Thursday, May 30, 2013

Immigration Policy Center Releases Additional Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets

For Immediate Release

May 29, 2013

Washington D.C. - Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases ten additional updated state-by-state fact sheets with accompanying infographics, which highlight the demographic and economic impact of New Americans, Asians and Latinos in each state. Forty states have been completed to date, including:
New Jersey:
New Mexico:

To view the state-by-state fact sheets previously released, go to the links below:
New York:
North Carolina:
North Dakota:
Rhode Island:
South Carolina:
West Virginia:

For more information contact Wendy Feliz at or 202-507-7524
Join the Conversation on

from Ben Johnson, Mary Giovagnoli & Wendy Feliz

As Congress and the public debate the best way forward on immigration reform, we're hosting our own conversations:

The Congressional Budget Office will soon issue a cost/benefit analysis on the Senate immigration bill. How do you think we should assess the costs vs. benefits of immigration reform?
The Senate bill, as well as a range of state measures, attempt to level the playing field for young immigrants who want to pursue higher education. Can we afford not to offer kids on the path to citizenship a fair shot at a college education?

Studies show immigrants tend to be more entrepreneurial than natives. Is the act of migrating in itself an entrepreneurial act? How does the U.S. benefit from immigrant entrepreneurship?
Join the conversation and engage with other advocates, academics, attorneys, and interested individuals. Visit and join one (or more) of the conversations.

We look forward to reading your ideas!

Ben Johnson, Mary Giovagnoli & Wendy Feliz
Apollo's English immersion program helps students find new home

Some of these students are learning to read and write their own language while learning English and they are succeeding in this program.   - - Donna Poisl


Everyone knows the feeling of starting a new day at school, or moving to a new school entirely. You might not know many students, you might have new teachers, but with a little adjustment you start to pick things up quickly. Well, can you imagine if you started school in a completely different country, and you knew no one there, and you couldn’t understand the language your classes were taught in. For many students these are the challenges they must overcome in order to graduate with a diploma at the end of their high school career.

Apollo High School’s English immersion program has been helping students from all around the world learn English, excel in their classes, graduate on time, and adjust to their new home.
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Evangelical groups launch $250,000 immigration campaign

It is finally time for these religious groups to do this.   - - Donna Poisl

Alan Gomez, USA TODAY

During the last attempt to overhaul the nation's immigration laws in 2007, the Southern Baptist Convention never fully embraced a bipartisan bill that died in the face of conservative opposition.

But in a sign of how differently the 2013 immigration debate is playing out, the convention is joining other evangelical organizations in a $250,000 media blitz starting Thursday to push members of Congress to pass a bill.

The ad buy will feature radio ads and billboards in 13 states featuring pastors urging people to support the ongoing efforts in Congress to pass an immigration bill that would allow the nation's 11 million unauthorized immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship, strengthen border security and revamp the legal immigration system.
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Study: Immigrant workers ‘heavily subsidize’ Medicare

This is one of the big reasons we need more young immigrant workers.   - - Donna Poisl

By Jordan Rau

As Congress mulls changing America’s border and naturalization rules, a study finds that immigrant workers are helping buttress Medicare’s finances, because they contribute billions a year more than immigrant retirees use in medical services.

“Immigrants, particularly noncitizens, heavily subsidize Medicare,” the researchers wrote in the journal Health Affairs. “Policies that reduce immigration would almost certainly weaken Medicare’s financial health, while an increasing flow of immigrants might bolster its sustainability.”
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Immigrants Please Apply: Rust Belt Cities Need You

Cities and companies in the middle of the country need more immigrants. The workers will have to change their minds about working in NY or LA and consider these areas.    - - Donna Poisl

By: David Koeppel

Arnoldo Muller-Molina, a Costa Rican native with a PhD in artificial intelligence, could have moved his fledgling tech start-up to Silicon Valley or New York City. Instead, he chose St. Louis, Missouri, a city more renowned for its sports teams than a flourishing immigrant population.

Muller-Molina says he didn't want the high cost of establishing himself on either coast and he disdained the intense competition in those communities. He received a $50,000 grant to move his database company simMachines to St. Louis, where he was given free legal assistance, help in obtaining an EB5 investor visa, and free mentoring services. The money and services came from Arch Grants, a global start-up competition based in St. Louis that was founded in part to draw immigrant entrepreneurs to the "Gateway City."
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Why are Immigrants’ Children Living Shorter Lives?

This is sad; for several reasons, immigrants' kids are not very healthy.    - - Donna Poisl

by Kristina Chew

When I was growing up in the 1970s, I was frequently reminded that I needed to eat every last grain of rice and “think of the starving children in China.” My grandparents on both sides had emigrated to California at the start of the 20th century and America provided not only economic opportunities but a better life, with plenty of food and far better medical care.

A century later, the U.S. remains a land steeped in the proverbial “milk and honey,” but literally in excess. Public health researchers are discovering that, for immigrants, life in the U.S. is not automatically tied to better health.
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Volunteers create garden for Burmese immigrants

The immigrants probably will feel more at home now and also realize the townspeople want them there.   - - Donna Poisl

from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A group of volunteers in Waterloo have worked together to create a community garden for Burmese immigrants.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports ( ) that City Council member Steve Schmitt headed the effort to find garden space for the immigrants.

David and Liz O'Malley donated a vacant lot for the garden, and on Thursday a group gathered for a dual blessing by the Rev. Ken Stecher and Burmese Minister John Lazum, both of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Many of Waterloo's Burmese immigrants are members of the parish.
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Garment Industry Follows Threads Of Immigration Overhaul

Many industries need immigration reform, I had not realized the garment industry needs it too.   - - Donna Poisl

by Sonari Glinton, NPR

In Los Angeles, the business of fashion is big. The apparel business employs as many as 45,000 workers in L.A. County, many of them immigrants.

Consequently, the garment industry is worried about the outcome of the immigration debate and watching closely to see what happens.

One of the heavyweights is American Apparel, which makes more than 40 million articles of clothing each year out of its factory near downtown L.A.

The clothing industry is notorious for employing illegal workers. American Apparel was forced to fire nearly one-third of its workforce — 1,800 employees — after an immigration crackdown in 2009.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Can Immigrants Spur Rust Belt Recovery?

Immigrants are needed, not only to work in the companies, but also to live and buy things in those towns.   - - Donna Poisl

By Curtis Tate 

As Rust Belt cities look for ways to dig themselves out of economic decline, it would appear immigrant workers are taking center stage in the conversation. Places like Detroit, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis are all grappling with ways to make immigrants a part of their labor forces, and expand their populations, where, in the case of Detroit, population has shrunk drastically over the last 40 years, down from 1.5 million in 1970 to around 678,000 as of 2012. For cities trying to escape recession, growing populations typically contribute to their doing so.

However, the population has decreased in Detroit and the others for a reason: economic opportunity is lacking. Businesses are not expanding here, and states are having a hard time attracting entrepreneurial talent to areas that grow more like ghost towns by the day. A comprehensive immigration plan, however, might allow for some help.
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Non-native English speaking students face language barrier challenges

High school ELL students mentor grade school ELL students and all of them are learning more.   - - Donna Poisl

By Sara Feijo, Wicked Local Dedham

DEDHAM - Although Miguel Alvarez is bright and articulate, the 10-year-old faces language barriers on the daily basis.

His biggest challenge? The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, widely known as MCAS.

Miguel, who is a fourth grade student at Avery Elementary School, said he is very nervous about taking the MCAS because he sometimes doesn’t understand certain words.

“Most of the time I think I can’t do it, because I think it’s very hard,” Miguel said Tuesday afternoon, April 23, during after school homework club. “I try my best.”
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Senate Judiciary Committee Votes to Pass Immigration Bill on to Full Senate 
Mark-Up Characterized by Transparency and Bipartisan Cooperation

For Immediate Release

May 21, 2013

Washington D.C. - Today, on a bipartisan vote of 13 to 5, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass Senate Bill 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, out of the committe and on to the Senate floor for a full vote in the coming days. The Senate committee mark-up spanned three weeks and covered many of the 300 amendments offered on every aspect of the bill. The resulting legislation represents a concerted effort to find a workable and fair immigration policy that makes our nation stronger.

The following is a statement by Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council:

“We congratulate Senator Leahy and the entire Senate Judiciary Committee on the spirit of deliberation, collaboration, and transparency that marked the process. Many amendments added during the mark-up will strengthen the bill in the areas of high-skilled immigration, protections for vulnerable groups and due process. However, other amendments, like those attempting to deny citizenship, may have been driven more by rhetoric than reality. In addition, not providing some relief to siblings who face extreme hardships because of their separation and not ending the discrimination against same sex couples legally married in the United States is short-sighted and bad policy. Yet despite these high costs, the overall bill coming out of committee now gives the Senate an important and rare opportunity to complete the task we have been working on for years—passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill that finally moves us to our goal of fixing our broken immigration system.

For more information contact, Wendy Feliz at or 202-507-7524.

Young Immigrants Make Personal Appeal to Obama, Biden

Understanding what the people are going through will always help legislators put a good program together.    - - Donna Poisl


A group of seven young people shared their personal struggles with the immigration system during a meeting with President Obama and Vice President Biden on Tuesday.

While senators continued to haggle over the details of a bipartisan immigration bill on Capitol Hill, Obama and Biden shied away from policy specifics during a nearly hour-long talk in the Oval Office. Instead, they heard personal appeals for a complete overhaul of the system.

"[We] told just a few of the millions of personal stories that are the real moral, political case for immigration reform," Melissa McGuire-Maniau, an Air Force veteran from Florida who participated in the meeting, told reporters.
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Striking the balance between pluribus and unum

This might explain how assimilation now is different than our grandparents went through.  - - Donna Poisl

By Brad Stutzman, Austin Community Newspapers Staff

By the time his family came to America, when he was 5, the component parts of Israel Isidore Baline’s life were not necessarily adding up to a sure-fire recipe for success in this, his new adopted home.

He was born in a dirt-floor hut, on foreign soil, in a non-English-speaking country. He belonged to an historically despised religious minority.

Yet Baline’s work – 125 years after his birth and 24 years since his death – remains familiar to almost every American today.

Here, in his adopted country, he’s better known to us by his adopted name – Irving Berlin. It is a remarkable triumph of American melting-pot values, that a Russian-born Jew wrote the songs “God Bless America” and “White Christmas.”
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Saturday, May 18, 2013


Click the HEADLINE to read stories from this week from the Immigration Policy Center.


This app should be useful for people wanting to learn American English and not British English.  - - Donna Poisl

By Sumedha Jalote

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has launched a mobile application to help people worldwide access resources for learning English on simple mobile devices.

The application, called ‘American English’, consolidates the Department’s English learning content into one location, giving users access to e-books, audiobooks, quizzes, music, and games.
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Providing Noncitizens Their Day in Court and Other Resources for Immigration Bill Deliberations

For Immediate Release

May 15, 2013

Washington D.C. - As the Senate Judiciary Committee continues its mark up of S. 744, the Senators will soon be called upon to consider amendments within Title Three, relating to interior enforcement issues, which span everything from E-verify to immigration court reform.  Today, our Immigration Policy Center and Legal Action Center release a fact sheet on court reform and highlight several recent reports on broader due process and biometric data issues that help put the committee’s deliberations into focus.

Providing Noncitizens Their Day in Court discusses some of the critical policy proposals found in S. 744 to ensure that everyone receives due process of law and a meaningful opportunity to be heard.  For far too long, immigration courts have failed to provide noncitizens with a system of justice that lives up to American standards of justice.  A noncitizen has not truly had his day in court if he is removed without ever seeing a judge, if he does not have access to counsel and necessary evidence, or if the decision in his case receives only perfunctory review.

Two Systems of Justice is a special report that explores how the justice system for immigrants falls far short of the American values of due process and fundamental fairness. In fact, the immigration system lacks nearly all the procedural safeguards we expect in the U.S. criminal justice system.  Given the high stakes involved in immigration cases and the increasing criminalization of immigration law, the report concludes that we must no longer tolerate a system that deprives countless individuals of a fair judicial process.

From Fingerprints to DNA is a special report that explains the different technologies for collecting biometrics, as well as how that data is collected, stored and used. It raises concerns about data-sharing, legal protection, technological problems, then proposes changes to control and limit the storage of biometrics to benefit not only immigrants, but all people in the U.S.

To view the documents in their entirety, see:
Providing Noncitizens Their Day in Court (LAC Fact Sheet, May 2013)
Two Systems of Justice (IPC Special Report, March 2013)
From Fingerprints to DNA (IPC Special Report, May 2012)

For more information, conact Wendy Feliz at or 202-507-7524
How the geography of U.S. immigration has changed over time

This chart and story shows that the areas immigrants come from are different than in the recent past.   - - Donna Poisl

By Brad Plumer

Where do immigrants to the United States come from? A new Pew report finds that this has been slowly changing over time. In 1992, most legal immigrants came from Latin America and Europe. Nowadays, they’re more likely to come from Asia and Africa: SEE CHART

Note that this is only looking at legal immigration. Pew has previously estimated that there are also about 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, and the overwhelming majority of those come from Latin America and the Caribbean.
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Carbondale helps draw immigrants to local culture

This new program is helping immigrants become part of their community and mentor others in their community.   - - Donna Poisl


CARBONDALE, Colo. (AP) — The ID badge pinned to Maria Eloisa Duarte's jacket is an ordinary metal rectangle bearing her name above her title, "parent mentor."

But for Duarte, it is a badge of honor. Duarte is an immigrant mother with no legal status in the United States who rarely got out of her pajamas or left her house until six months ago. This pin says that she is now a valued contributor to her community.

Her eyes well with tears when she holds a hand over it and calls it her most prized possession. She wears the badge all the time, she says, even when she isn't at Crystal River Elementary School helping kids with their subtraction and spelling and liberally doling out hugs.
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Immigrants — the lifeline of a town

This town is a modern day story of what has been going on in this country since the Pilgrims arrived.   - - Donna Poisl

By Renée Loth, Globe Columnist

I AM reading a page one story in The New York Times about a dying suburban town that has been transformed by the energy and optimism of Latino immigrants. The story describes how new arrivals from Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru are taking advantage of the abandoned storefronts and cheap rents in the depressed downtown to open thriving shops and ethnic restaurants, drawing customers from more affluent communities nearby.

The immigrants are described as “the lifeblood’’ of the town, “which fell on hard times in the 1980s and ’90s after factories and mills closed and an older generation of Italian immigrants moved away or died off.” The story is so familiar I almost don’t need to check the dateline, but sure enough, the town is Port Chester, N.Y., where I grew up.
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Gay Immigrants Pose Thorny Test for 'Gang of 8'

All immigrants should be included in immigration reform, we will see what will get done.   - - Donna Poisl

By Niels Lesniewski

“Gang of eight” immigration negotiators purposely didn’t include provisions for immigrants in same-sex relationships in their bipartisan bill, but the issue they so carefully avoided may rear its head this week.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares for its Thursday markup of the group’s comprehensive immigration bill, it remains unclear whether Chairman Patrick J. Leahy will offer an amendment to allow same-sex partners of American citizens and permanent residents to gain legal status.

Whether Leahy decides to offer it in committee or on the floor matters because the provision has a much better shot of adoption if offered during the markup than it does during full Senate debate.
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Immigration Reform Has Never Been Just A 'Latino Issue'

People from all over the world are here illegally, not just Latinos. Many people forget that.    - - Donna Poisl


It's rare for a TV pundit or politico to talk about immigration reform these days without mention of Republicans losing the "Latino vote." But what they tend to forget is that about 2.5 million of the estimated 11.1 million undocumented immigrants living in this country are not from Latin America. And the majority of that minority (or about 1.3 million) is from Asia.

With immigration levels from Mexico slowing, the Latin American portion of immigrants living in the country illegally is shrinking in comparison to the portions from other countries. In other words, immigration isn't just a Latino issue, and it hasn't been for some time.

Until the 1980's, the majority of immigration to the U.S. was from Europe. This changed, in part, because of initiatives like the Bracero program that brought thousands of Mexicans to the United States to work.
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Study: Most immigrants in L.A. illegally don't speak English well

In the past, immigrants had to learn English and they were successful, now there is not much need for some to learn and they will almost always earn a low income. - - Donna Poisl

By Cindy Chang

Nearly half of Los Angeles County's immigrants here illegally lack a high school diploma, and 60% do not speak English well, according to a study.

Nonprofits and foundations must work with the public sector to make sure there are enough English classes in the event of a mass legalization, said Maria Blanco, vice president of civic engagement at the California Community Foundation, which partially funded the paper released Tuesday by USC.

If newly legalized immigrants do not learn English, their job prospects are likely to remain limited.
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Rebuilding Local Economies & Fueling the Recovery
High-Skilled Immigrants Creating Jobs and Contributing to the U.S. Economy

For Immediate Release

May 13, 2013
Washington D.C. - Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases two fact sheets: Rebuilding Local Economies: Innovation, Skilled Immigration, and H-1B Visas in U.S. Metropolitan Areas and Fueling the Recovery: How High-Skilled Immigrants Create Jobs and Help Build the U.S.

Fueling the Recovery: How High-Skilled Immigrants Create Jobs and Help Build the U.S. Economy  discuses that while the U.S. economy is still recovering, it may seem counterintuitive to believe that any industry would benefit from having more workers. But that is precisely the case when it comes to those industries which depend upon highly skilled workers.

Rebuilding Local Economies: Innovation, Skilled Immigration, and H-1B Visas in U.S. Metropolitan Areas discusses how immigration policy is debated at the national level, but its impact is most often felt in local and regional communities. This is certainly true for the H-1B program, which is routinely studied at the national level, but  cannot be fully  understood without driving down to examine the role of H-1B workers at the metropolitan and local levels.

To view the fact sheets in their entirety, see:

Rebuilding Local Economies: Innovation, Skilled Immigration, and H-1B Visas in U.S. Metropolitan Areas (IPC Fact Check, May 2013)

Fueling the Recovery: How High-Skilled Immigrants Create Jobs and Help Build the U.S. Economy  (IPC Fact Check, May 2013)
For more information, contact Wendy Feliz at or 202-507-7524

KACE helps adults with English and reading

This organization helps immigrants learn English and also with other things to help them become successful Americans.  - - Donna Poisl


There’s as many reasons why people come to the Kitsap Adult Center for Education (KACE) as there are students at the center.

But they all have one goal in mind.

“To better themselves and to make their children’s lives better,” said Ann Rudnicki, executive director of KACE. “Each of them have their own story. Each of them have their own reasons why they weren’t able to complete their education. But they are all wanting to improve themselves.”

The center, formerly known as the Literacy Council of Kitsap County, is a community-based nonprofit with a mission to promote adult education in the county.
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Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Fallacy of “Enforcement First”
Lost in The Shadow of the Fence

For Immediate Release

Washington D.C. – Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases two fact sheets, The Fallacy of "Enforcement First" and Lost in the Shadow of the Fence.
The Fallacy of "Enforcement First" discusses the strategy of enforcing the border while ignoring immigration reforms, which the United States has been pursuing for more than two-and-a-half decades. This enforcement-first philosophy ignores the fact that the unworkable nature of our immigration laws is itself facilitating unauthorized immigration, and how our enforcement policies alone have not been able to turn the tide on unauthorized migration.

Lost in the Shadow of the Fence highlights the important economic relationship between Mexico and the United States. The resounding refrain we repeatedly hear from some members of Congress is that we must lengthen and strengthen the fence that separates us from one of our largest economic partners and that it must be completed before moving forward with proposed immigration reforms. While there is a need for secure borders, there is also a need for further streamlining and efficiently facilitating the daily cross-border flows of people, goods, and services important to our bi-national economic relationship.

To view the fact sheets in their entirety, see:
The Fallacy of "Enforcement First" (IPC Fact Check, May 2013)
Lost in the Shadow of the Fence (IPC Fact Check, May 2013)

For more information contact, Wendy Feliz at or 202-507-7524
Oxnard students master second language

A good English learning program is very important for the students' futures.    - - Donna Poisl

By Anne Kallas

When the number of pupils at Marshall School in Oxnard who passed the California requirements to be classified as English-proficient jumped to 32 this year from nine last year, Principal Cindy Hallman decided to hold a celebration.

She invited the pupils and their families to a dinner Sunday at the elementary school, where they were not only treated to chicken Alfredo, lasagna, salad, bread and cakes, but they also were honored.
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Boomers need immigrants

Young immigrant workers putting money into Social Security will keep it going for many years to come.   - - Donna Poisl

By The Times editorial board

The Senate Judiciary Committee took up comprehensive immigration reform late last week. And, as expected, opponents are already rushing to derail it, arguing that any bill that legalizes the vast majority of undocumented immigrants in the United States will cost billions of dollars and place an unfair burden on taxpayers.

Such arguments are merely scare tactics. There's no doubt that granting citizenship to millions of immigrants 13 years from now, as the Senate bill would, will carry a cost, but how much is unclear. Without it, though, the U.S. will face serious problems. In fact, demographers such as Dowell Myers of USC's Price School of Public Policy have repeatedly warned that the country is on the verge of an epic transition as baby boomers retire en masse and birthrates decline. A 2013 report by Myers suggests that in Southern California alone, "boomers are beginning to retire from the most productive period of their lives, creating enormous replacement needs in the workforce." In other words, the U.S. needs immigrants to help cover the retirement costs of older Americans and to fuel economic growth.
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Adding It Up: Accurately Gauging the Economic Impact of Immigration Reform

For Immediate Release

May 7, 2013

Washington D.C. - Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases Adding It Up: Accurately Gauging the Economic Impact of Immigration Reform by Raul Hinojosa Ojeda, Ph.D. and Sherman Robinson, Ph.D.

With immigration reform legislation now making its way through Congress, it is imperative that we estimate as accurately as possible the full range of potential economic costs and benefits associated with any particular bill. It is especially important to establish the proper criteria for a complete, robust, and accurate fiscal scoring of any bill by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). To that end, we should consider the growing consensus of the economic literature on the strongly positive benefits of immigration in general and of the various aspects of immigration reform in particular, as calculated using a variety of different methodologies. The CBO would be well-advised to keep this consensus literature in mind as it establishes the criteria it will use for scoring immigration reform legislation.

To view the fact sheet in its entirety see:

Adding It Up: Accurately Gauging the Economic Impact of Immigration Reform (IPC Fact Check, May 7, 2013)

For more information, contact Wendy Feliz at or 202-507-7524.

HIAS Panel Discussions Urge Strategies for Protecting LGBTI Refugees

from HIAS

HIAS kicked off the launch of its groundbreaking report, Invisible in the City: Protection Gaps Facing Sexual Minority Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Urban Ecuador, Ghana, Israel, and Kenya, with a panel discussion Monday morning at Human Rights First's offices in Manhattan, followed by additional panel discussions in Washington, DC and Philadelphia. The report was researched and written for HIAS by Yiftach Millo, an expert in forced migration; it was funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

Learn more about the report and the NY event.
Let's show we're a nation of immigrants

from Cecilia Muñoz, Director, Domestic Policy Council, The White House

This is the start of a national debate. Across the country, we're having a serious discussion about how we can build a fair and effective immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

And we need your help to make sure that genuine, personal perspectives are part of the conversation. The truth is, that if we go back far enough, nearly every American story begins somewhere else -- so often with ancestors setting out in search of a different life, carving out a future for their children in this place that all of us now call home.

We want to make sure that idea isn't far from the minds of policymakers here in Washington as we work to reach an agreement to reform immigration.

To kick things off, one of the President's senior advisors sat down to share his story with you.

Watch David Simas tell his American story, then tell us yours.

When Americans from all over the country -- each with different backgrounds, each from different circumstances -- all speak out with the same voice, it's powerful in a way that's hard to ignore. We've seen it again and again, in debate after debate.

And this is the kind of issue where putting a face on the push for reform takes an abstract concept and makes it real. So share your American stories with us, and we'll put them to use.

We'll publish them on the White House website. We'll share them on Facebook and Twitter. We'll do everything we can to make sure they're part of the debate around immigration reform.

Get started here.

Cecilia Muñoz
Director, Domestic Policy Council
The White House

Monday, May 06, 2013

Immigrants Pay Lower Fees to Send Money Home, Helping to Ease Poverty

Immigrants pay much lower fees now to send money home, helping the people here and also their family back home.    - - Donna Poisl


The first time Carmen Gonzalez sent money back to her family in Mexico, in 1991, Western Union charged her a $12 fee to wire $100. She earned that $12 working for six hours in a clothing factory in midtown Manhattan, which paid her $2 an hour.

These days Ms. Gonzalez pays $5, which she earns in less than an hour, so she sends a bit more. The family is benefiting from a financial transformation propelled by new technology and increased competition that has driven down the average cost of sending money to Mexico by nearly 80 percent since 1999.
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Before immigration reform, Citizenship NOW! offers quick answers to common questions

Volunteers took more than 13,300 calls in a week from people needing help with their citizenship  questions. - - Donna Poisl


Immigration reform is coming, so this year’s Daily News/ CUNY Citizenship NOW! call-in was particularly meaningful. Hopefully, by the time of next year’s call-in we will be able to tell hardworking undocumented immigrants getting on a path to U.S. citizenship that the reform train has left the station, and no restrictionist, no terrorist can derail it.

Almost half of this week’s callers wanted information about how to get U.S. citizenship. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Q: Where can I get help with my naturalization application?

A: New York City has lots of ......................
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Educator takes teaching Japanese to a new level

Using her own experiences learning a new language, this teacher is this year's Teacher of the Year.   - - Donna Poisl

By JULIE GREENE, The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown

BOONSBORO, MD. — Ayako Shiga knows how difficult it can be to learn a foreign language.

When she was growing up in Tokyo, she failed her first semester of English in middle school.

During a break that semester, she went to visit her father in Australia and couldn't answer the waiter when he asked her, in English, how old she was, because she didn't understand the question.

Shiga said that last experience motivated her to learn English and apply to be a high school exchange student in America.
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Study: Immigrants who live, work together less apt to learn English

I think this has always been the case, if we don't really need to know another language, we don't learn it. Especially since it is hard.    - - Donna Poisl

from Reflejos

( — Adult immigrants living and working in places where they are surrounded by others who share their ethnic backgrounds are less likely to learn or be proficient in the English language, say two Purdue University researchers.

In a study of Chinese and Mexican immigrants age 25 and older who came to the United States for reasons other than attending school, Purdue agricultural economists Brigitte Waldorf and Raymond Florax and three research collaborators found that residing and working in ethnic “enclaves” made it easier for immigrants to continue speaking their native language and put off - or avoid altogether - learning English.
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Instruction of students learning English bleak

With so many kids needing ESL classes, it is sad that they don't get all the help they need.   - - Donna Poisl


MIAMI (AP) — Duna Lopez started school in Miami last fall not knowing a single word of English.

The 8-year-old girl from Barcelona, Spain, with dark blond hair was placed in the Coral Way Bilingual K-8 Center, the nation’s oldest bilingual school. For half the day, she receives classes in Spanish; it’s English for the rest. During language arts, she gets pulled out with three other new arrivals for extra help on grammar and phonics.

After seven months, she’s one of the most active participants in class.
“In five months, like that, I learned it,” she said.
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Transformation of a Town Underscores Immigrants’ Impact

It is amazing how some of these immigrants can succeed with everything against them. We need people like Moises.   - - Donna Poisl


PORT CHESTER, N.Y. — Nearly 20 years after he arrived penniless in this country from Mexico, Moises owns two restaurants, with a third on the way. He has five employees, an American wife and a stepdaughter. His food even has a following on

What Moises does not have is American citizenship, or even a green card permitting him to reside legally in the United States. So he inhabits an economic netherworld, shuttling among his establishments on the bus and train because he cannot get a driver’s license and making do without bank loans or credit cards even as he files for zoning permits and incorporation papers.
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Friday, May 03, 2013

A part of immigration reform even critics like: integrating new Americans (+video)

There are 30 pages in the proposal that are about integrating immigrants into the U.S. culture, and most people really like them. Watch the video:   - - Donna Poisl

By David Grant, Staff writer

In an immigration reform debate loaded with bitter disputes, there’s vast bipartisan support for a small, as-yet-overlooked part of the Senate’s bipartisan legislation: doing more to integrate new immigrants into American civic and cultural life.

Beneficiaries of such assimilation efforts would be brand new immigrants, as well as those who have lived illegally in America for years but who, under immigration reform, are seeking legal status and, some, eventual citizenship.

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Schwarzenegger lends muscle to immigration discussion

Speakers at a USC think tank program discussed why immigration reform is needed.    - - Donna Poisl

By Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times

Arnold Schwarzenegger uses his own improbable rise from bodybuilder to action hero to California governor as an argument for immigration reform.

As a teenager in his native Austria, Schwarzenegger saw the United States as the only place he could achieve his outsized dreams. The 11 million immigrants now in the country illegally are not so different from his younger self, he told an audience Tuesday at the USC think tank that bears his name.

"These are all very hardworking people. They have a dream. They want to make their dream a reality," he said.
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Push to Include Gay Couples in Immigration Bill

The immigration reform bill should include all immigrants, it can't just cover some of them.   - - Donna Poisl


This has been a good year for gay rights advocates — with public opinion shifting in their favor and same-sex marriage advancing in the states — but not when it comes to immigration.

An 844-page bill introduced in the Senate in mid-April by a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers includes measures to make legal immigration easier for highly skilled immigrants, migrant farmworkers and those living here illegally. It has no provisions that would help foreigners who are same-sex partners of American citizens to become legal permanent residents.
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Senate backs Minn. tuition for immigrants' kids

Another state has passed its own Dream Act.    - - Donna Poisl


 ST. PAUL, Minn. - The children of immigrants who are in Minnesota illegally would be eligible for in-state tuition and financial aid at the state's public colleges and universities under a bill the state Senate passed on Wednesday.

The bill often called the "Dream Act" passed by a 41-23 vote. Four Republicans split from the rest of their party to support it, while two Democrats strayed from the majority to vote against it.
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