Immigration and Homeland Security
The State Government Leadership Foundation believes our nation's security begins at home, within the confines of our borders. As such, the SGLF understands the critical importance of having a responsible and effective homeland security and immigration policy across all fifty states.
The issue of immigration reform yields little consensus among the fifty states; perhaps the one point most agree on is the necessity for reform. While it is clear that there is a need to maintain border security, a demand for the labor immigrants provide, and the desire for the U.S. to remain a country that welcomes those who seek opportunity, there is little agreement on how these goals should be achieved. It is a task best left to the Federal government. Unfortunately, the lack of leadership at the National level has placed the burden of reform on individual states.
Left with little choice but to act, states have offered mixed legislation. Some states focus solely on enforcement, while other sought an approach that also incorporates the economy’s need for documented labor. The vast majority of those who enter the country legally and illegally are seeking a better life for their family and themselves by working hard and earning an honest living doing the jobs that many Americans are not willing to do. However, we should not incentivize those who attempt to skirt the system.
Without a doubt, states have a tall order in crafting legislation and implementing policy in tandem with the Federal government that assists in ensuring the safety of their residents and success of their local economies.
Homeland Security Policy
- Proactive threat awareness and defense: We need to maintain an efficient and effective homeland security strategy based on a proactive understanding of the constantly evolving threat picture. Too many times we are in a reactionary mode (e.g. Christmas Day underwear bomber which then caused a massive build-up of advanced screening devices).
- Enhance Global partnerships: Securing our homeland must involve defeating those that threaten us before they get to U.S. soil. We must continue to develop open channels of communication with our allies to develop more effective information-sharing capabilities.
- The new frontier is cyberspace: This is an area that we are woefully underprepared to handle. It must be a collaborative effort between public and private sector in order to better protect our nation’s critical networks. Given that roughly 80% of the nation’s critical infrastructures reside in the private sector, there must continue to be a strong partnership.
- Intelligence sharing: Our nation’s law enforcement community at the federal, state and local levels must continue to improve intelligence collection, analysis and sharing capabilities to better target developing and ongoing threats to prevent attacks from occurring in the first place.
- Accountability for state/local homeland security funding: The Department of Homeland Security has provided billions of dollars to state and local jurisdictions to improve their preparedness and response capabilities for both terrorist threats and natural disasters. In the decade following 9/11, many of these funds have not had the necessary level of accountability to ensure more effective security enhancements. We need to improve our capacity to more closely monitor progress being made with these federal funds. We must focus our priorities on risk (Risk=Threat X Vulnerability).
- Strengthen our borders through integrated approaches: We must continue to utilize a range of capabilities along our southern and northern boarders, including surveillance technologies, fencing and border patrol agents where appropriate.
- WMD planning: WMD, whether a radiological device or a biological agent, poses the most serious threat facing the nation. We must continue to enhance our detection and early warning capabilities to prevent and mitigate the threat. We must also be adequately prepared to effectively respond to a large-scale nuclear or biological attack should the unthinkable occur.
- Aviation and rail security: Innovative approaches to protecting the nation’s transportation sector must be intelligence-driven and risk-based.
Rand Research on Terrorism and Homeland Security
- Sensible Immigration Policy: There are few who would disagree that reforming the nation’s immigration policies in a smart and sensible way is critical to ensuring our national security. It is not realistic to assume that we have – or will have – the ability to identify the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. today. We must continue our priority of finding those who have entered the country illegally and proceeded to commit criminal acts.
- E-Verify: We must continue to encourage lawful employment and hiring. Those employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants must be stopped. We should continue to examine better ways to incentivize employers to participate in the program because they are on the “front lines” to ensuring workers are who they say are.
- Supporting Mexico’s efforts to quell the violence: Violence continues to be a major challenge along the U.S.-Mexico border. Our border patrol agents are doing an incredible job to assist the Mexican government in its continued efforts to reduce violence along the southern border. The U.S. should continue to demonstrate support for President Calderon’s efforts to combat overwhelming corruption and the drug cartels’ efforts to brutalize anyone who threatens their distribution networks.
- Smart border protection: Much work remains to address our rather porous borders to the north and south. We need smart approaches to tackling this very serious issue. This includes an integrated approach to utilizing our full range of capabilities, including surveillance technology, fencing, and border patrol agents. The terrain and environment of the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders are very distinct.
- Effective deportation of criminals who are here illegally: We must continue to provide adequate resources to identifying, capturing, and deporting those individuals who are in this country illegally, particularly those committing violent crimes. The deportation process for these individuals should be expeditious without administrative delays leading to costly proceedings. Priority should also be directed towards the removal of illegal immigrants who are determined to have a gang affiliation.
News & Articles
Officials mull using drones to watch over Ohio prisons
Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs bill to give in-state tuition to undocumented students
U.S. and Arizona Yield on Immigration
Boehner draws another hard line on immigration reform
But some conservatives had been pushing against House passage of any immigration legislation, arguing that Senate Democrats would use the conference to inject more liberal policies and then force Republicans in the House to stomach changes they say are unfair to those who came to the country legally. The GOP speaker has pledged for months not to bring the Senate “Gang of Eight” bill, passed with bipartisan support in the upper chamber this summer, up for a vote. That legislation would allow for a lengthy path to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants – something that many Republicans decry as “amnesty" that could hurt job-seeking Americans.
States back off from enacting immigration laws
After a flurry of local activism in recent years — much of it inspired by Arizona's controversial enforcement law — lawmakers are waiting on the federal government to take the lead.
A state guest-worker program that was supposed to go into effect this summer in Utah might have helped McMullin and other farmers searching for workers. But lawmakers delayed the program for two more years because they wanted to see whether Congress would pass an immigration overhaul first. Utah mirrors a national trend of states holding back on passing immigration laws in hopes that the federal government will act on the issue, according to a study released this fall by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Immigration Reform 2013: House Gang Preps Comprehensive Bill For October Push
When the Republicans give the OK, the group will wait for the “right bipartisan moment” to introduce the bill, probably sometime in October. By that time the bipartisan group hopes Congress will be over the budget fight, with an appropriations bill passed to avert the threat of a government shutdown. “I think the work has been done,” the staffer said. “I think they’ve got a good proposal. I think they’re waiting to see whether there is any chance that a comprehensive bill is going to be looked at, or components of this bill could be looked at. But I think there are probably some additional machinations that have to happen first.”
White House Official Says Immigration Reform Vote Not Likely Until October
“Immigration reform is just one piece of the agenda,” she said, “we can now quantify what it means for creating jobs, not just for immigrants, but for the rest of us.” Muñoz, who has been a point person for Obama on immigration policy, said that significant movement on an immigration reform measure, or measures, was unlikely to happen before October. She said there are few legislative days in September, when members of Congress are to return from summer recess, and that their focus will be the debt ceiling and the budget. That is later than the August deadline that President Obama had hoped for earlier this year, expressing concern that delays could hurt the chances of an immigration reform bill passing by December.
House Republicans feel summer recess heat on immigration
The American Federation of Government Employees sent a letter Tuesday to House lawmakers urging them not to work with senators on their “dangerous” bill. Among the major concerns is that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is not equipped to process the potential onslaught of new applications. Another is that the Obama administration might implement immigration law passed by Congress “in a fashion of its own choosing,” considering that it bypassed Congress last summer by stopping the deportation of young, law-abiding immigrants brought to the United States illegally by their parents or others, the union letter suggests.
Immigration Overhaul Would Benefit Big States the Most
California, Texas, Florida Would Get Large Economic Boost, Study Says
Immigration’s prospects in House still not clear
Boehner has said since the spring that the House would not take up the Senate’s version of immigration reform, which includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that hinges upon new requirements for bolstering border security. Even after Republicans huddled Thursday to determine a way forward on immigration reform, it was still unclear what measures the body would take up. GOP lawmakers reiterated their opposition to the Senate bill and said they would take their time in crafting legislation that fulfills their wishes for even greater strengthening of border security.
N.C. small businesses must do immigration checks
Senate nears key immigration reform vote
Top Nevada Republicans pushing immigration plan
“America has always been a nation of immigrants and always will be,” List said. “We truly need to secure the border,” added former Republican Clark County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury. “We need a bipartisan solution.” But another new poll, taken by University of Nevada, Las Vegas political science professor David Damore for Latino Decisions, found what any politician knows: most Hispanic voters don’t like Republicans. Forty-six percent of them have never voted for even one Republican. Damore said the Hispanic distrust of Republicans is so great that it might be a generation before many feel comfortable voting for Republicans. That is important in a state like Nevada where 15 percent of voters in November were Hispanic.
Senate Digs In for Long Battle Over Immigration Bill
That intraparty clash will play out for the next three weeks on the Senate floor, as Republican supporters of the bill — aided behind the scenes by the Obama administration — seek modest changes that they hope will secure broad support among both parties. Senator Kelly Ayotte, Republican of New Hampshire, announced on Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that she would support the immigration bill, calling it a “thoughtful bipartisan solution to a tough problem.”
Immigration bill faces tough path in full Senate
Comprehensive immigration reform legislation will be debated by the full Senate by June 10, and proponents are hoping to attract enough Republican votes to create a show of force to House GOP leaders.
Arizona's limits on immigrant driver's licenses upheld
A federal judge rejects a challenge to Gov. Jan Brewer's denial of driver's licenses to youths who qualify for them under the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Immigration resolution in House gets Republican support
“Jason has engaged in a good faith dialogue on this issue and has brought much-needed leadership on the Republican side,” Anchia said. “It is this type of bipartisan collaboration that gets things done in Austin and that is needed more in Washington, D.C.” The resolution takes a middle-of-the-road, even conservative, approach, the Democrats said. Anchia and Hernandez Luna borrowed language from the Texas Federation of Republican Women, which in January called for allowing young people in the country illegally to earn legal status or citizenship when they meet certain standards, such as English fluency.
Immigration bill could be windfall for Arizona economy
The bill would fund more fences, more Border Patrol agents, more drones and more surveillance technology along the whole Southwest border, but those efforts would focus on what it terms the three “high risk” sectors (out of nine) now seeing the most apprehensions of undocumented migrants: the Tucson Sector and the Rio Grande and Laredo sectors in Texas. As a result, southeastern Arizona would see new jobs and new construction tied to tighter security. “It’s a huge economic plus for Arizona,” said Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “How much of an effect is tough to say, but the commitments to secure the Tucson Sector come with a lot of new dollars, and those dollars will wind up in the southern Arizona economy.”
California Senate calls on Congress to change immigration laws
The resolution also originally said: "This reform should also include a way to help families remain together throughout the lengthy bureaucratic process," but that provision was removed. It now calls for the reform to "recognize the societal and cultural benefits of keeping the family unit intact." Senate Republican leader Robert Huff of Diamond Bar noted that California is home to a large number of illegal immigrants, many of them providing important work in agriculture, and he said immigration laws are not working.
"The status quo is hurting our state," Huff said. Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres is among the Republicans who have supported proposals in Washington that include a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. "We must recognize the hard work and contribution of our immigrant community," Cannella told his colleagues Monday.
Senate Gang of 8 immigration overhaul huge for Colorado
It would give agricultural workers and undocumented kids who have graduated from Colorado high schools a rapid path to citizenship, if they don't have criminal records. And it would allow for all of the 11 million undocumented people currently living in the U.S. to pay back taxes and eventually apply for citizenship. Some half a million people in Colorado are immigrants, both with and without papers to be in the country legally. Of those, 300,000 have jobs and collectively contributed $42 billion to the state's economy in 2011. "This broken immigration system was affecting every corner of our economy in our state," said Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, who is one of the eight chief authors — four Democrats, four Republicans — of the proposal. "It is affecting them in different ways. The peach growers have one view of things, the cattle ranchers had another, the immigrant-rights community had another, the ski resorts and the high-tech community, all of them are being hurt by the broken system."
Utah’s Swallow, other attorneys general back immigration reform
"Our immigration policies must provide a sensible means to deal with the immigrants who are currently in the country without legal status but are of good character, pay taxes and are committed to continuing to contribute to our society," the letter reads. That broad statement indicates the attorneys general support a path to legal status but doesn’t say in what form, and Swallow said he’d leave that up to policymakers in Washington. None of Utah’s six members of Congress has supported a process to offer legal status or citizenship to undocumented immigrants, though one is expected to be included in legislation unveiled this month.
Immigration Plan Will Be Ready This Week, Sen. Chuck Schumer Says
Schumer said that the staffs of each Gang of Eight member has worked 12 hours a day to fine-tune the details of their immigration plan and reach an agreement on every issue. In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also a member of the Gang of Eight, set a longer time frame of a “couple of weeks” before the plan is completed.
But one Republican member of the bi-partisan group has expressed concern that the deal on immigration reform is being reached in haste. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has called for more hearings and time to review the plan in order to encourage “healthy public debate.” “Arriving at a final product will require it to be properly submitted for the American people’s consideration, through the other 92 senators from 43 states that weren’t part of this initial drafting process,” Rubio said in a statement last week. “In order to succeed, this process cannot be rushed or done in secret.”
Immigration reform gains momentum
The document is intended to provide guideposts that would allow legislation to be drafted by the end of March, including a potentially controversial "tough but fair" route to citizenship for those now living in the country illegally.
Brewer: Secure border before tackling immigration reform
Her comments come as members of her own Republican Party in Congress are pursuing their own immigration reform plans in the wake of the defeat of presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Colorado steps to bipartisan forefront in immigration reform
The Colorado Compact, which is being unveiled Sunday, has been crafted over the past year during more than 200 meetings around the state.