Immigration Across The Nation 09/17/2008

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►Pro-Immigrant Legislation Prevails at State Level
According to a report from Progressive States Network, “Positive Integration Policies” prevail in most states where immigrants live. For instance, 60 percent of immigrants live in states which have adopted the DREAM act, which gives immigrants access to in-state tuition, whereas only 16% live in states which have punitive wage laws (i.e., where immigrants’ wages are not protected by minimum wage laws). This reflects a combination of new legislation and historic policies of acceptance.

“The states with the largest numbers of undocumented immigrants – and notably the states that have the longest history in dealing with multiple waves of immigration over their histories – have been quietly promoting a whole range of policies based on integration of new immigrants,” the report stated.

►Border Fence Probably Won’t be Finished Until 2009
A number of factors, from land purchasing difficulties to the rising price of steel to a simple lack of willingness to sink more money before the new year are slim, according to a report from the New York Times. In addition to difficulties with the physical fence, the “virtual fence” network is already $400 million over budget and is threatening to cost more after additional testing on the Boeing/U.S. Government project has revealed yet more shortcomings and failings. The price of the physical fence stands at $7.5 million per mile, 175 percent of the February cost estimate, slowing building of the fence so that only 341 miles of the 670-mile physical fence was completed as of the end of August, with no progress to speak of since that time.

“This whole fence, virtual or otherwise, is become the biggest waste,” said U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva (D – Ariz.) in an interview with the Arizona Daily Star. His congressional district includes Santa Cruz County, which shares a border with Mexico. “It’s not going to make us any more secure,” he added. “It’s not going to lock down the border.”

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►Partnership Between ICE and Local Law Enforcement Raises Concerns
ICE’s “284g” program continues to raise controversy, this time in Jacksonville, Fla., according to a report by Hola Noticias, a Jacksonville area newspaper. The purpose of the program is to tighten security and increase arrests and deportation of criminals by enlisting local law enforcement to assist Immigrations and Customs Enforcement practices. According to both national and local sources, the program has obvious downsides.

“Hispanics who may have been victims to some of these crimes will be reluctant now to speak to the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office, because of ICE’s involvement,” said Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police President Nelson Cuba. “The only reason they want to talk to me is to get me, not the criminals, they will say,” he added. “Besides, they are taking officers away from their duties for something which is not a problem in Jacksonville.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also had complaints about the program. “When you have local law enforcement enforcing immigration laws, you’re going to have rampant racial profiling…they’ll be stopped because they are brown and may be detained for that reason alone,” said Zaina Salam, an ACLU attorney.

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