We will not stimulate job growth successfully until the 11+ million undocumented immigrants in the US can come out of the shadows and participate in our economy without fear! Immigration Reform IS our jobs solution!
Tag Archives: Mexico
When Over 11 Million People Residing in a Country Are Not Allowed to Contribute, Everyone Loses!
The following negative consequences should be enough to spur a sincere effort to address our crippling immigration system during an election season when everything is on the line:
- Increased border violence between the US and Mexico
- Decrease in consumer confidence for 11+ million people in US
- Decreased local, state and federal revenue feeding education, health care, social security and all operating costs
- Increased oppression, abuse and violence against undocumented females
- Decreased employer confidence regarding hiring undocumented immigrants
- Lack of tracking and accountability for undocumented immigrants
Keeping the 11+ million undocumented immigrants in the US living in the shadows is hurting our economic recovery more than anyone dares to assert. What follows are some convincing perspectives on why we need to hurry up and pass immigration reform because the only people that are benefitting from delayed reform are criminals and organized crime.
In a 2007 report by the PEW Hispanic Center, “2007 National Survey of Latinos: As Illegal Immigration Issue Heats Up, Hispanics Feel A Chill,” over half of the adult US Hispanic population worries “that either they, a family member or a friend could be deported.” Three years later, the 2010 U.S. Census estimated a more accurate number of over 50 million Hispanics in the U.S. Hispanic attitudes towards immigration policies are absolutely pertinent when considering the total US social and economic impacts.
Back in 2003, journalist Jim Wasserman wrote an article in the Oakland Tribune reporting on the repeal of California’s SB60: “Schwarzenegger Signs Repeal of Immigrant License Law.” It was published well before the economic downturn giving us the window into the future as we now experience the impact of these policies on the total US population 8 years later.
The 2007 article, “Domestic Poverty” (Billitteri) from 2006 Census data shows the growing rate of poverty in the U.S. while the rate of millionaires has also increased. A poor America is a lose-lose for all! Income disparity in the US has resulted from the Bush tax cuts as much as from our remiss as a nation to fix our broken immigration system. Creating economic, educational and emotional freedoms will create more revenue and opportunities for everyone, both citizen and immigrants. As we know, these statistics of income disparaties have only broadened since Billiteri’s article.
Before current Arizona policies were enacted targeting undocumented immigrants, an analysis was presented by the University of Arizona: Udall Center for Studies and Public Policy, “Immigrants in Arizona: Fiscal and Economic Impacts” (Gans, 2008).The economic model included as an appendix projects over 16 million dollars in savings for Indiana. By itself this report could tip the scales in congress in favor of a “Driving Privilege Card,” and for immigration reform. One of the most impactful statements in this report is “In addition a 2005 report from the Selig Center for Economic Growth, University of Georgia, reported that the current buying power of Hispanics/Latinos in Indiana for 2005 was $ 4,866,103,000.00” (3). But economic consequences of delayed reforms are not the only casualties.
The emotional consequences of living in fear also play a part in the immigration equation. The Psychology of Men and Masculinity is an APA publication covering a wide range of male oriented issues from gender stereotypes to fathering pertaining to males from all backgrounds. A March 2011 article was based on a study titled, “Work-Related Intimate Partner Violence Among Employed Immigrants From Mexico” (Galvez, et. al.). It offers an unlikely, yet powerful approach to this argument in favor of legalizing driving for undocumented immigrants. No matter what your perspective on immigration is in the US, dominating vulnerable populations is just plain Un-American. The emotional consequences of harsh immigration policies, such as denying driving privileges, are the final arguments in favor of a more humane immigration reform.
The most cost-effective and humane way to recover our economy and dignity as a great America is to put immigration reform in front of all other issues today and begin by allowing undocumented immigrants to be accounted for by issuing special driving cards. Then, we can really begin the recovery by engaging the resources and contributions of 11+ million people!
Below is an expanded version of this text for those who wish to read about this issue in more detail:
In a 2007 report by the PEW Hispanic Center, “2007 National Survey of Latinos: As Illegal Immigration Issue Heats Up, Hispanics Feel A Chill,” over half of the adult US Hispanic population worries “that either they, a family member or a friend could be deported.” The report highlights the domino effects of delayed immigration reform on the total US Hispanic population from “stepped-up deportations, more workplace raids, and restrictions on access to driver’s licenses…” By randomly interviewing over 2,000 Hispanic adults, asking a variety of questions, the study authors found that over three quarters of the 47 million Hispanics in the US disapprove of the current enforcement tactics on undocumented immigrants. This is almost the direct flip-flop of what non-Hispanics feel (PEW). Despite the risks, Hispanic families, both documented and undocumented believe that their children will have more opportunities than themselves by living in the US.
Opportunities are tenuos for a shadow population. The reality of successfully creating jobs and the innovation that leads to jobs under a shroud of the fear is unlikely. The only innovation that takes place in a climate of fear is carried out by criminals, who thrive underground and who have thrived in recent years.
This PEW study on Latino attitudes towards immigration was done in 2007, just prior to the US Recession and the escalating drug war violence in Mexico. Today, as economic opportunities have decreased with increased enforcement in the US along with a climate of intolerance, young Hispanics rejected by US policies are embraced by drug cartels and gun runners from the US to Mexico, vice-versa. This is a situation where we all lose. These concerns and others brought up in the PEW study have only magnified since its publication. These and others are deep threats to quality of life in the US from the perspectives of the people who are most deeply affected.
Three years later, the 2010 U.S. Census estimated a more accurate number of over 50 million Hispanics in the U.S. Hispanic attitudes towards immigration policies are absolutely pertinent when considering the total US social and economic impacts. Lack of opportunities for such a significant percentage of our population is worth deeper consideration. Many opposed to allowing undocumented immigrants to drive legally do not fully understand the negative implications of purely punitive immigration policies.
In order to learn how to create immigration reform that works, we also need to understand the evolution of this situation as it has transitioned from bad to worse for most of us in the US, not just undocumented populations. Back in 2003, journalist Jim Wasserman wrote an article in the Oakland Tribune reporting on the repeal of California’s SB60: “Schwarzenegger Signs Repeal of Immigrant License Law.” He describes how opponents of driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants proposed that California’s SB60, signed by then Governor Gray Davis, presented a security risk to the US. California’s SB60 allowed undocumented immigrants the right to obtain a driver’s license. Governor Schwarzenegger made repeal of this bill a campaign promise for his first 100 days in office. The article emphasizes opinions by the Governor and his supporters, who believed that by preventing undocumented immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses, our streets and country would be safer. There was no mention of the potential domino effects associated with this pivotal event that began the economic downturn along with the free for all policies in the financial market. The repeal of SB60 has negatively affected both the US and Mexico’s economies and national security.
Wasserman’s article touts the Governor’s tough talk and focuses on his promise to keep his word, a promise that failed to recognize California’s status as a high-ranking global economy and the impacts of its’ policies on the US and global arena because, “As California goes, so goes the nation” (Author unknown).
Regardless of illegal status, when you deny 2 million people in California alone the right to drive, this affects their ability to secure employment and to be the consumers our global economy depends upon. Local, state and federal sources lose several revenue streams from driver’s license fees, employment taxes, social security, Medicare, and sales taxes. The lack of opportunity presented by delaying immigration reform has affected buying power, but most importantly, has promoted a climate of fear creating an insecure and apprehensive market even more impactful than Wall Street traders. As an example, both California and Nevada tightened driver’s license eligibility in 2003, denying access to undocumented immigrants. They now have the highest US unemployment rates at 11.9 and 12.5 respectively (Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2011). Cutting off economic opportunity has not created jobs.
“Opponents labeled the law (SB60) a reward for lawbreakers and said terrorists could take advantage of it, easily getting drivers’ licenses and slipping into society” (Wasserman). Isn’t a driver’s license a method of tracking people? Isn’t it difficult to track someone who has no record to track? I and many others believe that having a shadow population operating without accountability only increases the threat to our national security and feeds the need for underground crime. Not only has border crime increased on the US/Mexico border since the repeal of SB60, state and federal revenues have decreased while poverty rates have increased across all cultural lines in both the US and Mexico.
Popular opinion is swayed by political rhetoric and Wasserman’s article depicts the historical rhetoric of 2003. It was published well before the economic downturn giving us the window into the future as we now experience the impact of these policies on the total US population 8 years later.
The 2007 article, “Domestic Poverty” (Billitteri) from 2006 Census data shows the growing rate of poverty in the U.S. while the rate of millionaires has also increased. It highlights that low-skilled immigrant populations are becoming the growing poor in America even as immigrant populations increase, leading to a higher percentage of people in the US living below the poverty level. It depicts striking statistics of income disparities. As the author exhibits a variety of factors and populations most effected, it is obvious the immigration and tax policies of the past designed to address poverty in America still aren’t producing the desired results.
Articles like Billitteri’s are powerful, yet frustrating illustrations about how ludicrous our economic design is in the US. With objectivity, he recognizes the growing poor among all populations, but especially in the Hispanic community. A poor America is a lose-lose for all! Income disparity in the US has resulted from the Bush tax cuts as much as from our remiss as a nation to fix our broken immigration system. Creating economic, educational and emotional freedoms will create more revenue and opportunities for everyone, both citizen and immigrants.
Every state has had their own method for tackling the issues of undocumented immigrants. The Indiana Commission on Hispanic-Latino Affairs (ICHLA) worked to create a case presented to the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) in 2005. This report “Follow-up Report on the Challenges of Obtaining an Indiana Driver’s License” was submitted to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Jr. and the Indiana Legislative Council, making it a part of the official Indiana record. It was an appeal in favor of allowing undocumented immigrants the rights to obtain driver’s licenses. It thoroughly outlines safety and national security considerations in favor of allowing licenses. From Indiana’s rural, agrarian culture void of public transportation to the safety benefits, the ICHLA addresses the economic benefits of increasing state and local revenues for relocating immigrant populations. The report addresses the nuances of documentation and the values of immigrant populations that will only create benefits when they are seen as contributors. It makes detailed recommendations for the development of an accountability program with a “Driving Privilege Card” meant to boost Indiana’s economy and create safer communities through legalized driving for immigrant populations.
In taking a position in favor of driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, the 2005 ICHLA report outlines many of the same issues others have considered. It provides a strong case countering the policies that have led to devastating consequences to national security by creating an unwelcome climate of discrimination. As part of building an argument in favor of permitting licenses, it also includes how other states like Utah and Washington support a more pragmatic and compassionate policy. It provides pages of wowing statistics on the economic contributions of Hispanics to the US and that there is overwhelming support of other Hispanic organizations for more humane immigration policies. The economic model included as an appendix projects over 16 million dollars in savings for Indiana. By itself this report could tip the scales in congress in favor of a “Driving Privilege Card,” and for immigration reform. One of the most impactful statements in this report is “In addition a 2005 report from the Selig Center for Economic Growth, University of Georgia, reported that the current buying power of Hispanics/Latinos in Indiana for 2005 was $ 4,866,103,000.00” (3). But economic consequences of delayed reforms are not the only casualties.
The emotional consequences of living in fear also play a part in the immigration equation. The Psychology of Men and Masculinity is an APA publication covering a wide range of male oriented issues from gender stereotypes to fathering pertaining to males from all backgrounds. A March 2011 article was based on a study titled, “Work-Related Intimate Partner Violence Among Employed Immigrants From Mexico” (Galvez, et. al.). It offers an unlikely, yet powerful approach to this argument in favor of legalizing driving for undocumented immigrants. The study and the assertions it makes from the focus groups involved offer a deeper and more compassionate window into the immigrant dilemma and the emotional issues surrounding the driver’s license issue.
One of the most underestimated consequences of delayed immigration reform, combined with increased federal and state enforcement of immigration violations, has been the emotional impacts on the families of undocumented immigrants in the form of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Through four focus groups of men in intervention programs after battering their partners, this research illustrates the many ways that the stress of being undocumented in the US deteriorates the mental and emotional well-being of individuals and their family members, resulting in increased violence directed towards partners. The descriptions of the barriers Hispanics face and how the males experience demasculinization by methodical immigration policies is illuminating. The study also describes tactics male partners use to control undocumented female partners precisely due to harsh immigration driving restrictions, “Many of these immigrants have not had driving experience or a driver’s license issued from their home country, but increasingly are living in urban areas in which driving can be considered a necessity of daily life. This need can be exploited by an abusive man to surveil and control his partner” (Galvez, et.al).
In this heart-tugging case in favor of driver’s licenses, for undocumented populations in the US, nothing strikes deeper than physical abuse and conditions that enable domination over vulnerable populations. No matter what your perspective on immigration is in the US, dominating vulnerable populations is just plain Un-American. The emotional consequences of harsh immigration policies, such as denying driving privileges, are the final arguments in favor of a more humane immigration reform, but perhaps we need more statistics to drive this point home.
Before current Arizona policies were enacted targeting undocumented immigrants, an analysis was presented by the University of Arizona: Udall Center for Studies and Public Policy, “Immigrants in Arizona: Fiscal and Economic Impacts” (Gans, 2008). This analysis projected fiscal and economic impacts of immigrants on the state of Arizona. It was conducted with the input-output IMPLAN® model of calculating cost versus revenue. It considers in great detail factors such as tax revenues, health care costs, education, sales and property tax, motor vehicle taxes, business taxes, consumer spending, incarceration, etc. Through this input-output model for 2004 costs and revenue of immigrant populations (both documented and undocumented) it was found that immigrants produced tax revenues of $2.4 billion and cost the state of Arizona a total of $1.4 billion, netting a gain of $940 million.
This prescient analysis of political battles to come seems not to have made it to the general public in Arizona, or to Governor Jan Brewer’s office. As an in-depth look into the real numbers of both cost and contributions, this report gives immigration opponents something to chew on. It is yet another example refuting the idea that the costs outweigh benefits. It illustrates with current relevance that by creating economic opportunity, everyone wins. Judith Gans’ extensive experience in immigration policies outlines the contributions of the immigrant community to states in the form of tax revenue generated, especially when immigrants are allowed to contribute. The real test will be in Arizona’s 2011 Fiscal report at the end of this year. Again, driver’s license and immigration reforms will create economic prosperity through tax revenues and this report proves immigrants increase tax revenues when they have the freedom to work and contribute to state economies.
We all know the US cannot deport 11.4 million people (the estimate of undocumented immigrants in the US). If you deny them the freedom to work and contribute to tax revenues, they only become liabilities. It is clear that we need to change how we approach this challenge by elevating immigrants to a point where they can contribute and pay their fair share in running the US.
A driver’s license is the first ticket to economic independence and contribution to society. In the US we sympathize with females in the Middle East, where few have the right to drive a car. We know that preventing a person from having the right to drive is a form of oppression, yet we insist on carrying out these same policies for a significant percentage of the population residing in our own country. Isn’t the bottom line to ensure that those who are here in the United States are accounted for, follow the laws and contribute to our system as a whole so it can run properly with the revenues that equal the population it serves?
- Billitteri, Thomas J. “Domestic Poverty.” CQ Researcher. September 7, 2007. Vol. 17 Issue 31.
- PEW Hispanic Center. “2007 National Survey of Latinos: As Illegal Immigration Issue Heats Up, Hispanics Feel A Chill.” PEW: Washington, DC, December 2007. PDF. 28 April 2011. http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=84
- “Follow-up Report on the Challenges of Obtaining an Indiana Driver’s License.” The 2005 Driver’s License/Immigration Subcommittee on The Indiana Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs (ICHLA). Web. 2 May 2011.
- Galvez, G., Mankowski, E. S., McGlade, M. S., Ruiz, M. E., & Glass, N. “Work-Related Intimate Partner Violence Among Employed Immigrants From Mexico.” Psychology of Men & Masculinity. 21 March 2011. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 28 April 2011.
- Gans, Judith. “Immigrants in Arizona: Fiscal and Economic Impacts.” The University of Arizona: Udall Center for Studies and Public Policy. 2008. PDF. Web. 28 April 2011.
- United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Local Area Unemployment Statistics. April 2011. Web. 7 June 2011. http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
- US Census Bureau. “2010 Census Data.” 2011. Web. 3 May 2011. http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/index.php
- Wasserman, Jim. “Schwarzenegger Signs Repeal of Immigrant License Law.” Oakland Tribune. San Ramon, CA. 4 December 2003. ProQuest Newsstand. Web. 27 Apr. 2011.
Life is filled with oxymorons. This is the latest observation on a few of those in my life:
I was so excited to get to my house in Mexico, knowing that I now had ‘wireless’ internet. I had also brought a ‘cordless’ phone to use during my trip. When I first walked in the front door and saw a small pile of wires attached to the box that housed my ‘wireless’ set-up; I was thrilled at the thought of being connected. The wires didn’t seem extraordinary at the time. Later the next day when I attached the cordless phone, I was just as excited. Now, I could make calls while lying in my hammock! What could be better? And, I could use the internet to communicate with the world from my little bungalow on the Mexican Riviera-I was still debating whether THIS was a good idea or not!
The next morning, I attempted to put my work station in order. This view of my wireless, cordless state-of-the-art life is what I found. It had a spooky resemblance to the absolute chaotic piles of wires and technology my husband had in every corner of our house where technology lie. Those piles of tangled wireddrive me out of my wits, especially if I can see them. Now, I was also a guilty offender.
Help! Pre coffee let my patience short. I attempted to fix this mess again later-post caffeine-with no success.
Resigning to live this oxymoronic life until my other pending business was finished, I took a pic to capture the moment.
To this day, I still do not remember whether or not I actually untangled those wires for my house guests before I left? (I hope so!) I didn’t want to deal with this challenge during my precious time. I didn’t want this tangled challenge to ruin my euphoric moment of global connectivity either. (Maybe this is how my husband always felt.)
CAN SOMEONE ACTUALLY INVENT THIS THING WE CALL WIRELESS, CORDLESS TECHNOLOGY THAT ACTUALLY REMOVES THE WIRES AND CORDS FROM OUR LIFE ONCE AND FOR ALL?
Every time I travel, I am loaded down with wires and cords for my cell phone, camera, laptop, etc.. If I ever get to my destination and I don’t have one of those essential wires; well, you know what happens. I am stuck and stunted in my ability to function.
IT IS TIME FOR SOME REAL VISIONARY ENGINEERING HERE! If we can actually invent authentic wireless, cordless tools, we will also save a heap of environmental waste and cost.
JUST AN IDEA!
Muggy Palo Alto Summer days
The cacophony of birds
Mix with unusual occurrences of mosquitos and beetles
Swarming in my bathroom at night.
Like messengers sent
Lest I forget.
These birds and bugs
Warm my heart
Sparking sweet memories of
sticky Julys in La Manzanilla.
How I longed to be there
Determined to get back to where I belong
After a long absence
I made the commitment
I found a way.
Replace nostalgia and longing
I would be heading home.
Like the annual reunions in Same Time Next Year
Through two last tough weeks at work.
I make my trek
Stepping off the plane in Manzanillo
Heat and humidity
Welcome me back!
After a year and a half
And eighteen hours of travel
I finally enter my house
La Casa Sagrada del Jaguar
I crash happy
I crash hard.
It doesn’t take long for
Morning after feeling
To hit me like a brick the next day.
Every where I looked.
Patio falling apart
Nowhere to lie to
Enjoy this luscious yard
How will I pay for all of this?
Am I living an illusion?
I escape these questions
With a nap.
Breeze becomes wind
Cooling clouds return
Along with mosquitos
Flowering tamarindo trees
And a plethora of butterflies
Drinking from the blossoms of the
Huele de la Novia bush
I planted 8 years ago
Now it stands 12 ft. high
With a carpet of petals below.
Tedious changes of my book revision
Bring fatigue with every page.
I walk outside
My favorite things.
Fill yard and house.
In this dizziness
I dream of Persian courtyards
Everywhere I look
(beyond my rotting patio)
The grace of nature.
Swollen dark clouds
Like milk filled breasts
Tease the soil.
After much anticipation
Offering wet for all who thirst
I celebrate with
Water can be
When we thirst
For so long.
Is it real or is it just me?
I am not looking at
Things to be done
I am not worried about
How to do all of this
How to pay for all of this.
I enjoy cool rain
Sounds of happy birds
And this place
Wherever I look.
This is real
I am in love
And I think it’s for life!