texas’ population enough to give the state another seat, Brace says. “The issue is, have any of those people gone back? We’re not sure yet.” A separate study by Polidata, a Virginia group that analyzes political data, projected that Texas could gain four seats, though the strength of that projection has decreased, it said late last year. 3 The EDS study noted that Arizona and Nevada have both seen their population growth decline over the past decade. “Arizona’s lower growth rate has impacted whether it will gain a second seat” in 2010, it said. “Nevada, on the other hand, has enough population to keep its additional seat.” Eight states — Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania — will probably each lose a seat, according to EDS estimates, and Ohio stands to lose two. Minnesota is an uncertainty. Based on the 2009 population data, it would not lose a seat, but if 2009 population trends continue into 2010, it will, according to EDS. California is also a cliff-hanger — and perhaps the most consequential because of its size. Depending on the 2010 census, the state could lose a congressional seat for the first time since it achieved statehood in 1850, EDS said. That marks a dramatic turn of events for California. Brace says when 2005 Census Bureau data were projected out to 2010, California looked to be in line to gain a seat. But then came the recession, which hit California earlier than the rest of the country, and the state’s population growth rate fell behind that of some other states, he says. If the census counted only U.S. citizens and did not include undocumented immigrants — an idea embraced by some conservatives — California could wind up losing five congressional seats, Brace says. “Immigration does have an impact.” — Thomas J. Billitteri
Greg Giroux, “Before Redistricting, That Other ‘R’ Word,” CQ Weekly, Nov. 20, 2009, p. 2768. 2 “New Population Estimates Show Additional Changes for 2009 Congressional Apportionment, With Many States Sitting Close to the Edge for 2010,” Election Data Services, Dec. 23, 2009, www.electiondataservices.com/images/ File/NR_Appor09wTables.pdf. 3 “Congressional Apportionment: 2010 Projections Based Upon State Estimates as of July 1, 2009,” Polidata, Dec. 23, 2009, www.polidata.org/news.htm#20091223.
monly known as ACORN — signed on as an unpaid census-promotion partner for the 2010 census. Long a
target of conservative critics, ACORN had been accused by Republicans of voter-registration fraud during the
2008 presidential campaign, and its involvement in the census touched off strong GOP objections. 64
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“It’s a concern, especially when you publican on the House Committee on tell the full story. “[T]he measure is limlook at all the different charges of Oversight and Government Reform, said ited to the universe of homes to which voter fraud,” Rep. Lynn A. Westmore- Groves’ selection was “incredibly troubling” the Census Bureau mailed . . . or handland, R-Ga., vice ranking member of and “contradicts the administration’s as- delivered . . . questionnaires and asked the House Oversight Subcommittee on surances that the census process would residents to mail them back,” wrote Information Policy, Census and Na- not be used to advance an ulterior polit- Lowenthal, the census consultant and former House staffer. tional Archives, told FoxNews.com. “We ical agenda.” 67 “Not in the equation,” she noted, are want an enumeration. We don’t want But at his confirmation hearing in to have any false numbers.” 65 May, Groves told a Senate panel he people counted separately — everyone What came next all but sealed ACORN’s wouldn’t use sampling to adjust the from American Indians living on reserfate. After conservative activists secretly 2010 census. And, he said, “there are vations and college students living in dorms to people living in migrant farmfilmed ACORN employees appearing to no plans to do that for 2020.” 68 worker camps and RV offer advice encour(recreational vehicle) aging tax fraud to acparks. And those “additivists posing as a tional counting operations prostitute and her are just part of the parpimp, the Census tial story,” she said. ConBureau cut ties with cluded Lowenthal, “We the group. “It is don’t really know how clear,” wrote bureau many Americans have director Groves, “that joined our decennial naACORN’s affiliation tional portrait so far. But with the 2010 census one conclusion is beyond promotion has caused doubt: The hardest part sufficient concern in is yet to come.” 70 the general public, In fact, in various has indeed become ways, Census 2010 is only a distraction from our To encourage Americans to return their census questionnaires, at the midpoint. mission, and may the Census Bureau this year sponsored a NASCAR race car, above, a From May through even become a dis13-vehicle nationwide promotional road tour and television ads July census takers will couragement to pubbefore and during the Super Bowl. be knocking on roughlic cooperation, negly 48 million doors of atively impacting 2010 households that didn’t mail back their census efforts.” 66 Groves himself had also stirred parcensus form or didn’t receive one. From tisan controversy when he was nomiAugust through December the bureau nated to the post a little over five months will conduct a separate “Coverage Meabefore the ACORN flap exploded. As a surement Survey” to evaluate the acCensus Bureau official in the early curacy of the census count. 1990s, he had advocated statistical adDecember 31 is the deadline for justment to the 1990 census to deal with the bureau to provide the White the undercount. After Obama nominatHouse and Congress with the official ed him to run the Census Bureau, Ren late April the Census Bureau an- population count by state. The indipublicans expressed alarm. nounced that 72 percent of 2010 vidual states then use the data to ap“Conducting the census is a vital con- census forms had been mailed back portion House seats to various constitutional obligation,” House minority leader by households that received them. On gressional districts. Rep. John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said after his Census Web site blog, Groves exIn March 2011 the bureau will begin Groves’ nomination. “It should be as solid, pressed satisfaction with the response, providing redistricting data to the reliable and accurate as possible in every calling it a “remarkable display of civic states. 71 And in 2012 the results of the respect. That is why I am concerned about participation.” 69 Coverage Measurement Survey will bethe White House decision to select” Groves. But census experts cautioned that come available. Census experts say that Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the ranking Re- the so-called participation rate doesn’t Continued on p. 450
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Should the census ask questions about race?
or nearly 170 years, the Census Bureau’s mission in asking about race was clear: define and then distinguish who was “white” from who was “non-white, and especially from who was “black.” Today, the dismantling of formal racial segregation, the enforcement of civil rights legislation and significant increases in immigration to the United States have all introduced new purposes for racial categorization in census taking. Asking people to categorize themselves by race provides important data about our country’s growing diversity and serves to support the nation’s civil rights laws — especially the Voting Rights Act. Indeed, census data on race are used in a range of public policies, many of which are designed to counteract entrenched material disadvantage among minorities. In my view, these are purposes worthy of the continued inclusion of the race question in U.S. census taking. The issue has been contentious mostly because it is impossible to disassociate the history of racial thought and politics that have fundamentally shaped census-taking from the start. For most of its history, censustaking supported a politics of racial segregation and subordination. For example, the 1840 and 1850 censuses were directly intertwined with debates about slavery. Data from the largely discredited 1840 census purportedly disclosed higher rates of insanity among free blacks, thereby “proving” that freedom drove free black people crazy. The 1850 census first introduced the category “mulatto,” at the behest of a Southern physician, in order to gather data about the presumed deleterious effects of “racial mixture.” Post-Civil War censuses continued to include the “mulatto” category, reflecting the enduring preoccupation with “racial mixing.” Twentieth-century racial and ethnic census categorization remained intertwined with the century’s core political and social issues: racial segregation and immigration. In regard to segregation, categories and instructions for the censuses from 1930 to 1950 largely mirrored the racial status quo in politics and law. Southern laws defined persons with any trace of “Negro blood” as legally “Negro” and subject to all of the political, economic and social disabilities such designation conferred. Southern law treated other “non-white” persons similarly. Census categories and definitions followed suit, essentially bringing the logic of racial segregation into national census taking itself. Thus, for most of American history the census wasn’t used for edifying reasons. But today it supports the political and social policies that seek to guarantee civil rights and equality.
WRITTEN FOR CQ RESEARCHER, MAY 2010
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
SENIOR LEGAL FELLOW, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION; FORMER COUNSEL TO THE
HANS A. VON SPAKOVSKY
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR CIVIL RIGHTS, U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WRITTEN FOR CQ RESEARCHER, MAY 2010
mericans are uncomfortable with the Census Bureau demand that everyone identify their “race” on the 2010 Census. Despite the bureau’s insidious commercials urging Americans to return the form so their communities can get their “fair share” of government largesse (earmarks writ large), the constitutional reason for the census is to reapportion congressional representation. The race question invades our privacy and is part of a continuing effort to divide Americans by race and enable official discrimination. Some justify this because the census has historically asked for racial information. That information was required prior to the Civil War because black Americans who were slaves were counted as only three-fifths of a person in reapportionment. So why must we check the race box in this day and age? Two reasons: 1) to facilitate racially gerrymandered congressional districts, a pernicious practice that segregates voters by race; and 2) to discriminate in the provision of government benefits based on race. For Americans who chafed at the race question and either left it blank or wrote in “American,” a census worker may visit their homes to get them to change their answer. If they don’t, the census will impute the person’s race based on what he looks like or where he lives — an offensive example of stereotyping and racial profiling in a society where so many of us are of mixed race and ancestry. Small wonder the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recommended that this question be made voluntary — a recommendation the Census Bureau ignored. The options given for answering the race question also reflect political correctness and half-baked, liberal social-policy theories that have nothing to do with biology and genetics. Although the question asks for your race, it gives you choices like “Japanese” that are nationalities, not racial categories. “Race” is a very imprecise term that scientists disagree about. Moreover, many people have no idea what their apparent racial background is for more than a few generations. Classifying and subdividing Americans on the basis of race is repugnant. E pluribus unum — “out of many, one” — is both our motto and our objective. It is one we should strive for every day, and the census’ continued preoccupation with race is detrimental to the great progress we’ve made as a nation toward achieving that goal.
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if it shows significant undercounts, states could wind up suing to press the bureau to adjust the figures because of the importance of census results to federal funding allocations and the drawing of legislative boundaries.
s the 2010 census moves forward, advocacy groups are continuing to spotlight how certain population groups are counted, especially prison inmates. Currently, the Census Bureau counts prison inmates where they are incarcerated. Critics argue that areas where prisons are located benefit in the allotment of political representation to the detriment of prisoners’ home communities. “Most people in prison in America are urban and African-American or Latino,” Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., chairman of the House census subcommittee, wrote to the Census Bureau. But, he added, the 2010 census “will again be counting incarcerated people as residents of the rural, predominantly white communities that contain prisons.” 72 Some change on the issue is coming. In May 2011, a few months earlier than in the past and in time for redistricting in most states, the Census Bureau will identify the location and population counts of prisons and other group quarters, according to Aleks Kajstura, legal director at Prison Policy Initiative, a Massachusetts-based group pushing for change in the way prisoners are counted. States can choose whether they want to collect the home addresses of prisoners and adjust the census counts before redistricting, she says. Ultimately, advocates want the Census Bureau to change the way prisoners are counted in time for the 2020 census. But some states are acting on their own. In April, Maryland became the first state to pass legislation requiring inmates to be counted in the jurisdiction of their last permanent address
rather than where they are incarcerated. 73 Similar legislation is pending or under consideration in eight other states, including New York, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania, Kajstura said. “In a lot of states the trend has been to build new prisons at locations far removed from the home community of incarcerated persons, which means a shift in political and representation power and representation away from these home communities to generally more rural areas where prisons are located,” says Brenda Wright, director of the Democracy Program at Dēmos, a liberal research and advocacy group in New York that also is pushing for a change in how prisoners are counted. “At the same time, we emphasize it’s not just a rural versus urban problem at heart, because the issue of how prisoners are counted affects local county and city redistricting as well.” 74 How the Census Bureau counts prisoners also “inflates the weight of the vote of any district where a prison happens to be located at the expense of all other districts that do not have a prison,” Wright says.
Doling Out Funds
risoner counts are just one part of the larger census picture, of course, and the stakes for states and localities in the ability of the Census Bureau to produce an accurate count are huge — not only for legislative districting and congressional seats but also for allocations of federal money. A new study by the Brookings Institution’s Reamer found that in fiscal 2008, 215 federal domestic-assistance programs used census-related data to guide $447 billion in distributions to the states, local governments and other recipients, mostly for Medicaid and other aid for low-income households and highway programs. 75 Census accuracy is especially important to low-income recipients of
federal help, the study notes. Based on 2000 census data, it said, “each additional person included in [that census] resulted in an annual additional Medicaid reimbursement to most states of between several hundred and several thousand dollars.” In an interview, Reamer notes the census’ widespread importance — to apportionment and redistricting, enforcement of antidiscrimination laws, distribution of federal funds and the information needs of business, for example. “To the extent the census is inaccurate, we have a less efficient economy if businesses are making decisions based on faulty data,” he says. His study notes that the decennial census is the basis for 10 other data sets that help shape federal-assistance funding, including a Bureau of Economic Analysis series on per capita income. The effectiveness of the decennial census depends, of course, in no small part on how seamlessly it is planned and executed. In Congress a bipartisan group of legislators want to see that future censuses run more smoothly than many past ones have, including the 2010 census. A bill called the Census Oversight, Efficiency and Management Reform Act would, among other things, make the Census Bureau directorship a five-year appointment so census planning isn’t disrupted by a presidential election. 76 The 10-year decennial cycle would be split into two five-year phases — the first for planning and the second for operations, fostering consistency across administrations. Under the current system, every president appoints a new director. In addition, the bill would give bureau directors more independence by having them report directly to the Commerce secretary and letting them give recommendations or testimony to Congress that represents their views and not necessarily those of the administration. It also would keep directors from having to testify on census issues they didn’t agree with. 77
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Seven former Census Bureau directors endorsed the bill in March, stating that “the time has come for the Census Bureau to be much more independent and transparent.” 78 They said that after 30 years in “which the press and Congress frequently discussed the Decennial Census in explicitly partisan terms, it is vitally important that the American public have confidence that the census results have been produced by a nonpartisan, apolitical and scientific Census Bureau.” In addition, they said the importance of the Census Bureau “waxes and wanes, peaking as the decennial approaches but then drifting down the [Commerce] Department’s priority list,” but that the bureau “needs to more efficiently focus on [its] continuous responsibilities,” which include not only the decennial census but other measurement projects. And third, the former directors noted, “each of us experienced times when we could have made much more timely and thorough responses to congressional requests and oversight if we had dealt directly with the Congress.”
s census experts look beyond the completion of the 2010 count, they see prospects for important changes in the way the government creates its every10-year national portrait. Social and cultural shifts are likely to make census taking more challenging in 2020 and beyond, yet technology could also make it cheaper, easier and more effective. In 1970, 78 percent of households receiving a census form mailed it back. That rate fell to 65 percent in 1990, rose modestly in 2000 — thanks in part to heavy spending on advertising — and remained largely flat in 2010.
Some of the long-term decline in response no doubt reflects growing concerns about privacy and a wariness of how information collected by the census might be used, experts say. That wariness may grow, particularly in the nation’s expanding immigrant communities — especially if Congress fails to pass comprehensive immigration reform before the next census. Lifestyle changes also have made it more challenging — and costly — for the Census Bureau to do its work. The growth of same-sex unions and interracial marriages, increases in joint custody of children, the expansion of secondhome purchases among the nation’s aging baby-boom population and other trends may make it more difficult for the Census Bureau to get a firm fix on population and demographic trends. But other developments may work in the Census Bureau’s favor. One is the growth of communications technology, which could make census taking cheaper for the government and more convenient for households. An online data-collection option is a probable evolution in 2020. The bureau said an Internet option was deemed feasible from a technical standpoint. But “without time to fully test the entire system, security concerns led the Census Bureau to decide to not offer the 2010 census questionnaire online,” it said. The bureau said it plans to introduce an Internet option in the next census. 79 One thing seems likely: Criticism of the census will be around in future decades much as it has been in the past. After the bureau announced the 72 percent mail response to this year’s census, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, phoned The Washington Post to point out that while this year’s mail-back rate matched the 2000 figure, the cost of the 2010 count was more than double that of the 2000 census. And, he criticized the amount the bureau spent on advertising, saying “they’re getting poor results in the places we know we have problems.”
However, Jost, the bureau communications official, told The Post the 2010 advertising budget was the same as for 2000 on an inflation-adjusted basis. “We spent just 5 percent more in equivalent dollars this year on a population that was 10 percent bigger.” 80
1 “With Growing Awareness of Census, Most Ready to Fill Out Forms,” Pew Research Center, March 16, 2010, http://people-press.org/report/596/ census-forms. 2 See Michelle Malkin, “True Confessions from America’s Census Workers,” April 7, 2010, http:// news.yahoo.com/s/uc/20100407/cm_uc_crm max/op_1913518. 3 Andrew D. Reamer, “Counting for Dollars: The Role of the Decennial Census in the Geographic Distribution of Federal Funds,” Brookings Institution, March 2010, www.brookings.edu/reports/ 2010/0309_Census_dollars.aspx. 4 Andrew Reamer, “Census Brings Money Home,” April 6, 2010, www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/ 0315_census_reamer.aspx?p=1. 5 “2010 Census: Fundamental Building Block of a Successful Enumeration Faces Challenges,” U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), March 5, 2009, www.gao.gov/new.items/d094 30t.pdf. 6 Rate achieved by April 27. 7 Robert M. Groves, “A Surprise Reaction,” The Director’s Blog, U.S. Bureau of the Census, April 23, 2010, http://blogs.census.gov/2010 census/. 8 “Take 10 Map,” http://2010.census.gov/2010 census/take10map/. 9 See “How the 2010 Census is Different,” Population Reference Bureau, www.prb.org/ Articles/2009/changesin2010.aspx. 10 Robert M. Groves, The Director’s Blog, U.S. Bureau of the Census, entries for April 14, 15 and 16, 2010, http://blogs.census.gov/2010 census/. 11 Stephen Dinan, “Exclusive: Minn. Lawmaker vows not to complete Census,” The Washington Times, June 17, 2009. 12 Naftali Bendavid, “Republicans Fear Undercounting in Census,” The Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2010, p. 4A. Paul’s comment appeared in a weekly column in April 2010. 13 Andy Barr, “Erickson’s census ‘shotgun’ threat,” Politico, April 2, 2010, www.politico.com/news/ stories/0410/35338.html.
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Patrick McHenry, “Returning the Census is Our Constitutional Duty,” RedState.com, April 1, 2010, www.redstate.com/rep_patrick_mchenry/ 2010/04/01/returning-the-census-is-our-constitu tional-duty/. 15 Transcript, “The 2010 Census,” “The Diane Rehm Show,” National Public Radio, March 3, 2010. 16 For background, see the following CQ Researcher reports: David Masci, “Latinos’ Future,” Oct. 7, 2003, pp. 869-892; Kenneth Jost, “Census 2000,” May 1, 1998, pp. 385-408, and R. K. Landers, “1990 Census: Undercounting Minorities,” Editorial Research Reports, March 10, 1989, pp. 117-132. 17 “What is the 1990 Undercount?” U.S. Census Bureau, www.census.gov/dmd/www/techdoc1. html. 18 “Technical Assessment of A.C.E. Revision II,” U.S. Census Bureau, March 12, 2003, www.cen sus.gov/dmd/www/pdf/ACETechAssess.pdf. 19 Ibid. 20 Mark Hugo Lopez and Paul Taylor, “Latinos and the 2010 Census: The Foreign Born Are More Positive,” Pew Hispanic Center, April 1, 2010, http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/121.pdf. 21 Randal C. Archibold, “Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration,” The New York Times, April 23, 2010, www.nytimes.com/2010/ 04/24/us/politics/24immig.html?scp=5&sq= arizona%20and%20immigrants&st=cse. 22 Campbell Robertson, “Suspense Builds Over Census for New Orleans,” The New York Times, April 7, 2010, www.nytimes.com/2010/04/08/ us/08orleans.html?ref=us. 23 The Associated Press, “State, local government budgets hamper census outreach,” The Washington Post, April 12, 2010, www. washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/ 2010/04/11/AR2010041103832.html. 24 Ibid. 25 “Distrust, Discontent, Anger and Partisan Rancor,” Pew Research Center, April 18, 2010, http:// pewresearch.org/pubs/1569/trust-in-governmentdistrust-discontent-anger-partisan-rancor.
Reamer, “The Scouting Report Web Chat: 2010 Census,” op. cit. 27 Matt Canham, “Bennett’s census-immigration amendment rejected,” Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 5, 2009, www.sltrib.com/news/ci_13721132. 28 “2010 Census Operational Briefing Transcript,” U.S. Census Bureau, Sept. 23, 2009, www.cen sus.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/pdf/2010 CensusBriefing_Transcript.pdf. 29 Rob Shapiro, “The Latest Attack on the Census is an Attack on All of Us,” New Policy Institute, Oct. 1, 2009, www.newpolicyinstitute. org/2009/10/the-latest-attack-on-the-census-isan-attack-on-all-of-us/. 30 Jennifer Ludden, “Hispanics Divided Over Census Boycott,” National Public Radio, July 13, 2009, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php? storyId=106555313. 31 Ibid. 32 Lopez and Taylor, op. cit. 33 “An Introduction to the American Community Survey,” U.S. Census Bureau, summer 2009, www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2009/pdf/ 09ACS_intro.pdf. 34 Clea Benson, “The Data Catch: Not Enough Information,” CQ Weekly, Dec. 7, 2009, p. 2810. 35 Quoted in ibid. 36 The Associated Press, “Thomas Jefferson Signed Census Sells for $122,500,” The Huffington Post, April 15, 2010, www.huffingtonpost. com/2010/04/15/thomas-jefferson-signed-c_n_ 538634.html. 37 “A Century of Population Growth: From the First Census of the United States to the Twelfth, 1790-1900,” 1909, Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce and Labor, p. 48, www.archive.org/details/centuryofpopulat00unit. On Jan. 23, 1791, Jefferson wrote: “The census has made considerable progress, but will not be completed till midsummer. It is judged at present that our numbers will be between four and five millions.” 38 Kenneth Prewitt, “The American People: Politics and Science in Census Taking,” Russell Sage Foundation and Population Reference
About the Author
Thomas J. Billitteri is a CQ Researcher staff writer based in Fairfield, Pa., who has more than 30 years’ experience covering business, nonprofit institutions and public policy for newspapers and other publications. His recent CQ Researcher reports include “Youth Violence,” “Afghanistan’s Future” and “Financial Literacy.” He holds a BA in English and an MA in journalism from Indiana University.
Bureau, 2003, p. 6, accessed at www.thecensus project.org/factsheets/PrewittSAGE-PRBCensus 2000Report.pdf. 39 David McMillen, “Apportionment and districting,” in Margo J. Anderson, ed., Encyclopedia of the U.S. Census (2000), pp. 34-35. 40 Ibid., p. 34. 41 Ibid., p. xiii. 42 Ibid. 43 Ibid., p. xiv. 44 Ibid. The case is Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962). 45 “United States Census 2000: Press Briefing Background Documents,” U.S. Census Bureau, June 14, 2000, p. 6, www.census.gov/PressRelease/www/background.pdf. 46 Margo J. Anderson and Stephen E. Fienberg, Who Counts? The Politics of Census-Taking in Contemporary America (1999), p. 60. Figures are estimated net census undercounts as measured by a technique called Demographic Analysis, in which the best estimate of the previous census count is updated with various kinds of administrative statistics on births, deaths and net immigration, along with Medicare data, to produce an estimate of the population separately from the current census count. The authors cite Robert E. Fay, et al., The Coverage of the Population in the 1980 Census, Bureau of the Census, 1988. 47 “United States Census 2000,” U.S. Census Bureau, op. cit. 48 Anderson and Fienberg, op. cit., p. 38. 49 Ibid., p. 39. 50 Ibid., p. 60. Figures are estimated net census undercounts as measured by demographic analysis. 51 “United States Census 2000,” U.S. Census Bureau, op cit. 52 Sam Burchell, “Big Cities Sue for Changes in ’90 Census,” United Press International, Nov. 3, 1988, Los Angeles Times, http://articles.latimes. com/1988-11-03/news/mn-1041_1_census-bureau. See also U.S. Bureau of the Census, “1990 Overview,” www.census.gov/history/www/ through_the_decades/overview/1990.html. 53 Quoted in Burchell, op. cit. 54 “United States Census 2000,” U.S. Census Bureau, op. cit. 55 Anderson, “Litigation and the census,” in Anderson, ed., Encyclopedia of the Census, op. cit., p. 270. 56 Anderson and Fienberg, op. cit., p. 128. The authors attribute the Dinkins quote to The New York Times, July 16, 1991. 57 Linda Greenhouse, “High Court Hears Arguments For Census Alteration by Race,” The
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New York Times, Jan. 11, 1996, www.nytimes. com/1996/01/11/us/high-court-hears-argumentsfor-census-alteration-by-race.html?pagewanted=1. 58 “2000 Overview,” U.S. Census Bureau, www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_ decades/overview/2000.html. 59 Steven A. Holmes, “Court Voids Plan to Use Sampling for 2000 Census,” The New York Times, Aug. 25, 1998, www.nytimes.com/1998/ 08/25/us/court-voids-plan-to-use-sampling-for2000-census.html?scp=1&sq=2000%20census%20 and%20sampling&st=cse. 60 Ibid. 61 Linda Greenhouse, “Jarring Democrats, Court Rules Census Must Be by Actual Count,” The New York Times, Jan. 26, 1999, www. nytimes.com/1999/01/26/us/jarring-democratscourt-rules-census-must-be-by-actual-count. html?scp=1&sq=census%20and%20sampling %20and%20supreme%20court&st=cse. 62 James Burnett, “Night of the census taker,” The Boston Globe, Oct. 18, 2009, www.boston. com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/10/18/look_ out_obama_is_sending_his_minions_to_your_ house_the_deep_history_of_a_conspiracy_theory/. 63 Joseph Curl and Kara Rowland, “Census battle intensifies; GOP leader threatens lawsuit,” The Washington Times, Feb. 13, 2009, www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/13/ gregg-withdrawal-foreshadows-census-debate/. 64 “Times Topics: Acorn,” The New York Times, http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/times topics/organizations/a/acorn/index.html. 65 Cristina Corbin, “ACORN to Play Role in 2010 Census,” FOXNews.com, March 18, 2009, www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03/18/acornplay-role-census/. 66 The Associated Press, “Census Bureau Drops Acorn from 2010 Effort,” The New York Times, Sept. 12, 2009, www.nytimes.com/2009/09/12/ us/politics/12acorn.html. 67 Quoted in David Stout, “Obama’s Census Choice Unsettles Republicans,” The New York Times, April 3, 2009, www.nytimes.com/2009/04/ 03/washington/03census.html?scp=6&sq=gary% 20locke%20and%20judd%20gregg%20and%20 census&st=cse. 68 Timothy J. Alberta, “Census Nominee Rules Out Statistical Sampling in 2010,” The Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2009, http://online.wsj.com/ article/SB124241977657124963.html. 69 “A Surprise Reaction,” op. cit. 70 Terri Ann Lowenthal, “Taking Stock: A MidCensus Reality Check,” The Census Project Blog, April 20, 2010, http://censusprojectblog.org/. 71 For background see Jennifer Gavin, “Redistricting,” CQ Researcher, Feb. 16, 2001, pp.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20036; (202) 797-6000; www.brookings.edu. Centrist think tank that studies a wide range of policy issues. Center for Immigration Studies, 1522 K St., N.W., Suite 820, Washington, DC 20005-1202; (202) 466-8185; www.cis.org. Conservative nonprofit research organization that provides information on immigration. Dēmos, 220 5th Ave., 5th Floor, New York, NY 10001; (212) 633-1405; www.demos.org. Liberal research and advocacy group that follows economic, voter-participation and other policy issues. Election Data Services, 6171 Emerywood Ct., Manassas, VA 20112; (202) 789-2004; www.electiondataservices.com. Political consulting firm specializing in redistricting, election administration and analysis and presentation of census and political data. Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., Washington, DC 20002-4999; (202) 546-4400; www.heritage.org. Conservative think tank that studies wide range of policy issues, including the census. National Association of Counties, 25 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20001; (202) 393-6226; www.naco.org. National organization representing county governments. National Institute for Latino Policy, 101 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 313, New York, NY 10013; (800) 590-2516; www.latinopolicy.org. Nonprofit think tank that focuses on policies affecting the Latino community. Pew Research Center, 1615 L St., N.W., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036; (202) 419-4300; www.pewresearch.org. Nonpartisan group that provides information on issues, attitudes and trends shaping the United States and world. Prison Policy Initiative, P.O. Box 127, Northampton, MA 01061; www.prisonpolicy.org. Nonprofit group that researches impact of Census Bureau policy that counts people where they are incarcerated rather than in their home communities. Russell Sage Foundation, 112 East 64th St., New York, NY 10065; (212) 750-6000; www.russellsage.org. A research center on the social sciences that performs scholarly analysis of census results. U.S. Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Rd., Washington, DC 20233; (301) 763-4636; www.census.gov. Federal agency that conducts the decennial census.
113-128. Sam Roberts, “New Option for the States on Inmates in the Census,” The New York Times, Feb. 11, 2010, www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/us/ politics/11census.html. 73 Erica L. Green, “Baltimore will gain residents in prison count shift,” The Baltimore Sun, April 24, 2010, http://articles.baltimoresun. com/2010-04-24/news/bs-md-inmate-census20100425_1_prison-towns-state-and-federalinmates-census-bureau. 74 See also Dēmos, “A Dilution of Democracy: Prison-Based Gerrymandering,” www.demos.org/ pubs/prison_gerrymand_factsheet.pdf. 75 Reamer, “Counting for Dollars,” op. cit. 76 “Count Us in Favor,” The New York Times, March 29, 2010, www.nytimes.com/2010/03/
29/opinion/29mon2.html?scp=1&sq=count%20 us%20in%20favor&st=cse. The bill is HR 4945 and S 3167. 77 “Statement in Support of The Census Oversight, Efficiency and Management Reform Act,” The Census Project, March 25, 2010, www.the censusproject.org/letters/cp-fmrdirs-bill-25march 2010.pdf. 78 Ibid. 79 “Census on Campus: Students’ Frequently Asked Questions,” U.S. Bureau of the Census, http://2010.census.gov/campus/pdf/FAQ_Census OnCampus.pdf. 80 Ed O’Keefe, “Was 2010 Census a Success?” Federal Eye blog, The Washington Post, April 26, 2010, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federaleye/2010/04/was_2010_census_a_success.html.
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Anderson, Margo J., ed., Encyclopedia of the U.S. Census, CQ Press, 2000. An expert on the census who is a professor of history and urban studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, offers dozens of articles on topics ranging from redistricting to government use of census data, plus an appendix with historical data. Anderson, Margo J., and Stephen E. Fienberg, Who Counts? The Politics of Census-Taking in Contemporary America, Russell Sage Foundation, 1999. Census expert Anderson and a professor of statistics and social science at Carnegie Mellon University examine how well the census counts the U.S. population. Nobles, Melissa, Shades of Citizenship: Race and the Census in Modern Politics, Stanford University Press, 2000. An MIT political scientist examines issues surrounding race during U.S. and Brazilian censuses and argues that “censustaking is one of the institutional mechanisms by which racial boundaries are set.” Santos, Fernanda, “Door to Door, City Volunteers Try to Break Down Resistance to the Census,” The New York Times, March 31, 2010, www.nytimes.com/2010/04/01/ us/01count.html?scp=1&sq=Door%20to%20Door,%20city %20volunteers%20try%20to%20break%20down&st=cse. The work of volunteers in helping to encourage participation is crucial, as demonstrated by their efforts in New York City, a reporter finds. Williams, Juan, “Marketing the 2010 census with a conservative-friendly face,” The Washington Post, March 1, 2010, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/ 2010/02/28/AR2010022803364.html. The Census Bureau has responded to challenges from conservatives with “unprecedented outreach,” including putting the bureau’s name on a NASCAR auto.
Reports and Studies
“Preparing for the 2010 Census: How Philadelphia and Other Cities Are Struggling and Why It Matters,” Pew Charitable Trusts, Oct. 12, 2009, www.pewtrusts.org/uploaded Files/wwwpewtrustsorg/Reports/Philadelphia-area_grantmak ing/Census%20Report%20101209_FINAL.pdf?n=8566. Most of the 11 cities studied had less money and smaller staffs for local census preparation than they did a decade ago, raising concerns about undercounting in urban areas. Prewitt, Kenneth, “The American People, Census 2000: Politics and Science in Census Taking,” Russell Sage Foundation and Population Reference Bureau, 2003, www.thecensusproject.org/factsheets/PrewittSAGE-PRBCensus2000Report.pdf. A former Census Bureau director writes in this lengthy and useful analysis that while the census may sound “dull and technical,” it “is a drama at the very center of our political life.” Williams, Jennifer D., “The 2010 Decennial Census: Background and Issues,” Congressional Research Service, April 27, 2009, http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/R40551_ 20090427.pdf. “Far from being simple . . . , the attempt to find and correctly enumerate 100 percent of U.S. residents is increasingly complicated and expensive,” declares this overview.
Farley, Rob, “Census takers contend with suspicion and spin over the 2010 count,” St. Petersburg Times, April 11, 2010, www.tampabay.com/incoming/census-takers-contendwith-suspicion-and-spin-over-the-2010-count/1086739. The newspaper examines three assertions about the census designed to quell Republican fears that the census is intrusive and cumbersome. Roberts, Sam, “New Option for the States on Inmates in the Census,” The New York Times, Feb. 11, 2010, www.ny times.com/2010/02/11/us/politics/11census.html?scp=1&sq =new%20option%20for%20the%20states%20on%20inmates %20in%20the%20census&st=cse. In time for congressional and legislative reapportionment, the Census Bureau in May 2011 will give states more flexibility on how to count prison inmates. Robertson, Campbell, “Suspense Builds Over Census for New Orleans,” The New York Times, April 7, 2010, www. nytimes.com/2010/04/08/us/08orleans.html?scp=1&sq= suspense%20builds%20over%20census%20for%20new%20 orleans&st=cse. The final census count for hurricane-battered New Orleans “will go far in determining how [the city] thinks about itself, whether it is continuing to mount a steady comeback or whether it has sputtered and stalled,” says The Times.
The Census Bureau (www.census.gov) offers extensive data and other information on the U.S. population, households, business, congressional districts and more. A separate Web site for Census 2010 (www.2010.census.gov) includes details, in multiple languages, about this year’s decennial census, plus a blog by Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves.
On the Web
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EUROPE'S IMMIGRATION TURMOIL
BY SARAH GLAZER
Excerpted from Sarah Glazer, CQ Global Researcher (December 2010), pp. 289-320.
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Europe’s Immigration Turmoil
BY SARAH GLAZER
Boston Globe religion columnist James Carroll commented, “On both sides of the Atlantic, hooting at mosques a rising tide of xenophobic and killing muezzins hostility toward immigrants is aren’t usually part of threatening to swamp the founelection campaigns in Ausdation of liberal democracy.” 4 tria. * But such measures were While it’s tempting to draw featured in “Bye Bye Mosque,” parallels to the recent upsurge an online video game in American anti-Muslim hoslaunched by the anti-immitility, important differences exist grant Freedom Party (FPÖ) between U.S. Muslims — mainduring September elections in ly educated and professional the industrial state of Styria. — and Europe’s Muslims, workLocal party leader Gerhard ers who migrated primarily Kurzmann — who says a from rural villages in countries multicultural society “can only like Turkey, Algeria and be a criminal society” — deBangladesh. European Muslims fended the game, which closed are “more like the black comwith the message “Styria is full munities of the United States of minarets and mosques. So — in terms of handicaps and that this doesn’t happen (in social problems,” such as high reality): Vote . . . the FPÖ!” 1 unemployment, school dropout The game was taken down and welfare dependency rates, shortly after protests from the notes Shada Islam, senior proAfrican migrants at a detention camp in Malta await opposing Green Party, which gram executive at the Euroimmigration processing, which can take up to 18 months. pointed out that there are no pean Policy Centre think tank Hundreds of African “boat people” arrive each year on the Mediterranean island — the European Union’s smallest member minarets in Styria. But Kurzin Brussels. And Europe’s Musstate — after risking their lives at sea trying to migrate to the mann’s party apparently benlims don’t enjoy as much mainEU, primarily from North Africa. efited from the heated debate stream political support as about the game: For the first American Muslims do. time since 2005 the Freedom Party gained in their governments, Dutch politician “I haven’t heard a single European a seat in the nine-member provincial gov- Geert Wilders — charged this year with politician stand up and say what ernment. Even in cosmopolitan Vienna, inciting racial hatred for his rabidly anti- Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg of New where the party pushed for referendums Muslim statements — has become the York and others say in the United banning minarets, it won more than a main power broker in his country’s States” in defending Muslims who quarter of the vote in October’s provin- coalition government. 3 want to build a mosque near Ground Rhetoric and anti-immigrant code Zero, observes Islam. cial elections, spurring speculation the party could dramatically affect national words once reserved for right-wing, European immigration experts are parxenophobic parties have seeped into the ticularly disturbed by the growing power elections in three years. 2 Fringe factions like the Freedom Party speeches of mainstream politicians. Ger- of anti-immigrant parties. For instance, have been gaining support across West- man Chancellor Angela Merkel’s un- Wilders’ party won promises from the ern Europe, most surprisingly in two characteristically blunt remark in Octo- new Dutch government to cut immicountries traditionally known for their ber that the nation’s “multicultural” gration from non-Western (presumably tolerance — Sweden and the Nether- experiment — to “live happily side-by- Muslim) countries in half and to make lands. And while Swedish and Austri- side” with foreign workers — has “ut- it harder for workers from those counan mainstream parties so far have re- terly failed” was widely interpreted as a tries to bring over their spouses. “For sisted including such minority parties criticism of the nation’s 4 million Mus- the first time we have a government that lims, most of Turkish origin. Referring to is singling out a specific group of citi* Muezzins are the mosque criers who call America’s own recent brouhaha over a zens; . . . it’s pure discrimination,” says proposed mosque near Ground Zero, Continued on p. 293 faithful Muslims to prayer five times a day.
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AFP/Getty Images/Robyn Beck
EUROPE’S IMMIGRATION TURMOIL
France, Germany and Britain Saw Largest Influx
More than 3.5 million immigrants became permanent citizens of European Union countries between 2004 and 2008, nearly 60 percent of them settling in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The migrants were from both EU and non-EU countries. Countries with fewer job opportunities, such as Poland and Romania, saw only modest increases.
Number of New Citizens in EU Countries, 2004-2008
A R C T I C O C E A N WHITE SEA
Below 20,000 20,000-70,000 125,000-300,000 Above 500,000
A T L A N T I C
HEBRIDES ORKNEY IS.
N O R WAY
Gul f of B
O C E A N SCOTLAND NORTHERN IRELAND IRELAND
Isle of Man
nl f Fi lf o
R U S S I A
f lf o Gu iga R
LATVIA LITHUANIA RUSSIA
UNITED KINGDOM WALES ENGLAND NETHERLANDS
ENGLISH CHANNE L
BELARUS P O L A N D
BELGIUM GERMANY LUXEMBOURG CZECH REPUBLIC SLOVAK REPUBLIC U K R A I N E
Bay of Biscay
AUSTRIA HUNGARY SLOVENIA R O M A N I A
SEA OF AZOV
PORTUGAL MONACO ANDORRA
BOSNIAHERZEGOVINA SERBIA KO S OVO T IC MSO N T E N E G RO
B L A C K S E A
S PA I N
BALEARIC IS. Minorca Ibiza Majorca Sardinia
I TA LY
G Ta olfo ra di nto
Strait of G
T U R K E Y
ALGERIA TUNISIA MALTA
Source: Eurostat, August 2010
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Continued from p. 291
Jan Willem Duyvendak, a sociology professor at the University of Amsterdam. Even more disturbing, say experts, is the trend of mainstream politicians adopting similar anti-immigrant positions. The National Front, France’s most right-wing party, has declined in popularity since it peaked in 2002, when its leader Jean-Marie Le Pen came in second in presidential elections. But if it no longer garners as much support, that’s in part because French President Nicolas Sarkozy “gives people a respectable way” of echoing the party’s anti-immigrant sentiments, says Philippe Legrain, the British author of the 2007 book, Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them. “There’s a great temptation among mainstream politicians to adopt the rhetoric and the xenophobic diatribes of populist parties,” says Islam, who is “very alarmed” by this trend. “People in these uncertain times want to know there is one guilty party,” and Muslims have become a convenient scapegoat, she says. In the past year, anti-immigrant hostility has emerged in various rhetorical and legislative forms in several European countries: • In the Netherlands, the coalition government that took power in October agreed to Wilders’ demands to pursue headscarf bans and measures making it harder for immigrants’ spouses to join them. The agreement followed the strong thirdplace showing of Wilders’ Freedom Party in national elections. 5 • In France, Sarkozy expelled Romanian and Bulgarian Roma, also known as Gypsies, a move that violated European Union agreements on antidiscrimination and the free movement of EU citizens between countries, according to human rights groups. The parliament banned the public wearing of the Muslim burqa, a full-body covering that exposes only the eyes through a mesh screen.
Germany Has the Most Foreign-Born Residents
Nearly 10 million foreign-born residents live in Germany — more than in any other European Union (EU) country. More than 2 million Turks live in the EU, making Turkey the largest source of EU immigrants. EU Countries with the Most Foreign-born Residents, 2009 (in millions and as a percentage of total population)
Foreign-born population (in millions)
10 8 6 4 2 0
9.6 7.1 11.6% 11.0% 6.3 4.4 13.8% 7.3%
Home Countries of EU’s 10 Largest Foreign Populations, 2009 (in millions and as percentage of total EU immigrant population)
Foreign population (in millions)
2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0
2.4 2.0 7.5% 1.8 1.5 6.2% 5.8% 4.6% 1.3 1.0 4.0%
Turkey Romania Morocco Poland
Albania Portugal United Germany China Kingdom
* Provisional data Source: Katya Vasileva, “Foreigners Living in the EU Are Diverse and Largely Younger Than the Nationals of the EU Member States,” Eurostat, August 2010
• In a referendum in Switzerland, nearly 58 percent of voters supported a ban on new minarets on mosques in 2009, and a majority say they want to ban the burqa. 6 • In Sweden, the anti-immigrant Swedish Democrat Party doubled its support in September from the last election — to nearly 6 percent — allowing members to sit in parliament for the first time. The party’s
campaign called for banning fullface veils, new mosques and most new immigration from Muslim countries. 7 Also in Sweden, authorities warned in October that in 15 separate shootings this year one or more snipers had targeted “darkskinned” residents of Malmo, killing one and wounding eight. 8 • In Britain, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron was elected
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after promising to cut immigration from hundreds of thousands to “tens of thousands,” and his government temporarily capped nonEU immigration — to become permanent next year. • In Italy, Roman officials bulldozed 200 Roma squatter camps, which some say was aimed at getting them to leave Italy. 9 in some countries. Ireland and Germany, for instance — where booming economies attracted foreign workers for years — are now seeing more outmigration than in-migration, as the economies of those countries slow down or, in the case of Ireland, flounder. 11 Experts point out that the number of immigrants entering Western Europe from majority Muslim countries ers feel about jobs, pensions and benefits in budget-cutting Europe. 15 Others say Europeans worry about losing their national identities in increasingly diverse societies that don’t subscribe to America’s melting-pot cultural heritage. Sarkozy’s mass expulsion of the Roma was widely viewed as a ploy to satisfy right-wing voters, as was his support for banning burqas and stripping French citizenship from naturalized citizens who commit violent crimes. “Sarkozy, with very low approval ratings, is trying to shore up or gain support among the far right and supporters of the National Front,” says John R. Bowen, a Washington University, St. Louis, anthropologist and author of the 2007 book Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves. “The burqa ban looks like it’s about Islam, but all of these [initiatives] are really about immigrants and about a deal for the far right.” Still, much of Europe’s recent antiimmigrant hostility has focused on Muslims, and that often seems to include Muslims born on the continent or who are citizens. In the Netherlands, Wilders once proposed taxing headscarves for “polluting” the landscape. Similar sentiments in Germany helped to boost former central banker Thilo Sarrazin’s new book, Germany Does Away with Itself, to the top of bestseller lists. The book claims Muslim immigrants are “dumbing down” society and coming to Germany only for its generous welfare benefits. 16 “The Turks are taking over Germany . . . with a higher birth rate,” Sarrazin has said. “I don’t want the country of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be largely Muslim, or that Turkish and Arabic will be spoken in large areas, that women will wear headscarves and the daily rhythm is set by the call of the muezzin.” 17 Sarrazin’s book dared to break a politically correct silence about Germany’s real problems with its Turkish population: high rates of unemployment and welfare dependency com-
Afghan migrants receive food handouts from a nongovernmental organization in Calais, France, in November, 2009, after riot police bulldozed a makeshift camp used as a base to sneak across the English Channel into Britain. Resentment toward immigrants has grown in recent years throughout Europe as the weak economy intensifies unemployment.
Meanwhile, recent polls show that sizable percentages of Europeans feel immigrants drain welfare benefits, damage the quality of life and make it harder to get jobs. In a Financial Times poll in September about 63 percent of Britons thought immigration had harmed the National Health Service and the education system. In Spain, where 20 percent of the workers are jobless, 67 percent of respondents thought immigration made it harder to find a job, and nearly a third said immigration lowers wages. 10 Paradoxically, Western Europe’s antiimmigrant fervor is peaking just as the recession has been slowing immigration and even reversing immigrant flows
is dwarfed by the number coming from non-Muslim countries, especially from the EU. (European Union governments are required by law to accept other EU citizens, as well as all political refugees deemed eligible for political asylum.) 12 For example, Germany now has more people emigrating back to Turkey than Turks entering Germany, and the other countries sending the most migrants to Germany last year — Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and the United States — weren’t Muslim at all. 13 Austria, home of the anti-Muslim Freedom Party, has more immigrants arriving from Germany than from Turkey. 14 Some experts blame growing antiimmigrant hostility on the insecurity vot-
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AFP/Getty Images/Denis Charlet
bined with low education levels, even among second- and third-generation immigrants. 18 In a survey released in October, 30 percent of respondents believed Germany was “overrun by foreigners” seeking welfare benefits, 19 and 58.4 percent thought German Muslims’ religious practices should be “significantly curbed.” 20 Newspapers are filled with politicians’ statements about Muslim immigrants’ inability to integrate — ironically, just when Turkish migration has declined dramatically, and more people are leaving Germany for Turkey than entering. 21 (See graph, p. 298.) Some mainstream politicians and economists argue that Western Europe’s aging population needs young migrants to expand the work force, pay social security taxes and keep the economy growing, considering Europe’s low birth rates and coming retiree bulge. “Europe’s feeble demographic outlook” means that continued support of its generous state-funded health and welfare benefits is “incompatible” with the desire to “ring-fence their national cultures with controls on immigration,” editorialized Tony Barber, former Brussels bureau chief of the Financial Times. 22 Yet perceptions of immigration are often more about fear and protecting one’s culture than about demographics or economics. Statistics “don’t address the feeling of unease that voters have [about] ‘What kind of society are we developing into? What’s happening to our culture?’ ” says Heather Grabbe, executive director of the Open Society Institute, a think tank in Brussels concerned with immigrants’ rights. Much anti-immigrant sentiment perceives Islam as an alien, threatening ideology, even though many Muslims were born in Europe. “This is not about recent migration,” says Grabbe. “This is about several generations of migration and people who are in many cases very well-integrated into communities.” And the right’s political rhetoric about national identity
Anti-Immigration Parties Score Election Gains
Right-wing, anti-immigrant political parties have made significant gains in recent parliamentary elections in several traditionally liberal European nations. The Freedom Party in the Netherlands, for example, garnered 16 percent of the vote in the latest election, up from zero percent seven years earlier. Two parties in Austria — the Freedom Party and the Alliance for the Future of Austria — combined to earn more than one-quarter of the votes in 2008. Percent of Votes Won by Anti-Immigrant Parties
25% 20 15 10 5 30% 25 20 15 10 5 0
Freedom Party Alliance for the Future of Austria
1993 1997 2001 2005 2009
1990 1994 1995 1999 2002 2006 2008
20% 15 10 5 0 15% 12 9 6 3 0
(Danish People’s Party)
1994 1998 2001 2005 2007
Source: European Election Database
“hasn’t been opposed effectively by any other kind of discussion, particularly on the left.” As Western Europeans struggle with their fears about immigration and its impact on their economies, jobs and culture, here are some of the questions being asked: Does Europe need its immigrants? Former central banker Sarrazin’s bestseller claiming immigrants “drag down” Germany triggered an eruption in the blogosphere from Germans who say they’ve had enough immigration. Yet large swathes of eastern Germany are becoming depopulated due to the country’s extremely low birth rate and greater out-migration than in-migration over the last two years.
Demographer Reiner Klingholz, director of the Berlin Institute for Population Development, suggests Germany follow the American example of the Wild West: encourage settlement and “massive” in-migration. 23 Even if Germany could increase its annual net immigration rate back up to the levels of a few years ago (about 100,000-200,000), Klingholz calculates, the population would decline by 12 million by 2050 — a “bloodletting” similar to emptying Germany’s 12 largest cities. Young, booming nations like India, China and Brazil will have a clear economic advantage, he says, and when they also begin to age and need to recruit young workers from abroad, there will be no workers left to immigrate into “good old Europe.”
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The recent fiscal crisis has shined a laser on two trends that will force all European governments deeper into debt: Europe’s burgeoning aging population and fertility rates that are too low to replace the current populations. 24 Thus, governments across Europe face the specter of having to support a huge generation of retiring baby boomers with too few young workers to pay the social security taxes needed to support them. Many countries have already turned to immigrants to solve some of their labor shortages, such as Turkish taxi drivers in Berlin and African chambermaids in Italy. Because immigrants tend to be younger than native-born populations, they can offer an important solution to the looming pension and demographic crises, some experts argue. According to the most recent figures from Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, the median age for foreigners living in the European Union is 34.3, about six years younger than that of the national population. 25 The percentage of older persons in Europe’s population is expected to rise even more in nearly all of the EU, primarily because people are living longer and birth rates are declining. But migration will help sustain population growth — where it exists — between now and 2030, according to Eurostat. 26
Homeless Migrants in Britain Feel the Pain
With winter coming, jobless immigrants are sleeping on the street.
´ hen 22-year-old Polish immigrant Michal Anisko showed up in October at a homeless day shelter in Slough, England, he was a far cry from the stereotypically successful “Polish plumber” often blamed in British tabloids for depriving native workers of jobs. His weather-beaten face showed the strain of having slept on park benches for four months, ever since returning to this charmless, industrial suburban town outside London — known for its factories, plentiful jobs and big Polish community. After finding only spotty employment in his native Poland for a year, England had drawn him back with memories of an earlier year of steady work in restaurant kitchens, car-washes and construction. But that was before the recession hit Slough; when he returned this summer, the temp agency that had found him those jobs had shut down. Even the Polish food shop window, which he remembered crammed with help-wanted placards, was comparatively bare. “These days there are only a few jobs posted, and when I ring up, they say someone already took the job,” he said through an interpreter. ´ Desperate, Anisko took an illegal job as a construction day laborer, but when he asked for his pay, his employers beat him up. Slough is only one barometer of Britain’s economic downturn since 2004, when Poland and seven other former Soviet bloc countries joined the European Union and thousands of Poles — just granted the right to work anywhere in the EU — were attracted to England’s booming economy. 1 Three or four years ago only one or two Eastern European migrants per day came through the door of Slough’s Save Our Homeless shelter seeking a hot meal or a shower. “We’re now looking at 30 or 40 a day using our service, because they’re sleeping on the street,” Mandy McGuire, who runs the shelter, said in October. Typically, the men, most of ´ them older and more street-hardened than Anisko, have lived in Slough for four or five years and once earned enough at low-skilled jobs to send money home and rent a room. “But now the work’s gone, their accommodations are gone; they’re
turning to alcohol,” McGuire says. “The more they’re turning to alcohol, the less employable they’re becoming.” London has seen a similar trend. At the latest count, 954 people — about a quarter of those found sleeping on the street — were from Eastern Europe, according to London’s Combined Homeless and Information Network. That is more than triple the number counted in 2006-2007. Across the country, 84 percent of homeless day centers have reported an increase in the number of Eastern European migrants using their services, according to Homeless Link, which represents 480 homeless organizations in the U.K. 2 ´ Because Anisko’s past employers paid in cash, which was off-the-books, he’s not eligible for unemployment or housing benefits available to registered immigrants who have worked legally for a year — another contradiction to the widespread British view of immigrants as “welfare scroungers.” Anisko’s in´ eligibility for welfare is typical of homeless migrants from Eastern Europe, either because their jobs are illegal or migrants can’t afford the $145 fee to register as a worker, experts say. The European Commission has said Britain’s policy of denying housing, homeless assistance and other social benefits to immigrants from Eastern Europe who have not been registered workers for at least 12 months is discriminatory and violates EU rules on free movement and equal treatment. The United Kingdom has two months to bring its legislation in line with EU law, the commission said on Oct. 28. Otherwise, the commission may decide to refer the U.K. to the EU’s Court of Justice. 3 ´ Also in October, the Polish charity Barka UK offered Anisko a free plane ticket back to Poland and help finding work there. But he refused, saying it would be even more difficult to find a job back home. Six of his fellow migrants from Slough had accepted Barka’s offer and flew home the previous week, according to McGuire. While most of Britain’s approximately 1 million Polish immigrants have fared well in England, about 20 percent — generally older men who don’t speak English — have failed to
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find a steady source of income, according to Ewa Sadowska, chief executive of Barka UK. 4 “This is a communist generation that spent most of their lives under a regime where everything was taken care of by the state,” she says. Some were lured to London by sham employers who advertised British jobs in Polish newspapers, then took their money and passports when they arrived in England, according to Sadowska. After the Soviet Union began disintegrating in 1989, Barka UK was founded in Poland by her parents, two psychologists, to help homeless, troubled individuals. Barka was first invited to London in 2007 by one of the local councils in a neighborhood where homeless Polish immigrants were sleeping on the streets. Since then, Barka has been working in a dozen London boroughs and in nearby Slough and Reading at the invitation of local governments, which fund their outreach work. Besides a free plane ticket, Barka offers help in Poland with alcohol and drug addiction. Unregistered migrants in Britain don’t qualify for rehab or detox programs under England’s National Health Service. Often, homeless migrants are ashamed to go back home and be seen by their families as economic failures, says Sadowska. “We help them to understand it’s pointless to stay in London and die on the street,” says Sadowska. So far, 1,248 mainly Polish migrants have returned to Eastern Europe with Barka’s help. Slough residents have complained of drunken noisemakers and rat infestations at makeshift homeless camps. Slough’s local newspaper ran a front-page picture on Sept. 24 of a homeless camp beneath a discarded billboard under the headline “How Can We Be Proud of This?” 5 Asked if Slough is funding Barka just to export a local nuisance, McGuire said: “We’re certainly not saying, ‘Go back to Poland and stay there.’ We’re saying, ‘Go back, get yourself sorted out. If you’ve got an alcohol problem, address that; maybe get trained with a skill that’s needed over here so it’s comparatively easy to find work.’ ”
Discouraged by Britain’s sagging job market, Polish immigrants in London board a bus to return to Poland on May 20, 2009. Thousands of Polish workers flocked to Britain after Poland’s entrance into the European Union in 2004 eliminated barriers to Poles working in other EU countries. The temperature had just dropped to freezing the previous October night. As winter approaches, McGuire says, “My personal concern is that those that don’t want to go back will be freezing to death out there.” — Sarah Glazer
The eight Eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004, thereby granting their citizens working rights in the U.K. are: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. In 2007, Bulgaria and Romania were accepted into the EU, but with only limited working rights in the U.K. The homeless figures in this sidebar include migrants from all new EU countries in Eastern Europe. See www.belfasttelegraph.co. uk/business/help-advice/employment-issues/eu-nationals-and-their-rights-towork-14314169.html#ixzz13Xz341HR. 2 “Snap 2010,” Homeless Link, www.homeless.org.uk/snap-2010. 3 “Commission Requests UK to End Discrimination on Other Nationals’ Right to Reside as Workers,” news release, European Commission, Oct. 28, 2010; http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=457&newsId=917&further News=yes. 4 The Civic Institute for Monitoring and Recommendations estimates that about 20 percent of approximately 1 million Polish migrants who live in the U.K. don’t speak English, lack a stable income, have health problems (including addictions) and lack access to organized information sources. 5 “How Can We Be Proud of This?” Slough Observer, Sept. 24, 2010, p. 1, www.sloughobserver.co.uk/news/roundup/articles/2010/09/25/48537-how-canwe-be-proud-of-this-/.
In a new report, experts at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris say migration is the key to long-term economic growth. For their own economic self-interest, the report urges, European countries should be opening — not closing — citizenship to foreigners. And, the authors argue, governments should be helping immigrants who have lost jobs by giving them the
same unemployment benefits they give to natives — another inflammatory issue among voters this year. 27 “There is no escaping the fact that more labour migration will be needed in the future in many OECD countries, as the recovery progresses and the current labor market slack is absorbed,” said John P. Martin, OECD’s director of employment, in an editorial. 28 “In a world where labour is becoming scarcer,
immigrants are a valuable resource, and employers need to see this.” Yet skeptics suggest that as more women enter the labor force and as native-born Europeans begin working beyond their traditional retirement age, which is generally in the late 50s, more immigrant workers may not be needed at all. In Austria, life expectancy is now about 20 years past the average retirement age of 58 for women and
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Getty Images/Dan Kitwood
EUROPE’S IMMIGRATION TURMOIL
Germany’s Turks Reverse Course
Reflecting Germany’s poor job market, 10,000 more people have been emigrating from Germany to Turkey each year since 2008 than have been arriving. German anti-immigrant sentiment is growing, despite the fact that only 30,000 Turks immigrated into Germany last year — about half as many as in 2002.
No. of Turks
Returning to Turkey, 2000-2009 Arriving from Turkey, 2000-2009
60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000
Sources: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Destatis
59 for men, so many older people probably will remain in the work force years longer than in the past, says Wolfgang Lutz, demographer at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, outside Vienna. And as for women entering the work force, countries like Germany and Austria — with their traditions of stay-at-home mothers — have a long way to go to catch up with Scandinavian countries, where women play an equal part with men in the work force, he points out. “Reforms to labor markets to reduce barriers to working — like childcare policies for women — are going to be more important, quantitatively, than immigration,” says Madeleine Sumption, policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. “If immigration were to solve the problem alone, the scale of numbers you’d have to have coming in would be politically impossible.” It’s also possible that technology will improve future productivity, enabling Europe to produce the same amount of goods and services with fewer workers. Under that scenario, says
Lutz, “The low birth rate may be the best thing that could happen to Europe. Otherwise there would be lots of unemployment.” Moreover, countries like Germany are getting the wrong kind of migrants — low-skilled, uneducated workers that don’t contribute much to the economy or taxes, says Ruud Koopmans, director of migration and integration research at the Social Science Research Center in Berlin. “We need immigrants, it’s quite clear; but we do not need the immigrants we are getting so far,” he says. “Europe has not succeeded in being attractive enough for highly skilled immigrants from India or other Asian countries. Usually, we’re getting immigrants for whom there are no shortages in the labor market.” Skeptics of the immigration solution also question whether underpaid, low-skilled immigrants can really bail out governments from their pension shortfall, since the taxes they pay will be relatively small due to their low incomes. With immigrants’ unemployment rates running at twice those of European natives in the recent crisis,
they could eat up more in welfare benefits than they pay in taxes, suggest some experts and anti-immigrant voices in Britain. 29 A recent British study examined the impact of Eastern European immigration into the U.K., where in 2004 a flood of young Poles and other Eastern Europeans began entering Britain after their countries joined the EU. Although Polish immigrants often generated resentment among working class voters, the study found that immigrants from the new EU countries had actually contributed more in taxes than they consumed in welfare benefits. According to the study, these immigrants were 60 percent less likely than natives to collect state benefits, tax credits or subsidized housing. “They made a positive contribution to public finance,” according to study author Christian Dustmann, professor of economics at University College London. Eastern European immigrants paid 37 percent more in taxes than they received in public goods and services in 2008-2009. 30 Despite these positive findings, Dustmann doesn’t think immigration can solve the problem of aging societies needing younger immigrant labor. “It’s only a quick fix,” not a long-term solution, he says, because immigrants will eventually age and will also require social security. “I don’t think immigrants can solve our demographic problems.” Still, foreign workers could defuse another demographic time bomb, argues author Legrain: the need for workers to care for the elderly. The demand for such workers will skyrocket in the health and eldercare industries, he predicts, as the share of Europe’s population over age 80 almost triples by 2050. 31 “Many of these jobs are low-skilled, low-paid jobs that Europeans don’t want to do,” he argues. “Who’s going to work in the care homes?” But Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch, a British group that
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wants to cut migration, says access to cheap migrants is precisely why these kinds of jobs are so “appallingly badly paid.” He considers it “immoral” to import what he calls “an underclass” to care for the elderly. “In the short term it does make elder care affordable,” he says, “but in the long term it’s a bad policy” that will contribute to Britain’s projected population growth and the nation’s already crowded highway and mass transit systems. “And we are a small island,” he notes, citing statistics showing that Britain is about twice as densely populated as France and about 12 times as crowded as the United States. Ironically, both sides in the debate admit, when governments try to limit low-skilled immigration, they send culturally hostile signals to the very same high-skilled workers they hope to attract to their country. “If you’re an Indian IT specialist, why go to Germany?” Legrain asks. “Even in a high paid job, you’ll be made to feel unwelcome, you’ll feel excluded from the rest of society” and will pay higher income tax than in the United States, “where you’ll have no problem fitting in.” “That’s the striking thing: Europe is so terrified of immigrants, and increasingly immigrants don’t want to come to Europe,” he observes. Should European governments do more to integrate immigrants? Chancellor Merkel’s remark that multiculturalism has “utterly failed” in Germany reflects a growing sentiment that foreigners and their children should assimilate more into German society. Referring to the nation’s majority population as “we,” Merkel went on to tell the youth branch of her party, “We feel tied to Christian values. Those who don’t accept them don’t have a place here.” That comment seemed to put the blame squarely on Turks, not Germans, for their failure to assimilate. 32 Yet, for many years Turkish Gastarbeiters (guestworkers) were not even al-
A Roma girl plays with her doll on Sept. 8, 2010, in an illegal camp in Lille, France. After France began expelling illegal Roma immigrants in July, the European Parliament on Sept. 9 demanded that France suspend the expulsions. Italian police also recently demolished illegal Roma settlements on the outskirts of Rome in an effort to force the Roma back to Romania and Bulgaria.
lowed to seek German citizenship, and children born in Germany to Turkish immigrant parents did not automatically become German citizens. A 2000 law that made it easier for Turks to become German citizens spurred an initial surge of applications, but applications have declined steadily in recent years, primarily because Germany does not permit dual citizenship. 33 Many Turks do not want to give up their Turkish citizenship, even if that means being required to do military service in Turkey. “We have two nationalisms clashing,” says Berlin sociologist Koopmans: “Germans saying, ‘You have to make
a choice,’ ” and Turks, who “are also very nationalistic.” Turks without German citizenship cannot vote in Germany or play a part in the political process. “They’re still not politically integrated, and that affects the degree of identification of Turks in Germany with their home country,” Koopmans acknowledges. First- and secondgeneration Turkish immigrants share some of the blame for that, he says. The tendency for Turkish pride to come before German identification was recently illustrated by a widely viewed video clip of young German-speaking Turks booing German-Turkish soccer
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star Mesut Özil, as he played for the German team in the World Cup. “Mesut Özil is no Turk!” shouted young Turks decked out in the colors of the Turkish flag, angry at Özil for choosing to play for Germany rather than Turkey. To many Germans, the film clip was yet another sign that Turks don’t want to integrate. 34 But that’s not the whole story, says German economist Sabine Beppler-Spahl, an editor at the libertarian German magazine Novo Argumente. At her children’s predominantly Turkish public school in Berlin, Turkish children arrived waving German flags and rooted for the team during the World Cup, she reports. Germans are just as much to blame for creating two parallel societies, she suggests. “A lot of middle-class German people moving to the suburbs have virtually no contact with Turks,” she says. “Their kids don’t go to school with them and don’t have Turkish friends in their immediate circle. Middle-class Germans agree with [former German central banker] Sarrazin because they go into the city and see women with headscarves” and are frightened by the sight of young Turks hanging out on the streets, whom they assume are unemployed, on welfare and have criminal tendencies. In an effort to require greater “integration” of immigrants into their societies, some European governments have begun to require courses on their national culture and language and citizenship tests as a precondition for emigrating to their country. The Netherlands, once known for its tolerance, led the way in this trend in March 2006, requiring applicants for family reunification to take an “integration” test at a Dutch embassy abroad as a precondition for being granted even a temporary residence permit. Since then similar policies have been adopted by Finland, Denmark, Austria, Germany and France. 35 In the Dutch citizenship tests, wouldbe immigrants must understand that it is acceptable for unmarried and gay couples to live together, that women enjoy equal rights and that domestic violence (including honor killings and female genital mutilation) will be punished. In the Netherlands, Austria and Germany, religiously conservative Muslims are “a particular target group of these tests,” according to a study. 36 In the Netherlands, “what began as an immigration-integration policy has turned into the opposite: a no-immigration policy,” concluded migration expert Christian Joppke, a professor of political science at the American University of Paris. The integration tests and other requirements are aimed at keeping out low-skilled family immigrants, particularly Muslims of Turkish and Moroccan origin, he said. 37 To Dutch sociologist Duyvendak, such tests are clearly discriminatory. “The wrong answers on these multiple-choice tests . . . have implicit prejudices about Muslims,” he says. “People taking the test feel they’re depicted as backward and intolerant.” Several years ago, the Netherlands garnered international attention for a video it showed would-be immigrants abroad of topless women sunbathing and gay couples kissing. “You can only understand this when you see how monocultural the Dutch are,” Duyvendak says, a homogenous culture with clearly progressive values. But other experts say language requirements and citizenship tests help immigrants achieve economic independence. A recent study by Koopmans found that countries like Germany, Austria and France, which make welfare benefits or visas dependent on a certain amount of assimilation (such as language tests and obligatory integration courses) tend to produce better results for immigrants than countries like Sweden, with traditionally easy access to citizenship and generous welfare benefits. Countries like Germany, which have stricter immigration prerequisites, have more immigrants who are employed, less crime among immigrants and less residential segregation, Koopmans finds. 38 While some politicians may see these requirements as a way to keep Muslims out, Koopmans defends them: “It’s an attempt by European countries to do something the classical immigration countries like Canada and Australia have done all along, namely selective immigration,” or recruiting the highly skilled workers they need, not lowskilled immigrants who will become welfare dependent. Most of today’s European immigration involves relatives of current residents, and governments are trying to make it more difficult for those family members to emigrate. Often the would-be immigrant is a bride-to-be from the home country. Even Muslims born in the Netherlands or Germany tend to import wives from their parents’ native land. About 80 percent of second-generation Turks and Moroccans in the Netherlands marry someone from their country of origin, Koopmans notes. Typically, they are highly religious, have low levels of education and can’t speak the language of their new country — all factors associated with high welfare dependency and the delay of assimilation for generations. “The children of these immigrants will be raised in the Berber dialect and start with the same disadvantage as children of the first generation,” he says. So language and other assimilation requirements are “good for educational and labor market integration.” Unlike the United States, where the immigrant bears the cost of not learning English — in the form of poorer job prospects — welfare-generous Europe pays the bill, through higher welfare costs if an immigrant doesn’t assimilate, Koopmans argues. “That gives receiving societies more of a right to make demands on immigrants than in the United States, where it’s your choice,” whether to learn English or adjust to American ways, he says. But Beppler-Spahl says Germany’s citizenship tests are a superficial response designed to assuage Germans’ fears about immigrants not integrating
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New Integration Policies Seen as Discriminatory
Critics say the tough rules target non-EU immigrants.
ritish university graduate Emily Churchill began to cry when she heard the announcement that starting this fall, foreign spouses must pass an English test overseas before being allowed to join their British spouses. Last summer she married an aspiring Palestinian filmmaker named Basel whom she had met while studying abroad in Syria the previous winter and with whom she speaks Arabic. The British government has refused their first two attempts to obtain a visa for him. The English test “epitomized how I felt we’d been treated by the system and the government approach to make spousal immigration as difficult as possible,” she says. In announcing the new requirement, Home Secretary Theresa May said it “will help promote integration, remove cultural barriers and protect public services.” 1 But because the rule applies only to non-EU immigrants, Churchill feels it is more about discrimination than integration. “If Basel were British or Italian, we would not be apart,” she wrote on a Guardian newspaper blog. 2 Under European Union agreements, immigrants from EU member countries are allowed free movement within the EU. Some experts charge that marriage rules like this — along with strict age limits and required integration courses for wouldbe immigrant spouses — are discriminatory because they are aimed only at non-EU immigrants. Such restrictions also get vocal support from anti-immigrant politicians with growing electoral power in several European countries. For example, the Netherlands government has agreed in principle to the anti-immigrant Freedom Party’s demand to follow Denmark’s example by raising the age for immigrant spouses from 21 to 24. The Dutch marriage partner would also have to earn 120 percent of the minimum wage. “If you’re 23 and want to bring your bride from Turkey or Morocco and you don’t earn enough, you cannot marry the partner you want,” says Jan Willem Duyvendak, a sociology professor at the University of Amsterdam. “Whereas, if you’re 24 and want to bring someone from Bulgaria, Rumania or a European country, then it is possible. That shows how discriminatory it is.” But Ruud Koopmans, director of migration research at the Social Science Research Center in Berlin, says the measures are “a good thing because many of these migrants came from rural regions not knowing how to read and write. Almost certainly
they will end up dependent on social welfare with integration problems.” France, too, has introduced language tests as a prerequisite for entry for prospective marriage migrants. Under pressure from the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party, the Danish government is dropping its age minimum of 24 — but only for those immigrant spouses who speak Danish and have high levels of education and work experience. 3 The policies are aimed at reducing the number of immigrants with low skill levels “for whom there is no demand in the labor market,” Koopmans says. In Germany, newly arrived immigrants from non-EU countries must, at the discretion of immigration authorities, participate in a government-funded integration course that includes 600 hours of German language instruction and a 30-hour orientation on German culture, history and law. Thousands of people are on waiting lists for the courses, but budget cuts suggest the waiting lists will only get longer, according to Der Spiegel, Germany’s leading news magazine. 4 Anti-discrimination laws limit the extent to which such restrictions can target only immigrants, Koopmans says, so some countries pass sweeping laws, such as the Dutch decision to abolish welfare benefits for anyone under 27. Though it sounds draconian, the law appears to have improved immigrants’ employment rates and reduced dependence on welfare. However, Duyvendak points out, the job market was already booming when the law was passed. — Sarah Glazer
“UK Marriage Visa Applicants will have to pass English tests,” June 10, 2010, www.workpermit.com/news/2010-06-10/uk/uk-marriage-visa-applicantsenglish-language-test.htm. 2 Emily Churchill, “Being with your spouse is a right, not a privilege,” Guardian, June 14, 2010, www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/14/foreignspouse-language-tests-immigration-system. 3 “PM: 24-year-rule expands to points system,” Copenhagen Post Online, Nov. 8, 2010, www.cphpost.dk/news/politics/90-politics/50410-pm-24-year-ruleexpands-to-. 4 “Migrants on the Waiting List,” Spiegelonline, Oct. 25, 2010, www.spiegel.de/ international/germany/0,1518,725118,00.html and “German Integration Summit Delivers Little,” Spiegelonline, Nov. 4, 2010, www.spiegel.de/international/ germany/0,1518,727238,00.html.
that doesn’t solve the country’s real problems. “Our problem is we’re not using the potential we have,” she says. “If we have young Turkish children, we should ask ourselves, ‘Why are they failing in German schools, and what can we do about that?’ ” Sarrrazin’s controversial assertion that Germany is being “dumbed down” by
a lower-intelligence population of Turks intensifies the perception that the problem lies with the immigrants rather than with Germany’s educational system, she contends. “I don’t believe Sarrazin’s theory that, ‘There’s a limited intelligence pool, and we’re getting the low end of a nation’s limited intelligence pool,’ ” says Beppler-Spahl.
“That’s wrong. . . . Why say that people from poor families will stay poor and will never make it? That’s where the racism starts flowing in.” Should immigrants be required to follow local customs? Liberals, feminists and anti-immigrant conservatives can become strange
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bedfellows when it comes to one issue in Europe: banning the burqa. Dutch right-wing populist Wilders sounds like some feminists when he argues that the burqa is “a medieval symbol, a symbol against women.” 39 France, which banned headscarves for students attending public schools in 2004, recently banned public wearing of the burqa. Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Switzerland have considered similar legislation. Some see the move as a thinly veiled anti-Muslim policy, others as a strike for women’s freedom and integrating Muslims into mainstream society. Washington University anthropologist Bowen described France’s national unity around the headscarf ban as stemming from the French philosophy that citizens must all subscribe to the same values. That desire for “shared values” played strongly in the French support of the burqa ban, he says. “In France everyone is expected to potentially interact with everyone else; wearing a burqa is cutting oneself off from that sort of interaction. That’s the justification the justice minister gave when it was being debated,” Bowen explains. “All the other arguments — it oppresses women, it’s against human dignity — really don’t work because no women are complaining. How can you say it harms them if no one’s complaining?” But some Muslim women, like Algerian-American law professor Karima Bennoune, do see the veil as inherently oppressive. She remembers driving into Algiers during the Algerian civil war of the 1990s, when armed fundamentalist groups were killing women who went out unveiled. “I knew that my bare head, like those of the thousands of Algerian women who refused to submit, was marked with a target,” she writes. 40 In a 2007 law review article, Bennoune, who teaches at Rutgers School of Law in Newark, N.J., strongly supported the French headscarf ban. Before the ban, she wrote, gangs of young men in immigrant neighborhoods of Paris had taken to raping young girls who wore miniskirts or went to the movies. Many French Muslim women’s groups supported the ban on the grounds that girls were frequently forced by their family or an older brother to wear the headscarf. The French Algerian feminist Fadela Amara called the veil a “visible symbol of subjugation.” 41 More recently, leading German feminists Alice Schwarzer and Necla Kelek came out in support of proposed burqa bans in Germany. Kelek said the garment has nothing to do with religion and comes out of an ideology where “women in public don’t have the right to be human.” 42 Human rights groups, however, have generally opposed both headscarf and burqa bans. “Treating pious women like criminals won’t help integrate them,” said Judith Sunderland, senior researcher with the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch in April. 43 These same human rights groups, Bennoune counters, “would not come out in favor of Christian prayer in American schools . . . or the right to wear a swastika [once a religious symbol, now a political one] in a European classroom, because they understand the potential impact on other students and are able to appreciate the political meaning in context.” 44 Patrick Weil, a University of Paris immigration historian, said the French headscarf ban was largely a reaction to gangs of young Muslim men threatening Muslim girls who did not wear a scarf in school. “The law was endorsed by the majority of Muslims; it preserved the freedom of Muslim girls,” maintains Weil, author of the 2008 book How to Be French, Nationality in the Making Since 1789, who served on the commission that advised the government to institute the ban. And the law has been enforced over the last six years with very little protest, he has pointed out. 45 Devout Muslim girls who still want to wear the headscarf can attend the religious schools that operate in France under contract to the government, he points out (though most such schools are Christian): “We have a dual system that works well.” To Weil and other supporters, the headscarf ban was about upholding a basic French principle: separation between government and religion within state schools. But as for adult women walking in the streets, he sees the burqa ban as an assault on women’s basic freedom to wear what they want. “I think it’s unconstitutional. I don’t like the burqa, and very few people in France are in favor of it, but I say these women have the right to go in the street dressed as they wish,” he says. “That’s a fundamental human right.” Paradoxically, of the fewer than 2,000 women who don burqas in France today, a quarter of them are converts to Islam, and two-thirds have French nationality, according to government estimates. 46 “These are a small number of young women — several hundred — trying out their relationship to their religion and to the rest of society,” Bowen says. “To stigmatize them seems wrongheaded from the point of view of social psychology.” Some research indicates that young Muslim women may use headscarves as a way to negotiate with their families for more freedom, to attend university, for example. Banning the veil will, if anything, prompt a more fundamentalist reaction among such women, some critics predict. After the French Senate passed the burqa ban in September, some Muslim women said they would remain cloisContinued on p. 304
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19thnations colonize much Century European
of the Muslim world, providing source of immigrant labor. 1830 French control of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia leads to exodus of Muslim immigrants to France.
1977 France offers to pay immigrants to leave — with little success.
52; disaffected African immigrants riot in Paris suburbs. 2006 Netherlands requires applicants for family reunification to pass integration test abroad. 2007 EU admits Bulgaria and Romania but with limited working rights. . . . Radical immigrants try to blow up Glasgow, Scotland, airport. . . . Germany, Denmark foil extremist terrorist plots. 2008 As worldwide recession begins, migration starts to slow. 2009 Swiss ban new minarets on mosques. . . . Immigration to Spain, Ireland falls drastically; unemployment among foreign-born youth exceeds 40 percent in Spain, 37 percent in Sweden. 2010 Anti-immigrant parties make electoral gains in Sweden, Netherlands, Austria. . . . Conservatives take power in Britain with pledge to reduce immigration. . . . French President Sarkozy expels Roma from France. . . . French parliament bans the burqa in public. . . . German bestseller spurs debate on Muslim integration. . . . Migration Policy Institute says European immigration has come to a “virtual halt.” . . . British government places temporary ceiling on skilled immigrants from outside EU, prompting industry protests. . . . New Dutch government pledges to halve non-Western immigration. . . . European Commission withdraws threat of legal action against France for expulsion of Roma. . . . France pledges to bring its immigration law in line with EU rules. . . . German Chancellor Merkel says multiculturalism has failed.
1990s-2000s Terrorist attacks focus governments to monitor extremism among Muslim residents. Thousands of migrants from Eastern Europe move West; Europe begins requiring immigrants to integrate. Anti-immigrant parties make electoral gains, even as global economic crisis slows immigration to Europe. 1995-1996 Radical Algerian group seeking Islamist state explodes bombs in Paris subways and trains. 1998 Al Qaeda calls on Muslims to kill Americans and their allies. 2000 Germany makes it easier for Turkish guestworkers and their children to become citizens. Sept. 11, 2001 Al Qaeda attacks World Trade Center and Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people. 2002 Far-right Dutch leader Pim Fortuyn, who criticized Muslims for not assimilating, is murdered. 2004 Thousands of Eastern Europeans move to Western Europe to work. France bans headscarves in schools. . . . Madrid subway bombings kill 191; radical Islamist kills Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. 2005 London’s “7/7” transit bombings kill
1950s-1960s After deaths of millions of
working-age men in World War II, Europe recruits immigrants to rebuild economy. Number of Turkish “guestworkers” in Germany surges. European resentment against immigrants grows. 1954-55 Germany begins recruiting temporary foreign workers from Italy and Spain, later from Turkey. 1961 Germany signs a recruitment agreement with Turkey to import guest workers for two-year periods.
1970s-1980s Jobs for immigrants dwindle in
recession; Europe limits workers’ immigration but lets in families, causing more Muslim immigration. Palestinian intifadas, riots in Britain, Saudi money for fundamentalist Wahhabi teachings stoke religious extremism. 1974 France, Netherlands institute “immigration stop” policies. Immigration from Muslim countries triples in France, increases tenfold in the Netherlands in next three decades.
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Continued from p. 302
tered in their homes rather than go out unveiled, boding badly for increased integration. 47 In a 2006 court case, Begum v. Headteacher, the British House of Lords upheld a British high school’s authority to prohibit a young girl from wearing a jilbab (a dark cloak) to school and found that the prohibition did not violate human rights. 48 Yet in a country like Britain, with its long tradition of freedom of expression, most people disapprove of the government banning the wearing of burqas in
public, judging from polls and recent interviews. 49 Muslim groups in Britain protested in 2006 when Labour member of Parliament and ex-foreign secretary Jack Straw said he asked Muslim constituents to remove their veils from their faces when they came to his office. Some Muslim community spokesmen claimed Straw was being discriminator y. Straw argued that face-to-face communication was better when you could “see what the other person means, and not just hear what they say.” 50
odern Muslim migration in Europe began in the late 19th century as a result of Europe’s colonial and trading activities. Those historic patterns largely explain the different ethnic groups that migrated to each country and, to some degree, their acceptance by those societies.
Gypsies Face Poor Education, Discrimination
In traditional clans, girls drop out of school early.
wenty-four-year-old Sara Kotowicz seems like any other fashionably dressed Londoner finishing her university education. But she is a rare exception in her clan of Polish Roma, or Gypsies. Girls in her large extended family are expected to marry by 15 or 16, have children right away and stop attending school — despite living in 21st-century London. Kotowicz, whose family migrated to England when she was 11, married at 17, the upper age-limit for acceptable marriage in her family. But her decision to pursue a degree in interior design during her first year of marriage subjected her to severe criticism. “Within the community you’re expected to do the duties of a wife. There’s no time for school,” says Kotowicz, whose one concession to Gypsy attire is her long black skirt. Each morning as she left for class, she faced a scolding from her mother-in-law — “You should think of washing clothes, looking after your husband” — harassment that drove her and her husband, uncharacteristically, to move out of his family’s home. Throughout Europe, experts say, the lack of education is probably the single greatest impediment to the advancement of the Roma, along with discrimination. 1 British professionals who work with Romanian and Polish Roma immigrants say it’s sometimes difficult to convince Roma parents to allow their children to attend school, because in their home countries — Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia — Roma children often were consigned to segregated schools or backwater classes for the mentally handicapped. For traditional Roma families where girls are commonly expected to marry as early as 14, girls who become mothers enjoy high status, says Michael Stewart, an anthropologist at University College London, who studies the Eastern European Roma. “There’s enormous value in traditional Romany communities in becoming mothers — literally reproducing the com-
munity” — one that faced extermination under the Nazis and persecution under communist regimes. “Twenty years ago I never found a 16- or 17-year-old girl who was unmarried,” says Heather Ureche, a consultant with the charity Equality, which helps Eastern European Roma migrants in Britain. 2 “Now I do. It’s changing slowly, but we still have quite a way to go.” “A lot of people in Eastern Europe say the Roma are not educated, the parents don’t want their children in school, don’t value education. That’s not true — in general,” says Stewart. “The problem is they’re very badly treated — humiliated and put into separate classes for the hard-to-educate.” In Romania, few Roma children continue school after age 9 or 10, according to Ureche. Moreover, she says, “Roma parents are often worried about sending young girls into coed school settings just after puberty for fear they’ll get in trouble with nonRoma boys.” Children in Roma culture generally are given great independence at an early age and are expected to have the maturity needed to be a parent by 14, experts report. “If you’re an academically ambitious 13-year-old girl in a traditional Romany family, it is really tough,” Stewart observes. “You have a battle on your hands to persuade your parents to let you go on and study.” Some younger Roma from traditional families are bucking the trend, such as Viktoria Mohacsi, who represented Hungary as a member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009. 3 Getting a high school education is becoming more acceptable for Roma girls in London, says Kotowicz, who is a youth advocacy worker for the Roma Support Group, a London charity. But she still has trouble persuading teenage girls from her community to continue their education.
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A recent visit to a house in North London illustrated some of the striking differences in how Romanian Roma families raise their children. As school was letting out, an array of spirited children, ages 4-16, some related to the family and some not, paraded through the tiny kitchen. All seemed perfectly comfortable eating something from the refrigerator, whether they lived there or not. Unlike British and American culture, where childhood is viewed as a separate phase of life that can last until age 18, for the Roma “young children have enormous autonomy,” Stewart explains. “Children are never told off, never told, ‘You mustn’t do that.’ Children learn not to do things through making mistakes rather than through constant correction; the assumption is that by the age of 10 or 13 Romany people are autonomous moral agents — what we would call adults.” These cultural values sometimes create serious problems for Roma families in Britain, says Sywia Ingmire, coordinator of the Roma Support Group. “Children are the responsibility of every adult visiting the home; children are passed from hand to hand,” she says. But sometimes “bewildered social workers” think a child is being trafficked. For instance, in 2008 several large extended Roma families were living together in the town of Slough. In a series of dawn raids on 17 houses, 24 Roma adults were arrested, supposedly for taking Roma children from their families and forcing them into a life of crime. But nine days later, none of the 24 adults arrested at the scene had been charged with child trafficking offenses, and all but one child had been returned to the Roma community in Slough. 4 “These stories about rings of trafficking people are often built more on exaggeration and fantasy than a good empirical basis,” says Stewart, who finds that children who beg and steal are a small minority of Europe’s Roma population.
School uniforms identify two Roma sisters — Violeta Stelica, 8, (right), and Nicoleta Mihai, 6, (left) — as public school students in North London on Oct. 11, 2010. But in traditional Roma families across Europe, girls often drop out in order to get married, sometimes as early as age 14. Yet the view of Roma children as beggars and thieves is widespread in Europe. In a recent street survey in three cities, more than 60 percent of those questioned associated Gypsies with negative activities like thievery. 5 In Europe, Ureche says, prejudice against Gypsies “is the last bastion of racism.” — Sarah Glazer
1 Angela Doland, “Lack of Schooling Seen as Root of Gypsy Woes,” The Associated Press, Oct. 9, 2010, www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ ALeqM5hA_jAjgctB4r_ZYfw645v7vLBlWAD9IOJLD01?docId=D9IOJLD01. 2 See Equality’s website, at http://equality.uk.com/Welcome.html. 3 “Interview: Viktoria Mohacsi,” Foreign Policy, Oct. 20, 2010, www.foreignpolicy. com/articles/2010/10/20/interview_viktoria_mohacsi. 4 Helen Pidd and Vikram Dodd, “From Brilliant Coup to Cock-up. How the Story of Fagin’s Urchins Fell Apart,” Guardian, Feb. 2, 2008, www.guardian.co. uk/uk/2008/feb/02/immigration.ukcrime. 5 Heather Ureche, “Racism in a Velvet Glove,” Oxfam Poverty Post, Sept. 10, 2009, www.oxfamblogs.org/ukpovertypost/2009/09/racism-in-a-velvet-glove%E2%80%A6/.
By the late 1800s, France, Britain and the Netherlands had gained control over most of the world’s Muslims. France conquered Algiers in 1830, eventually leading to French control of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. The British colonized India (which included modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh). The Dutch dominated trade in Southeast Asia, where today’s Indonesia — the world’s most populous Muslim nation — became a Dutch colony after the Dutch East India Company relinquished control. By the end of the 19th century, France was importing low-paid workers from Algeria
and other African territories, while other European countries recruited workers from their colonies and territories. However, Europe — where residents had long been immigrating to the United States in search of a better life — did not become a major immigrant destination until the 1950s, when it needed workers to help rebuild cities and economies ravaged by World War II. After the wartime deaths of thousands of workingage men, England sought workers from throughout the British Empire, in part because they would speak English: Indians and Pakistanis came from the 1950s on,
Bangladeshis from the 1970s. For much the same reason, in the postwar economic boom, France, Germany and the Netherlands also recruited immigrants from their former colonies, and in some cases, the mother countries gave preferential treatment to former colonists wanting to enter the country to work. Some former colonials integrated more quickly into their new home countries than others. Muslims from francophone Africa, for instance, have been more interested in becoming part of France than Turks have been in Germany, where they have no cultural links, argues Bowen, of
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Washington University. “The very bitterness of France’s colonial history channels Muslims toward demanding inclusion in French society,” Bowen wrote. “They, or their parents or grandparents, came from former French territories in North or West Africa, where they learned that they were now part of the grand story of France, albeit in second-class roles.” 51 After World War II, when a devastated Germany needed immigrant labor to help rebuild, Germany’s choice of workers would have long-term repercussions. In the mid-1950s, Germany instituted an active immigration policy, first for Italian and Spanish farmworkers. 52 Later, as the economy boomed and industry needed labor, the government turned to North Africa and Turkey for workers, who were expected to stay only two years. “The German and Austrian governments had recruitment offices in the leastdeveloped rural areas of Anatolia to recruit illiterate Turks because of the false belief that if they can’t read, they won’t join trade unions and make trouble,” explains Viennese demographer Lutz. But unlike Czech and Ukranian migrants who settled in Austria earlier, Turks did not become absorbed into the society or even learn the language in many cases. “Many Turks didn’t think they would stay,” Lutz says, “nor did society.” Indeed, most European governments saw the recruitment of immigrant labor as a temporary measure. Temporary “guestworker” programs were initiated in Germany, Belgium and Sweden, recruiting first from Italy and Spain and later from the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East. Turks made up the largest percentage of German migrants. And the Gastarbeiter (guestworker) program was a “hard-currency bonanza” for Turkey, according to author Christopher Caldwell, a columnist for The Weekly Standard and Financial Times whose book, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, chronicles how Muslims transformed postwar Europe. The Turkish government petitioned hard for inclusion in the program,
For and Against Immigrants
Kurdish immigrants in Rome wave the Kurdistan flag and portraits of their historical leader Abdullah Ocalan during Italy’s first nationwide “day without immigrants” strike on March 1, 2010 (top). The rally was one of dozens held around Europe in the last year to protest harsh anti-immigrant measures taken by European governments, which some critics say are particularly targeting Muslim immigrants. AntiMuslim sentiment was evident in Harrow, North London, on Sept. 11, 2009 (bottom), when riot police quelled clashes between Muslims and anti-Islamic extremists protesting outside a London mosque on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
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AFP/Getty Images/Carl De Souza
Getty Images/Tiziana Fabi
and the single Turkish men who arrived to work in German mines and steel plants discovered they could make far more money than in Turkey. The number of Turkish guestworkers in Germany burgeoned from 329,000 in 1960 to 2.6 million by 1973, the year the program was discontinued. 53 But the workers found Germany attractive, and the gap steadily widened between what natives understood the program to mean and what the workers understood. German corporations pressured the government to make the Gastarbeiter contracts renewable, to allow workers’ families to join them and to permit those that had started families to stay. A “rotation clause” intended to limit a foreign worker’s stay in Germany to two years was removed from the GermanTurkish guestworker treaty in 1964, partly due to industry pressure. 54 Europe’s acute manpower shortages, however, were not chronic, Caldwell writes. In the 1960s, migrants were manning soon-to-be obsolete linen mills in France and textile mills in England. The jobs would soon be eliminated, creating joblessness among migrants and a growing anti-immigrant reaction. On April 20, 1968 — two weeks after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., triggered riots in Washington, D.C., and other major U.S. cities — Conservative British Parliament member Enoch Powell warned that Britain’s growing immigration would lead to similar violent conflicts between immigrants and Britons. Already, he claimed, the nativeborn English “found themselves made strangers in their own country,” and he quoted a constituent’s prediction that “in 15 or 20 years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.” Citing the poet Virgil, he said, “I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.’ ” 55 Powell received enthusiastic letters in response from British natives, and much of the British debate since then has been over whether Powell’s “rivers of blood” predictions would prove correct.
‘Immigration Stop’ Policies
uring Germany’s 1966-67 recession, many laid-off guestworkers returned home only to find the Turkish economy in crisis. But when the 1973-77 global recession hit, many migrants stayed in their adopted countries, even if they were unemployed — spurring European fears that immigrants would compete for jobs. EU governments between 1973 and 1975 instituted an “immigration stop” policy, aimed at deterring immigration and halting overseas recruitment. 56 The number of new foreign workers arriving declined, but migration continued — primarily due to extended families joining the original immigrant or new spouses arriving on marriage visas. Today, most immigration into Western Europe involves family migration. Paradoxically, more immigrants came to Europe during the decades after the “stop” policies were instituted than arrived in the preceding decades, largely because of family immigration. In the Netherlands, the number of first-generation Moroccan and Turkish immigrants increased tenfold in the three decades following the 1974 halt. By 2003, the number of North Africans in France was triple the number from before the government started restricting immigration. 57 Since then, EU governments have tried repeatedly to discourage immigration. Some, like France, have even offered monetary incentives and continued welfare support to immigrants who return home. Most of the programs ended in failure. 58 Experts say once an immigration dynamic has been established between countries it is hard to stop. In Belgium, 0 Turkish immigrants from Emirdag settled in Brussels and Ghent, with family and friends living on the same street with their neighbors from back home. Bangladeshis settled in East London, while Pakistanis from Punjab and Kashmir settled in Birmingham and Bradford. 59
Radical Islam Emerges
uring the 1980s some young Muslims, frustrated by job discrimination, turned to their religion as a source of identity. Europe became a target of proselytizing campaigns, helped along by the distribution of Saudi Arabian petrodollars, which financed the construction of new mosques and Islamic schools. Saudi money specifically supported the spread and teaching of the ultra-conservative Wahhabi strand of Islam. 60 Acts of terrorism in the 1990s and early 2000s fueled fears of radical Islamists. Between 1995 and 1996, radical Algerians exploded bombs on Paris subways and trains, adding to French anti-immigrant sentiment. France and other nations expelled radical Islamists, and members of the French secret services dubbed the British capital “Londonistan” for its role as a refuge for radical Islamist groups. Then on Feb. 23, 1998, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden issued a fatwa stating that all Muslims had a duty to kill Americans and their allies — civilian or military — around the world. Islamic liberation movements worldwide began to shift their emphasis from national revolution to localized, violent terrorism. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, in which nearly 3,000 people died, would change forever the way Europeans looked at their Muslim neighbors. Although directed by al Qaeda and carried out by mostly Saudi Arabian jihadists, the attacks had been planned by a group of Englishspeaking Muslims at a mosque in Hamburg, Germany. “September 11 turned the spotlight on European Muslims and made people feel insecure; they started looking at Muslims through a security prism,” says the European Policy Centre’s Shada Islam. Soul-searching about whether Europe was becoming a breeding ground
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for terrorists intensified after a string of terrorist attacks tied to Muslim extremists: the Madrid subway bombings in 2004; the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by a radical Islamist the same year; the “7/7” 2005 London transit bombings that killed 52. But rather than focus on jobs, education and disaffected youth — the root causes of integration problems — Islam says, the debate about Muslim immigrants was no longer about social disadvantages. Suddenly, “it was as if every Muslim in Europe was a potential terrorist.” Islam says the current wave of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim sentiment would not have “reached this point if September 11 had not happened.” In 2002 far-right Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn (who had criticized Muslims for not assimilating) was murdered by a Dutch man who said he was protecting Muslims. Then in 2004, filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who had made a film critical of the treatment of women by Muslims, was murdered in broad daylight on an Amsterdam street by a Dutch-born son of Moroccan immigrants. As Dutch Financial Times columnist Simon Kuper puts it, “violence associated with Muslims suddenly entered the public debate. Nowhere else in Europe has the far right done so well out of 9/11” as in the Netherlands. 61 In Britain, young Muslims said 9/1l — and the London transit suicide-bomb attacks on July 7, 2005, by radical British Muslims — made them identify as Muslims more than they had before. In 2007, Muslim doctors from India and the Middle East working in Britain tried to blow up the airport in Glasgow, Scotland, and authorities foiled Muslim plots to blow up a U.S. military base in Frankfurt, Germany, and a bomb attack by Muslims in Copenhagen. 62 Polls by the Pew Research Center found that Muslims in France, Spain and Britain were twice as likely as U.S. Muslims to say suicide bombs can be justified. 63 In 2004, the EU admitted 10 new countries: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta. Under EU rules, citizens of those countries were free to move to any member country to work, and thousands of Eastern Europeans poured into Western Europe. In 2007, Bulgaria and Romania were admitted, but citizens of those countries do not have full working rights in most EU15 countries. 64 While the EU was opening its eastern borders, impoverished West Africans continued to risk their lives to enter Europe from the south. During the early 2000s, scores of Africans drowned when their over-packed small boats capsized en route to Spanish territory. And in 2005, an estimated 11,000 would-be migrants tried to enter Spain by scaling a 10-foot wall surrounding Melilla — a tiny coastal Spanish enclave on Morocco’s northern coast. Three immigrants died in the attempts. And in one brazen, pre-dawn incident, about 500 Africans stormed the barrier, using 270 ladders crafted from tree branches. About 100 migrants made it into the Spanish territory before being detained by police. 65 by dating men outside their ethnic group. One such case particularly spurred outrage: A 20-year-old Kurdish woman, who repeatedly sought help from police, was killed in 2006 by her father and uncle, prompting an investigation into police handling of the case. The Independent Police Complaints Commission found in 2008 that officers had failed to follow up promptly on murder victim Banaz Mahmod’s assault allegations, and the Commission recommended “reinforcing” police officers’ knowledge about honor-based violence. 66 Police “may be worried that they will be seen as racist if they interfere in another culture,” Diana Sammi, director of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights organization, said at the time. 67 After Sept. 11 and the Fortuyn and Van Gogh murders, even the Netherlands, long considered the leading proponent of multiculturalism, adopted more restrictive immigration policies. Other countries followed suit, including those in Scandinavia, which attempted to limit arranged marriages from abroad. Since then, women’s rights advocates have supported legislation to protect women from forced marriages, which they see as often being linked to honor killings. In Norway, participation in a forced marriage brings up to six years in prison; Denmark requires that a spouse brought into the country be at least 24 years old — as must the resident spouse. Defending these laws, Unni Wikan, a professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo, said Scandinavian countries felt their values — including the belief in gender equality — were being threatened by Muslim communities that failed to integrate. She said several governments were considering such laws because “we’re afraid we’re leading toward a society that’s breaking up into ethnic tribes.” 68 Islam, of the European Policy Centre, agrees forced marriages and honor killings should be treated as crimes: “Let’s not let people off the hook by saying this is tribal tradition.” But she
s fear of Muslim extremism and terrorism spread after 9/11, Europeans began to question whether terrorism was caused by a failure to integrate immigrants into society. In their soul-searching, many became increasingly critical of multicultural policies — which sometimes meant government funding of religious and ethnic groups or taking a hands-off attitude toward cultural traditions that may conflict with European laws. For example, some critics blamed laissez-faire multiculturalism for the failure to prevent up to a dozen suspected “honor killings” every year among Britain’s Muslim communities. In these cases, the women were murdered by fathers and brothers, presumably for having “dishonored” the family, such as
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Globalization Fosters Identity Crisis
“People don’t feel at home anymore in their own country.”
n the Netherlands, where the same meat-and-potatoes dinner traditionally is eaten night after night, people often “feel threatened” by the mosques and kebab shops proliferating in their neighborhoods, says Floris Vermeulen, who teaches political science at the University of Amsterdam. “Their country is changing, their neighborhoods are changing” and “they don’t feel at home anymore in their own country.” Many European countries are experiencing similar national identity crises, as their once monocultural societies — with everyone sharing the same values, ethnicity and food — seem at risk due to the globalization of human migration. That helps explain why Europeans are disturbed at the thought of immigrants living next door who resist interacting with their neighbors. Vermeulen observes wryly, “In many countries this is not considered a problem if they’re not killing each other.” But in monocultural societies like Germany or the Netherlands, mainstream politicians want “a new society where everyone has contact and feels the same about all the norms and values.” When it comes to a religion like Islam, Vermeulen says, “this is not considered a Dutch, German or northern European value; this is something they have to change. That becomes problematic because how [could] a government . . . change the religious beliefs of a certain people?” Muslims have been able to resist assimilation with the rest of the society, experts say, partly by importing wives — often illiterate — from their family’s village of origin, a custom that has continued into the second and third generation in Germany and the Netherlands. To combat this, European countries have toughened visa requirements for marriage partners. Both the Netherlands and Germany now require spouses to have a basic grasp of the new country’s language and pass exams testing their knowledge of the society before they can legally enter. Britain’s new Conservative-led government is introducing a preentry English test for arriving spouses.
While Ruud Koopmans, director of migration at the Social Science Research Center in Berlin, sees these measures as “very good for integration,” economically and socially, others condemn them as discriminatory, aimed mainly at stopping immigrants from Muslim countries. Americans would probably find such pre-entry
Dominik Wasilewski poses proudly on April 1, 2008, outside the Polish delicatessen where he works in Crewe, England, home to one of Britain’s largest Polish communities. Many Europeans feel their once monocultural societies are endangered by the cultural changes caused by increased migration. requirements unduly burdensome, since many of their grandparents entered the country without knowing English. But Koopmans argues that in Europe’s generous welfare societies, where taxpayers bear a heavy burden to support unemployed immigrants, governments have the right to require newcomers to have the necessary tools for employment before entering the country. — Sarah Glazer
adds, “You can do it confrontationally or through a process of consultation; let’s not assume every single Muslim believes in these crimes or commits them.” For example, grassroots Muslim organizations in Belgium have launched school campaigns to warn young African women returning to their home countries for summer holidays that they could be forced into marriages there. In the Netherlands, the 90-year-old policy of “pillarization,” which permits each faith to set up its own governmentfunded religious schools and organi-
zations, became increasingly unpopular in the 1990s and 2000s because it was seen as further segregating Muslims from society. Statistics showed that only one-third of non-EU foreigners in the Netherlands were gainfully employed; the rest were either not in the labor market or depended on social benefits. Welfaredependency rates among foreigners were 10 times that of the native Dutch, and high-school dropout and residential segregation rates were high as well. 69 In 2004, a Dutch parliamentary inquiry
into government policy toward ethnic minorities between 1970 and 2000 came to the damning conclusion that if some migrants succeeded it was “in spite of” government policy. 70 Because of a long tradition in which the state paid for Catholic and Protestant schools, Dutch sociologist Duyvendak says, “We’re struggling: On the one hand, we don’t want Muslim schools, but we want to protect our privileges — the state paying for our Catholic and Protestant schools,” which are considered academically superior to secular public schools.
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In reaction to what it saw as alien Muslim values, the Netherlands demanded that immigrants adopt Dutch progressive values. A new policy of civic integration, starting with its 1998 Newcomer Integration Law, required most non-EU immigrants to participate in a 12-month integration course, including Dutch language and civic education. the country. Noncompliance could result in financial penalties or the denial of permanent legal residence. Eventually, the policy morphed into a tool to restrict migration, especially of unskilled migrants or relatives from traditional backgrounds. For example, in May 2006, after intense debates about honor killings in the Turkish immigrant community and striking evidence that many of France’s Muslims feel economically left behind. Still, Floris Vermeulen, a Dutch expert on radicalization who teaches political science at the University of Amsterdam, says religious radicalism is much less prevalent in France than elsewhere in Europe. Some immigration experts, including anthropologist Bowen, maintain that the French riots of 2005, spurred by joblessness and discrimination, were driven more by a desire to be part of France, rather than a separatist Muslim movement. For instance, When French Muslims took to the streets in 2004 to protest the proposed ban on headscarves in French schools, their chant was Francophile: “First, Second, Third-Generation: We don’t give a damn: Our home is here!” 74
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Rise of Extremists
nti-immigrant parties are surging in popularity among voters in the Netherlands, Sweden and Austria. Although these remain minority parties, the governing coalitions often need their votes to pass legislation. “The fall of parliamentary seats into extremist hands represents the biggest shake-up in European politics since the disappearance of communism,” Denis MacShane, a Labour member of the British Parliament, recently wrote. 75 Experts say Europe’s progressive social democratic regimes and Britain’s liberal Labour government have been defeated because they failed to control immigration. 76 In the Netherlands, the coalition that emerged from this fall’s election joined two center-right parties and did not
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) arrives with delegates from immigrant groups for the fourth summit on the integration of foreigners in Germany on Nov. 3, 2010, in Berlin. The summit followed recent heated public debates on immigration policy and the integration of Muslims in Germany, punctuated by Merkel’s uncharacteristically blunt October remark that Germany’s “multicultural” experiment has “utterly failed” — widely interpreted as a criticism of the nation’s 4 million Muslims.
The 2002 murder of Fortuyn, who had criticized Muslims for not adopting the country’s tolerant attitudes towards homosexuals, helped to turn the Dutch government in an even more draconian direction. 71 After March 2006, applicants for family reunification were required to take an integration test at a Dutch embassy abroad to receive even temporary residence. The policy quickly became a model for the rest of Europe, and variations have been adopted by Finland, Denmark, Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Portugal and Spain. 72 The policies generally require newcomers to enroll in civic and language courses, either before or after entering
ethnic violence in a Berlin public school, German authorities made attendance at a civic integration course a requirement for naturalization. This reversed a previous trend towards liberalization — most notably, Germany’s efforts to make it easier for Turkish guestworkers to become citizens, which began in 2000. 73 France has been spared a major Muslim terrorist attack since the mid1990s, leading some French experts to conclude that France does a better job of culturally integrating its Muslim immigrants, who mostly come from francophone Africa. But riots in the poor, largely African suburbs of Paris in 2005 and Grenoble in 2010 — both plagued with high unemployment — presented
Continued on p. 312
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Is the French ban on headscarves in schools a good idea?
MEMBER, FRENCH COUNCIL OF STATE AND FORMER RAPPORTEUR, STASI COMMISSION ON SECULARISM
FROM “WORLD ON TRIAL,” A SERIES OF MOCK INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS TRIALS CREATED BY PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY’S DICKINSON SCHOOL OF LAW, TO BE WEBCAST AND BROADCAST ON PUBLIC TELEVISION STATIONS WORLDWIDE IN 2011.
JOHN R. BOWEN
DUNBAR-VAN CLEVE PROFESSOR OF ARTS AND SCIENCES, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, ST. LOUIS; AUTHOR OF WHY THE FRENCH DON’T LIKE HEADSCARVES (PRINCETON, 2007) AND CAN ISLAM BE FRENCH? (PRINCETON 2009)
WRITTEN FOR CQ GLOBAL RESEARCHER, DECEMBER 2010
rance has always welcomed people from all over the world . . . and everyone can worship as they wish here. We’ve had many Muslims in our country for a long time; the Mosque of Paris was founded in 1920. Islam is the second religion of France. We have Europe’s largest mosque and more mosques than any other European country. . . . We didn’t wake up one morning in 2004 and say, “Now we’re going to discriminate against Muslims.” It’s very rare in France to have unanimous decisions between the Left and the Right . . . but after a 15-year discussion, we said we need to stop what the “older brothers” are doing. Young girls came to us and said, “Protect us, we want to be free — free to wear skirts, free to wear pants and not to be forced to wear headscarves. . . . We want to be able to go to school in tranquility.” . . . It was appropriate to protect young children without forcing them to attend private schools or take correspondence courses. . . . We do not wear religious symbols in schools. We did not set out to discriminate against Muslims. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that we did not discriminate. And where are the victims? Forty-four students were sent [home] from school out of millions of children, and there hasn’t been one single incident for the last couple of years. French laws are always being challenged, and yet this law is one of the few that has unanimous consent throughout the country. Even among the Muslim immigrant population, surveys have shown that 70 percent of French Muslims approve of the law. . . . The French Council of Muslim Faith, which represents 6 million French Muslims, accepted this law. The law is a victory of democratic French Islam against fundamentalists, who want to impose their vision on others. It’s also a victory for these young girls. Go onto the Internet and read what the Stasi Commission did. The hearings were recorded, and young women and girls supported this law, and these immigrant women wanted the protection by the state. The women and girls came to us and said, “Thank you for allowing us to be free.”
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he headscarf ban is not a good idea. Before the 2004 law, France’s highest court had consistently held that Muslim girls or women had a constitutional and a human right to wear headscarves. Since then, France has escaped legal sanctions by saying that the law was enacted to protect Muslim school girls who wanted protection against social pressure to wear a scarf, i.e. that it was not about Islam. Whatever the merits of this argument, it does not reflect the wide range of claims made by French politicians in favor of the ban. France’s leaders on the Right and the Left claimed that headscarves led to the oppression of women, that they favored the entry of political Islam onto French soil and that they were responsible for disorder in the public schools. Quite a lot of trouble to pin on the heads of a few hundred girls seeking to practice their faith! At the same time, sociologists and others who had studied reasons why some Muslim girls wear scarves were ignored. These wild claims kept politicians from having to tackle real social problems, such as social exclusion, high unemployment and police harassment. But this easy fix came at a price: It stigmatized Muslims who were exercising their religious freedom. Although many Muslims do not wear headscarves, and many agreed with the law, this is hardly a justification for denying others their religious rights. It is hard to say to what degree the ban has contributed to a sense among some Muslims that France will never accept their right to be publicly Muslim. The ban started France down a “slippery slope” of attacks on people who may be French but who look or act differently. This past year Parliament enacted a ban on women wearing full face-coverings on the street, a practice that some Muslims consider part of their religion. A minister became so enraged when a woman in face-covering and her husband dared to speak out against a traffic ticket that he tried to deprive the man of his French citizenship. The president brought down European Union criticism for expelling Roma EU citizens rather than ensure their access to decent housing. Once one denies religious rights, whatever the social justification, it becomes easier to erode them just a bit further the next time.
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Continued from p. 310
invite Wilders’ anti-immigrant Freedom Party into the coalition. But holding only 52 of the parliament’s 150 seats, the coalition needs the support of the Freedom Party’s 24 members to pass legislation, making Wilders a kingmaker. In exchange for his party’s support, Wilders extracted policy concessions, including consideration of a ban on the Islamic face veil and halving immigration from non-Western (read Muslim) countries. The government also agreed to consider making family reunification and marriage immigration more difficult and to make it harder for people from places like Iraq and Somalia to obtain asylum. But it’s unclear whether international agreements will allow the government to implement all these measures, such as refusing to grant asylum to people from certain countries. “That’s problematic for the European Declaration of Human Rights,” points out Vermeulen, of the University of Amsterdam. As for cutting immigration, he says, “It’s already very difficult to immigrate to the Netherlands. We can’t do much more.” In Sweden, the nationalist Swedish Democrats won enough votes in September to gain representation in parliament for the first time. Their campaign had included a controversial TV ad showing an elderly, white Swedish woman in a race for pension/welfare benefits beaten by a stampede of burqawearing women pushing strollers. The party’s leader, Jimmie Akesson, campaigned for a 90-percent reduction in immigration and described Muslim population growth as the greatest foreign threat to Sweden since World War II. Center-right Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt pledged not to work with the Swedish Democrats even though he failed to achieve a majority. 77 In Austria, the Freedom Party won enough votes in provincial elections to raise speculation it could have a major impact on Austria’s national elections in three years. Formerly led by Nazi-sympathizer Jörg Haider, the
party won 17.5 percent of the national vote in 2008. 78 In Germany, a far-right party has not breached the 5 percent threshold for obtaining representation in the national parliament since World War II, usually attributed to the political elite’s fear of a Nazi party re-emerging. 79 But recent surveys suggest up to one-fifth of today’s electorate would vote for a party to the right of Merkel’s Christian Democrats if it were on the ballot today. 80 In Britain’s May elections, many say the deciding moment came when Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown was caught on tape privately calling a voter who asked him about Eastern European immigrants “a bigoted woman.” Party leaders and critics alike said the comment cost him votes among British workers and helped bring the Conservatives to power. 81 When it came to confronting immigration, politicians like Brown, who had cut their political teeth on anti-racism and anti-apartheid campaigns in the 1970s and ’80s, suffered from a “psychological failure,” says Tim Finch, head of migration for the Institute for Public Policy Research, a center-left British think tank. “Labour saw migration and race as two sides of the same coin: Anything about immigration control they found instinctively very difficult,” he says. But for Labour’s working-class base, “immigration was a proxy for economic insecurity and pressure on public services” like public housing, he says. “Race was not a big element of it.” Britain’s two right-wing anti-immigrant parties, the British National Party and the UK Independence Party, captured only 5 percent of the vote, but that was enough to cost the Conservatives a clear majority, according to analyst William Galston at the Brookings Institution in Washington, who attributed their growing percentage to anti-immigration sentiment. 82 Shortly after the election, Conservative Prime Minister Cameron temporarily reduced non-EU immigration by 5 per-
cent, with a permanent cap to be set next April. But in September the business secretary, Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, complained the cap was “very damaging” to industry and that some companies were relocating abroad. 83 Business leaders said the cap would prevent the hiring of IT specialists from India, investment bankers from the United States and other highly skilled workers from outside Europe. 84 Because EU agreements require Britain to accept workers from all 27 EU countries, the cap only covers nonEU immigrants, who under Britain’s newly restrictive point system are skilled and high-skilled workers. “It’s insane economically to chop huge numbers out of that; those are people the economy needs,” says Finch. A parliamentary committee recently reported that — given how few migrants can be capped under international agreements — the proposed cap will cover fewer than 20 percent of long-term migrants. So, while barely affecting Britain’s overall migration, the cap could do serious damage to Britain’s “knowledge economy,” the report said. 85 Under pressure from business leaders, Prime Minister Cameron was expected to increase the number of nonEU migrants allowed under the cap next year — from about 2,600 a month to 4,000 — the British press reported Nov. 16. 86 The government was expected to shift its attention to limiting the entry of “bogus” students and those getting low-level degrees. After the government effectively barred unskilled workers from outside the EU, “student visas rocketed by 30 per cent to a record 304,000 in just one year, as some applicants used it as an alternative work route,” Home Secretary Theresa May said in a speech Nov. 5, adding that students now constitute the majority of non-EU immigrants to the U.K. 87 In September, the independent Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants challenged the cap in court,
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arguing the government sidestepped parliamentary procedures when it introduced the cap. 88 Like other European governments, Britain is still struggling to find a magic recipe to promote integration while preventing religious radicalism and, ultimately, terrorism among Muslim youth. In November, May announced that the new government was dismantling the previous Labour government’s “Prevent” program, an effort to prevent radicalization of Muslim youth by working in their communities. “Prevent muddled up work on counterterrorism with the normal work that needs to be done to promote community cohesion and participation,” May said on Nov. 3. “Counterterrorism became the dominant way in which government and some communities came to interact. That was wrong; no wonder it alienated so many.” 89
n July President Sarkozy sparked an international firestorm when he announced he would dismantle 300 illegal Roma camps in France within three months. Sarkozy’s office said the camps were “sources of illegal trafficking, of profoundly shocking living standards, of exploitation of children for begging, prostitution and crime.” 90 By October, dozens of camps had been emptied and more than 1,000 inhabitants sent home to Romania and Bulgaria. 91 Last year, 10,000 Roma were returned to the two countries. EU Justice Commissioner Vivian Reding called the deportations a “disgrace.” Citing a leaked memo showing that the French had singled out the Roma for deportation, she told the European Parliament: “This is a situation I had thought Europe would not have to witness again after the Second World War.” 92 Initially, the European Commission announced it was investigating France with an eye towards taking it to court
Anti-immigrant Sentiment Returns
Politicians blaming immigrants for economic hardship — such as Dutch anti-immigrant leader Geert Wilders (top), whose Freedom Party made surprising gains in June parliamentary elections in the Netherlands — are not new. Conservative British Parliament member Enoch Powell railed against immigrants in the late 1960s and early ’70s, triggering demonstrations such as the August 1972 march on the Home Office by meat porters bearing a petition demanding an end to all immigration into Britain (bottom). Between 1973 and 1975, several European governments instituted “immigration stop” policies, aimed at deterring immigration and halting overseas recruitment.
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for violating EU free movement rules and for discriminating against an ethnic minority in violation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. But the commission suspended its disciplinary action on Oct. 19, saying the French government had promised to enact legislation by next spring to align French law with EU anti-discrimination principles. 93 The Open Society Institute’s Grabbe called the action “a P.R. disaster, making the commission look weak and France look vindicated.” 94 Rob Kushen, executive director of the European Roma Rights Centre in Budapest, says “France could . . . amend its legislation and still act in a discriminatory way against Roma.” The event highlighted the lack of EU enforcement power on immigration issues. “Ultimately, the only serious sanction that carries weight is the threat of expulsion from the EU, and that’s such an extraordinary threat that I don’t think it’s a credible deterrent.” The EU’s freedom of movement directive allows member nations to deport immigrants from EU countries after three months if the migrants cannot show they have sufficient employment or resources to support themselves. However, the directive also requires a case-by-case decision before the person can be expelled. “France in our view is clearly in violation of all those guarantees,” says Kushen, because they have been expelling people without individual determinations of immigration status. Even if an immigrant is convicted of a crime, they cannot be deported without an individual investigation, he notes. “The Roma have been accused as an ethnic group of begging, illegally squatting on land,” a clear example of ethnic discrimination, says Kushen. Roma from Bulgaria and Romania are in a catch-22 situation when working abroad, because under a political compromise struck when the two countries were admitted into the EU in 2007, European governments were allowed to limit Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants’ rights to work in their countries for up to seven years. 95 Member nations were “horrified at the thought that Bulgaria and Romania would empty out, and every able-bodied citizen would go to Western Europe looking for work,” Kushen explains. Advocates for the Roma agree with France on one thing: Romania and Bulgaria are to blame for discriminating against the Roma in the first place, keeping them impoverished. “As long as unemployment rates are reaching 80 to 90 percent in Roma communities in Romania, people are going to move, try to go somewhere else where life is better,” Kushen says. author of the institute’s report. “When there are fewer jobs around, it’s natural for people to get more anxious about economic security — and immigration is one aspect of that.”
ronically, anti-immigrant fervor in Europe is occurring just as the global recession has brought the rapid growth of foreign-born populations in developed countries to “a virtual halt,” according to a report released in October by the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. 96 Between 2008 and 2009, immigration to Ireland from new EU member states dropped 60 percent while overall EU migration to Spain plummeted by two-thirds. The number of foreign workers caught trying to enter the EU illegally at maritime borders fell by more than 40 percent during the same period and continues to decline. Skyrocketing unemployment rates mean immigrants no longer see the EU as the land of promise. In 2009, unemployment among foreign-born youth reached 41 percent in Spain and 37 percent in Sweden. And substantial numbers of young, native-born men are leaving countries like Ireland and Greece to look abroad for work. 97 If immigration is dropping so drastically, why is anti-immigration sentiment running so high in Europe? There’s still a sizable immigrant population in Europe, “and the vast majority of those people will not go home as a result of the crisis,” says Madeleine Sumption, co-
urope’s big unknown is whether the dramatic recent drops in immigration spell the end of an era or are just a temporary blip, according to the Migration Policy Institute report. “My own view is that immigration levels, at least in the U.K., will not return to the levels of 2005 or 2006 at least for some time,” says Sumption, who wrote the chapter on Britain. “In part, this is because the number of workers coming from Eastern Europe was a function of it being a new opportunity for those workers: There was pent up demand combined with a strong economic boom. I don’t see those kinds of conditions returning in the next few years.” Increasingly, experts say, fast-growing developing nations like Brazil and China — not the industrialized countries — will drive most of the future worldwide immigration. And traditional immigrantexporting countries like India and China, with higher projected economic growth than Europe, are expected to attract their highly skilled diaspora back from abroad, according to Sumption. Press reports have emphasized both the growing anti-immigrant sentiment and government policies pushed by right-wing parties. But some experts, including those at the Migration Policy Institute, expected even harsher restrictions on immigrants in the wake of the global recession. “Immigrant-receiving countries have not resorted to the protectionism that many initially feared,” says the institute’s report.
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For example, while a few governments have offered to pay immigrants to return home, immigrants have been reluctant to accept these offers, so only a few countries adopted such measures. 98 And legal protections, like the EU’s free-movement agreements, will likely hamper efforts to cut the numbers as drastically as right-wing politicians in the Netherlands, Sweden and Britain have pledged to do. At the same time, economic insecurity tends to stir fears about immigrants taking jobs and living off welfare, with much of the resentment aimed at the foreigners already living in their countries. The European Policy Centre’s Islam, a Belgian citizen born in Pakistan, says the biggest problem for Muslims in Europe is, “We’re looking at European Muslims not as Europeans but as exotic foreigners who should really not be at home in Europe — which is absolutely the wrong approach to take if you’re going to get serious about integration.” If Europe’s 20 million Muslims are viewed as legal residents who contribute to the mainstream culture, politics and economy, that would change the conversation, she suggests. “Instead, all these diktats are coming up” — about banning burqas and adopting European values —“and Muslims in Europe are feeling very estranged,” she says. “It’s a suicidal approach.” Meanwhile, as cash-strapped governments prepare to slash welfare benefits — drastically in the case of Britain’s new Conservative-led coalition government — some think that Europe’s famous social “solidarity” will turn against immigrants, including secondand third-generation populations who may be as European as the natives. If the immigration debate is truly about what constitutes national identity, Europeans may need to view their countries as places that embrace their Turkish, Polish, Pakistani and African communities in the same way that ethnic street markets, music and restaurants have become part of the accepted fabric and pleasure of European living.
1 “FPÖ Behind Muezzin-Shooter Game,” AustrianTimes, Sept. 1, 2010, www.austriantimes. at/news/General_News/2010-09-01/26447/FP %D6_behind_muezzin-shooter_game. Austria has hundreds of Muslim houses of prayer and community centers but only three mosques with minarets — in Vienna, Bad Voslau and Telfs. The muezzin is the person at a mosque chosen to broadcast the call to prayer from the mosque’s minaret for Friday services and five times daily. 2 Ibid. The Freedom Party was forced to drop out of the Styrian parliament in 2005 after suffering election losses. See “SPO-FPO Deal Possible,” Austrian Independent, Sept. 27, 2010, http://austrianindependent.com/news/Politics/ 2010-09-27/4708/SP%D6-FP%D6_deal_possible_ in_Styria. Also see, “Right-wing Triumph in Vienna Shocks Federal Coalition Partners, Oct. 11, 2010, www.austriantimes.at/news/General_News/ 2010-10-11/27371/Right-wing_triumph_in_Vienna_ shocks_federal_coalition_partners. 3 Christopher Bickerton, “Dutch Culture Wars,” The New York Times, Oct. 22, 2010, www.ny times.com/2010/10/23/opinion/23iht-edbicker ton.html?_r=2&scp=3&sq=Christopher%20Bicker ton&st=cse. 4 James Carroll, “The Rising Tides of Xenophobia,” Boston Globe, Oct. 25, 2010, www. boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/ articles/2010/10/25/the_rising_tides_of_xeno phobia/. 5 “Anti-Establishment Rage is Fueling Populism Everywhere,” Spiegelonline International, Sept. 29, 2010, www.spiegel.de/international/ europe/0,1518,720275,00.html. Also see Ian Traynor, “Dutch Far-Right Party Wins Pledge on Burqa Ban,” The Guardian, Oct. 1, 2010, www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/01/dutchfar-right-burqa-ban. 6 “Swiss vote to ban minarets showcases new populism,” The Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 29, 2009, www.csmonitor.com/World/ Europe/2009/1129/p06s05-woeu.html. Also see “Swiss Want to Ban Burka,” News24, May 23, 2010, www.news24.com/World/News/Swisswant-to-ban-burqa-20100523. 7 Anthony Faiola, “Anti-Muslim Feelings Propel Right Wing,” The Washington Post, Oct. 26, 2010, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ article/2010/10/25/AR2010102505374.html?sid= ST2010102600369. 8 Ibid. 9 Stephan Faris, “The Roma’s Struggle to Find
a Home,” Time, Sept. 23, 2010, www.time.com/ time/world/article/0,8599,2021016,00.html#ixzz 13SmqGHDl. 10 James Blitz, “Britons Lead on Hostility to Migrants,” Financial Times, Sept. 6, 2010, www. ft.com/cms/s/0/231ffb5e-b9fa-11df-8804-00144 feabdc0.html#axzz15SUbSd2d. 11 “Migration and Immigrants Two Years after the Financial Collapse,” Migration Policy Institute, October 2010, p. 1, www.migrationpolicy. org/news/2010_10_07.php. German migration is negative. “Germany’s Population by 2060,” Federal Statistical Office, 2009, www.destatis. de/jetspeed/portal/cms/Sites/destatis/Internet/ EN/Content/Publikationen/SpecializedPublica tions/Population/GermanyPopulation2060.psml. 12 About 261,000 people sought asylum in the EU-27 countries in 2009, but only 78,800 were granted legal protection by EU member governments. See “EU Member states granted protection to 78,800 asylum seekers in 2009,” Eurostat press release, June 18, 2010, http://epp. eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/prod uct_results/search_results?mo=containsall&ms= asylum+seekers+&saa=&p_action=SUBMIT&l= us&co=equal&ci=,&po=equal&pi=,. 13 Charles Hawley, “Letter from Berlin: Searching for Facts in Germany’s Integration Debate,” Spiegelonline, Oct. 12, 2010, www.spiegel. de/international/germany/0,1518,722716,00.html. 14 Katya Vasileva, “Foreigners Living in the EU Are Diverse and Largely Younger than the Nationals of the EU Member States,” Eurostat Statistics in Focus, no. 45, Sept. 7, 2010, p. 5, http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_O FFPUB/KS-SF-10-045/EN/KS-SF-10-045-EN.PDF. 15 For background, see Sarah Glazer, “Social Welfare in Europe,” CQ Global Researcher, Aug. 1, 2010, pp. 185-210. 16 Michael Slackman, “With Film Afghan-German is a Foreigner at Home,” The New York Times, Oct. 17, 2010, www.nytimes.com/2010/10/18/ world/europe/18germany.html. 17 Tony Barber, “European Countries Cannot Have it Both Ways on Immigration,” The Financial Times, Sept. 3, 2010, www.ft.com/cms/ s/0/dab74570-b788-11df-8ef6-00144feabdc0.html. 18 Hawley, op. cit. 19 Matthew Clark, “Angela Merkel: Multi-culturalism has ‘utterly failed,’ ” The Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 17, 2010, www.csmonitor.com/ World/Global-News/2010/1017/Germany-sAngela-Merkel-Multiculturalism-has-utterly-failed/ %28page%29/2. 20 Slackman, op. cit. 21 Reiner Klingholz, “Immigration Debate: Germany Needs More Foreigners,” Spiegelonline,
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EUROPE’S IMMIGRATION TURMOIL
Aug. 30, 2010. See accompanying graphic “A Change of Direction,” www.spiegel.de/inter national/zeitgeist/0,1518,714534,00.html. According to Der Spiegel, about 10,000 fewer people emigrated to Germany from Turkey in 2009 than left the country for Turkey. 22 Barber, op. cit. 23 Klingholz, op. cit. 24 Among Germans the fertility rate has fallen from 2.5 children born to each woman in the 1960s to only 1.4 children — far below the 2.1 rate needed to replace the population. 25 Vasileva, op. cit. 26 Migration will compensate for natural population shrinkage in more than half the European regions that are expected to grow, according to Eurostat. See “Regional Population Projections,” Eurostat, last modified Oct. 12, 2010, http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_ explained/index.php/Regional_population_pro jections. 27 “Economy: Migration Key to Long-Term Economic Growth, Says OECD,” Press Release, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, July 12, 2010, www.oecd.org/ document/26/0,3343,en_2649_37415_45623194_ 1_1_1_1,00.html. Also see “International Migration Outlook 2010,” OECD, 2010, www.oecd. org/els/migration/imo. 28 John P. Martin, “Editorial: Ensuring that Migrants Are Onboard the Recovery Train,” in ibid., pp. 15-17, www.oecd.org/dataoecd/27/ 0/45593548.pdf. 29 OECD, “International Migration Outlook 2010,” op. cit. This OECD report finds unemployment for immigrants running about twice the rate for native-born in many countries. 30 Christian Dustmann, et al., “Assessing the Fiscal Costs and Benefits of A8 Migration to the UK,” Center for Research and Analysis of Migration, University College London, July 2009, www.econ.ucl.ac.uk/cream/pages/Press_release_ A8fiscalimpact.pdf. 31 According to U.N. projections, the share of Europe’s population over age 80 will rise from 3.8 percent to 9.5 percent by 2050. Philippe Legrain, “How Immigration Can Help Defuse Europe’s Demographic Timebomb,” speech delivered in Helsinki, October 2010. 32 Carroll, op. cit. 33 “International Migration Outlook 2010,” op. cit., p. 206. The new law shortened the time an adult must live legally in Germany before gaining citizenship from 15 years to 8. Under the law, babies born to foreign parents in Germany are considered both German citizens and citizens of their parents’ country of origin until age 23. They must reject their parents’ citizenship by age 23 or forfeit their German citizenship. 34 “Mesut Özil: Auswärtsspiel in der Heimat,” Spiegel TV, Oct. 11, 2010, http://video.spiegel. de/flash/1088559_iphone.mp4. Also see, “Turkish President Criticizes Özil Jeers,” Times Live, Oct. 16, 2010, www.timeslive.co.za/sport/ soccer/article710604.ece/Turkish-presidentcriticises-Ozil-jeers. 35 Christian Joppke, “Beyond National Models: Civic Integration Policies for Immigrants in Western Europe,” West European Politics, January 2007, pp. 1-22, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/ 01402380601019613. 36 Ines Michalowski, “Citizenship Tests in Five Countries — An Expression of Political Liberalism?” Social Science Research Center Berlin, October 2009, pp. 17, 24, www.wzb.eu/zkd/ mit/pdf/dp_sp_iv_2009-702.pdfA. 37 Joppke, op. cit., p. 8. 38 Ruud Koopmans, “Trade-Offs between Equality and Difference: Immigrant Integration, Multiculturalism and the Welfare State in Cross-National Perspective,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, January 2010, pp. 1-26, http://22.214.171.124/zkd/mit/projects/projects_ Trade_offs.en.htm. 39 “Are Women’s Rights Really the Issue?” Spiegelonline, June 24, 2010, www.spiegel.de/ international/europe/0,1518,702668,00.html. 40 Karima Bennoune, “Secularism and Human Rights: A Contextual Analysis of Headscarves, Religious Expression, and Women’s Equality under International Law,” Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, vol. 45, no. 2, April 11, 2007, pp. 367-426. 41 Ibid., p. 415. 42 “Are Women’s Rights Really the Issue?” op. cit. 43 Ibid. 44 Bennoune, op. cit., p. 421. 45 Patrick Weil, “Why the French Laïcité is Liberal,” Cardozo Law Review, vol. 30:6, pp. 2699-2714, www.cardozolawreview.com/ content/30-6/WEIL.30-6.pdf. 46 “French Senate Bans Burka,” CBC News, Sept. 14, 2009, www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/ 09/14/france-burka-ban.html#ixzz1496l9Pri. 47 Ibid. 48 Bennoune, op. cit., p. 371. 49 However, a majority supported banning veils in airport security checks. “Survey Finds Support for Veil Ban,” BBC News, Nov. 29, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6194032.stm. 50 “Straw’s Veil Comment Sparks Anger,” BBC News, Oct. 5, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/ hi/5410472.stm. 51 John R. Bowen, “On Building a MultiReligious Society,” San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 5, 2007, http://articles.sfgate.com/2007-0205/opinion/17231341_1_french-muslims-headscarves-french-people. 52 Leticia Delgado Godoy, “Immigration in Europe: Realities and Policies,” Unidad de Politicas Comparadas, Working Paper 02-18. See Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West (2010), p. 25. 53 Caldwell, op. cit., p. 26. 54 Matthew Bartsch, et al., “A Sorry History of Self-Deception and Wasted Opportunities,” Der Spiegel, Sept. 7, 2010, www.spiegel.de/inter national/germany/0,1518,716067,00.html. 55 Caldwell, op. cit., pp. 4-5. 56 Esther Ben-David, “Europe’s Shifting Immigration Dynamic,” Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2009, pp. 15-24, www.meforum.org/2107/europeshifting-immigration-dynamic. 57 Ibid. 58 Ibid. 59 Ibid. 60 See Sarah Glazer, “Radical Islam in Europe,” CQ Global Researcher, Nov. 1, 2007, pp. 265-294. 61 Simon Kuper, “Where is the Netherlands that I Knew?” Financial Times, Oct. 16/17, 2010, Life & Arts, p. 2, www.ft.com/cms/s/2/badfda56d672-11df-81f0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz15VNBajlD. 62 Glazer, op. cit., p. 267. 63 Pew Research Center, “Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream,” 2007,
About the Author
Sarah Glazer, a London-based freelancer, is a regular contributor to CQ Global Researcher. Her articles on health, education and social-policy issues also have appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Her recent CQ Global Researcher reports include “Radical Islam in Europe” and “Social Welfare in Europe.” She graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in American history.
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http://pewresearch.org/assets/pdf/muslimamericans.pdf. 64 For background, see Brian Beary, “The New Europe,” CQ Global Researcher, Aug. 1, 2007, pp. 181-210. 65 Daniel Howden, “Desperate Migrants Lay Siege to Spain’s African Border,” The Independent, Sept. 28, 2005, www.independent. co.uk/news/world/europe/desperate-migrantslay-siege-to-spains-african-border-508674.html. 66 “IPCC Concludes Investigation into MPS and West Midlands Police dealings with Banaz Mahmod,” Independent Police Complaints Commission, April 2, 2008, www.ipcc.gov.uk/news/ pr_020408_banaz_mahmod.htm. 67 Emine Saner, “Dishonorable Acts,” The Guardian, June 13, 2007, p. 18. 68 Glazer, op. cit., pp. 277-278. 69 Joppke, op. cit., pp. 1, 6. 70 Ibid. 71 “Fortuyn Killed to Protect Muslims,” The Telegraph, March 28, 2003, www.telegraph. co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/ 1425944/Fortuyn-killed-to-protect-Muslims.html. 72 Joppke, op. cit., p. 9. 73 Ibid., p. 14. 74 Glazer, op. cit. 75 Quoted from Newsweek in James Kirchik, “Europe the Intolerant,” The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 12, 2010, http://online.wsj.com/article/ SB10001424052748704696304575537950006608 746.html. 76 Matthew Campbell, “Left’s Long Silence on Migration Turns EU to the Right,” The Sunday Times, Sept. 19, 2010, www.thesundaytimes. co.uk/sto/news/world_news/Europe/article39 7964.ece. 77 Stephen Castle, “Political Earthquake Shakes Up Sweden,” International Herald Tribune, Sept. 21, 2010, p. 3. 78 Kirchik, op. cit. 79 Michael Slackman, “Germany Hearing Louder Voices from the Far Right,” International Herald Tribune, Sept. 23, 2010, p. 3. 80 Hawley, op. cit. 81 “Gordon Brown ‘bigoted woman’ comment caught on tape,” BBC News, April 28, 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8649012.stm. 82 William Galston, “The British Election Was All about Immigration,” The New Republic, May 11, 2010, www.tnr.com/blog/william-gal ston/the-british-election-was-all-about-immi gration. 83 “Vince Cable: Migrant Cap is Hurting Economy,” The Guardian, Sept. 17, 2010, www. guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/sep/17/vince-cablemigrant-cap-economy.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
European Policy Centre, Résidence Palace, 155 rue de la Loi, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium; (32) (0) 2 231 0340; www.epc.eu. A think tank that focuses on immigration and integration in the European Union. European Roma Rights Center, Naphegy tér 8, H-1016 Budapest, Hungary; (36) 1 4132200; www.errc.org. Advocates for the legal rights of Roma in Europe. Eurostat, for English-language inquiries: (44) 20 300 63103; http://epp.eurostat.ec. europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home. The statistical office of the European Union; issues migration statistics for the 27 EU countries. Institute for Public Policy Research, 4th Floor, 13-14 Buckingham St., London WC2N 6DF, United Kingdom; (44) (0) 20 7470 6100; www.ippr.org.uk. A progressive think tank that has a generally positive perspective on immigration to Britain. Migration Watch, P.O. Box 765, Guildford, GU2 4XN, United Kingdom; (44) (0) 1869 337007; www.migrationwatchuk.com. A think tank that advocates limiting immigration into the U.K. Open Society Institute-Brussels, Rue d’dalie 9-13, Brussels 1050, Belgium; (32) 2 505.46.46; www.soros.org/initiatives/brussels. In alliance with the Soros Foundation, promotes tolerant democracies and outspokenly supports Roma migrants’ rights. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2, rue André Pascal, 75775 Paris, Cedex 16, France; (33) 1 45.24.82.00; www.oecd.org. Represents 33 developed countries; issues frequent reports about migration. WZB, Social Science Research Center Berlin, Reichpietschufer 50, D-10785 BerlinTiergarten, Germany; (49) 30 25491 0; www.wzb.eu/default.en.asp. Conducts research on immigration and integration in Europe.
“Plans to Cap Number of Skilled Workers Under Scrutiny,” Guardian, Sept. 7, 2010, www. guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/sep/07/plans-capmigrants-under-scrutiny. 85 Alan Travis, “Immigration Cap Not the Answer to Cutting Net Immigration Figure, Say MPs,” Guardian, Nov. 3, 2010, www.guardian. co.uk/uk/2010/nov/03/immigration-cap-netmigration-figure. 86 Robert Winnett, et al., “David Cameron Will Bow to Business and Relax Immigration Cap,” Nov. 16, 2010, Daily Telegraph, 2010, www. telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/davidcameron/8132543/David-Cameron-will-bowto-business-and-relax-immigration-cap.html. 87 “The Home Secretary’s Immigration Speech,” Office of the Home Secretary, Nov. 5, 2010. www.homeoffice.gov.uk/media-centre/speeches/ immigration-speech. 88 Wesley Johnson, “Legal Challenge to Immigration Cap,” The Independent, Sept. 24, 2010, www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/legalchallenge-to-immigration-cap-2088649.html. 89 Theresa May, “Our Response to the Terrorist Threat,” Office of the Home Secretary, Nov. 3, 2010, www.homeoffice.gov.uk/mediacentre/speeches/terrorist-response. Also see, Alan
Travis, “Theresa May Promises ‘Significant’ Reform of Counter-Terror Law,” Guardian, Nov. 4, 2010, p. 20, www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/nov/03/ theresa-may-counter-terrorism-reform. 90 “Q&A: France Roma Expulsions,” BBC News Europe, Sept. 30, 2010, www.bbc.co.uk/news/ world-europe-11027288. 91 Matthew Saltmarsh, “EU Panel Suspends Case against France over Roma,” The New York Times, Oct. 19, 2010, www.nytimes.com/ 2010/10/20/world/europe/20roma.html?_r=1&s cp=2&sq=Matthew%20Saltmarsh&st=cse. 92 “Q&A: France Roma Expulsions,” op. cit. 93 Saltmarsh, op. cit. 94 Ibid. 95 For the different rules of EU countries governing Bulgarian and Romanian workers, see European Commission, “Enlargement: Transitional Provisions,” http://ec.europa.eu/social/ main.jsp?catId=466&langId=en. For example in the U.K., immigrants generally cannot work unless self-employed, and the restrictions extend to Dec. 31, 2011, but could be extended. 96 “Migration and Immigrants Two Years after the Financial Collapse,” op. cit., p. 1. 97 Ibid. 98 Ibid., p. 3.
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Bowen, John R., Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Spaces, Princeton University Press, 2007. In analyzing why the French banned headscarves in schools in 2004, an American anthropologist cites fears — of radical Islam and alien values — and asks how much newcomers must give up to become part of French society. Caldwell, Christopher, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West, Penguin Books, 2010. A columnist for the Financial Times and Weekly Standard says Muslim immigration is producing “an undesirable cultural alteration” of Europe, which most Europeans don’t want and is not economically necessary. Legrain, Philippe, Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them, Abacus, 2007. An economics journalist argues that demand for migrants will rise in aging societies that need a young, cheap work force to do the work that Europeans dislike, such as eldercare, cleaning and child care. Spiegelonline, Aug. 30, 2010, www.spiegel.de/international/ zeitgeist/0,1518,druck-71. A German population expert says Germany needs more immigrants, not fewer, if it is to maintain a strong economy, attract skilled workers and populate a country that suffers from a declining birth rate. Koopmans, Ruud, “Trade-Offs between Equality and Difference: Immigrant Integration, Multiculturalism and the Welfare State in Cross-National Perspective,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, January 2010, pp. 1-26, http:// dx.doi.org/10.1080/13691830903250881. A sociologist finds that immigrants in countries that require them to integrate have higher employment rates than those in other countries. Weil, Patrick, “Why the French Laïcité is Liberal,” Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 30:6, 2009, pp. 2699-2714, www.cardozo lawreview.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=arti cle&id=116%3Atable-on-contents-30-6&Itemid=14. A French immigration historian who advised the French government to institute the headscarf ban says the law is not an attack on liberty.
Barber, Tony, “European Countries cannot have it both ways on immigration,” Financial Times, Sept. 3, 2010, www.ft.com/cms/s/0/dab74570-b788-11df-8ef6-00144feabdc0.html#axzz14xtymjdq. (Subscription required) A former Financial Times Brussels bureau chief says aging Europe cannot maintain its expensive social welfare states without immigration. Batsch, Matthew, “A Sorry History of Self-Deception and Wasted Opportunities,” Spiegelonline, Sept. 7, 2010, www. spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,716067,00.html. Germany recruited Turkish workers in the 1960s, tried to send them home in the 1980s and has struggled with what to do with them ever since. Bennoune, Karima, “Secularism and Human Rights: A Contextual Analysis of Headscarves, Religious Expression, and Women’s Equality under International Law,” Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 45. No.2, posted May 2007, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? abstract_id=989066. A Rutgers University law professor favors the 2004 French ban on headscarves and describes the major legal cases that preceded it. Klingholz, Reiner, “Germany Needs More Foreigners,”
Reports and Studies
“Foreigners Living in the EU are Diverse and Largely Younger than the Nationals of the EU Member States,” Eurostat, Sept. 7, 2010, http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa. eu/portal/page/portal/product_details/publication?p_pro duct_code=KS-SF-10-045. The statistical arm of the European Commission finds that foreign immigrants are younger than European natives. “International Migration Outlook 2010,” Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2010, www. oecd.org/document/41/0,3343,en_2649_33931_45591593_ 1_1_1_1,00.html. The report says migration is the key to long-term economic growth in aging Western countries, and governments should open their citizenship laws and unemployment benefits to migrants to help them weather the recession. “Migration and Immigrants Two Years after the Financial Collapse: Where Do We Stand?” Migration Policy Institute, Oct. 7, 2010, www.migrationpolicy.org/news/2010_10_ 07.php. A Washington think tank says migration is slowing to a virtual halt in parts of the European Union, that Ireland has once again become a country of out-migration, and immigrants in Spain and Sweden are suffering high rates of unemployment.
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The Next Step:
Additional Articles from Current Periodicals
“Czech Republic Becomes New Immigration Country,” Czech News Agency, Dec. 12, 2009. The Czech Republic must create suitable conditions for immigrants’ integration into society in order for them to benefit the country. “Italian Church Renews Calls for Migrant Integration,” ANSA News Service (Italy), March 22, 2010. Italian Catholic bishops have renewed calls for policies boosting the integration of immigrants to ensure foreign-born residents are not marginalized. Kurdi, Iman, “Europe’s Siege Within,” Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates), Oct. 25, 2010. Europe’s immigration problem is not one of cultural integration, but rather one of economic integration. Wereschagin, Mike, “Turks Face Integration Challenges in Germany,” Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Jan. 24, 2010. Many European countries are struggling with the dilemma over how to effectively integrate growing Muslim populations. Sept. 17, 2010. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi fully supports France’s controversial decision to repatriate thousands of Roma to Eastern Europe. “France’s Anti-Immigration Parties on the Rise,” Thai Press Reports, Nov. 1, 2010. French immigration policies, such as banning the full veil worn by many Muslim women, have contributed to an antiimmigrant resurgence. Castle, Stephen, “Anti-Immigration Party Wins First Seats in Swedish Parliament,” The New York Times, Sept. 20, 2010, p. A5. The anti-immigration Swedish Democrats won their first seats ever in the country’s parliament.
“France and Romania Plan to Co-operate Over Roma,” Irish Times, Sept. 10, 2010. Romanian leaders have asked the European Union to formulate strategies that improve the well-being of the Roma. “French Police Ordered to Single Out Roma Camps,” Daily Telegraph (England), Sept. 14, 2010. The French interior ministry has ordered police to single out Roma squatters in a campaign against illegal camps, according to a leaked memo. Faiola,Anthony,“Milan Moves to Evict Gypsies From Camps,” The Boston Globe, Oct. 17, 2010, p. A7. Many Italians in Milan are blaming the city’s rising crime rate on the new waves of Roma immigrants.
“Merkel on Failed German Multiculturalism: Other Countries Should Listen Up,” The Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 18, 2010. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the experiment to integrate Turks into German society has failed, but she’s not abandoning the idea of assimilating immigrants. “Multiculturalism Undermines Diversity,” Guardian Unlimited (England), March 17, 2010. Multiculturalism in Britain expresses the essence of a modern and liberal society, but it has also created an anxious and fragmented nation. Erlanger, Steven, “France Debates Its Identity, But Some Question Why,” The New York Times, Nov. 29, 2009, p. A8. France is beginning to learn that its national identity is largely connected to immigration and integration. Kabir, Anwarul, “Multiculturalism, UK Bangladeshis and the British High Commission,” Dhaka (Bangladesh) Courier, Sept. 10, 2010. Multiculturalism prompts European immigrant communities to be trapped between the cultures of their host countries and their countries of origin.
CITING CQ GLOBAL RESEARCHER
Sample formats for citing these reports in a bibliography include the ones listed below. Preferred styles and formats vary, so please check with your instructor or professor.
Flamini, Roland. “Nuclear Proliferation.” CQ Global Researcher 1 Apr. 2007: 1-24.
Flamini, R. (2007, April 1). Nuclear proliferation. CQ Global Researcher, 1, 1-24.
“Fears of Anti-Immigration Alliance As Berlusconi Lauds France’s Expulsion Policy,” The Independent (England),
Flamini, Roland. “Nuclear Proliferation.” CQ Global Researcher, April 1, 2007, 1-24.
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Voices From Abroad:
Domestic Policy Analyst Christian Democrats Party, Germany
Give immigrants intelligence tests “We have to establish criteria for immigration that really benefit our country. In addition to adequate education and job qualifications, one benchmark should be intelligence. I am in favor of intelligence tests for immigrants. We cannot continue to make this issue taboo.”
Accra (Ghana) Mail, June 2010
can be underlined that they succeed in their approach.”
The Christian Science Monitor September 2010
The Christian Science Monitor October 2010
Home Secretary United Kingdom
No more cheap labor “We will bring net migration down to the tens of thousands. Our economy will remain open to the best and the brightest in the world, but it’s time to stop importing foreign labour on the cheap.”
Daily Telegraph (England) October 2010
RICCARDO DE CORATO
Vice Mayor, Milan, Italy
The zero solution “These are dark-skinned people [Roma], not Europeans like you and me. Our final goal is to have zero Gypsy camps in Milan.”
The Boston Globe, October 2010
Member of Parliament, Italy
Catholic Church has limited vision of immigration “The Catholic Church does its job. . . . Ours is a different vision. We have to temper the needs of the people who live in Italy with the problems that excessive immigration brings with it. The church sees only one aspect, whereas we have a broader vision.”
Los Angeles Times, July 2010
KADRI ECVET TEZCAN
Turkish Ambassador to Austria
Leave the ministry out “Integration is a cultural and social problem. But in Austria . . . the Ministry for Interior . . . is responsible for integration. That is incredible. The ministry for interior can be in charge of asylum or visas and many security problems. But the minister for interior should stop intervening in the integration process.”
Die Presse (Austria) November 2010
Prime Minister, Italy
A potential new Africa “Europe runs the risk of turning black from illegal immigration, it could turn into Africa. We need support from the European Union to stop this army trying to get across from Libya, which is their entry point.”
The Express (England) September 2010
Islamic Scholar, French National Center for Scientific Research
Fear of Islam abounds “Today in Europe the fear of Islam crystallizes all other fears. In Switzerland, it’s minarets. In France, it’s the veil, the burqa and the beard.”
The New York Times December 2009
Vice Chancellor, Germany
Also address emigration “Germany is not a country of immigration but of emigration. The question of what we can do against this emigration is just as important as the question of what immigration policy we want.”
Spiegel Online (Germany) October 2010
Former Interior Ministry Officer, France
The new Gypsies “These Gypsies created an organization with spokesmen. . . . They speak with [the] authorities, something new in France. They are serious, respectable; they vote, they don’t want to burn cars, they want everyone living in peace. That’s opposite from the traditional image. . . . [I]t
Representative EveryOne NGO, Italy
A cruel strategy on the Roma “The strategy is clear and simple: Rather than forcing someone on the airplane, authorities keep demolishing Gypsy camps so that eventually Roma people have no place to go and leave the country.”
CQ Press Custom Books - Page 128