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.

Additional Resources

Rand Research on Terrorism and Homeland Security

Immigration Policy

  • 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

Written by Jeremy Pelzer for Northeast Ohio Media Group on July 17, 2014Immigration & Homeland Security
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio is considering becoming the first state in the nation to use aerial drones to patrol state prisons, according to corrections officials. The idea is still in its very early stages, but Department of Rehabilitation and Correction officials say unmanned aircraft would be a big help in monitoring inmates and catching outsiders throwing guns and other contraband over prison fences. The DRC is seeking public input on whether to move ahead with testing drones at two southwest Ohio prisons, Lebanon Correctional Institution and Warren Correctional Institution. If public response is positive, the DRC would begin testing in late August or early September for about six months, said Ed Voorhies, the agency's managing director of operations.
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs bill to give in-state tuition to undocumented students

Written by TIA MITCHELL for Miami Herald on June 09, 2014Immigration & Homeland Security
TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Rick Scott quietly signed legislation over the weekend that allows students who are undocumented immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition at Florida colleges and universities. House Bill 851 was a priority of House Republicans, including Speaker Will Weatherford, who overcame opposition from Senate conservatives to achieve passage in the final days of the 2014 session. Yet Scott didn’t provide an opportunity for them to take a victory lap since he chose not to hold a formal bill signing like he has for other priorities. The governor has focused on the tuition-control portions of the legislation to contrast with the policies of his expected opponent for reelection, former Gov. Charlie Crist. Scott will tour the state all week — he started in Fort Myers Monday and has stops planned in Miami, Boca Raton, Orlando and Pensacola — discussing higher education and tuition and campaigning against Crist. “We’re going to talk about legislation I signed this weekend to stop Charlie Crist’s 15 percent annual tuition increases,” Scott said during a morning appearance on WINK-TV in Fort Myers. Only after tweaking Crist did Scott reference immigrant students, widely known as “dreamers.’’ “Students that grew up in our state are going to get the same in-state tuition as their peers, which is what’s fair,” he said.
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U.S. and Arizona Yield on Immigration

Written by Fernanda Santos for The New York Times on May 30, 2014Immigration & Homeland Security
PHOENIX — The Obama administration has moved to drop its legal fight against what is arguably the most controversial provision of Arizona’s sweeping immigration law, the so-called show-me-your-papers provision permitting police officers to pull over people based on the suspicion that they are in the country illegally. In return, Arizona has agreed to stop fighting to restore a section of the law that gives the police the power to arrest those who harbor people living in the United States illegally. The deal reflects the consequences of previous rulings on the law, including a 2012 decision by the United States Supreme Court to sustain the “show me your papers” provision, and the court’s refusal this April to review an appellate court’s decision blocking the harboring provision. In the 2012 ruling, the Supreme Court left the door open to further challenges to the “show me your papers” provision, and that portion of the law remains under challenge in a class-action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other rights groups on behalf of Arizonans.
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Boehner draws another hard line on immigration reform

Written by Luke Russert and Carrie Dann for NBC News on November 13, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
House Speaker John Boehner says he will not allow any House-passed immigration legislation to be blended with the Senate’s sweeping reform bill, further quashing the chances of comprehensive immigration reform legislation being signed into law anytime soon. “We have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill,” Boehner told reporters Wednesday. Immigration reform advocates had hoped that a “conference”- or legislative negotiation – between House and Senate lawmakers could incorporate ideas from both chambers into compromise legislation that might be palatable to those who say a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants – or at least legalization – is essential to fixing the country’s broken immigration system.

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.
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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.

Written by Cindy Carcamo for The Los Angeles Times on October 12, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
PAYSON, Utah — There's a good chance that the fresh tart cherries Southern Californians find at their grocers originated from Robert McMullin's orchards at the base of the Wasatch Mountains. The third-generation farmer provides 90% of the fresh sour cherries found in Southern California. The hard-to-find fruit is prized by bakers and cooks. McMullin shook his head when he recalled how much fruit went unpicked during this year's July harvest. "We lost $300,000 on that deal because we didn't have enough guys to pick," he said. McMullin's plight illustrates how stalled efforts to revamp immigration laws have hit farmers nationwide. He relies on a federal program that brings in legal workers from Mexico to work his groves, but the program, which he calls expensive and inflexible, can't always meet his needs. The system needs streamlining, he said.

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.
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Immigration Reform 2013: House Gang Preps Comprehensive Bill For October Push

Written by Laura Matthews for International Business Times on August 29, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
After years of waiting and several missed deadlines, the House of Representative’s bipartisan “Gang of Seven” is ready to push its 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill sometime in October, a Democratic staffer close to the group told International Business Times. Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez said earlier this week, while speaking in Republican territory in Virginia, that he’s already signed off on the measure and eager to introduce it. According to the staffer, all the Democrats on the bipartisan group support the agreement and are waiting for their Republican counterparts to sign off on it.

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.”
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White House Official Says Immigration Reform Vote Not Likely Until October

Written by Elizabeth Llorente for Fox News Latino on August 28, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
The Obama administration’s domestic policy director urged supporters of comprehensive immigration reform on Wednesday to do as the civil rights leaders of the 1960s did – not let opponents defeat them. Cecilia Muñoz, one of the most senior Latino officials in the White House, linked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech with today’s fight for immigration reform in an interview with Fox News Latino. “Today is about celebrating how far we’ve come and recommitting to the work that is ahead,” Muñoz said, adding that just as the civil rights movement of the 1960s addressed jobs, so does immigration reform.

“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.
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House Republicans feel summer recess heat on immigration

Published in Fox News on August 03, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
House Republicans are facing heavy pressure from both sides of the immigration debate as they return to their home districts for August recess with no clear indication as to how they’ll vote on the issue. The decision to pass comprehensive immigration reform has essentially been in the hands of the Republican-controlled House since the Democrat-led Senate passed such a bill in June. House Republicans were under pressure before they even left their Capitol Hill offices to start the five-week recess, which is traditionally dedicated to face-to-face talks with hometown voters.

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.
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Immigration Overhaul Would Benefit Big States the Most

California, Texas, Florida Would Get Large Economic Boost, Study Says

Written by SARA MURRAY for The Wall Street Journal on July 16, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
A handful of big states with large shares of undocumented workers stand to reap the biggest economic benefits if plans to overhaul the immigration system are passed into law, a new study shows. A state-by-state analysis shows that, when it comes to certain immigration provisions, the economic wealth won't be spread evenly. In states such as California, Texas and Florida, more immigrants and businesses are poised to take advantage of policy changes. These states are likely to see outsize economic gains, whereas changes to immigration laws would have a more muted economic impact in less populous states. The report, conducted by the nonpartisan Regional Economic Models Inc., a private forecasting firm, divides the immigration debate into three separate categories. The first, creating a path to legal status for some of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., could add 550,000 jobs nationwide and $45 billion to the nation's gross domestic product—a broad measure of economic output—by 2020, according to the study. The second, increasing the number of high-skilled visas, would generate nearly as much economic growth and about 400,000 jobs by 2020. The third, revamping low-skilled visa programs, could increase employment by 468,000 by 2020.
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Immigration’s prospects in House still not clear

Written by Kevin Liptak for CNN on July 14, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
(CNN) – Comprehensive immigration reform, approved last month by the Senate, still doesn’t have a clear path forward in the House of Representatives, lawmakers said Sunday. Even the bill’s supporters, like Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, weren’t optimistic that the measure that passed with bipartisan support in the upper chamber would find a way forward. “They can pick it to death.” Grijalva said of Republican lawmakers, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “They can try to take away a pathway to citizenship, which are nonstarters for many of my colleagues. Or they can go forward and allow something comprehensive, something that is bipartisan and something that will move us off this position. But right now, the comments by (House Speaker John) Boehner have been anything but encouraging.”

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.
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N.C. small businesses must do immigration checks

Published in The Associated Press on July 01, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
CHARLOTTE (AP) — Thousands of smaller businesses are going to have to start checking the immigration status of new hires under a state law approved two years ago. The Charlotte Observer reports that the law on Monday extends to include companies that employ 25 people or more. Employers must use the federal government's E-Verify system to prevent people living in the country illegally from landing jobs. The Internet-based system allows an employer to enter a worker's name, Social Security number, address and birth date to match it with other federal data. Employees whose names are flagged have eight days to appeal. A company that continues to employ someone deemed ineligible will be warned, then fined by the state Labor Department.
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Senate nears key immigration reform vote

Written by Alan Silverleib for CNN on June 24, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
Washington (CNN) -- Members of the Senate are set to hold a highly anticipated vote late Monday on a bipartisan measure designed to strengthen border security in the comprehensive immigration reform bill. The measure includes language echoing most other parts of the legislation as well, thereby making it a critical test vote on the entire plan that is backed by the Obama administration. Supporters need at least 60 votes to move forward with the revised border security provisions, which were drafted partly to boost Republican support for the overall package. Supporters hope to win about 70 votes to demonstrate growing bipartisan momentum for the larger proposal as it clears the Democratic-controlled Senate and heads to the GOP-controlled House of Representatives. Senate leaders are currently on track to hold a final vote on the bill itself before Congress breaks for its July 4 recess at the end of the week. Among other things, the amendment would require 20,000 more border agents, complete 700 miles of fence along the boundary with Mexico, and deploy $3.2 billion in technology upgrades similar to equipment used by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The proposal also includes stronger worker eligibility verification standards and border entry-exit controls.
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Top Nevada Republicans pushing immigration plan

Written by ED VOGEL for LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL on June 16, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
CARSON CITY — Former Nevada Gov. Robert List and other top Nevada Republicans are calling on Congress to approve an immigration plan that provides a route to citizenship for the 11 million people who are in the country illegally. List said in a Thursday telephone news conference that he was encouraged that a new Harper Polling survey of 678 Nevadans found 64 percent support the immigration bill before Congress. The poll, taken June 3-5, found 51 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats support the bill. But Republican support for immigration reform increases to 82 percent if Congress approves tougher border security, and makes those in the country illegally pay fines, learn English, go through background checks and wait as long as 13 years before acquiring citizenship, he said.

“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.
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Senate Digs In for Long Battle Over Immigration Bill

Written by MICHAEL D. SHEAR and ASHLEY PARKER for The New York Times on June 09, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
WASHINGTON — After seven months of steadily building momentum, the push for a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system enters its most crucial phase this week in the Senate, where Republicans remain divided over how much to cooperate with President Obama as they try to repair their party’s standing among Hispanic voters. Republican leaders are betting that passage of an 867-page bipartisan overhaul will halt the embarrassing erosion of support among Latinos last year that helped return Mr. Obama to the Oval Office. But the party’s conservative activists are vowing opposition, dead set against anything linked to Mr. Obama and convinced that the immigration bill is nothing more than amnesty for lawbreakers.

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.”
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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.

Written by Erin Kelly for USA Today on June 03, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
WASHINGTON — As the Senate heads back into session Monday, it is poised to take up a sweeping immigration bill that would offer earned citizenship to many of the 11 million immigrants who entered the United States illegally before 2012.   Supporters of the bill crafted by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" senators guided it to passage in the Senate Judiciary Committee last month while fending off amendments that would have broken apart their coalition of labor and business groups, Catholics and evangelical Christians, and law enforcement and civil rights' groups.   Now, proponents of the bill face an even tougher challenge: how to lure more Republicans to support the legislation without alienating Democrats and losing the support of key immigrant rights' groups.   "It's a balancing act," said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration expert and professor of law at Cornell University Law School. "The Gang of Eight has done a great job so far of walking that tightrope. Now we'll see whether they can continue to do so on the Senate floor."
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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.

Written by Cindy Carcamo for Los Angeles Times on May 18, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
TUCSON — Young people granted immigration relief and work permits under a new Obama administration program still won't be able to obtain driver's licenses in Arizona, a federal judge has ruled.   Although the decision is a win for Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who issued the executive order denying driver's licenses to this particular group, it's just the first battle in a case that will probably be argued on constitutional grounds.   U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell on Thursday turned down a request for a preliminary injunction blocking Brewer's order but stated that the plaintiffs — a contingent of immigrant rights groups — would probably prevail on their claim that the governor's order violates guarantees of equal protection under the U.S. Constitution.   Arizona lets some immigrants with work permits obtain driver's licenses, the plaintiffs note, while denying the same benefits to other immigrants protected by President Obama's program.   Campbell dismissed a separate argument by the plaintiffs that the state's policy was preempted by federal law. Brewer applauded that decision.
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Immigration resolution in House gets Republican support

Written by Tim Eaton for The Austin American-Statesman on May 02, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
Two House Democrats have been trying all session to get the first Republican member to sign on to their immigration-reform resolution. On Wednesday night, they hooked one. At a State Affairs Committee hearing late Wednesday, state Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, signed on to House Concurrent Resolution 44 by Reps. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, and Ana Hernandez Luna, D-Houston. HCR 44 calls for comprehensive immigration reform and incorporates some immigration measures drafted by national and state Republican and conservative groups. The end goal of the largely symbolic resolution is to get U.S. Congress to pass immigration legislation that takes into account the bipartisan approach of Texas leaders, Anchia said.

“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.
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Immigration bill could be windfall for Arizona economy

Written by Bob Ortega for The Republic on April 18, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
Arizona’s economy would get a shot of adrenaline from the $4.5 billion in border-security spending in the immigration bill introduced Wednesday in the Senate, state business leaders say. At the same time, the further militarization of the border in the bill, along with what one federal public defender called a “zero-tolerance policy” against border crossers, raises red flags for civil-rights and immigrant-advocacy groups.

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.”
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California Senate calls on Congress to change immigration laws

Written by Patrick McGreevy for The Los Angeles Times on April 15, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
A watered-down resolution calling for Congress to "repair" the nation's "historically broken" immigration laws won bipartisan support by the state Senate on Monday. The measure originally called for illegal immigrants to have access to "a logical and streamlined path to citizenship," but it was changed to provide that path for "individuals after they gain legal status."

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.
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Senate Gang of 8 immigration overhaul huge for Colorado

Written by Allison Sherry for The Denver Post on April 14, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
WASHINGTON — A proposed immigration overhaul to be unveiled on Capitol Hill this week would, if passed, affect almost every aspect of Colorado's economy — from its eastern and western agricultural borders to the high-technology grid in Boulder and the high mountain tourism industry. It would help dairy and peach farmers more efficiently bring in the skilled help they need by reconstructing a failed visa system. It would allow the foreign-born University of Colorado engineering graduate to stay in state and work in the high-tech sector if she wants to.

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

Written by Matt Canham for The Salt Lake Tribune on April 09, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
Washington • Utah Attorney General John Swallow and a bipartisan group of his colleagues are urging Congress to pass a major immigration reform bill. In a letter sent Tuesday, the 35 attorneys general focused primarily on border security and the visa program, but gave a nod to the most controversial issue involved in the debate: what to do with the 11 million people here illegally.

"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.
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Immigration Plan Will Be Ready This Week, Sen. Chuck Schumer Says

Written by Arlette Saenz for ABC News on April 07, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
WASHINGTON — As the Senate returns from recess this week, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he thinks the bi-partisan Gang of Eight will have its immigration plan completed by the end of the week. “We hope that we can have a bipartisan agreement among the eight of us on comprehensive immigration reform by the end of the week,” Schumer said today on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “Over the last two weeks, we’ve made great progress. There have been kerfuffles along the way, but each one of those, thus far, has been settled.”

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.”
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Immigration reform gains momentum

Written by Rosalind S. Helderman and Sean Sullivan for The Morning Sentinel on January 28, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
WASHINGTON - A key group of senators will unveil the framework of a broad overhaul of the nation's immigration laws Monday, including a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million illegal immigrants. The detailed, four-page statement of principles will carry the signatures of four Republicans and four Democrats, a bipartisan push that would have been unimaginable just months ago on one of the country's most emotionally divisive issues.

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.
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Brewer: Secure border before tackling immigration reform

Written by Howard Fischer for AZ Daily Sun on January 08, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
Gov. Jan Brewer can't put a specific definition on what it means to have a secure border. But she said residents along the boundary with Mexico will know it when it happens. The question of what Brewer thinks is politically significant since the governor said she will not support any form of immigration reform unless and until the border is secure. But until now she has offered no definition of what that means.

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.
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Colorado steps to bipartisan forefront in immigration reform

Written by Nancy Lofholm for Denver Post on December 09, 2012Immigration & Homeland Security
A diverse and bipartisan group of influential Coloradans has come together to support an immigration-reform compact intended to spark national action on divisive issues such as granting legal status to needed foreign workers and worthy undocumented immigrants.

The Colorado Compact, which is being unveiled Sunday, has been crafted over the past year during more than 200 meetings around the state.
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