"From Anecdotes to Evidence: Immigration, Crime, and Terrorism," in Debates on U.S. Immigration (2012)
"Anti-immigrant activists are fond of telling scary stories. When it comes to the subject of immigration, crime, and terrorism, these stories are typically about individual immigrants—especially unauthorized, or 'illegal,' immigrants—who planned or committed heinous crimes or terrorist acts. Such stories are presented as proof that we should restrict immigration and 'get tough' on all immigrants to save the lives of U.S. citizens. These kinds of anecdotes may be emotionally powerful, but they are highly misleading. Obviously, dangerous criminals and terrorists must be punished, and immigrants who are dangerous criminals or terrorists should be locked up. But harsh immigration policies are not effective in fighting crime or terrorism because the overwhelming majority of immigrants are neither criminals nor terrorists..."
"Senator Erroneously Blames Immigrants for U.S. Income Inequality" (January 27, 2014)
"Despite the formal end of the recession in 2009, unemployment in the United States remains high, wages are still stagnant, and economic indices of all kinds are looking grim. A crisis of this magnitude requires bold action by U.S. lawmakers to realign U.S. economic policies in ways that promote the growth of both jobs and wages. Economists across the political spectrum agree that immigration reform—including a pathway to legal status for unauthorized immigrants already living here—should be a central part of any such effort to boost the economy. Nevertheless, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) thinks he knows better. In his opinion, what we need to do to alleviate the nation’s economic woes is to derail immigration reform. Apparently, if we can hang on to our broken immigration system a little longer, there will be brighter days ahead for the U.S. economy..."
"Nativist Group Blames Students for Texas Budget Gap" (January 21, 2014)
"In a case of creative accounting, the nativist Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is blaming students for the fiscal woes of Texas. In a new report, FAIR lumps together students who are unauthorized immigrants with U.S.-born students who have unauthorized parents and claims that they are all costing Texas taxpayers astronomical sums in educational expenditures. However, the report (titled The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on Texans) mistakenly treats the education of these students as nothing more than a 'cost' attributable to unauthorized immigration. In reality, the educational expenses targeted by FAIR are an investment in the future U.S. workforce and tax base; an investment that will pay off later as students become taxpaying workers..."
"New ICE Deportation Statistics Are No Cause for Celebration" (December 20, 2013)
"There is little to cheer in the new deportation statistics released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). While the numbers document a 10 percent decline in the total number of deportations compared to last year, they also reveal the extent to which immigration enforcement resources are still devoted to apprehending, detaining, and deporting individuals who represent no conceivable threat to public safety or national security. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people deported by ICE either have no prior criminal record or were convicted of misdemeanors. While ICE does indeed capture and remove potentially dangerous individuals, most of its resources remain devoted to the enforcement of a broken and unworkable immigration system. The latest decline in removals notwithstanding, the U.S. deportation machine remains severely out of balance and lacking in either flexibility or meaningful opportunities for due process..."
The Fallacy of "Enforcement First": Immigration Enforcement Without Immigration Reform Has Been Failing for Decades (May 2013)
"Opponents of a new legalization program for unauthorized immigrants living and working in the United States frequently claim that we must try 'enforcement first.' That is to say, we must adequately enforce the laws on the books before we can contemplate the formulation of more reasonable laws. This stance is nonsensical for two reasons. First of all, it ignores the fact that the unworkable nature of our immigration laws is itself facilitating unauthorized immigration; so it is illogical to hope that stronger enforcement of those unworkable laws will somehow lessen unauthorized immigration. Secondly, the 'enforcement first' perspective conveniently overlooks the fact that the United States has been pursuing an 'enforcement first' approach to immigration control for more than two-and-a-half decades—and it has yet to work..."
An Unlikely Couple: The Similar Approaches to Border Enforcement in H.R. 1417 and S. 744 (July 2013)
"The House of Representatives and the Senate have embarked upon very different paths when it comes to immigration reform. On June 27, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill—S. 744 (the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act)—that seeks to revamp practically every dysfunctional component of the U.S. immigration system. The House leadership, on the other hand, favors a piecemeal approach in which a series of immigration bills are passed, each addressing a different aspect of the larger immigration system. To date, the most popular of these piecemeal bills has been H.R. 1417 (the Border Security Results Act), which was passed unanimously on May 15 by the House Committee on Homeland Security. H.R. 1417 is, in marked contrast to S. 744, an enforcement-only bill which does not acknowledge the existence of any other component of immigration reform. Nevertheless, the border-enforcement provisions of S. 744 aren’t all that different from those contained within H.R. 1417..."