Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, Center for American Progress, 8/30/2012:
Los debates sobre las ventajas económicas y fiscales y las desventajas de los inmigrantes suelen simplificar en exceso el papel que desempeñan los inmigrantes en nuestra economía. Cuando uno se fija más detenidamente, se dará cuenta que el impacto que los inmigrantes (o cualquier otro grupo de hecho) tienen en la economía es multifacético y complejo.
Los inmigrantes no son sólo trabajadores, sino que son también consumidores y contribuyentes que pagan impuestos. Los efectos de su trabajo y su consumo en el crecimiento económico y la salud fiscal se deben tomar en cuenta cuando se considera cómo abordar la situación de la fuerza laboral indocumentada.
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"Their journeys began in places as disparate as Colombia and Pakistan. They arrived in the United States speaking Hindi, Korean or Spanish. They worked their way up through engineering school or accounting jobs, keeping their heads down and their names out of the news.
Now, a small but growing number of foreign-born residents in the greater Washington region — home to more than 1 million immigrants from every corner of the globe — are coming out of their cocoons to enter electoral races and public office." Read more…
"On Tuesday 'World News' shared the story of Amit Aharoni, an Israeli national and a graduate of Stanford Business School, who secured $1.65 million in venture capital funding with two cofounders to launchCruiseWise.com, an online cruise booking company.
The company hired nine Americans in just one year. But Aharoni hit rough waters after he received a letter on Oct. 4 from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denying his request for a visa and notifying him that he needed to leave the country immediately. Aharoni moved to Canada, where he was forced to run his company via Skype from a friend's living room." Read more …
"Last year, Amit Aharoni, an Israeli national and a graduate of Stanford Business School, secured $1.65 million in venture capital funding with two cofounders to launch CruiseWise.com, an online cruise booking company.
Business Insider ranked the company, which is set to launch its website in just a few weeks, one of the '20 Hot Silicon Valley Startups You Need to Watch,' and Aharoni has already hired nine Americans.
But this story of entrepreneurship and job creation is hitting rough waters because Aharoni is not American. On Oct. 4, Aharoni received a letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denying his request for a visa and notifying him that he needed to leave the country immediately.
The government said Aharoni's job as CEO does not require someone with his high-level degree, even though he created the company." Read more …
Immigrants bring “new ideas, new perspectives and new talent to our workforce. To reverse the decades-long trend of economic decline in this city, we need to think globally.”
Those are the comments of Dayton, Ohio Mayor Gary Leitzell explaining why his city has adopted a plan encouraging immigrants to come to the city to help pull it out of its economic tailspin.
Dayton has lost thousands of jobs and 15 percent of its population. It hopes immigrant entrepreneurs will help rebuild and grow the city’s small business and restore the city’s neighborhoods.
Dayton’s viewpoint on immigration is countered by states like Alabama, where a new law allows police to detain indefinitely anyone suspected of being in the state illegally and requires schools to check the status of new students. Read more …
"LANGLEY PARK, Md., Nov 01, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Today, Citi Community Development and CASA de Maryland (CASA) launched an innovative microloan program for legal permanent residents seeking to become naturalized citizens. CASA will collaborate with two community development financial institutions (CDFI's) – the Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) and the Ethiopian Community Development Council Enterprise Development Group (EDG) – to launch and test the innovative citizenship microloan program that will lower the financial barriers to naturalization while simultaneously building an individual's credit and financial literacy. The loan program is the latest addition to a set of naturalization services available through Citizenship Maryland, a wrap-around comprehensive effort led by CASA and participated in by partner AmeriCorps volunteer host organizations that seek to support the hundreds of thousands of eligible legal permanent residents in Maryland in becoming citizens." Read more …
"HOUSTON — For two years, Diego Gala, a Mexican immigrant in the country illegally, worked five days a week cleaning a private school for less than minimum wage. His employer refused to pay him overtime even when he was forced to work on the weekends. Gala did not speak up, fearing deportation if he reported his boss.
'I couldn’t say nothing because I did not have papers,' Gala said. 'So he was like, "If you say something, you can just get deported. I can call immigration on you, or you can get fired."'
Gala, who was brought to the United States as a small child, grew up not knowing his immigration status until it came time for him to find a job. Workers’ rights advocates say that is not unusual; wage theft is a major problem in Texas, particularly among undocumented workers who do not push for their rightful earnings for fear of drawing the attention of immigration officials.
During the 2011 legislative session, Texas lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1024, which closed a loophole allowing employers to escape prosecution if they had paid employees only a portion of the wages owed. But now that the law is in effect, organizations and lawmakers in at least three Texas cities — Austin, El Paso and Houston — are facing a new challenge: how to ensure that the prosecution of wage theft is a priority." Read more …
Here’s a Capitol riddle for you: Representative Lamar Smith, one of the most reflexively anti-immigrant hard-liners in Congress, is sponsoring a bill to flood the agriculture sector with up to half-a-million visas for guest workers. Understand why and you’re well on your way to unpacking the nation’s dysfunctional relationship with undocumented immigrants.
Mr. Smith, a Texas Republican who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has a bill to require every employer in the country to use E-Verify, the federal hiring database, and fire the workers it flags as unauthorized.
He says it will give American jobs back to Americans. But it has angered small-business owners, who know a job-killing regulation when they see one. And it has enraged the farm industry, where more than half of the work force is undocumented. Thus the need for Mr. Smith’s second bill, the American Specialty Agriculture Act.
A well-designed agricultural guest worker program is not a bad idea. Even when unemployment is above 9 percent, Americans don’t want to stoop in the fields anymore.
But this is an awful guest worker bill. It would create a system that is far worse than the current cumbersome guest worker program. It would let growers pay even lower wages and weaken the rules on providing workers with housing and reimbursing their travel expenses. Growers would get a break on having to certify that they tried to hire Americans first. Oversight would shift from the Labor Department, with its pesky insistence on wage-and-hour protections, to the Department of Agriculture, which has never run a program like this before. Read more …